Sunday, 16 October 2016

A 24 Hour Limit in Rome! Houkago Princess find Freedom in 'Himitsu no Tiara to Gelato's' Music Video! (Review!)

With October being the month of dress-up and spooks, I think its about high-time I did a few Halloween themed Music Video Reviews, focusing on the fun and costume heavy PV's that, for me, scream out 'Halloween and Dress Up'.  So, with those very themes in mind, who better to focus on for dress-up than the one and only Houkago Princess, the Idol worlds very own Dress-Up unit of the Fairy Tale variety!

As per the usual, my opinion is just as valid as yours, but of course you do not have to agree to it. These are my own words, and if you do not want them to, they will not hold any weight. That is all.

With a brand new generation to kick-start their second chapter, Houkago Princesses 4th major single - 11th overall - pays homage to the 1953 movie classic, Roman Holiday, whilst also celebrating 4th generation member Kizuki Saori's 25th birthday in style and grace. With so many things going on here, one would hope that the beautifully titled Himitsu no Tiara to Gelato will stand the test of time, much like the movie it is themed after. Of course, that does depend on who is viewing it - will you find it befitting of Audrey Hepburn's masterpiece from the early 50's, or see fault in what it tries to achieve?

With nine beautiful Princesses rushing towards the streets of La Vita to escape their mundane palace lives, will the members of Houkago Princess experience the lives of us mere common folk, and find a 24-hour romance in-between? In this colourful tale of Royalty feigning the life of regular girls, let's become enchanted by the delightful members of HouPri as they embark on their own little adventure, and discover the joys of Japan's very own little slice of Venice!

In a world where both Idols and Princesses can only experience love written in books and shown in movies, are you ready to flee these palace walls and experience what only 24-hours can allow? But, shhh! Let's keep these Royal identities a secret, and enjoy some gelato whilst we're at it!


ARRRRGH! My eyes! Jesus, who turned up the saturation!? It's so blindingly white, again!

Fecking amateurs >->

That hairstyle on Marichu is a no-go, thank you very much. Ah, well.

Also, yay, Marichu! Took you a long time to finally be featured in a PV, didn't it? And even then, you're not given any solo lines, BOO!!!

Goddamnit, Maika, you really do suit purple. Also, such a dream-like pose, it really is as if she's found her true love and is swooning at the thought of them...

Sasarabu: "Some day... my Prince will come...~"

Ah, damn! Did I accidentally stand Sasara up again!? Craaaap!

With how this part (and the song itself) is set up, I'm reminded of one of those music boxes I would have had as a kid, with a ballerina in the middle... Ahhh, nostalgia.

The most Regal of them all! Princess Saorin, looking very Juliet-esque and certainly showing us the poise and grace of a true princes.

... I would bitch and whine about how unjust it is that Sahochi, Himarin and Mayumin have been pretty much shafted here, but, it's a damn sight better than the one-close-up shot Mayukyandi got in her graduation PV. So, yeah, gonna shut the heck up before I blow my lid >->

On another note... SAHOCHI!!! MAYUMIN! My LOOOVES <3

I just love seeing them jump so gracefully xD

But, all hail the half-assery of Odagiri Nana. Could she put in any less effort?

One of my favourite dance moves. It's so catchy, like the rest of the choreography, actually.

I really don't like this hair style on Nana. It makes her look like an angry 40 year old housewife...

Nananyan: "I will shank you with this brolly, you little twit."


We all need some flirty MaiMai in our lives.

Saorin: "Romeo-kun, Romeo-kun, wherefore art thou, Romeo-kun?"

Good grief, now I want to see an updated Juliet, complete with a balcony and Saorin dressed as the lead in question. She would be so darling! ;w;

Good grief, Sasarabu is a gorgeous girl. It's nice to go out of the cutie realm, and have someone else who is more 'beautiful' than adorable.

Thank goodness she can sing, too! But, seriously... SASARABU!!! <3

Sasarabu: "Ganbatte! Let's all find love!"

More Sasarabu for your thoughts, because we all need a little more gorgeous in our hearts, and our lives.

It may not be Rome, but damn, their location finder did a good job picking this place out! I need to go to La Vita in Japan, now!

Okay, no, this is my favourite part!

... The entire choreography is my favourite part >->

I just rather like this pose, plus, a Saorin centre is always appreciated <3

Miran is such a doll, she really is <3 Wish she would move about a bit more, though.

