J-Round Up: IDOLING!!!, AKB+Friends, Kikkawa You, After School, Akanishi Jin

27 01 2012

I’ve been wanting to review a lot of the latest releases.  Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t new anymore, but here are the latest one’s I’ve been looking at.  I’m going to hold fast to my resolution to expand my horizons, so today I’m breaking down my barrier and reviewing IDOLING!!! for the first time.  I’m sorry I can’t provide you guys with the actual PVs or lives for most of these; we all know Japanese labels are insane with copyright (although last time I checked, wasn’t the point of a promotional video to promote…?).

IDOLING!!! – MAMORE!!!

The only time I’ve listening to this group was their AKB48 collaboration (brilliant), and I think I’ve listened to snippets here and there since then, but nothing’s stuck out to me.  Then somewhere along the way I decided they were just a cheap AKB-rip-off and stopped bothering.  With my new resolve for 2012, though, I supposed to give it a try.

My first impression was that this is a really catchy song.  Anything else I’ve heard from them as bored me, so I’m glad when I actually decided to listen, it was a good one!  I wish the whole song could have been like the opening bars, but it’s still pretty good.

Unfortunately, though, everything else just reminds me of AKB48.  In fact… is that the same warehouse they used for “RIVER”…?  And the same style of outfits…?  The style of the song and the PV also reminded me a bit too much of a mash-up of “RIVER” and “BINGO!”.

On the plus side, the girls of IDOLING!!! are gorgeous and really energetic.  They kept me entertained and watching the whole way through the PV, so I suppose they accomplished the job.  I just wish it was a bit more original.  I’m not asking for duck suits or anything, but maybe a different warehouse?  Or one that’s not empty?

On a side note, why does it seem that Hello! Project (specifically Morning Musume) still can’t figure out the power of makeup??  Please compare the girls from IDOLING!!! or AKB48 to the 8th, 9th and 10th generations of Morning Musume. It’s not that they have superior genes, it’s that someone is smart enough to use eyeliner.  Huh.

no3b – Pedicure Day

no3b always has and always will be my favorite AKB-related thing ever.  They have the best songs with the best messages, which is originally why I liked them.  Consequently, the girls in this group make up most of my AKB favorites.  And this PV and song are perfect examples of why I love them so much.

The song is uplifting and happy and addictive.  Like most no3b songs, it’s vocally challenging as well.  The PV reflects the feeling of the song perfectly.  Just like their name suggests, this PV is really carefree and filled with girls being girls.  It reminds me a lot of “Relax!”, which is the reason why I love this group so much.

SKE48 – Kataomoi Finally

Uhm.  Wow.

If any idol group would turn their members into creepers and wota-pleasing lesbian whores, it would definitely be one in the AKB family.  Now, I see the marketing strategy, and it’s brilliant.  I also know they were purposely going for the shock factor.  Don’t get me wrong here.  But being okay with the lesbian scenes and theme, I still felt uncomfortable and appalled at several parts of this music video.

First of all, I don’t know a single member’s name of SKE48, so bare with me here.  The girl who is the lesbian player who instigates pretty much every conflict in this video looks like SUCH A CREEP.  I would run away crying if she cornered me in a locker room.  And how innocent they made the other girl (oh hey white dress in an open field being the symbol of innocence and virginity), it seems that she probably should have as well.

On the lines of production itself, the scene where they make out on the street confuses me.  I don’t understand how they were completely unfazed by a huge car accident just a couple feet in front of them.  If the car scene was supposed to be symbolic, then that’s one thing, but right in front of the girls who didn’t seem to notice it disturbed me a tad.  SKE48 says: “Don’t pay attention to lethal car accidents! :D”  Also, did creeper seriously suck the blood off of innocent’s cut?  I’ve seen this in mangas and animes, and that’s one thing, but to actually do it… is creeper a vampire or something?  It also seriously disturbed me.

