Thursday, October 11, 2012

Damn You, Joseph Kahn!

Or should I say KAAAAAAAHN!

I must be the cosmic plaything of Aki-P because every PV, every damn PV AKB48 has released this year sans Give Me Five! has improved my opinion on the respective song each one goes with. Manatsu no Sounds good! went from a nice-sounding but rather ordinary summer song to a dark PV symbolizing the death of a generation and the collapse of the group itself. I loathed the blandness of Gingham Check but the PV turned it into this silly and quirky homage to Japanese film. I literally couldn't remember Uza and now the song has been ingrained into my mind because the PV and its fantastic visuals. It's YOUR fault, Kahn! Why do you have to make me have... feelings for songs I don't like!? Why can't I just hate the song and the PV and move on like with PyokoPyoko Ultra!? It's like I've got an angel-Haruna and devil-Sayumi on my shoulders, with Sayumi going "You should hate the song!" and Haruna going "But the PV's awesome so you should love the song!" What to do, what to do...

Well, I guess I could actually review the song instead of rambling about my conflicted love for it.

But seriously, if this happens with the Janken single too, I'm just going to be annoyed by that point. Luckily that's extremely unlikely since Janken singles tend to really, really suck! And have low production values! So THERE! No high-budget PV for you to make interesting this time, Kahn! I wouldn't say I slammed the live concert preview of the song but my reception was definitely... forgetful. I literally couldn't remember the song and I must have a listened to it a good ten times! By now, I can thankfully remember it considering I had to watch and screencap the PV in order to complete this review. Now that I've dug a little further into this song, there's sort of been a question that's been lingering in the back of my mind ever since I heard this song: Which is worse: a bad song or a forgettable song? Because Uza isn't bad... but it sure as hell isn't good either. My biggest problem with Uza is that... it just doesn't have heart. And man alive, that has got to be the cheesiest thing I've ever written on this blog but it's true! Uza just doesn't have the heart of previous dark songs like River, Beginner, and Kaze wa Fuiteiru! It doesn't feel as powerful or have as much of an impact as those previous and doesn't stand out on its own. I almost want to say it sounds soulless but that makes it sound like something out of The Exorcist. I know some people have problems with the small amount of Autotune in the song but I don't really notice it since it doesn't improve or worsen the song. If anything, it only adds to the growing vortex of indifference I feel toward this song. Its not Gingham Check bland (god no, it's not Gingham Check) but this other different type of bland- how can there even be two different types of bland!? That's like saying vanilla and vanilla are two different flavors! I just... AGH. This song is such an enigma to me! It's the first song I feel like I can hardly generate a cohesive opinion about! I'm just rambling and rambling and rambling with no idea of what the hell I'm even typing and NOT because it's one in the morning where I am!

Okay. I need to chill. This isn't an internal debate on Einstein's Theory of Relativity, it's idol music. Ugh. This song gives me a migraine. As I've said, I don't hate the song. In fact, listening to the song in the PV really helped me pick out what I liked and disliked about the song. And yes, I will admit I might have been a little too quick to judge this song from just a live preview because now that I've listened to the recorded version, it sticks out a little more to me than before. The forgetability (is that even a word?) of the song is still prominent but it really isn't a bad song and it'll probably grow on me over time because maybe then I'll be able to fully remember it! Only time will tell but now that I've dug a little further into this song, I have found a few things I did like about it! One of the most (and one of the few) standouts of Uza is the lyrical content. That's the one thing about "dark" AKB48 songs I can always look forward to: beautiful, uplifting lyrics about breaking past obstacles and doing your best. Well... Uza isn't about that. However, it is about the encouragement to say you love someone despite your obstacles and the fact that said person may or may not be with someone else! Personally I interpret it as the last attempt for a desperate girl to win a boy she knows she can't have but again, the lyrics could go anyway. I'm serious, some people have even suggested the song is about rape. Maybe we can all get together, swim to Japan, and ask Aki-P what he was going for lyrically anyways. The more I listen to the song, it feels like I have a softer opinion towards it. The beat and instrumentals are nothing special and the song could use a little more energy but my general consensus of this song is that it's not bad. It pales in comparison to previous songs like River, Beginner, and Kaze wa Fuiteiru, but Uza is pretty decent. It could be cooler though. And more energetic. And more interesting. But I'd take it over Gingham Check so I guess that's a plus.

But I'm not here to critique the song. Oh no, the only reason I'm talking about it is so I can talk about the Halloween-tastic PV accompanying it!

See? It's awesome already! Just call them Ace #1 and Ace #2!

I swear this set looks exactly like my attic minus sixteen idols.

Not sure how I feel about Yuko's odd lipstick color but yay! Now she can be undisputed center along with Jurina! And hopefully Mayuyu!

The idols come out when the clock strikes twelve! Or one. Or three. What time is it supposed to be anyways in this PV?

This shot. Yuko and Milky make beautifully creepy ballerinas and Jurina is their glorious pimp.

Oh yay, Smirky's in this PV. At least the costumes are cool!

Hell, all the outfits in this PV are just really, really well done! These sexy and gritty black outfits totally make up for Gingham Check's horrendous gingham so very much.

Jurina, you sexy pimp.

I could definitely see Mariko and Haruna as classy aristocrats! Especially Mariko!

And Rena totally fits the part of a marionette/doll! Hrm... Rena the Doll. It sounds like a horror movie!

But Sasshi looks like she just slaughtered a wolf and decided to wear its pelt as earmuffs!

