Saturday, May 31, 2014

BiS Takes One Final Dance

God, I'm gonna freaking cry. I can't believe this is the last BiS PV I'll ever get to review.

Unless the new version of Nerve gets a PV as well. Which would be nice. I suppose I can still include BiS's material in Time Capsule Reviews, but it won't be the same as reviewing new songs and music videos. Well, at least they're going out in true BiS fashion, by satirizing the long-established summer single! I mean, look at the cover, it's clearly a parody of AKB48's Manatsu no Sounds good! covers. But that's just one of the many elements of Final Dance that pokes fun at idol summer singles! Ah, idol summer. You're all familiar with what I'm talking about, right? The time of year when idol groups released summer themed singles full of music videos of dancing on the beach, fruity nonalcoholic drinks, and shameless fanservice! It's a not-so-long-standing tradition in the idol industry, and idol summer releases can range from being entertaining music videos that emphasize the best aspects of summer... or absolute pieces of trash. For instance, the previous summer PV I reviewed this year is one of those unfortunate summer PVs that doesn't work at all. But let's not broach that piece of dog poop again. Now it's Brand-new Idol Society's time to shine! Even if this is the last time...

I will admit, I was a little taken aback when I first heard Final Dance. I was also watching the music video though, and it's a little difficult trying to take in a music video and the song at once then trying to generate an opinion of one or the other. Listening to just the song, I can say that Final Dance is definitely... not quite was I was expecting as the final BiS song. Okay, yes, there's also nerve but that's a re-record that I'll talk about in the single review. Then again, I'm not sure what I was expecting for BiS's final single. Would it be something strange and unconventional? Or something more traditional-sounding with a more subtle twist of unconventionality to it? I mean, their last single before this one was StupiG, and that was just about their strangest A-side I've heard. Final Dance sounds like a conventional idol summer song twisted into a BiS summer song. The way the vocals are structured reminds me very much of one of AKB48's summer songs, but the instrumentals on top of it are thankfully a lot more bombastic and interesting than any of AKB48's recent summer songs. Still, I'm curious to hear the acappella version of Final Dance. I get the feeling it'll sound a little more conventional than some of BiS's other songs.

Final Dance has grown on me a lot since I first heard it. I think it's a nice blend of BiS's crazier, over-the-top sound and the more pop side of their music. And I admit, in perspective it's kind of nice having something a little more straightforward from BiS as their last new song. I mean, StupiG was a batshit crazy song, and a lot of their recent songs have just been crazier than they were when BiS started out. But with Final Dance, it feels like BiS is embracing the idol sound and then bending that ever-so-slight to fit their own unconventional sound. Final Dance is a pop song at its core, but it's the kind of pop song that BiS would do. And I think what also makes Final Dance a good song is that there's a lot of emotion in it. I know that's kind of a silly thing for me to say. I mean, how can I possibly tell that when I can't even speak Japanese? I think it has to do with the way the girls sing it. They just sound like they're giving it all, as though this is the last new song that they'll ever record. I wonder what went on in the studio when BiS recorded this song. Were the girls emotional? Even if they were faking it, Final Dance still sounds like an earnest goodbye song.

Of course, that could be because it is a goodbye song. Final Dance is half of the last single that BiS will ever release. And listening to it, I feel kind of sad. I mean, this is the final song before the curtain drops. I think at least part of me seeing Final Dance as emotional farewell stems from my own emotions regarding BiS's upcoming disbandment. I haven't really talked about BiS disbanding, because I've just kind of hoped that the news would go away. But I don't think it is, and if Final Dance is going to be the big finish for BiS, I think it works. I do think they might have been able to do something a little less summery, but as far as summer songs go, this one's the bomb. PPCC is still my favorite BiS summer song, but Final Dance isn't half bad either. It has just enough style and emotion to avoid the pitfalls of many idol summer songs, and I think as the years go by, nostalgia will definitely kick in with Final Dance. I mean, it will with all of BiS's songs; I can just feel it. Final Dance wasn't quite the type of song I expected BiS to go out with, but in my opinion, they pull it off well. And isn't it fitting that they go out with a more idol-oriented song. Their goal from the start has always been to satirize idol groups, so the summery pop rock sound of Final Dance is both poignant and fitting.

But that's just the song. No way does BiS's satire of the idol summer single stop with the song. No, it wouldn't be a satire if you didn't satirize the idol summer PV. So is Final Dance's PV a clever satire or does it fall flat on its face harder than Ayaman Japan's Poi Poi? As long as it doesn't have harassment and childish sexual innuendos left and right, I think I'll survive.

