So AKB48 just released their thirty fifth single on the twenty sixth of last month titled “Mae shika mukanee” with this single representing the very last for my Oshi Yuko as an AKB member. And so fittingly I had a much different sense of a mixed anticipation upon this single’s arrival as while I knew Yuko would no doubt be represented most prominently that this would also mean saying goodbye to the only idol life I’ve adored her in =/…. albeit Yuko had been active in the idol world for some time prior however in that sense I did arrive to the party a few years late I’m afraid.
And while images and music videos no doubt had struck a chord in Yuko becoming my Oshi I still remember vividly that exact moment when for the very first time I had seen Yuko outside of the commercial productions and so candid like and just real, unguarded and unscripted in that sense, as it came upon a friend suggesting I watch these series of member introduction clips and let’s just say that the rest is history ^^~.
~Oshima Yuko AKB48 self introduction clip~
Just above, in addition to the first press external photo which Neowing was offering (far left), here are the three member photos I received with this release and it’s pretty wacky/ lucky ~* that I’d gotten not one but two Sasshi’s♥ as these are indeed randomly inserted photos o(*´∀｀)o゛！！Interestingly the random photos are exclusive to the ‘regular’ editions as the limited versions offer handshake event tickets instead for those lucky enough to attend =D.
I’ve yet to catch a glimpse of how AKB’s latest is selling but it’s always of note in just how much the production gurus @ family48 pack into their mother-ship’s single releases each and every time for some years now and it’s a continued true testament of how and why CD sales in Japan are on the continued upswing while the purchasing of downloads have decreased notably even more so within the past couple of years or so. It serves as a reminder and salute to Japan’s savvy and ability to adapt to an ever changing as well as challenging music market where including bonuses/ first press extras in the form of physical extras with releases adds to their allure for music consumers whereas how the music industry’s sales of CDs has faltered greatly in other countries with downloads in overseas markets being on the rise greatly while the habits of consumers purchasing physical CDs have been on a steady decline which amounts to the dying breed of actual record shops and particularly in the U.S. In a report from last year, interviews conducted with Japanese music consumers revealed how wanting a physical item was met with much importance versus a download and likewise in harmony with this culture of having physical collectibles, Japan’s record stores have continued to strive and prosper. Also notable is that while fans everywhere are alike in their music fandoms there is a distinct difference between those who purchase their favorite artist’s releases verses non paid downloads, as for those who purchase, this creates sustainability for the industry and for your favorite artists and groups so that they may continue to entertain and exist for everyone~.
DVD Type A
~AKB48 “Mae shika mukanee” (mv)~
While most recently I’ve absolutely loved the graduation songs/MV’s of Tomochin and Mariko with their poignant grace, deep creativity and beauty….you just knew that Yuko wasn’t going to go out that way っo(*´∀｀)o！With a whopping running time of nearly twenty three minutes in length, “Mae shika mukanee” is pure rock anthem material at heart, infused with the musical central visuals of a past memory’s ever living glory brought back during a triggered scene in this mini drama, and interestingly it’s all set to deeply contrasted surroundings which make up this mini movie whose world appears as being post some apocalyptic event of sorts. The very meaning of the song couldn’t have been any more perfect to suit Yuko as she stands upon just a few days prior to the eve of her graduation. The lyric’s reflecting upon sentiments of youthful days of rebellion and how one must eventually look to the future no matter the unknowns or fears before us as even today’s sadness, it too will come to pass but what will still forever remain no matter of us being apart is that of the sky above as it will continue to connect our paths even while our lives’ remain separate….sorry I’m sort of paraphrasing there😄. The song is basically about letting go and finding your resolve and strength to move onward, like a strength which you’ve always possessed within…it’s no doubt melancholy in tone and yet the lyrics really are of pure optimism of the future and how no matter how much things in the now are beloved, that they must eventually come to pass if one is to grow. Love the choreography too! The raw energy and free form which you can appreciate even more in the ‘dance version’ which is posted just below. And be sure to take special note of Yuko’s extraordinary mic stand skills!!!! It’s like the legendary Ozaki Yutaka had given her private mic stand~rockin’ lessons ー(*￣Ｏ￣)ノ！！！
A perfect send off for Yuko, you’ve no idea of how much I’m going to miss her so much ( ┰_┰)。
~AKB48 “Mae shika mukanee” (dance ver. mv)~
And just in case you like your music videos to be cryptic/ apocalyptic free.
Yes there’s also included a most awesome dance exclusive version….you know minus the mysterious keys, mysterious doors, mysterious blood, mysterious lack of food and supplies, the mysterious need for arms and well, the mysterious lack of other humans or animals alike.
~Smiling Lions “Kinou yori motto suki”~
It’s just like those new Toyota commercials where someone has a grand vision out of the everyday ordinary to build something better for the sake of mankind or perhaps his family & friends and the kids down the street…you know like that awesome tree house or that backyard baseball diamond complete with stands and a dugouts =D. Well okay I admit it’s actually nothing like those commercials at all =P but there still is a vision and here it’s the blossoms which inspires the girls to skip out of class and go all artsy outdoors =D. And this song is pure early 90’s J-pop LOVE with the sweetest of ensemble vocals…..irresistible ♥!
