Thursday, November 7, 2013

Kyary's Deranged, Saccharine Night Land

Well, the full PV for Sweet Refrain isn't out yet... Oh well, time to see what Kyarypamyupamyu's been up to!

When we last saw our Harajuku kawaii technopop singer who may or may not be working for the Dark Lord, she had released Nanda Collection! And my last Kyarypamyupamyu review was of Nanda Collection! My reception of the album was mixed to positive, and then for some time Kyary didn't release any more singles! I might have complained about it had it not been for the fact that during the first half of 2013 she'd already released three singles and an album. If anyone needed a music break, it was Kyary! Besides, I was more hyped for Level3. But now in the month of November has finally returned and Kyary has swept back onto the music scene with Mottai Night Land. Or Wasteful Night Land if you want to use the English translation. I will admit, I'm not the hugest fan of Kyarypamyupamyu; she's more-or-less the technopop artist I listen to when Perfume (or Meg) hasn't released anything new. 

I think she gets some decent hits but in my opinion her appeal mostly rests more in her novel appearance and music videos than the quality of her music. Not that she has bad music or anything; it just always feels like a backdrop to her aesthetic. Personally, I've always found her music to rest on the delicate line between cute and too cute. Combined with the fact that her music can get rather monotonous at times, I can safely say that I'm a casual listener of Kyarypamyupamyu. Nonetheless, she has had a few surprisingly good songs, and I guess if you're more into the "Harajaku kawaii" style, then she's a pretty neat artist. Even if her music doesn't always appeal to my tastes, I do at least like to look at her PVs as they always offer something interesting whether it be singing onions or secret societies on the hunt for aliens. And okay, maybe I was a teensy bit interested to hear what Mottai Night Land sounded like. I mean, that's one of the coolest song titles I've heard, how could not be at least a little intrigued? It just sounds like a weird, eerie kind of song, something along the lines of Perfume's Electro World, only with a little more creepiness to it!

Unfortunately, you can't judge a song by its title. Especially Mottai Night Land.

Mottai Night Land is a Kyary song in every sense of the phrase. It's cute, it's got a catchy chorus, it's cute, it's a bubbly technopop song, did I mention it's fucking cute? Yes, what a surprise that Kyarypamyupamyu has another cute song for her next single! Honestly, that doesn't come as any shock to me, but that does mean I have to pull out the Kyary Scale of Cuteness to see just where Mottai Night Land... er... lands. Let's see, on one end of the scale are songs like Fashion Monster and Ninjari Bang Bang that are cute with an edge and on the other end are the overtly cute-sounding songs like Noriko to Norio and PonPonPon. And then there's everything else in-between. I don't know, maybe someone with the motivation and time can make a full Kyary Scale of Cuteness. Anyways, I think I'd place Mottai Night land towards the cuter end of the scale. Maybe not quite as cute as Mi or Kimi Ni 100 Percent but still pretty cute. In fact... it's one of those Kyary songs that's just a little too cute for me. 

So you know how people always advise you to make a good impression within the first 15-seconds of meeting someone as those 15 seconds are surprisingly what determine much of a person's opinion toward you? Well, that same principle can be applied to songs! However, instead of 15, it usually takes around 20 to 30 seconds. And unfortunately, the first 30 seconds of Mottai Night Land didn't leave a great impression with me. The opening 30 seconds consist of only the chorus, and the chorus is my least favorite part of the song. What I don't like about it are the vocals are way too high-pitched and repetitive. Kyary sounds like she's screaming out a few of those phrases more than singing them. The first chorus is annoying, although the following choruses are a little more bearable. And the verses are pretty decent. But I still can't get those first-30 seconds out of my head and not in the fun, catchy way either. I wouldn't be so nitpicky, but this is the chorus; when your chorus, which will be the most repeated, is the weakest part of the entire song, you may have a problem.

Songs like Mottai Night Land make me wonder just how long Kyary can stay on the market. Who am I kidding, this is the J-pop market, she can stay on there until she's 40 and no one will complain. But I still like to think about whether or not her music is going to retain its appeal for a long period of time. As of now, she's still a relatively new artist, but her three years on the market have been successful from the day she released the PV for PonPonPon and onward. I can't help but wonder when she's going to fizzle. Will it be after Nakata gets off his creative wave with her music? Will the general public grow tired of her act? What I'm worried about is her music growing stagnant, and she'll end up releasing the same single every time with slight variations. Then again, Perfume is guilty of doing this (yes, I'll admit it but I'm too far gone to pay much mind to it) and they've still retained their relevance in Japan for several years now. I don't know, and I can only make guesses. 

