Impressions: Tatoeba no Monster

Most of you have probably never heard of Himekyun Fruit Can. Well, their gimmick is that each of their members is assigned a different fruit and…..well, that’s pretty much it really. Himekyun have a habit of changing their sound and appearance a lot so you’re never really sure what you’re going to get from single to single (cute, sexy, etc) and their latest release “Tatoeba no Monster” is no exception. Read on to hear our thoughts.

 

Garry:

In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m the one who put this in our review queue. That probably means that it’s at least worth a look, right?

Let’s start off with the song, I really like it. Like I mentioned previously you never really know what to expect with Himekyun so when I heard about this PV I didn’t really have any kind of expectations going in. When I saw the outfits in some screenshots I figured it’d maybe be a BABYMETAL type deal, which I thought would be a really interesting direction for the group to take but boy was I wrong.

The instrumentals have a folksy feel to them so they appeal to the folk punk fan in me, something I never expected to hear from an idol group. The vocals are also great although perhaps not completely matching the instrumentals. I tip my hat to the person put in charge of mixing this release. All of the girls’ voices really compliment each other well and it makes for an enjoyable listening experience overall.

Let’s talk about the PV now. Okay so the most obvious thing to note I guess is that there isn’t the largest budget in the world here. It’s a pretty basic concept with the group performing on stage in front of a crowd of fans. In all honesty I’m a bit of a sucker for “live” PVs so I’m probably not as critical of this as most people would be. One thing that I absolutely hated though was that overhead camera shot. I mean the idea is fantastic but like most ideas it didn’t really work when it came to the execution.

I did however think that the costumes were great. A lot of idol groups try to play things too straight or cutesy so it’s nice to see there are groups out there that want to inject a little fun into things. Brilliant idea to get the crowd in on it too by the way. A sea of people in skeleton shirts and masks makes for a great visual as you can see in the screenshot above. People can argue that the jumpsuits are unflattering to the girls but I don’t really care; I don’t need to see skirts and schoolgirl outfits in every damn PV that comes out.

Hopefully this review might convince some of you to check out Himekyun Fruit Can (most of their PV are on Youtube or H!O). They’re really a great group of girls who deserve a lot more attention than they’re currently getting.

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Anthony:

I have not followed Himekyun at all so I had no expectations coming into to this release. I was surprised to hear classic Japanese punk as the style of this song but the issue here is the execution. I’ve always found Japanese punk to be generic and uninspiring. This song is no exception. If you enjoy Japanese punk rock, you’ll enjoy it because this song is faithful to its sound. I just do not like the uninspired instrumentals that tend to happen on most Japanese punk rock recordings. The melody is very straightforward and pretty plain. It certainly doesn’t have the kind of hook that I look for in “idol” music. It may just be that the vocals for this song are pretty lackluster but I think the plain melody needs to take some part of the blame for the lack of a catchy hook. I just can’t see myself humming the chorus of the song.

The saving grace for this song is the short vocal solo and pre-chorus build up. That was fun to hear and executed well.

The PV feels like a Japanese punk rock video as well. The entire PV is of the live performance with slow-motion mixed in. No fancy tricks, straight to the point and not fooling around. Just like this song.

I like the skeleton outfits worn in the PV. They look like snuggies and are pretty hilarious. If I lived in cold weather, I could see myself wearing this Himekyun skeleton snuggie for warmth and general awesomeness.

I really like the choreography for this song. It’s very “genki” and fits the uptempo rock aspect of this song. Lots of fist pumps into the air to show strength! YEAH! The air-guitaring is also a nice touch as well and provide energy to a rather unimpressive song.

Overall, I just can’t get myself to really enjoy the song. I was never a fan of classic Japanese punk to begin with so that may be the issue but none of the melodies in the song really grabbed me by the shirt collar and said, “LISTEN TO ME AND HUM MY CHORUS”.

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Dae:

If you closed your eyes, you’d think this was a legit Japanese punk band. Its ever-familiar anthem and rustic tune successfuly strikes the heart of all Japanese punk fans, and the vocal stylings are similarly straightforward without frills.

HimeKyun Fruits Kan’s latest, ‘Tatoeba no Monster’, walks the fine line where the main melody works from both a rock and idol standpoint, but the pure rock instrumentals and rhythm push it more towards an honest-to-goodness punk song. This created a slight dilemma for me when judging the song. As far as the idolsphere is concerned, this is something new and fresh; but from a punk rock standpoint, the song is fairly boilerplate. I ended up averaging the two, and I came away from it with positivity.

The exaggerated air guitar moves they do on stage almost makes one wish they could actually play the instruments with the song, since a lot of the choreography are broad moves that aren’t integral to the experience. The vocals are exceptionally crisp and styled in a way that is not unlike a real rock arrangement, with the progression of lines and backing vocals. There’s also actual harmonizing going on at points in the song which are fairly rare in idol vocals.

The PV in itself is barebones, but it’s got personality. Made to look like a live performance in a packed venue, there’s a cohesive feel to the design: with a lucha libre wrestling mask as its key motif, and all the members sporting loose pajama hoodies with a cartoonish skeleton print. The crowd seals the deal as they’re all sporting the masks and t-shirt versions of the skeleton print. There’s an indelible charm to it when you piece the visual elements together; but despite the earnest performances, which is the highlight of the PV, I felt that other elements like the choreography and the lack of variety stretched it a bit thin to be one for repeat viewings.

Overall, the song was enjoyable and the PV is worth watching at least once. Japan has had a long standing love affair with all genres of rock, so it was only natural for it to start seeping into the recent idol boom. Realizing that Himekyun Fruits Kan is a group that jumps from genre to genre, I can’t hold my breathe in hopes that they will continue to improve and expand on this particular style, but a good release is a good release.

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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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