All thoughts and opinions regarding the group and the release shown here are completely my own and no one else's. You don't need to agree with what is said here, nor should you hold the same opinion as me. Think your own thoughts, feel your own feelings! That is what makes us individual as Idol fans!
It feels like a decade or so since I last did something review worthy! I mean granted, I've been busy with class and work and my own life, so Idols really have taken a backseat as of late, but that doesn't mean I don't want to review them at all! I do, because I still love Idols, but life's important too, it will take priority.
... Either way, I still love Idols, my time with them nowadays is just a tad limited when it comes to blogging about them here or anywhere else online. I'm trying to balance it all, however!
Anyways, it's about high time I actually wrote a review, because damn, I've been writing one too manyy Idol News posts lately! Let's get some positivity back, aye?
Back on October 28th, Houkago Princess released their long-awaited major single, Kiete, Shirayukihime, a song that would revolve around the Snow White fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm anthology of folk lore. It's a classic fairy tale, one where the Evil Queen wants to get rid of her step-daughter due to the threat of her beauty, only to be thwarted each time she tries to off her by the dwarves or the dislodging of the apple in her throat. It's a tale we all know, and one that I rather anticipated in terms of seeing how HouPri would go about it.
And in terms of the lyrics and what they mean, I actually really like how HouPri's management and lyricist have gone about this! Also, I like the PV too, but why wouldn't I? It's HouPri, and I am a sucker for them, like H!P fans are suckers for H!P, and AKB fans are suckers for AKB.
Moral of the story; we're all suckers for the groups we love and adore!
So yeah, I like what I have been given as a HouPri fan, but rather than me spiel on about it right here, how about I show you some lovely little pictures from the wonderful video itself? That way, y'all can totally judge for yourself whether it's worth the watch or not, eh?
So, without further ado, let's once again head off into the magical land of Houkago Princess and their new fairy tale re-imagining, Kiete, Shirayukihime! Will you follow the path of Snow White, or the Evil Queen? It's up to you...
Mirror Mirrow on the Wall, who is the Fairest of them all? Tell me truly, or I shall become unruly...~
Is that tea? Y'all know that if there's tea, us Brits get excited. I mean... TEA!!!!
... Wait, I don't even like tea! o-O
Nananyan: "Mirror Mirror in my hand, whom is Chiima's Oshi within this band?"
Awwww shit, Nana's gone Evil Queen on us all and is set to kill off all our oshi's o3o
... Wait, Nana, why are you asking for MY Oshi!? o-O
Hot damn that's a pretty mirror! I want it! owo
Random fact time: I actually own a lot of mirrors XD
Okay, what in all Holy Hell is this shit someone called editing? o3o Get that ugly-ass border away from me!!! -hiss!-
Now that's better, even if it's still somewhat there.
The Resting Bitch Face is strong in these girls, young ones o3o
Smug Nana is best Nana, tbh XD Look at that face, y'all know she'll shoot you down with her stare if you don't Oshi her soon!
Holy shit, Saorin, can that leg get any higher!? o-O
... And then there's Nana, happily half-arsing it XD Wonderful~
Maika: "Mirror Mirror in my hand, who has the best voice in Japan?"
You, Maika, you have the best voice in Japan! Well... in HouPri, at least XD
... Wait, are these girls all gossiping about one another!? Now, that's not nice, girls! Y'all are meant to be friends, not enemies!
And then there's Saorin, happily primping and preening at herself in the mirror, loving only her looks. Don't worry though Saorin, I'd look at you all day, too <3
Seriously though, it feels like they're all a bit bitchy or vain in this XD Gossiping about your peers ain't nice, girlies!
... Aw shit, things are gonna get real real fast no, yo o3o
Nananyan: "If you don't Oshi me then I promise you this Chiima; one of those apples will go down the throat of your pretty little favourite, lodge itself there, and kill her off so that only I can become your beloved!"
... Ahhh, crud muffins o3o
Oooh, it's just like a tea party!
