This Major Debut Review was requested by an Anonymous reader and commenter! This one is for you, so please, enjoy~
I am not keeping up with the current lineup of Hello! Pro newbies. Heck, I'm having a hard enough time remembering that Juice=Juice are still around, so... yeah, me and H!P are still on rocky terms. MM are getting appealing again, C-ute are going soon (sniffsniff), Country Girls are fine so far, and Juice=Juice are forgettable. I'm still not interested in what Kobushi have to offer of the two Factory productions, and Tsubaki...
Well, Tsubaki has potential.
From the get-go, I was a little more interested in this group than Kobushi. They're a lot less polished, the girls are not immediate stars, and they were still finding their sound. Unlike Kobushi, who were thrown a bone right away because of their gem encrusted lineup, Tsubaki actually had some time to season and find their footing in concerts and sound, which is what I like to see in a newly produced group. So of course, they are sitting well with me, already.
I get sour when groups aren't given time to grow. It happened with Juice=Juice, and look at where they stand with me, now; I forget they bloody exist.
Moving on... Tsubaki intrigue me. I like the look of the lineup. I liked how bored a few of them looked in their early videos. I was intrigued by their mature sound, and how well it suited them in their testing period. Also, they are all darned cute. Yumeno is especially eye catching, Asakura Kiki is a very deserving centre with a shark-like smile that rivals Ishida Ayumi's,and Niinuma Kisora is seriously calling to me. She's a refreshing little bud of joy.
I don't know all of the members yet, but some I can definitely pin-point, with the above three being the ones I like most, and then the Knock-off Yanagawa Nanami kid (Akiyama Mao), and Budget Hamaura Ayano (Ogata Risa). The rest, I am currently unsure of, but I'm sure I'll learn their names... eventually.
One step ahead of Kobushi, that's for sure! I think the minor interest helps, too~
Hopefully after taking in their major debut and digesting it a little, I'll be able to figure out whether or not I want to keep up with them. So, that's what I will do today. We're going to give the latest Hello! Pro group a try, and see just how much they tickle my taste buds! Will these sweet Camellia's keep up with my interests, or fall as flat as the Kobushi lot have in charisma, style and vocals?
It's time to test the Major Debut! Are you ready to try the first in a line of up-coming beautiful major releases? Plug in your headphones, and give it a go! Music START~!
Hatsukoi Sunrise / Just Try! / Uruwashi no Camellia
Release Date: February 22nd, 2017
1. Hatsukoi Sunrise
2. Just Try!
3. Uruwashi no Camellia
4. Hatsukoi Sunrise (Instrumental ver.)
5. Just Try! (Instrumental ver.)
6. Uruwashi no Camellia (Instrumental ver.)
Hatsukoi Sunrise / Just Try! / Uruwashi no Camellia
1. Hatsukoi Sunrise
OI had my reservations about this song. First of all, it sounds like a MoMusu x Berryz reject, sitting in the archives gathering dust, wishing it could be used. Secondly, I was really unsure about whether this would work for the group, because... well, it's a sound that never worked for MoMusu themselves, or Berryz, to a degree. So, why would it work for such a fresh looking group?
Turns out, it does. Holy shit, it really does! This type of pseudo-techno feat. EDM sound really suits the group, giving them an insane boost that they didn't even need. Their vocals work with it perfectly, the way they portray themselves in sound and image is powerful and emotive, and I swear, I can feel the joy and energy they bring to this song. It's a perfect match-up, and the exact opposite of what I would have given this charming group. Colour me freakin' surprised!
And hey, let's just go ahead and mention the ideo, whilst we're at it; if it wasn't enough for H!P to actually give the group a damn awesome song, they also managed to kill the Music Video. The effects, the motion, transitions, flow and pace is absolutely spot on. The camera work is flawless, the member solos are perfection, and everyone fits. The new members, who were thrown right into the crossfire just before the debut happened, are already fitting like a glove with the previous members. Their chemistry is flawless, guys, and they all feel so... polished.
This is a far cry from their indies days, and it shows just how ready they were to debut after being in the production process for a while. I don't think they could have had a better starting point for this major debut single, because, holy crap, Hatsukoi Sunrise is really freakin' good. Heck, for many, this is probably perfect. It's anall-around good song, with a catchy tune and an infectious sound.
Given its origins as a techno x EDM piece, I honestly thought I would hate this. Turns out, when you give the right song to the right group, and actually put effort into the track, it will transcend even my dislike of the sound. Well done, H!P. Y'all didn't fuck up, this time. Slow. Clap.
2. Just Try!
... Oh, H!P. You were doing so well. Where you prevailed with Hatsukoi Sunrise, you dun fucked up here. Then again, there has to be at least one dud in the single release, right?
But... why this piece o' shit? Just Why?
Okay, this isn't a...bad song, per say. I mean, it's not my cup of tea, and I know it might please some, but wow, H!P didn't try with this one at all, did they? If anything, this track title is counteractive of what the song is about, because in tune and style, the composer did not try.
