Wednesday, 15 May 2013

[A Week with Winky] Rein-Aa! - Aa!'s 'FIRST KISS' PV Review!

Please go into this post knowing that the thoughts and comments on this group, the PV, girls etc... are all my own, and no one else's. I mean yeah, sure, if you want my thoughts, go ahead and try and steal them... but no matter what, they are MIIIIIIIINE!!!!!

*I would like to point out that, whilst a review, this is a post written with Tanaka Reina as the focus, so if I fail to talk about anything else other than Reina, just remember that my focus is, for now, Reina and Reina alone... however weird that may seem to you all o-O

*About this series: I have created this series with the intention of looking at groups or songs where Tanaka Reina is a focus, or where she has grown considerably, from way back then until now. Because of this, I may be looking at songs or PV's that I previously ignored or loved once upon a time. There will, hopefully, be a mix of things here. I hope you enjoy.

As I stated in the first post on this mini-series, I will be doing something called 'A Week with Winky', where basically I will take a week out to write posts surrounding... well, you know, Winky! She's leaving soon, and whilst she is not my favourite member and I show very little Appreciation for her, I thought that, given the amount she has contributed not only to Morning Musume but also Hello! Project as a whole, I should do something more for her, and not just an Appreciation Post. I haven't dedicated a week to a single member before, I believe, but I think that Winky, er, Reina, is the best one to do it for because seriously... she's done a lot. Sub-groups, hogging lines, Squirreling around... you name it, she's probably done it. So, that said and done, let's get into the second of my 'Week with Winky' posts. What shall I be looking at today?

Aa! Now I know what I will be reviewing (did you see what I did there? Huh? HUH????). After reviewing Shabondama (thanks, Nia! <3) I thought that it would be a pretty cool idea to take a look at Reina before she became Winky/Squirrel/Glitter Ball Inferno, because she seriously impressed me in her first ever PV. So, thinking about older Winky... er, I mean Reina, and how talented and cute she was, I decided to look at a video and song that I have actually ignored quite a bit, one that I have failed to watch many-a time and truly appreciate.

... I'm a bit late to the game, I know, and now that I've listened to the entire song and watched the whole PV, I find that I really enjoy this song. DAMNIT!!! This is what happens when I only take notice of what is current. Kuso!

So that means, dear Chimians, that today I will be taking a look at the group Aa!, one of Tanaka Reina's first sub-units within Hello! Project. Joined with two fresh-faced, but extremely talented, nooblets named Miyabi and Airi who were, at the time, a part of the Hello! Project Kids, these three formed a trio of girls who were undoubtedly extremely talented and very fresh... and definitely awesome, we can't forget awesome.

So, that said, let's take a look at their one-and-only PV ever released, way way back in October of 2003 (Holey 'eck!). Yes, this is... FIRST KISS.

Prepare, my Chimian army, for this will be... a Reina fest!!!! ARRRGH!!!! -burns-

... Okay, I swear H!P over use this damn shot in a lot of PV's. Seishun Collection, Maasara Blue Jeans, this...

They like their skies, it seems.

HOLY COW!!! It's a natural looking Reina!

Aww dang, she looks so pretty and natural and cute... argh! Where did you go!?

... Why the Hell is there a tree in the room? I was unaware that there was a tree growing in my house!!!

Sue the builders!!!

Holy cow, Yankee pants!!!! Reina is influencing the young'ins, Tsunky-boy!!!

Wait, where have I seen this shot before...?

Older, Winky-er, Glittery-er and Squirrely-er... but damn, I love Naichau Kamo!
Oh yeah... Gee, H!P seem to rehash the rain-window theme a lot, or at least the rain theme...

-cue Thunder and Lightning- ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!! A Ghost of Winky's Past!!!! -hisses and runs-

Holy crap, Mini-Airi scares me o-o

Winky is so pretty in her early H!P days... seriously, when did she descend into Glitter, darkness and crap kitty ears?

I do prefer the hat look on her, I tell ya. Also... daaaaamn she looks good!

Okay, mini-Airi still scares the crap outta me. I think it's to do with how tiny and un-Airi-like she looks o-O

But she also has crazy talent for a two year old... I mean nine year old!!!! o-O

Rein-Aa!: "Aa~ I wonder when I will take over Morning Musume...?"