A tea party of very gossipy Snow White's XD Does not really compute, aye?
Miran, stop gossiping to Maika about how Nana will never be my Oshi, k? It's not nice >o>
Nananyan: "Mufufufu, talk about me all you want, ladies. You'll get yours soon..."
Seriously, Nana's super smug in this, and I love it XD That paired with her evil collar of lace really gives her a cruel edge, in my opinion. I love it! *^*
... Still not oshi'ing her, however~
Mayukyandi: "Ohoho, dear, you'll never become Chiima's Oshi!"
OOOOH, BURN! 1 point to Mayukyandi, who totally stole this scene, by the way!
... Nana, please don't tell me there's poison in that tea >o> Seriously, please.
Oooh, shiny mirror! *^* YOINK!!!!
Nananyan: "Mirror Mirror in my hand, who will be the next to leave this band?"
NO NANA, NO! NO ONE WILL GRADUATE D8< You're all perfect as you is now ;w;
Maika: "Mirror Mirror encased in Gold, how many single copies have we sold?"
I think it's around the 14,921 area, Maika my sweet o3o Still not AKB sales, but ehhh, who cares!?
... Wait, what? Girls, NO!!!! DON'T EAT THE APPLES!!!
Maika: "It looks so... so beautiful and... yummy..."
Maika, stahp! MAIKA DON'T YOU DARE!!!
Ah fuck, Mayukyandi down!!!
What a beautiful scene, though! Very dramatic!
... Welp, they're all dead. Looks like Nana's the sole surviving member of HouPri now! Onto her solo career!
They didn't even eat the apples though, they just smelled them. How weak these Snow White's are >o>
Nananyan: "... Oh fuck, what did I do this time?"
Hey, you were the one who wanted to get rid of everyone's Oshi's! Especially mine!!!
... Well, Nana finally got her wish! Except she kinda got rid of my Oshi and the rest of the members!
Bye bye, HouPri!
Damn, look at them sway!
Also fave part of this dance: How these girls just roll their hands over the apples as if they're a magic potion they want to cast a spell on! Clever choreography!
Mayukyandi looks super tired with this high amount of lighting. Seriously, it's not flattering at all, and Universal need to stahp!
Put them apples back on the tree, girls! We don't want no poison in our damn fruit!
MY BABY <3
Seriously though the amount of Miran solo shots in this is HIIIIIGH and I'm LURVING IT!!! >8D <3
This scene plays out like the girls in the back are giving the girls in the front the apples, but fronties are all like 'Naaah thanks, that shits gonna kill me, lol'
And it will, cause APPLES ARE EVIL D8< Why do y'all think it's called the forbidden fuckin' fruit in LE BIBLE!?
This dance move is just so beautiful and powerful-looking and I love it <3 Gaaah!
Yeah, Nana, this is what happens when you call upon the forces of evil and try to get rid of my Oshi! You end up screwing up the whole band, and making them disappear!
Nananyan: "... Oh, fiddlesticks!"
Not worth it, was it?
Gaaah, Saorin! <3 You light up my screen with your paper white face and bright red apple <3
Reach up for the stars!!!!
Every British 90's kid, please put your hands up in the air of y'all know this song reference! XD
MIHOTAN!!! OMFG, you still exist, good! I thought I had lost you in the sea of white washed solo's ;w;
Actually... Where are your solo shots? >o> Urgh, please don't say Nana erased them just to get one up on me for Oshi'ing you! ;w;
... Wait, so they didn't die!? They just so happened to disappear and then reappear in different parts of a mansion? Is that it!?
Mayukyandi: "... Where in the Hell am I and why am I with her!?"
Now now, Maika's not that bad!
Say whaaat, did the mirror teleport with them? I want one!
Maika, this is no time to be looking at your reflection! You're in a serious situation here that you kinda need to get out of!
Wait, are they trapped in the mirror!? Aw damn, son, now there's no escape!
