With November's end upon us, it's time to clear up with a few final posts for the month, just before the onslaught of December hits. It will be a busy month this year, with very few opportunities to post anything but Graduation Appreciations, Christmas themed reviews and my Year End selections.
And if y'all didn't know this was coming, then you don't know me well enough, because THIS IS HOUPRI, BITCHES >8U
With HouPri's quiet departure from Universal Music Japan - no promotion since July '17, the change in their 'uniforms' for day performances, Cute Black Ltd's. closure, as well as the fact the group has released the full music video on their channel, the first in two or so years - the Princess themed unit continue their story-book quest in Abrakatab Luv!, which begins a brand new chapter in their own story, as well as creating a refreshing new theme for one of the worlds most beloved stories.
Inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights collection (also known as The Arabian Nights), the members of Houkago Princess transform into a beautiful Arabian princess, most likely inspired by both Disney's Princess Jasmine and Scheherazade, the story teller from One Thousand and One Nights who tells her husband a story each night in order to prolong her life. Here, the members express the tale of a beautiful desert Princess through rich, emotional song and choreography, with the hopes that they will cast a spell on you all.
Now, when the information for the song was originally released, I mistakenly claimed this to be all about the tale of Aladdin. I don't think it actually is; Abrakatab Luv! seems to be linked more to One Thousand and One Nights, though it could easily be a mixture of both the story collection and Aladdin. I have yet to read the lyrics, so, I can't determine what it's about yet, but for now, I'm saying it's more likely the group is depicting the character of Scheherazade, with Jasmine's look thrown in there for good measure. Of course, I could be completely wrong, because it's me; I get everything wrong.
It's also the best explanation for why there are a lack of flying carpets and jinni's. I am sticking to it >o>
And now it's time to enter a whole new world of glittering jewels, floating veils and chai tea. In their latest adventure, Houkago Princess tackle one of the most beloved story collections of all time, and embody the Princess who told beautiful tales for 1001 nights. Are you ready to be enchanted by HouPri's spell?
✧ Abracadabra! Let's Hear A Story~✧
Okay, so we're supposed to believe they're desert princesses... couldn't they have gone to a beach for this? I mean, there are plenty around Japan, or at least that's what AKB would have me believe o-O
Okay, that's some nice camera work there. Even the lighting is quite pretty.
I still don't get what that tattered tent is in the background. Remnants of their costumes from the Universal Music Japan days?
Nice editing, beautifully timed.
YO, ME LIKEY! This is so damn aesthetically pleasing, and it makes me want beaded curtains.
... Wow, beaded curtains. So 90's XD
Maika? Nana? I doubt you're gonna be Mayumin or Himarin, cause, y'know, they're just background fodder at this point.
I'm gonna guess Nana, I recognise the chin.
YO, DIVA VOICE! How much of this will you dominate today?
I like your head piece, btw. Pretty :o
Oh, damn, that's actually a pretty cute location. I could see myself reading One Thousand and One Nights in that kind of setting.
I wonder how annoying it is to dance with those earrings. Wouldn't they just whack the members in the face?
Actually, that'd be hilarious to see. Bring on the earring whacks! >8D
Nananyan: "Ooooh, Maika, did you put some Bailey's in my Chai Tea?"
Maika looks hella guilty here, as if Nananyan caught her lip synching to someone else's Diva voice... >o>
Yeah, yeah, whatever. You're just trying to get Nananyan drunk so she does a sloppy recording session!
Okay, dunno how it's happened, but for some reason, I'm seeing a lot more appeal in Nananyan. Maybe I'm just naturally progressing and finally enjoying the centers of any given group?
Okay, how many bets for the little screen time these two will get, together or individually? >o> I bet very. Fuckin'. Little.
I love Saorin, but she looks really tired here. Miran's a delight, as per usual.
Maika: "Hello, Jinni. Where's my wishes?"
Yo, Maika, that's one tacky looking lamp you've got there. What's it made out of, solid plastic?
