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 come back with a vengeance with Promotional videos from:
Niji no Conquistador – Kimi wa Mujaki na Natsu no Joo
I don’t think I’m going to need to convince you to give Niji no Conquistador’s new promotional video a good watch. For their summer release, “Kimi wa Mujaki na Natsu no Joo”, 2zicon takes you to sunny Guam, where the beaches of Tumon Bay play gracious host. The song is upbeat and fun with some interesting rhythmic breaks, some slap-and-pop bass guitar, and a double-time chorus that resolves itself interestingly. The palm trees, tropical sun, and turquoise waters scream summer vacation. The colorful tutus and floral hairpieces that adorn Niji no Conquistador keep the tropical theme alive; and man, don’t we need a vacation right now? There’s even a double rainbow (it’s so beautiful)! But, if nothing I’ve said so far convinced you to check out this September 5 release, then I have three words for you: 2zicon in bikinis.
NMB48 – Masaka Singapore
There are a couple of things to watch out for here in this album track from NMB48’s “Namba Ai ~Ima, Omou Koto”. Firstly, a location shoot in Singapore feels particularly extravagant, especially with the girls missioning across the city. Next, the Golden Microphone from the “Boku Igai no Dareka” promotional video figures prominently as the McGuffin that drives the catsuited burglary central to the plot. Just why is the Golden Microphone in Singapore? Well, I don’t actually know, but I’m always game for romp around the “Garden City”. Finally, Yamamoto Sayaka literally passes the mic at the end of “Masaka Singapore” to indicate succession. But, all of that plot seems pretty forced, since the real reason most people are here is to see the NMB48 swimwear. Or, is it the NMB48 swimwear that’s forced into this very serious matter of pointing to a successor to Yamamoto Sayaka. Maybe someone who is better versed in NMB48 can give me a quick lesson here. NBM48’s “Namba Ai ~Ima, Omou Koto” drops at your favorite retailer on August 2, 2017.
Q’ulle – DRY AI
The second Q’ulle single brings us a promotional video that leans cinematically in its stylings. Slower in tempo than the group’s debut release, “Don’t Stop“, “DRY AI” is also more emotionally wound than that previous single. Stylized lighting flush reds and yellows over the scenes of Manaka waxing introspectively at the cracked dressing room mirror. Like “Don’t Stop”, performance shots of Q’ulle feature a live band, although the bright endless horizons are now replaced with a darkened room and concert lighting. Scenes with rain and an ocean visit with Yakko’s stockinged feet dipping into the waves seem to indicate cleansing from a transgression that remains hidden from the viewer. The serious tone seems to work well for Q’ulle, who’s less jovial material seem to be their better received work. You can fuy “DRY AI” when it reaches your favorite retailers on August 2.
Tokyo Girls’ Style – water lily ~suiren~
Tokyo Girls’ Style continue their mature themed music with the subtle grooves of “water lily ~suiren~”. Starting with the opening choreography reminiscent of the titular flower in bloom, Miyu and crew work through some slinky choreography that feels appropriate given the mood of the song. Graphic overlays and a mirror filter give the illusion of aquatic settings. Even the synth tones sound like they are being emitted underwater. “Water lily ~suiren~” probably won’t make your party jam playlist, but the song holds water with the rest of the Tokyo Girls’ Style’s discography. The TGS 23rd single goes on sale July 5, 2017.
Ogura Yui – Platinum Passport
Sometimes, I feel like Ogura Yui is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Well, that’s basically every time I look at her. The cute factor is in full effect during this first person date with Yui. Intercut with the elaborate set-piece of her choreography, Yui takes you to a café, an ocean overlook, and a shrine to pray for your future happiness. The flight attendant theme is very conspicuous given the presence of another idol group that uses the theme. But, I think you’ll forgive Yui. Now, if only we can get the full version of this winsome promotional video … You can find “Platinum Passport” as the lead track of Ogura Yui’s second album, “Cherry Passport” on sale July 26, 2017.
GANG PARADE – Beyond the Mountain
The first GANG PARADE single of the post-Kayima Saki era just hit the airwaves this morning, and there’s a lot to unpack. Visually, “Beyond the Mountain” is an exercise in monochromatic and disembodiment. In inky process renders all but the facial features and forearms of the members visible against the stark white cyclorama. Is this GANG PARADE in their most essential form, swimming in the primordial space? The spoken word verses erupt into full-color choruses, and the uniformed GANG PARADE dance enveloped by the projections. They are real. In another set of images, wind flows through the members clothed in simple tunics giving goddess-like impressions to its members. Finally, the wings that were hinted earlier in the black-on-black screens become visible in the ink. Death? Rebirth? Visitation from heavenly creatures? Regardless of the scenery, GANG PARADE seems revitalized with the presence of Aya Eight Prince (transferred from BiS). Perhaps the identity they’ve long been searching for by losing their founding member? Perhaps this is a case of “to go forward you have to leave something behind.” GANG PARADE go “Beyond the Mountain” on July 25, 2017.
