The One about Discovering Japanese Music: Nogizaka46 – “Kimi no Na wa Kibo”

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Nogizaka46 began year 2013 with their fifth CD single “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” (which translates to “Your Name is Hope”), one of their most popular singles to this day.

Nogizaka46, the idol pop group was created by Onyanko Club and AKB48 creator Yasushi Akimoto. But where his other groups represent a region of Japan, Nogizaka46 was created as the official rival to Nogizaka46 and the “Nogizaka” named after the place where Sony Music Japan’s office (the SME Nogizaka Building) is located. And the number “46” was chosen as a number to become a direct challenge to AKB48.

With the success of the group’s first single “Guruguru Curtain” which debuted at #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold over 136,000 copies, Nogizaka46 has now released their second single “Oide Shampoo” (which translates to “Come on Shampoo”) and debuted at #1 on the Oricon CD Singles Charts and sold 155,677 copies in its first week. Their third CD single “Hashire! Bicycle” became their second chart topping #1 single and their best selling single released until now.

Their previous single “Seifuku no Mannequin” (which translates to “Mannequin with a School Uniform”) not only achieved another spot at #1 on the Oricon Charts ranking but is now there best selling CD single so far with 232,961 copies sold during their first week. The new single will also feature a lineup with their top 17 members voted on their senbatsu election (which took place on their TV Show “Nogizakatte Doko – October 7, 2012).

With their fifth CD single “Kimi no Na wa Kibo”, the group was able to surpass their first week single sales with 242,053 copies sold and also debuting at #1 on the Oricon Charts.

Like previous singles, there are four versions of “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” that were released. Type A, B and C would come with a DVD but also feature an exclusive third track. While the Theater/Regular edition comes with no DVD and an exclusive third track.

The version I am listening to is “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” (Type-A). The CD insert features features Nogizaka46 ace (center) Rina Ikoma and Mai Shiraishi and features eight members in the back and eight members in the inside back cover and a booklet with eight pages featuring lyrics, production credits and individual photos of each member plus group photos.

The first track on the album is “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” (“Your Name is Hope”) and is an upbeat ballad. The song is about a guy who sees a girl and the two came in contact one summer when she saw a ball rolling, she waited for him to pick it up. The guy was always seen as an invisible person but she noticed his existence. And it was the first time in this world that the guy denied was beautiful that this one girl would change his life and although he watches her from afar, he realized that his heart is yearning for this girl because he has found love. And although he doesn’t know who this girl is, he knew immediately that this girl’s name is “hope”.

The second track on the single is “Shakiism” and is an upbeat, sugary pop track. The song is about a girl who likes a guy. But she realizes that she likes a guy who is not cool and stylish, so she hopes that if the guy likes her, he would become more stylish.

The third track on this CD single is “Romantic Ikiyaki” (which translates to “Romantic Grilled Squid”) and is a uptempo springtime idol song. The song is about going to the beach for the first time, wearing a swimsuit for the first time and wanting to eat ikiyaki with the guy you like.

And the remaining three tracks are the instrumental versions of the first three songs.

As for the DVD, the first video track is the music video for “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” and is a 30 minute video in which the members of Nogizaka46 take part in acting audition and while they are performing, the group is seen performing their new song “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” with the final casting decided after the performance.

The second video track is the music video for “Shakiism” in which Rina Ikoma plays a boy and shows a classroom divided with laser beams. As one student tries to cross over and bypass the laser, a sliding door falls and a group with red arm bands come to take the student away away. We later see Rina taking part in a judo match and although walls are triggered, she manages to use his strength to break the wall down.

The next 10 video tracks showcase members of Nogizaka46 taking part in various videos. Similar to past releases, these are videos to get to know the members a bit more. But this time, giving a few filmmakers or Japanese talents to direct each member in a skit or segment. Such as a song with Rina Ikoma saying words and doing movements and a song being made out of it. Kiyoshi Yamagishi directing Rena Ichiki taking part in a variety of activities, such as martial arts and baseball. Another video showing multiple ways of Nene Ito saying “Suki” or “Daisuke desu” in happy or sad ways (46 times). Another cute music video features Marika Ito coming out of her classroom with her school outfit and headphones (or a polar bear outfit) and starts singing a song in the halls. Misa Satou standing on a bridge with the city skyscrapers out in the background. A horror skit featuring Hina Kawago who read a horror book and now she hears noises in her home and she goes to check it out. Another video featuring Mai Shiraishi taking a walk outdoors. Kazumi Takayama’s video features a day in life asking “Donmai” and having bad luck and screaming her lungs out. For Hina Higuchi’s segment, she lays on the floor trying to make the alphabet with her body and clothes with a camera looking down on her. For Seira Miyazawa’s segment, she is just looking outside towards the city, while the camera is fixated on her. And for Yumi Wakatsuki, it’s a poetic drama.

It’s important to note that if you want more of these videos featuring more Nogizaka46 members, you will need to purchase Type-B and C.

After all is done, there is a bonus video showing us the making of “Shakiism” and the NG segments of the member videos.

A reminder that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, I felt that “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” (Type-A) was a pretty cool CD+DVD and one of the best things about Nogizaka 46 CD+DVD releases is they pack so much DVD content that you literally want all three versions. So, to tell you the truth, unlike AKB48, NMB48 or SKE48 releases in which you can recommend a certain type over another, for “Kimi no Na wa Kibo”, both CD+DVD content is quite awesome for the different types. You nearly get an hour and half worth of content on the DVD and to me that makes TYPE-A worth getting (if you are fan of their music).

As for the songs featured on the single, “Kimi no Na wa Kibo” and “Shakiism” are very good tracks but in the end, it’s the DVD content that really makes Type-A worth owning.

But for those wanting to discover Japanese idol music, should check out Nogizaka46.


 

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Dennis A. Amith