Friday, August 31, 2012

Going Batty for TGS!

So this is what TGS has been doing for all these months! I was wondering where they'd gone! I really need to start keeping up with the news... I guess with all the other new releases and the lack of activity from them I just forgot! My reaction to Tsuioku was so lukewarm I decided to divert my attention to other more interesting song and return to TGS when they did something that would catch my eye again! Then I found out they were going on a kinda-sorta-but-not-really hiatus where they would spend time working and improving their vocals, dance skills, and other stuff idols work on. A few months went by before I found out that the reason behind all this preparation was that TGS was going to perform at Budokan! I don't know much about Budokan, other than it's pretty big so I assume this must be a rather large achievement for the group! To commemorate this feat, they're releasing a single titled Road to 12.22 Budokan in October! And that was pretty much all the info I got about them. I knew they performed a SweetS song but other than that I didn't hear much about them until now! I discovered the PV Bad Flower, one of the tracks on this Budokan single, had just been released! Now this was a happy surprise for me as it was the first new thing I'd heard from TGS in awhile. So how do they sound after all that mystical training they did in the far-off land of Avex? Did all that training have an effect on their performance and talent level at all?

Hell yeah! It totally paid off!

They sound so much better and I didn't even think that was possible! The biggest improvement I noticed was Hitomi. She'd always been one of the main singers for TGS and I've always thought her voice was decent but Ayano's and Mei's far better in comparison. My main problem was at times she sounded just a little too squeaky (then again, she's what? Thirteen, fourteen?). But oh my god, it's like aliens stole her voice box and replaced it with someone else's! Hitomi's voice is much deeper in this song and she has a ton of power behind the notes, almost as much as Ayano does! Speaking of Ayano, once  again her voice rocks in this PV but she doesn't get as much time to shine as Hitomi does. Hitomi was definitely lead for this song with Ayano minoring and some solos from Yuri and Mei thrown around in the song! Poor Miyu, I think she got like one solo in this entire song... but at least she got some duets! The deep, powerful vocals work extremely well with the song! Like the title suggests, Bad Flower is pretty Badass. It's one of the more rockish and darker songs from TGS, still maintaining that Avex style they have. There's a lot of guitar and percussion in it, giving the song a lot of volume and a lot of punch! It's not full-on hard rock, or even rock, but it's still one of the most hardcore songs I've heard from TGS! It makes me excited to hear what other songs are going to be on this Budokan single! It's definitely a step-up from Tsuioku and I'm glad TGS is back to bless us with more dark and edgy music!

So is the PV more interesting than Tsuioku? I hope so!

What a lovely background to begin this lovely PV!

BWAH! Don't scare me like that TGS! I thought you were the Grim Reaper times five!

Is that the I Dream of Jeannie dance?

I can't tell if I think this dance move is cool or kind of silly.

Ooh, cards! Are we playing Crazy 8s? Because that's the only card game I know...

I guess we're playing the TGS card game! So how does that exactly work?

Am I in hell already?

How old is Hitomi again? I feel awkward saying she looks somewhat... physically attractive in this PV.

Awww, they look like they're giving hugs to invisible people! Do you guys want hugs?

I guess they don't want hugs after all...

TGS always has some of the coolest formations; I could screencap them all day!

I can't tell if Yuri looks adorable or scared out of her mind in this shot...

Well, at least I can tell Mei looks possessed in this shot!

I think this is what Batman would look like if turned into a ballet

By the way, cool set for the close-ups! The old "empty dangling frames" cliche never gets old for me!

Hey look! A title drop!

This is like the sexually repressed version of that move in C-ute's new PV where Nakky gropes Maimi!

Cool, the pictures move! Wait a minute... are we in the Harry Potter universe now?

Geez, who stabbed picture!Ayano? It was you, wasn't it, Hitomi?

Hello, gratuitous fanservice. At least I can see their cute little boots now!

Just call them Dracula's Little Helpers!

The eyes... it's like they're staring into my soul O_O

I know Fairies is the Avex group known for its dancing but holy shit TGS are awesome dancers.

I'm all for a ring-around-the-Ayano!

I feel like I barely see Miyu in this PV...

Wow, someone's sure got it out for TGS! Maybe it's Fairies

Those sure are some snazzy leather jackets! But they don't really match up with those flowy skirts...

More eyes!? Stop it! You're creeping me out!