RHYMEBERRY- TOKYO Chewing Gum
RHYMEBERRY is back in the game as a four-piece! They brought a summer Tokyo jam with them. Along with the girls marching and doing their thing, RHYMEBERRY engage in a rap battle reppin’ Japan against the likes of the UK, Brazil and the USA. The concept may seem a little silly, but “TOKYO Chewing Gum” grooves like a monster while the girls blow their bubbles from Harajuku to Shibuya to the Tokyo Skytree. I personally like the strong color motif maintained in the girls’ outfits and the smart RHYMEBERRY flag touted by DJOmochi. The infectious fun begins on July 12, 2017.
Amazon.jp | CDJapan | YesAsia
Amazon.jp | CDJapan | YesAsia
Houkago Princess – Sayonara Dualina
The latest from Houkago Princess sees the girls don the skirts and graceful movements of a ballerina. We see the girls in rehearsal and backstage in preparation for performance. Houkago Princess move gracefully through some of the backstage drama that you would might expect from this kind of setting; the girls seem to play nice in rehearsal, but rivalry and resentment bubble just under the surface. “Sayonara Dualina”, the song, is filled with drama itself as the strings underscore the rising tension. No, it’s probably not the typically bubbly summer fare that you might expect. The tightly wound dramatics should be enough to pull your strings. “Sayonara Dualina” goes on sale July 19, 2017.
DEADLIFT LOLITA – Pump Up JAPAN
Ladybeard and Reika are back to make sure you’re not slacking on leg day. “Pump Up JAPAN” features an extended cast of body builders crushing it at the gym. As a surprise bit, Ladybeard flexes his singing muscles to approximate the sound of more traditional idol vocals. Reika still sings sweetly and Ladybeard still scream out his lines next to the heavy guitars, so in that respect you can still enjoy “Pump up JAPAN” like most other DEADLIFT LOLITA songs.
Fullfull Pocket – Kimi to Shiru (director’s edition)
For Fullfull☆Pocket’s third single release, the foursome trade in the happy-go-lucky pop of “Ohisama Splash!” for something a bit darker. On the rooftops with the sun setting behind them, Fullfull☆Pocket keep an intensity fitting to the song’s cheerless mood. The sailor fuku look definitely evokes adolescent drama, and the young looks of Fullfull☆Pocket keep the artifice (or reality) of that angst intact. The girls twist and convulse to express some real inner turmoil through choreography that begs answers from an unseen antagonist. Some posed close-up solos and two-shots add a little variety to the scene, but perhaps the real star for “Kimi to Shiru” is the harmonized vocal performance of the girls. The group of former Karat girls look to evolve, and “Kimi to Shiru” is one marker along the path of that evolution. “Kimi to Shiru / Kung Fu Otome” lands in stores on August 16, 2017.
PassCode – ONE STEP BEYOND (short version)
You know the PassCode sound: intense instrumentals that blend hard-rock sounds with electro-dance blips and idol vocals with idol screams. The “escape the asylum” style promotional video for “ONE STEP BEYOND” finds the girls in bondage, tied to a decadently overgrown institution left to go wild. PassCode search the halls for their escape decked in the dirty smocks of their imprisonment. I found the performance shots of the cleaned up group (they clean up nicely) eye-catching: the girls jump and twirl and dance with even the tips of their fingers. Unfortunately, the short version of “ONE STEP BEYOND” cuts us off right at the stylistic shift to electro. Honestly, the more I watch PassCode, the more drawn in I become. “Zenith”, the first major album from PassCode hits record stores on August 2, 2017.
ROSARIO+CROSS – Nijiiro Shout
Dressed in white to set them apart from their promotional video backing band, ROSARIO+CROSS deliver another solid release. This time, the girls serve up the lead track from their first album release “Shout”. Filled with enthusiasm, ROSARIO+CROSS shout it from a rooftop that looks the perfect setting for your seifuku cosplay, they shout it in performance with their backing band, and they shout it into a ring of microphones. As an album track, you might expect a promotional video that feels produced after-the-fact. But no, ROSARIO+CROSS bring their A-game to the release. If you’ve never stopped to appreciate their work before, then please give the group a listen: they’ve been putting together quite a good string of releases. You can buy ROSARIO+CROSS’s debut album “Nijiiro Shout” on August 12, 2017.
Color Pointe – Mahoroba kanrakugai
The delicate melodic twinkles heard throughout Color Pointe’s new promotional video call to mind Eastern melodies, and of course this is not by accident. With balletic movements the group brings Yunomi‘s latest composition to life. The group of dancers go en pointe under the haunting lantern lights to great effect. Wielding folding fans, Color Pointe’s yukata tops worn over a ballet tutu and perfectly captures the Japanese x European aesthetic of the arrangement and choreography. It’s a beautiful production; “Mahoroba karakugai” is both intriguing and mysterious in a way that invites the viewer to learn more about its artists. You can find “Mahoroba karakugai” on Color Pointe’s 1st album “Princess Knife”, on sale July 19, 2017.
Koizumi Karen – Creamy Love You
Koizumi Karen? Well, she’s a new one to me. There’s something really winning about her and her indie release “Creamy Love You”. The promotional video doesn’t offer anything particularly fancy. The panda eats bamboo, Karen puts on her gear and dances on an attractive sidewalk, and Karen brings home the groceries and prepares some instant noodles. That which you cannot buy is possessed by Renren in spades: a certain verve that permeates her performance. “Creamy Love You” goes on sale July 5, 2017.
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