Review: Koko Kara Hajimarunda!

Kikkawa Yuu’s been knocking singles out of the park since her debut. It’s also been impressive that this kind of quality has been coming out of a solo idol act, which seems to be a scarce breed these days. It’s time for her fourth single, ‘Koko Kara Hajimarunda!’ to hit the shelves in Japan, and surprisingly, many of us had similar reactions. Read on to see what we thought.

 

Anthony:

I’m going to start off by saying that I do not follow many solo idols. The solo idol catalog goes as far as Kikkawa Yuu and Mano Erina. I have to say that I have enjoyed every single that Kikkawa Yuu has put out so far. She started off with a bang with “Kikkake wa YOU!”, followed it up with the solid, “Hapirapi ~Sunrise~”, and then totally sold me on her with “Konna Watashi de Yokattara”.

Kikkawa Yuu’s new single, “Koko Kara Hajimarunda!” is more of the same, just with a little more electronic synth and a bit of auto-tune. There are lots of bleeps and bloops that remind you of a Perfume song like, “Nee”. Now, I am an anti-auto-tune champion but I think they used it fairly well in this song. The auto-tune is not used for every line in the song and the usage is not over the top because you can still make out her actual voice. The instrumentals are perfect for this type of song and does a good job of supporting the vocals. The bigger problem for me other than the auto-tune is the melody of the song. It is certainly not as catchy as her three previous releases but just catchy enough.

The PV is bright and very clean and as always Kikkawa Yuu looks great. Some people may have issues where Kikkawa Yuu turns all mosaic but I had no issue with it. The PV features quite a bit of different shapes that make you think that this PV is an acid trip after you do your geometry homework. There are a couple of colored backgrounds that are shown through the transparent shapes cut out from the white background that adds most of the color to the PV.

The outfit is nice and inoffensive and with every Kikkawara Yuu release comes nice choreography that is exaggerated and defined. It makes sense because she is the only person performing at once so the dancing would have to be very distinct to keep the attention of the audience.

Overall, the song is above average and the PV does a decent job of supporting the PV so Kikkawa Yuu fans should check it out but this is not a can’t miss release by any means.

PV:

Song:

 

Garry:

I’ll start this review out by saying that Kikkawa Yuu is probably my favorite idol soloist right now. Her entire catalog of releases is incredibly solid, something I would never expect to say about an artist who has ties (no matter how small) with UFA/Hello!Project. I guess this is what happens when you sign to a record label that knows how to manage their talent correctly.

That’s not what we’re here for though; today we’re talking about Kikkawa Yuu’s new single “Koko Kara Hajimarunda!”. A song that strays a little from the beaten path as far as composition goes but still familiar enough that it’s not completely alien to those of us who have been following Kikkawa since her debut. The main differences you’ll notice are that the song is much more synth driven and the auto-tune on Kikkawa’s voice is creeping in a bit more than you usually see in most idol songs. The reason for these differences are that the composer of this song has apparently also composed a number of Vocaloid songs. Suddenly everything about this release starts to make sense.

My overall thoughts on the song are as follows; it’s certainly not the best single that Kikkawa Yuu has ever released but if this is the worst she manages to do then I have no complaints. Though it does have to be said that all of the synths and auto-tune do make the song a little too similar to something you’d expect from a Perfume or ClariS type of group. It really wouldn’t be out of place if I heard it during the opening sequence of an anime. All in all though, it’s a solid song and it’s nice to see that they’re open to trying new things with Kikkawa.

As far as the PV goes, it’s a pretty good example of doing a lot with not very much to work with. I mean, unless I’m mistaken the entirety of the PV was filmed in front of a green screen and all of the fancy mindfuck graphics were edited in during post production. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as long as it’s done right, which it has been in this case.

Again it’s hard to shake the Perfume-ish feel to things as the PV does look like something you’d see come out of Perfume but Kikkawa Yuu does look great dancing in that empty room. This probably isn’t something the average viewer will pick up on but the PV does seem kinda empty but perhaps that’s only because I know the process behind creating something like this.

I mean let’s be realistic here, there isn’t a whole lot going on in the PV so it’s not like I’m going to be giving it a super high score. However what they have done is really nice looking and perfectly serviceable. I think the reason it even works as well as it does is down to Kikkawa Yuu’s personality and stage presence. Lesser performers might struggle to pull a PV like this off.

In summary we have a very decent song, albeit possibly a bit too similar to other J-pop offerings. Coupled with a PV that, depending on your view of things may or may not be doing enough and we have a release that is good although perhaps not living up to its full potential.

PV:

Song:

 

Dae:

Kikkawa Yuu, my favorite UFA soloist. Perhaps my favorite idol soloist ever. Her infectious enthusiasm, catchy melodies and well realized vocals grabbed since ‘Kikkake wa YOU!’, and never let go. Each song was varied and shared a boundless energy that could pick me up, even out of my most glum moods. As a big fan of Kikkawa Yuu’s brand of upbeat fun, ‘Koko Kara Hajimarunda!’ may not have hooks as sharp as her previous releases, but it’s by no means a pushover.

The instrumentals and electronic auto-tune have been introduced with this single and ‘Koko Kara Hajimarunda!’ is a better song because of it; it wouldn’t have the same airy feeling that this song exudes otherwise. Musical acts like Perfume easily come to mind when listening to this song, and while I can confidently say that this would hold up to side by side comparisons, I can’t say it bests them.

Surprisingly, ‘Koko Kara Hajimarunda!’ shows a more benign and maybe a more mature side of Kikkawa Yuu— the moxie and energy of her past singles have been traded in for a more smooth and practiced sound. It doesn’t reach the same peaks as it has before, and instead stays firmly in the middle throughout, which resulted in me being surprised when the song came to its abrupt end. While it’s primed for easy listening and has a catchy enough chorus, I couldn’t help but find myself missing the fire that was in her previous releases.

The PV follows the same ques as the song. It takes place in a sterile white environment with futuristic digital visuals being the dynamic element of it, flush with floaty, multi-dimensional geometric shapes. It’s quite breathtaking when you first see the background shattering its pristine white to reveal a lavish green vista with sweeping skies, but it exposes itself to be a one trick pony as it happens in the same way two more times throughout the PV, and not much else. After eying that background for the full four and a half minutes, I was begging for something new to happen.

Fortunately, Kikkawa’s dance is as lively as they’ve always been, which I really appreciated, and the quick cuts during her choreography shots couple very nicely with the song’s erratic electronic beat. Her white dress with a pink accent worked well visually, though a simple PV like this should have utilized more costumes for variety’s sake.

It’s not one of her best, but her bests are so high that faulting ‘Koko Kara Hajimarunda!’ for not reaching the same heights feel unfair on my part. It’s a solid release with a new direction that pulled off what it wanted to do, and did it well; it just didn’t grab me as I expected a Kikkawa Yuu single would.

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About Dae Lee

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

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2 comments

  1. Speaking of Vocaloid. Universal Music Japan released this video yesterday. Kikkaloid? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z35ZH9uYnCY

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