If you need me, I'll be hiding under my bed.

I wonder if they stole curtains from Party City to make those skirts...

So after watching the entire PV, I have just one question: why the hell was this not released in October?

I mean, it's a perfect Halloween PV. It's got dark lighting, dark costumes, dark everything! Why would Avex release it in August, the hottest and most unpleasantly summery month of the year? I think I'd like this PV more if it were released during a time where I'm not sweating and cursing the sun. That and I really want Halloween to get here soon... go away summer! But wow this PV was dark. I mean that literally speaking, I can barely see their faces in the dance shot! It's not surprising to see TGS maintaining their more serious, mature style but this PV was still a much darker, almost Gothic PV for them. If you're not a fan of this darker, more serious style of imagery then you're probably not going to like this (or most of TGS's recent discography). For me, I enjoyed the music video! There's nothing particularly new or innovative about it but as someone who often enjoys this sort of PV, naturally I enjoyed this one too! What really sold me on the PV was the dance; it's one of the best I've seen from TGS with a lot of formations, the frequent use of costumes, and the dance suitably matching up with the song. When I first saw the outfits I was a little on the fence about if they'd work for the PV what with the leather jackets and flowy black skirts not exactly going together but when in motion they look amazing. The skirts are especially used a lot in the PV with the dance moves making the girls looks like bats! Very pretty bats who happen to be idols... There are also a few random images thrown around in the PV like the random eye shots that were slightly creepy and the card close-ups that don't add much to the PV except some more dark imagery.

However, it's a little boring. Granted the shots we do see are very well done but the PV itself is nothing more than a dance shot, a few interesting close-ups, and some playing cards. There's no storyline or hidden symbolism just TGS being kinda creepy. The problem with dark PVs like this one is they give little opportunity for the girls to rely on their personalities to keep the video entertaining. That's often what saves most idol PVs from being a complete bore so how does TGS hold up without that advantage? I admit, the dark imagery gets a little repetitive after awhile and I wish they could something else in the PV besides stand around looking Gothic and pretty. Then again, I'm sure some of their creepier fans will be very... entertained by the physical attractiveness of the girls in the PV... if you know what I mean. Okay, this is getting awkward, ANYWAYS. There may be some hidden meaning behind the cards and the empty frames but whatever that is got lost on me. I'm probably asking too much considering most idol groups don't exactly have captivating and intricate plots to go with their music videos. I guess I've been too spoiled by all those AKB48 PVs! Storyline of no storyline, if you're a fan of the group, I think you'll enjoy this PV. It's not exactly mind-blowingly new from a group like TGS but the rockish song and the PV's dark vibes make it visually interesting, if somewhat lacking in terms of substance. The girls look amazing, the dance is one of the best I've seen this year, and I can't wait to hear the other songs on this Road to Budokan single!

But seriously, I want October to get here. NOW.

Looks Like Robo-Musume is Here to Stay

It started with the Dubstep music of Renai Hunter, slightly altered to a more electronic sound. Then One Two Three came along as full-blown electropop, Autotuned to hell and everything! Some fans loved it, others hated it. I myself didn't mind as a someone who's a fan of Kyarypamyupamyu and of course Perfume so the sound wasn't anything new to me, just more like very unrefined technopop. But I could understand for some fan why the style may have seemed wrong for Morning Musume. After all, it was their first real dabble into electropop despite the genre now being a little overused and outdated today. Don't worry, one day they'll catch up with the trends! When I say that I mean never. But what did this mean for the Morning Musume we knew and loved? Was this just a one-time experiment, the shitty one-night stand of their discography? Well, they just released a dance rehearsal for their newest single and I think that will answer those persistent questions. And I'm here to write that no, One Two Three is not the last you'll get to here of Robo Musume.

Wakuteka Take a Chance is yet another electropop release from the group. And if you hated One Two Three with the passion of the August heat, then you're probably going to hate this song too.

