Thursday, 14 June 2018

[Snippets of Haachin] A Quartet of Beauty - 'Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru / Yuugure wa Amaegari / Ima Koko Kara' PV Overview(s)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

Truth be told, I honestly didn't think that my [Week with Ogata] series would be as hard as it's looking to be, and if I had had a clue about how annoyingly difficult it will be, then I would have started this series around the time Ohaa announced her graduation date. That said, you can't help it when life gets in the way... but when has that ever stopped me from getting these kinds of posts out, on time or not?

I think the difficulty stems more from the fact that Ogata is one of the rare, few members who is given very little when it comes to releases and publications. With a small amount of solo lines, stupidly little screen time and not that much in either concerts or even solos, there is a limit to what I can find on the world wide web without having to download or buy DVD's. Even in terms of magazine and photo shoots there isn't much for Ogata, and even if there was something out there that included her and her alone, it's more than likely only available in Japan. That's just the way it is, and for foreign fans especially, we can only see what's on the surface.

And oh, what a shallow surface that is in regards to our dear Haachin.

Well, never fear, dear Readers, because I will persevere in my quest to adore Ohaa until the day she graduates! With even the most minimal of content, I'll try my best to doll out reviews and talk about the girl many love, an idol who will be missed by friends and fans alike in this ever-evolving world of entertainment and cuteness. Though she may not be as present as we would like, she is a member who has placed a stamp on our hearts, a girl who has appealed to those that noticed the unique and undeniable quality of Ogata Haruna. For many, she is their oshi, and throughout this series we will try to come and understand just why she sticks out to others, and why she is so darned special.

I could go on and use various synonyms to describe Ogata, but where's the fun in that? So before I dare to lose myself in words, let's take a look at the debut of Ogata Haruna, a quartet of beauty that represents the beginning of a generation.

This is the beginning of the end, dear Readers. Are you ready to indulge in all things Ogata? Let's go~

This is going to be a strange review in that, for once, I'll open with the video. Further, I will be only posting images of Ogata that appear within the music video to further my focus on her. That, and it seemed like one of my better ideas when figuring out just how I would review her first few PV's when they barely feature her, sans Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Promotion Edit). So if the review feels weird, don't worry - it's weird for me too. I don't know if I'll come back to this style unless I really like it after the review has been done.

Regardless of how I feel though, please enjoy my random breakdown of Ogata Haruna in her debut music videos. I'll try to make sense, but no promises.

PS: We're not getting into the Zukki issue with this one. This is all about Haachin, y'all.

I remember when this song came out. I remember when the video came out. I really didn't like Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru from the onset, and honestly, I still think that this is a pretty shit debut in terms of H!P generation debuts. That said, the song has since grown on me, and I can tolerate it a lot better these days to a point where - urgh - I enjoy it.

Yeah, yeah, I hate myself, too. I feel dirty just knowing this song sounds somewhat appealing.

Moving on, in regards to Ogata herself, it has to be the [Promotion Edit] of Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru that shows of her capability best. First, it has the most solo shots of her, and secondly, it has more of a dance focus than the pretty, artistic [Another ver.] variant, allowing us to focus on Ogata as both a visual entertainer and a dancer, and honestly, I'm not disappointed.

A lot of Ogata's solo time is in the first half of the video, allowing us plenty of time to admire the beauty that is Haachin. She is demure, pretty and wide-eyed, and despite the slouch she has throughout - I can only guess this is a confidence issue - there is something about her that is eye catching. Is it her pretty, porcelain skin or those doe eyes? Is it that serious expression that she disrupts with the quirk of a smile? Whatever it is, there is something about Ogata that intrigues you from the onset, and despite her clear lack in posture, you feel a cool and calming presence from her, which is a little unexpected, given how silly she seemed in footage thrown at us before Ogata became a part of Morning Musume.

She's a demure beauty, and though all of the 12th generation had a little something something about them from the get-go, it's pretty clear that Haachin was the 'pretty one', the girl with model looks and a decent amount of camera presence. Like the other members, she was somewhat noticeable, though not as in your face as she could have been.

I won't lie and say that there's no awkwardness there - there is, especially if you watch the Ogata Haruna solo version for the song - but it's somewhat endearing. That unpolished, raw seriousness is quite compelling, allowing us to wonder just what Ogata would become as she grew into an idol. Funnily enough, it feels like there is still a small part of Haruna's original demeanour when it comes to her camera presence and performance in recent music videos. Certainly, we have seen a massive improvement, but when it comes down to watching Haachin, she still holds true to some of her adolescent awkwardness and reserved look on-camera that we see here. It's endearing, and oddly comforting to see that she hasn't changed all that much.

In regards to Ogata out of her close-ups, however, I feel like she isn't all that memorable in the choreography of this PV. Though she stands out amongst her peers in the 12th generation mid-shots, it's the dance shot where she's drowned out. It's no lie that Ogata can't really dance - both her singing and dancing were reasons why people didn't want her in the group - and you can see that when you do spot her amongst her peers, but she is trying, and it's cute to see. Funny, but cute.

