Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then 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:
°C-ute – The Curtain Rises
The third and final promotional video from °C-ute’s farewell single broke this morning. “The Curtain Rises” might seem the opposite title for a swan song of a single, but the optimist says that the second act for Yajima Maimi and co. is about to begin. The song is a dance track littered with the hook of a title line and synth leads that call to mind some of the group’s classic songs. I haven’t had time to sort out the steamy backroom that serves as the set for most of “The Curtain Rises”; perhaps the curtain rises on the hidden machinations of the group? The PV features some nifty “Vertigo” style dolly zooms on the girl’s faces. Though there is much to unpack with “The Curtain Rises”, I’m going to leave off here before you’re looking at one of my 2000 word blogs. ℃-ute’s final single will be released on March 29, 2017.
The Idol Formerly Known as LADYBABY – Pelo
The Idol Formerly Known as LADYBABY come back with the lead track from the group’s fifth single. This time, Rie and Rei are upgraded with lollipops and ballistics shooting from the tips of their fingers. As the two girls stroll through the night city, they wreak havoc and leaves trails of smoke to mark their visit. “Pelo” works as a chant, and you’ll probably hear echos of “Pelo-pelo-pelo” ringing in your ears. The riff heavy “Pelo” trades on some 90’s rap-metal sounds before breaking into J-Pop choruses and and old-tyme bridge (complete with a scratched-up vignette of a scene). We can all go over and buy The Idol Formerly Known as LADYBABY’s “Pelo”, due on April 12, 2017.
ONE PIXCEL – sora
The electro-threesome return with the promotional video for their second single’s coupling track. “sora” keeps ONEPIXCEL in shades of blue with a gorgeous dance shot set against cold glass efficiency. Kaleidoscopic images of architecture intercut with the dance while an ever-present blue sky keeps a lid on the production. Tightly focused close ups of Ami, Ayaka, and Nanami set against the horizon add to the visual “interesting-ness” of “sora”. As the group continue to find their footing, I find myself excited by the prospect of ONEPIXCEL becoming a mainstay in the idol world. The driving force of “sora” certainly builds great anticipation for the A-side track “Time”. ONEPIXCEL’s second single will reach stores on April 19, 2017.
ONE PIXCEL – Time
ONEPIXCEL’s threesome quickly returns to the video screen the lead track from their second single. “Time” puts Ami, Ayaka, and Nanami inside the plate glass building we saw in “sora“. The blue palette still dominates the screen, but with “Time” we have the added textures of wood flooring and asymmetrically aligned projection screens. I found the expansive performance space visually interesting even though only three girls shared the scene. The upbeat melodies contrast with the moody scenes, but I think it’s a nice change of pace from the typical idol approach to such music. ONEPIXCEL’s second single will reach stores on April 19, 2017.
Band Janaimon! – Kimi wa Hero!
In this latest Band Janaimon! Release, the animated girls launch from the television screen like Powerpuff Girls (the comparison is just too easy). The girls fail against a few baddies in a few hilarious scenes, but will the girls eventually overcome their horned nemesis? Stay tuned!
I have to honestly say that I’m reaching a bit of Band Janaimon oversaturation at this point. I probably will end up adoring this song, but at this moment I’m looking forward to hearing this song without having to concentrate on the PV. Not that the PV isn’t fun, but I really want to hear this song first.
Shinozaki Ai – Warui Neko
Look, I’m not oblivious to the fact that Shinozaki Ai, a noted gravure model, slinks between the sheets in this promotional video. The string lights adorning the four-poster bed and the flood of moonlight thrown through the offscreen window certainly do more than hint at an amorous connection. I’m just going to continue asserting that Ai’s voice is truly a gift. We’re all lucky that she decided to start singing seriously. “Warui Neko”‘s slinking jazzy piano perfectly matches with the tone of this PV; I’m not sure how many people out there can look THIS gorgeous in the moonlight.
AyumiKurikaMaki – Goma Surippa
You know that guy: the kiss ass in the office ingratiating himself/herself with the suits upstairs. Well, AyumiKurikaMaki’s latest single is a tribute to office life and the brown noses who are never more than a few feet away. The phrase’s origin has something to do with how sesame seeds (goma) get stuck in the grooves of the grinding bowl, much like how the sycophants are always difficult to peel away from their target. The song’s fun horn-filled romp is plenty pleasing, and you’ll probably be air-grinding away at those sesame seeds after witnessing the salaryman hijinks herein. Maybe the release from AyumiKurikaMaki strays a bit to the soft side of music, but I don’t think that’s too much of a problem. Bears on hiatus need to have some fun, too.
mistress – DECiSION
It wouldn’t be a week if there wasn’t some guitar driven, angst ridden alt idol release, right? Well, mistress fits the bill with a song that’s a bit more vocal driven than some of the alt fare you’ve seen here. That’s to say the girls’ vocals are way up in the mix for this release. Of course, mistress can’t get away from the inevitable vocal process job, which puzzles me a little. The group seem to sing just fine. In fact, I’d say they sound better than some of the more well-known groups I’ve had here on my weekly reviews.
Flap Girls’ School – Kimi wo Mamorikiru
In this quickly paced 6th release from Flap Girls’ School, the first thing you’ll notice is the drone shot of the girls in a golden brown field. The Girls School comes out when the shots transition to the industrial interiors. I’m not sure I approve of the location used; although the exposed metals and various valves and pipes might be visually interesting, I’m not sure how much they add to the trick shots from the drone.
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