Saturday, 23 March 2013

Living it Up with ElectroCute Lightning's Debut 'Let's Live!'

As always, all thoughts and opinions are totally my own and no one else's. You can agree to disagree if you want, wheee!

EDIT* I refer to ElectroCute Lightning as a Net Idol group, however Kaya has stated that she prefers music group to Idol group, so hopefully I will remember to say music group in the future!

I have mentioned before (I think) that I am not a keen fan of self-made net Idol groups. I do not necessarily mind them, mind you, but I don't avidly go around looking for them either. I guess I am the sort of fan who likes to keep Idols in Japan, I guess? Wow, I sound super cold and racist to... well, Americans, Brits, anyone outside of Japan, actually. But I'm not, it is simply just my preference.

Of course there are net Idol groups out there, and not all are trying to make it in Japan; they do it because they want to, and because they like the style, and I do respect that wholeheartedly. But again, I do not actively go looking for net Idol groups because they generally do not interest me.

... I guess that is why Kaya of Kaya's Pink Cabaret asked me to give a review of her groups debut PV, Let's Live, because she probably knows where I stand on net Idols and that I will, undoubtedly, give an unbiased opinion on it. She actually did mention that she knew I would be honest, by the way, and hopes to continue to improve her group and up-coming video's through reviews and such.

Also, Kaya did say that this review could be private, however I would like to share it with you all because after watching this, I was extremely positive about it regarding both the song and the PV, and I actually thought that I would finish the MV either disliking it or feeling unaffected by the content. Of course that did not happen.

The video and song are both actually very short, only hitting a mere 2 minutes and 38 seconds of visual and musical content! I was quite surprised by that, however considering this is their debut, and everything is what I presume to be totally self-funded, this really is not that surprising either. But still, I was shocked by how short the video was.

By the way, the group is now called ElectroCute Lightning... random trivia of the day!

Now when I started this video I did expect something similar to what Oishii! Project provided with their first MV; washed out, heavily filtered close-up shots and the girls in rather random, and very different, locations that made it pretty obvious that the girls were a net Idol group. Again, this is what I expected, so I was quite surprised (once again) that this was not the case with ElectroCute Lightning, because they were actually together, dancing, playing around... together. In the flesh.

Needless to say I am impressed by that, because I was not expecting that. However it is undeniable that the group chemistry also worked well for this video, but more on that later...

The video itself, for me, was actually really enjoyable to watch. I had some of my own tiny, random issues with it, but for the most part I really did like it. The location they had for a majority of the MV worked extremely well, and I love that natural lighting was used. Now, however contradicting that may sound to everyone, because I have a pet peeve with natural lighting, natural light can either work damn well, or it can totally ruin a PV, and in a way this video actually examples both the good and bad of natural lighting quite well, though it really is more good than bad in my opinion.

In the two images above, I found that the natural light in the slide scene was not the best because of the lens glare from the sun, but that is more to do with directing the camera towards the sun and not using a reflector, but these scenes are very few, and the other scenes outside show how good natural lighting can be. In fact, I liked how sunny it was for the dancing and park scenes; it felt very natural and refreshing and, in all honesty, made me want to visit the park.

There are also inside shots that I think could have had better lighting, but again I do think that this PV is self-budgeted, and honestly the indoor scenes don't look half bad, but you can see the clear contrast in lighting when those scenes pop up... but it isn't bad, but also something to watch out for, so consistent lighting is something to think about in the future for ElectroCute Lightning's PV's.
... But at least they didn't resort to a damn white-wash filter!!!

I would also like to randomly point out that there also weren't any background people walking around in the park (nothing will go unnoticed, I take Media as a course, I learn to be observant... sadly) from what I can see, and that really impressed me that Kaya was able to secure a location and not find any random people walking around either. Props to Kaya and her location scouts!

There are some lovely shots in this video actually, but one of the parts that is the most memorable is the shot where Mayu flies off the swing and falls to the ground, hitting the cue of the music perfectly in that scene as well. I have to say, whoever edited this timed it darned well and made sure that the sequence of the video was done well.