Dear, you already have... oh wait, this was pre-historic MoMusu, back when lines were fair... sorry Rein-Aa!, just ignore me! -walks away-

Rein-Aa!: "... You're hiding something from me. WHEN do I take over!?"

My Lord, I love her hair like this.

AHMAGAHD, Mini-Miyabeam! She is darned cute in a non-scary way! <3

Rein-Aa!: "What!? I'm not Chiima's favourite in this video? It was Miyabi all along!?"

Reina looks like she wants to jump out the window and attack someone... typical Yankee-like nature.

Mini-Miya: "Ah... I don't get that many lines in this... Hopefully when I am older and in a new unit, I will lots of lines..."

The future looks so Buono! for you, Miyabeam, in both looks and talent... and sub-groups, but we won't get into that too much right now...

HOLY F---? What the Hell just happened!? Get out of my way, you damn tree, this is not Sleeping Beauty!!!

... Yeah, she still creeps me out. I think it's her eyes; so emotionless for a child, but also so... well, scary!

But her ears are darned cute!

Mini-Miya: "Naichau Kamo... Kamo... Kamo..."

Wrong song, Miya! Also, you're around 6 years too early... o-O

It's weird not seeing all this glittery crap in the corner of Reina's eyes... instead it's a sheen of white. Amazing!!! o-o

Oh yeah, DJ Airi, breaking it DOWN!!!!

... And Reina is practising her Yankee fighting stance! Can't force the Yankee out of the Idol, can you now?

This is actually pretty awesome imagery... well done H!P. Now, let me ask you this... WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

My Lord, she does look gorgeous, and passionate... and natural. We can't forget natural.

... I actually might have liked Reina if I had been introduced to her as she used to look, but nope... I found her as Winky, not Reina. Urgh...

Director-san: -background- "Reina, are you eating on-set?"
Rein-Aa!: -muffled sounds- "Om nom nom... noooo... om om..." -stuffs chocolate bar into mouth-

... Oh look, Miyabeam is eating on set, too! Also, I think that hat is so cute! Kyaaaa!!!!

 And... REACH UP FOR THE STAAAARS!!!! Climb every Mountain Higher!!! WHOOOO!!!

Reina looks totally passionate about this move, and Miyabeam looks like she is ready to jet off into space... or start some retro disco boogeying! Is that even a word?

Holy heck yes, PAN SHOTS!!!!

... Yeah, I got really excited when this scene came up, no idea why really :/

Rein-Aa!: "... F*** this Rein(Aa!)..."

Don't Rein-Aa! on my Parade...

... Hello! Pro Puns for the WIN!!!!

Mini-Miya: "Grrr, I'ma Yankee..."

Mini-Miya, you can't scare me off, you're far too cute for that...

Rein-Aa!: "I must pick-lock this damn window to escape these damn kids, or my future as a star will be ruined, and I will forever be seen as a babysitter for a new Generation of Kids..."

I still can't get over how pretty she was... Okay, she is still pretty now, but you know what I mean.

Holy cow, Airi is tiny!

And Mini-Miya is just so cute! I want to adopt her, though that would be scary, because grown-up Miya is just lovely and gorgeous and yummy and... okay, shut up, Chiima!

Rein-Aa!: "... I see you..." -channels her inner Yankee-
Mini-Miya: "What the f*** are YOU Lookin' at!?" -cracks knuckles loudly-

Okay, Miyabeam looks like she wants to kill me1!! Or the camera man, well, whatever... RUN!!!!!!

I don't know whether to laugh at the CGI or applaud it, because I actually quite like it!

Oh no! The Yankee is escaping!!!! Quick, lock her in before she learns about Glitter, hair dye and crappy pigtails paired with cat ears!!!

Rein-Aa!: "Why do they lock me in? I want to see the real world, and all the glitter that it holds..."

No, Reina, you can stay in there and stay natural and pretty!!!

Argh, I love this hair on Reina. I actually wish she had dyed her hair back to black before leaving us all for lavender pastures... -sigh-

Holy hell... TREE!!! I will CUT YOU DOWN!!! -gets sword-

Mini-Airi: "I am a box. A beautiful, tiny box..."

