Wednesday, 25 February 2015

[A Week with Berryz] A Song for Eternity, A Song to Love Together. This is Berryz Kobou, in your Hearts, Forever... 'Towa no Uta' vs 'Love Together' PV Comparison Review

Opinions are my own. Don't damn me for what is mine!

Cheesy title be damned, I wanted to at least end this series somewhat sweetly, especially considering these decade-long Idols will be gone pretty soon, never to be seen again together,. That is, until they start a reunion.
 You can count me as one of the few who won't be cheering that on. Unless I'm drunk. Really drunk.

I'm ready to let them go, guys. I have been for about two years now, and knowing that they'll be gone soon... yes, it makes me happy, because their moody-ass shit got really old, really fast. So yeah, it's about damn time to cut them loose, and to let their sour-puss faces go.
 Adios, Berryz!

... Okay, what happened to me being sweet!? Ahhh, fuck it!


So, this is it; this is my final review for Berryz, as well as the closing post my [A Week with Berryz] series. In the end, it's a little bittersweet, I think; I've had a lot of fun, but there has been frustration as well - in the end though, it does feel sad that this is goodbye, the end.

Sayonara, Adios, Byebye, Chacha and all that jazz, you know?

So, for my final post, I wondered what I was going to do; originally I wanted to end with a review for Towa no Uta, because I like that song, I enjoyed the PV, and I thought Love together! was a pile of crap. However, I was asked by my friend, Vivian, if I was going to review the final PV from one of my least favourite Hello! Project groups and, heck, why not? It's their final hurrah, the last song and video we'll get from them, if we can help it. So yeah, I'll review it.

But I'll review Towa no Uta as well, and make a comparison out of it. Because hell, comparisons are fun, and I barely every do a 'vs' review. So, here's my chance! And really, what better PV's to compare, than the final two from Berryz Kobou? It was meant to be!

So without further ado, I will start this comparison piece, and try my best at it. I apologise if I suck.

For a Song of Eternity, for Love when together, we're going to get this goodbye party started! Are you ready? Let's GO!

It's difficult to try and do a comparison review, especially for two videos that are, in a way, quite similar in tone; both songs are essentially all about goodbyes, memories, being together... they just have different moods surrounding them. Towa no Uta, for example, is an uplifting song, however it is still really sad when you hear it thanks to the message you hear from it. Love together!, however, is far more solemn and sad in sound, yet the lyrics are a little more positive than what you would expect. No matter what though, they both feel pretty sad to me.

I think that is mostly because of the fact that I know they are goodbye songs, though. If I didn't, I actually might not have realised either of these were goodbye songs... well, not at least until the end of Love together!, that is, and that's only because it's made so darned obvious.

Now, after watching both PV's and comparing them, I have come to realise this; Hello! Project are really bad at making homages to their groups. I mean, we saw it in their lame-ass attempt with the 10 year Idol song, but for the two songs that count the most? Well, it's piss poor, that's what it is.
 Then again, what else can I expect from H!P? Definitely not Everyday Kachyuusha material, that's for sure.

If you want a good homage PV, then look at AKS. At least Aki P knows how to make a PV special, and to make it count. Forgive me for expecting that sort of quality from H!P for a homage PV, of all things, let alone their final hurrahs.

That said, these PV's aren't totally terrible - there is something to salvage, especially with Towa no Uta. For that, I thank the Lord.

Both videos are lovely, actually, however if I had to choose one over the other, I admit it would have to be Towa no Uta; this video has something about it that their later PV's lacked, that even Love together!, their final song as a group, lacked greatly.

It has unity. The girls look happy. Finally, they have found a sense of love and understanding again, and have come together, bringing us all a bittersweet goodbye in their last song.
 At least, that would have been the case, if it wasn't for the fact that Love together! came along and screwed them over. Seriously.

What Towa no Uta has, Love together! does not. In Love together!, the idea of being together and being a group is all but lost, much like it is in their past PV's from 2010 upwards, and it gives a sense of being withdrawn and distanced from each other, which isn't nice - it feels colder than it should, and emotionless. Honestly, I feel nothing for this PV when I watch it. I only think about how pretty it is, and that's it.

