J-Pop PV Review: AKB48’s River Isn’t Riveting

I’d still consider myself a new fan of AKB48 considering I only know about 4 or 5 names of the talent within it (out of 50+ ladies), but this video really grab my interest.

The music main pattern reminds me of either an early 90’s video game or TV show I can put a finger on, other than that it was mediocre — and this PV doesn’t stretch too far from that standard. I will admit that the fact I can’t find a high enough quality version of the video might have something to do with it. The main instrument in the background sounds like Metal Man’s sawblade sound (from Megaman 2 for NES).

I’m all for watching cuties in uniform, even if it’s military cammo — but a few technical quibbles are what seem to plague this feature for me. The first part where they’re doing a stomp-and-yell routine is very poorly lit, in that there is fog in places it shouldn’t be, and all of the bright lights seem pointed at the camera making for a few terrible lens-flare moments. When the lights actually are on the gals, the side of their faces are nearly blinding. Even though the atmosphere of the intro shot appears to be outside in the dark, there’s a weird echo to their voices, as if they’re in some small warehouse. High-King‘s Cinderella/Complex PV actually pulled the lights-in-your-face technique in a genuinely artistic manner (by using it sparingly or for periodic emphasis), but the AKB crew apparently wasn’t taking any notes.

If there’s a drama aspect to it, which frames most of their other PVs, I can’t detect any or have seen the version that provides any (as calling something the “full” version might contain, if there was to be one).

As gorgeous as Shinoda Mariko is, I’ve come to realize she’s got an “I’m acting now” expression on her face that totally gives her away that she’s trying to do something that isn’t influenced by gorgeous, and she shows it again when she’s trying to give orders in the water. She seems very out of place in this PV, and fits better in the Iiwake Maybe PV donning high-fashion sunglasses and riding her lady-bike.

The close-up shots seem more appropriately lit (and rather watchable), and the portions out in daylight are much more tolerable. I couldn’t find my beloved Oshima Yuko until 2:50 into the video, but I’m glad she even made it ^_^ The chord progression of the tune itself feels natural (a good thing) and it seems to end soon enough without overly repeating itself (something the catchy but incessant Aitakatta lacked)

I’ll remain a fan, but this PV will more than likely hover around the bottom as my least favorite of their collection ^_^;;


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