S/mileage – “Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita”

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As the camera sweeps across the room,  Wada Ayaka looks contemplatively at an open suitcase.  Is she packing?  Is she unpacking?  Where is she going, or from where did she come?

S/mileage’s new single “Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita” doesn’t really answer the opening riddle.  The spring offering from S/mileage deals a cheerful tune filled with hope for the future.  The song is laden with strings that provide a nice counterpoint melody and harmony for the vocals.  The chorus delivers an interesting rhythmic punch to an otherwise relentless beat.  A  measure of half-time temporarily suspends the song’s momentum before surrendering again to the drive of the song.  More than any melody in the song, I’m going to remember the way the strings and the drums work together in the chorus’s opening punches.

In keeping with the spring season, the PV is shot to make it seem like the days are getting brighter and warmer.  Even without long shots of the sun, that warm celestial body is present as its light streams through windows and translucent curtains and through faux-windowpane screens behind the dance shot.

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The girls are lucky enough to have two outfits in this PV.  Their casual outfits are uncharacteristically girly complete with frills and pastel accents.  In the opening chorus, we see the girls in these outfits looking upwards.  Given S/mileage’s checkered past, they are perhaps telling us they are looking towards the future and not dwelling in the past.

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If you like your idols in uniforms, then S/mileage is the group for you.  As with  number of their past singles, the main outfit resembles a fanciful military uniform.  This time, the girls are wearing a so-blue-it’s-purple top with a contrasting white lace-up down the front.  The most daring thing about their outfits is not the short miniskirts, but the matching purple cuffs that are complete with white trim and silver cuff-links.  The trademark S/mileage accessories are all present, including the S/mileage crests pinned to each girl’s chest and large purple bows attached to each girl’s hip.  The most “S/mileage” of all S/mileage things (miniskirts) are white with a pattern (that I can’t distinguish) and a sporty red and blue hem worn over similarly patterned petticoat.  The whole miniskirt is a fluffy affair on which Akari misses out- she’s the only girl wearing shorts (I know she’s supposed to be the tomboy, but really?).

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Don’t worry Take-chan.  I’m just as shocked as you.

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A good look at the purple tops.  Laces and a patch and a great smile from Rina

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How about those skirts?

Aside from the random boy shorts, I really enjoy the dance shot of this PV.  The girls have never looked better.  They improved their dancing to now include ballet-like turns, jumps, and epic air violin.
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Looking graceful

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and jump …

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and kick …

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and play some damn violin!

S/mileage seem to understand that their future is at least partly tied with how they market these new girls.  When this new lineup first started out, I felt that S/mileage thought they could just jam Wada and Kanyon into miniskirts, trot them in from the camera, and everything would be honky-dory.  While those girls may always be at the center of the group, unless the other girls are given a chance to shine the group will stagnate.  The future of the S/mileage depends on Akari, Meimi, Kana, and Rina.  This PV does a good job in making these girls look attractive.

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Kana playing behind a criminally fake tree

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Rina in a moment of bliss

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Meimi giving the finger

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Rina with a finger of her own

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 Kana looking kinda adorable (she’s thinking about gorillas)

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Kana thinks you have zero percent chance of success

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Akari and Rina trying to warn you of Meimi’s blood-thirstiness

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Meimi is dreaming about sucking your blood

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Meimi luring her victims

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When she gets those hands (and fangs) on you, it’s all over.

At the end of the PV, the girls each walk toward a particularly well-lit door.  Isn’t this symbolic of death?  Who or what is dying in here?

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Oh, they’re just looking out on their bright future.

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And closing the book on their past.

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You can smile all you want, Dawa.  This release looks pretty good, but the future is still out there …

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