~Beauty Giraffes “Kimi no uso wo shitteita” (mv)~
The song itself has a heavy retro rock seventies vibe going on with a most gorgeous vocal melody layered atop all the while this release’s most moody music video speaks of sex, lies, underground behavior and video tape(s) (・o・)。Happy to see Yagishan continue to be featured so prominently too and yet with the ending to this mv I can’t help but be reminded of a great drama titled “Pure” which I had watched years ago and it even featured the iconic Mr.Children song “Namonaki Uta” as its incredible theme, but anyway somewhere in the second to the last episode the lead man just happens to be walking down the street one day and then a gigantic construction beam just falls and lands on him =O. “Luckily” there was one more episode to try to make amends on what had been such a deeply touching drama all along and likewise thank goodness for that ‘…I’m okay” flash which appears at the conclusion of this mv =D.
And closing out single type A’s DVD clips is perhaps by far the most entertaining feature of all, well in addition to all of the Yuko goodness within here of course =D as I’d never fully known just how hilarious Nakamura Mariko truly is!!!!!!!! Let’s just call this twenty two minutes and thirty six seconds of monomane mania at its creative and oh so funny best!! And truly no one is safe as Komari takes you on a safari of her fellow members’ tendencies as she herself plays….. yup everyone with particularly Yukirin and Paruru being two of her very best impersonations and just wait for the likes of newscaster personality Takigawa Christel to appear in an ongoing segment of sorts as well as one most iconic Music Station host complete with his signature look!! After awhile you begin to feel a bit like you’re inside of an all AKB inspired episode of Robot Chicken as even those little awkward intervals and skits to nowhere are YES!! all present and accounted for here too and just wait for Komari’s monomane of Acchan doing her graduation presser as it’s all just so randomly wonderful for your funny bone…(^q^)! And ohhh is Komari soooooo cute here!!!!!! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll want to watch it all over again =D!
DVD Type B
~Baby Elephants “Himitsu no diary” (mv)~
Easily my second most favorite song of this release!! AkiP’s trademark grasp of all which is wonderfully catchy about 80’s J~pop all wrapped into the sweetest of ensemble melodies complete with this era’s charms and chimes. The accompanying mv tells a little story of a secret love born from literally the pages of a common book and as the relationship interest grew and grew it brought me to be teary eyed near its conclusion when all appears to be lost……..but then, =).
(The type B DVD also contains a little featurette of Hirata Rina’s trip to London. A cute favorite moment would be her teaching the locals there how to groove to “Koi suru fortune cookie =D!)
DVD Type C
~Talking Chimpanzees “KONJO” (mv)~
And we’ve now reached the final type C DVD =D. And before I forget to mention, the common videos which appear on all single versions are the title track “Mae shika mukanee” music video and dance version music videos along with the music video for “Kinou yori motto suki.” And about the sub group names of Smiling Lions, Beauty Giraffes, Baby Elephants and Talking Chimpanzees….very interesting wouldn’t you say. Okay and for this last final music clip here all I’ll say is: come for Nana, stay for the volleyball and awesome rocker of a song!
~Tentoumu CHU! in HAWAII~
(featuring scary batsu food (゜Д゜;)！！！）
Something tells me that the AKB producers may have been watching Koike Yui’s “PINK BREEZE in HAWAII” DVD one late night while planning this trip to the island of Oahu as there’s a familiar batsu theme in the air here going by the very same “Heaven and Hell Tour” in Hawaii theme =O! The lucky girls to visit are Kitagawa Ryoha, Nishino Miki, Nagisa Shibuya, Kojima Mako and Okada Nana but little do they know until their arrival is that there will be a selection of five cards bearing either the heaven or hell revelation upon their hidden sides which each girl will have to choose from and this form of batsu game will follow them along every step of their Hawaiian journey showing its mixed fortune of faces wherever treats or otherwise appear. If you’ve never been to Hawaii this clip which runs a bit over thirty minutes shows a wonderful peek into some of the attractions nearby to our iconic Waikiki beach with a bit of shopping and dining alike.
However due to its length I opted to edit out just a little peek into the results of just what can happen when the brightest and most mischievous of minds play the dreaded batsu card on you, and here the girls most likely thought they were just on a simple vacation =P.
In the mini clip I’ve included just above the treats of a charbroiled rib eye steak, roast chicken with mushroom sauce and a baked crusted crab hash salmon (which looks most yummy!!!) have already been served to the winners of the Heaven card recipients so now as the clip begins it’s time for the batsu to begin (;゜□゜)！！！And yes that indeed is duck feet being served there and just watch the reaction from Nishino Miki who’s just frightened to open up the cover to begin with and she hands down has some of the funniest reactions to well….questionable food…huh and what’s going on with that NAKED sweater? (。ーωー。)笑！It all goes down in Kapiolani Park and just imagine that in a later segment there’s even a form of batsu clothing being served up Hawaiian style!