Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Tin-Foiled 80s Jam

How the hell am I supposed to spell the name of NMB48's current single?

Kamonegikkusu? Kamonegics? Kamonegix? Come On Net Geeks? What does it matter? The only thing I care about is the fact that the PV for NMB48's latest single is not a continuation of Bokura no Eureka. All I can ask is why? The PV for Bokura no Eureka gift-wrapped a sequel PV and what does the PV for Kamonegix get? A dance shot filled with tin foil. Ugh. Let's just get on with the review.

Other than that, what's been happening with NMB48? Well, I think that's pretty obvious! They finally made it off that deserted island, found remnants of civilization, and restored the world back to its original state! Okay, in all seriousness, has NMB48 done anything of significance in the time between this review and my last review of Bokura no Eureka? Eh, not really. I mean, I guess technically that's not true; I'm sure the members are all working their butts off, especially Sayanee and Milky, but there haven't been any scandals, any blowups, any shocking graduation announcement. I'm not sure if the relative lack of drama in the AKS groups lately is a concern or relief. I guess after that wave of graduations and scandals from 2012 to mid-2013, I've been kind of stepping on eggshells with the ---48 groups, just waiting to see when they're going to give me a heart attack again. Well, what a better time to celebrate this time of tentative peace than with a lovely PV review of Kamonegix? And yeah, that's the romanization I'm going with; the "x" just adds such a 90s sense of coolness to the song's title.

Even though the group's last single was pretty bland for them, I still think NMB48 is probably my favorite of the ---48 groups. They seem to do a pretty good job at balancing out a cool and cute image, and their singles never feel pigeonholed into just one type of song. They seem to have a lot more musical flexibility, and as a result, I never know just what NMB48's going to release next. I can even recognize more faces in NMB48! Obviously, I already knew Yamamoto Sayaka, Watanabe Miyuki, and Yamada Nana, but like the the other groups beyond AKB48, I barely knew anyone else outside of the three main girls. But lately, I've been able to distinguish Jonishi Kei, Yagura Fuuko, Yabushita Shu, and Ichikawa Miori! Well, that last member is technically a concurrent member with AKB48, but I still think that's a pretty good start! And what a better way to put my memory of names and faces to the test than by screencapping Kamonegix?

So yeah. How about that Kamonegix? Okay, is it just me or does that sound like some form of Pokemon? What the hell does that title even mean? According to Jpopsuki.tv, the title refers to the old Japanese proverb that if a stroke of luck occurs, things will grow increasingly convenient. But that doesn't matter, at least not for my review. The song could be about evolving Pokemons and I wouldn't clue in until I took the time to read the translation. How does Kamonegix sound? Well, after the wistful and borderline bland Bokura no Eureka, Kamonegix bursts onto the scene as a catchy dance tune that leans towards NMB48's more mature side of music. Kitagawa Kenji this song is not. Kamonegix is similar to Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo and Junjou U-19 in that it's primarily a dance tune. However, it doesn't have quite as many quirks and Zetsumetsu, and the song is much less groovy and more... driven. There's a pounding beat and the vocals often sound like a hammer hitting the side of your head. And I mean that in the most painless way possible.

What I'm trying to say is that Kamonegix is much more intense in sound and beat than any of NMB48's other past A-sides. Honestly, the song reminds me a lot of... 80s pop music. I mean, come on, just listen to the synthesizer in that song! This is the kind of song that I can picture playing at a roller-skating rink. In fact, do those still even exist? Because if they do, Kamonegix would totally be playing at one of them! Like I said, it's a dance song, but it's a very dated dance song that sounds like it belongs in another decade. And the decade that Kamonegix reminds me of just happens to be one of the cheesiest over-the-top decades of the 20th century. In that respect, Kamonegix does a stupendous job of sounding completely over-the-top. This has got to be one of the cheesiest A-sides that I've heard from any of the AKS groups this year; from the start of the song all the way to the last ending notes, Kamonegix is utterly ridiculous in just how much of a cheesefest it is.

And yet... I really love this song, guys.