And oh, let’s not forget the biggest issue there is.  Underage girls being lesbians, whatever.  But 20 underaged girls drinking?  Seriously?!?  Are you seriously promoting that right now, Aki-P???  I’m just… floored.  And then a drunk girl goes and fires off illegal pyrotechnics in a heavily urban alley with tons of houses and things that could explode or catch on fire.

…wow.

I was going to say something about the violence, but innocent is sticking up for herself against playa!creeper, so I’ll let that one slide.

On the plus side, I love the song itself!  I usually really like SKE48 releases, and this is no exception!

I’m skipping SDN48’s new single because… creepy old man is creepy.  Creepier than playa!creep from SKE.

Kikkawa You – Konna Watashi de Yottakara

This kind of counts for my 2012 resolve.  I listened to Kikkawa’s debut single and was thoroughly unimpressed, so I stopped caring.  I stumbled upon a live version of this song, however, and turns out it’s not all that bad!

The PV itself is a bit boring.  The dance scenes are really sadly cheap.  When I watched it live, her dance was a bit drab, but it’s okay because she can’t be dancing too crazy if she wants to sing well.  I understand.  So I was hoping that the PV would counteract this with lots of background dancers doing a much better dance, especially since the song talks about dancing so much.  Didn’t happen.  In fact, not only did she not get background dancers, but she dances with cheap copied mirrors of herself.  Wow, Universal.  Thought you were better than this.

The redeeming factor of this PV is the puppets.  They are AWESOME.  She makes them sing lead, sing backup, dance, and fight while keeping a straight face.  At first I was a little sketched out by them, but turns out, the sock puppets are my favorite part of the PV.

The song itself is really, really good for Kikkawa.  I was expecting something like poor ManoEri’s crap releases.  It’s actually catchy and dynamic.  It really showcases Kikkawa’s vocal range, which is a great marketing strategy for an up-and-coming soloist.  My only complaint is the song gets really redundant towards the end, to the point that I just stop listening.  This could have been easily fixed with some adlibs during the final 6 choruses after the bridge, but alas.  It just gets boring.

Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to say “Told you so!”

After School – Rambling Girls

When I first saw this PV, I was really impressed.  The song is catchy, the lyrics are insanely simple to follow, the dance is awesome, and the PV is really flashy (literally).

But a couple more listens and watches through…

The main melody of this song is REALLY overdone, just like 9nine’s “Natsu wanna say love u” is.  Their Engrish is really awful, and the PV is really not creative and pretty cheap.  For their first original Japanese song, I suppose I just expected more.

I still like the song.  The bridge is probably my favorite part (“c’mon everybody eh eh eh”), and the girls are stunning, but it seems that they skimped out on this compared to what they’ve done in the past.  A lot.

Akanishi Jin – Sun Burns Down

Gawdamnit.  I wanted to hate this song SO BAD.  I’ve been doing really well at hating everything Jin’s done since he turned into an egoistic asshole and left KAT-TUN and Johnny’s.  REALLY. WELL.  I hated his first American single and his last Japanese one.  But this…

I have no complaints about this song or video.  The video is really good for the song and America, and the song is perfect for America.  And so damn catchy.

I need to find something bad about.  Okay, okay… some of his dances are really awkward.  That’s the best I can do.

Shit.

I think Jpop is off to a great start for 2012, too!  If there’s a group or artist you guys think I should give a try for the new year, let me know!

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2 responses

7 02 2012
30 Day Idol Challenge 6 ~Subunit~ « Shanimuni Paradise

[…] all of their music has been uplifting like “Relax!”, but a lot of it has, especially their latest, “Pedicure Day.”  Despite that, I love even their serious music, such as “Lies,” “Kimi […]

26 02 2012
30 Day Idol Challenge 24&25 ~Admitting/Non-Japanese~ « Shanimuni Paradise

[…] may remember that I really enjoyed her last single.  Soon after that I stumbled upon her album, and wow, it’s amazing.  I very rarely like […]

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