Impressions: Kitagawa Kenji

NMB’s eccentric new release ‘Kitagawa Kenji’ is releasing today! Get hype and celebrate by reading Yoshi and Dae’s impressions on this quirky offering. 



What!? NMB48 doing a non-sexual song!? Impossible! Well, maybe “Kitagawa Kenji” is a sexual song but I’ll leave that up to your imagination. The PV and song is far from sexual. This PV is colorful, vibrant and packs a lot of positive energy.

The PV starts off in a classroom where Yamamoto Sayaka, Yokoyama Yui and Watanabe Miyuki are trying to solve a math equation on the board. The PV takes an odd turn when Yokoyama accidentally breaks her chalk and gives Yamamoto Sayaka this very awkward stare.

Then Miyuki is so befuddled by the math equation that steam comes out of her ears. The best blind stare in an idol PV this year (who cares?)!

Then that somehow leads to the girls dressed up in what I like to call “the outfit where a kid had way too much cotton candy and threw up on a dress”. I am not a big fan of these outfits. I’m generally not a big fan of poofy skirts to begin with and to add all the colors on the pastel rainbow to it is disappointing. Same with the make up. They decided that all the crap on the outfits weren’t enough so they put bird tails on the members’ eyelashes.

The choreography is less than stellar. NMB48 has always had pretty good choreography but I think the choreography for this song leaves a lot to be desired. NMB48 is also known for their stunts in the song and they did not skip their tradition. The human bi-pod!

The best parts of this PV are the shots of the NMB48 members in the classroom, like the shots of the members following their pens with their eyes.

Why is Ogasawara Mayu blowing on a fake miniature tree? IS SHE SMOKEY THE BEAR!?

The song itself is an upbeat song that has a Latin feel to it. The instrumentals provide a dance-able beat that you can fist pump to but they are not as impressive as the instrumentals in “Virginity”. In terms of initial impact, “Kitagawa Kenji” has a little more punch than a song like, “Virginity” or “Nagiichi” but does not stack up against songs like, “Junjou U-19” or “Zetsumentsu Kurokami Shoujo”. The verse is very generic and the chorus is above average at best. The novelty of using the name of a real person is clever and provides a fun little talking point for those interested in NMB48.

Overall, “Kitagawa Kenji” is a solid song and PV but not on the level of NMB48’s best work. Certainly not a disappointment but there is room for improvement.





NMB’s latest, ‘Kitagawa Kenji’, is one of their stranger offerings. From the name, to the PV, to the costumes, and even type of song. It’s not something you immediately expect from the more racy sister group in AKS. This is definitely the most candied, triple-dipped dollop of a release they have put out thus far that also has a monster under the hood.

There’s serious horsepower driving the chorus that, to me, matches the relentless and exhilarating briskness and speed of Junjou U-19. The fusion of lively latin-inspired instrumentals and idol pop melodies create something different altogether, and this is kind of successful franken-song that I want from idol music. The verses are suitable for the most part, varying between a great build-up and sectons that almost slow to a crawl, but the lulls never last for long and it’s so scattered and varied that it ends up feeling more like a deliberate choice than a lazy one.

The PV is puzzling, and clearly doesn’t want you to be following the events to understand what’s going on. It’s purely driven to be showy and interesting to watch, and that’s perfectly okay with me as long as it’s fun throughout. ‘Kitagawa Kenji’ is full of color, charm and scenarios, none of which become repetitive or boring. It’s successful at establishing its two different worlds and playing with switching back and forth between the two until they ultimately collide and exist on the same plane.

The outfits are appropriately bizarre and wild, fitting into the bizzaro-world candy-like dimension portrayed in the PV. Outside of that context, the outfits look far more out of place and even stranger to look at. The choreography was one of the elements that stood out the least in the PV, not showing off varied formations, but more synchronized moves for the entire group. I think the dance, like the song, has its fast and slow moments, but overall, fairly fun.

The real intrigue however, comes from the easily missed cameos of THE Kitagawa Kenji in the background of the PV. This man of mystery who’s face is always far away or obscured, with the camera barely cutting it off, or only shooting him from the back. It’s such a quirky element that is both funny and eerie, and definitely not something I expected from a mainstream release.  Recent sightings below!

‘Kitagawa Kenji’ had me scratching my head ever since the announcement that this release was going to be named after a staff member in AKS that pretty much no one has ever heard of, but now, I’m a believer. It’s a fast, fun song with a fairly ballsy premise and a certain eccentricity and humor that I didn’t expect surrounding NMB’s 6th single that is also portrayed in the PV.



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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