Impressions: babyraids

Anthony and Garry take a look at the debut offering from Babyraids, a fresh new group with an interesting concept.

Garry:

I’m always looking for interesting new idol groups to follow so I suppose it’s a given that I’d be reviewing this PV from Babyraids. Now, I don’t claim to know anything about the group other than some really basic stuff like the girls’ names, etc so this review is very much going to be at face value. With that said, I’ll get right into it.

We’ll start things off with the song because that’s usually how I do these reviews. What we have is a decently catchy number that is in no way unpleasant to listen to. The song fuses a rockish instrumental track with the more traditional idol vocals, something that we’re starting to see a lot more of these days. Can I see myself getting tired of this formula? Sure, but right now it’s still enjoyable enough that I’m not going to knock songs for using it.

The one major problem that I have with the song is that it’s pretty damn repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting super complex songs from my idol groups but here it feels like the composer wrote half of the song and then just decided to copy and paste it again to fill things out. There’s no real gear change in the song, it just flows along repeating the same lines over and over. Is it still an enjoyable song? Yes, but it needed something more to make it stand out.

I’m always in two minds when it comes to reviewing PVs from groups that are new and obviously don’t have an incredibly high production budget. On the one hand, I feel like I should be scoring such PVs lower so as to be consistent with my other reviews but on the other hand I feel like I have to be slightly more lenient because not everyone is AKB48.

The Babyraids PV obviously doesn’t have a super high production budget. It’s filmed on one point five sets and it’s certainly not the best PV you’ll see all year. However, I think they make a pretty decent PV with the resources available.

The set, I believe is supposed to be a talk show style set (someone can correct me if I’m wrong). Everything is made out of cardboard for some reason (low production budget?) but things become slightly clearer later in the PV, more on that later. Apart from the interesting choice of backdrop, the set is a pretty standard stage setup with lights and all that jazz.

Let’s break things down and talk about the choreography a bit. It’s not the worst I’ve ever seen but it’s not that good either. Sadly the choreography suffers from what I like to call “flailing legs and arms” syndrome. This makes the choreography look messy and overly busy. This is something that I hope doesn’t become a feature of future Babyraids choreography. Another problem is that one of the members (Watanabe Rio, who also happens to be the youngest) is really out of sync with everyone else. Hopefully that also gets sorted out for future releases.

I suppose it would be remiss of me to not talk about the costumes. I like the designs in general, very combat orientated which I suppose fits with the name of the group. I also like that each costume is slightly different in design and not just completely identical. It gives each of the girls a bit more personality I feel. I also really liked the casual clothes that we see the girls wearing in the short cuts that play on the television at the back of the set. I really wouldn’t mind seeing a PV from Babyraids with the members in non-combat outfits.

I’ll close out the review by talking about my favorite part of the PV. About two minutes in, all hell breaks loose and suddenly the member of Babyraids are destroying their cardboard set with cardboard batons. I guess they had to live up to the “raids” part of their name somehow. The whole sequence is just comical and is easily the highlight of the PV for me. I always enjoy it when PVs do fun stuff like this.

In summary, we have a very solid albeit quite average debut release from a group that I’m interested in watching grow.

PV:

Song:

 

Anthony:

The PV for the song, “babyraids” takes place entirely in a studio with a simple background. Considering that this group is new, not much budget was poured in here. It worked fine because the PV has interesting concepts of how the apple shaped TV actually shows the members doing various activities. The concept of “babyraids” is cute girls raiding shit. The girls start destroying cardboard furniture in the latter part of the song. The disappointing part is that destroying cardboard is not that exciting. If the girls are here to fuck shit up, I want them to take the guns out of their holsters and start blasting dudes in the face. The quality of execution of idols and their themes/concepts for groups and PVs are quite underwhelming(excluding Momoiro Clover Z since they tend to overdo which is much better than not doing enough). The last group that disappointed me was BiS and their PV for “PPCC” where they opted to CG an explosion on a thug’s head. Is it just an issue with budget or are producers afraid to take a leap on going all the way with themes and concepts? I would have been fine if the girls just started shattering glass windows punching holes into the background set with metal bats. Is that too much to ask for? Is it to protect the girls? Is it because they want to keep it cheesy? Do they think it’s good enough to just have the girls beat up cardboard with what looks to be a poster box. I am fairly disappointed in the execution of the “raiding” concept that they mention on their website. I wonder if Kikuchi Ami of Idoling!!! has anything to do with this disappointment.

The outfits are fine. They have the sci-fi secret agent feel to them and the gun holsters are a nice touch. If only they took the guns out and shot people, right?

Another thing that is clear about this group is how unimpressive the choreography/dancing is. There are several awkward moments with me where the youngest member at 12, just doesn’t pull off the moves cleanly and it is quite noticeable. Of course, she is only 12 so I give her credit for being a part of this group and trying but the group as a whole needs work as well and choreography is very forgettable. It seems like they’re doing stop and go aerobics rather than dancing during the chorus. They would hop for a second and then stop, then throw their hands in the air for a second and stop. Either the choreography is just bad or the director didn’t do a very good job showing off the dancing.

The song sounds like electro-pop rock you hear a lot in anime theme songs. The song has lots of energy, fit for a shounen anime. Reminds me a lot of Nakagawa Shouko’s “Sorairo Days” for the anime “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann”. The verse has a series of interesting melody and rhythm lines and follows that up with a nice energetic chorus. The verse has some auto-tune use but I believe this is about the perfect overt use of auto-tune without it becoming a full on auto-tune sound that of T-Pain. The chorus has very positive shounen anime feel that reminds me of something like “Mamore” from Idoling!!! but hey, it makes sense, right? Considering that Kikuchi Ami of Idoling!!! helped produce this group.

Overall, this debut effort by babyraids is pretty good. The song is energetic and catchy but the PV is kind of a disappointment from my standpoint of wanting some real raiding going on.

 PV:

Song:

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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