I don't get teary-eyed, I don't think 'wow, this is their last song, they look so sad', because only Miyabi does here, and I don't get the sense that this is their last video either... all I see is a group that can't be bothered, girls who give little to no fucks, and a bunch of tired Idols who are so done with their jobs.
 Basically, I see the Berryz Kobou I have come to abhore - the sense of unity and friendship that was apparent in Towa no Uta has disappeared, and we are back to square one; a very fucking boring Berryz.

I think what helps me to like Towa no Uta more is also the fact that it's clear they are having fun with this song, but still trying to be a little sentimental about it; it has a really cute choreography, with some parts that are quite funny to watch (hence the screengrab. Momoko made me giggle) and it is dripping with personality, charisma and character. It is everything the group has been missing these past few years, and it was a refreshing video to watch.
 And, again, Love together! was not; it just showed us that Berryz were, once again, giving zero fucks and not even bothering to look like they cared enough or were sad for their final PV, sans Miyabi. Oy, vey.

It's like I'm looking at a Berryz we once knew, and then seeing what they became, except here's the catch; this is the same Berryz, just two different PV's. Towa no Uta just so happened to bring out that child-like nature we haven't seen in yonks, is all.

Also, Towa no Uta was, by miles, far more heart-wrenching than what Love together! was. I honestly felt quite sad when watching Towa no Uta for the first time, and yes, I cried - I found the inserted clips of the girls during one of their first concerts extremely sweet, sentimental and lovely to watch, whereas with Love together!, there was nothing sad about it, at least not until the very end where they were waving to themselves.

When people had been saying they were crying over Love together! because of what H!P did, I was actually excited to see it, but when I eventually watched it, I was extremely disappointed. So, they added in some choreography from their old PV's? As someone who isn't a big fan, I wouldn't notice that - the sentimentality isn't there for me.
 If you want to hit me in the heart and make me feel for the group, do something heart-wrenching. Basically, do what was done in Towa no Uta, because that shows a little something and gives you a clue that these girls are seasoned Idols, and somethings going on. The only giveaway that somethings happening to the group with Love together! is when they wave to themselves, and clap at their own performance.

Even then, that isn't a big enough giveaway, if you ask me. It's a terrible attempt at paying respect to the groups past, if anything. There should have been a bit more effort, at least.

That said, there is something I would have loved to have seen more of in the Towa no Uta PV when I watched it, and that would have to be more of their clips from the concert; those were cute, sweet, lovely scenes used, but there weren't many, either. Two group shots, and then a solo shot for each member from the past, but nothing else.
 I wanted to see more, and I was disappointed when that didn't happen.

I do think that if more were added, then it would have made the PV so much sadder than it is, and made me even weepier than I was when I first watched it. It would have been good to see more of mini-Berryz, even added in a few off-shot clips from backstage recordings or making of's for PV shoots - that would make this video feel a lot more whole and complete, and also, this is the sort of song that feels like it would suit off-shots.

Sadly, it was not meant to be, and we only get a few of these memorable, sweet shots. What a pity ):

What isn't a pity, however, are the additional shots used for Love together!, because holy heck, these are some seriously well done shots. When I watched this video, I couldn't help but get a Shouganai Yume Oibito vibe from it, in both sound and look actually, but the solo shots for each member that showed them standing or sitting alone... I was stunned by how great they looked, and how forlorn they felt. No, they don't make me feel sad, however they do look quite lost and alone, and again, very beautiful.
 By far, my favourite part of the entire music video, because they really are gorgeous to look at.

In fact, this entire PV is filmed very well, even better than Towa no Uta if you ask me, though it's clear that that was filmed for the performance aspect rather than fancy camerawork and sheer prettiness. This video, however, is really beautifully done, and I love the execution that went into it.

Aside from that however, it doesn't leave any sense of feeling for me. It just looks like another standard Berryz PV, one without emotion, one without warmth. It lacks the effort of unity that Towa no Uta exudes.

Honestly, it does frustrate me a little how the girls don't look invested in Love together!, and thrills me to no end that they look like they are honestly enjoying themselves in Towa no Uta. Still, I can't help their crappy communication and unity skills, can I? But yeah, it makes a difference, especially in solo shots.
 I mean, have you noticed the difference in enthusiasm in these images!?

The girls are full of life in Towa, they look happy and into what they're doing, but in Love together! it's a different story. Again, the only one who looks like she's actually sad, because it's meant to be a sad song and all, is Miyabi. The rest of them either look too chipper, or like they're dead to the world. For example, Yurina.

