Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let's All Be Yattaruchans!

Hmmm... which PV review to take on first... the happy-go-lucky wackfest that is Yattaruchan or the melancholic and gritty darkness of DiE. Eh, I'm not in the mood to write a serious review at the moment... Yattaruchan it is!

Oh, and let me take this moment to let all you lovely people who read my posts on the Wonderland that my Hello! Project PV reviews are going to come a little bit later than they have in the past. And no, it's not just because I'm being a lazy shit (though I have been highly lazy lately), it's mainly because of those goddamn subtitles that are slapped onto all H!P PVs released on each group's official Youtube channel. I'm sorry, but I refuse to screencap PVs with those annoying, poorly translated subtitles getting in the way. Nonetheless, there are still H!P PVs that I will review... it's just going to take me longer to get the reviews out. Mainly because I'll have to wait until the PV is re-released under another domain such as Space Shower or M-ON!  and the PV is leaked into a DL link that I can download. Or until comes back up but who knows when that's going to happen. In short, finding suitable H!P PVs to screencap is going to be a lot more complicated and tedious from now on, but I will not let these dastardly subtitles hinder me from doing so! But I will say that the time in which I release PV reviews for H!P media from now on is going to be somewhat.. later. Well okay, later than usual because I always procrastinate when it comes to writing reviews but you get what I mean! For instance, C-ute's latest PVs for Kanashiki Amefuri and Adam to Eve no Dilemma are both on my mental list to review, but I won't be able to release either review until the PVs are leaked under a different, subtitles-less domain? Kapeesh? That being said, let's talk about S/mileage.

Some of you might not be aware of this, but I've been in somewhat of a rut with S/mileage lately. Well, all right, I've been in a rut with S/mileage for a long time now, but only now have I finally started to acknowledge it. Unlike most ruts, in which I can't really specify a certain date in which said rut began, I can pretty clearly pinpoint when my rut with S/mileage began to form. Ogawa Saki's graduation. Back in 2011, a lot of you probably remember the graduations of Ogawa Saki and Maeda Yuuka rocking the idolsphere, along with the addition of new members to S/mileage. Some fans were heatedly against the lineup changes to a group that had been the ensemble darkhorse for Hello! Project whilst others tried to embrace the change with more optimism. Personally, I was leaning towards the former group of fans than the latter. What? S/mileage had been very quickly growing on me as a group, and the fact that they were doing a 180 in terms of lineup after I had just barely gotten into them rubbed me off the wrong way. Still, I decided to try and keep an open mind and see if the new member dynamic would work for S/mileage. After all, groups like Morning Musume and AKB48 thrived on changing lineups so why not S/mileage? Well, several months went by, and in those several months, I began to realize that the S/mileage I had been following was... different. And not necessarily in a good way. Look, I hate to be one of those purists in the idolsphere who resents change, who hisses at any possible alteration in the monotony of an idol group. I know that change has to happen in order for an idol group to evolve and move forward. But in the case of S/mileage, I felt like the changes made to the group sent them back instead of forward. The songs ranged from bland (Chotto Matte Kudasai) to awkward (Dot Bikini) to downright un-S/mileage sounding (Samui ne), and the group chemistry that had made 4nin S/mileage work so well as a group was no longer present. I didn't even have the motivation to review Tabidachi Haru ga Kita because I was just so bored with S/mileage.

Well, Yattaruchan seems to be a song that is intent on getting me to care about S/mileage again.

