Tuesday, 17 May 2016

[A Week with Meimi] In A World Void of Smiles, A Vampire Cries - 'Aa, Susukino' Music Video Review

All thoughts and opinions contained within this post are my own and, whatever might be said regarding the group, members, song and video mentioned here, are not meant to be said in offense, but to express my personal thoughts and feelings, and to share them with you all. If you do not like what is said and feel offended by it, then by all means, stop reading, however if you are happy to continue and broaden your mind to other opinions, then yes, read on, soldier! -waves arms manically-

*Regarding the [Week with...] series: When the time arises, I will dedicate myself to a week of posts where I write and talk about specific members or groups who are Graduating, and for this series, I will be spending my time talking about and appreciating Tamura Meimi of both S/mileage and ANGERME as her Graduation comes ever closer. The intention behind such a series is to focus on Meimi as an Idol and member, and to go through her growth as a performer. I watch as she evolves, and come to appreciate who she is by the end of it. Hopefully, you will take this journey with me, and see Tamura Meimi: The Idol, the Performer, the essence of a smile. Thank you.

With a reign of smiles soon coming to an end in the form of a Graduation, it is time to take a look at Tamura Meimi in a different light. From an enthusiastic girl to someone who acts like a serious Idol, Meimi is a girl unlike the one we once knew. But is that a good thing, or bad?

In this review, will you be taken in by the cool side Meimi tries to portray, or will you overwhelmed by the lack of endearing smiles you came to love from our littlest vampire? Let's take a look, and find out.

Moving on from the cute, hyperactive Meimi we all knew and loved, we're taking a dive and looking at the serious side of Meimi after spending three years as a member of S/mileage in the groups final single under their original name, Aa, Susukino. After being in the group for a while, you would expect her professionalism to shine, her charisma to enhance, and her on-camera persona to come out in full force.

As an Idol, we expect so much from Tamura Meimi... but what if that isn't the case? What if, whilst a professional, she can't express what the director wants from her, or what the song and video demands? Here I will take a look at the 'serious' and 'cool' Meimi, and the lack of smiles within this video.

Within this smile-less S/mileage, I do wonder if Meimi will shine like the star she is, or if she will fall into the depths of the back now that all joy and colour has been stripped from this song and video? In such a serious group, how will the Littlest Vampire fare?

Oh, I wonder whose legs they are? They're rather divine ;D

Dawsa: "Ne, Nyon-chan... I'm sorry, but... we can't be a serious group any more. We have to be silly and cute, and make our fans love our weirdly charming ways, like MomoClo Z..."

Nyon: "... Are you fuckin' shittin' me, gurl? I will make this group a goddamn serious piece of splendor that no fan has ever seen before. If y'all think I'll let some half-bit Leader tell me how to run this group, then you are sorely mistaken."

Nyon: "Nyon out, bitch."

I doubt she's impressed.

Dawa: "... Always the dramatic one."

Well then, don't egg her on with your 'I'll be Leader forever' crap! 8U


Gorilla, my beautiful Gorilla! Look at you in all your wondrous glory! <3 <3 <3

Oh, thank goodness the chubby cheeks are in place! I was starting to get freaked out by a sculpted Take-chan D;

Oh my days, she's a baby! Look at how fresh-faced and innocent Meimi is, even when she isn't smiling!

I swear, she bathes in the fountain of youth, or drinks from the blood of virgins o-O Either way... Vampire Magic!

Aaaaand now she looks like she wants to cry me a river.

Littlest Vampire: *sobs* Where's the S/mileage I once knew?

Long gone, along with the smiles and energy and enthusiasm you have now buried deep down.

Nyon: "I wasn't cute enough for S/mileage, so I made this group sadly sexy~"

Gosh darnit, Nyon! Now you've ruined the group for us all!


Also, pls, Director-san, stop blurring those legs! D8<

Dawa: -"Sigh, this group got depressing..."

Yeah, I'll say o-O What the heck happened to you guys post Dot Bikini!?

Dawa: "Puberty..."

Tsunku's need for cool, Platinum era music to return?

Rina: "... My soul feels like it's been ripped out, along with my smile..."

NOOO, NOT THE RINA SMILE!!! D8 Where did it gooooo!?

Dawa: "It went down the pan..."

