Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kyary Learns the Ways of the Ninja

Has a day really come when I like a Kyarypamyupamyu release better than a Perfume release? I'm afraid it has, readers. As much as I hate to admit it... I like Ninjari Bang Bang better than Mirai no Museum and that really makes me angry.

Wasn't Kyary releasing a single a month and a half ago? Is it really time to release yet another single after such a short period of time when I had to wait six months for Perfume's next single? I mean don't get me wrong, Ninjari Bang Bang kicks ass. Even the title of the song kicks ass. The song is awesome and I don't know why but the fact that it's awesome and Mirai no Museum was not has me miffed! I guess I'll just have to accept that Nakata's shiny new toy is no longer Perfume but that ain't gonna be easy for me. Well, I'm not a completely sore loser. I am happy that Kyary is getting good music and I'm happy that she's been able to carve a style and niche for herself since PonPonPon! Even if you don't like her music, I think anyone can appreciate that she does have a distinctly weird style influenced by Harajuku that translates well onto music videos. Her songs are usually pretty entertaining and mostly sugar sweet... but Ninjari Bang Bang is kind of an exception.

For me personally, Kyarypamyupamyu has always been the idol that I listen to when Perfume hasn't come out with anything new and I'm craving some technopop. Sure, her style is much cuter than Perfume's but you can definitely the influence of Nakata in each artist's songs. So... it's kind of like listening to Perfume? Agh, even I can't interpret my own logic! What I've noticed with Kyary's singles is that except for PonPonPon, they're all been pretty polarizing. Some people think her follow-up songs are awesometacular and a continuation of the cute style she presented in PonPonPon while others think her songs all sound the same and that she's just a one-trick pony. And then there's everyone in between but I won't elaborate much on them! Personally, I've always felt Kyary's songs are very hit-or-miss for me but for the most part, even the songs I'm not too fond of are still pretty likable. I guess I just accepted that much like Perfume is never releasing another edge, she is never going to release another PonPonPon. Now if only I could do the same thing with Perfume's edge...

So how does Ninjari Bang Bang hold up on the Kyary scale? In my opinion, Ninjari Bang Bang is an effing awesome song.

Maybe I'm just fond of a song that has the word "bang" in its title. What can I say? That's one of my favorite words! It's so much fun to say out loud! Anyways, Ninjari Bang Bang has many elements of your typical Kyary song in that it's pretty cutesy, the chorus is repetitive and insane catchy, and it's technopop at is most sugary. So if you're a fan of Kyary and enjoy that cuter style of technopop, this song is your utopia. Because while Ninjari Bang Bang is for the most part pretty typical when it comes to the vocals, the instrumental is where the song stands out. The opening build-up to the chorus is the best part of the song because the instrumental totally grabs you. It's like Nakata took traditional Japanese music (or at least the stereotype of it) and twisted it into this electro-fied style to fit Kyary's style and it works. I love the opening in this song and I totally can't wait until I can get my hands on the instrumental of Ninjari Bang Bang. Beyond the opening, the song also has other elements of that "typical" Japanese classical, particularly in the parts between the verses and chorus. There's even a few gong sounds thrown in at the end of the song!

The best way for me to describe the instrumental is the type of music you'd hear in a show like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Samurai Jack; hell, the song's title translates to "Ninja Bang Bang." Historically speaking, Japanese ninjas date back centuries ago (though their modern day interpretation is... very different from the historically accurate image). I think that's why I like Ninjari Bang Bang so much; it's a cute song but it's an interesting song to listen to because of the spin on that traditional Japanese music. Or the stereotype of traditional Japanese music because I'm more than certain that there's a lot more to it than just the musical style represented in this song. Unlike other Kyary songs, Ninjari Bang Bang is one of the... edgier songs in a sense but I'm speaking in terms of Kyary music. Edgy Kyarypamyupamyu music is cute Perfume music. Overall, Ninjari Bang Bang rocks and I secretly wish Mirai no Museum could have rocked as much as this song did.

You win this round, Kyary. But let me assure you, Perfume will be back to totally kick ass on whatever they release next! MWAHAHAHA- yeah, I'm getting carried away with this. Let's just look at the weird and out-there PV that I'm 100% certain that Ninjari Bang Bang has.

Well, I guess it wouldn't be a Kyary PV without some weird-ass imagery to start!

Kyary announces she's taking over the world with her giant pet koi and making it KAWAII!!!!

You know, if Kyary's supposed to a ninja I don't think that's the most subtle outfit to wear...

The fish agrees with me.

If Kyary can't take over the world with cute, she'll take it over through spraying PERFUME! Not the techno trio Perfume, real perfume!

Nothing more fun than striking a ninja pose in midair!

Is this jump reminding anyone else of the PonPonPon jump?

Yeah, I hope you like green screens because in case you haven't noticed yet, this is pretty much what the PV consists of.

Nice hairdo, it's a cool combination of traditional and kawaii.

So I guess the green-screen robots are substituting as backup dancers... I think I miss the live-action ones.

Oh hey, I've seen this effect before... the simpler but totally effing awesome Computer City using real people instead of green screen robots!

I think Kyary would probably kick ass in a game of Ninja!

Well that's not creepy at all.

Watch out Kyary! A little higher and that giant blast would have hurt!

