Warning: This post contains YouTube videos which may cause crashes.
Greetings, Magical Meteorites and other Citizens of the Universe!
If you’ve been around the stratosphere, then you’d know that over the past few weeks, a few new videos have dropped!
- The very nice MV finale for the Berryz, Love together!, from their new boxset.
- The MVs for the A-sides to ANGERME’s new single: Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu.
With the concert debuts of Morning Musume’s Golden Girls (and the upcoming PreCure tie-in), the speeding up of the debut of the Country Girls, and the brand spanking new group formed (the suspense regarding the name is extended due to “circumstances”), Hello! Project started the year off with a bang. (They really know how to keep us bloggers busy, especially during this time of the year.) For us H!P fans (and idol fans in general with the buzz in their quadrants), this is akin to the Super Bowl. (Of course, for Japanese music fans, the past Kouhaku event pretty much is that.)
Between current events and personal stuff, it has taken a slight toll on my productivity and (particularly) my ability to dissect MVs and such. On a more “relevant” note, some things that have eaten my attention as of late was working on the Chocolate Soul Disco mini-series (which was for Valentine’s Day and the one year anniversary of M3’s revival) and the MSS Results Show. I wanted to give the news and MVs their proper attention, which is why I was somewhat avoidant. (That and with the massive changes, they needed a proper amount of attention. Regardless, I need to make an M3 version of this memetic picture that sums up one of my goals for 2015.)
ANGERME – Otome no Gyakushuu/Taiki Bansei
About the Single
The single was announced during the finale of S/mileage Live Tour 2014 Aki ~FULL CHARGE~ on December 17, 2014. The PV (or PVs) were shown on January 9, 2015 on Oha!4 NEWS LIVE. The A-sides were first performed during the 2015 H!P winter tour with Taikibansei performed during “DANCE MODE!” shows and Otome no Gyakushuu during “HAPPY EMOTION!” series. Since January 10, 2015, “Taiki Bansei” has been the closing theme for the Fuji TV variety show Mecha-Mecha Iketeru! The single was eventually released on February 4th, 2014.
The single was available in:
- Four Limited Editions for ¥1,728 (≈$14.70/€13.03 as of January 31) that came with a DVD featuring the MV (regular on As and Bs, Dance Shots on Cs and Ds) and bonus content (behind the scenes content videos on Cs and Ds). They also came with a event lottery card.
- Two Regular Editions for ¥1,080 (≈$9.19/€8.14 as of January 31) that came with a random trading card.
The “odd-lettered” editions (A, C) had “Taiki Bansei” as the lead A-side while the “even-lettered” editions (B, D) had “Otome no Gyakushuu” as the lead A-side.
Order the single now through Amazon! http://amzn.to/1uvJJWj
As of this writing (February 19), the single debuted at #2 on the Oricon Daily Ranking with 26,931 sales on the first day. At the end of the week, the single achieved a Oricon Chart Weekly Ranking of #2 with 43,104 sales, approximately 94.96% of total sales.
The MV was released onto Youtube on January 22, 2015, 8 days after being unveiled on Hello! Station #100 and 1 week and 6 days before the release date. Reaction was swift.
The intro baits us to us believing it’s going to be yet another EDM-fest. However, it then switches into a groovy funkfest of discofied pop (to its benefit). The music is probably going to remind some of Golden Age Morning Musume (us fogey fans like to say that, right?), combined with a solid set of vocals that is a breath of fresh air. The new blood certainly add fullness to the sound of ANGERME.
In the last third, we have a key change that sends us to the end.
We begin in a darkness, with light gradually showing and tricking up into believe it’s another dark song and then… color and funk come in with close-ups in front of (what appears to be) a tent-like fabric, a bright tent-like fabric. It reminds me of the PV for Koko ni Iruzee. On that note, the background is eerily familiar… just saying.
Given the direction S/mileage was going in and the significance of the new name, I thought that this was going to be another serious song (especially with the title’s translation being “A Late Bloomer”). I was surprised to find it so happy, uplifting, and upbeat with an energetic dance to match. The casual and cool outfits added to this feel as well.
I can also see why S/mileage (rather, ANGERME) are considered the successors to the legacy of the soon-to-be departed Berryz. As this paragraph from a Juice=Juice post on thenumber244 ponders:
…a more interesting topic touches on the identity of the group. What shingle does Juice=Juice hang? Is it important for Juice=Juice to have THEY’RE [sic] thing? We can look back into the past with the Hello! Project Kids and see that Berryz Kobo were the energetic fun group while C-ute played the part of dead-serious entertainers. If we acknowledge the approach of the end days for Berryz and C-ute, does it seem logical that Juice=Juice become the future C-ute while S/mileage assumes the Berryz role? The similarities already exist. Like C-ute, Juice=Juice were the second group to be formed by Tsunku. Also like C-ute, most of the girls in Juice=Juice were “cast-off” in the sense that most of them failed one Hello! Project audition or another, while the girls from S/mileage all “won” their auditions (the older girls from Shugo Chara Egg! and the younger girls from … well the S/mileage audition). Most importantly, Juice=Juice are acknowledged for their talent, while S/mileage are (mostly) acknowledged for their manic energy.
