Sunday, 28 June 2020

Houkago Princess Reignite The Summer Heat in 'Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra' (Single Review)

*As per usual, all thoughts and opinions expressed within this review are mine, and mine alone. Each persons feelings and opinions differ, and I am not different, so please respect my thoughts and feelings that have been written here. I also do not intend to offend, so if you are offended, I do Let's just respect one another's views, and enjoy our Idol music. Thank you.

**To add, I am terrible when it comes to typo's. I also suck at grammar and punctuation, so if there are any mistakes riddled in this review, please call me out on it. Thank you in advance.

In which Chiima battles the heat of the summer with HouPri's latest addition to their song catalogue...

In these trying times of turmoil and uncertainty, Houkago Princess have prepared a brand new song to ignite hope, and bring back your spirit for the summer of 2020. With the strength of Cleopatra embedded in their lyrics, as well as the passion of the members singing these songs, Houkago Princess will bring back the summer heat, and instil hope and liveliness to all who will listen to their music.

Made up of two tracks, the most recent addition to Houkago Princesses discography is also the last for sub-leader Maika, who will be leaving the group after 6 years of activity, and continue to work as a solo artist. With her graduation on the horizon, Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra sees Maika and the other members of Houkago Princess transform into the beautiful and strong Cleopatra, the Pharaoh whose legacy is still remembered 3,000 years on.

It's time to tell a story with Houkago Princess once again, but this time we are looking at the history of a desert Queen. Are you ready to step back in time and experience a brilliant summer like no other?

Listen with me on Spotify.

Digital Release Date: June 17th, 2020
Physical Release Date: July 29th, 2020
Price: ¥1,200
Editions: 4 (Type A / Type B / Maika ver. / Tropical ver.)

Type Track List:
  1. Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye (灼熱のミステリーアイ)
  2. Zesse Cleopatra (絶世クレオパトラ)
  3. Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye (Instrumental ver.)
  4. Zesse Cleopatra (Instrumental ver.)
Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra
- Single Review -

1. Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye

An upbeat and heated dance tune, Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye is Houkago Princesses latest summer track that is sure to capture your attention. Filled with zest and spirit that fits the image of the group well, Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye is sure to liven up your summer thanks to its catchy and passionate melody.

Though fairly unique to HouPri in terms of genre, this song fits pretty well with the current group line-up. It's a powerful and energetic track that you can easily lose yourself in, whether it's by dancing along to it, or singing and chanting to the lyrics. It's a lot of fun, and as a listener myself, I can't help but get swept away by the intensity of this track.

Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye also has to be one of the best displays of Maika's vocals, hands down. She is damn powerful in this song, and though Maika has displayed just how good of a singer she is in past songs - Sayonara no Duarena, Seishun Mermaid, etc. - I feel like she really brought out the big guns for this track. She is simply incredible, and it makes me happy that you can hear just how much fun she is having with this song, live or pre-recorded. Maika really gave it her all here.

Of the two songs present on this single, it's undeniable that Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye will be the fan-favourite. Heck, of the few people I have talked to that have also listened to this single in full, this is the song that they preferred upon first listen, and I can't blame them. It's different for HouPri, and much like Manatsu no Yoru no Yume, Lychee Red no Unmei and a few other songs before it, this is the kind of track that will simply appeal to a wider crowd compared to their more commercial, generic songs that encompass a familiar sound.

I really enjoy Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye and all it offers, but I do prefer the second track over this one. Still, this is an incredible song to add to the groups ever-growing discography, and another wonderful summer song for Houkago Princess. Hopefully we will hear this as frequently as Atsu wa Natsui! and Seishun Mermaid, because it's an incredible song that will definitely get the crowd heated no matter where it is performed.

In A Nutshell: A fun and intense summer tune, Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye is HouPri's answer to curving everyone's boredom, and bringing back those fun summer days that we remember with fondness. If you want a little dance or something to spice up your playlist, then this is the song for you.

2. Zesse Cleopatra

Excuse me whilst I jam out to this, because I need a moment...

The second and, sadly, least superior track in this single, Zesse Cleopatra is a cute and sparkling song that is reminiscent of Houkago Princesses older songs. With an instrumental created by Ishitani Hikaru, it is simply undeniable that Zesse Cleopatra was created in the image of the Houkago Princess that songstress and vocal-Diva Maika had auditioned for back in 2014, and that this is her parting gift for being the groups face and lead vocalist for 6 years.

