Tokyo Girls’ Update Recommend: Our Favorite MVs for Songs Released March 2016
March is traditionally the month of graduations in Japan and as such, there were several big departures from the idol world. Minami Takahashi (AKB48) finally held her graduation concert at Yokohama Stadium on March 27th. Sae Miyazawa (SKE48) bid farewell to her fans at Nippon Gaishi Hall. Louise Sforzur (Afilia Saga) took the stage as iinchou (委員長, chairperson) for the last time at Zepp Diver City. Mai Fukagawa was sent off in style as she recieved a solo song, solo cover, and centered Nogizaka46’s 14th single. Asuka left Chu-Z to persue her dream of becoming an actress and Shirai departed from Jyujyu. There are countless other farewells but, to us those were some of the major ones. Never mind all the idols who graduated from middle school, high school, and university, something that might have caused many fans’ hearts to skip a beat when seeing the characters 卒業 (sotsugyo, graduation) during the month. Suffice it to say, graduation songs played a major factor in the selections for March.
At the same time, many of the major organizations like the 48/46 groups and Hello! Project released singles which brought with them a plethora of MVs that definitely raised expectations for March. Because of this, finding others that could be considered in this category was difficult and so, there are less than usual.
With the addition of overseas 48/46 fan 76do_ to Tokyo Girls’ Update’s team of contributors, we have decided to expand our coverage to include them and other groups/artists which may or may not be available to view overseas. We at Tokyo Girls’ Update have no control or say on the policies of YouTube or the dozens of record labels and agencies that the artists are signed under. Even though region-blocking somehow still exists in 2016, we are sure that there are several simple solutions if you truly want to see the videos.
Here are 8 of our favorite MVs for songs released in March of 2016 listed in chronological order according to their release date.
Otome Shinto – “Ame to Namida to Otome to Taiyaki” (release date: March 2)
Self-proclaimed “second team” idol group Otome Shinto may not have to bear that title for much longer if they keep going down the path they have been going recently. With several famous contributors behind the music for “Ame to Namida to Otome to Taiyaki” and cute visuals overflowing with youthful girlishness, Otome Shinto may never be complete but they have definitely leveled up. For further evidence, check out the live MV for the coupling song from the single “Fiyaiya!!!”. Airi Hasegawa, who is currently on hiatus due to health issues, appears at the end of the video which should be reassuring to her fans but, there’s something sad about the way she is slowly eating her taiyaki all alone.
Otome Shinto Official site: http://otomeshinto.com/
Kiyoshi Ryujin 25 – “LOVE&WIFE&PEACE♡” (release date: March 2)
It sort of makes sense that after Ryujin came back from the dead in “Hard Boiled ni Aishite Yaruze” that he would embrace the peace movement of the 1960’s like he did as he and his 6 wives inhabit what appears to be a commune in the MV for “LOVE&WIFE&PEACE♡”. With the lo-fi home movie cinematography and retro fashions (complete with Ryujin strumming a paisley Telecaster), the world of Kiyoshi Ryujin 25 just expanded a little bit more. The significance of having so many sheep roaming around is not explained but then again, one of the best things about this group is that no matter how nonsensical things get, somehow it still works! Maybe the next MV will be set in an Arabian palace or something?
Kiyoshi Ryujin 25 Official site: http://www.kiyoshiryujin.com/25/
Afilia Saga – “Itsuka Mita Niji no Sono Shita de” (release date: March 2)
While visually, the MV is not that different than what Afilia Saga usually does, knowing that Louise Sforzur, who had been iincho (委員長, chairperson) of the group for 7 years, would be departing makes the performance particularly poignant. The scene where the members put their hands in a circle and raise them to reveal a rainbow at the end is another point to pay attention since the title of the song translates to “At the Bottom of the Rainbow that We Saw That Day”, representing a shared memory that all 14 members will carry with them. Even though Yukafin Doll announced her graduation at the same time as Louise, whether or not this is the last time she will appear in a single is not known as her graduation concert/event has not been revealed. While a large group will never remain the same as it used to be “back in the good old days”, considering how far that Afilia Saga has come under Louise’s care, the future looks bright for the “Maidens for Love, Bravery and Magic”.
