Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Enjoy Some Lovely Fruit in Mizuki Nana’s PV!

Wow. The lack of stuff I have to review is... nice! I just have two other PV reviews to finish! Most of the groups I write about have already released everything they're releasing for 2012 and right now I'm compiling those songs into my year-end post! Other than that I'm pretty much done with all my stuff for 2012. It's nice having so little to do! Well... I admit I feel a little empty with pretty much nothing to review. I guess I've gotten in the habit of always being ready to jump on whatever this idol or that idol is releasing next week so with nothing to look at I feel a little unproductive! So in this relatively uneventful month of December, I've decided to branch out and review an artist that I normally wouldn't write about. That artist in question? Mizuki Nana. 

Yep, the PV I'm reviewing today is not by an idol but an actual artist over the age of 25! While Nana definitely isn't an idol, I think if she had the chance to be one, she would jump on it in a heartbeat. A little background info on Nana: she's been in the entertainment business for over ten years as both a singer and a seiyuu. In fact, in 2010 and 2011 she was ranked as the top selling voice actress in Japan; she's also one of the few seiyuus to have a really successful music career. She's also the only seiyuu to have a single and an album top the Oricon charts and her singles tend to sell pretty decently. They're not AKB48 numbers or anything but the sales are usually around 60,000-80,000 copies; her highest selling-single sold around 103,000 copies! I have to say Mizuki Nana has become an artist that I follow almost as much as Perfume. Almost. Actually, I found out about Nana after I'd been listening to Perfume for a year or two but also before I'd really gotten into idols. It was around eighth grade and I came across one of her music videos on Youtube when copyright wasn't so heavily enforced on that website. The music video was Crystal Letter and its visuals were what really drew me in along with the song. But the best part was Nana's voice; to me, Mizuki Nana has one of the most beautiful voices in the J-pop industry. There's a reason I mentioned her voice in my post about lip-syncing; her voice just blows my mind it's so amazing. I think the reason I'm such a nitpick when it comes to vocal ability is because I was spoiled so early on with Nana's voice. I've been working hard to curve that habit but even now when I hear new idols sing I can't help but compare them to Nana. Anyways, I enjoy a lot of her music (especially her last album, Impact Exciter) and I've been waiting for Rockbound Neighbors even more eagerly than I waited for JPN back in 2011. What I've always loved about Nana is that she's very versatile when it comes to her music; she can pull off dark songs, electronic songs, idol-y songs, she has this impressive range of genres and an even more impressive voice to cover them with!

Now something that Nana always does for her albums is that she has a promotional song for it that usually gets a PV and is used to advertise the album. Impact Exciter had Mysterion, Ultimate Diamond has Etsuraku Camellia, Great Activity had Orchestral Fantasia, and Hybrid Universe had Zankou no Gaia. For Rockbound Neighbors the promotional song is Lovely Fruit. So to celebrate the album reaching such good first week sales on the chart, I decided to review the song in question! Lovely Fruit was actually one of the first new songs previewed from the album, being the ending to some television show in Japan. So does the song sound as fruity as the title suggests? No idea! I'm not sure how a "fruity" song sounds anyways! But this song does have the sound of Nana's cuter-type songs such as Discotheque, Cosmic Love, Party! Party! and the likes of that. Now Nana's "cute" songs have always been really hit or miss for me; I enjoy Cosmic Love but I'm not the hugest fan of Discotheque. I just really think that "epic" type songs where Nana can really show off her amazing voice are more impressive than cutesy songs that feel more like album filler. When I first heard the preview for Lovely Fruit, I wasn't that excited; I didn't hate the song or anything but there were other tracks I was waiting for previews to. Nana was using her higher-pitched, slightly squeakier voice in the snippet I heard and the tune was bouncy but overall I wasn't feeling it. So after I obtained the album and got to listen to the whole song, after several listens the song really grew on me! It's such a peppy song that I can't help but start feeling really happy when I listen to it! That's what I like about Nana's song; she has this way of making the listener feel a certain way depending on the tone of her voice. When she wants to make her listener happy, she sings in a happy voice; when she wants them to feel awe-inspired, she uses her epic voice. Nana has a lot of range and Lovely Fruit is just one of the many types of song styles that she can pull off effortlessly. Is Lovely Fruit the best she can do? No, but nevertheless it is an enjoyable song with a catchy chorus that puts me in a really good mood!

So would I have wanted another song from the Rockbound Neighbors album to be the promo song? Well, originally I would have said yes but I'd only heard the songs at that time. Watching the Lovely Fruit PV is what makes me happy that it was used to be the promo song!

So the video opens with Nana getting ready for... work? I thought she was a singer, not a waitress!

Oh god, I love retro electronics so much even though half the ones I find don't work.


Nana, can you even roller skate?

This Lovely Diner better serve some Lovely Fruit or I want my money back!

And after a bunch of adorable body shots we finally see our heroine...

...Nana the Waitress!!! Oh yeah, and the title.

Poor Nana. Roller skating is really hard by the way!

Nana, did you really expect your plan of taking a job as a roller-skating waitress would go swimmingly?

Nothing like some snazzy saxophone guys to spice up the already fun set!

Stay, burger. Don't you dare grow arms and legs and run away like the last three did!

Oh, I just know this is going to end in disaster...