Honestly I'm not surprised. One Two Three sold well so that indicates their is a decent sized portion of people who liked it. Naturally the next step would be to release more music in the vein of One Two Three. Now, promotion factors also need to be taken in and the fact that it was Momosu's 50th single but regardless, in business terms if a song sells well, then the next step is to duplicate the style of said song and hope its successor has the same good sales. So I listened to the song and from the start, I liked where it was going. It had an electro sound but it sounded much better than One Two Three! I was interested to see how the whole song would sound! And... then the vocals came along. I guess UFA was stupid enough to think the only reason One Two Three sold well was because RiDOS and Reina sang all of the song and decided to continue the formula! You know, it's times like these I can't help but admire the stupidity of UFA; it really takes one truly dim-witted agency to think as idiotically as they do! It must take a unique set of ears to think RiDOS sounds like a heavenly siren gently crafting each of her notes so that it's a godlike diamond of fucking godlike proportions. I'm sorry, I just can't like her. I dislike her voice, her personality, and her stage presence... I always have and nearly two years later that still hasn't changed. She always looks bored and/or smug, and that voice it just... I can't stand it. If UFA just gave it time to develop instead of giving her so many solos and adding vocal strain, then her voice wouldn't sound so wrung out. But it does, and I really can't stand it. And yeah, I know she's a good dancer as someone who could care less about dancing if it ain't Perfume, her one strong point loses itself on me. All right, I'll get off my soapbox; I bitch too much about her already. Besides at least a few other members get solos! Like there's a lovely rap sequence with Sayumi and Mizuki and I think I hear a few minimal solos from Mizuki and Ayumi! Yay! Good singing! The vocal distribution's much better than One Two Three and The Matenrou Fail but it could still be miles better.

Oh well, poor vocal distribution is nothing new. I don't even know why I complain about it now since UFA obviously can't hear me or everyone else who thinks the same thing. It's like yelling at a brick wall and thinking it'll listen to you. I know I spent a whole paragraph just bashing the vocals but I actually do like this song! I even think it's better than One Two Three! My problem with One Two Three was the awkward electropop and gratuitous Autotune. With Wakuteka Take a Chance, the music is much smoother and that electro sound it strives for flows more evenly. The song is still catchy but not as much as One Two Three, not that I'm really complaining about that. I'm just happy they were able to do a pretty nice electropop song! So is this the direction Morning Musume is taking from this on? Probably. I wouldn't be surprised. We'll have to see how the eleventh generation factors into all this though. I think with yet another boatload of newbs we can figure out what we can expect from this group now. If they do end up sticking with this electropop style from now on... I guess I'm pretty okay with that. As long as they use Autotune in a way that doesn't sound like they're trying to cover up bad vocals (or you know, USE THE GIRLS WHO CAN ACTUALLY SING) and manage to craft instrumentals that don't come across as tired and overdone this might be a good genre for Morning Musume. Again, I say this as someone who's been listening to electropop/technopop for several years so it all depends on your style. If you don't like this kind of music... you can always turn to AKB48! I kid, I kid. But seriously, you're in for a rough time if you can't like electropop. I won't (and I can't exactly...) force you to like it but I'd strongly recommend at least attempting to like it.

Is Morning Musume to become nothing more than a poorly Autotuned electropop group like Perfume? Well no. Not in my eyes at least. But I definitely think this is an indication of what we can expect from their future releases. Now it's time to pop some popcorn and see how the fans react to this!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Thoughts on the Reshuffling of AKB48

I actually wrote this post a few days ago on the day the news broke! However, I later looked over it and realized my writing made me sound like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Seriously, this was my original draft:

What the what? Why is it that shocking news always catches me on the days I'm most unprepared? I wake up and I think to myself "Hm, I wonder what exciting news will happen today!" and I bum around the Interwebs for a period of time in a state of content boredom. I was actually thinking to myself that I needed to write something but I just couldn't find anything particularly interesting I wanted to write about. Looks like I got my wish! Because once again I find myself sucker punched with the news that AKB48 has been shuffled and all the members I know and love have been either switched around or booted to different countires.

Just... WHAT?

Now I really feel like I've toppled into wonderland. But not the fun kind of wonderland with cute little bunnies and quirky tea parties but the kind where everyone's tripping on cake and hallucogenic substances and I have no idea what's going on because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON.

SEE? I'm using PERFUME in an AKB48 post. This all wrong! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Yeah. To say I was more than shocked would be the understatement of the year. So I decided to leave this post for a few days and return Because I didn't even know where to start with this. I mean... I know that AKB was shuffled another time but that was a time when my world was Perfume and AKB48 might as well have been some mathematical equation. So was this how the old fans felt, when the group you thought you'd finally figured out was turn upside down like a bowl of Cheetos and said Cheetos were subsequently picked up and placed in different bowls? I really felt like I'd been sucker punched. And I'm not even a die-hard fan of the group! Even now I just... I don't get it. I understand it's most likely another attention stunt to keep the group interesting and relevant after Acchan leaves (because yeah, she's totally the only reason AKB48's remotely interesting with her oh-so-interesting personality!). But I don't like this. This was the point where I really felt like I was starting to be able to place names with faces and faces with teams. I developed my favorite teams, members I loved in certain teams, which teams I knew would crank out the best songs, and I felt like I was closer to understanding the infrastructure of AKB48.

