Monday, April 23, 2012

The Sunny Side of Bikini PVs: NMB48

It's that time of year again!

You know what I'm talking about: summer. Or... spring. Technically speaking. Or fall if you live in the southern hemisphere... but I digress. For me, it's summer. Beautiful glorious summer lies just ahead of me as I drudge through the last few weeks of public high school education. Ah yes, a time when you can look forward to the imminent days of sleeping in, going to the pool, lazing around, and forgetting everything you learned in the previous 9 months of education because really, when would a writer like ever use pre-calculus again? But summer isn't just a time of hot weather and mosquitoes; the concept of summer means something entirely different in the idol world. For you see, when idols make a summer song they have one thing in mind:

Fanservice. Lots and lots of fanservice.

Yes, we all know the drill by now. Bikinis+beaches+summer activities = summer single. With a few exceptions this pretty much sums up every idol song released in the months of May-July. Just a boatload of fanservice. I can see why, considering summer involves wearing very little clothing and most wotas tend to enjoy that. But still, it gets old after awhile. So I always take my summer PVs with a grain of salt and never really expect much to come from them. I admit, there have been some good PVs but overall even those are still just fanservice. It doesn't really piss me off but I do wish an idol group would do a different take on the stereotypical summer song. Oh wait, AKB48 totally did but I'll deal with them later. Hence as I dive in to the boatload of summer songs about to be released, I intend to keep my expectations low for this period of time. So join me as I sit back on the beach with a pair of sunglasses and a cold drink (hypothetically) as we look at some of the best and worst summer songs to come out this year!

To kick off my series of summer-themed reviews and summer stuff in general I've decided to start with something light, positive, and generic! In other words, NMB48's newest single, Nagiichi! Yay for blandness!! Okay, to be fair Nagiichi isn't terribly bad as far as summer idol songs go. In fact, it's actually pretty good! It's upbeat, fun, catchy and everything you'd expect to feel in a summery mood! So why do I find it so generic? Well... it's pretty much a carbon copy of Ponytail to Shushu, another popular summer song from their sister group AKB48! Isn't it gosh-darn hilarious what a coincidence that is? I'm serious, it even has the same piano opening from Ponytail to Shushu! The instrumentals are also highly similar and even the verses have the same ring to them! But if they were going to rip-off a song... honestly, I'm glad they ripped off this one! I love Ponytail to Shushu, especially around this time of the year and it's one of those songs where I don't mind hearing similar versions! Ponytail itself is a really good song from AKB48 because it's peppy and has a lot of energy behind it. And luckily none of that energy is lost in NMB48's rip-off! Nagiichi is just as fun, just as summery, and I don't care if it's ripping off another more successful 48 song! I will admit it's not as good as Junjou U-19 or Zetsumetsu but as long as it drift in the badness of Oh My God! I can say that I'm very pleased with this song and surprised I like it so much! But I still hope that maybe we'll hear a more... unique single from SKE48. Or I can just enjoy AKB's summer single which I'll get to in a moment.

So while we're on the subject of carbon copies, let's look at their PV!

I swear, you could put SKE/AKB/SHG/JKT in here and I wouldn't notice the difference

Ha! Now I know they have a budget; that car probably costs a whole college tuition!

What's this I see? Can it be? It is!


Fanservice in a variety of dance moves, shots, bikinis, everything rolled into one PV!

For the record, I've driven a convertible. No one looks this good in one.

Those are the only members of NMB anyone knows about the front girls, right?

Sayanee owns this group like a queen.

So this is why I can't find any hot American guys! Aki-P keeps kidnapping them!

Parasols? Classy for an fanservice-y summer PV!

Nana's so pretty~

But Sayanee's prettier.

So many hot guys. I wonder... is this meant to be fanservice for NMB's female fans too? Smart, Aki-P!

Ha. Make this a helicopter and you've got Ponytail to Shushu #2!

This move's for you, boys.

This one too.

I swear, the more I look at Nana, the more she looks like Nakky from C-ute.

Really? You're throwing in the Doki Doki Heart Sign Chuu~? I could make a drinking game out of all the cliches in this PV!


I have no comment.

Oo!! That one girl in the striped bikini is the only member not in the front I actually know! She's that crazy Team M member Kinoshita Momoka!

Whoa! For the first I'm seeing something in the PV that looks legitimately fun and not trying to be sex appeal!

This looks fun too!

And this!!

Sea World!? I wanna go to Sea World :(

Where exactly are they going in this shot?

They're on a boat. No one got that joke, did they?

Sorry, only Buono! can pull off that move.

I have to admit, this part's pretty hilarious.

I really want to insert some Jaws music into this clip...

And so Aki-P stranded NMB48 on an island to replace them with USA48...

It would have been funny if these were the Nogizaka46 members!

What!? Aww, that's just mean...

Well that ended on a spiteful note. I'll get to that part later. Let's start from the beginning! Overall, I have to say I don't care for the first half of the PV but the second half is much more entertaining! I think my biggest problem with the first half is just how cliched it is. At no point when I was watching this half did I think "Wow! I've never seen something that awesome before! It makes me think of summer!" And that's because when you really think about it, would you do any of the stuff you see during this PV? I know I don't spend my summer sexily strolling down a dock, sexily sipping a fruity drink surrounded by hot guys, sexily driving like I'm in an 80s movie, or sexily getting massaged by hot guys. Who does? And that's my biggest problem with this: the stuff NMB is doing in this is so unrealistic and is obviously just their to pander to a certain portion of their fanbase that enjoys seeing idols prance around in bikinis. And if you're not a part of that genre then don't bother looking for something remotely interesting or fun. It's just hollowed out fanservice. In the PV's favor I will say the budget must have been good. The locations are gorgeous and the scenes look very expensive. But other than that? Not much too it... it's like a a cupcake decorated with a bunch of icing that tastes like crap.

However... the second half is a vast improvement over how the first half was. While the first half of this PV was fanservice-y and generic this second part is a little more fun. Once the second chorus hits, the camera cuts to all sorts of summer activities that look legitimately entertaining. Water-skiing, tubing, jet skis, it's a lot more fun to watch and it makes me think of summer! And why is that? Because this is how I spend my summer. My family and I travel to the beach a lot over the summer and also live next to one of the most disgusting lakes in the US so seeing NMB do all these summer sports brings back memories and makes me look forward to how I'm going to spend my summer this year. Overall, there's definitely more personality in the second half of this PV and I wish it would have been that way for the whole thing. There's also an element of humor especially when that one member I don't know or care about falls off the raft! The end of the PV is also simultaneously funny and offensive! It's implied that NMB was really just dreaming of the perfect summer while working under the hot grueling sun when some clearly American teenagers drive by triumphantly in a snazzy, expensive car. Because that's what all we American teenagers do. Poor NMB...

There you have it! Now not all the bikini PVs released have been like this. Especially one in particular I'll be looking at soon...

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