I mean... wow. Did I wake up back in 2011? It's like someone pulled out a defibrillator and revived S/mileage back into the adorable, quirky idol group I got into! Yattaruchan is a freaking awesome song. This is the sound I was missing from S/mileage! That enthusiasm; this is a song with boundless amounts of enthusiasm along with a ton of charm. It sounds like the songs that made me get into S/mileage while still retaining its own quirks. I really wasn't expecting much from S/mileage's next single but Yattaruchan is such a pleasant surprise, and so refreshing compared to the more serious songs the group has been getting lately. It's a childish, peppy, upbeat song and what I love is that it's done really well. Like the vocals work (even though the distribution's pretty uneven), the instrumental works, and the arrangement works. I actually noticed that the arrangement of Yattaruchan is slightly different from your average H!P song. There are two choruses instead of three, and there's a nice balance of vocals and talking bits from Kana. Speaking of which, the fact that Kana gets focus in a S/mileage song is freaking awesome. She and Rina tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to vocals in S/mileage's music, but I'd venture to say that Yattaruchan is a song that's pretty much centered around Kana. While she doesn't sing much in the song (the vocals are mainly handled by Akari and Kanon), her monologue bits are done extremely well. I actually like her talking better because she's not exactly a very strong singer. And her bits are memorable. Even though Kana's talking in a different language, her voice is still very strong and very engaging. Her parts are my favorite bits of Yattaruchan and really are what make me enjoy the song so much. The message of sticking at things and not giving in Yattaruchan is also nice, even if it's not that original. The lyrics are cute enough and only add to the song's cuteness. Overall, I am more than pleased with the first A-side of S/mileage's latest single, and I haven't felt this positive about a S/mileage song for a long time. Yattaruchan is fun, which is an element that I think S/mileage songs had been lacking lately.

Well hey, now that I have gotten my hands on the PV for Yatteruchan without subtitles, I think it's only fair that I take a look at the PV, don't you agree? I mean, despite its cheapness, I think we all deserve a chance to back in the subtitle-free version of the Yattaruchan PV!

So that's what a Yattaruchan looks like! Well, this being an H!P PV, I highly doubt we'll ever see this little mascot in the PV again!

Our dance shot set consists of... tin foil and lightsabers? Eh, I've seen worse from H!P...

Kana scolds Dawa for her nasally singing voice.

Can I just say that I freaking love that Kana gets a boatload of screen time in this PV?

The outfits in this PV are cute! I like how they have that retro sci-fi look to them!

Yeah, the bouncy-knee dance still isn't as awkward as the entire choreography for Dot Bikini!

Bright, flashy green screens? Where have I seen these before...?

RIGHT! Dance de Bakoon!


AGH!!! Meimi is a vampire! I knew it all along! RUN, AKARI! RUN!!!

I smell set recycling again... aren't these just the bars from Wakuteka Take a chance rearranged?

Maybe it's just me, but the spazz-y jumping in this part of the dance strongly reminds me of Momoiro Clover Z choreography...

Yay! Time for the idol can-can! PLAY THE ORPHEE UAX ENFERS!

Wow, the choreographers, must have been going off a checklist to get all the cliche idol moves into this dance!

Still, I can't help but like the choreography, cliches and all!

Why yes, I do plan to take over the world with my gorilla army!

It's 2013 and idols still suck at pretending to play guitars!

Nyon, if you don't quit hogging the camera, I'm gonna eat you!

A wild vampire Meimi appears!

I can't play the guitar, but dammit, I CAN TRY! I! AM! YATTARUCHAN!

Yeah, you might notice the very minimal amount of screen time Rina gets in this PV...

But it probably doesn't help her that everyone else in this PV is whoring for screen time!

You know, I think screencapping this PV has made me like Kana a lot more than I used to!

S/mileage wants you to become a Yattaruchan!

If I become a Yattaruchan, do I get a snazzy outfit?

Farewell, S/mileage! I hope you get another song as interesting as this one again!

Okay, any idol fan who follows Hello! Project knows that you kinda have to set the bar lower when it comes to their PVs. Because UFP is the Mr. Krabs of idol producing companies and a majority of H!P PVs are going to look hilariously cheap. Like "I could do this with some friends and a video camera in my garage" cheap. For that reason, I try to be a little more lenient on reviewing H!P PVs because honestly, I don't expect an extravagant, high-budget PV from them. Call it favoritism, but that's how I've learned to roll. That being said... as far as Hello! Project standards go, Yattaruchan is a pretty decent PV. Does it move me emotionally or impress me with its advanced technical effects? No, but it's still a pretty entertaining PV. The PV for Yattaruchan does feature a little bit more than your standard dance shot and close-up but not much. There are a few extra shots for solely Kana sowing her talking through a pink megaphone and speaking into a bunch of microphones. I liked that! It was kind of cute to have those shots for her talking parts and Kana looked incredibly enthusiastic! Again, not groundbreaking by any means, but still pretty entertaining to watch! Like the song, I like how the PV for Yattaruchan is centered around Kana! Her personality shines very nicely on screen, and it's refreshing to see her get more spotlight over, say, Meimi or Kanon. Not that I don't like either one of those S/mileage members; both were very enjoyable to watch in this PV too! Actually, I think the overall group dynamic in the PV for Yattaruchan was so much better than it has been in the past S/mileage PVs from 2012. Something else that just hasn't been doing it for me with S/mileage is the lack of group chemistry between the first generation and second generation members. In this PV though, for the first time, I really felt like all the members were able to play off of each other. Like in the dance shot, where they're just interacting and doing all sorts of crazy things to each other? That was fun to watch, and I love that finally the members of S/mileage are starting to look more like a group and less like a mish-mash of people.