Okay, the green screen in this shot is actually pretty cool.

I took A-chan's rocket from Mirai no Museum and gave it an upgrade, BITCHES!

Nice to know that defeating evil robot heads can be done with violence! Wonderful, kawaii violence!

Now Kyary can get back to her ninja dance!

Rawr, fear the mighty hand-puppet!

Perfume's not gonna shoot me with a laser beam for getting a better song than them, right?

Yeah, PonPonPon had a trippier close-up than this PV does.

Kyary's gonna take you down in the air, ninja style.

Along with her army of ninja-bots!

Kyary, I think you need to lay off the drugs; the bench is not an instrument.

Kyarypamyupamyu: so powerful she can slice the moon. THE MOON!!!!!!!!

Being this kawaii is exhausting. Naptime!

Kyary's watching you...

Oh, I always feel like there's at least one awesome facial expression in every Kyary PV!

Kyary plays that bench like Beethoven played the piano!


And Kyary finally passes out after a hard day of learning to be a kawaii ninja. The end!

Well. That was surprisingly simplistic for a Kyary PV. Compared to other PVs by other artists, it's still pretty out there but I was surprised at how little there was to offer. Like... I'm not sure how to put this... there wasn't as much stuff going on in this PV that I've seen in her other PVs. Like PonPonPon and Fashion Monster and Tsukema Tsukeru all offered eye-catching visuals left and right and new stuff popped up in each shot. With Ninjari Bang Bang, you're pretty much presented with four different scenes: the opening where Kyary rides a fish, the bits where she dances with the robots, the kimono shots, and the bit where she defeats the giant robot head from hell. I know that sounds like a lot but half of these scenes don't even take up that much of the PV and you're mostly stuck with the dancing and "ninja" shots and the kimono scenes. And while at first both those scenes are pretty eye-popping with the use of bright colors, they feel a little bit repetitive after awhile, particularly the kimono scenes.

I wouldn't say I got completely bored with the PV but I was surprised at how little the PV had to offer by Kyary standards in terms of visual variety. Something else I feel that both helped and hurt the PV was the use of green screens. There were parts where it felt pretty cool, like the brief fight scene between Kyary and the robot head, and then other parts where it felt kind of forced like the dance scenes. The green screen used in the PV isn't very elaborate and clearly isn't meant to be realistic but more simplistic and cartoonish. When I re-watched the PV paying more attention to the green screens do you know what I was reminded of? Samurai Jack. For you whipper snappers who don't remember this, Samurai Jack was a brilliantly animated kids show about a samurai named, you guessed it, Jack! If you want to know more, watch the damn show because it's effing awesome. But the visual style of Ninjari Bang Bang felt like a much cuter and girlier version of the animation for Samurai Jack in that both use more simplistic animation. Honestly I think the animation works better in Samurai Jack though...

Anyways, beyond the visuals, what about the concept of the PV? After all, this isn't an H!P PV I'm reviewing; Kyary's PVs always have come kind of concept ranging from coming of age to Halloween to expressing that it's okay to be weird and stuff. Well... the song is called Ninjari Bang Bang; I think you and I both know what concept this PV was going for! It's pretty obvious by the ninja-styled outfit Kyary is wearing along with the sword and the numerous amount of ninja poses she makes! I mean seriously, left and right Kyary was jumping in the air and striking ninja poses; it looked really cool! It also made me wonder how she was able to do that since jumping and posing in the air isn't anywhere near as easy as it looks. Maybe she had a trampoline! I don't know but I thought it looked pretty cool. I don't think real-life ninjas dressed anywhere near as adorably as Kyary did in this PV but the imagery presented in the PV is highly reminiscent of your stereotypical ninja. And the kimono scenes also feel like a reference to more traditional imagery, especially by the way Kyary poses with the pillow and little armrest bench thingy!

So while I do like the concept of ninjas and how Ninjari Bang Bang explored it, I feel like the PV only went through it halfway and could have done a lot more. My favorite scene in the Ninjari Bang Bang PV was the battle between Kyary and the robot head but I feel like that was way too short, especially since that head was terrifying to look at. Why not spend the whole PV revolving around Kyary's preparation to battle against the head? Like she goes from being a damsel wearing a kimono at the beginning of the PV but as the video progresses, she trains and learns the ways of a ninja. And at the end of the PV, she has a huge epic battle with the robot head that is won through her mastery of the ways of the ninja. Instead, Kyary defeated the monster head in like two seconds with a giant machine gun. So overall... Ninjari Bang Bang is an okay PV but it could have been better and crazier, especially when it came to the ninja concept. In total, I think I can give this song and PV...

...four out of five apples! Ninjari Bang Bang is a pretty awesome song (if not a little repetitive at times) and I enjoyed the instrumental in particular. The PV is very hit-or-miss and while some parts are really fun to look at, I could have done without some other scenes in the PV and I think the ninja concept could have been explored further. But overall, I think Ninjari Bang Bang is a pretty solid release from Kyary! If only I could have said the same thing about Mirai no Museum...


  1. It's a nice song! I heard it when she had her concert in my hometown but I still think Furisodeshon has more of an impact to me.

    1. I think Furisodeshon definitely had a better concept to it (the idea of turning 20, growing up) but Ninjari Bang Bang is still pretty decent! It must have been cool to hear it live!