First of all, yes, I know it's still September. But when the Halloween PVs start coming out, I feel inclined to change my wallpaper and background! So let's review the first lovely Halloween PV!
There are many words you can use describe Kyarypamyupamyu depending on how much you like or hate her. Personally, I find her to be a compelling person with a standout fashion sense with questionable vocal ability working with the same guy who composes music for the group that bedecks this very blog. But before I even begin get into this single, I feel inclined to point something out about Kyarypamyupamyu's music. There will never be another PonPonPon. I am getting so sick of every time she releases something new and everyone else is complaining about how it's nowhere near as good as PonPonPon. Do you want to know why her follow-ups aren't as good as PonPonPon? Because that song was one of a kind! It was such a unique and perfect blend of quirkiness and cuteness that I think it would be a miracle if Nakata were able to duplicate the perfection of it. But he hasn't and he most likely never will so you can either pine for PonPonPon Version 2.0 or move on and accept the cold, hard truth. Like I did. Not that it took me several months or anything crazy like that! And I don't even want another PonPonPon; I want another song that reaches the same level of quality that song had, but I don't want a solid replica of that song. So the big question is: does Fashion Monster match up to the amazingness of PonPonPon?
Well... kinda? I like it better than Tsukema Tsukeru but not as much as I liked Candy Candy. The biggest problem I have with the song is the vocals. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem since this is a Kyary song and her songs are always filled with vocoders and Autotune to mask her weak voice. And just like Perfume, I don't mind; the vocoders are used for musical purposes, not an attempt to conceal a bad voice. One of the things I noticed in the beginning was how much more raw her voice sounded than in her past songs (less voice editing seems to be a thing Nakata's enjoying lately...). And I'm not sure I like that so much. The chorus is really high, especially for someone with a weak voice, and at times Kyary almost sounds like a Vocaloid. I can't take much of Vocaloid and hearing that chorus over and over is a little jarring. It's too weird to be a Perfume song but it's too normal to sound like a Kyary song. Does that even make sense? Don't get me wrong, it has that same quirky weirdness of Kyary's past songs but for some reason it feels much more normal. That isn't exactly a bad thing but it's like... say I know this guy who wears a banana suit every day. On my way to school, I look out the window and see this guy proudly walking down the street in his glorious banana suit and over time, I grow used to the oddness of the scenario. Then one day he walks down the street wearing a t-shirt and jeans. It's an odd whiplash from the constant weirdness I'd grow accustomed to over time.
But it's really not a bad song despite the fact that it sounds like I dislike it based on that last paragraph. I like it a lot because the strong points of the song thankfully overshadows the small amount of flaws. Is it PonPonPon? No, and that's what I love about it. Fashion Monster has the same quirkiness Kyary's singles always bring to the table while still standing out as its own song. I'd actually really like to hear the instrumental to this song because what I can hear of it sounds compelling and Nakata's instrumentals always impress me, sometimes even moreso than the song. Fashion Monster is much darker (and I say that very loosely) for a Kyary song; it's a little bit harder than Candy Candy or PonPonPon but it still maintains the cute quirkiness her music has. I can easily rock out to this song and I'll probably be blasting it from my iPod on Halloween. Overall, it has the Kyary style I know and love but still stands as a unique song apart from her previous singles. It has a few minor flaws but it's fun song and a great song to be released in October!
But the best part about Kyarypamyupamyu is the incredibly weird, trippy PVs that accompany her songs. So is the Fashion Monster PV as fashionably monstrous as it sounds?
A long time ago in a castle far, far away...
...there lived the world's most horrifying Smiley Face.
I love this hairstyle. It makes me envy the hair styling talent some people have.
Oh hi, kanji! There's a lot of it in this video and this is pretty much the only kanji I can interpret. Mainly because it's the title.
I can't decide if this red-eyed ram is adorable or from hell. Probably both.
Just another day in the life of Kyarypamyupamyu!
Cousin It? Aren't you supposed to be hanging out with the Addams family or something?
What is are these, Halloween Christmas presents... that float? What's in there? Birds?
Cool costume but I'm more interested in the kickass, steampunk instrument!
You don't say. Well, Kyary, who still has light-up dresses? WE DO!
Excuse me while I go hide scared shitless under my couch.
I was actually really interested to see what direction they were going to take this PV in since it's centered around Halloween. I was thinking it would be a rather silly but fun video with humorous references to Halloween. But it turns out it's more of a Gothic PV, Kyarypamyupamyu style! The best thing about this PV is the sheer imagery of everything. There's only one set (well... two if you count the castle) but there so much detail put into it. Like the stuff adorning the walls (like that creepy red-eyed ram) and the floating objects such as the presents and the lamps. The whole room is exactly like an old house you'd see in one of those creepy haunted house movies from the 30s or 40s (think The Haunting or even Psycho if you want to stretch it). With all the special effects added on top of that, there's always something new I catch every time I watch this PV. And that's just the set; the people that occupy the space only add to the elaborate nature of the video. It's like every monster stereotype has been mashed (or should I say monster-mashed?) into the PV to make up this monster posse that doubles as a band. Normally that concept would be ridiculously stupid but in this video it's a lot of fun to watch. The makeup and costuming are just as well-done as the set and each person stands out, not just Kyary herself. By the way, I really love her costume in this PV mainly because of that bat-shit crazy hair! And the steampunk/Gothic instruments are really neat; if I only I were artistic enough to replicate them... Not only is the PV great to look at it but there's also a scene where this samurai guy with an oddly shaped cranium cuts down these kanji phrases with a sword. That interested me not just because it was odd but I was certain there was some sort of meaning behind it. So I did some digging around and I found what I hope is an accurate translation of said phrases:
"If you can't say it's fun when it you feel so, it gets boring, doesn't it?"
"I hate to be ruled by others."
"I want to stay selfish and excited."
"I want to take off my iron necklace to be free."
"I wanna destroy the small cage in my mind to be free."
I really hope those are correct and Youtube isn't lying to me because when has it ever? Even so, I'm pretty sure the kanji is still somewhere along the lines of freely thinking and not being afraid of what others think of you. I like that message, I like it a lot! Sure, she tends to convey that message a lot but you know what? It's a good message! I like that there's a popular idol out there who isn't singing about love or doing your best but being yourself! And I like the way it's taken in the PV, as if she's releasing her mind from the constraints of how people want her to act in real life. And maybe that's what this is: maybe it's a look inside the mind of Kyarypamyupamyu! That just so happens to be Halloween-themed. I might need to rework this theory... As for Kyary herself, she's just as charming as she is in all her other PVs. But this time it feels like there's less focus on her and more on the entire scene that she just so happens to be a part of. I love her facials as always and she only adds to the interest of the PV. Overall, the PV is what really makes the song shine; it has so much going on yet it all harmonizes together and isn't messily done. The set and costumes are amazing and effects are good too (save for that scary-as-hell CGI monster... smiley face... blob...thing...). If you like Halloween as much as I do, then you'll dig this PV and naturally if you're a Kyary fan, then I think you'll enjoy this too! It's a fun PV that can even be a little creepy at times and I think it's the perfect way to kick off the start of the month of Halloween!