Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
If you’re reading this, then we have eaten our tear-sprinkled chocolate pudding, staining our brand-new blue jeans as we’ve watched (or wished to have watched) C-ute head off into the sunset. The sheer sense of loss cannot but put into words.
Neither can you accurately describe the sense of pride and joy that came with H!P as a whole… once you brush off the anxious feeling of uncertainly surrounding the rebooted Country Musume. (You can try though.)
However, to quote many a song, “life goes on.” We’ve had our time to grieve, to celebrate, to say goodbye… even if many of us probably did at least one of those things at this point. C-ute has left their mark and their legacy is sealed, a torch passed on to the rest of H!P.
Let us talk about one such part of this sisterhood, shall we?
Juice=Juice. Cool, refreshing, mature Juice=Juice. “Youthfully sizzling” Juice=Juice. Juice=Juice, named by the Great and Powerful Tsunku to express a desire for the group to “be always fresh and full of personality, and that in Japan anything is called ‘juice” whereas overseas unless it’s 100% pure it’s not ‘juice’. Despite that he said they would not be a childlike group and that he wants them to reach beyond their limits with being cool.” (Thanks generasia.)
Juice=Juice, having spent the early part of 2016 in a dorama about being an idol and hoping to get a gig at the legendary Budokan. Who have done 220+ shows in a span of 2 years. Who will be going on the very first “world tour” in H!P’s history, not even going for one-night engagements in far-off lands (to the mixed delight, chagrin, and fascination of the fandom at the “experiment”. As of this writing, the dates for the shows in Mexico, the UK, France, and Germany have been announced).
However, I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s been at least 6 months and a day since their last release (and four months since my review of said release). Therefore, let’s dig into Juice=Juice #9 and see what freshness they’ve brought into 2017.
Let me get the weird title out of the way first (though some who frequent translator sites (or those who run them) might know this already).
The short version is that, as this YouTube comment (mini-thread) explains, “Jidanda” is “like the motion to express the [sic] anger or frustration by feet stamping”.
The long version is a bit more complicated. The title stems from the idiomatic expression “jidanda o fumu”(“jidanda” being the bellows used in tatara-based metalworking, as seen on this Japanese Wikipedia article). As operating the device “resembles a state of being staggered and frustrated and angry” (as “translated” by Google Translate), the phrase has come to mean “stomping your feet (in frustration/impatience/anger/etc).”
Being that the expression refers to an actual object, this may be why the “official” translation left in “Jidanda.” (On that note, this may explain certain aspects of both the song and the video….)
With that in mind, we can get to the song. It’s a fun and wacky song with some ska influences and a matsuri-tinged flavors between verses. This both compliments and contrasts with the lyrics, which are (as I’ve told a friend) “about having a very bad day, enough to make you want to stamp your feet.” However, I left something out: while the lyrics do speak of a frustratingly bad day, there’s a sense of trying to not let it get you down and making the best of it (especially towards the end).
A rather nice message, yes? (Or maybe I’m doing the Josh Scorcher thing and is “taking this too seriously?” Then again, one reason I did this in the first place was the aforementioned linked YouTube comment….)
You can see some behind the scenes footage, courtesy of Upcoming:
We have two aspects to the video.
The first aspect is the “contemporary,” embodied in (most of) the dance shots and “story shots.” The former tend to be a large white space in a building. Some others are accompaniments to the “story shots” (featuring cake-eating, a stairs sequence, and walking scene, each ending with at least one member frustrated, often at the others for their “behavior”).
In some scenes, we see a matsuri-inspired setting. (This is what I meant about the “traditional Japanese origins” of the expression possibly influencing style choice.) While we started (and ended) the MV with this scene, it only takes a small portion of it, it becoming front and center at the end.
Wait… eating cake, walking up stairs, walking through the door… could it be that the entire video is about going to have a good time after a bad day?
…Eh, maybe? You decide!
You can see some behind the scenes footage, not courtesy of Upcoming but of Hello! Station!
Feel! Kanjiru yo
This song is so light and fluffy, a contrast to its chaotic singlemate.
It speaks of feeling a connection and giving thanks, of gratitude and benevolence. It’s a mature song of a bright tone, speaking of “feeling” and embracing. Just… go forward and go with the flow.
I know I’m not saying much (especially after the previous section), but… it’s far more “straightforward” in its delivery. (Plus, unlike “Jidanda Dance,” I didn’t have to explain (or even “explain”) somewhat untranslatable idiom that forms the title and theme of the song.)
To go with its “natural” and “organic” feel, the MV is primarily set in an outdoors environment. We see solo shots of them in a forest, surrounded by trees and bubbling waters flowing down on rocks. We also see them in a field with tall grass, standing atop a hill with the sun beaming. *insert your comparisons to C-ute and “To Tomorrow” here alsobesuretosubmityourfeedbacktotheCuteMemorialSurveyKTNXBAI*
Much like the song, it’s very “straightforward,” “natural,” and “organic” in its presentation. You can feel the fresh air that Juice=Juice is surrounded by, feel the wind in their hair, feel the crispness of the watery brooks… (However, one can be forgiven in me abusing the natural imagery as at the time I’m writing this, it’s the first day in the week that wasn’t a sunny scorchfest in the 100s. Welcome to summer….)
It’s just a crisp and refreshing video to go with a crisp and refreshing song.
(I would like to remind people that sometime in Fall 2016, Oricon changed the rules of its reporting so if sales figures look a tad wonky, this is why. This is also why Oricon Rankings are placed in their own subsection as shown below.
All figures reported in this section are from the Hello! Project Wikia with the percentage and average mathematics done by moi.)
The Juicies’ latest fruit had a “total reported sales figure” of 36,152, 95.22% (34,423) of it from the first month, 90.69% (32,788) from the first week, and 71.28% (25,769) from the first day. It ranked #2 for Daily and #3 Weekly, #14 for April, averaging out to a mean rank of 6.3.
In Recochoku Music Video Rankings, the single achieved an average Daily Rank of 8 and Weekly Rank of 33.5. Jidanda Dance’s Daily Rank and Weekly Rank were 4 and 19 respectively and Feel! Kanjiru yo’s were 12 and 48. The Monthly Rank for Jidanda Dance is 93 while Feel! Kanjiru yo’s is currently unknown.
In “Other Chart Rankings,” J=J fans can rejoice as the single achieved a mean peak rank of 2.3. The highest position for the SoundScan Japan Single Sales was #2 with 56,530. Similarly, the highest position on the Billboard JAPAN Top Singles Sales chart was #2 with 62,255. “Jidanda Dance” achieved a peak rank of #3 on the Billboard JAPAN Hot 100 charts. Not too shabby, eh?
Juice=Juice squeezed out another good one that runs the gamut of emotions. One A-side shows how chaotic life can be with the sense of things will get better if you “dance it off.” The other invites you to “feel” the overflowing positivity that exits in all.
Tune in next time as we feature capable ninja girls. Shalala! …But can I do it?
Maybe, but with the impending break and the pre-break fatigue setting in, along with how distracting the week’s been—between the heat wave, E3, and C-ute’s disbandment—, it may be a while…. Probably July.
How appropriate the summer season starts with the Maggies… because the Factory will be one flower short by its end….
Oh well! As is said by many (including our Juicy=Fruities), “you only live once!”
Until the Next One!