Beyond the group chemistry, the visuals of Yattaruchan are pretty cheap as to be expected. I will say though, I feel like the producers for this PV were trying a tad bit harder to make it more visually interesting! All right, maybe they weren't trying that much harder but I can still give an E for Effort! The set for the dance shot looks hilariously cheap and kind of reminds me of the kind of set you'd see for a space ship in a 1950s science fiction movie. Probably not intentional, but I still find the gratuitous amounts of tin foil amusing. And I guess if you look at it from the right angle, the PV does kind of have a retro flair to it mainly thanks to the outfits and Kana's individual close-ups with the megaphone and microphones. I actually really like the... shininess of the PV for Yattaruchan. The color scheme of the lighting and sets felt like a combination of the PV for Uchouten Love and C-ute's Dance de Bakoon! to me. The green-screen shots with the guitars especially gave me some huge Dance de Bakoon! vibes. Like any Hello! Project PV, if you skip out on watching the PV for Yattaruchan, you're not missing too much. Personally, I found it to be a very watch-able PV that didn't look too cheap or tacky. Then again, I've been reviewing and following H!P for over two years now so maybe I'm just really accustomed to the general cheapness of their PVs. Either way, Yattaruchan is your typical cheap PV and depending on your tolerance of cheap and unoriginal PVs, you will either love the PV for Yattaruchan or try to forget about it. If you wanna see the girls of S/mileage just bouncing around, interacting, and generally having fun with each other, then I think Yattaruchan is a PV that showcases them nicely. Again, there are no profound statements or symbols to be found in this PV, but I think the lightness of the PV for Yattaruchan matches the song. And together, I think Yattaruchan has been one of the strongest A-sides from S/mileage since Please Miniskirt Postwoman. The elements in the PV work, and while the PV isn't very creative, I still enjoyed watching it, much more than Tabidachi no Haru Kita anyways.

So yeah. Can you believe that S/mileage actually themselves? For being able to get me to care about S/mileage again, I shall bestow upon Yattaruchan four out of five apples. The song is probably one of the most entertaining and S/mileage-y songs I've heard from the group and I love that it features Kana so much. The PV is your standard Hello! Project PV with a few quirks but nothing too deviant from their PV formula. What I love the most about Yattaruchan is the fact that it's the first A-side in a long time that I really think has worked for S/mileage. Will S/mileage be able to keep my good graces with the other A-side on this single though? Tune in next time to find out!


  1. I've now managed to convince myself that Brainstorming and Yattaruchan were commissioned by Shinzou Abe. He obviously paid Tsunku to write songs designed to inspire a can-do attitude among Japanese in order to promote economic growth. Yes, that makes complete sense.

    While Yattaruchan and Brainstorming are similar in content, I was actually taken aback when I saw the PV for Atarashii Watashi ni Nare. It is practically the same song and PV as Watashi ga iu mae ni dakishimete nakya ne.

    1. Maybe so! Hell, if an idol group can exist solely around the concept of Japan's economy (Machikado Keiki) then anything is plausible!

      Atarashii Watashi ni Nare! kind of surprised me too. The concept seemed to un-S/mileage (but it kind of worked) and the PV had a lot of similarities to J=J's debut PV. Then again, I can't be too surprised about the similarities since we're dealing with UFP and all.