Do you even know how much I like PASSPO? I don’t exactly know what it is about this group, but sometimes listening to their singles brings a tear to my eye. At their best, I find them an inspiring breath of fresh air in the idol world. Their “gimmick”, the flight attendant angle, which really doesn’t extend to much more than the styling of their outfits and the specific PASSPO nomenclature, doesn’t tell the full story of this group. In other words, they are not defined by their gimmick. For me this is the best of the idol world- cheering on a group of “B Class Idols” as they fight their uphill battle for relevancy.
But, I’m not here to talk about idol philosophy. I’m here to talk about the new PASSPO single, “Truly”. There is no describing this song as nothing more than a rock inspired pop song. What’s important about this song is the emotional impact it imparts. Even without reading through lyrics, a sense of yearning permeates through the song. Since I’m not a Japanese speaker, all I can understand is the random English bits like “I wanna go”, or “Afraid, afraid now”, “I wanna go, I wanna grow”, and the important “Kiss kiss kiss kiss”. They could just as easily be singing about a boy, or about their idol careers, or something even more abstract.
This PV is another case of where nothing is as it seems. On the outset, we think that the girls are in an airport like their single “Shoujo Hikou“. They are rolling their flight attendant suitcases through a moving sidewalk. But, as the camera pans and zooms, we see that the girls are in a black room in front of projector screens.
The screens continue to show images related to the PASSPO theme, from distant ports-o-call to beautiful images of the sky at sunset and at starfall. It’s a great effect that simultaneously plays PASSPO’s image straight and exposes the girls as little more than an elaborate cosplay group. This is the illusion that PASSPO sell, and they acknowledge this cosplay fully.
Finally, at the 3 minute mark, we see the girls in front of a group of faceless musicians (dressed as airport technicians). They’ve peeled back the curtain and we see the girls as they TRULY exist. They are a group of singers and dancers. When was the last time you saw a group of idols destroy their gimmickry like this?
The longer I watch the group, the more dominant Negishi Ai becomes. She is the center of the group in the way that an anchor keeps a boat from drifting too far. As Aipon walks through the “airport”, the other girls pass her in both directions like she is the gravitational force holding this collection together. She is the first and last shots of the PV, and rightfully so.
The other standout girl here is Masui Mio. In the few net conversations about this PV I’ve heard, MioMio is a visual focus. Her tightly wound twin tails are just adorable. Mio plays the camera perfectly.
Yes, this is a great single from my favorite “B-class idols”. This is clearly shot on a budget, yet I think PASSPO have managed to create a work that highlights their best features while at the same time winks at the viewers. Not to mention how much I love this:
Did I sell PASSPO enough to you? If you have never given these girls a fair shot, I hope my proselytism gives you some impetus to listen. Let me know what you think, OK?
You can buy PASSPO’s “Truly” at CDJapan.