... Is it just me, or does Maika look evil? Oh, please tell me she's the evil Vizier in this tale. PLEASE!
Maika: "And now I will wish for your Oshi to disappear~"
Management already did that, back when they demoted Sahochi. Bastards )8<
I wouldn't dance when there's smoke behind you, girls. I mean, where there is smoke, there is typically...
GDI, Sasara, why are you such a delight?
Oh, look, Nananyan's there, too. Hey.
SASARARABU! Why isn't this song centered around you? -sobs- They used your Luv nickname, and all! ;;
TBH, Maika does have the best lips in the group, so I get why they shot this scene with her. The others can't compare.
This one is damn cute, I love Miran's little heart <3
Saori's adorable, and yeah, she wears the veil best. Girl needs to model.
Sasarabu: "Oshi me, blogger-girl."
I will forever love Sahochi and Mayumin )8< No dismissal will change my heart!
One of my favourite Nananyan scenes. She's an absolute delight in this video, like, damn.
I need to make a banner out of this face.
I really do love these scenes. They're a lot dreamier than the rest of the video, and the quality is just gorgeous. They look expensive, too.
... Yeah, the rest of the video, not so much, but whatever XD
Maika singing her lil heart out. I really can't screen grab her well though, her mouth is always open. Ah, well, at least she'll be good photoshop fodder for some >_>
I love how the further back we go, the darker the setting seems. Nice and atmospheric.
Wait, wtf is that shuffle? How did I not notice it upon first watch!?
Damn, I love that move with the arms. But, HouPri staff, please try to make it less obvious how much of a Goddess you think Maika is. The key is subtlety here, and you're being anything but.
Magpie Maika has swooped in, now prepare for your jewels to mysteriously disappear... >o>
Mayumin: "Le gasp! We get another scene, Himarin!"
Himarin: "Yeah, yeah, whatevs. Help me crack into this box, will ya?"
I honestly don't know what chai tea looks like, so to me, this appears as weak chocolate milk.
Fun fact: I don't like or drink either, so, I'm shit outta luck.
This is the best part of the entire choreography. I just love how commanding and suave that damn walk is XD
This scene just reminds me of Mean Girls, for some reason, and I identify the girls as such:
Sasarabu: Karen Smith
Nananyan: Gretchen Wiener
Maika: Regina George
You know it's true!!!
Nananyan: "Mufufufu, I wonder if Management will accept this as payment for demoting Maika, and making me the Queen of HouPri once again...~"
Evil plans are evil, and Nananyan is enticed by the true evil of sparkly, pretty jewels.
I adore how bitchy Saorin looks here, but I am even more pleased by the fact that I can actually glimpse my dear Mayumin here. I swear, it's as if she's invisible sometimes. Damn you, editors!
GOD AMNIT, Sasarabu knows how to charm me.
This is the freakin' cutest caption you'll ever see today, so cherish it.
Maika: "Please don't oshi those two, I'm the real gem~"
Miran: "I will bare my entire arm if you adore me. Wanna have a look?"
Saori: "Oshi me, bitch."
I wonder who wins this round for Oshi-Me-Next? I mean, they all make strong arguments. Except you, Maika, yours was weak.
Maika: "Abracadabra, Oshi me NOW!"
OH, SHIT, MAYUMIN ALERT! She is so freakin' precious, how can they not show her more?
Sasarabu: -snickers- "Because I'm here."
Shurrup, Sasarabu, or I'll disqualify you from adoration status.
Oh, shit, Himarin got a close-up in a dance shot! What in the fiddlesticks is going on here?
Now, where's my Mayumin dance shot close-up?
HELLO, CLOSE-UPS!!! <3 You precious, precious clips, I will treasure you forever.
Yes, I am prolonging this moment, because it's the only one of Mayumin I'm gonna get from this PV, because Management are a bag of dicks.
Same for Himarin. Management are a bag of dicks, they don't understand your cuteness.