I don't even know why I love this song. Because like I said, Kamonegix is a ham of a song. It sounds like something you'd hear out of Xanadu! And it doesn't help that all the covers for the single give off that airbrushed 80s movies vibe! Then again, as I've stated before there is something I find strangely appealing about retro things, and I am a fan of a lot of 80s music. But 80s pop music isn't really a genre I'm exactly into... I like more of the New Wave stuff! But that's not my point! Kamonegix encompasses the most ludicrously over-the-top of 80s dance tunes, and somehow I find that to be somewhat endearing. I might not have liked the song so much if it wasn't pulled off with such conviction. The song is dramatic, and requires dramatic vocals to match its dramatic-ness. And the NMB48 girls completely deliver in that aspect. Everyone sounds into the song, and I don't know if that's intentional or not, but NMB48's vocals match the tone of the song so well. I've got to give particular props to Sayanee's solo lines in the chorus; she may not have the strongest voice in the world, but she totally rocks those solos.

I love the vocal arrangement of Kamonegix too; there's a lot of repetition, which naturally adds a lot of catchiness to the song. And you know something? I think that's something that I've really been missing from all the AKS groups: a truly catchy song. Oh sure, there have been some songs that dance around catchiness, but none that are such an ear worm like Kamonegix. This is a song that can and will get stuck in your head, whether you want it to or not. Maybe it's the sheer catchiness of Kamonegix that prevents me from disliking it. And it probably has to do with the energy buildup in the song too. The entire song feels like one roller-coaster buildup, an illuminated attraction with neon lights and spinning signs all leading up to a thrill ride of synthesizers and over-the-top vocals. Kamonegix may just be a catchy dance tune, but its sheer dedication at being the most gosh-darn catchy dance tune is something that I must commend it for.

Now all Kamonegix has to have is a PV that equally emphasizes just what an over-the-top and fun song it is to dance to! And after the great PV that was Bokura no Eureka, I can safely say that I have high expectation for this PV! Does NMB48 deliver? Only one way to find out!

Well, this set and the Star Wars-style text scroll are definitely giving me 80s vibes!

And I'm seriously wondering if these outfits are made of tin-foil.

So far the dance is pretty cool! Lots of sharp movement going on!

But the running around in a circle bit is a little awkward. It looks more like a children's game than a dance!

Before you ask, no I did not cut to a completely different NMB48 PV.

Okay, that's... Yagura Fuuko, right? Did I get her name right!?

These odd shots that look nothing like the dance shots are from the drama version of Kamonegix.

Apparently an 80s dance tune warrants a drama PV. Crazy, huh?

What I don't understand is why these drama shots are necessary when the dance shot is completely cool on its own.

NMB48 is under arrest! Why? Because... tin foil is a crime against fashion???

Dear Aki-P, please bless us with a better PV for out next single.

Love this dance move. And Sayanee's cool. As usual.

Eh... nothing like a ceremony to add spice to this 80s dance song!

I do like the rotating close-up technique used here.

It reminds me of High-King's Cinderella Complex.

Okay, this is really off-topic but that is a big umbrella they're carrying.

Aw, Fresh Lemon gets yellow accents on her outfit! Like a bright lemon... covered in tin foil.

They look awful excited to be jailbirds!

I could make so many twisted, depraved jokes in these parts. But I will NOT! Because I'm a moral and decent person and not some ogling pervert!

But seriously, what the hell is going on with Milky in this shot? Is she in solitary confinement?

These drama shots might actually look good in a completely different PV.

But come on, these shots are so much flashier and eye-catching! It's mood whiplash!

I left my enthusiasm for fireworks behind with summer vacation.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this darklight totally rules.

So we're back to Ring-Around-the-Front-Girls

Four minutes of watching this, and I still have no idea what the hell's going on in these shots.

I think this dance shot has more lens flares than the Star Trek reboot!

Oh well, it's still cooler than those boring drama shots.

Maybe these girls can share a cell with the girls from Morning Musume!

Seriously, all they need are some bright tacky outfits and they'll blend right in!

And so the PV comes to an end with one final pose...

...before everyone disappears and more Star Wars credits roll in!

