Impressions: Kibou ni Tsuite

Malcolm and community member Chase take a look at No Name’s “Kibou ni Tsuite” from the AKB0048 anime. Read on to hear what they thought about the release.

 

Malcolm:

If you’ve read my community articles before I became a staff member of NSK, you would know that I am a big fan of AKB0048. It surpassed all the expectations I had for an anime which honestly sounds utterly stupid in concept. Despite my lack of confidence in the series, it turned out to an anime that was really worth watching.

So on to the song, I will start off with that I really like this song as an OP. It really fits the themes presented in the anime with its melody and lyrical content. Also, it’s a killer song to sing along. But how is the song on its own? Surprisingly, it holds up pretty well. The song’s rock instrumentals really work with the singers’ voices. Idol music seems to be heading in a rock direction lately and I have to say I really like it. It adds a bit of energy to the already energetic genre.

Furthermore, the vocals are excellent especially during the chorus. We don’t normally hear these voices together but they really complement each other.  Hearing them harmonize in the chorus never fails to give me goose bumps. For being the first Inter-48 sub-unit (unless you count Not Yet), this was a terrific debut.

So, the PV has a bit of story which seems reminiscent of the anime’s plot. It begins with a girl receiving an invitation to the audition to become an idol and it cuts to a scene with the nine members auditioning in front of men in…welding masks. The girls pass the audition and perform again in front of the masked men. During this performance, the leader of the masked men reveals herself to be none other than Watanabe Mayu.

Okay, to be honest, I’m not really sure how to interpret the ending to the PV. I presume that the girl in the beginning, Mayu in the audition, and Mayu in the mask were all the same person just at different stages of her life with the last stage being when she is a full AKB0048 member. Or maybe it could just be a successor to Watanabe Mayu like they had in the anime. Wild interpretations aside, I do think the PV really fits the song. While I’m not crazy about it, I think it does a good job representing the anime and its opening. One good thing about this PV is that it gives screentime to girls who don’t normally receive any. While you still got popular members like Watanabe Mayu and Yagami Kumi dominating the camera, lesser-known members like Mita Mao still are able to get their time in the limelight.

There is however one issue I feel like I have to address: the costumes. They aren’t good at all. I don’t know why the PV had the judges dressed up as cyber-gimps but I really don’t remember anyone looking like that in the anime. And don’t even get me started on the girls’ costumes. It’s like all the girls decided to shop for pregnant woman clothing before the performance. They’re extremely unflattering and I hate looking at them.

But other than that, this PV is pretty decent. While I do like the anime’s opening much better, I believe this is an appropriate choice in direction given the song. The story part does leave me scratching my head, but the dance shots are well-done and there is nothing really offensive about it. I personally can’t wait for AKB0048’s next season which should include NO NAME’s next single. I want to see more of this group.

PV:

Song:

 

Chase:

As the first season of AKB0048 ends and AKB48‘s subunit No Name’s highly anticipated release ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’ drops, all I could think of is that I couldn’t wait to hear the studio recordings of the opener and closer for the anime. The songs carried the emotion perfectly when watching 0048, creating a charged, quick paced intro song with ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’, and closing each episode with a nostalgic, yet solid ‘Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru’.

Kibou ni Tsuite

As soon as I heard this song in 0048, I could barely wait for the actual song to be released. Starting at the beginning, the intro carries a feeling of potential and forcefulness contained in the music combined with a hauntingly beautiful melody. While watching episodes of the anime, all my thoughts about the storyline or the characters were lost as soon as I heard the first notes sound out in the now all-too familiar beginning of ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’. The emotion contained in the song and the anime often transferred to me, filling me up with excitement and more than once made me tear up a bit and made me start dancing in my chair. As the song continues on, it enters a lower energy, guitar chugging verse that builds up into a powered, full-sails-ahead-to-the-island-of-Honshu chorus. A little too powerful, perhaps. The band and music producer seem to get a bit carried away on the wave of energy and overpower the vocals a bit. During the verses, the balance is much better, with the girls’ singing and the instruments in perfect harmony. The song continues with a repeat of the intro, verse and chorus progressions, entering a quick instrumental bridge followed by a low intensity pre-chorus and chorus that all culminates in a key change and a final chorus.

The expectation that I built up in anticipation of ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’ was not wasted, in fact, my expectations were met, with the addition of an extra key change at the end that racked the energy a notch higher. When the lineup for No Name was released, and all most people saw was Mayu Watanabe and 8 other nonsenbatsu members, I was afraid that this release would turn out to be a pseudo-Mayuyu single feat. the other members in the background, but thankfully, the parts were distributed evenly for the songs. As a bonus, I couldn’t even hear the nasal tone in Mayuyu’s voice that makes me not so fond of her vocals, probably because the singing was much lower than she is used to in her singles and her voice was blended into everyone else’s. ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’ is an emotionally packed song, full of teenage angst and turmoil that the anime characters experience yet also filled with determination and subtle power, making this song a standout from other idol songs. Although a lot of anime try to create theme songs to match the anime, I’d go as far to say that this one has done the best job yet, embodying the palpable emotion, love and conflict seen throughout 0048. If you haven’t been following the anime and/or haven’t heard this song yet, I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it, so give it a listen!

Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru

Contrasting with the opener track, ‘Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru’ takes the drive down a bit to a point where its not quite an upbeat song, yet not quite a ballad. The instrumental melody sounds like it belongs in the movie ‘Mulan’, maybe during the Imperial Palace scenes. A very regal Chinese/Japanese sound is created by the melody played by either guitars or some other stringed instruments, the echoey drum hits and the wind chimes, and fits the song quite well. Again, I think the song would benefit from turning the vocals up a bit higher above the instruments, just to bring out the melody a tiny bit more, but other than that the sound is balanced very well. ‘Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru’ carries a feeling of loss or wistfulness throughout the song, like the singers are lost in memories. It sort of has a ‘I’ll return again to you’ feel, in my opinion, which would match up with some of the storyline in 0048.

Just like ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’, this song is filled with emotion, except instead of excitement and power, it has a deep melancholy and seriousness to it. ‘Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru’ is a very reflective song, almost making you want to meditate and take a look inside of yourself, examine your thoughts and feelings. As far as producing music to go with an anime, these songs might be one of the best soundtrack/anime pairings I’ve ever heard. They’re very tailored to fit this anime, and sound different enough to represent two opposite sides of 0048.

Final Thoughts

‘Kibou ni Tsuite’ was long awaited, and I don’t think it let the fans down. Many people will be very satisfied with how the production turned out, and glad to see that Yasushi Akimoto’s ‘genius’ hasn’t let them down yet in songwriting and producing. The No Name unit also did a great job breaking a bit out of the idol niche and performing these two unorthodox songs. I hope when Season 2 of AKB0048 rolls around, despite personal problems with the anime *COUGHstoryline*COUGH that the music made will be just as great as ‘Kibou ni Tsuite’ was!

Chase’s Twitter

About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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