I also love the fact that ElectroCute Lightning played up the shots and made sure to keep us interested as we watch the video; there weren't any standard close-up shots and dance shots, but instead a variety, with the only consistent shot being the dance itself. There is a nice amount of variety, and everyone got creative with what to do for the video, and we don't stick to one location, either, which is a good thing to me as a reviewer and a viewer.

Of course I have my own peeves when it comes to the video, but really, what video is ever perfect? That said, the things I have a main issue with when it comes to the video has to be the lip synching from the girls and the dance itself. Whilst the dance is cute enough and quite simple, it's clear that it is not totally synchronised and there seems to be some confusion on Hazel's part as the dance goes on. That said, I find Hazel's random antics and energy throughout the rest of the video undeniably hilarious and wonderful, but when it comes to dancing and being precise, Mayu is my definite favourite.

... I think I have an Oshi from a net Idol music group!?

But yeah... other than some lighting issues and problems in being synchronised in the dance, I don't think that the video itself is that bad. The girls present in the video are energetic and fun to watch, and they make the video feel so alive and, in a way, homey and friendly. I feel like I am having fun myself when I watch this because of how random, cute and fun Kaya, Mayu and Hazel are in the video. Their carefree antics make it so easy to watch as well, especially Hazel, and their smiles are incredibly infectious! I do wish that there were close-up shots in this video because then the emotion from the girls would have been brought across more, but I do appreciate the shots given; we have a good variety, and most shots consist of the girls having fun together and showing off their group chemistry and how close they are, and that's one of the things I always want to see in any group: Chemistry. It's something that can make or break a group, and it really did make me like ElectroCute Lightning more than I thought I would, and even makes me want to watch PV over and over and over again...

Which I have done already, actually. Quite a few times...

Give me those skirts!!!!
Now that I have given a rather long and thorough review (the most thorough EVER, me thinks) I want to talk a little bit about the song, because whilst it is short, it is very catchy... but I have other things to say about it, too.

Firstly, the song is in English. Something that I did not, yet again, expect. I thought that ElectroCute Lightning would take the Oishii! route and try and be Wapanese, but nope. English, and honestly I am happier with the song in English. The girls are sticking to their mother tongue (I think?) and using cute lyrics that English speakers can understand clearly, and whilst I honestly do not pay much attention to the lyrics much, I do think that they sound sweet, if not a little cliché and sugary for my own liking.

The composition of the music itself is extremely catchy as well. It has a very infectious, up-beat tune that gets stuck in your head easily, and the vocals are pretty darned nice too, though they do sound a bit weak at times.

Kaya in all her random glory, the scene where I actually burst out laughing like a looney
A thing that I did find with the music, however, was more to do with the microphones than anything; there was a pretty clear difference in the sound quality for some microphones, because someone had a bit of background fuzz going on. I actually did not pick up on this until I put my headphones on, but after that I could not help but notice it more. That said, it isn't too bad, but it is something to look out for in the future I think.

The mandatory High school musical JUMP!!! All friends need Alone
All in all, this is quite a well done video for the debut of the net Idol group ElectroCute Lightning! I think that they did really well by keeping it carefree, fun and simple, and managed to produce a fun and sweet MV that made me really happy as I watched it, and also a video that really makes me miss my friends back where I used to live. It's lively and has a nice amount of energy, and an incredible amount of group chemistry! There are obviously some issues that can be sorted such as consistent lighting and making sure to kick the lens glare in the butt, but the timing of the edit, the pace and the locations were all really good and worked well for the girls.

Choreography and keeping the movements sharp and synchronised is another thing, also lip syncing  but I did enjoy the video despite these minor problems I found, though next time I would love to see close-up shots, group mid-shots and possibly different costumes as well, but overall this is an extremely positive and fun PV that really just shows off how well these girls know each other and how fantastically they get along as well. It's homey in feeling, and when ElectroCute Lightning bring out their next video I really hope that they don't lose that homey, fun feeling that was present here, because I enjoyed it.

The debut of a new Net Idol Music group... and possibly the beginning of me actually enjoying net Idol groups!? Who knows~