So I really wanted to see the dance version for Kamonegix. Surprisingly enough, not because the dance really grabbed me and I was desperate to see the whole thing, but because I just wanted a PV featuring the set that looks like it's from Space Mutiny. Because as you may have noticed, the official PV for Kamonegix features mainly two different locations: the retro futuristic looking shots where the dance was filmed along with a lot of the close-ups and the generic town that appears in the longer drama version of the PV. Why did I choose to screencap this version over the dance version, you ask? Because I wanted to take this moment to explain my personal gripe with these "drama" PVs and also because maybe I haven't found the dance version online yet... But it's my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want! And I really do have a bone to pick with this PV, and the only reason I'm singling out Kamonegix is because I've seen this done with several other AKS PVs, and it's starting to get on my nerves.

Now maybe talking about how it gets on my nerves won't stop it from happening, but it'll make me feel better. So Kamonegix has a drama version; the 80s dance tune has a drama version, just go with it. I'm completely fine with it; if fans want to watch a bunch of idols try to act their way through a 30+ minute drama, so be it. Where I take issue is when clips from said drama are spliced into the official PV. Very likely this is a marketing ploy to get fans to buy the drama version, but even with that knowledge, it still irritates me. Why? Because the drama clips completely clash with the rest of the PV. One minute I was watching Milky spinning around in handcuffs and the next minute I was watching a bunch of girls attend a ceremony. It was total mood whiplash! The drama clips are much calmer and neutral, with soft colors and a very slow-moving plotline. By contrast, the dance shots and close-ups are eye-catching and shiny, constantly switching to new shots at rapidfire pace. It's like watching a clip of a rocket ship blast off only for the clip to be switched to a man riding a golf cart.

I might not take a problem with such clearly dissonant shots if I knew just what the hell was even going on in the drama version. Now you can argue that this is just a cultural problem. As a foreigner, I'm less likely to pick up cues and languages in a PV by a Japanese pop group. Perhaps through a native's eyes, these drama clips are meant to entice the viewer into wanting to see the rest of this drama version. But in my opinion, when you show only clips of this version, I'm left more confused than intrigued. What was going on in the plotline for Kamonegix? From what I gathered, everyone started outside at different locations then somehow they all ended up together at some ceremony. I don't know what was going through any of the characters' minds, any goals, what conflicts were presented, an episode of Teletubbies had more plot than this PV did! Even if the plotline of Bokura no Eureka was never resolved, the plot was at least a universal theme that nearly everyone could connect to.

This? It looks completely boring. Maybe it's because I'm not into dramas in general, especially poorly written ones. Virginity had the same problem, but it wasn't as glaring because at least the dance shot matched with the vibe and feel of the drama shots. Kamonegix unfortunately does not get that same luxury. As you can tell from the screencap, the dance shot for Kamonegix is... shiny. Really, really shiny. It looks like something from the 80s equivalent of what the future would look like. And by itself, that's actually a pretty cool concept. However, the drama shots are much more toned down, and completely clash with the dance shots, especially both shots are spliced together. The drama shots kill any kind of mood the dance shots are attempting to set, and in the end, the PV for Kamonegix ends up being a a jumbled mess that's all over-the-place with its visuals. It's a shame, really. The dance shot really is awesome, and the dance isn't so bad either. It just blends horribly with those drama shots. So overall, the PV for Kamonegix ends up not being terrible, just... unbalanced.

So I decided to give the song and PV a collective rating of 3.5 apples. Like I said, Kamonegix is a really cheesy but fun song, and probably one of my favorite A-sides from any AKS group this year. Unfortunately, the PV is a dissonant blend of a really cool dance shot and a lackluster drama shot that really should have just been separate PVs. Trying to fuse those two together is what ultimately led Kamonegix to being a much lackluster PV than it could have been.


  1. Hey i know you like perfume and thought you might be interested in this group, if you havent heard of them ...they're called Kus Kus...and thats all i know since they're still new XD go have a listen, it just reminded me of perfume when i first saw it then perfume reminded me of your blog lol

    anyways love your blog keep up the good work :)

    1. Awwwwww thank you for the recommendation! Just off that one PV, I think I'm gonna like this group! They remind me of Perfume back in their indie days!

  2. Dont even know what bring me here. Maybe perfume maybe jpop idols. But I like your review about NMB48 new song, sort of giving me a guide into liking their new song which i fail to do so when this album was released.

    1. Maybe you fell down a rabbit hole! However you found the Wonderland, I'm happy you liked the review! Hopefully you can get into even more of NMB48's stuff because they're in my opinion the best of the AKS groups!