But nope! I guess I'll just toss all that knowledge out the window and subsequently pack it up and send it to Canada. Bye!

Instead I get to spend all my time matching names and faces with teams all over again! What fun! I totally can't wait! The hardest part for me is just getting used to who goes where and the sheer size of each team now. When I do the math it really isn't that much of a change... so why does it feel like one? I think it's because of the disbandment of Team 4; everything just feels more claustrophobic. I know there were some pretty vocal Team 4 fans that most likely are more than disappointed that they've been disbanded. As for myself, it doesn't really bother me; I never bothered to learn the faces or songs for them so whatever. Now that they've been spread into the stable teams maybe I can figure out who's going to be promoted and worth learning about! What with all these new faces I can't help but wonder if they're going to be more pushed in lieu of some of the older, less popular members. I hope not, but I think I kind of know it's coming, what with Aki-P in his "WE'RE MAKING A NEW GENERATION!" phase. The one thing that I really don't like is the fact that some of the girls were transferred to overseas groups like JKT48 and SNH48... I mean, shouldn't they learn each respective country's languages? You're not K-pop; you can't get away with half-assed language skills! Not to mention it really screws some of the subgroups over, like French Kiss, Warota 7, and worst of all DiVA. Without Sae, how is this going to effect the group? I hope they don't disband; I love Sayaka and Umechan and they're too talented to be wasted! Maybe they'll get a replacement? But I don't know who could replace Sae... For other subgroups, I also wonder how many more lines Mayuyu's going to get in Warota 7 without Lovetan because we all know at this point those other girls are too threatened by the Creeper Smile to attempt at stealing any spotlight! On the up side, no3b is still intact! So yay for the power of Takamina! Not to mention some of the Kenkyuusei got promoted! I'll bet it's nice to feel like their hard work has finally paid off even although they'll probably get shafted.

One of the biggest changes when reshuffling such a large group like AKB48 is the reassignment of who's captain of what team. Now personally I figured the current captains would keep their respective positions just because it seemed like kind of a dick move to demote them like that. Naturally, I was wrong. Instead we have three (four if you count Takamina's new position) captains to do whatever is it captains do. First of all, Takamina's been officially promoted to General Manager of the whole group. Then again, she pretty much had that position already; she just has a title now! In my opinion, Takamina's one of the best captains I've seen in any idol group so I'm happy she didn't get demoted! Taking her place as captain of Team A will be Shinoda Mariko, a decision I'm pretty okay with. I like Mariko and she seems like she'll be a good mentor for all the newbs that have been added to Team A! It also pretty much solidifies the fact that she ain't never leaving the group; she'll probably still be there at age forty! I kid, I kid. Now there's one thing about this entire reshuffling that I'm bloody pissed off about: Team K's new captain, Oshima Yuko. Before you pelt me with Yuko glowsticks I like Yuko. I like her personality and she makes a nice center for the group! But I don't want her to be captain mainly because it's at the cost of the Akimoto Sayaka losing her spot. How DARE they demote Akimoto freaking Sayaka from her position of captain! She was awesome! I know management hates her but why? Next thing I know they're going to force her to graduate! Oh dear god now that I said it, it's going to happen O_O. It's probably because she's my favorite and I'm extremely biased toward her but... ugh, it makes me want to bang my head against the computer with Kyarypamyupamyu playing in the background. It doesn't make sense! Or maybe I just don't want it to make sense... Last but sure as hell not least, Umeda Ayaka has been promoted as captain of Team B which I think is the only thing I'm truly ecstatic about because she's one of my favorite members. But yay for Umechan! She totally deserves the position; she's been in AKB since their beginning and she's never had the chance to shine despite working her butt off on stage and in the Undergirls PVs. With her being in Gingham Check's Senbatsu and this sudden promotion as captain it makes me wonder/hope that Aki-P's going to use her in further Senbatsu PVs. I really think she deserves it and I just really like her personality. It helps I'm a sucker for underdogs. It's not that I dislike Kashiwagi Yuki but I never really saw her as a captain, just the awkward person stepping in for the captain that was currently absent. I suppose it does suck for Yukirin and Sayaka to get demoted like that (it could seem more like a slap in the face to them)