This girl is all limbs, much like Iikubo was in the beginning (still is, but who cares), and it's nice to see how she perseveres in the face of a challenge.

This doesn't even look like you... >_>
As a general overview of the music video itself, I enjoy it. This is actually my favourite of the two versions for Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru, both from when it was originally aired until now. It's pretty, I really like the setting and props used, and I think it looks a lot more appealing. But that's my point of view, not yours. Sure, it misses a lot of music cues that the other version has, and it lacks the imagery that a lot of people fell in love with, but as a general PV, I feel like this one is quite stylish and works well with a dance heavy song. The only thing i miss is that beautifully dark, grungy mist the members fall into during the instrumental break. The muggy look and feel of the visuals perfectly matched the music, yet in this PV it doesn't translate as well, leaving a missed opportunity for a great dance break with some epic visuals.

It's a great music video, and it does its job in promoting the 12th generation nicely, especially Ogata, who gets a lot less screen time in the other three music videos.

Speaking of, I'll just cut to this one right away. I was planning on putting Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Another ver.) last on the list, but given how little I need to talk about it, I decided to just go right ahead and compare the tin for the product after reviewing the real thing. So, here we go.

In terms of anything Haachin, this video really lacks. Though we get a considerable amount of 12th gen time in this video - a prominent feature of the group on the top of the train, plenty of movement and such - we get a considerable amount less in solo screen time for Haachin. As in, we only get one complete solo shot of her, and it moves so much I had to gif it instead. Here ya go. 

I actually can't comment on Haachin's performance that much, but it honestly feels like she's a little more confident in this video, despite the lack of solo screen time she has been given. The focus on their acting performance is a lot bigger here, and though there is a decent amount of choreography, it's chopped up here and there to give a greater focus to the scenery and ideas the director had in his editing style and image choices. There's is definitely more punch in how this looks than how much they want to show off what these new members can do, but that's okay - the promotion edit gave us what we needed in that regard.

In short: Haachin seems a little bit more comfortable here, and certainly fits the whole 'scared newbie unsure of their new journey' vibe this video gives off. She's not shown much, and that is a big disappointment, especially when I saw her in only one full solo shot. Still, the video itself is incredible to watch, and the movement is flawless. It's definitely a different direction in terms of its visual and style to the promotion edit, but that's what we wanted as fans. It gave us a taste of something new, and as a PV, it actually introduced all of the 12th generation in a satisfying way. I can't fault it for that (but I can fault it for very little Haachin).

Here's another music video that has a bit of a stronger focus on 12th gen as a whole, but a little less Haachin than Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Promotion Edit). Still, it's better than one or two solo shots in an entire music video, right?

I'm actually unsure on most peoples preferences to music videos or songs for this single, but despite the overall grayness in this videos tone - and a clear lack of a budget - this is one of my favourite videos from the single release. The elegant choreography and pretty costumes really appeal to me, and though the cheapness is apparent, the overall beauty isn't lost to the viewers. It's quite appealing, and again, it has a little more Haachin than two of the other music videos, ergo, it's great already in that regard. Sure, it shows off Haachin's lack of rhythm in dancing, but it makes up for it in an abundance of beauty on her behalf, and everyone else's.

Haachin is honestly stunning here, showcasing her demure beauty once again with that little bit of seriousness showcased in Seishun Kozou ga Naiteru. Once again, she seems to portray herself really well, though her posture is still a little off; her expression, however, is very fitting for the music video. It's also worth noting that, much like how she is in both Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru and Ima Koko Kara, Haachin is very consistent in her expressions, and I like that. Sometimes new members make the rookie mistake of either not showing enough, or showing too much, but somehow Haachin has found that balance. From the get go, Haachin has been pretty decent in expressing herself consistently in videos, and that delights me.

Those are my thoughts, at least: I could be spewing bull in your eyes, but aye'o!

Haachin isn't overexcited, and she seems to look reserved once again, but it works well for the melancholy tone of the song. Plus, she looks downright beautiful and angelic in her white dress and natural hair and make-up look. She's a doll, and she fits the simple, elegant setting this PV aims to show off.

Are you shitting me? This is a close-up of the second mid-shot taken earlier. WHAT? Cheeky buggers, H!P. Y'all cheeky.
We don't get much in terms of Haachin here, but what we do receive is a pretty, reserved and beautiful young girl who once again showcases her endearing side. Sure, she can't dance that well, and you can see that out of everyone else, she is one of the clumsier dancers - but she's working hard, and she's doing her best to create a memorable piece for the fans. I commend her for that, and I like watching Haachin try her best; it makes you like her more, I believe.

As an overall video, I enjoy Yuugure wa Amaegari. It's not one of the most memorable songs, granted, and the PV was certainly under budget and made with whatever was left over from the Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru shoot, but it's elegant and sweet, and it showcases this natural, melancholy feel that is quite appealing. I love the choreography, I like the groupings that have been set up, and I think that- despite a clear lack of Haachin close-ups - this song really does showcase the 12th generation nicely, and gives us a clear indication of their freshness amongst the senior members.