It's not pretty to look at, when the girls have eyes so cold and dead they could be dolls. Hell, watching Saki in Love together! scared me a little. Look!

Urrrgh... -shudders- Please, someone, give me Saki looking alive and well, stat!

Ahhh, there you are~ I missed you <3

The only other complaint I could ever give Towa no Uta though is this; Risako's god-awful hair, her eye make-up, and those really ugly blazers. Everything else, I rather like, but those things? No.
 Still, even Risako looks invested in this PV, and that's nice to see. They also all look really cute, but I think that's because they're happy.

But yeah, that's my only other complaint concerning Berryz and the Towa no Uta PV, because honestly? I enjoy it, far more than I expected, and also, because it's sentimental and sweet. Not as sentimental as it could have been, but hey, it pulls the heart strings a little. That's gotta count for something, right?

With Love together!, an aspect that I liked about it aside from the quality of the filming and the shots, would have to be the costumes, actually, and the fact that everyone's hair and make-up is pretty much on-point. I was really surprised by how good everyone looked, moreso Risako and Miyabi, because they are the two who have really shit hair choices as of late. Really though, it was nice to see everyone looking so good, and to see some pretty costumes, too.

Heck, even Risako's a babe in this, and I haven't liked her look in a while! Damn, girl!

Loving that healthy looking Rii-hair, awww yiss!

As videos, neither Towa no Uta nor Love together! are the best of send-offs for Berryz, however they have their own merits that makes them sentimental to the fans. With Towa no Uta, you have that fun, happy and charismatic side to Berryz that has been lost for a long time, as well as the sentimentality of the clips from one of their first performances, too. With Love together!, though it would not be obvious to a newer fan or someone who doesn't know about Berryz, you have the aspect of the girls using choreography from past singles, as well as the idea that they are saying goodbye to themselves and their fans in the video.
 But, to me, though both PV's are good, they are very weak for videos that are supposed to pay Berryz respect for their years of being Idols, and for their send-offs.

Towa no Uta, though my favourite of the PV's, needed to be a lot harder hitting, to have more feeling behind it and to pay a little more respect to the group. It needed more clips from the past to balance and flesh it out, and to make it feel like a true goodbye. It didn't have enough, and though it is a cute video and one that made me cry a little, it also feels like there should be more to it. Because of that, it makes it feel like a weak way of saying goodbye to Berryz.

On the other hand, Love together!, though it does use choreography from former songs to pay respect to the group, does not make this act of respect obvious to the viewers, nor does it make it any more sentimental. This may be because I am someone who cares little for Berryz, however until the end, I saw no reason to think this PV anything special - it was lack-lustre, with girls who looked bored or too happy for their own good (read: fake) and a few pretty shots thrown in there to make it look stylish. Yes, it is well filmed, however for their final final PV, I think that more could have - should have - been done for the song.
 In fact, one of the things that would have been fun to see here would be the use of putting together various lyrics from all 36 singles and however many albums, and creating a song from that. Kind of like when Tsunku did that for Juunen Ai. That would have been cute.

Or, to make it sentimental and heartfelt... they could have brought Maiha into the video. That, or do the same as what I suggested for Towa no Uta; clips of them backstage, or even a clip of their graduation announcement. That would have hit home, far more than adding choreography a lot of us might not know.

Again, there are good points to both PV's, however in the end, I really do prefer Towa no Uta over Love together!, if only because the sentimentality behind it is a lot more obvious, and a lot more well done. They are both rather good PV's however, each with a downfall of its own, and each sentimental to their fans in a way.

I can say this for sure, though; the one thing they both have in common that is good, is that they are both pretty nice songs. I like both tracks, and they both make me feel sad. Towa no Uta and Love together! let it hit home that, really and truly, Berryz Kobou are graduating.

It's time to wave goodbye, because this song of eternity, though it will be around even after they have gone, will soon come to a close, and no longer will they be together. Your love, however, will still be there.

With a final note, Berryz Kobou will take their bow. In a week, they will leave Hello! Project and the world of Idols. Soon, they will be nothing but a memory.

They are Berryz Kobou, Idols of a Decade, and they are coming to a close.

And with that, I end my series with Berryz, though this isn't quite the end yet, because I still have more to come in the form of Appreciation posts, but for their PV's this is it. It's been fun, and it's been frustrating, but it has also been worth it.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Much Love,

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