Oh well, at least it's better than Miyamoto Karin taking over your spot and filling in for your solo shots, as well as your dance shots. URRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!
Maika: "Oh, boo-hoo, cry me a river. No one cares, Chiima."
-throws plastic lamp at Maika-
Mayumin is so demure, pure and sweet here. Saorin couldn't care less, she just wants to go read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Maika's wondering why she doesn't have more lines, and Himarin is finally plotting world domination.
It's true; pictures really do say a thousand words, depending on how you read them.
Sasarabu: "I will dominate the fandom, and make all the Western and Japanese fans love me!"
TBH, that's already happening. Sasarabu is hella popular.
Oh, damnit, now Nananyan's winking, too! Are you really trying your best to make me love you?
Nananyan: "Yep~" -winku-
Another Mean Girls-worthy pic, with Maika truly embodying the spirit of Regina George.
"One time, she punched me in the face. IT WAS AWESOME!"
Saorin is so freakin' adorable, I'm so glad she's in the group.
GDI, ANOTHER WINK! This PV is really trying its best to appeal to me.
Now, throw in some Mayumin winks, and I'll be happy as Larry! (Who the heck is Larry?)
Aw, damn, that red hue is nice! I guess it's supposed to represent a spell being cast, or something ominous is afoot. Whatever, I don't care, I just think it looks nice.
HOT DAMN, LOOK AT THAT! PRETTY!
Sasarabu looks like an Arabian Queen here, and that hue is just brilliant. I love the solar flare, too, it adds to the warmth and depth of the image.
I truly feel like I'm in a desert in these moments, but only because of the hue. What a beautiful use of imagery, and what gorgeous additional shots! If only there were more members added >o> *coughcough* MAYUMIN *cough cough*
Another wink, and I am dead. Also, hai thar, Himarin, you cutie <3
Seriously though, someone stop Maika from winking before she gets whiplash >o>
NANANYAN! This is a gorgeous shot of her, and she looks so cute. Damn.
Safari? Preying Mantis? What are we doing here, HouPri, this feels so out of place at this point in this song.
I do enjoy your rolling hips, however. That's a new dance move I need to add into my daily random dances of happiness.
I'm taking what I can of my darling, at this point. I need this.
This is a great dance, I actually love how fun it is. It's so hip-worthy.
Oh, dang, this shot is nice. I love it. Favourite arm shot, ever.
Booty hip shake, that only Maika is dedicated to doing right. Sasarabu, Mayumin, Nananyan! Get yourselves together and fucking dedicate to the beauty of the booty shake! D8<
It's like watching wood try and move, FFS.
Heavenly Sasarabu is Heavenly, and seriously, she suits this look so damn well.
Actually, she suits every look well. Her face is so damn universal (unlike their label, lol).
Aw, shit, they knew we were watching! Run, guys, run, Nananyan spotted us!
✧ Yura Yurara ✧
I swear, this should have been a summer PV, and Sayonara Duarena should in turn have been released in the winter. They should have been switched, especially when you realise just how warm Abracadab Luv! is and cold Sayonara Duarena looks. Gosh darnit, HouPri, stop mixing your seasons up!
Okay, so after watching this video a few more times, I can say now that I enjoy it a lot more than I expected. I mean, I didn't mind it at first, but it looked cheap from the get-go. The way it has been filmed, the costumes, the limited locations... it all reeks of cheapness. But, after saying all that, the location scouts and designers for the PV did a good job, and it's been filmed really nicely. It's not Universal level, but for an indies HouPri video, I think it has a lot of charm and potential. Plus, it's stunning to look at visually; they really know how to work in certain colours, and make it feel rich and vibrant in all the right places.
Actually, this video reminds me of Junpaku Antoinette in its structure, and maybe a little bit of Smilex3 ~Egao Zutto Saitemama de~. It's simple, pretty, and the members are grouped together on couches for some of the scenes, which imitates how Junpaku ran as a video. Also, Abracadab Luv! is very limited in its narrative, at least visually. No story, no defined characteristics, just a bunch of girls gossiping over chai tea.