But there's still one little detail that bothers me. There are a lot of members in each team now, like 22 or 23 per team. And I'm all for a large group of girls because more personalities are what keep each team interesting. The thing is... management might not see it that way. What if they've come to the conclusion that there are too many girls in the group to give them all promotion, payment, and other idol necessities? So what if they decide they're going to slim the group down? And what if they do that with... graduations? I admit, I'm very, very worried some of the older members' days are numbered, especially Akimoto Sayaka's. It might only be because she's my favorite member of AKB48 and I will be crushed the day her graduation is announced... and I can't help but think it's coming soon. What with Yuko replacing her as captain of Team K and management hell-bent on shafting her at every opportunity possible... I feel like I'm going to wake up one day and see printed in ugly black letters "Akimoto Sayaka to Graduate." Of course there are other older members too that have been languishing in the back of the stages and barely present on singles too I'm not addressing. What of them? Has AKB48 become nothing more than an overgrown garden that the management feels compelled to "weed"? At this point, I'm not sure what lies in store for the stability of some of the girls; I just hoped there aren't any forced graduations. Hell, I just don't want Sayaka to graduate yet! Curse my biases... Oh well, I'm not going to get myself worked up just yet but I smell a mass graduation near; let's hope I'm wrong.

Things are definitely a-changin' for our lovely Akibahara idols. For better or worse... only time will tell. But either way, I'm absolutely looking forward to it.

Yep, that's a pretty good picture of my whole reaction to this reshuffling!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'd Be Lying if I Said This PV Was Crap

Gingham Check, the song, is like that beautiful scoop of ice cream atop a cone. But instead of remaining delectable and scrumptious, said ice cream fell off the cone and onto the sidewalk, becoming a gooey, melted mess.

Gingham Check, the PV, is like the friendly ice cream man who witnessed your despair at losing your beloved ice cream so he picked up that messy scoop of ice cream, added sprinkles and chocolate syrup, placed a cherry on top, and gave that new and improved ice cream cone back to you.

I don't think this has ever happened so drastically before. In the past, whenever I find a song to be bad, usually the PV isn't all that good or only marginally better and either way it almost always doesn't improve the song itself. But Gingham Check... this single has been driving me mad. I was ready to pull the switch and call it quits on this even being a halfway decent Senbatsu song until I watched the PV. And for the first time, there's such a contrast between my love for the PV and my hatred for the song that I don't know where to start... I guess the easiest thing to do is sum up my original feelings. So when Gingham Check was first released via live performance I was... underwhelmed to say the least. Frankly, I loathed the song and now I still loathe it just not as much as I used to. Anyways, the problem I had with the song was that it was incredibly dull. I heard the same sound I'd heard from over half of AKB48's discography (think Chance no Juban or Ue Kara Mariko to catch my drift) and the song was more generic than the generic soft drinks at my local Wal-Mart. Call it... Catchy Generica because despite how much I hate these kinds of songs they always, always implant themselves in my head in some way. Usually I find myself humming only the chorus on an endless loop and hating every minute of it. And so this was what happened for Gingham Check. Even now the only reason the chorus isn't stuck on chronic repeat in my head is because I'm blasting Chocolate Disco as I write this.

Gingham Check is currently a contender for worst A-side of 2012 for yours truly along with the future Janken single which I expect to be bad because they're always half-assed. But the thing with Senbatsu songs is I never expect them to be half-assed and I think that's one of the driving reasons why I can't stand this song so much. In the past, every Senbatsu song has had a very distinctive and powerful hook to it. Iiwake Maybe had the rock-ish influences, Heavy Rotation was idol music presented in the best and most energetic way possible, and Flying Get was a badass song with an even more badass PV. But Gingham Check is more vanilla than French Kiss' discography and lacks anything memorable or iconic. If 2011 me heard this song by some weird means of time-travel I would never think "Wow! What a great Senbatsu song this is!" because I wouldn't even think it was one, not even a B-side for the Senbatsu. And that's what makes Gingham Check such a huge slap in the face... It's like Pixar releasing WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 and then releasing Cars 2. That's how I feel about this Senbatsu song. It's not a Senbatsu song, at least not to my ears. So after I'd concluded Gingham Check was a Gingham Mess, I was more than ready to dig my claws into the PV and pretend this single never happened. I'd seen bits and pieces of the PV and had pretty much concluded it would be just as much of a mess as the song was. And then I saw it.

This PV... good lord, this PV... is fucking amazing.

Damn you, Aki-P! Why do you have to hire a good director that gives this crap song a PV that so mind-blowingly amazing I'm left with conflicting feelings!? It would have been so much easier to bash the song, bash the PV, and move on to something else but noooo, you had to get me to love this, didn't you? I loved it so much I screencapped the shit out of it!

Ah, the Tokyo Police HQ, where justice (and donuts!) are served!

Somewhere, in some far off place, an Acchan hater is screaming in joy...

I don't know why but John Steele reminds me of a duck :D

Careful, Acchan! Emote too much and the world will implode on itself and cause a rip in the fabric of space and time!

Off she goes to collaborate with RiDOS so that there combined blandness will cause a rip in the fabric of space and time!

Hellooooooo new supreme ruler of AKB48 Yuko!

If you're a creepy wota that's convinced Yuko shall harvest your children, just think of this picture and let cruel reality come crashing back down.

At first, I was distracted by the giant "Ultra Party Motorcycle Girls" until I saw the XMXVVX. What the hell does that mean? Are they really complicated Roman numerals?

A ghost show hm? Well, it'd better live up to its name and be a turbo scary ghost show!

A-HA! I KNEW IT! MAYUYU'S A GHOST! That explains why she spend her days in AKB48 creeping around with that Creeper Smile of hers!

It's really fun to read these captions in a cheesy announcer voice! Try it!

Will love find a way? Only if Aki-P lifts the "no dating" rule!

The Motorgirls definitely have the better costumes of the two gangs...

But come on. The Car Devils have Takamina, Miichan, Rena, Umechan, and Mayuyu. Car Devils win the title of Nia's Favorite Gang (I never thought I'd have a favorite gang...)

From now, Yuko shall be called Jill Powers in these shots! By the way, the fact that there's probably a faction of the Yuko fandom ready to stone her for having a fake-relationship in a PV with a guy brings me great amusement :D

A curse? The curse of the Creeper Smile, perhaps?

Oh, don't worry! I'm very terrified of Mayuyu's Creeper Smile already!

I'm a sucker for cheesy love quotes! I'm adding this to my Cheesy Love Quotes Mental Notebook!

I don't really pay attention to dance shot sets, but this one's amazing.

Mayuyu, you adorable little Creeper. I look forward to your inevitable future center position.

Is love in the air for our Fantastic Creeper?

The cartoon hearts do not lie! There is!

Is that Slenderman? What's Slendy doing in AKB48?

Oh god, not the Momochi pose! Run away! Run away!

The cartoon hearts indicate Jill Powers has broken the hearts of her wotas EVERYWHERE!


I have nothing to add to the sheer epicness of this shot.

But holy SHIT, this is amazing! You have no idea how much I love this homage giant monster B-movies! Show more of the Giant Monster Kitty!!! Please!

It's... so... perfect...

Hang on... are they doing the chicken walk?

By Jove, they are! Does the idol industry just have a fetish for chickens or something? I feel like I see chicken moves everywhere in idol dances!

Uh-oh! Jill Powers' jealous wotas have turned on her and are trying to shoot her down for her unfaithfulness D:

Which unspeakable evil? The ghost girl or the Yurushite Nyan PV?

I guess it's the former! Hi there, Kitarie!

Why couldn't Ue Kara Mariko have been like this?

Can I take the giant monster kitty home? I'm gonna name him Chompy!

Oh no! Their love's separated by a wall? Whatever shall they do!?

What, is RiDOS behind that door ready to pump neurotoxin as revenge for all the jabs I've made at her?

I do love the whole "cop-partner romance" plot, not only because it'll piss off hordes of Jill Powers wotas. It's just a lot of fun to watch Jill Powers in action saving the day and kicking ass!

I'd know those locks of hair when I see them! It's my second favorite AKB member Miichan! Glorious, energetic, charismatic Miichan! I'm so glad you weren't shafted like Akimoto Sayaka!

HA! Don't you know the Creeper Smile is a death blocker?