Reina looks so damn passionate here, my gawd... and dat hat... <3

Miyabeam PUNCH!!!!!

Look at all dat attitude and sass in one lil' girl. Incredible!

Rein-Aa!: "F*** dis shit, I'ma use the front door to escape and find me some glitter..."

No, Reina! DON'T GO!!!!!

Ooooh, look at them shoes! Spiffy and shiny new, oooh~

Aa! They're fading into the stars and the moon... bye bye, girls!

Okay, I'm a tad tired after commenting on the pictures and such, so if this review makes no sense... well, you'll just have to sit tight and bear with me, because I have no idea why I am tired (seriously, I JUST WOKE UP!!!... about 2 hours ago) and so I am downing some IRN BRU to keep me going... we'll see how this goes, shall we?

So as I said previously in the post, way before I Reina-spammed you to the High Kings, er, Heavens... I did mention that I had previously ignored this song and PV because, in general, I like current things. However, when looking back at Reina in Shabondama when she started off as an Idol, I was seriously impressed, and I wanted to see her in something else. In fact, I realised that I wanted to see what she was like in Aa!, and to see if she had changed much from Shabondama Reina. Considering both singles were released in 2003, there really isn't much of a change... well okay, there is, but that's more to do with hairstyles and fashion and such.

In fact, Reina looks a lot more polished here than she did in Shabondama, but I guess the style of the PV for FIRST KISS required more in terms of how everyone looked and presented themselves, because come on... the girls are 'uniformed' costume-wise, so of course the girls will look a lot more polished and presentable when compared to the wardrobe mess of Shabondama. Not that I have anything against their costumes in that PV, it's just that there was a lot less structure in what the girls wore... and I am not counting their tragic 'dresses' for the model shots.

Okay, costumes aside (they're cool, by the way!), Reina has actually changed quite a bit in this PV in my opinion; in Shabondama, whilst she does not look as polished as she does here, Reina looked very natural and youthful, and she had a certain charm and innocence about her that was, in my opinion, an attractive quality about her as a performer. Here, as a part of Aa!, more has been done to her; the make-up is a bit more noticeable, though not too tacky and over-the-top (stares at Winky from this era...) and her hair is noticeably styled, but still very cute and enhances that natural beauty she has about her. I also noticed that, in this PV, her performance was slightly different; she seemed a lot more confident and sure of herself here, as if she knew she owned the stage and that this was her time to shine. In Shabondama she was an extremely natural performer, but in FIRST KISS, it's like she has put more time and effort into her performance skills, rather than relying on her voice and face to pull her along. Then again, she would need to do more as a part of Aa!. There are only three of them, and she's the leader, so she needs to try and sell herself against these two kids who could one day become fierce competition.

Watching the PV now, and writing what I did... I realise that from the Reina in Shabondama to the Reina in FIRST KISS, she has really matured as a singer and performer in a matter of months, and really stepped up her game, and she does not seem to be backing down any time soon. It's an incredible change, but you can really see it; she is so much more comfortable in front of the camera, and she has a fierce attitude that you can't ignore. It's amazing that she has changed this much in so little time between Shabondama and FIRST KISS.

Anyway, I am blathering on about Reina too much (not that you guys care, because I know a lot of people love Winky, old and new...) and I need to talk a bit about the PV and song itself; so the PV, what about it?

Actually, it's pretty good... though the CGI (especially that damn tree!) scares me a tad and makes me worry, but I actually don't find the CGI used all that bad, in fact it's better than some of the CGI that H!P uses today, but other than that I think that the rest of the PV is really good; we get the famous rain-on-window shots I have seen H!P use a gazillion times in various PV's, but they are really well done and bring across a certain mood to the PV, such as loss and sadness of a loved one, and are actually my favourite shots in the entire video; I like window shots, they look good, and again they can add a certain mood to the PV, and given the tone of the song, I think that the windows add that lonely and sad look thanks to the use of the rain (which I am guessing represent the tears of the girls) and the girls sitting alone, looking out of their windows as if they are looking for someone or something in the dark night, waiting and hoping, only to be disappointed...