Whoa kid! Watch where you put those hands!

And this is why waitresses don't wear roller skates anymore.

Oh, Nana, I forgive you for dropping the food and pulling a Kyary face!

Seriously, that's totally a Kyary face!

Ooh, Nana's in trouble...

GAH! I guess I'd be pretty scared too if that guy was my boss!

Look! He towers over her! Then again, Nana's pretty short but still! That's got to be intimidating!

I know, Nana! He didn't even give you a "You tried" sticker!

Hello, obligatory backup dancers! I actually think I like what they're wearing more than Nana's outfit...

So that's what Lovely Fruit is! Funny, I was thinking it would be actual fruit.

Ooh, is Nana going to eat the Lovely Fruit That Isn't Really Fruit and transform like Perfume did in Spice!?

Hey guys, if we have any of these left, you wanna just send them to some random artist who likes candy?

Nana's transforming with sparkles!? Oh no! Please don't let this turn into a sparklefest overload like One Two Three!!!

Just to give you a visual idea of how versatile Nana can be, here's a screenshot from her last album PV:

Pretty hardcore, huh?

Gosh, she's so adorable with her pigtails and waitress outfit and everything!

Wow, these two are a shockingly accurate portrayal of my own grandparents at dinner!

You! You pushed Nana and caused her to get in trouble!

You little brat! You won't even listen to your mom!? Shame on you! I hope you find a cockroach in your food!

So... did Nana just toss the Lovely Fruit and hope that it landed in their mouths and not on their foreheads or something?

Oh well, now they're all happy-go-lucky with creepy heart eyes! Yay!

Man, it's hard to believe she's 32 years old...

Sleeping on the job, huh? Well, I hope Nana replace you as manager!

[insert your Grease/West Side Story/Rebel Without a Cause reference here]

Away she goes to roller skate like a boss!

Am I the only one bothered that the Lovely Fruit is candy (that's probably not very healthy)?

Oh well, healthy or unhealthy I'd love candy that solves all my problems!

Remember: if you're having relationships problems, candy solves EVERYTHING!

Okay, kid, just because you add a carrot to your bowl of candy does not mean that'll make it healthy.

Maybe it's sugar free candy...

This is why I love Nana; she has such a likable on-screen presence!

I find small satisfaction that the mean boss doesn't get any Lovely Fruit... though that might put him in a better mood!

So the reason I decided to review Lovely Fruit's PV (besides having not much to review) is because there are a lot of elements in it that I can talk about! That's usually not the case with Nana's PVs. There's usually not much to talk about in her PVs other than the fact that they look pretty but Lovely Fruit is one of her few PVs to have a clear and definite storyline! And it's a pretty cute and fun little storyline too! Nana works as a waitress in the Lovely Diner but she's completely inept at her job. She falls down on her roller skates, is slow, drops stuff, you can't help but wonder where the other waitresses are to help her out! After dropping another person's food for what must be the tenth time that day, her scary boss berates her for being clumsy. So she eats some "Lovely Fruit" (aka candy) which turns her into the super-waitress via lots of sparkles! She then proceeds to make all the previously unhappy customers extremely happy by feeding them Lovely Fruit and they all live happily ever after at the retro Lovely Diner. Except the mean boss man. So yeah, the PV won't exactly win any awards but it still has a fun little story that matches the lighthearted fun the song has! What I like a lot about this PV is that it has a lot of different people and personalities in it from the old arguing couple to the bratty little kid to the love birds to Nana herself! It's fun to see everyone's interactions with each other intertwined into this odd and wacky little story about eating candy! And the set itself is so much fun to look at! I have a soft spot for retro things and I'm such a sucker for a fifties-style cafe it's not even funny! The PV is styled to be so cute but also really sleek and eye-catching through the use of bright girlish colors and retro-style costuming. Something that's always nice about Nana's PVs that they tend to have a good amount of budget put into them; they're not multi-million dollar extravaganzas but as someone who constantly screencaps and review PVs by UFP a PV with some budget is a refreshing thing to review!

Of course, Nana herself is what really makes the PV entertaining. Again, I really think that if Nana had the chance to become an idol, she would totally do it and I think she'd be totally successful at it! What I look for in idol PVs is an entertaining personality that keeps me interested in the singer; even if a PV has a cheap budget, it can still get brownie points from me if the idols in it have captivating personalities! Then again, she's been doing this for over ten years so performing is nothing new to her. This is also another reason why I like it when her happier songs get PVs; Cosmic Love and Discotheque are two of her happiest songs and they also got two of the best PVs she's done! There's always more charm and personality in Nana's fun PVs and Lovely Fruit definitely has a lot of charm and personality! I think Nana having fun is when she seems to sparkle the most and you get a lot of really entertaining facials and gestures from her that are absent in her more serious/artsy styled PVs. She does a great job playing a clumsy waitress and the reactions to everything else that happens around her are great! Happier-styled PVs are what Nana thrives on (although she does a great job in other styles too!). She looks like she's genuinely having a fun time making the PV and she looks adorable throughout it!

I'll give Lovely Fruit four out of five apples! The song isn't the best I've heard from Nana but it's enjoyable and the PV has a lot of character to it! And it was fun reviewing an artist I like that I don't really get the chance to talk about much on a blog that's focused on idols!

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