Dawa: "Along with Berryz Kobou's career."


Damn, Meimi, why you so pretty!?

Smile... pleeeeeeeeease?

Dawa: "Urrrrgh, fuq off, we're never going to smile again. Get over it."

Kananananana: "Please... please return me to my Yattaruchan ways... please..."

I... I can't, Gorilla-chan... I don't hold that kind of power!!! D8 I wish I could, though ; w;

And, oddly enough, Take-chan is one of the few members who can actually pull off the 'cool' look without seeming like she wants to burst into tears or look like she is in dire need of the bathroom o3o

... What a move.


Littlest Vampire: "I feel so drained... I just want to cry by this window, and watch the rain drizzle down... Life, people... I hate them all..."


Nyon: "Mufufu, well don't look at me~ Tis not my fault they look like they wanna cry over spilt milk each scene~"

You look so damn smug >-> Me no likey...

That said, daaaamn, girl, you are really rocking this look! You got so damn pretty in the later S/mileage years!

Take-chan: "STOP in the name of Smiles!"


Kanananananana: "I will personally maim whoever thought it'd be a good idea to kill off our happiness and personality..."

Aye aye, sister! I second that!

Nyon: "Urgh, those idiots better not figure out it's me who is pulling the strings behind their backs, now."


It's UFP you been texting all this time, isn't it!? ADMIT IT!!!

Now that;s a flawless Dawa, mmkay?

Oh my fucking days, what is this mess of a move they call dancing!?

OH, of course Nyon's in the middle of all this damn chaos.

Littlest Vampire: "I can't deal with this any more... I need my smiles back..."
Dawa: "Arrrgh, this sadness huuuurts!!!"
Rina: "Where did you take them? WHERE ARE MY SMILES!?"
Nyon: "Mufufu, you SHALL bow down to my serious ways in good time, minions, all in good time..."

Take-chan: "The voices... they are too... damn... strong..."


S/mileage Zombies!?

Rina: "That's it... I give up. I'll be serious, for you."


Kananananana: "I resign myself to this fate... for my fans..."


Take-chan: "I was cool to begin with."

Well good to know one of you didn't give into the evilness of Nyon's reign!

Please don't give in to the masses, cutie ;3; You are wonderful as you are! Please... don't lose that smile!

Goddamnit, you cutie pie!

Jesuuuus, Dawa, you look like a robot here o-O

Please, just... just get your smiles and soul back!!! D;

Nyon: "Gomen, lifeless Idols~"

Don't you fuckin' 'Gomen' me. You turn things around and BRING BACK EVERYONE'S SMILES!

Thye can't all be miserable and leave you as the only happy member!

Nyon: "But then all their fans wouldn't leave their smileless corpses and come to me~"

URGH! Unbelievable!


Also, guess what this PV reminds me of? Warm Bodies, because they're in an airport, and these members sans Nyon and Take-chan are all fuckin' lifeless.

S/mileage being 'cool' is the equivalent of bloody Warm Bodies. Dangit!

However, that glassy-eyed, faraway look does somewhat suit Dawa...

But I still miss her creepy smiles and big ears! Please, bring them both back out!

Despite the serious tone and the gloomy filter slapped over the top, this video does demonstrate just how charismatic Nyon is, no matter what the PV's style or emotion is. Of all the members, she is the one who does a top job at portraying some form of emotion, as opposed to looking like she wants to burst into tears.

Dat Charisma! That grace! That Nyon.

Maybe it's Fukuda!

Deer in the Headlights alert!

Seriously, she looks so shocked to be there.

I really just want to grab her by the cheeks and force her to smile! It is unnatural for anyone in a group called S/mileage not to smile!


Take-chan: "Because I am Team Nyon, and serious is cool."


Nyon: "Hmph. Down with the smiles."


Littlest Vampire: "My soul hurts. I don't want to be a part of this any more..."

NO, DON'T YOU DARE! Don't you dare leave us!!! ; A;

Good grief, look at the amount of pain Meimi's in just being there! It's killing her not to smile!

And yet Nyon don't care, cause she's the center for this song and the least soulless of them all. Typical!

Littlest Vampire: "Waaah, I feel so worthless without my smiles..."

Littlest Vampire: "... Please, Help me?"

; 3;!!!

Dawa: "Fist bump for the serious S/mileage?"

