Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind – 20161106 to 20161112

Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we have promotional videos from Morning Musume ’16, Bokura no Oyugi, Chubbiness, Especia, Yanakoto Sotto Mute, Fullfull☆Pocket, The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby, and ONEPIXCEL.

Morning Musume ’16 – Sou Ja Nai

“Sou ja nai” finds the girls of Morning Musume ’16 return to form, and that form is the 2014 “Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai” / “Password is 0” version of the group. Fukumura Mizuki’s girls are dramatically lit and shadowed in their cold antiseptic set filled with glass and poured concrete pillars. The promotional video also showcases some interesting effects. After the group materializes from silvery, Makino Maria summoned cocoons, the send shock waves flying with every thrust, sweep, and kick. There’s some definite Musume robotics at play with “Sou ja nai”, but I’ll let you fill in the connection between the song and the visuals. Morning Musume ’16’s 62nd single, “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou ja nai”, hits stores on November 23, 2016.

Rewind +
Honestly, this is probably my least favorite track on the Morning Musume 62nd single. As much as I enjoy seeing the group do their mannequin challenge, the song feels like it needs more presence. Sandwiched between the slinkyness of “Sexy Cat” and the party jam “Mukidatte”, this one becomes more bland than it really is. Makino Maria, as pretty as she is, doesn’t feel right at center captaining the ship that’s been afloat for the last (almost) 20 years. Still, there are some great things going on with this PV with the effects, and Maria still has a little time to grow into the center UF wants her to become.

Buy Morning Musume ’16’s “Sou ja nai / Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte”!

Limited A

Limited A | CDJapan | YesAsia

Limited C

Limited C | CDJapan | YesAsia

Regular B

Regular B | CDJapan | YesAsia

Limited B

Limited B | CDJapan | YesAsia

Regular A

Regular A | CDJapan | YesAsia

Regular C

Regular C | CDJapan | YesAsia

Web Site | Blog 9 10/11 12 | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Google+ | iTunes

Bokura no Oyugi – Pandora no Uta

Sounds to me like “Pandora no Uta”, the first single from Bokura no Oyugi, is meant to be some metal sounds mixed with a carnival sensibility. There’s definitely some Pagliacci business going down here with the girls in brightly colored get-ups and costumed facial jewels. No, the stripes are clearly of the big-top variety. Bokura no Oyugi so great distances to give you a Yorick-themed metal fantasy. Perhaps now that the box is opened and we’ll get to hear more from the sextet or twisted jesters. “Pandora no Uta” comes to a store near you on November 30, 2016.

Rewind +
This doesn’t work for me. The guitar sounds: yuck. The scream vocals: nah. The melody: completely tuneless. The vocal performance: ew. Clowns: probably my least favorite thing on the planet.

Buy Bokura no Oyugi’s “Pandora no Uta”!

CD Single

CD Single | CDJapan

Bokura no Oyugi Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud

Chubbiness – DRY YOUR TOWEL ~Kawakase! Towel~

The fifth Chubbiness “voluntary production” promotional video gives us lots of towel action from the girls. Like the previous PVs, “DRY YOUR TOWEL” looks off-the-cuff and only partly rehearsed. That’s the point of the PV though: quick, personality driven, and fun. There are nice wotagei pen light breakdowns that you should look out for, but other than that bit you should just enjoy the girls, the overalls, and the laundry baskets.

Rewind +
I really like these Chubbiness voluntary productions. In fact I like them a lot more than lots of the more professional things that come across my desk. “DRY YOUR TOWEL” has the bonus penlight choreography. The song is also one of my more favorite from this series of PVs. That said, I don’t think we need another one in a while- enough is enough for now.

Buy Chubbiness’s “We are Chubbiness!”


CD+Blu Ray

Chubbiness Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes

Especia – Nothing

The 1980’s are alive and well with Especia’s latest promotional video “Nothing”. Far from nothing, Especia layers smooth sounds and sexy beats with this track from their August 2016 release “Mirage”. The girls take a slow ride around a Ferris Wheel at night and showcase the lights of the city choked with enough neon to make an episode of Miami Vice take notice. When the soothing saxophone takes over, you know its sexy time. Really, I like seeing the girls in the group (now that there’s three of them) out in their PVs. The idol business is personality driven, and keeping the girls off camera always seemed like a mistake to me. But, I’m liking this release. Did Especia put YOU in the mood?

Rewind +
“Nothing” strikes me as the kind of song that’s too far down the Easy-Listening path for most listeners. Idol music gets a reputation for hype-tracks that discourages other forms of expression. Personally, I like the song: there are some interesting things going on with this one. I also can’t get enough of the sexy sounds and lit up city skies. This has got nothing to do with retro as far as I’m concerned. Just throw on a solid groove like this, pour some whiskey neat, and slip into something more comfortable.

Buy Especia’s “Mirage”!