Afilia Saga Official site: http://afiliasaga.jp/
AKB48 – “Kimi wa Melody” (release date: March 9)
AKB48’s 10th anniversary single was packed full of the history of the superstar group. Evidenced by Next Generation AKB48 Senbatsu’s “LALALA Message” and the incredible first song from NGT48 “Max toki 315-go” where the members run through snowy Niigata on their way to their newly opened theater, the future is very bright. There was also the surreal Nogizaka AKB collaboration song “Mazariau-mono” and HKT48’s cool dance track “Make noise”. However, none of those could compare to “Kimi wa Melody” with the return of Mika Ninagawa painting with her vibrant colors that transported the group into the secret harem of a Japanese feudal lord. On top of that, there was the return of legendary graduated members Atsuko Maeda, Yuko Oshima, Mariko Shinoda, Tomomi Itano! It would be no surprise if “Kimi wa Melody” ends up #1 at the next Request Hour.
AKB48 Official site: http://www.akb48.co.jp/
Country Girls – “Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~” (release date: March 9)
Country Girls popped in what might be their strongest single to date and best of all it was a triple A-side single which meant 3 MVs! There was the adorably retro “Boogie Woogie LOVE” introducing new members Musubu Funaki and Nanami Yanagawa and the slightly more modern and mature “Koi wa Magnet” but, neither of those could not compare to the kitschy theatrics of “Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~”!
Country Girls Official site: http://helloproject.com/countrygirls/
Nogizaka46 – “Harujion ga Sakukoro” (release date: March 23)
Just like their “rivals” AKB48, Nogizaka46 answered with an embarrassment of riches in terms of MVs from their 14th single. There was the supernatural “Futougou”, Nishino Nanase’s heartbreaking solo “Tsuribori”, Mai Shiraishi, Nanami Hashimoto, and Sayuri Matsumura turning bandol in “Kyushamen”, and Mai FUkagawa’s solo “Tsuyoragu Tsubomi” but, in the end, it had to be “Harujion ga Sakukoro”. Filmed in the main hall of the Old Matsumoto High School, a designated Important Cultural Property of Japan, in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, the members of Nogizaka46 become the members of a Taisho Era opera troupe. Miona Hori is the youthful newcomer who arrives just as Mai Fukagawa is set to graduate. For those of you who were lucky enough to see the full version when it was on the Nogizaka46 YouTube channel before the release of the video, the end credits where Fukagawa is walking away from the Sony Music Entertainment building in Nogizaka is especially heart-wrenching.
Nogizaka46 Official site: http://www.nogizaka46.com/
LinQ – “Supreme” (release date: March 23)
LinQ passes the baton to the next generation as graduating members Miku Ichinose, Chisei Fukase, and Kurumi Matsumura slowly make their way off the double decker bus featured in the MV for “Supreme”. This is followed by a scene of wide-eyed new member Mai Hoshino getting on. Packed full of the sights of Fukuoka like Canal City Hakata, Seaside Momochi, and the Fukuoka City Office’s grand lawn, LinQ remains true to their local idol roots. There’s also a Chisei Fukase “director’s cut” version and a 360 degree version as well!
LinQ Official site: http://loveinq.com/
SKE48 – “Tabi no Tochuu” (release date: March 30)
SKE48, like AKB48 and Nogizaka46 offered up a variety of MVs which met or exceeded expectations. “Chicken LINE” painted a gritty picture of a dystopian future where verbal communication was forbidden, Team S’ “Kanojo ga Iru” and Team KII’s “Kiss Position” were cute, and Team E played a dangerous game in “Is that your secret？”. Keeping with the theme of graduation in March and taking into account the contributions of Sae Miyazawa, “Tabi no Tochuu” was the definite sentimental favorite out of all the songs on the single. In addition to saying her farewells to SKE48, all of the members of original Team K appeared! It’s nice to see when the senbatsu was listed as “Sae Miyazawa and Friends”, they went above and beyond to deliver on that promise!
SKE48 Official site: http://www.ske48.co.jp/
March was a month of farewells and borderline sensory overload when it came to singles/albums released. Just when you think that you might have seen the best that the first half of 2016 has to offer, April boasts the release of one of the most anticipated albums of the year in BABYMETAL’s “Metal Resistance”! Add to that Dempagumi.inc’s new album, singles from LADYBABY, UPUPGIRLS (KARI), Team Syachihoko, HKT48, NMB48, Keyakizaka46, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and Yumemiru Adolescence, just to name a few and maybe out list for April has already been completed? It might be best to wait and see until everything comes out though. The standards were set pretty high in March but it is possible that we may have left out a few MVs that would have been considered any other month so let us know what you think we might have overlooked. If you have read up until this point, thank you for doing so but, at the same time, why aren’t you out checking out the cherry blossoms? Go outside now!
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