Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Doraemon + Perfume = Mirai no Museum

You know, Perfumania is kind of like Christmas in that it's totally awesome but can't last forever. And now Perfumania is yet again coming to an end as I review Mirai no Museum in its entirety. You know the drill by now and today not only do I get to take another look at Mirai no Museum as a song but I also finally get to review the elusive B-side, Daijobanai! Something Perfume always does a really good job at is keeping their B-sides hidden, especially the ones not used in tie-ins. I haven't heard a single bit of Daijobanai and the only thing I know about it is that it's apparently supposed to showcase Perfume's "cool" side. But we'll talk about that song in a few paragraphs! I'm just happy that Perfume has come out with another single especially since Spending all my time was released six months ago. I know Perfume was busy being Perfume and all, but that's still a long time to go between singles! My hope is that we won't have to wait quite as long for whatever they release next! Who knows? Maybe an album is in Perfume's future... after, all they've released three singles now. It's a pretty appropriate time for an album. Oh well, we'll talk about that when the time comes. For now let's take a look at the highly divisive Mirai no Museum!


I think the outfits for Mirai no Museum are absolutely adorable! There's nothing more fun than detective style outfits and like everything else they wear, Perfume makes it look awesome! The outfits relate to Doraemon but still look flattering and show off Perfume glorious legs. The Regular Edition of this single just shows Perfume posing in those outfits surrounded by comic-style speech bubbles. It's a cute cover and everything, but I've seen better from Perfume. Now as for the Limited Edition... I'm kind of split down the middle about it. You can see the Limited Edition in my PV review of Mirai no Museum, but it's basically the same pose as Regular only the girls are animated Doraemon-style. In fact, the Limited Edition is set up to look more like a manga cover, with a serial number and a highly cartoonish font and design. And since in the PV, the cover of the Limited is presented as a manga... maybe that's what that edition consists of! I'd kind of thought that Limited would be a slipcase and have the shot from the Regular Edition beneath the cartoon-styled cover but who knows? Maybe it's a booklet that shows that story from the PV! I'm not going to be ordering the physical copy of this single any time soon but that would be pretty cool! 

Now regardless of physical content, how does the art itself of the cover hold up? Well, you can't deny that it is a creative variant to the typical Perfume single cover considering they've never had an cartoon-y image for a cover! But just because it's creative doesn't mean that I have to like it. I think how much you like the art on Limited Edition depends on how much you like the animation art of Doraemon. Personally, from what I've seen of Doraemon art, it looks okay, very childishly styled and simple. It's not the worst animation I've ever seen but definitely not my favorite either and I don't really like seeing cartoon-ified Perfume, at least not like this. Oh don't get me wrong, there are some effing good drawings of Perfume; just look at these. I'm not a huge fan of the overly simplistic style of art for Perfume because it looks incredibly childish and immature for them. If it were for another group, I might like it but for a group like Perfume, Limited Edition's art does not work for them.

Mirai no Museum

Ah, here it is, the Perfume song that split the fandom right down the middle... again. No, I'm not talking about Spending all my time for this review but Mirai no Museum. You might as well call it the Doraemon Song because that's pretty much the only reason this song was made. I'm not even exaggerating; this song is literally a product of Perfume's tie-in to the upcoming Doraemon movie. For those of you who are unclear about what I'm talking about, back in November, Perfume announced they were providing a song for popular children's icon Doraemon and the song would be used not only in his upcoming movie but also as the temporary ending of his show. Now I think I can speak for most fans in saying that this really caught me off guard; Perfume was going from promoting adult drinks to promoting a kid's mascot? It just seemed like a weird move from management but since Doraemon is apparently a pretty big deal in Japan (and Asia as well) I guess turning down the offer would be foolish. But how did the tie-in affect the song? After all, Perfume's had some pretty kickass tie-in songs; just look at Hurly Burly, Natural ni Koishite, Laser Beam and Polyrhythm. Maybe Mirai no Museum would be a tie-in song that would not only work with the Doraemon film but stand on its own as a good and interesting Perfume song! Right? Right!? Ahahaha, no. A lot of fans don't like this song and call it a brainless sellout that bends to the childish nature of the Doraemon franchise. And I do agree with them in saying that this is a childish song that fits with Doraemon and it's definitely not Perfume's best. But I don't think it's their worst either. Mirai no Museum is a song that I kind of like, despite its blandness. It's not my favorite but I've found myself humming it on several occasions. I like the instrumental the most in this song, particularly the brief bridge when the song sounds less idol-y and actually starts sounding like more of a technopop song. Then it just goes back to cutesy idol music. I think the best way to describe Mirai no Museum is that it's a harmless song. Not excellent but not terrible either.

