Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hello 2013

It's a new year so I shall try to be positive even though deep inside I am in a rather mellow mood. Haha.. 2013 started in a rather unexpected manner. I thought airport would be crazy yesterday as everyone would be flying back for work today. Surprisingly, the airport was quite deserted for a holiday season. More surprisingly, even Changi Airport was rather quiet even though my plane landed at about 8pm! No idea what happened for this new year because I am very very sure that a year ago, the airports were buzzing with people.

Lets go back a day. I was initially happy that my house's cable has NHK channel. I thought I would be able to watch Kohaku Uta Gassen. This is a yearly New Year's Eve affair from Japan since the 1950s. It is basically a music show in which best-selling singers throughout the year were invited to perform. The singers are divided into 2 groups: Red (all the females) vs White (all the males). At the end of the show, based on the votes, one team is declared the winner. The red team only won once (last year) since 2005. Anyway, the "competition" is merely for fun. The event itself is more like a fun-filled New Year's Eve celebration. Different artists may even collaborate for some of the items.

Despite its history, my interest only started in 2011 when there were "competition" between the top male and female talent groups to field as many performers as possible for their items. Johnny's Entertainment sent 244 performers as back dancers of NYC. AKB48 sent 210 girls (basically all the xxx48 brands: SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, JKT48, etc) for their item. I gotta say AKB48's performance trashed NYC's. The reason is that despite lesser manpower, AKB48 made full use of the whole stage (including the side stages) and all 210 girls were singing and dancing. On top of that, they formed giant human words at the end of the performance and that made use of the 200+ people. NYC's show basically was just a 3-men show with another 240 boys to stand as decoration. Lol..

Although it would be difficult, I expected AKB48 to do better last year (2012). As expected, it was not as good as 2011 performance. The medley was poorly executed as the 3 songs were poorly joined. It felt as 3 different songs, and not a medley. They brought less people so stage presence was less too. However, I have to applaud them for their tricks in changing clothes. I love that ginghan check banner to cover them when they changed costume. The video is below (before it gets removed) and I have no idea how they changed that fast. They wore all black for the first song with no hint of colours for their next songs. For the top, it was easy to hide. But how about the skirts? The skirts for the second song were more flowery than the black ones. How on earth they hid it? In addition, to make up for less womanpower than last year, they changed formations for the human word at the end and that was a nice "upgrade" too.

Bleah.. unable to find 2011 performance from youtube but you can view it here for a comparison. Better linkage of songs and better showmanship overall.

And how about NYC this year? I am quite bored of Yuuki 100%. I know that it is an inter-generational song as it has been the OST for Ninja Rantarou for 30+ years.. but to sing the same song for 3 years in a row is just uncreative. The back dancers are always in white too! Gosh.. They gotta learn better trick to have on-stage costume swap.. And no idea why they ditched the Red-Blue-Yellow colour which has been their trademarks. One thing I find good about their performance is the use of the LCD to give a "stairway to heaven" kind of effect. If you watch the full show, you will be amazed with Japanese LCD technology. The LCD can display things realistically which is simply unbelievable until you see it with your own eyes. So yup, basically good to utilise the LCD goodness.

Ultimately, the best item is perhaps the Disney's collaboration. Lols. Famous J-Pop artists plus popular Disney's characters? Simply an awesome combo. Although they butchered the songs and they did not include "It's a Small World" which is like a theme song for Disneyland. And it is nice that in the end, they also included other characters like Snow White's 7 dwarfs, the atrocious-looking Lilo and Stitch, Pinocchio and Jimminy which is as tall as Pinocchio (wtf!), and rabbits and bears from cartoons which I am unable to recall.

No comments: