Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Decent Song and a Shitload of Instagram Keep S/mileage's New PV Interesting

Poor S/mileage.

2012 has really not been their year. They started off losing two valuable members and having to deal with 4 newbs. They released Chotto Matte Kudasai, an okay single but nothing up to par with their older discography. Then they released Dot Bikini and do you know how dull that was? I didn't even have the heart to review Dot Bikini because it was such a major disappointment to me. And now here they are. A lot of fans have gone and jumped ship and I'll admit I've been standing on the metaphorical deck of the SSS/mileage considering the same thing lately. My biggest criticism with the group as of recently is the lineup. The original lineup was flawless. And I'm not saying that as some "KEEP THE ORIGINALS!!!" S/mileage-purist because it's just true for me. Dawa, Yuuka, Kanon, and Saki all had great chemistry, their performances were strong, they had a gimmick that made them stand out from other groups in H!P, and they carried this youthful, fun style with their music that wasn't too much but just enough to make them entertaining. Then Saki graduated left and the group was dumped with 5 new members. Then Yuuka graduated shortly after and what do we have now? Four newbs and two originals all awkwardly shoved into one group. And the formula just hasn't been working for them. Line distribution's been awful compared to 4-nin S/mileage, their latest two singles have been too cute and generic to be memorable, and it's just... not working for new S/mileage. If I could travel back in time and show Saki and Yuuka how the group would turn out without them, do you think that would convince them to stay? Ugh, I'll never know.

And so that brings me to the latest chapter in the not-so-Shakespearean tragedy of S/mileage: Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki. A concert preview of this song was released before the radio rip but since I can't hear worth shit in those concert rips, I gave up and decided to wait for a radio rip. Before I heard it, the song had been described as something similar to Yume Miru 15. Well okay then! I love Yume Miru 15, did the new S/mileage pull off an equally impressive song? Well... yes and no. Yes because it's miles better than their past 2 singles and no because I still think Yume Miru 15 is much better. But that doesn't mean this song is bad! Far from it, Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki is the the most interesting thing S/mileage has released all year. For one thing, it's the most serious single we've heard from them since Yume Miru 15. And for a mature single, S/mileage pulls it off pretty well. The instrumental is similar to Uchouten LOVE just a lot more toned down and serious. Once again, that works with the song not against it. The chorus is still mostly upbeat which is nice. Everything about this song is just handled well from the chorus to the verses to the instrumental and for once I found myself being able to remember this song after just one listen! And there's energy. So much energy! It's the most energetic I've heard new S/mileage sound. There's energy behind the vocals and the delivery is what makes this song stand out. Sure, everyone except Kanon and Take pretty much can't sing but you can tell everyone's really trying. Speaking of vocals, I was pleasantly surprised that both Rina and Kana didn't get shafted this time! Especially Rina because she actually has one of the better voices of the newbs. Some parts of the song she even sounds better than Take! Kana sounds like Kana but I'm just happy that everyone gets some solos in the song. I'm always a fan of equal line distribution. Take note, Morning Musume. Seriously, I'm sick of RiDOS and Reina. 

Anyways... enough about Morning Musume. I'm here to review S/mileage and their PV of redemption!

What a lovely chandelier to open the PV with!

But it's been done in Aa, Yoru ga Akeru.

Oh no. I know that filter. It can't be...

NO! Not Instagram!

Well, at least UFA had enough budget to buy them a decent set.

Nothing like some boob-popping to add to the dance!

Kana must be daydreaming about gorillas...

Meanwhile, I have no idea what the hell Kanon's thinking.

Dawa, it's times like these you frighten me. Please smile again.

Can it be? Rina gets lines? Oh happy day, there's hope for S/mileage again!

MEIMI! Even in ugly beige closeups you still look and sound cute as a button!

Even under Instagram filters and looking all pouty you look adorable!

Take totally owns this dance

And I really love the outfits! They remind me of old S/mileage!

I really don't see why everyone says Rina's ugly. I think she's rather adorable!

Kanon, positioned in her rightful center spot. But I still miss Yuuka and Saki.

Kanon looks lovely here but I love the can-can kicks everyone else is doing in the background!

Dawa looks a little less creepy in these close-ups than the stills

How much you wanna bet she saw a huge, hairy spider in the corner of the room and she's too scared to tell the director?

These are okay lips shots...

But Rocky Horror would definitely win.

I'm happy Kana gets lines, but I really don't like her voice... well, at least she's trying!

Lighten up, people!

Another cool dance move that highlights the lyrics of the song!

Actually, this whole dance is the most polished I've seen from S/mileage in a long time!

Gratuitous leg shot much?

What's with all the glaring light in these close-ups?

And Take's working it again...

Finish us out, Rina!

One last snazzy pose, and the PV is done!

Okay, you know the drill. It's UFA. Of course the PV was cheap. However, for the most part it was tastefully cheap! I was actually rather impressed with the direction they'd taken for this PV considering what a disaster of cheapness Dot Bikini turned out to be. There weren't many shots, but for the shots that the director did chose to use, they were pretty nice. I love/hate the Instagram filters put on some of the shots but even though it looks a little desperate at time, it's still creative which I always like to see! The lighting was good and reflected the tone of the song and the setting for the dance shot was pretty! Not as good as Kiss Me Aishiteru but better than One Two Three. The dance itself was very strong, probably some of the best I've seen from new S/mileage. It wasn't awkward and I think the choreography was flattering and didn't try anything too weird, a decision which in the end worked out for the better. If the dance for this PV sucked then the PV itself would be pretty craptastic since over half the video is just different angles of the dance. While I'm on flattering things, the costumes were miles better than Dot Bikini and Chotto Matte Kudasai! They reminded me of the old S/mileage's outfits, kinda uniform-y but funky and having their own flair to them! They made everyone look good! Speaking of the members, they all did a pretty decent job on camera. Everyone looks more comfortable than their last few times, especially Take. She really works the dance! Kanon's perfect as usual and Meimi's always the adorable ball of crack she is (though she's surprisingly subdued in this PV). Rina seems a little more comfortable too, and honestly why the hell do I keep finding comments around the Internet of how ugly she looks? Shouldn't we be paying more attention to, say, her vocals? Or her skills as a dancer? Or her personality? I don't know, I get rather pissed off when people start bashing her looks; it's just mean. They're criticizing something she has little to no control over and it really miffs me. Anyways, I may write about that further in another post but back on topic! 

So yeah, the PV's pretty good despite the cheapness. Something that is missing though it the usual quirky weirdness we get from S/mileage. Yep, no Hitler-staches, Tsuji Nozomi cameos, traumatic haircuts, or creepy pigs in this PV. I admit despite being messy, Dot Bikini was still pretty quirky. But Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki is just a bunch of pretty shots and doesn't really give much of an opportunity for the girls' personalities to shine like usual. Then again, I don't really mind so much but maybe that's because I' m easily distracted by pretty things and Instagram. The only thing I really can't stand are those ugly, beige-tinted close-ups. Everything about them just doesn't fit with the rest of the PV. The dance shot is very dark and moody, but also a little bright along with the still shots of them staring into space. And then... BAM! Beige-tinted close-ups. How I loathe them. They're not terrible it's just compared with the rest of the lighting it's like the little amount of OCD I have buried in the back of my head emerges and wants to bash those close-ups with a baseball bat. Well, not really. Not to mention that really annoying glare they have in the corner, like the camera got distracted by a little beam of light while they were shooting the close-ups. It's just distracting, not tasteful! I guess it's not much of a complaint but it's still a complaint I feel the need to make! The close-ups are meant to feature the girls in a flattering way that appeals to the wotas. These just make everyone look awkward. And beige. Very beige. It's a small nitpick but enough for me to write a whole freaking paragraph about. Overall, this really is a decent PV albeit cheap and not very creative. The thing that makes it better than say, Dot Bikini despite both PVs probably having the same budget, is the song distracts me from the cheapness. Dot Bikini had weird dancing and a forgettable song. See the difference?

So congratulations, S/mileage. You just might be on the road to redemption if UFA doesn't fuck up your next single. I'll be waiting.


  1. It's weird how our posts are rather similar in what we say (like telling UFA not to fuck it up, the horrible lighting for the solo shots, and the lack of quirkyness) I mean, I held off reading your review until I finished mine...


    1. WHOA! I just read your post and you're right! It's like we have ESPN or something!