‘Kikkake wa YOU!’: Kikkake wa ME?!

It’s been a confusing journey up to Kikkawa Yuu’s debut single ‘Kikkake wa Yuu!’. There was the initial confusion between the single and a film of same name about a (fictional?) documentary of Kikkawa Yuu’s debut, and then the confusion I felt when I found out that she was a finalist for 8th generation auditions but didn’t make it(yes, I’m late to the game), only to be in H!P Eggs for a tedious four years until she finally had her first major debut release this year on May 11th.

After having followed Mano Erina in the past year, I didn’t have high expectations for Kikkawa Yuu. Mano Erina has had fleeting glimpses of greatness, only to be buried in mediocre songs. Out of all of Hello!Project’s performers, I felt that the soloist ended up getting the least amount of attention and care in all aspects. So while I’ve harbored little to no optimism for Kikkawa Yuu, I can happily say that my preconceptions have been completely wrong.

I am completely smitten with this release. I don’t know if it’s because of Universal J’s involvement, but ‘Kikkake wa YOU!’ released with 4 different b-side songs(one for each version), which is hefty for a H!P single. The song quality has been cranked up to eleven; Her strong vocals and robust instrumentals sound fantastic together across the board. Her smooth and mature singing voice stands perfectly on its own, and is quickly becoming my favorite voice in all of H!P.

The PV has a narrative, albeit a bizarre one. There’s several things going on which seem interesting if you follow all the threads, but none of the follow-throughs really have the satisfying punch that they ought to. The lack of backdrops and the overbearing color palate of saturated yellows give the PV a cramped look, with the only different and spacious set being from a self-reflective “hall of mirrors” scene that I felt looked out of place. That said, Kikkawa Yuu is absolutely captivating. Her performance has such charisma and positive energy that you can’t help but be convinced that this is what she was born to do. The way she presents herself in the dance and close up shots is refreshingly vibrant and exudes confidence in her abilities like a seasoned pro.

This release definitely revived my interest in Hello!Project’s solo division. It’s always a pleasure to find unexpected treasures. What I got from Kikkawa Yuu is confident vocal ability, raw energy, versatility, and quality songs; something I still need to see from Mano Erina’s releases. I hope this release heralds a great new beginning for both of them.

SONG

PV

‘Kikkake wa YOU!’
Kakkawa Yuu
Releases May 11th, 2011

Dae

About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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9 comments

  1. Wow, this certainly took me by surprise. The song is absolutely fantastic and Yuu seems like a seasoned pro, not someone who has just released their debut single. Sure the PV has its faults but just the energy that Yuu displays more than makes up for it.

    You have yourself a new fan in me, Kikkawa Yuu.

  2. After following Kikka for a while her emerging as a soloist, quite litrally out of nothing after the dissapointment of her joining the MM 9th gen that never was had me both pleasanly surprised and also slightly worried at the same time, as you said H!P snd soloists have not always been a good mix…..

    Well I can say that I am very happy with this song, I love it infact, plus it suits her perfectly (Universal’s influence methinks) plus of course it is nice to see that at leat 1 of the older eggs had a crack at something read after ‘graduating’ and in Kikka’s case it should really of happened earlier.

    Sales were pretty good to getting past the 15k mark for the week with 9th on the chart

    Something does kinda bug me though, looking at this and at Kikka, I feel as though we could be watching a perfect Ai replacment move away from the group where I think she would most benefir H!P…….

    • She could always be put in MM in later generations. I see her as a Mikitty version 2.0. Fujimoto tried to get into MM during 4th gen auditions, but never made the cut. So Tsunku puts her on the path of a solo career where she did pretty well for a few singles, but eventually was put into MM during 6th generation. I can totally see Kikkawa Yuu following the same path.

      • I’ve been trying to come up with a nice way of expressing how much I don’t want that to happen but all I can manage is “I really hope that isn’t the case”.

        Not bashing MM or H!P but please, just leave her be.

        • I don’t think any of us want to see that happen. I think everyone could tell that Fujimoto always had a “I don’t want to be here” Aura whenever she was around MM.

          • I would have liked her to have been accepted in MM in 2006 simply because the idol game is all about exposure, and the years she would have spent in MM is much better time spent than practically disappearing from the public eye for 4 years, wasting what many idols would consider to be their “essential years” of youth and promotion. Entering at the age of 19 always has a disadvantage over someone who debuts younger, simply because of the amount of time they’re able to be active.

            At this point I agree that she has no reason to be recruited into MM. Damage is done and I think she has the potential to have a great solo career. But in the back of my mind, I’ll always wonder “what if”.

  3. I’m nostalgically smitten. The PV has a positively old school vibe to it, but you’re right, the overall quality of the PV is nothing to swoon over. Personally, I find Kikkawa’s mature voice and dancing mannerisms are mildly reminiscent of Fujimoto Miki and her facial expressions share some of the cuteness Matsuura Aya had. I’ve never been this hyped for a solo artist in H!P for a long time! Here’s hoping that UFA doesn’t slip up on this one. I’m hoping for some heavy promotion for her in the near future.

  4. Off topic: Holy Shit! Yaguchi Mari is officially getting married!!!

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