Still, this needs a lot more Haachin. Anyone agree with me?

This review still feels weird, but hey! We're at the last song, and it's the one I vowed I would never remember... and it's my favourite of the three available. Go figure. Sing it enough, you learn to like it, but also, it's cheap anime trash... the best kind of trash! Plus it's cute.

Sad to say, I could only find the Promotion Edit for this song, even though I know there is a version somewhere online that doesn't feature the scary animation for the Pretty Cure anime that this song was made for. Even sadder, I am pretty sure that the un-tainted version features a lot more Ogata for our viewing pleasure (four solo shots, like Yuugure). Alas, I can't secure a good copy for review purposes, so we'll have to make do with all two close ups of our dear Haachin. Le sigh.

Well, at least this PV shows a different side to Haachin. Reserved and cute still, but different.

In both versions of this PV, it's no lie that Haachin isn't heavily featured, but at least she's featured, and Ima Koko Kara finally allows us a closer look at Haachin's smile. In the dance shot especially, this girl is radiant, showing off that brilliant grin of hers in such a cute, upbeat song. She's having fun, and I just love how much more at ease she seems in this one. Okay, so she definitely looks like she's doing as she's told by the director in her solo shot from the Event V, but otherwise, she feels a lot more vibrant here.

It feels like Haachin is a lot cuter as well, most likely because the song exudes the cuteness we need, but after watching her act cool and serious for two songs, showcasing her beauty more than anything, it's nice to see this relaxed, happier version of Haachin that is fresh and cute. Her wide eyes are especially noticeable in this video, and I love how bright they look!

Basically: So. Freakin'. CUTE!

This is honestly my favourite form of Haachin, because she's so pure and sweet amidst three serious music videos. Sure, I love her serious, demure nature in the other videos, but here were capture a glimpse of the Haachin people fell in love with: a cute and smiley girl who looks happy not just because of her smile, but because of her expressive eyes. She may not look like she has much about her from the onset, but once you capture a glimpse of that sweetness, you can't help but be pulled in by how much of a joy she truly is.

She doesn't express as much as the other members, I get that, but I feel like Haachin really did show us another side of herself in Ima Koko Kara, and it's a side of hers that endeared me to her. She was really cute here, and it's nice to see how she may have evolved from then until now in these four PV's.

Overall, I like Ima Koko Kara as a music video enough. It's cute, the costumes are pretty adorable and I love how they unite the various generations, much like the other PV's have done with their costumes. I'd say the only thing I really don't like - aside from a clear lack of Haachin - is the horrible anime clips thrown in for promotion purposes. I get why they are there, but urgh, they're just clunky and horrid. Still, at least the members of Morning Musume more than make up for it.

This one definitely needs more Haachin, though. Have you seen how cute she is in her solo version?

To Conclude

I still think that this is one of the weakest debuts in terms of showcasing a generation fully through its music, but in regards to the music videos, Morning Musume '15's 58th single actually does an admirable job in showing off the 12th generation as their fresh new faces really well. In almost all of their PV's the members are showcased together in a nice group, and in Yuugure wa Amaegari especially we see how much they stand out, and how much they are shown off. It's nice to see that little bit of effort go into the PV's to introduce the girls and to allow fans to pinpoint who is who.

For Haachin herself, I feel like this is a bit of a weak debut, only because of how little focus there is on here. Though she is at least given a decent amount of screen time in Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Promotion Edit), I can't say the same for the other three videos. Her presence is honestly lacking, but once she makes an appearance, it's quite impressionable for some who like Haachin's look, or find her eyes and smile intriguing. She is honestly very beautiful in all of the music videos, and each time I watched them I found her at least once, even without aiming to look for her. Again, her eyes are intriguing, and I find them to be one of the reasons why I was taken by her in the beginning. That, and her silly nature.

Amazingly, it's her silly nature that lacks in these videos, but that's fine - Haachin's demure expression and serious vibe create an interesting image of the idol, allowing you to assume one thing about her before coming to an understanding of the silly character that lies beneath this almost perfect image.

It's nice to finally look back at Haachin in her debut days and to see that she did hold some awkwardness, but that she also showcased the serious, melancholy and cute sides of the songs she featured in. She might not be the best performer out there - her dancing certainly needed work, and you can tell it's not her strong point in all four videos - but she was striking in her own way, and probably captured you with her eyes or her smile, or maybe her beauty. Whatever it was, Haachin has tried to catch your eye, and when she did, I hope you realised what a true beauty she was even from her first appearance with Morning Musume '15.

This is a decent debut for the 12th generation, but let's be real: it lacks the Haachin we need, and therefore I too it upon myself to throw in the solo versions of these PV's, all for your viewing pleasure, and to fulfill our Haachin solo needs. You are welcome.

Until next time everyone. Take care, stay safe, be happy and healthy, and of course: Love Thy Haachin.

Au revoir,

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