Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Castaways of NMB48

Well, while everyone in the idolsphere is waiting with baited breath for the results of the 5th annual Senbatsu election, how about we take a look at the latest from NMB48 to pass some time?


Good news! Just because I have a deteriorating opinion towards AKB48 right now doesn't mean I feel the same way towards all its sister groups! In fact, I quite like SKE48 and NMB48 right now. I feel like right now both those sister groups are just getting more interesting material than their main sister group. I still don't really care for HKT48 since so far their musical output has just been bland as AKB48's, and Nogizaka46 is slowly growing on me. I will say their summer song is my favorite of the AKS summer songs so far. But let's leave them for another review, hm? Of all the sister groups though, NMB48's probably been my favorite. While yes, they've had some pretty iffy songs (-cough- Oh My God), they've also had some pretty fun songs too. They also seem to get slightly more mature content than the mostly hyperactive and cheerful SKE48, while still maintaining a nice blend of variety with their songs. Some days NMB48 gets Virginity, other days they get Kitagawa Kenji. It's quite nice seeing them with a nice blend of different concepts and styles! And I actually like all the front girls currently in NMB48 right now! I think Saynee's a great captain, Milky's a lot of fun, and Nana's nice too! It's a shame that Yui's back in AKB48 though; I like her being more at the front in NMB48! But hey, at least Ichikawa Miori's in NMB48 right now! Maybe she can add some lemon-y flavor to the group! Well, the season is summer and with it comes the obligatory summer PV that every AKS group is required to release to make the moneys! Some of you might remember that I reviewed Nagiichi, NMB48's summer song from last year. I didn't talk much about that song because I couldn't write worth shit around that time, but I thought Nagiichi was an all right song. Pretty bland but as far as summer songs go, an easy listen. So as time has gone by and I've further immersed myself in the world of idol blogging, I've come to terms with the fact that most summer songs are hopelessly bland. Why not? After all, the main focus of the summer single is clearly not the quality of the actual song but the... appeal of the accompanying PV. Bottom line, I try to keep my expectations low toward summer songs.

So does Bokura no Eureka follow the same trend of blandness?

Well... yeah. What? I might as well go ahead and get that out of the way before getting further into this song. Bokura no Eureka is a bland summer song. I actually didn't know what my opinion of this song was the first time I listened to it because I was watching the PV at the same time. I was so focused and drawn into the PV that I didn't really give the song much attention. In fact, Bokura no Eureka kind of faded into the background and was replaced by the compelling storyline in the PV. Was that because the PV was so well-done that it didn't allow me to give much focus to the song or was it simply because Bokura no Eureka is a forgettable song? I'll elaborate on the PV in a few paragraphs, but I think part of my mind registered Bokura no Eureka was a bland song when I was watching the PV. I just didn't really think about that until I sat back down, found an audio file of the song and listened solely to that. And so my diagnosis of Bokura no Eureka is a case of the usual AKS musical blandness. This is another bland song; I swear "bland" must be one of the most frequently used words on the Wonderland. Despite the blandness of Bokura no Eureka, I can't say I'm too surprised. In fact, I'm not really upset that Bokura no Eureka is a bland song; maybe because NMB48's previous A-sides have actually been interesting unlike another sister group whose name has been mentioned several times in a negative light on my blog. Yeah, on the subject of AKB48, let me clarify something: Bokura no Eureka is bland but not in the same way Sayonara Crawl is bland. Crazy, right? How can there possibly be two different types of bland AKS songs!? But yes, the key difference between Bokura no Eureka and Sayonara Crawl is that the latter is more upbeat and also more catchy. What I like about Bokura no Eureka is that it isn't insufferably bland. When I listen to it, I don't have this seething rage at how generic it sounds that I develop whenever I play Sayonara Crawl. At the moment, I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or a good thing though... I will say, of the two summer songs, I prefer Bokura no Eureka over Sayonara Crawl.

Does that mean I like Bokura no Eureka? Well honestly... I... ugh, I kind of like Bokura no Eureka. HEY! Don't be getting any crazy ideas now! I still have a passionate dislike of bland songs! Just because I said I kind of like the song doesn't mean I think it's utterly amazing and it's landing on my Best A-sides of 2013 either! Like I said, what I like about Bokura no Eureka is that while it's very bland it's not upbeat, not terribly so anyways. It's been hard for me to peg what it is that makes me so irritable towards the bland AKB48 A-sides but I think it's just because they sound so peppy and cheerful. Bokura no Eureka is by no means a downbeat song or even a dark song but there's still something... wistful about the way the song sounds. I wouldn't call it nostalgic, but Bokura no Eureka just sounds a little more serious than your typical summer song. Again, it doesn't sound like a ballad or anything, but I feel like the beat is a just a little bit slower and the energy just a little bit lower. On the subject of energy, Bokura no Eureka has some pretty low energy levels, but I feel like that might have been intentional. I don't know, there's just something very soothing about listening to this song; when I listened to it this morning, it was pouring rain outside. Somehow, Bokura no Eureka was a very calming song to listen to, especially during that time. Honestly, I kind of want to know what this song was about, even though half of me knows it's probably just some generic summer song lyrics. It's a shame I can't find any translations at the moment. Overall, Bokura no Eureka gets a mixed to positive response from me. I think Nagiichi was a better song (I never would have thought I'd see myself writing that statement) but Bokura no Eureka is still an all right, albeit pretty bland song. This is definitely a nice summer song to listen to, especially if you're looking for an easy listen. Bokura no Eureka's a hell of a lot better than Sayonara Crawl, and I've heard much worse summer songs than this one. Still, I'll hold out for SKE48 and see if their summer song is the breakout song of the AKS summer PVs.