Now what about the PV? I reviewed the entire PV separately so I won't go into too much detail about what I liked and disliked about it. I think the best way for me to sum up the PV is that it is a perfect music video for Doraemon. It incorporates a lot of different Doraemon references such as the time travel plot, a museum, even the animation style is the same as Doraemon. You heard me, the Mirai no Museum PV is animated... well, parts of it are. The beginning part is completely and totally animated but then Perfume and the P-ta character are live-action, just incorporated into a cartoon set. And how much you like the Doraemon animation will greatly factor how much you like the PV. Personally, I think it's okay. The PV reminds me of Vitamin Drop, the only other Perfume PV that's animated (and again, that was partly animated). The use of black and white also gives me a lot of Love the world vibes but Mirai no Museum is a lot less artsy than that PV. I guess it is a nice combination of monochrome and cartoonish imagery but even then, this isn't really my favorite Perfume PV in the world. It does have a very clear storyline that kids can easily follow and even a cute little message at the end (face your fears or your future is going to suck). But even then, I feel like this PV was geared more toward kids like the song. The art is very kid-friendly along with the story. Speaking of the story, it's pretty much the same as Back to the Future. Character lives a crapsack life, other characters go back in time and intervene in that character's past, and then the character's future is changed into a better one. Sure, the more details you add to the film and this PV, the more they sound different but at its core, Mirai no Museum is Back to the Future with Perfume. Then again, time travel isn't a new concept in music videos and the plot was handled well. Once I knew what the speech bubbles said, I was able to follow the PV easily and I think kids will too. Mirai no Museum's PV isn't the best of one of Perfume's most creative but as far as PVs go, it's pretty decent.

Overall, I'd give Mirai no Museum three out of five apples. I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as most fans think it is but it'll never be my favorite song either. It's just a nice-sounding, somewhat bland song that was made for a kid's movie. The minute I heard this song was being made for Doraemon, I kind of knew it wouldn't turn out to be the greatest Perfume song I'd ever heard.


Here it is! The B-side that is going to redeem all the blandness of the A-side, right? Right!? Well, that's what all the Perfume fans were hoping for, myself included. I'd really hoped that Daijobanai would be a song that would be a contrast from Mirai no Museum, something cooler and edgier. After all, Perfume said it was supposed to show off the "cool" side of their music. Well, after listening to the full B-side, I can say that this song is about as cool as a habaƱero pepper. I mean... I'm not sure what to make of Daijobanai. Part of me wants to join in with the rest of the Perfume fans and proclaim that this B-side is totally flipping awesome and makes up for all the problems Mirai no Museum has. But in my opinion... Daijobanai's got problems of its own, enough problems to prevent me from really going crazy with this song.I didn't have the same reaction to Daijobanai that I did to Hurly Burly or Point but on the plus side, it's not as bad as Communication. I will say, the song does kind of have a Communication feel to it, if Communication injected a shot of heroine and inhale a box of cocaine. The song is really fast and I think that's the biggest flaw Daijobanai has: it's too fast. I was kind of dismayed when I found out this song would only be 3 minutes long but I decided to keep an open mind because short songs aren't always bad songs! But I think what would have helped Daijobanai is if the song was longer and the tempo was slowed down just a bit. I can't believe I'm saying this but Daijobanai is too energetic, to the point where it sounds like the song is going crazy. In fact, Daijobanai feels like the musical equivalent of a mental breakdown. The lyrics are basically the constant repetition of "Are you okay? I'm not okay." and the song feels very frantic and rushed. The song is very different from Perfume's discography and it does have a slightly harder sound but the musical choices made in Daijobanai are very hit-or-miss. It sounds like a bunch of different Perfume songs crammed into a song that's way too short.

I'm not okay with doing this (see what I did there?) but I have to give Daijobanai 3.5 apples out of 5. While it is a very different Perfume song, different doesn't always mean better. I feel like the song has a chance to grow on me if a longer remix is made (because this song is screaming to be remixed). As for now, I do like parts of it but overall, Daijobanai's just a little too fast and a little too neurotic for me to really get into it.

The Verdict

Wow, talk about a bummer single. I know I ranted and raged about Spending all my time but I at least enjoyed the B-sides on that single. With this single in terms of music, Mirai no Museum is underwhelming and Daijobanai is overwhelming. The A-side is a pretty safe and childish song, which fits the nature of the Doraemon franchise. But overall, the song feels less like a product of Perfume and more like a product of Doraemon. I'm know, it's a highly prestigious franchise and they'd be fools to turn down an offer but musically, Mirai no Museum is a pretty generic song. If you're a kid, I think you'll like it but if you're an older Perfume fan, you probably won't enjoy it that much. Personally, I think it's a decent song but even I can acknowledge it's one of the weaker A-sides of Perfume's discography. The much-anticipated Daijobanai fell flat in terms of execution for me although I do acknowledge that it's more interesting than Mirai no Museum.

So as much as I hate to do this, I can only give Mirai no Museum three out of five apples. It's not a terrible single, but Perfume's done better and I want to hear better. For now, I'm crossing my fingers that an album announcement is near, especially so we won't get another JPN-style album with single overload.

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