Also, weak acting on Nana's part there XD
Ooooh, three beauties together! Sadly we're missing my #1, but others, three of my Top 4 are here! YAY!!!! <3
Extreme close-up is fucking extreme o3o No, camera-san, no.
I love Miran, but this is waaay too close for comfort, seriously XD
Oh look, another Mirror! So many of these damn things lying around, I swear!
Saorin: "... I'm not the fairest!?"
Oh fiddlesticks, Saorin's finally realised she's not the #1 in my books. Oops :<
That fucking light on their faces, though. Seriously, it makes Maika look scarier when she does her toothy grin.
MIRAN!!!! Glad to see you, even if you look unnaturally pale as heck.
Seriously, can we turn the lights down here!? PLEASE!!!!
Maika: "Kiss the apple, Snow White. You know you want to~"
I am totally not convinced that I should eat that apple, Maika. Sorry xD
Saorin: "Ohohoho, don't you want a little apple, my sweet? It will keep you as youthful as me!"
Saorin definitely has a better pitch for eating the cursed apple, if you ask me. Then again, I'm a sucker for Saorin and would probably walk over hot coals in iron shoes for her!
Seriously though, I love her wake up scene. So stinkin' cute <3
That face, though xD Yes, Mihotan, you're stuck in the mirror. Sorry 'bout that!
Just so happens Nana has a grudge against me for Oshi'ing you, but worry not, I shall save you!
Can someone please just fire whoever thought it would be good to use this cheap-ass border? I mean seriously, it's one ugly distraction that is unnecessary and just makes this whole MV look tacky as heck Dx
Channeling your inner Evil Queen I see, Maika my dear~
Holy shit, a wild Sahochi appears! Quick, push the Nana Queen out of the way and catch her!!!
Maika, basically being a QUEEN and Diva'ing this part UP!!!!
All Hail Queen Maika of HouPri!!!!
De-throning Nana in style and sass.
Also, look at Miran and Saorin in the background <3 It's like Charlie's Angels, but the Princess versions.
Maika: "... Fuck, we're trapped in this mirror! That's not what I wanted!!!"
Well, y'all better get crackin' and run, then! GO, MAIKA, GO!!!
TBH I do love how much screen time Maika shines in, cause whilst she hogs a good chunk of it, she makes every moment matter and totally owns it all! Seriously, stage presence: Over 9000!
Seriously, look at how much she loves this! Literally eating the scene up and making it hers!
Hey, a wild Himarin appears, and much like the others, she is subject to looking like a tired, ill ghost-like being thanks to her pale-ass face due to shitty fucking lighting.
... I have a serious issue with this lighting, okay!?
Nananyan: "Shhhh, this lighting is 'professional' you buffoon, I mean come on! It's Universal! Nothing but professionals!"
I don't even know if Universal have creative control tbh, I think they just give the HouPri staff the money and the right to sell under their name.
Seriously though, HouPri have been around 4 years now, and this is the worst lighting I've seen yet! Up your game, Staff-san!
Maika is totally taking that camera for all it's worth, isn't she? XD
I do love it, though, she makes it so fun to watch!
Seriously, even if Mihotan doesn't get the screentime I want her to, at least Miran's hogging some camera time! Makes me a happy Chiima, you know?
Plus, she looks totes gorgeous, am I right!?
... Wait, what!? It's... it's going back?
Maika: "Let's do the Time Warp... again!"
Sahoch: "Hiii guys, I'm still here!"
SAHOCHIII *^* Nice to see they've given you a little screentime, aside from that one other time I saw you, y'know o3o
Seriously though, where be your solo shots!?
Gif'ing for the sake of face slaps, kisses, Miran and Sahochii <3
Also this just seems to be a fun scene <3
Nananyan: "Next time you don't Oshi me... well, I'll probably prick them with a spindle, and then they will DIE!!!"
... If the next single actually does happen to be Sleeping Beauty inspired, then I'm calling it now!!!