No. No fist bump for you.

Nyon: "Kyaaa, all of your heartache and melancholy fills me with such joy!"

Go away, pest! Hiiiiisss!!!

Okay, that chest bump, though!

Nyon: "And once this is all over, you'll never see a happy S/mileage again."

What, WHY!?

Kanananana: "Because we'll become...!!!"

What, WHAT!? You'll be what!?

Littlest Vampire: "We will become ANGERME."


"We don't want to be S/mileage, we want to be Windmills!"

The be fuckin' windmills, but be HAPPY WINDMILLS!

Double Dawa! This would make Vivian happy if there were more of her beloved in the world :)

Nyon: "Urgh, crazy Dawa be calling me again."

She ain't crazy, girl, you are )8<

Serious, but flaaaaaaaawless!

Rina: "We'll stay like this, forever."


Their happiness and legs are so far, far away... D;

Dawa: "Sigh, this damn girl better pick up and have a good explanation for all this seriousness and gloom..."

Nyon: "Urgh, commoners. Why must they call me?"

Yeah, I see you doing that eye roll! D8<

Dawa: "Nyon, listen, we need to tal---"

Nyon: "I'm sorry, but... we have to be serious now. We're not kids any more. The next time we do something childish... well, I'll graduate."

And that was the end of S/mileage as we know it...


I think it's pretty obvious at this point, but the 'serious' S/mileage that came about in 2012 was certainly not my favourite style of theirs. Often times it felt awkward and forced, and the girls had a hard time playing up to the serious, gloomy vibe their songs and videos demanded of them. S/mileage was a group of happy, smiling girls, and yet... well, they were forced to be cool and chique, with a certain amount of moodiness to set off whatever vibe they were trying to do, in all their awkward glory.

And Aa, Susukino was really no different.

As ANGERME, the girls actually pull off the cool look a lot better, but that may have something to do with better direction and better songs to work with. Back when they were S/mileage however, the girls just looked like they wanted to cry and run away, all with the exceptions of Fukuda Kanon and Takeuchi Akari, who both pull off cool and serious with their moody really well. The rest really need some acting lessons, however, especially Tamura Meimi.

Though a vocal dream, Meimi really did suffer from the teary eyed look here. Instead of looking passive and thoughtful, she came across as upset and weepy. She looked like she wanted to up and leave the set whilst crying, and at some points in the music video, she even looked like she was in pain from not being able to express any emotion at all. In a video like this, and countless other S/mileage PV's, you can really tell that Meimi, though an amazing performer and singer, is one who expresses herself best when she is smiling and jumping around.

Looking cool does her no justice.

This song really does show off her voice beautifully, and you can really hear the passion she has for being a part of S/mileage, but when it comes to the image and overall feel of the music video, Meimi herself falls flat as a performer, simply because she can't be serious in that sense, at least during this point in time when Aa, Susukino was released. A strong center she is, but when it came to the acting portion and showing off that somber side, well... she didn't do that well, did she?

It was actually a shame at this point in S/mileage's career to watch them go from happy, hyperactive girls with fun songs and bright smiles to something a lot more 'mature' and serious, a side that really did not suit them back then. The songs, though good and a great way to show off their development as singers, did not do the group itself justice, and the videos just came off as gloomy and forced. Girls like Meimi and Kana, who are known for their bright and bubbly smiles and exuberant personalities, truly fell flat and did nothing for the visuals of the release. It's a true shame, because one of S/mileage's pro's was how fun and exciting they were, in song, image and personality, and this release (and those prior to it of the same idea and tone) was anything but.

Aa, Susukino is really well filmed and beautifully done, however its dark tone and serious imagery left me wanting more in terms of personality and excitement. It's too somber, too dark, and far too serious for me as a fan of the happy, carefree S/mileage I knew and loved way back when. Yes, Idols grow up, but when your Idols don't suit a specific tone or feel, don't force it onto them: Let them be the Idols they were meant to be, and give them songs that suit and represent them. Luckily, ANGERME seem to be doing this well right now, but for how long? We will have to watch on to find out.

In this dark, serious world, a Little Vampire has lost her smile and is about to cry. I wonder, will we be able to find it before it's too late? Will we deliver to her a smile before she leaves this world for another?

Until next time...

Much Love,

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