Oh, Mayuyu. Whenever you try to be creepy you just can't be creepy at all!

You know, I really love watching this PV again and focusing on the background to catch what they put in there to decorate it!

I could watch ballet all day; it's such a beautifully graceful type of dancing!

I wonder... how cool would it be if they showed Mayuyu and Jurina controlling their strings?

Don't give me that look, Smirky. You and I both know Mayuyu deserves to be the next ace over you!

I've always thought creepy wind-up toys looked cool, and the way these two are arranged is really eye-catching!

Especially when Takamina's one of them.

Oh my god, I thought Sayanee was Miyazawa Sae for a minute... I wish Sae was in this Senbatsu.

This is probably the first time I've ever noticed how pretty Milky is! Especially without hideous cat ears and a fuzzy cat garter!

It's GI 48!

Wait a minute! Yukirin can't be a clown! She's not funny!

Hey! Hey Yukirin! Why... so... serious? That may get old with everyone else but it never gets old with me!

I just noticed the goggles Mayuyu's wearing and I love them!

Miichan centers are always the best centers in my book!

Okay, I'm not one to notice dance breaks but this one is pretty cool to watch.

You can't tell by the screencap, but even Yukirin's insane clown dance break is pretty awesome.

But Mayuyu's face! Just look at that suppressed Creeper Smile!

Actually, Yukirin's kinda creeping me out too. I'm gonna watch the ballerinas now and check my closet at night to make sure you aren't there!

Weeeee look at the pretty ballerinas!!! I'm totally not thinking about Yukirin's black eyes boring into my soul right now!

Mariko, you classy biatch.

Holy shit, just when I thought the dance couldn't get any cooler! Hand... thingies! What are they doing?

Jurina must be rolling her eyes at all her haters!

And away they go to relax in Akibahara and laugh at the blandness of the Janken single!

So that's what happens once the stage shows are done every night!

Isn't it amazing how visuals can turn a boring song into something entertaining? I hate you so much right now, Kahn. I also love you for making a wonderful and entrancing PV. I mean seriously, it's Gingham Check's PV all over again! Does Aki-P just have some minions he sends out to look at the idol blogs? This PV isn't just a cool PV, it's a cool Halloween PV. I am such a sucker for anything Halloween-related it's scary. Horror movies, decorations, costumes, if it's Halloween-related, I will most likely love it. So the fact that a group I write about and review has just released a PV centered around this holiday I love so much has sent me into this strange nirvana of bliss. It's like in the back of my mind I'm thinking "This song is so not memorable" but that's overshadowed by my complete and utter joy that AKB48 released a Halloween PV! Oh god, you just don't know how happy this makes me. Of the many things I love about this PV, my absolute favorite thing is the costumes and the set design because both are incredibly elaborate. Like the background; I could stare at the backdrops used all day and pick out something new every time I watched it! It really feels like you can immerse yourself and get lost in this world that Kahn has created for the group. I find it amazing that he managed to do that with only one major setting; the only other PV I've felt like I can truly get lost in is Perfume's Electro World. But you have all these old set pieces, cool backgrounds, creepy furniture, and don't get me started on those costumes. I'm not talking about the dance shot outfits (but I will talk about them later) but the variety of different outfits, each set with its own theme. My favorite outfits would probably be the ballerina outfits Yuko and Milky wear and the badass magician-steampunk outfits Jurina and Mayuyu don. Then again, all the outfits were cool in their own special ways and each one had just as much going on as the set pieces. There were some little things I liked such as the measuring tape adorned in Rena's hair piece and the goggles Mayuyu wore. Oddly enough, Yukirin really stood out to me in this PV which is odd since I don't particularly care about her. I think because she was the only one who had a stand-alone outfit and that expression she wore as a clown was creepy. I'm not one for clowns, even idol clowns and I still feel like Yukirin's dead eyes are watching me from behind as I type this...

The dance shot outfits used in this PV are just as cool as the costumes and a thousand times better than Gingham Check! I really liked how they all had a consistent theme but each one still had its own style and embellishment like the fantastic goggles Mayuyu wore. They were gritty and managed to fit nicely with the tone of the PV. It's one of those PVs where everyone looks really good, like the hair and makeup and outfits all fit for each member. As for the dance itself... okay, it's pretty awesome. Like really awesome. Dare I even say super awesome? Nonetheless, it's definitely one of the strongest dances I've seen AKB48 pull in a long time, with a bunch of different formations and a cool dance break Yuko and someone else (maybe Takamina?) pull off. One con against this PV (and even then it's rather subjective) is that there isn't a consistent storyline with the PV, just one long dance but dammit, it has got to be one of the most visually captivating and hauntingly beautiful dance PVs I've seen in a long time! What sells it for me is obviously the fact that Kahn went with a concept of Halloween and really went all out with it. This is one of those PVs you couldn't do without a large budget and thankfully AKB48 is most likely swimming in money right now so yay! If it means really amazing looking PVs like this, I'll take it! The entire PV has this amazingly creepy steampunk feel to it and you can always find something new to catch your eye in it. If you love Halloween and/or creepy things in general, then I definitely think you'll enjoy this PV! It has a lot to see and some entertaining visuals combined with a strong dance and an air of fun creepiness!

I'll give Uza 3.5 out of 5 apples this time around. The song alone would get 2.5 and the PV would get 4.5 so I think that's a fairly good balance! As for you, Mr. Joseph Kahn... thank you thank you THANK YOU for this glorious PV!

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