I actually think I've screencapped almost all of her solo scenes, not gonna lie XD
Maika is a babe in this, though. She definitely has the most presence and star quality in this group, and yeah, she shines bright like a freakin' diamond!
Himarin: "Want an apple, Sahochi? It's not poisonous!"
Sahochi: "... Yeah, no thanks, got one already."
Mayukyandi: "If you don't eat this juicy apple, then I'll just have to eat your soul~"
... Oh Gawd, which ones worse!? Dying via poisoned apple, or having my soul eaten by Mayukyandi!?
Nananyan: "In the end, it's your choice. Oshi me, or lose a life and an Oshi. Time to make your mind up, Chiima."
... I'd rather not have either of those, thanks, so I choose option C....
TURN BACK TIME!!!!
MUAHAHAHA, it's working!!! The apples are no longer in effect!!! >8D
And now, Nana shall never remember that she has threatened to prick my Oshi with the spindle of a spinning wheel, nor will she recall her threats of killing me or having Mayukyandi eat my soul...
... And now we're finished!
Okay, okay, so I admit it; I've been ignoring Idol PV's these past two months. I mean, I've been busy, so of course during both September and October, my Idol watching has waned due to focusing on more important things in life such as work and my classes. It's what happens, and whilst I don't completely neglect the Idol world (I do listen to the music, still!), I do completely neglect the releases from the previous two months,
... Well, that is all releases all but ONE!!!
Seriously, when do I not anticipate a Houkago Princess release? I've been following them since their beginnings in this wide and rather diverse Idol Kingdom, plus they're my favourite group, so of course my following of them would continue even when my own personal life gets busy. It's the way of the fan, and I ain't giving that up for anything, ya hear!?
So yeah, this single and MV was highly anticipated on my part, and whilst I don't think of it as a strong single or even one of their best, it still has its merits, and of course, it still appeals to me greatly as both a HouPri and Fairy tale fan.
Now honestly speaking, Kiete, Shirayukihime is not the most memorable song to come out of the HouPri track list, though it is one of their more mature, tense tracks that we rarely hear from the group. Actually, it's on par with both Manatsu no Yoru no Yume and PURE HEART when it comes to how it sounds, creating a solid atmosphere that is both intense and sophisticated, whilst still keeping a magical, fun element of tone in there as well to tie in to that fairy tale element.
Other than its sound though, the fascinating aspect of Kiete, Shirayukihime has to be the meaning behind the lyrics. When a friend of mine looked them up, they explained that the song is actually about the Evil Queen, not Snow White, and her feelings towards the heroine we have all come to know from Disney and our bedtime stories. I was surprised, but it made me happy to know this, because it's a different direction, and it definitely gives us as the listeners a chance to hear a side of the story we may not have known.
Basically, it's a song about the Queen's jealousy of Snow White, and how she wishes for her to disappear so that she herself can be happy and fall in love, too. It's rather bittersweet, but it certainly fits the theme of Snow White perfectly, though really, it wasn't the sort of song I imagined HouPri singing. I mean... come on! I totally saw them on the side of Snow White, not the Evil Queen!
That said, this is what makes the song a little bit better in my books!
That all said and done, whilst I may not find it as memorable as Seifuku Cinderella or Baka da ne, I do think that Kiete, Shirayukihime is a catchy, powerful song that certainly has its strength, especially when it comes to the lyrics and singing. Still though, once I've played another song or watched a film, this one is completely lost on me until I play it again. Not so great, but eh, what can ya do?
The MV, on the other hand, is rather memorable and fun to watch. Whilst still lacking in plot and drive, I have to say, I commend the management and staff for actually having a small plot this time around, because damn, Seifuku Cinderella certainly didn't! Minimal or not though, the story is still present, and it is an enjoyable watch.