CD Only

CD Only | CDJapan | YesAsia

Especia Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | Showroom | iTunes

Yanakoto Sotto Mute – Horoscope

Rewind +

Yanakoto Sotto Mute is the sister group to Bellring Shojo Heart, which is only important right now because this is the first time I’m covering YSM. Instead of the black crow wings donned by their sisters, this act chooses the white caped look. Let me be clear: I think this is a great song. “Horoscope” uses its dynamics well, the chorus is appropriately emotional, and the guitar fills that round out the sound lend urgency to the overall mix. The promotional video sees the girls in a puddle of water, executing their choreography, and being rained upon. And you know I’m only happy when it rains. You can buy “Horoscope” on Yanakoto Sotto Mute’s “Sealing” EP on November 12, 2016, but your only choice is on OTOTOY. The good news: starting on November 12, “Sealing” is FREE.

Rewind +
“Horoscope” is something that really put a dent in my musical rotation. Unlike that other PV I wrote about a few a few paragraphs ago, I can really feel the vocal performance on this track. I love the instrumentation and arrangement. The stark monochromatic palette and the backlit halos effect on the girls fascinates me for hours. It’s really solid, and I look forward to more from Yanakoto Sotto Mute.

Buy Yanakoto Sotto Mute’s “Sealing”!



Yanakoto Sotto Mute Official Links
Web Site | Twitter | YouTube

Fullfull☆Pocket – Ohisama Splash!

Now, this is what I’m talking about! Ain’t nothing here but the cute girls of Fullfull☆Pocket in fancy dresses smiling and dancing to heal my tired soul. Somewhere along the way the girls get a bit lost on their way to their secret base.. Don’t worry; they end up in the garage filled with artifacts from Anytown, America. Really, I don’t know terribly much about the group. Their modus operandi seems to be “Full of Vitality, Full of Cheer”. “Ohisama Splash!” is the group’s second single, and it’s just what I needed today. Fullfull☆Pocket release “Ohisama Splash!” on November 16, 2016.

Rewind +
Here’s another promotional video that took my heart. At a glance, it’s probably hard to see why I respond to both Yanakoto Sotto Mute and Fullfull Pocket. But, I’ll tell you: both of these PVs have an honesty to them, albeit from different sides of the emotional spectrum. The youthful naivete from “Ohisama Splash!” is not easily replicated. I look at these girls’ eyes and I see how wonderful life looks to them. Well, the world IS a wonderful place. Sometimes we desperately need the young ones to remind us of the feeling.

Buy Fullfull☆Pocket’s “Ohisama Splash!”!

CD Maxi

CD Maxi | CDJapan

Fullfull☆Pocket Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube

The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby – Sanpai! Gosyuin girl☆

Down one Ladybeard, The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby (seriously do I need to type that everytime?) return to us with their November 30, 2016 Release “Sanpai! Gosyuin girl☆”. Was the group going to go harder with the lineup change? Was Ladybaby going to go more pop without Ladybeard? Well, the group turned itself into an arm of the Japanese Tourism Committee with this celebration of temples. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this short version PV: the uptempo song is typically peppy and interjected with an incorporeal screamo voice; the choreography looks interesting and is flecked with tradition inspired movements; and the girls look great. But, no matter how many odd faces Kuromiya Rei pulls, “Sanpai! Gosyuin” remains an ode to Japanese Temples.

Rewind +
Part of what makes Ladybaby intriguing is the difficult contrasts they present. Everything is a war with them. Japanese music vs. Western music. Pop melodies vs. gravelly vocals. Rei and Rie as shrine maidans? Shrine Maidens vs. Gravure models. I know I don’t represent the majority in this, but I really think the girls can make a run with Ladybaby if they stop clinging to the past with Ladybeard and start thinking about how they can make their ample talent and experience work in the music field. They are compelling enough to keep pushing buttons, and push buttons they should.

Buy The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby’s “Sanpai! Gosyuin girl☆”!

CD Only

CD Only | CDJapan | YesAsia

Ladybaby Official Links
Web Site | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | iTunes


ONEPIXCEL’s “TONDEKE” trades on simplicity and a great optical illusion. Ami, Nanami, and Ayaka dance in a sky blue room letter-boxed to cinematic proportions. The girls strike a few interesting poses, and then the conspicuous letter-boxing does it’s job by fooling the eye into seeing three-dimensions. “TONDEKE” holds interest with a a catchy chorus melody and really great looking girls. You know, a lot of people in Hello! Project land felt a bit betrayed when Nanami was never given her debut with that agency. I think ONEPIXCEL shows that everything will be all right for their favorite Kenshuusei out of the Projects. “TONDEKE / Analoganize” hits stores on November 23, 2016.

Rewind +
I find myself interested in ONEPIXCEL, but I don’t think song serves them well enough. As I’m listening to it, “TONDEKE” sounds like it’s not sure about what kind of song it wants to be, and it really hurts the overall production. With a young group like ONEPIXCEL, a lack of identity could prove fatal. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Buy ONEPIXCEL’s “TONDEKE / Analoganize”!


CD+Blu Ray | CDJapan

ONEPIXCEL Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | iTunes

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