Just in the times of the greatest, most confusing darkness, comes the light. And so too, after the horrifyingly yellow chicken themed nightmare that was Pyoko Pyoko Ultra comes the salvation of Niigaki Risa’s graduation single Re’nai Hunter.
I think Tsuku got the message when the last single plummeted like the Hindenburg that no one, and I mean no one, wants to see their pop idols dancing around in bright yellow chicken dresses. It makes them feel like they’re watching Barney or some little kid’s show, and that’s not something the fans want to feel… ever.
And so, instead he gave us a more mature video and song to bow out his most senior member and remind us that no, he’s not completely batshit and out of touch. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the saving grace single of what’s been a disastrous year, Re’nai Hunter.
Let’s talk about the song itself. Re’nai Hunter, which translates to “Love Hunter” is Morning Musume 49th single and is the last for current leader Niigaki Risa, who is the longest running member in the group’s history. And as far as graduation singles go, I’m going to say this one beats Takahashi Ai’s almost hands down. Ai’s had a weird ADD problem, where one minute it was pop and then suddenly disco for the chorus, and the video had an outer space theme. It was definitely weird.
Risa’s on the other hand feels a little bit more solid and serious, more like the Morning Musume we knew back before the two latest generations joined up. It’s a mixed of club/dubstep music with ballad-like lyrics which give the song itself a lot of power. The vocals are powerful, which Niigaki and Reina taking the most of the solos, but that’s how it always is. However, the other members do get some lines, and while I understand where people get annoyed about Sayumi’s auto-tuning, I really don’t mind it – I think she sounds better with it than without.
The lyrics are the basic J-pop fare of love, and self-confidence and the wrath of nature…wait…something in that sentence didn’t sound right. Okay, so really, the lyrics are just a weird blend of the normal “Live strongly, and I’m going to be a strong woman” and someone looking for love and using persuasive language about not going against nature, creating paradise, and stuff like that. Okay, so it’s really weird lyric-wise but overall ooze female empowerment and confidence so I can overlook the occasional bizarre phrasing.
As for the video, the settings are very simple – one is a white room with lights, another is a darker room, and the third is some glittery sequin curtains. And really, for this video, less is definitely more. Without crazy things going on, it’s easier to focus on the singing and dancing. The costumes, except for Kanon, are clean, simple, and looks fantastic, really highlighting their faces rather than the costuming. Kanon, for some reason, looked really, really bad, like the costume is a size too small. I’m hoping this is just a one time thing because Kanon really does have a lovely face and it’s sad when she stands out so glaringly from the rest.
The shots are amazing – focusing on each girl at least once throughout the video, using the wind effect, and the glares of light off the curtain beautiful. The individual magazine shots are well done, detailed, and honestly is going to be the only way I’m going to learn the names of all the new members. Plus, it adds an additional layer of class and modernity to the video, really making the more dimly lit scenes look like a photo shoot.
My one major complaint? Man, is the dance stupid as hell. And here’s the thing – not ALL the moves are bad, some work really well! And then we get weird crab shuffles and spirit fingers and it just ruins it really quickly. I will say that no Morning Musume video is ever 100% spot on. If the theme is good, the lyrics suck. If the costumes are great, you have a less than stellar dance. So I’m willing to sacrifice the dance’s quality for all the good this video did.
Overall, it’s a great video for a fabulous song that really shows that Morning Musume isn’t dead yet, and they’re going to fight back as hard as they can to stay on top. And if they keep this up, they’ll have fans support, and even grab additional fans coming into the genre. Hey, if Disney can have a renaissance, why can’t Morning Musume?