This is so damn cute. Also, Marichu, I see you! Look at that little smile, and those giant ears!

Bouncy, bouncy, wheee!

Also, what the fuck, Nana!? Kick your damn leg properly, don't just keep it one way when you can't be bothered to do it right! You're meant to be a professional, and yet you're the worst one here!

Maika is channelling her inner Donald Trump, and effectively nails her impression of him. But can'ye do the voice, as well!?

MaiMai: "...Fuck you, Chiima. Fuck. You."

Ah, shit, I said the wrong thing! D8

Okay, this is just adorable. The cutest duo in all of HouPri!

Sasarabu: "Some day, when my dreams come true...~"

How is she so perfect!? TELL ME!? ; A;

Look at all those colours! *^* Absolutely gorgeous!

I love how they're positioned, too, it's rather well formed.

Saorin: "Alright, bitch, get outta my way. it's MY time to shine!"

Saorin commanding the MV like the Queen she is and absolutely slaying us all in the process.

MAYUMIN!!!!!!! <3

I am milking every second of Mayumin I can, cause she is precious! Also, damn, Nananyan is looking sassy in the back, there!

That dimpled Mayumin smile is everything <3 My heart, my soul, my life <3 This girl is amazing, and she looks so happy! My baby ;w; <3

Time for the Queen to take centre stage! Watch out, world, our Dancing Queen is finally here!

Let's just grab a cheeky screenshot of our Princess in action, whilst we're at it...

And scene! Really, Saorin is all we need tonight <3

Gimme moar dance solos, though, pls.

Maika: "But, there must be more of me~"

No, we get enough of you, Little Miss Pouty o3o

Three gorgeous girls, shafted to only a few seconds of screen time ); Well, at least I can laud over all of their beauty <3

I really do wonder what's going on in each of their heads this very second...

Maika: "Good grief, I am the best centre~"
Saorin: "Ooooh, a penny! Find a penny, pick it up, all day long Saorin has good luck~!"
Miran: "I could knock 'em all out, I'm sure I could..."
Marichu: "dun dun dun DUN DA-DUN DUN DA-DUN" -hums the Death March theme-
Sasarabu: "Someday, we'll meet again, and away to his castle we shall go...~"
Sahochi: "My fair Himarin, I hath come to save ye!"
Himarin: "Ah, dear Knight Sahochi! I have awaited you for all this time!"
Mayumin: "... Is Saorin eyeing up my penny? No! Tis my penny, Saorin!!!"
Nananyan: "For crying out loud, I've been at the back for 5 seconds, I need to get back to the centre before I melt under all these basic backdrop members!!!"

... Okay, then o3o


And for all your Himari fans...


... Wait, that's it? That's the grand reveal? The Live Reveal had more anticipation and grandeur than this, for crying out loud! D8<



Also, nice little homage to the gown used in the opening of Roman Holiday. It's a bit... grey, but still quite pretty!

Oh Happy Days for panning shots! Too bad someone cranked the fucking saturation up and ruined what would have been a gorgeous scene.

Okay, I can see all their faces. BONUS!!! <3

Mayumin and Sahochi are goddesses in this scene <3 Also, fave dance moves. All the Choreography love!

These girls make me so happy ;w; <3 I love them all so much <3

And so, with their 24 hours out in Japan's own Little Venice, our Princesses returned to their palace, the freedom they had enjoyed forever embedded into their memories...



Now because I'm all about honesty and not pulling the wool over my own eyes, I admit that when I first watched this music video, I was not that impressed. With how simple yet pretty Junpaku Antoinette was, as well as how gorgeous yet movie-like Seishun Mermaid had been, my expectations for Himitsu no Tiara to Gelato were heightened. Then, when the live performance was released, I was even more excited for what was to come... only to find that, really, it was not all that great as a PV, and that for me, the Live Performance was a lot greater, not only in what it offered visually, but also in its sound. This song is amazing live, and in comparison, the studio recording is weak, especially when it comes to both Nana and Sasara, who are a lot more powerful live (I know, it's surprising, considering how shit Nana sounds here, right?).

Well, with that said, the Music Video is a lot more enjoyable the more I watch it. Do I think it's good? Yes, I do, but I also don't think it's great, either. It's a far cry from the terrible lighting and effects of Kiete, Shirayukihime, but it's also not as polished or cinematic as the treasure that was Seishun Mermaid, so it falls somewhere in the middle. If anything, it won't win any Chiima Points for the end of year Music Video awards - it's pretty, but that's it, basically. There is no 'wow' factor here.