I love how Yukirin and her hubby don't even acknowledge Miichan! They're obviously just not worthy of her presence!

I'll answer that for you: nope. Not with the fandom Yukirin's breasts Yukirin has.

Of course they can! With the power of LOVE! And Creeper Smiles :D

I love how the drawing!Mayuyu looks angrier than the real life Mayuyu... Oh, you can't be angry to save your life can you, Mayuyu?

I love the cartoon drawings because do you know what it reminds me of?

Kyarypamyupamyu! WOO HOO FOR TRIPPINESS!

I'm not sure if this shot makes me feel like smiling and going along with it or running out of the room in terror.

I'm not expert in Giant Monster Invasion Survival 101 but wouldn't the smart thing be to run away? Hello? Are you two even paying attention!?

Oh, so NOW you two take my advice? I see how it is.

Cue the West Side Story music!

And now you two hold the record for world's most incompetent cops!

But Mariko holds the record for sexiest robber!

Fairies? I can roll with that since they're Takamina and Umechan!

Is Yukirin a Disney Princess now and are Takamina and Umechan her fairy friends?

If this is what post-Acchan AKB48 will look like... I think I can live with that!

Can love survive for our Fantastic Creeper?

Nope. Because every time she tries there will be Sadako monsters to chase her away. Poor Mayuyu :(

The way Yukirin's so ditzy and oblivious to Chompy the giant monster is really funny in these scenes!

I can tell Mariko and her posse of Jurina, Tomochin, and Sae had a boatload of fun shooting this scene!

Can love stop the Insane Mariko Posse? Of course it can! It's a movie!

So ghosts can hide in my plumbing? How comforting!

I love how fake the green screen looks like the way it does in real-life B-movies!

I feel like these words are all talk and no show for our AKB Gangs...

Besides, the girls in Show Fight actually beat the crap out of each other!

So... are those four girls supposed to be aliens? Race car drivers? Honmayan's sidekicks?

Love... AND COPS! Say it in a dramatic voice and it sounds even better!

EEE! These horror movie homages are like crack to me! Except not deadly and stuff!

Oh look! Sasshi's getting dragged to HKT48!

Bye bye Sasshi!

Yay! Another awesome dance shot! I guess Jill Powers is leader of the Insane Mariko Posse now?

I approve of all these amazing dance shots!

And Sasshi just won for Nia's Favorite Shot in the Whole Freaking PV. Trust me, that title's harder to get than it sounds.

THRILLER! WOO HOO! If only Akimoto Sayaka were in this PV... she loves Michael Jackson

I know Yukirin's center, but I'm more focused on Miichan and Honmayan Yui!

The Sadakos get a dance shot too!? Does this PV get any better!?

CHOMPHY GETS ONE!? My joy is... so uncontainable... that I'm flying atop a rainbow of joy...

Why yes, bullet are flying. And I'm loving every minute of it!

Neither. It's probably Yukirin's ditziness!

Oh, how I love these quirky, hilarious captions!

Wow, this director's quite brave to show Yukirin with another man! He'd better lock his doors and sleep with a gun to escape the wrath of her angry stalker-wotas now!

And so they all lived happily ever after via High School Musical jump!

So... are you guys still here? Because that was a very, very, very, long screencap. I'm serious, the record for longest screencap I've ever done now belongs to Gingham Check with 80 freaking screencaps. But you know why there are so many? Because this has got to be one of the best PVs of 2012. I shit you not, Gingham Check, a song I actively hate, has now earned a place in my cold, unforgiving heart thanks to just how amazing this PV is. Thank you, Joseph Kahn. Thank you for blessing us with such entertainment I can forget about my hatred for this song for 6 minutes and enjoy one of my favorite music videos of 2012.