And as Ray quipped regarding Zush’s post about ANGERME and the evolution of H!P:
…perhaps he’s found a replacement for the soon-to-be-defunct Berryz?
As the title of one of my favorite songs says, “tomorrow never knows.” In other words, we’ll see.
Otome no Gyakushuu
Beginning in dramatic fashion, a thundercloud and a string intro before heading into the symphonic electropop main section. If Hadaka no x3 Kiss is Iroppoi Jirettai on steroids, this is like Kimagure Princess or Lullaby Game on steroids. This is every bit of the EDM we’ve come to expect from H!P these days, but delightfully experimental. I’m actually reminded of, among other things, Ali Project (in a good way). The break features a light interlude with strings, before returning to the dark baroque that dominates the song. After a reprise of the chorus, we end it with la’s and a gentle caressing.
While some fans leave, it is songs like these that will prevent me from jumping ship as well.
We see our girls in a dark castle in those delightfully graceful white outfits. They begin like dolls or statues, turning their heads to the viewer upon the shrieks of the strings.
In between the elegant and “cold” dance shot, we see notre anges around le chateau. They’re lit in rooms, near walls, or walking around leur maison. In the break, we see an enchanting ballet performance that would look stupendous if the Mothership Connection (namely, a certain former figure skater) got ahold of this. Also, curse those claws. Stop appealing to my inner Little Monster and my at-times gothic sensibilities!
Well, we know notre anges won’t lose to whoever their rival is. Non non ! Au secours, je suis parlant français gratuitement !
I blame their name.
On an overall note, the inaugural single for ANGERME is setting a high bar for the group. While Taikibansen features lighthearted disco pop, Otome no Gyakushuu features dark electro-baroque on par with their competitors. (Hmm, could the latter A-side be a sort of prerogative towards the other H!P groups and girl groups in the idol scene? Eh, it depends on how you view it.) I like them both equally (though Otome is worming into my mind, due to its distinctive “gothic pop” elements).
Berryz Koubou – Love together!
This is a promo for the Kanjuku Berryz Koubou The Final Completion Box boxset to commemorate the impending “indefinite hiatus” of Berryz Koubou. It was announced at a release event on November 12, 2014 with the “Love together!” MV being first presented in Hello! Station #98 on December 24 (right on time for Christmas).
The boxset debuted at #4 on the weekly Oricon charts and achieved a #5 Week Rank with 19,136 within the first week. The other rankings are as follows (as January 31):
- Highest Position for the boxset on:
- Billboard Japan Top Albums: 8
- Tower Records Japan: 4
- Recochoku music video rankings for “Love together!”:
- Daily Rank: 19
- Weekly Rank: 51
Order the boxset now through Amazon! http://http://amzn.to/13O2fwo
Limited Edition As are ¥9,720 (≈$81.73/€71.91 as of February 19) while Limited B & Regular Editions are ¥7,560 (≈$63.57/€55.93 as of February 19).
It is a light song, a mid-tempo ballad to suit the mood. The lyrics are almost speaking directly to the fans, talking about their past, present, and future. (To pinpoint examples is to quote every lyric in the song.)
We open up to a stage… then see our ladies. We see them preparing for the show in between the candid shots. The close ups of their faces seal in the fact. Perhaps that explains what was added to a reblog of this MV on Kathartic Bohemia:
Side effects of Berryz disbandment include but are not limited to: Spontaneously crying, strong urge to talk about your fandom to people who do not care, obnoxiously singing all of their singles (changing your tone of voice for each member), unexpected use of Momochi’s mannerisms. No Berryz, no life. Not over it. Never gonna be over it.
“Perhaps we’ll see each other again.”
(Those waves in the bridge. It must sting to do this.)
To quote Aqua:
Goodbye to the circus
We hope you enjoyed the show
But now it’s near the end, the end
But we will be back you know
(The sad thing about it is that for a good decade or so, this was the last song on their last known studio album.)
It ends with the Berryz applauding themselves…. You read that right.
A fitting swan song to the Berryz Times as the end is nigh. We’ll see Momoko in Country Girls and we’ll see the girls off on their future endeavors. The song itself is a change from the more spirited “Towa no Uta” with an appropriately somber PV to boot. However, this is the grand finale before the finale so I hope you Berryz are ready. You bet I am.
Fan tributes are popping up galore (i.e. the Chuu! Sugoi! Idol tribute project and my Berryz Memorial Survey) and change is in the air. Are you prepared for the Post-Berryz Era? Carpe diem, idol fans!
As one door closes, another opens. As the Berryz finalize the getting together of their affairs (and we prepare for that fateful March weekend), ANGERME goes full steam ahead into the future with their dual offering. The Berryz seem to be ending on a high note while the Angels are off to great start. (Just ask Alex Shenmue, Eleece, TheNumber244, Vimppu, and the various bloggers I linked to in the post about the latter.)
What will the future hold? However, as a wise man said, “tomorrow never knows.” In any case…
Thanks for the memories and good luck to all from
Magic Morning Meteora!
May your stars shine bright,