Maybe I'm just being a Negative Nia and Kyary has a long and prosperous career ahead of her, filled with rich experimentation in music and explorations of new styles and twists on the "Harajaku kawaii" archetypes. All I know is that Mottai Night Land sounds like a rehash of Tsukema Tsukeru, and is one of the more unimpressive singles Kyary's released. And I'm not the hugest fan of Tsukema Tsukeru either; the last thing I want is a song that sounds like it. Mottai Night Land is a song that exemplifies the reason why I can't completely get into Kyarypamyupamyu the same way I get into Perfume or Meg: her music is too iffy. Mottai Night Land isn't a horrible song, but the problems lie in the sound and the fact that it sounds so reminiscent of her other material. I wouldn't mind this so much if I were a more enthusiastic fan of her music, but I'm very selective when it comes to what Kyary songs I like. And Mottai Night Land just turns out to be one of those songs that I think is too cute and too repetitive. Hardcore Kyary fans might dig it, but I think this is gonna be one of those Kyary songs I keep off my iPod.

At the end of the day though, I follow Kyarypamyupamyu less for her music and more for her PVs! Her wild, outrageous PVs brimming to the top with images to screencap. I will admit, a few of her past PVs this year have been rather lackluster... does Mottai Night Land deliver the kawaii novelty and weirdness that is Kyarypamyupamyu? Abandon your logic, because we're looking at a Kyary PV!

Well, this title drop's about as cutesy as I'd expect from a Kyary PV.

Her outfit says Christmas but her backup dancers say Halloween.

Oh hey, the lips from Rocky Horror Picture Show got a makeover!

I do wonder just what kind of wild and psychedelic dreams Kyary is capable of dreaming of...

Is she dancing with one of Princess Bubblegum's Candy Kingdom inhabitants?

Spoooooooooky!!! -waves arms-

Seriously though, I really do like the backup dancers' costumes in this PV.

Yikes! Not gonna lie, those arms are little creepy. Just a little bit.

Lalala, just gathering an army of animated candles, another normal day for Kyary!

I imagine this is how Nakata and Kyary write her songs.

I do like the green screen for this PV; it's better than some of her recent green screens.

Ooh, we get to go inside the mind of Kyarypamyupamyu!!

As I suspected, the inner workings of her mind remain an enigma.

I think if I were asked to sum up Kyarypamyupamyu in one picture, I'd use this one!

Yeah, Kyary, you're not the only one who gets weirded out by floating skeleton heads.

Can the Apple of Foreshadowing save Kyary from the spooooky skeletons?

No, but it can turn her into an anime character!

Now it's up to anime!Kyary to save the world from the Ultimate Skeleton Monster!!!


I'm not sure what she's dressed up as but it's adorable!

Does that spell out INU or LNU or... what does that mean???

That's the cutest piece of shit I've ever seen O_O

A boat... suspended by hot air balloons... flying across a mountain range... makes perfect sense...

But hark! A wild UFO appears!

What will our heroine do!?

I guess she's falling down the rabbit hole... or just a hole in general...

I'm so glad the laws of cartoon physics apply in this PV!

Okay, the floor dance is really cute.

Gosh, giant multicolored strawberries. So boring.

Oh look, it's the Candy Kingdom guy again!

Uh... did my video player glitch and start playing a different PV?


What am I... even supposed to say about this... MOVING ON!

So this is what a Mottai Night Land looks like. It's pretty! (not very wasteful though)

SPARKLES! Nia likes sparkles...

Uh oh, looks like the tables have been turned!

And the PV wraps up with what I can say is a dazzling finish-

Oh wait, now it's over! And I still have no idea what to make of those two backup dancers!

So you know how I was saying that Kyary's PVs haven't exactly been spectacular this year? Like Furisodation was a really clever PV that was both hilarious and meaningful, but the PV for Ninjari Bang Bang was kind of cheap and I don't really like the PV for Invader Invader that much. What I noticed about all three PVs is that they weren't that... weird. I'm speaking obviously in perspective because Kyary's got some weird PVs but compared to like Fashion Monster and PonPonPon, there was nothing in any of those PVs that made me go, "What in the hell is that?" Not to mention that they all seemed kind of low-budget. Luckily, Mottai Night Land does not fall prey to either one of those characteristics. It is a weird PV, and entertaining weird PV, with so many different weird moments you could make a scrapbook out of them. What I liked most about Mottai Night Land's PV was the pacing.