Something you should know about my preferences when it comes to PVs is I hate cute PVs. With a few exceptions, I just can't stand cute PVs. They're are so sweet I can feel myself getting diabetes. You can show me the most adorable, moe-moe idols prancing around being adorable and cutesy and moe and I won't bat an eye. I think that's boring. What I do love, and I mean really love, are quirky PVs. These are the PVs that take an angle and twist it into something weird and sometimes awkward at times but it works. Think Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai, all of Kyarypamyupamyu's PVs, and even a few Perfume PVs. On Nia's Scale of Quirkiness, the Gingham Check broke the scale, pieced it back together, then sold it on Ebay. For AKB48, the main theme of this PV is what the director described as an homage to Japanese cinema. Throughout the PV you get little shout-outs to Japan like the Sadako-type ghost girls haunting Mayuyu and the Godzilla-esque monster rampaging through a city chasing after Yukirin. Is it a little stereotypical? Maybe, but who fucking cares? Kahn went with a concept and he went all the way with it. You can tell that all the election money from Manatsu no Sounds good! was put into this PV. There are so many different scenes, special effects, stunning costumes, and so. Much. Quirkiness. I loved every bit of it. There were so many different elements thrown together into this PV but it wasn't messy; it worked. It worked so well! The overall tone of the PV was a combination of cheesiness and campiness and all the girls looked like they were having so much fun in the PV! One thing I really loved were all the captions done in perfectly clear English! Not Engrish, pure, grammatically correct English! The captions helped fuel the campy fun of the PV and added to the quirkiness. There are so many scenes from the PV that I loved, it's near impossible to name my favorites (other than Sasshi and her axe) but other things I did enjoy that stuck out to me more than the whole thing were Takamina and Umechan as angels, the Sadako girls, the Thriller dance, Mayuyu's Creeper Smile, and Chompy. I'll miss Chompy :(

A complaint within the fandom is that too much emphasis is put on Yuko and Mayuyu and everyone else got shafted so they could get more screen time. Do I think this is true? Well... yeah. But the thing is, I'm surprisingly okay with it. It might be because I'm a fan of both Yuko and Mayuyu and they have such distinct personalities that they can carry a PV together. Does that mean the other girls don't have personalities? Of course not! And I thought it was cool how everyone sort of got to do their own thing in the PV. Mariko, Jurina, Sae, and Tomochin got to be robbers; Takamina and Umechan were lovely angels/fairies; Sasshi, Tomomi, and Harunyan were horror movie schoolgirls; Yui and Miichan were alien scouts(maybe?), and the top three Senbatsu members each got their own main storyline. Of those three storylines, I think my favorite was the horror movie storyline and not just because Mayuyu's the star. As a fan of horror movies and someone who's seen Ringu, Ju-on, and a few other famous J-horror films, I loved seeing AKB48 do their own little ode to that genre. It was funny and even slightly creepy at times and the captions were amusing and rode along with the campy feel of the entire PV. Another storyline I enjoyed much more than I thought I would was Yukirin's Godzilla storyline. I figured since I'm not much of a Yukirin fan I wouldn't really pay attention but then Chompy came in. I loved the animated giant monster and the ditzy approach Yukirin and her boyfriend took to the whole situation. I even laughed when she was innocently singing into a giant megaphone with the giant monster right behind her! And last but not least (hell, she's number 1) I really enjoyed Yuko's cops-in-love storyline; it was the perfect blend of action and cuteness. I always like the way Yuko acts in PVs; she's really quite a decent actress and can go from silly and playful to serious and dramatic. There's also the surprisingly well-done "gang/fight dance battle extravaganza" between two sides of the Senbatsu. I loved the West Side Story vibes I got from this and I found it blended really smoothly with the rest of the PV, something I wasn't expecting. I seriously didn't want this PV to end; it was just so well-done that I would almost say it was perfect. I literally don't think there was one thing I disliked about it other than the song.

But yep, underneath all that campiness and fun is still that generic song I so willingly struck down several paragraphs ago. One criticism you can make is that the only reason the PV has so much going on is to distract the viewers from the fact that the song itself stinks. But I don't see it that way. I think Gingham Check's PV has added on to the song and given it a new angle, much like Flying Get's PV did. And isn't that what a PV should do? Shouldn't it give you more than just what you listened to, turning the raw audio into a visual spectacle that stays in your mind long after you've heard the song and seen the video. The way I see it is you have songs like Beginner and Spring of Life which are already extremely good and their PVs only add on to the top-notch quality they are. And then you have songs like Gingham Check and Spending all my time which are mediocre songs that are improved when combined with memorable music videos that give substance to something that was once bland and generic. Through this musical metamorphosis, Gingham Check has become more than what I was originally presented with, and I'm astounded by the end result. So in layman's terms... you got me to care about Gingham Check, Aki-P. I hope you're happy in that pool of money you're most likely lounging in right now.

Go watch this. Even if you hate AKB48, go watch it. You might be surprised at what these Akibahara chicks can pull.