But of course, a summer song is nothing without a summer PV filled with your token bikinis and scenes of summer fun and- oh, what's that? Bokura no Eureka has none of that? This is a summer PV from an AKS group, right? Relax, there's a bikini PV for those of you looking for some idols to oggle over. For the rest of you looking for something more creative... let's sail away into Bokura no Eureka's PV.


The PV begins with AKB48, knowing that NMB48 is getting more popular than them, casting away that group's Senbatsu to a deserted island!


And despite the fact that the sand and water would have no doubt dirtied their uniforms, the girls' outfits remain spotless!


Someone care to explain the symbols under the title drop for me?


Leave it to idols to make survival look glamorous and carefree!


Goddammit, I'm Captain not Katniss, why do I have to find food!?


See? Being stranded isn't horrible! Look at how much fun they're having!


They even get to do makeup on each other! I just hope that paint isn't poisonous!


Wow! Being stranded looks like such gosh darn fun! Why the hell did that Chuck Noland fellow not enjoy it this much!?


How many days until I can dominate AKB48 and NMB48?


Damn. Not until Mariko graduates.


Foraging for food that's edible? Easy breezy. Lifting a rock though? Near impossible!


I really love this shot. There's something... majestic about it.


All right, come on, Sayanee. You WILL shoot like Legolas! Your group depends on it!


D'aw, but how could she possibly shoot cute wittle Billy Goat? Drat it wasn't some animal that was ugly!


I can't stand this! I'm sick of shells! I want McDonalds! I want the loving embrace of another guy-


But we aren't allowed to have boyfriends!


SHUT UP!


The promise of meat comes when Sayanee returns to camp... empty handed.


So what? Y'all can't eat me 'cause I'm Captain.


Not if I get to be the new Captain.


A long night of the girls trying not to imagine each other as walking drumsticks...


...when a startling revelation comes. The idols shall become VEGETARIANS!


Nah, I'm just kidding. But they do start to build an escape raft!


Ha ha, we have no idea how we built this but the plot requires this raft to WORK!


Good thing the day they set sail is unbelievably calm with no waves or undercurrents!


LAND HOOOOOOOOO!


But have our idols truly reached civilization?


Or perhaps the mere remnants of it?


Did those sons of bitches already sell our theater to those HKT48 newbs?


Well. That's an uplifting sign of life.


Yeah, can we go back to the island, Sayanee?


But wait! Perhaps not all hope is lost! Who is this mysterious figure?


NMB48 manager Kaneko Tsuyoshi? Man, I wonder where this PV's going next-


WHAT!? YOU'RE LEAVING IT ON A CLIFFHANGER!?

TO BE CONTINUED!? You put us through all that turmoil and intrigue and dare to end this PV on a cliffhanger!? How can you do such a thing!? Damn you! Ugh, I'm going to be so mad if the continuation of this PV is just some half-assed shout out that pops up in the next NMB48 PV. I don't think I've ever gotten so excited over a cliffhanger in an idol PV... the fact that there is a cliffhanger and a continuing story is enough to make me happy! But seriously, wasn't that one hell of a summer PV, guys? I think I talked about this in a review awhile back but something I have always wanted to see a summer PV have is the concept of the girls being on a deserted island. I don't know what exactly they would even do on a deserted island; I just think it would be a really cool concept. Part of the appeal for me was simply all the ways that concept could be taken; it could be fun and quirky or dark and mysterious or anywhere in-between! The fact that NMB48 got a PV focused around the girls being stuck on a deserted island had me ecstatic when I first watched the preview for Bokura no Eureka. I've been waiting two years for a summer PV like this to happen! And the execution was done beautifully! What I read was that Bokura no Eureka was based off of Jules Verne's Two Years' Vacation and after reading the Wikipedia page (because I ain't got not time to be reading the actual book), I can definitely see a lot of parallels in the basic plot. The premises of the PV and the book are near identical, although the endings are different. No mutineers in the Bokura no Eureka PV! I saw a few comparisons to Lord of the Flies from various users on the web also, but I think that's a bit of a stretch. For one thing, Bokura no Eureka is nowhere near as dark as Lord of the Flies is; in fact, the only aspect Bokura no Eureka and Lord of the Flies have in common is they both involve school children getting stranded on an island. There's a lot less anarchy, corruption, death, and mutiny in the Bokura no Eureka PV! But hey, that would have been an interesting theme to take on too! Kind of morbid, but still interesting!