This wouldn't be an idol summer PV without the bikinis!

Okay, Round 1 of Guess the Reference! Can you guess what shot this satires?

It's the same as the aerial shots used in AKB48's Ponytail to Shushu!

And look, the iconic spiked baseball bats. How I'll miss them.

I've seen this pose and glittery backdrop in so many idol PVs I can't even list them all!

Ditto for this pose.

It's actually ironically refreshing to see BiS wearing such normal clothes. Especially Tenten. I hope she goes places after BiS.

The dance is simple to the point of hilarity. Look at all those different poses!

Time for Round 2 of Guess the Reference! Can you guess what this is referencing?

Super Girls' Puripuri♥Summer Kiss! Of course I'm sure Super Girls copied it from some other idol group.

I know it's meant to be satire, but everyone just looks so nice!

I hope Uika goes places too.

Oh, look it's DiE. That was one hell of a PV. Ah, good times...

And BiSimulation! Also very good times... weird times... but good times...

I'm not sure if this is idol-y or BiS-y.

Aw, it's Mitchel. I hope she found a job somewhere.

Look, it's early BiS! That was their first PV ever!

Man, the lineup has changed so much in four years...

Dammit, this PV's making me nostalgic. And sad. Stop that, PV!

...I'm gonna miss BiS.

See? Even the members of BiS look like they're gonna miss BiS!

My Ixxx was the first BiS PV I ever saw. I guess it fits that it's in one of the last PVs.

I think my biggest regret will be not being able to go to a BiS concert.

Idol. Wouldn't it have been awesome if they included the joke Idol PV in Final Dance?

The spiked baseball bats. I'm gonna miss those too. I'm gonna miss... so much...

Oh hey, look at Uika making fun of idol summer poses!

Don't focus on BiS disbanding... don't... focus...

Oh god, it's really happening. They're disbanding.

No more PVs. Or songs. Or concerts. It'll all just... end like that.

Gosh darn it, they've come so far. I don't want them to stop now.

Oh well, I guess they'd have to disband eventually-

Annnnd the bats fell down. I think I need to lie down.

You may think that last shot is of the ocean, but really it's all my tears. You know what's so awful about this PV? It sucks you into thinking it's just going to be another BiS-style parody of other idol PVs, but then halfway through it punches you in the stomach with clips from all their past PVs. Do not watch this PV. Actually, do watch. Or don't. You probably shouldn't listen to me, I'm kind of just now realizing that BiS will be gone after July 8. Honestly, I never pegged BiS to be the first idol group I reviewed to disband. I always thought it'd be... well, I didn't know, but I didn't think BiS would be the first. Technically, Bump.y is also disbanding, but I'm only a casual fan of them. I've been a fan of BiS since My Ixxx. I may not have been there at the very beginning, but I still followed BiS through lineup changes, switching to a major label, singles and albums, the 100k marathon, the failed Budokan pursuit, so many things. And one of my favorite aspects of BiS has always been their music videos. Sure, sometimes they could get graphic or inappropriate or downright uncomfortable, but they were always so interesting. And for better or worse, they grabbed my attention! If My Ixxx hadn't been such a controversial PV, I may have never even discovered BiS.

I bring this all up, because I think to really appreciate the PV for Final Dance, you have to do two things. First,you need to be a fan of BiS. The longer the fan, the better, but if you're looking to become a fan of BiS, just start watching their music videos. They're on Youtube. And Jpopsuki. And then try finding their albums, along with their singles. Once you've done that then the PV for Final Dance will be all the more wonderful and soul-crushing. Second, you need to know the formula for the idol summer PV. Otherwise, this music video is just going to look like a group of girls prancing around in bikinis. Final Dance combines the traditional idol summer PV concept with clips from previous BiS music videos and concerts. In doing so, Final Dance is just about as close as BiS has come to really satirizing an idol PV while at the same time being a painful yet heartwarming trip down the group's history, from the very first rendition of Nerve all the way to StupiG. I was so surprised when the clips started showing up halfway through Final Dance. It was very disorienting, and when I saw all those BiS clips jammed together in one PV, it really hit me that this truly is the final dance for BiS. And that makes me very sad.