Aside from being just 'pretty', though, this is a decent video. It has some nice scenes, and the transitions throughout each scene are smooth. The camera pans and angles used are well done, and the locations are to die for. If anything, you can at least appreciate the thought put into where to shoot any HouPri video under the Universal label, because there is so much effort put into each place. Here, the music video was shot in both La Vita for the 'walking' and 'cafe' scenes, and the Tokyo National Museum was used for most of the interior and choreography, and both locations are gorgeous, as well as fitting of the setting that is a 'slice of Rome', if you will.

Another aspect that is sure to please all are the costumes, because really, HouPri seem to only improve in everything they wear with each new release. This time, we see a complete transformation from everyday to princess, with the actual dress turning into their princess attire, and honestly, I was amazed when I saw it happen in the live performance, which made it a lot less appealing and a little more disappointing when I watched how it was applied in the Music Video. Still, the costumes are great, and I love how they incorporated colour into the 'regular' clothes, whilst also keeping that theme of black and white in their shirts. The use of the neckerchiefs is adorable, too, whilst still keeping in line with the film this song is based on.

Also, those hair styles, whilst they do not suit everyone (Marichu, Nananyan, I am looking at you) are pretty damn spot on, without having to chop off anyone's long locks! Nicely done!

The choreography, too, is absolutely wonderful. Though it might not be the most intricate of creations, it is still fun and energetic, as well as befitting of the song itself. It's highly catchy, too, with a lot of easy but memorable moves that I have played out myself simply because I enjoy them that much. It's a quirky little jig, and definitely one to watch out for if you like simple but cute dance moves with fun results!

... Looking back at all that has been said so far, you would think I'm in love with this PV. I mean, I enjoy it, but... no. No I do not love it, and I'm going to give you a few reasons as to why, because it's all about balance in these reviews, and holy shit, there is quite a bit wrong with this video.

Firstly, whilst HouPri have improved themselves in terms of timing, there is the big issue that is Odagiri Nana as a dancer; in this music video especially, it is damn obvious that, of them all, she is sloppy. Her timing is off, either being too fast for the others, or too slow (sometimes, both in the same scenes), and that's really bad, considering she's the longest serving member, therefore the 'most' professional by default. Universal need to knock this on the head, or just let her graduate. Either would work because, seriously, she's slowing the group down and making them look like amateurs.

In terms of the video itself, one of the biggest issues I have with it - and this is something I have pointed out for both Kiete, Shirayukihime and C-ute's Mugen Climax - is the use of lighting and saturation throughout. It's an eye-sore, and whilst it may brighten the scene, it also blinds you and seems quite off-putting for me as a viewer. That much light / saturation is not needed, I mean, what's going on? Is the white balance broken, or are Universal just offended by shadows right now? Who freaking knows, but honestly, it sucks. Because of this, the video looks infinitely less appealing, and continues to hurt my eyes. Pass!

It is pretty basic. It's not Lazy-Hello! Project basic, but HouPri basic, I guess. It is nothing new, it does not stand out in any way, and whilst it has some lovely shots throughout, it does not offer anything new, and is probably a bit of a step down from what I would have hoped for. In its own way, it is a gorgeous piece, but parts of it have been poorly executed.

In short, Himitsu no Tiara to Gelato is a charming music video, despite its faults. The presence and charisma of the members is wonderful, and even when some do not get as much screen time as others, you can see the enjoyment they have, and feel their happiness throughout. It's a cute little piece, and a nice tribute to the masterpiece that is Roman Holiday, but in no way is Himitsu no Tiara to Gelato a masterpiece itself; it's nothing more than a somewhat decent homage, that leaves a lot to be desired.

And now, with my own thoughts shared, what did you all think of HouPri's journey through the streets of Rome, attempting to enjoy the life of an ordinary girl in 24 hours? Did you feel their need for freedom, and experience with them a carefree journey of joy and normalcy? Or did you endure something else? Please let us know and share your thoughts!

If you were a Princess and could run away for 24 hours, would you take the chance and travel a city? With such a short amount of time, you should try and do as much as possible, and make some memories!

Until next time, everyone. Please take care, and enjoy your Idols!

Much Love and Cheer,

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