Monday, May 18, 2015

March/April Song Opinions (Part 3 - The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~)

Everything I put on my blog is purely my opinion. No offense is ever intended, and I do not ever claim my opinion to be any more "right" than anyone else's, so please return the favor and pay me the same respect. Thank you.

Alright, so my excuse for the delay: I had finals and projects due at the end of April, and then this past Saturday I had one of the biggest exams of my life to date that I've been studying like crazy for. Good news: I passed :D and now I can try and continue this thing that I kinda dropped out on (Sorry about that </3). So the next song I want to talk about is: 

Itooshikute Gomen ne (Country Girls)
Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)
The Middle Managemen ~Something here~ (C-ute)
Gamusha LIFE (C-ute)
Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)
Wonderful World (Juice=Juice)
Ca va? Ca va? (Juice=Juice)
Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)
Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)
Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)

In this song there are outfits for each member and they're all relatively different, so I'll, once again, look at them at the end with individual members. First, I want to look at the dance setting of the video. 

I'll admit... I have no clue where this is supposed to be. However, I think it's really pretty and does a really good job of not clashing with most of the outfits. Also it's a really open area without any major distractions if you're not specifically looking for them, so for casual watching, I think the setting is great to keep your attention on the girls and the dance. Overall, the only complaint I really have about the setting of the dance is Chisa's outfit, and I'll whine about that at the end.

One of the other settings is for group close-up shots. It takes place at a small table where the girls are enjoying nice meal together. I really like this setting for the few scenes when the girls aren't singing (like the one picture here). However, I really don't like it for the close up shots. Seeing the girls singing while sitting together at a table really gives off a "musical" vibe to me, and, not that I don't like musicals, but I don't really thing it works well for this song. I mean it kind of could if they were ranting to each other, but duets and group parts wouldn't be a thing in that case and they clearly are in the video. I don't know I like the idea, just not really the execution I guess.

The solo close up shot scenes seem to be in all different places. The thing I love the most about these shots is the fact, I'm pretty sure they're all in the same room. They've just been positioned and the cameras have been angled to make it look like they're in different places. I personally love this. Some people might think that this is cheap. I can't disagree, because it is cheap, but by using creative means, I think it's better to be cheap because you save money that way. Unlike with green screen based backgrounds that Morning Musume tends to do a LOT, being cheap in this manner I at least don't feel like I'm losing out on anything. And, in fact, really enjoy the different angles on what could easily be the same room.

Okay, as for the lyrics, as a whole I guess I don't really care either way for most of them. However, there are quite a few lines that just kinda grab my attention. The number one is the very first line of the song. First of all, I can kind of relate to that, previously always being the youngest in my classes and such, suddenly now I'm one of the oldest. And I feel like a similar thing is reflected here by the fact that Hagiwara Mai is the one who got this line. Maimai is the youngest member of C-ute, held the record for the youngest member to join H!P until Frances and Aiko, and even until a few years ago was among the youngest generation still remaining. And then Gen 9, Gen 10, Gen 11, and now Gen 12 joined Morning Musume, bringing a total of 12 girls younger than her (all since Gen 9 except Iikubo Haruna) to that group, the disband of their senior group Berryz Koubou, the addition of S/mileage's (now ANGERME'S) 2nd and 3rd gens adding another 7 girls younger than her to that group, Juice=Juice's creation, initially adding 4, but with the graduation of Otsuka Aina, adding 3 girls younger than her with the addition of that group, Country Girls adding 5 younger girls, and now Kobushi Factory and Tsubaki factory in their entirety are younger than her, bringing us to the current state of Hagiwara Mai being the 11th oldest girl in Hello!Project (with the top 10 being her fellow C-ute members, Iikubo Haruna from Morning Musume '15, Wada Ayaka and Fukuda Kanon from ANGERME, Miyazaki Yuka and Kanazawa Tomoko from Juice=Juice, and Tsugunaga Momoko from Country Girls). Really, this one fact about this one member makes this one like one of the best lines coming out of all of these singles in my personal opinion.

Outside of that one line, I'd say the lyrics are okay. I can relate to some of the lines, and I can see how other people can relate to the song as a whole, but something about the lyrics just seem a bit lack-luster in the song as a whole. I feel like it's a very whiny song, and I get that that's the point, but I feel like the meaning could have been expressed in a better way. I don't know, I'm not a song-writer so I can't really critic it too much. So I guess I'll just leave it at: I feel like something was missing in the lyrics to make them much more enjoyable to listen to just to listen to rather than to try and relate to.