This is also my favourite track, because whilst it is certainly the least unique of the two, this is the song that made me cry. With its overwhelming sense of nostalgia, as well as Maika's input for this song specifically - helping with lyrics and even creating the choreography - Zesse Cleopatra feels like an ode to Maika's HouPri career. It's a sound familiar to the group she debuted in, a sound that has its own history and meaning to the group. Though Maika was undoubtedly the reason that HouPri became what it is today, without her beginnings in Houkago Princess and this specific style of sound, we would not have witnessed who she has become today.

Zesse Cleopatra, though upbeat, pretty in sound and certainly weaker when compared to Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye, is an important track for both Maika and the listeners. It is the undeniable graduation song, and the song that represents who Maika was, and who she has become since she joined Houkago Princess in 2014. The sound may not be to everyone's tastes, but for me it is impactful and great, and undoubtedly my favourite of the two.

It is also the song I happen to dance along to most, and the one I sing along to a lot, too. Because why the heck not?

I love Zesse Cleopatra and can not get enough it, and I think that it's a great song for Maika to leave the group with. It infuses so much of HouPri's history and their current state, all while showcasing the power of Maika, the group as it stands now, and the love that she holds for both HouPri and singing. I could not think of a better song to end her reign with.

Oh, and to add: It reminds me of Kimipedia a great deal, which was also a significant song for HouPri, because it was one that Ishitani Hikaru did not release until the group hit a milestone in their career, which happened to be their major debut. So, yeah. Important songs are important!

In A Nutshell: This is my favourite of the two tracks, despite being slightly weaker and more generic HouPri in sound. It has great significance though, and is a great graduation track for the soon-to-be graduated Maika. I love it, and I hope you all enjoy it a little, too.

- Conclusion -

It's fairly obvious by this point, but I love Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra. In my mind, both are great songs, and both have their strengths, and are equally amazing for different reasons. Of course, one song will undoubtedly please the listeners more than the other, but for me, both are equally deserving of my love and adoration.

And, as you would expect, I am completely obsessed with this release, and have been listening to it almost daily since its digital release. I just can't fault it, and I feel so blessed to be a HouPri fan right now. It is honestly so good, and this review is one small way of showcasing the love that I hold for this single as a whole.

When it comes to the individual songs, of course Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye is the strongest track on here in terms of quality and sound. It's an intense and powerful song that demands to be heard, and it has impact no matter how many times you hear it. It's an honest-to-God amazing song, and I look forward to hearing Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye performed every summer, and heating up the crowd thanks to how freakin' good it is.

But, Zesse Cleopatra is also great, and whilst it will not appeal to everyone out there - because generic, orthodox Idol songs and an old, recycled HouPri sound that I love and adore - it's still going to have its fans. This is also the track that will probably be sung a lot more, because it's cute and fun, and an easy song to get into. And, though it may displease some, I have a feeling that this will be the track that will most likely get a music video attached to it. Why? Because it's the graduation song.

Still, I hope that both songs get a music video, because I simply want two MV's from HouPri, and to see how both songs differ in terms of music video quality, pacing, etc.

All in all, I adore this single and how both songs have their own identity, and how both create a memorable and fun experience for the listener. It's a great single, each song is different to the other, and whilst it may not be perfect, it's a wonderful send-off for Maika, and a brilliant addition to Houkago Princesses ever-growing song collection. I could not be happier to receive something so beautiful from one of my favourite Idol groups, and I am even happier than it is being so well-received by the fans.

To fully conclude: Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra is simply amazing, and has Maika leaving on a bright and beautiful high note. As a fan, I could not have asked for a better send-off for Houkago Princesses vocal Queen.

- Final Rating -


It's five stars. Of course it is. What else would it be?

I'm glad that this single was released well before the actual release date, because whilst I would have impatiently waited, I would have also gone a little mad over not hearing it. Due to the current state of the world however, HouPri released the digital track a month or so early, and I have been obsessed with the single since.

Honestly, I have nothing but high praise for this release, and this review says as much. With that said, I don't expect it to appeal to everyone, but I am aware that for those it will appeal to, the track people are most likely to enjoy is the first. It's just the way it is, and because people like those kinds of songs a little more.

Anyway, before I head out of this review, I hope that you have all given it a listen and enjoyed the songs along with me. Of course, I hope you enjoyed the songs, and if you did, which is your favourite? And if you are already a seasoned HouPri listener, do you think that Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra are worthy additions to the groups discography, or not? I would love to hear any and all thoughts, because sharing is caring, and it's fun to see where we differ in opinion!

And now we will end the post here. Until the next update, please take of yourselves, stay happy and healthy, keep yourself mentally and physically well, and of course love your Idols and all that they provide, dear Readers.

See you in the next one, guys.

Much Love and dance breaks,

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