Bottom line, I think that these window shots represent the songs mood really well and bring across all that sad emotion, and in turn that makes me pity and feel for the girls more. It's good that H!P could get that across, really.

I also found the inside shots really nice and a great contrast to the dark and gloomy looking window shots. It adds a ray of light in a way, showing a lot more hope for the girls because everything is so much brighter, and they look happier in a way too (especially Reina). Even the CGI branches, the ones that freak me out, seem to represent the loneliness and happiness of the girls; the branches are, at first, bare and dead, however at the end of the video they grow lush green leaves, possibly hinting to the girls' love for the man who stole their first kiss and showing that they still have hope for him to come to them. Put together, all of these scenes, from the bright shots to the dark shots, seem to represent the girls' positive and negative feelings towards their loved one in the song, and how that person makes them feel, which makes me think that this is a really good PV. It represents the song really well in my opinion, and depicts the emotions of the girls well. Even their performance and attitude (well, mostly Reina's) suits the tone of the song and the varying moods of the lyrics. It's great!

Okay, coming back to the performance of this video, I really feel that Reina was the strongest in terms of performance, but that's more to do with the fact that she actually portrayed her emotions beautifully in this video. There were parts of the video where I thought she looked happier, and other parts where she looked a lot more stricken and lonely. Airi and Miyabi, on the other hand, had a little less emotion going on, and seemed a lot more serious, however this is mostly down to their young age I believe; it's understandable that they are trying to figure out their emotions and how to come across on camera, but when it comes to their singing and dancing... well, they're amazing. In fact, Airi has one of the best voices in this song, and in general I greatly dislike kids' voices when singing because they all sound the same. Airi doesn't though, and neither does Miyabi; in fact, they both sound quite mature and professional, and that really impressed me when I first watched the video. I couldn't believe that I was watching two young girls performing at such a high level; it's amazing. You don't get that much now in H!P, I mean... okay I won't get into it, but yeah, their level was pretty damn HIGH, and it amazes me that these kids had such talent and promise from a very young age, especially Airi.

PV and performances aside, the song itself... Oh, the song... I actually wonder how I could have gone on this long without even listening to it and fully appreciating it for all its glory. I mean, I have heard good things about this song, but nothing ever pulled me in and made me really want to listen to it until now, and honestly, I kind of regret not listening to this song sooner, because it's really good.

The girls all sound extremely mature and, in my opinion, amazing; Reina still sounds good, like she isn't holding back her talent and continuing to use her naturally beautiful voice, and both Airi and Miyabi, for kids, sound amazing and so professional. All of these girls sound great together, too - it's a shame that this version of Aa! didn't last, because the blending between these girls is absolutely wonderful. I was actually really impressed when I heard them together, I was not expecting them to sound so good when they sang together, but they do... and yeah, I wish they could sing together again, because it's wonderful hearing them in this.

Also, have I mentioned that I love hearing them together? Yes? Oh...

It's a good song I think, I like the mood behind it, but above all I love how everyone sounds; their voices are so pure, but so refined and polished as well, and they just sound amazing together and individually. I also love how the PV and the song seem to fit each other so perfectly, bringing together those conflicting emotions of happiness, sadness and loneliness together in both the song and the visuals. FIRST KISS is pretty darned good, and I do wonder what the heck stopped me from really watching it before now, before Reina departs for good, because it's wonderful to watch and listen to (I am actually really surprised by how much I like this song, hm...).

Much like Shabondama, I really need to give this song more of a chance and listen to it more, because it's great! But, much like Shabondama, I do think that this song needs to be listened to when you are in a certain mood, rather than a song that you could happily loop for the hell of it or background noise. It's not a song that should be used for background noise or random listenings - it's a song that you should listen to to enjoy and appreciate fully, a song that you can take in for the pure quality and talent behind it. It's too amazing for simple 'Oh, just randomly listening to...' music. This is a song that needs to be appreciated, and a song that you need to really listen to, in my opinion.

FIRST KISS... pretty damn awesome and, whilst not Winky orientated, I really do think that she upped her game here and made her presence known.

Aa!, it's time to rest now and appreciate this song to its fullest... what about you? Will you appreciate this song with me?

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