Now, as for the song itself. When I first heard it, I liked it a bit, but I wasn't really impressed. It wasn't one of my favorites, and honestly it was probably one of my least favorites. However, since I have taken a long time to get to these posts, I have had a chance to get over the initial "new song" obsessions and give all of these songs much more realistic listens, and I would have to say that either this song or Wonderful World has grown on me the most compared to the rest (most of what I said in my post regarding Wonderful World still holds true, by a lot, I just have grown to like it anyway. Still don't think it's #1 worthy, but meh, to each their own.) This song is fun and upbeat despite having such whiny lyrics and I think that's part of what's appealing about it. The MaimaiNakky lead is a nice change of pace, and then throwing Airi onto the harmonies with them gives their lines some nice flavor, I think. It's definitely proven to be one of the "non-skipper" songs from this round more so than even Gamusha LIFE, which previously I had said was one of, if not, my favorite.

Moving on to the final section, I'm going to look at the individual member's outfits and if they stood out in anyway to me. I will be going ahead and just doing this in age order again because I'm lazy and I literally copy-and-pasted my last post for this one and the less I have to edit, the better :D.

For Yajima Maimi, ironically I would vote her my middle ground for outfits in this video. I really like her necklace, and hairstyle, so I love this screenshot, but I feel like the shirt could have been worn a bit differently or had a slightly different style that would have been better suiting for her. As for the skirt, I just really don't like it that much. I love the black and white thing her outfit has going on, but the pattern on the skirt is far from one of my favorites, so while I think it's okay, I don't really like it either. Unlike Gamusha LIFE, Maimi really did not stand out to me at all in this video. She wasn't bad by any means, but to begin with, she wasn't in the center, and she didn't really do much to catch my attention over the other girls for most of the song, so... I don't really have much else to say as far as Maimi goes.

Next, Nakajima Saki, would have to be my favorite outfit here. I mean, for starters, it's blue. If you don't know by now that I'm incredibly biased to blue stuff, you probably haven't read many of my blog posts/talked to me, because I love colors, and blue is my favorite. But, in all seriousness, between her hair, her shirt, and her skirt, I just think that, for once in a long time, Nakky did the best job pulling off her outfit. Her hair is gorgeous, by the way. Nakky also is the one who stood out to me 2nd most. Since I am biased towards her as one of my top 2 C-ute girls (constantly fighting for #1 with Airi), I usually don't think much of it anymore when she stands out to me, but in this song where she got a lead for the first time in a long time, I noticed her even more than usual. Her voice really suited this song, and she had really good expressions throughout the video.

Suzuki Airi's outfit would have to be my 2nd least favorite of the ones in this video. her hair is gorgeous, but that's about the only redeeming factor of it in my opinion. It doesn't look half bad in the video when she's moving around, but in screenshots, pictures, basically when it's still I just can't bring myself to like it at all. The worst part is, I don't really know what it is about it that I don't like. I guess I don't like how stiff it looks... but I don't know why I would like it in the video then. I really just don't know how I feel or why...

So for this song, I feel like Okai Chisato dropped from 2nd place with her outfit in Gamusha LIFE to dead last in this song. And I can give you the reason summarized in 2 words: Those pants. When I look at the close up scene's I actually really like it, because I think both her hair and her shirt really suit her like this. But the second you show the pants I just... No. I physically avoid looking at her in the dance shots because of them. They are just that horrid to me. However, Chisa is 3rd place in the running for who stood out to me the most, because, despite the fact she was more of a side singer like Maimi was, she actually managed to catch my attention most of the time when she was on screen. I would say that Chisa was the number one for expressions in this song. She laughed along with the others in many of the group shot scenes, but when delivering a line, she was the most on-point of any of the girls with her facial and bodily expressions. If you didn't have subs and didn't speak a word of Japanese, I feel like Chisa would be the only one in this song that might possibly convince you that this isn't a happy-go-lucky song...

Hagiwara Mai. This girl... no, this woman. Holy crap. THIS is what I like to see out of Mai. Maimai's outfit is my 2nd favorite, only behind Nakky's because I don't like how the textures of the skirt and jacket don't seem to go well together. Her hair is wonderful, I usually like when girls wear ties, and this is no exception. This is the Mai that I wish I saw more of. Not only her outfit, though, I feel like she shined all the way through the song, taking my #1 spot for who stood out the most. Yes, she was a center, but she got some of the best lines, had some amazing expressions, and even managed to attract my attention quite a few times in the dance shot (which Mai does NOT do that much). I wouldn't say she was on Chisa or Nakky's level for expressions, but throughout the song she pulled off quite a few priceless expressions (for example: The one portrayed in the first screenshot when I started discussing the lyrics). I personally think this has been my favorite videos for Mai since... well probably since she wore her giant sunglasses in their indies singles. I REALLY liked her in this video.

So that's all I really have to say regarding The Middle Management. I hope to get the rest of the review posts out in a much more timely manner, but I do have work and I have another big exam in two weeks, so no promises. So sorry guys >.<. Anyway, have a nice day, see you around.

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