In regards to the story we see play out here, it seems that the Snow White's, all played by HouPri in this, are more or less a bunch of jealous, gossiping, vain princesses who talk about one another, primp and preen and put up a front during a tea party together, until it just so happens that one of them, played by Nana, wishes them away by asking a magical mirror who the fairest one of them all is. And so the other girls all take an apple, only to be put to sleep by its poison, before they all disappear inside the mirror, leaving Nana as the one and only Princess, the Fairest of them All. From there the girls need to work together to try and get everyone back in one place, resulting in their efforts turning back the clock and thus reversing the magic that was cast upon them all.
... At least, that's the story I've spun from it. The video is of course open to interpretation, but what I saw, I enjoyed. I liked the use of time lapse, the location which was perfect for the setting, the choreography, and of course, the girls themselves. I loved the use of the mirror and apples too, with one of my favourite scenes being the dramatic falling of the apple from a Princesses hand. In many ways, this is actually one of HouPri's best filmed videos, but also, one of their worst. It's half and half, really.
Okay, so by the best, I do mean the direction of the filming and the plot. I think that whoever filmed this, they really knew what they were doing when creating dramatic and beautiful imagery that sticks in your mind. The scenes with the apple and the panning shots are absolutely stunning here, and the editing is beautifully synchronized with the music. The use of slow motion and depth of field is great, and heck, even the lens flare is used nicely here! It doesn't distract, but also happens to add some depth to the music video, giving it a 'sparkling' effect, if you will. In my mind, this is some of HouPri's sleekest editing.
And then there's the other side of the direction and editing that kills how beautiful this PV could be.
Of all the HouPri MV's that I have watched, Kiete, Shirayukihime is the one that holds the crown for the worst use of lighting and tacky editing, and yes, that does really kill the mood and feel of a video for me. I mean, when the girls look like ill, tired ghosts in their solo shots, but healthy glowing girls during the group scenes, then there is an issue. I mean, continuity happens, but gosh darnit, the different between the girls solo and them in their groups is absolutely mind-boggling! I swear, whoever did their lighting needs to be fired, because it's way too bright, and it hurts my eyes!
And let's not get started on that tacky-ass border for the dance portion of the video! Like, seriously? It's horrible! It doesn't add anything in terms of aesthetics towards the PV, and it only happens to distract from the choreography which, mind, I rather like. It's ugly, sticks out and does not fit at all. Hell, it just looks like a badly photoshopped frame, which it probably was, except they forgot to hire a professional to do it, it's so choppy!
Two small things like lighting and a crappy border are big things for me as a viewer, and they do decrease the overall quality of the video. That said, what they did right really shines through, and you can see how much better HouPri's videos have become since their indies days. It just so happens that the staff need to learn how to take two steps forward in editing without taking about five steps back, is all.
Well, aside from these big-little issues, I do think the PV is nicely done and, on the whole, rather well thought out. The girls fit into it perfectly, playing the roles of rather narcissistic princesses quite nicely, especially Maika and Saori. The choreography displayed is sharp and uniformed, fitting the music surprisingly well despite how stiff and boisterous it feels, and girls like Saori and Miran really shine here as dance centers.
It's also enjoyable to see these girls cast away that sweet, innocent vibe we know them all for, only to play as someone that is a little more insincere. HouPri have come a long way, and there is great improvement shown here in their camera presence, choreography and unity. I love the serious tone they have created, and I enjoy how sharp and present they have become since major debuting. It's great!
So yeah, this is a pretty nice music video to watch, but one that has its downfalls that really take away from its beauty and grace. I like both song and visuals for Kiete, Shirayukihime, however the video is my favourite of the two due to how memorable and well done it is at certain points. It has nice cinematography, great imagery, and fits the overall tone of the song whilst still displaying the ever growing strength of HouPri as a group, and continuously showing off their ever-growing unity.
It's good, but it's not the best, though what I have said really shouldn't stop you from sinking your teeth into this apple and taking a bite.
So, little Miss Snow White, are you ready to taste the blood red apple? It won't poison you... promise~
Until next time my sweets, please stay happy, healthy and, of course, in love with all things Idols.