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 Negicco, Especia, Yukeushirezu Tsurezure, Yanakiku, Afilia Saga, Fudanjuku, miyu, dela, and Kamiyado!
Negicco – Ai, Kamashitai no
It always seems to happen: I have my rankings set for the year and then Negicco blows it up with a great release right at the end. This year Negicco release “Ai, Kamashitai no”, which sees the girls treading on glorious analog instrumentation. As you might expect, the song is a piece of pop candy that sounds part Motown and part Zombies put through a Shibuya-by-way-of-Niigata filter, if that makes sense. The promotional video puts Kaede, Nao☆, and Megu in dual parts as movie theater snack shack ladies and kung fu action movie stars. When the penlights and the frilly dresses come out, you’ll know we’ve landed back in idol-town, JP (or, wherever you are). “Ai, Kamashitai no” is a lot of fun which you can buy into on December 12, 2016.
Really, why does Negicco seem to wait until December to release a gem like this? Knowing my penchant for throwback Japan sounds, you should probably figure that this will make my list of favorites of 2016. I don’t necessarily think a product this infused with Showa feels will have broad appeal, and this goes a bit against the whole concept of idols. Then again, that conception of idols is probably a bit old-fashioned, too.
Especia – Danger
The full promotional video for the latest Especia release just broke today. “Danger” sees Haruka, Erika, and Mia playing cool as girls on a mission. We don’t really know what that mission is, though. We get hints of a bright red tool box featured in a gated reservoir, a night drive to a house, and finally a trip to the beach. This leads me to believe that the girls of Especia are “cleaners” mopping up after someone’s sloppy, dirty work. Yes, the plot line is a bit vague, but the power of a great PV is that we can imagine things where gaps in the narrative exist. And, yes I am saying that “Danger” is a great PV. My music notes from the “Image PV” still stand, and the song definitely keeps me in the groove with its funky city pop sounds. Another great release right at the end of the year, yes? YES. “Danger” hits records store shelves on December 7, 2016
Being involved in the New School Kaidan sphere, I hear a fair amount of criticism for the direction of Especia over the last year. This is interesting because I feel like one of the only inhabitants of the circle of people who like Especia’s new sound. With “Danger”, it’s impossible for me not to lose my shit over the bass and keyboard sounds.
Yanakiku – FUNK★JAPAN
Yanakiku’s 2nd album is almost upon us, and the well-traveled duo release the promotional video for “FUNK★JAPAN” to pique interest. The funk rhythms and hooky chorus play accompaniment to a story driven PV where the two girls play snack bar workers and witness to a reunion. The material seems a bit heavy for the fun song, but at least things lighten up by the end of the song when Yanakiku go into full party mode. Of course I wish we had more of a party for “FUNK★JAPAN”, but I suppose I’ll need to content myself with what we have here. Yanakiku’s “Yanakiku no Enban Sono no Ni -O Yuugi hen” hits your favorite retailers on December 14, 2016.
“FUNK★JAPAN” is a lot of fun. “FUNK★JAPAN” also doesn’t connect with me in the way that I would have expected. The instrumental track is a lot of fun, but I find the melodies a bit of a difficult listen. Maybe this will work for you.
Amazon.jp | CDJapan | YesAsia
Afilia Saga – Mahou no Chocolate Densetsu
First, I saw the chair choreography and well appointed dinner table. Then Afilia Saga started with the Chocolate Dance Styes. “Mahou no Chocolate Densetsu” is just kind of crazy, nonsensical video that kills me good. Its hilarious. “This is Extreme Chocolate”? HILARIOUS. Region blocking prevented me from reviewing this earlier, but since I don’t give a damn here, AfiliaSaga has a place at theNumber244. Really, check this on out for a good time!
Fudanjuku – Akashi ~Soul Mate~
OK, the whole Danso style is not really my thing, regardless of what you think about my oshi. But, being the sporty person I am, I thought I would give Fudanjuku a shot. When you think about it, is a bunch of girls pretending to be an ikemen boy band really much different than a bunch of girls pretending to be virginal pre-teens way past their Magical Girl freshness date? As for Fudanjuku’s “XX”, I don’t particularly dislike it. I really like their choice of outdoor dance stage with the geometrically aligned hardwood floors. I also think the live hall looks suspiciously like the live hall in C-ute’s “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare”. The song is pretty A+, and if you close your eyes the ambiguity of the whole production really fucks with your mind. I still don’t know if this is for me because I really like looking at cute girls. But, I understand if this is your particular thing, and I pass no judgement on you. I think you’re the best!
miyu – Koi Oto
From the Fukuoka idol group I’S9 comes the solo debut of miyu! “Koi Oto” is incredibly fresh and cute, and miyu totally won me over with her cute smile and earnest performance. The song treads in light pop territory with miyu’s guitar heard all through the production somewhere near the back of the mix. I tell you, if you don’t fall in love with the scenery of rural Japan in the background you don’t get me. If miyu riding the train with the ocean behind her doesn’t work for you, you don’t get me. If the sun drenching miyu in haloed morning rays doesn’t please your eyes … you know. You also might be interested to know that this 17 year-old girl also penned the lyrics to this song and the CW track, “Countless Pieces”. miyu’s debut release “Koi Oto” arrives on December 23, 2016.
From the first shots of miyu riding the train with the ocean in the background, I fell in love with this. After the shots of miyu in the mountain fields and in train stations, how am I supposed to control my enthusiasm? I haven’t made good on my promise to check out I’S9, but don’t worry. You’ll see their next release in these pages for sure.
dela – Barenai Youni Kiss wo Shite
Delightful Enchanting Lovely Angels release their 8th single “Barenai Youni Kiss wo Shite” in about two weeks, and now we have the short version of their promotional video. Well, there isn’t much high concept here: “Barenai” breaks down into live shots and some close ups of the members. Putting aside the live performances, the close ups of the dela girls are nicely done and really put the girls in the best light possible. Unfortunately, “Barenai Youni Kiss wo Shite” leaves us hanging right where the performance footage ends and the rehearsal footage begins. For me, at least, rehearsals are much more interesting to watch than stages. Although I didn’t enjoy this release as much as dela’s seventh release PV, I’m not ready to let them roll off my radar just yet. dela’s “Barenai Youni Kiss wo Shite” hits stores on the day after Christmas, December 26, 2016.
I can’t help feeling a tiny bit disappointed with promotional video. I don’t believe the performance shots of the group are the best way to promote. There’s no particular grandness this the footage selected for this song, and the footage of the girls smiling (or not) for the camera are much more interesting.
Kamiyado – Kamchatka Adventure
Indie idol group Kamiyado released their 2nd single “Kamchatka Adventure” on December 6, and the accompanying promotional video found release just the other day. The PV takes the “mobile optimized” concept far. The images look like the group used various photo apps to capture the PV complete with “annoying” ads that need clicking every few seconds. “Kamchatka Adventure” is an interesting way to do business. Longer shots of the girls mugging for the camera show lots of personality, but the concept does eventually tire itself out with some of screens outstaying their welcome. Regardless, this young group is filled with personality, and I look forward to seeing more from Kamiyado.
Based on the intro, I thought I would like “Kamchatka Adventure” a week out much more than I do. Musically, the song is a bit too “all over the place” for me, which is probably a difficult task. The cohesion between the parts is nonexistent, and no single part particularly catches my ear. I still think the pop-up ads of Kamiyado a bit funny, but what does it mean when we are meant to click away from the group we are watching?