[Review] AKB48 – Labrador Retriever


(NSK trainee Quiana gives her impressions on the latest song and PV from AKB48; “Labrador Retriever”.)

So when I first heard “Labrador Retriever”, I thought the concept of the song (“French pop”) was a good idea. I liked the quick orchestral parts of the song as well as the beat, and since “Labrador Retriever” is this year’s election single I expected the PV to be pretty much like the old election single PVs – lots of shots of the girls enjoying themselves (“Manatsu no Sounds Good!” is an exception). But what really happened? How did I, a young idol fan, react? Did Watanabe Mayu really turn into a dog? Read on to find out…

labretscreen1This lady is pouring dog food for a really long time.


labretscreen2The dance is really cute. I like the bikinis too; they’re a lot simpler than “Sayonara Crawl’s”, but still look nice.


labretscreen3I don’t know if this oshiri shot was really all that necessary…


labretscreen4The girls look like they’re eating food that the school cafeteria sells during lunch.


labretscreen5I’m beginning to get the gist of this PV. From the making-of footage that I’ve seen, it looks like they’re just doing a bunch of “fun” shots and putting them all together. Works every time. (I wonder how long it took to bury Takahashi Minami.)


labretscreen6Poor Tashima Meru. The little animated drawings on the side during this scene look nice though.


labretscreen7The little head movement during the chorus when the girls sing “namiuchigiwa e” is SUPER cute. This PV is channeling cute, and not in a bad way at all.


labretscreen8I just noticed that Shimazaki Haruka’s dancing here is either really stiff or she’s working hard. It’s a nice change from her sort of semi-effortless dance.


labretscreen9The hearts drawn here look pretty tacky, like early 2000s birthday cards. It doesn’t go as well with the little animated motifs drawn in during the rest of the PV (see 1:23 when Meru gets sprayed with water).


labretscreen10She stopped pouring the dog food! (Even after watching the full PV, I’m still not sure why Mayu is printed on the bag.)


labretscreen11I’m finally understanding the plotline here. It’s actually pretty good. Did Mayu turn into a dog? Did she eat the dog food and then turn into a dog? Did the dog and Mayu become one?


labretscreen12Conga line!


labretscreen13I don’t know if it’s healthy for dogs to eat ice cream.


labretscreen14This scene was so good that I just had to save a screenshot.


labretscreen15Oh my.


labretscreen16Ohhh my.

labretscreen17The face that Matsui Jurina makes here was a little weird at first. Then I realized that it was probably supposed to be imitating the confused look that some dogs have.


labretscreen18They’re all dogs! What? That’s cool! But how would the rest of the PV be explained?


labretscreen19I like how the girls are imitating dogs. It makes the PV storyline really add up (somehow).


labretscreen20The paw-in-hand thing that Paruru does is cute.


labretscreen21Ichikawa Miori is running really fast and I’m not sure why (She’s being chased by a dog -GM), but it adds some comic relief.


labretscreen22Was it all a dream? That’s pretty cliché, but then again AKB PVs aren’t always about detailed plot.


labretscreen23No joke, I started laughing really hard and couldn’t stop. I was so entertained in fact, that I sent the clip to all of my friends without context. (Though this part really made me think about the storyline – did Mayu and the dog switch places in their sleep? Did the food that the dog ate make them switch? That would explain why the dog running around Guam or wherever they were was wearing Mayu’s necklace.)

Overall, the PV was pretty nice. The color palette was pleasant, and the little animated drawings scattered here and there added some nice sparkle. The choreography was good, scenes were shot well…I didn’t see too many fanservice shots, but there was still some here and there. I wonder how the PV crew got all of the dogs together though. It would have been pretty cool if they had collected all of the members’ dogs and used those dogs for the PV. (Or did they? I can’t differentiate dogs, and I actually don’t like dogs at all…)

What are your thoughts on “Labrador Retriever”? Leave your comments about the song, PV or both down below!

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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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