A-pop Wrap-Up: New AKB PV, Dreams of a 32-yo S/mileage fan, Upcoming MoMusu Mass-Ranking, Commercials

Review of New AKB PV: Ponytail to Shushu
I enjoyed this one for the most part, although a good friend of mine with whom I have several ongoing AKB-related disputes found it “somewhere between their worst PV and garbage.”

That whole beginning section, to me, was not merely a re-hash of their earlier bikini-clad Baby, Baby, Baby video with a lot of quasi-dramatic fanservice teasing at the beginning. It honestly seemed to me to be a parody of itself, in that they were mocking the image of being guy-teasers in a similar way that the Scary Movie set mocks its own. Not only are their loads of conveniently-placed foreground items to conveniently obscure someone being exposed in the background, but, once dressed, there’s a fairly lousy reason to be herded (wearing white tops, no less) into the showers that are, for some reason, conveniently turned on full-blast so as to ensure all of them get wet.

The absurdity of the initial dramatic (in the sense that it contrasts the singing/dancing of the rest, not in the seriousness sense, per se) sequence, with the piled-upon visual jokes like the randomness of someone reaching down to grasp (grope?) two small basketballs and the near-incessant heavy breathing of the small dog watching them, added to the idea that it was intentionally ridiculous, rather than attempting to be serious as Baby, Baby, Baby had been with its vague, unfunny, black-and-white loneliness that peculiarly led into a bright, bikini-clad dance number and back out again.

I recalled seeing a cartoon many years ago whereupon a parent caught a child smoking, and in order to shock the child out of picking it up, made the child smoke about a dozen cigarettes all at one time (that is, a giant cluster of cigs all smoked simultaneously, not in succession) — and this video’s lead-in reminded me of that, as if to say, “Oh, you think we’re a bunch of teases? Well how about this, and this, and oops, you didn’t see that, and tee-hee, how’s that, oh, you like that? Denied! And then here’s a bunch of us in white getting herded into the showers at full blast. Satisfied?” The expressions on the girls faces looked remarkably unconvincing, especially as much as I hate to admit it, Yuko’s faux-seriousness when up against the lockers just before the surfboard bit — but that contributed to my impression that this intro was moreso editorial commentary about the “tease” image than deliberately attempting to tease.

I take particular, specific, enjoyment, however, that it was precisely when Sae thought it necessary to say something to the pup that the dog flashed its teeth and turn suddenly aggressive. I know what you mean, buddy.

As for the actual music/dance section, I thought it was pretty good. I don’t generally like seeing girls that I think of in a little-sister, huggy-teddy-bear sense in a more scantily-clad way such as this, and I wasn’t terribly thrilled with it again this time, but it’s a minor offense (as opposed to having Asians doing a big-band, musical theatre number like MoMusu’s Mr Moonlight was seriously wrong). The song itself hasn’t yet caught my ears enough to hum it at work after about 6-8 viewings, but it’s getting there.

I will sheepishly admit that my man-eyes go from glazed-over to focused attention whenever a bare shoulder or neck come on screen (because I’m weird like that) and there are certainly plenty of cut-in scenes mixed in with this feature that keeps my attention rapt, and will probably be evoked when later whistling the tune to myself later once it has been inevitably ensnared by my memory.

I like Mariko with her, “Oh, I got this look down,” with her surfboard of seriousness. Every time the white van passes by, I think, “Must be a woman driver.” I haven’t quite gotten used to the idea of Jurina from SKE being so ever-present as if she’s suddenly a popular member, but I’m glad that some of the other less-populars get good face-time in this. One of my favorite PVs by AKB, I think.

Sneak Preview of S/mileage’s new PV
A few weeks ago, I managed to catch a viewing of S/mileage’s new silver-colored PV for Yume Miru 15sai below, and I don’t think I’ve been this eagerly anticipating a Hello!Project release for a year or more.

I totally dig this newish group, bring the much-needed youth feature back into the Hello!Project spectrum once again and has, as far as I’m concerned, become moreso the headliner unit to watch for. MoMusu is still something to look after, but is more of a mature spectrum these days. The song is powerfully entrancing, and although I’m not really at all a fan of their new hairstyles (longer is better), the stylists somehow make it work, unlike pretty much anything I’ve seen Maimi from C-ute in since her traumatizing follicide and weaksauce excuses for earlier. The single officially comes out May 26 IIRC, but rips of the PV are already scattered about.. good stuff.

Upcoming Morning Musume Mass-Ranking
One of the things I’ve planned on amassing once the Halo: Reach Beta has ended (which it has) was to make a ranking of my favorite girls as related specifically to each Morning Musume PV individually. I like Niigaki more than Eri as far as Sexy Boy is concerned, but Eri leaves Niigaki in her glorious wake as far as Studio Lesson Version (a variation on Resonant Blue), so I speculated on the idea of creating a down-on-paper ranking of each girl for each MoMusu PV, and assign each position (first, second..) a point value, and tally all of the point values to determine which girl, on average, is my statistical favorite, as opposed to my favorite “of the day” that suits my whim at the time — which changes on my mood. For instance with AKB, I’m convinced Oshima Yuko is my all-time favorite, but I’m currently having a fleeting moment of dreamy affection for Atsuko Maeda. This new MoMusu ranking will determine my baseline perspective for once (and not for all, given that new PVs will emerge and jack it up)..

Bizarrely Awkward Commercials Are Bizarrely Effective
There is a series of commercials for some Asian “juice box” drinks (that Americans could probably compare with Hi-C juice boxes or straw-poked CapriSun packets) starring a few of the AKB48 girls saying a little something, offering you (the cameraman) one of them, and then awkwardly drinking the entire thing through the straw at once while you watch. I strangely find myself wanting to try one, although I’m a little hesitant because I’m allergic to several potential fruit combinations (cantaloupe and kiwi being major ones). The tight shots up close with each girl is almost too personally invasive. It begs the question of how many takes the commercials required, and therefore how many boxes each slurped up before the final say was given. I don’t find lips, for the most part, the least bit attractive on most anyone, and my eyes are drawn toward theirs periodically when sweat-dropping-ly searching for something else to look at than right in their eyes as they themselves are briefly lost in the experience of tasting the product, quickly and completely. Below is the first one I saw, and thereafter are linked by girl.

Also, Atsuko Maeda, Shinoda Mariko, Matsui Jurina, Miyazaki Miho and a BUNCH others..

One enterprising individual managed to put all 25 commercials into one scrunched-up version in a 5×5 grid so that they all play simultaneously and just pause on the final frame when they end, awaiting the others to finish. I take particular enjoyment that Sae chugged hers down the quickest… very funny. Also, try watching a YouTube Playlist version with all 25 commercials, one after the other, loading each video’s page separately after the prior. If you made it all the way through, you probably already do some heavy drinking of your own ;-D Although Minegishi is one of my least favorite members, I actually liked her commercial better than most of the others. Yuko’s was by far my favorite, though =9 Don’t forget to watch the comparatively length (6:22) making-of version!

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