Oh man, where do I even start with what I like about the PV for Bokura no Eureka? Well, one thing I love about this PV is that it's not your typical summer PV. Instead of bikinis and happy summer scenes, this PV has ragged school uniforms and survival. In the slew of summer PVs that come out every year, Bokura no Eureka stands out for many reasons, one being that it's not presented as your traditional summer PV. It shows the girls of NMB48 struggling and going through a lot of ordeals that I personally would not want to go through. There's conflict in this PV, and that conflict is interesting. When I was watching this PV, I was always wondering where it was going to go next. Were the girls going to get off the island? How were they going to? How did they even get there? Not all my questions were answered, but I kind of like having the remaining mysteries to ponder over after I finished watching this PV. I think what would have helped though was if I knew what the girls were saying in that long scene that went on after the song break. I think I might have gotten the gist of it being Miyuki losing hope then Sayanee giving an encouraging speech about teamwork and friendship and never giving up and all that cutesy idol stuff. I don't know if that's what happened in the real dialogue, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's what the translation turned out to be. Beyond that one scene with all the dialogue, I could still pretty much understand what was going on for a majority of the PV. I like that it shows the girls on the island doing a variety of different things from hunting to setting up camp to just wandering around the island. I really love the environment of this PV, and I think it helps that AKS has the budget to pull off a PV like this so well. The island is very pretty but also very empty and primal; the girls, wearing uniforms and not bikinis, provide for a very stark contrast, especially in that beginning shot. The environment is so lush that you want to see more of it and you want to see how the girls go about in it as well. I loved how the scenery looked so beautiful but also so desolate; it really brought the PV to life.

And then there's the ending to this PV. Oh my god, the ending. I have to ask though... was anyone else reminded of Planet of the Apes with this ending? I mean, both the PV for Bokura no Eureka and that amazing film both involve people coming across a relic of the land they used to call home. Even the shot with the tower seemed very reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty shot in that movie. I don't know, but I found the ending of Bokura no Eureka to be absolutely eerie. How I loved it. And then NMB48's manager, Kaneko Tsuyoshi appeared at the end of the PV and I just... I really want to know where this PV would go if it really was continued. I just hope that if the storyline of this PV is continued in another NMB48 PV, the explanation isn't contrived and lame. Okay, I know I shouldn't expect that much since this is an idol group but still! Just let me dream, okay!? I know that Bokura no Eureka is a good PV because when it was over, I wanted more. When a PV, let alone an idol PV, can leave me longing for the story to be continued, that's when I know that I just watched a pretty damn awesome PV. Bokura no Eureka is not only one of my favorite summer PVs I've reviewed this year but also one of my favorite PVs in general that I've reviewed this year. Everything in this PV is done right from the concept to the visuals to the story to the execution. I love that NMB48 decided to shy away from the typical happy summer bikini PV and go instead for an uplifting tale of survival in the wilderness with a strange and intriguing ending. I actually think one of the main reasons why I don't really dislike Bokura no Eureka as a song is because the PV that accompanies it is just so great that I find it hard to really dislike the song. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I found no faults with Bokura no Eureka's PV. I think the pacing was great along with the direction and I look forward to seeing how this PV is continued. If you're a fan of well-done, interesting summer PVs, I would highly recommend checking this one out; what Bokura no Eureka lacks in fanservice, it makes up for in a compelling storyline and interesting ideas.


Collectively, Bokura no Eureka gets four out of five apples from me. If I were ranking the song and PV individually, the song would get three and the PV would get five, but together, this is what Bokura no Eureka averages to. While the song is your typical AKS summer song, the PV for Bokura no Eureka is amazing. I loved the concept and I love how well it was executed. Again, one of if not the best summer PV of 2013 for me.

5 comments:

  1. I want to know your thoughts on SKE Utsukushii Inazuma.

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    1. All in good time, lovely anon! I'm just waiting for the full PV for Utsukushii Inazuma to leak; only the short version is available at the moment!

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  2. "Someone care to explain the symbols under the title drop for me?"

    εὕρηκα - Eureka in Ancient Greek

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    Replies
    1. Ah! Thank you for that translation!

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  3. Love your review. Made me impatient for my copies to arrive. Version B landed on the doormat a couple of days ago. I really love it and have listened to it 10 or more times. The A-side is a memorable song, with a well-made pv ( a lot of storytelling shoehorned into a small space). The dance shot is so much better for not being on sand! Also really loved 'Yabanna Softcream', which has a positive mood. Now I can't wait for A and C to arrive.
    Looking forward to you next reviews.
    Best wishes, Philip

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