Noteworthy

Wide Range Of Reactions to New S/mileage PV

S/mileage – “Tachiagaaru” PV Released – Hello! SayuNii
S/mileage’s Full MV of Their 7th Single, “Tachiagaaru”~!!! – Chuu Sugoi Idol
S/mileage Tachiagaaru PV – Pure Idol Heart
PV for S/mileage’s Single Tachiagaaru Released! – Happy! Go! Lucky!
S/mileage Disappoint – Tachiagaaru MV & Song Review – Okay! Musume Time
Will the real S/mileage please stand up – Janakya Mottainai

As I said before, stakes are high with S/mileage as of late – not only have they added five new “sub” kenkyuusei members, but they also lost an OG member who’d been wanting to leave for a long while… and most recently, lost one of the five subs to illness. How would all this impact their new single? How would all this reflect in the promotional video?

As it turns out, the full PV for the first single of the new S/mileage is out… and we’ve got blogs giving reactions from the outright positive to disappointed to loathiing it. And these are dedicated H!P fans, not wota who just want some easy potshots for easy laughs (cough cough), which makes the range of opinions worth scrutinizing even closer.

To start with the most positive, we’ve got Ayuchii from Hello! SayuNii finding something special about the song and video but not able to quite pin down what it is. Then we get Chuu Sugoi Idol which imagines the scenario that led to the setting of the PV. From there we get the still positive Pure Idol Heart, though Gaki notes that the sub members are relegated to the background: “Outside of the fact the PV and line distribution looks more like S/mileage featuring backup dancers it`s a really good song and one that has that signature S/mileage sound.”

So that’s where the mostly positive responses stop and the warier reactions kick in. First is Jess of Happy! Go! Lucky!, who links the song but is underwhelmed by the PV. The same notion of back dancers is brought up, as well as a good reason for why that should not be the case: “With the sub-members so not-featured, it’s really tough to get to know and like these girls. Where they have this big campaign to become real members starting, I just feel like they should have gotten a chance to show what they were made of, at least a little bit.”

Then there’s Chiima of Okay! Musume Time who starts by stating she thinks the song is poor and that the video was something she was dreading. From there, she goes into a very detailed manhandling of the video and what she had issues with. It’s actually as thorough as her positive reviews critically, but less pic-spammy. Her love for the OG members is still very much in evidence, but she felt that so much more could be done, and the tone of the article reflects this as well.

And finally, we get to AimxAim, whose disappointment with the video starts off right at the top with the very title of her piece. Like Jess and Chiima, she goes in for a very thorough look at the PV and its flaws. Like them, she also continues to have deep love for the OGs and finds them quite adorable here. Then the long knives come out, as Aim goes over how she was initially excited and in favor of the new members… but the recent handling of them, not only in the PV but in other decisions, has compromised her attitude towards S/mileage and the subs. THAT is bad mojo, and probably not what H!P intended. (Or maybe they did? The way things are going, a less kind observer would guess that H!P is sabotaging the subs’ members chances on purpose.)

While disappointment at H!P singles and PVs isn’t exactly new around the wotasphere, I did sense something different here. It took a while, but I figured it out: there was a sense of bigger stakes at play here than typical, but also an overall optimism. By this I mean that if Morning Musume screws up yet another single and video, no big deal – for some, their track record has long been pretty spotty, and you can jot out the usual lip service about cheap PVs and so on. But S/mileage seem to be living to a higher standard, at least with the bloggers sampled here, and the major changes in the line-up hasn’t dimmed those expectations at all. It’s quite admirable, really, both holding S/mileage to a higher standard and remaining optimistic overall. I’m not sure if it speaks to the relative newness of this unit or to how talented the original four-nin line-up and their releases have been. I’m leaning towards the latter, truth be known.

As critics of the wotasphere, Jess and Chiima have really come into their own, it’s great watching them weave their arguments with the opinions, making plain their biases but rooting it firmly in the evidence before them. As for the older hands, Ayuchii continues to be an excellent booster for H!P while AimxAim has become more and more entertaining to me when she gets sardonic in her writing. For somebody who claims not to think of herself as a writer, she’s been honing her craft to excellent effect in recent months.

It’s funny, because I’ve become more a fan of H!P reviewers than I have become of H!P itself in recent months – the discussions keep getting better and deeper, the insights open up H!P to me in a way that I haven’t seen in a long while. The nut still hasn’t cracked where I actually give a damn about H!P itself much… but this is a very good start, I’d say. And certainly, the wotasphere benefits from such voices. So read these and enjoy.