Then again, I never expect defined story lines from most groups; I leave that to the AKS lot. As a music video, though, this is pretty to look at. Going back to the use of colour, I love how everything works in harmony. Purple is the most significant colour used, delivering a rich and exotic look to the members that looks cool when they're in the close-ups, but warm during the sunset scenes. It's very eye-catching, and as very little else is purple in this video - we are typically seeing reds and whites, browns and orange, gold etc. - it allows the members to stand out even more, drawing our attention to them despite the elaborate decor.
The prettiness of the colour doesn't stop those costumes looking tacky, however. They're as cheap and tasteless in terms of material as the Shirayukihime dresses the group wore with their first major single. It's nice to see the members finally wearing pants, though, as it's a much-needed change of pace in the wardrobe department, and damn, I do love those veils. Sadly, the rest of the outfit looks frumpy and unsuited to the members' frames. I'm hoping for better costumes next time -crosses fingers-.
Moving on swiftly. Some of my favourite moments of this music video are the close-up shots, and of course, that choreography. It's a really fun little dance, filled with a flurry of movements that remind me of both belly-dancing, and something you might find in traditional Arabian or Indian dance. It's exotic, and at times, a little bit seductive, especially from Maika. Thankfully, Maika leads this dance a lot of the time, which helps it to look good, because damn, the other members have no clue. They're freakin' stiff half the time, and look sloppy next to Maika's smooth movements.
Yes, I'm looking at you, Nananyan and Sasarabu >o> How the fuck are you in the "premium" Team Twinkle when you're half-assing this choreography, huh?
So, the dance is great, I think it's filled with a lot of personality and style that befits the music. In terms of the close-ups, though, they are freakin' gorgeous. I love how the individual solo shots are filmed with a backdrop of glittering beads, and how much that scene compliments the members' costumes. Then there are the random little solo shots that include Nana kissing a cherry, Maika putting on lipstick, and Sasara winking at the camera. Little things like that just add to the charm of the video, and make the members so much more likable, in my opinion. It's a nice touch, and they're fun to see.
Oh, and those frekain' outside sunset shots. Damn. I love those, and they come at the perfect time, during the bridge, where the song is at its peak. It just feels so right, and both Nana and Sasara look especially gorgeous. I was so surprised to see those kinds of shots, but it really does boost the overall quality of the video.
The thing I don't like about the close-ups, however, is the dire lack of Mayumin and Himarin. Seriously? One solo shot for those two is not enough, and just makes me want to punch a wall, or something. My Oshi deserves so much better!
Ha, like anything will be done about it. I'm just praying there's an accompanying music video for the Jasmine song that couples this release, because jeez, Management and Editors are being scum at this point. They're just as bad as H!P at this point, who are well-known for being a giant bag of dicks at times.
... Oops, I blew a fuse >o>
So, yeah. I like the PV, a lot more than I anticipated. I still think that, at times, it's a little cheap in comparison to previous releases, but it is pretty, and honestly, it's better than Kiete, Shirayukihime, with its horrific choreography border. As a music video, it's really well shot, it has some nice moments, and it delivers quite a few gorgeous scenes that are memorable, warm and in keeping with the songs tone. For a video that was made after the groups departure from their major label, Abracadab Luv! is well made, and another great PV from Houkago Princess.
Now, when's the next release, and when am I getting my Rapunzel / Sleeping Beauty / Thumbelina / Macbeth / Princess Diaries / Kaguyahime themed single? I am waiting impatiently, so please, do be quick about it. xD
Have Houkago Princess finally cast their spell on you, or did the Jinni fall flat? Whatever your opinion might be, don't be afraid to share it with the world.
Let's prepare for the next chapter of this groups story, and await the next tale they will perform for us. Until then, enjoy your magic carpet rides, and make a wish for your beloved Idols. Abracadabra!
Grand wishes and beautiful adventurers dear readers,