Final Dance could have worked as just a parody summer PV. It's set up perfectly to be one. I laughed when I saw the girls dancing around in colorful bikinis, doing all those dance poses, and generally normal idol summer things. In a weird way, it was even kind of refreshing. When BiS does so many abnormal things for idols, the weirdest thing that they can do turns into the most normal thing a conventional idol group can do. And the satire works so well, to the point that it's almost subtle. There are so many summer PVs that BiS is satirizing in this PV, to the point where I can't even name them all. That's partially because Final Dance is a satire of so many general concepts in idol summer PVs that it's hard to peg down specific music videos. That's why you need to be familiar with the idol summer PV. Anyways, BiS could have just left Final Dance as a fun parody, but then they twisted that into a chance to play back all their past releases. And I love that they covered pretty much everything, even their indie releases like My Ixxx and Idol. Although I'd like to take this moment to say, I never saw Yufu once in any of those clips. I can only imagine why. Still, Final Dance is such a frustratingly poignant PV and makes for a fitting last music video from BiS...

...if it is their last music video.

I'm certain you all noticed the "to be continued..." in my very last screencap. I think that may indicate a PV for the Final Version of Nerve, the other A-side off of this single. I'm not sure though, since no PV has been released on the Avex Youtube channel. The only music video on the DVD versions of the single is Final Dance. But there was also a tweet about another PV, so by this point, I have no expectations. If a final PV comes, I welcome it with open arms. But if Final Dance is meant to be a send off for BiS, then I think it works pretty well. I'm a little unsure about the decision to make it a summer PV, but Final Dance/nerve is a summer single. And I think it kind of fits with BiS's entire concept. Watching Final Dance has made me realize how much I'm gonna miss BiS and how much I don't want to see them go yet. I guess it's better for them to go out with a bang like Final Dance than something mediocre, right? Still, part of me says it feels too early. But then another part of me says that it's time for BiS to go. Pour Lui wants them to go out before they start to decline, and if that's what she wants, so be it. But it still hurts. I wish all the best to the former and current members of BiS. They're leaving us in true BiS fashion, with a satisfying conclusion to the four years of running around nude, spiked baseball bats, and fake blood. How I will miss it.

Final Dance isn't perfect, but it is near-perfect. Four and half apples near-perfect. The song is a little tame for BiS, but still has all the energy and heart to make for a strong sendoff. The PV is heavily nostalgic, especially if you've been a fan of BiS for some time. Even if not, Final Dance still makes for a great music video that's both a great satire of summer PVs and a bittersweet retrospective of everything BiS has accomplished. All I can ask of you readers is that you please check out BiS. They're a wonderful group, and I hope that after they've disbanded, they'll still carry on as a legacy.


  1. (sorry for my bad english)

    BiS is my favourite band, and i love when you talk about them. The second half of the Final Dance MV is very emotional, and some parts from the Nerve new video are absolutely touching for me (especially the scene with Pour Lui and Nozomi with the old "Brand New Idol Society" dresses). By the way, check this page!!

    Thanks for this wonderful blog.

    1. Your English is great! And I love knowing that other BiS fans read my blog! It's such a shame that they're disbanding, but both the videos for Final Dance AND Nerve have been rightly sentimental. And I absolutely agree, the bits where they wore their old outfits were so touching.

      Thanks for the link to that page! I think it's so cool that other J-pop groups and singers are doing the Nerve dance! It makes me wish I could dance!

  2. I'd only been following them for a while before reading of their intention to disband. They became and still remain up there as my alternative idol group of choice (I also follow 48G and, more recently, some other idol groups). Watching the MV for 'Final Dance' was a sad experience. Really wish I'd gone to see these girls live at some point; guess the closest I'll get to that is the "Road to Budokan" DVD. Absolutely the best of luck to all of them in whatever they're doing from hereon (good to see some of them still making music).

    Come on BiS, how about a special reunion concert in the near future? And, just for my convenience, have it in Fukuoka so I can easily attend!

    And thanks to you, Nia, for supporting BiS. I actually found your blog while looking for CD reviews.

    1. Their intent to disband seemed to be hanging in the air for such a long time, I never thought it would actually happen... But it did, and I think they left behind a good legacy! The PV for Final Dance really shows that! I too wish I could have gone to see them live, but circumstances were just too inconvenient for me. You know, not living in Japan and all. Still, I guess I can find a DVD! And the members are all still around which is a plus!

      I would LOVE a reunion concert. Or they could all just get together and reform the group. I'm okay with either one. Preferably both!

      You're welcome! I feel like BiS never got reviewed by many blogs, so I always tried to review their stuff! I'm gonna miss reviewing them...