This was a PV that was constantly throwing new images, new scenes, new people/creatures at you, but not too quickly either. It was just long enough for you to take in what you were seeing. And then right after you processed that, poof! Along comes another weird scene! And then at the very end of the PV all these quirky creatures bouncing around the PV all comes together for one final dance in the titular Night Land. It's such a fun, eye-catching PV that's not only weird but cohesive and kind of pretty at some parts. I feel like whoever produced this really put a lot effort into making a really creative, memorable PV that would perfectly capture the cute and creepy sides of Kyary's image. Because while this PV has a lot of cute imagery, what I like is that there's some really offbeat, weird imagery mixed into it. Like those bikini-clad skeleton-head creatures. What are they even supposed to mean!? What am I asking myself, this is a Kyarypamyupamyu PV, they probably don't have any meaning! But I think that's where the appeal of Mottai Night Land lies. Like PonPonPon, it's a nonsensical PV in the most enjoyable and appealing way possible.

On the visual/technical side, I also like that the PV for Mottai Night Land has such a wide array of colors and brightness. I thought the PV for Invader Invader was way too dark, but Mottai Night Land is bright and colorful. Even in the Night Land, the colorfulness was still present, just in darker tones and hues. By the way, I really love how the titular Night Land looks in this PV. I didn't really have an idea of what it should look like other than a vague picture in my head, but this is pretty much how I picture a "Wasteful Night Land" to look. Strange, colorful, and like something out of a little kid's imagination. Or something from the mind of Kyarypamyupamyu. What's the difference really? My only small complaint is that I wish more time had been spent in the Night Land. It only really shows up at the end of the PV, and the PV only lingers on it for a short amount of time. Still, that's merely a nitpick, and doesn't take away any enjoyment of the PV. Besides, all the other scenery in this PV is really interesting to look at too!

For a PV that's mostly green screens, I'm really happy that it was handled so well. I feel like in a lot of idol PVs, the green screen is used as a cheap cop-out to create a very-unbelievable replacement for real scenery (see: Morning Musume's Help me!! PV). But what works in the PV for Mottai Night Land is that there are so many different colors and patterns used on the green screens. Add that they look nice behind Kyary and her backup dancers, and this is one of the happy cases showing that when you use green screen correctly, it can look really good. And then there are the parts that aren't even live-action: the animated scene! It's really short, but I still loved it. I always like seeing different mediums in PVs, especially when the singers are portrayed by their animated counterparts! I'm not exactly an expert in animation, but for such a quick shot, I think the animated bit in Mottai Night Land had nice pacing, great facial expressions from anime!Kyary, and ended in a (literally) explosive finish. And then Kyary transformed into some kind of fluffy animal. I don't know!

And how can I forget the quirky backup dancers that always add charm to Kyary PVs? I really like the outfits for the backup dancers in Mottai Night Land. From what I can tell, they had cartoonish skeleton-heads. The shape of the heads kind of reminded me of the Pac Man ghosts. Did anyone else get those vibes? Either way, I thought they made a fun edition to the PV, and the dance they did was really adorable. Especially when they danced on the floor with Kyary. I also like that there was kind of this antagonistic relationship between Kyary and the Skeleton Heads (gee, that sounds like a band name). Like at one part they're chasing her around in a UFO then in another part she's controlling one of them through puppet strings. And then there was that weird scene with the bikini-clad Skeleton Heads. I'm not sure what that was supposed to represent, but I can't deny that it was one of the standout moments of the PV. And I can forget the tuxedo-wearing Candy Head that dances with Kyary. Again, one of those strange but fun moments in the PV.

In the end, what else is there to say about Mottai Night Land? Overall, I think it is a really strong PV from Kyarypamyupamyu, the one that's come the closest to recapturing the feel of PonPonPon. Of course, nothing can really top PonPonPon because it's one-of-a-kind, but Mottai Night Land still reaches that same balance of weirdness and fun. It has a host of weird and quirky characters, along with Kyary being engaging as always. There were a fun parts in Mottai Night Land, and I had a ball watching and screencapping this PV. In the future, I really hope that this is the kind of PV that Kyary keeps on doing. Well... I guess that's kind of tricky since what makes Mottai Night Land such a great PV is how distinctively weird it is. Still, does anyone get what I'm saying? I want more Kyary PVs that are as entertaining as Mottai Night Land and have as much variety. Until then, I'll be content with the PV for Mottai Night Land. Believe me, the song isn't anything amazing, but I would highly recommend watching the PV is you're like me and enjoy Kyary's PVs.

Overall, the song and PV for Mottai Night Land get 3.5 apples. As I stated before, I'm really not a huge fan of the song; I think it's only a rehash of the default style of music Kyary falls into. It's also too repetitive for my liking. Fortunately, I think the PV for Mottai Night Land is her best since Fashion Monster. It's a Kyary PV in every sense of the phrase, and makes up for the lackluster sound of the actual song. If you like the PV for PonPonPon, I'd watch Mottai Night Land; if there's any PV that comes close to the craziness of that PV, it's Mottai Night Land.


  1. The coming of age motif won't work once she gets older. But for now we get to see bikini ghosts.

    1. I wouldn't think it would. Still, it's somewhat entertaining now.