... It's a Tsunku song, isn't it? No. Fuckin'. Wonder. =_=
Okay, here are my issues with it, before I log out and bitch slap this song out of my system permanently: The verse is flat. The pace is unappealing and bland. The song is awkward in sound. Some members aren't trying. It feels like S/mileage circa Mystery Night levels of Nope. Also, it's flat as fuck, and just does nothing for the members' vocals or energy that I so desire, right now. It puts me right to sleep, and just makes me wonder what Tsunku was drinking to have him come up with this tripe.
That said, I do want to praise Kiki's desirable energy and effort here. She does look invested, and like she adores every moment of this. She is an inspiration, this girl, and so damn sweet. No wonder we all love her. Also, there are parts of the song I like, the bit just before the chorus, and I do like how the members are channelling their inner Berryz. The video is good, too! I mean, it's no Hatsukoi Sunrise, but, it's decent. I love the rooftop scenes especially, but let's be honest; this is a cheap track, and it was just filler.
Shoulda cut it and left it for dead, if you ask me.
3. Uruwashi no Camellia
This was the second song released publicly online, I believe, but the third and final on the actual track list. I can see why, now; they wanted to lull us all into a sense of false security, before bringing out Just Why?, because heck, Uruwashi no Camellia is a charming piece of fluff! It's cute, sweet in sound, and everything Tsubaki Factory seems to embody! I really can't get over just how freakin' adorable this group is, and how flexible they are in both cool and cute! Well done, Tsubaki!
Sadly, Uruwashi no Camellia is a short song, and it really does go fast when listening to it. Luckily, it has lasting power in its sound and feel, and like Htasukoi Sunrise, it has great playback ability. I could easily loop these two songs all day, and never get sick of them. It's such a charming, enjoyable piece, and I am really glad this type of song was included in the groups major debut! From their leading indies tracks, I've not seen them go the cutesy route sound-wise, so, this is a nice surprise, and it brings the single a nice balance.
As a music video, I really can't help but find Uruwashi no Camellia charming and authentic. It's such a classic sound and look for an Idol song, and shows off a sweet, fun side to the group we've not experienced thanks to all these cool looks and tunes. Finally, we get to see bright and innocent smiles, and experience a refreshing video that is bright and bubbly. It's so darned cute, and I can't help but squee at how lovely it really is! This is the type of video and song this single needed, and as I said before, it compliments the single well and balances everything out.
I will say that, as a video, Uruwashi no Camellia is certainly the weakest of the three in terms of execution and camera work, however, what it lacks in stellar shots (the high shots and dutch angles are love, however!), it makes up for in its bright and bubbly look, and generic Idol feel. It's a true-to-roots Idol video, and I can't fault how nostalgic and delighted that makes me. So, whilst it may be the cheapest in how it feels, it's the most authentic in how it has been created and looks. It's a sweet little music video, with some nice shots and great solo sequences, showing off just how charming and charismatic these members are.
I adore and enjoy this song, and I am so thankful for it ending the single on a high note. If Just Why? had been the ending track, I honestly think that it would have ruined the entire release for me. Arrrgh DX
I like Tsubaki Factory, and honestly, I think that this is a good release, regardless of the one pile of nope H!P decided to release publicly. It's diverse, it plays up to certain strengths of the members, and allows us to see that, even with the addition of three new girls and the dawn of a major debut on their backs, Tsubaki Factory a strong, charismatic group filled with energy and delight. They are fun and adorable to watch, some members (most notably, Kiki) can even make a dull song like Just Why? feel somewhat worthwhile to sit through, and they have proven their strength in both cool and cute songs. What's not to enjoy about them?
Hatsukoi Sunrise and Uruwashi no Camellia are wonderful songs, and they work well for Tsubaki Factory vocally and visually. Hopefully, we will continue to see such strong, memorable songs come out of the group in the future. The video quality is also amazing, for all three videos, so I hope that H!P keep that up for the group, too.
Image wise, this is an incredible debut. Sound wise,it really is great, but the one dud in the middle does dampen it a little. For such a cute, fresh-faced group, however, they pulled off a cool and cute feel, and brought their A-game. They are a damn strong group, and they have a bright future ahead of them. I just really hope they don't go down the path of Kobushi or Juice=Juice, and get some forgettable songs or let their cool and energetic image slip through the cracks.
Tsubaki Factory is an awesome group, and they are even more promising than before their major debut. I look forward to watching them grow and develop, and to see how they fare against the other H!P mammoths in up-coming releases.
Also, let's keep an eye out on the beauties that are Kiki, Kisora and Yumeno, shall we? ;) They're stars in the making, and I hope that one day, the three of them knock everyone else out of the way for dominance in future concerts, or, heck, even for the face of H!P! Let's await that day, everyone~
If you have already listened to Hatsukoi Sunrise / Just Try! / Uruwashi no Camellia, what are your thoughts on it, and do you agree with anything I have said? Which song took your fancy, and which one fell to the wayside? It will be interesting to find out, and see where our opinions differ! Whatever your thoughts may be, please share them with myself, or anyone else. Sharing is caring, after all~
For now, it's time for me to log out and cleanse my mind of Just Why?, before it dares get catchy enough that I like it. Until I see you all next time, however, please listen to some Tsubaki, and enjoy!
Thanks for requesting this, Anonymous! And to all who have now finished this review, please take care, enjoy life, live happily, stay healthy, sing a little tune, and love your Idols! Goodnight, beautiful wota!
Much Love and Singing,