I’ll be frank; I had my doubts about NMB48. Lots of doubts. Every new 48 group being announced felt like another sucker-punch to the chest. Doesn’t Akimoto feel himself overreaching, like butter scraped over too much bread? Doesn’t he know how Rome fell? Regardless of how I feel, NMB’s debut single, ‘Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo’, is a rock solid release.
The song is surprisingly strong-willed, leaving behind the jovial tunes one would usually expect from a debut song. I found the melody to be a pretty smart blend of feel-good and melancholy, which is then combined with flirtatious instrumentals to create a rather intoxicating release that lingers in your head long after you hear it.
The PV is also impressive for a debut. The lengthy and elaborate intro accompanied by the strums of a Japanese lute already shows that it means business. Dance scenes are intertwined with members practicing traditional crafts such as archery, ink brushing, and martial arts. Japanese sliding doors are a motif throughout the PV, and is particularly effective at revealing the final act, when the members undergo a surprising costume change. While the set and outfits seemed very plain in the beginning, smart editing was able to keep it from dampening the experience. The editing is very well done, considering how many scenes are being juggled at once.
While I’m never ready for more 48 groups, I can’t say they didn’t knock it out of the park with this one. It’s also been reflected in its astounding first week sales, selling over 200 thousand copies; it’s got to be the most successful first week for any debuting group I’ve ever witnessed. The song, the members, the PV— Everything just fell perfectly into place with ‘Kurokami Shoujo’. So there it is: another ’48’ group putting out another gem into the idol-sphere, and I’m anxiously anticipating their next entry.