I first recognized Kis-My-Ft2, mostly by name alone, as one of Johnny’s latest debuted idol groups, around the time Sexy Zone emerged into news feed and threaded discussion. Then I came across more of it mainly because one of its members’ name, together with the group name, was spazzingly mentioned in the comment sections of the drama he was in, that I happened to watch, even though he appeared only as cameo. Yunno, one-liner comment(s) where the name is followed with either lots of exclamation mark or endless heart symbol, which is bloody impossible to ignore or skip.
Some time last year(?), I stumbled onto a news coverage of the boys holding a surprise appearance performing several of their songs atop a moving bus or water vessel, I can’t remember. If you’re one of their hardcore fans, you must’ve known which appearance I’m referring to here. They have already amassed quite a following despite being a rookie group. From the montage and choruses’ snippets covered, their songs are not bad. Yet I didn’t look further into it.
Not until I read a blog post about them being Johnny’s newest cash cow a couple months ago did I start to… pay more attention? It was the first comprehensive article on the group that I ever read, and consider my interest piqued ‘coz of that. I therefore began to hunt down their singles, PVs, and live performances. Since they’ve just released 7 singles, 3 of which double A-side so 10 songs in total, it isn’t that hard to catch up. (I rarely check out an artist’s single album or full-length studio record unless I love them so much or am thoroughly curious of it.)
Lines upon lines of opinions came into mind, nagging to be put into words but I held my reservations till their latest single is released. Who knows those preliminary impressions change, or I’d have something to say about the single then I could end up writing a review as well. Thereafter I’ve watched as many videos as I could get my hands on online, including Kimi to no kiseki’s live performance. Wew. They already performed/promoted the song live weeks prior to its official release??
Kimi to no Kiseki is Kis-My-Ft2’s 8th single since debuting in August 2011. Having listened to all of their A-side songs, I can say that I like their sound and voices, generally speaking. My resistance ~tashika na mono~ is my favorite. Kimi to no kiseki feeds on familiar tunes Kisumai has released thus far – cheery, upbeat, youthful with robust instruments, moderately synthesized.
The coupling tracks are no difference in terms of genre and vibe. They are as strong and bubbly as the A-sides they could’ve as well been promoted as lead single. For instance, Forever with u (My Resistance/Unmei Girl’s B-side) is pretty good. Or Kimi to no Kiseki’s; Diamond honey has super catchy hook (“Dance da-da-da-da-da-da-dance all night long”) while Tanagokoro is a great mid-tempo ballad. It is not another double A-side single, yet surprise surprise! A PV is also made for Tanagokoro – so good it gives me chills. The song and lyrics, that is – current favorite! 😉
Most of their songs have earworm choruses which would grow on me if I loop them ofttimes enough. The problem is, I feel that the group caters to younger audience at adolescent age that I find their overall sound and visual too cute for my taste. My current stance is that I enjoy their music but not enough to have me keep the songs in my music library or put them into my playlist. If only they sound a bit more mature…
That’s on the single. Onto my impressions. [This is where it gets rambly and dirty, i warn you.] Let me start from the name. I thought only K-pop has ‘stylish’ yet difficult to pronounce names. Well, J-pop has Kis-My-Ft2. Which is a pain to type with so many caps and dashes, that’s why it is referred to simply as Kisumai? (Like Eito is for Kanjani8) Hey! Say! JUMP isn’t easy to type either, I know – what’s with the kinky names!? Like Sexy Zone, its name doesn’t appeal to me. How to pronounce it, btw? Kiss my foot too (yikes!)? Kisu mai futotsu? Kisu mai futto tsu? まぁいいや！
A newly debuted unit, I automatically assumed them to be of young(er) age, forgetting the bitter fact that some aspirers spend forever being a Jr without the green light from the higher ups to ‘go out there’. I didn’t think of this possibility because Hey! Say! JUMP’s average age upon debut was around 16 whereas Sexy Zone’s was even younger at, what, 13~4? Sexy and kiddos who have yet to hit puberty and deepen their voice do not match, do they? I thought Kisumai’s average won’t be that far-off, yet theirs around 23, which isn’t exactly ‘old’ considering 6-year age gap between oldest-youngest member.
The very thing that one would definitely notice, something that sets them apart from their competitions, is them gliding on roller skates. That sounds totally oldschool (and nostalgic) but looks truly cool when they execute intricate dance/acrobatic moves on wheels. At times I’m too awed staring at the footwork I paid little to no attention to the performers’ upper bodies or voices. Call me evil, but I somehow hope to see some slips – because that’s humane! – though have witnessed none so far ;-(
Next, looks. I know this is totally subjective and based on one’s taste, but to categorize them as “ugly” – or liken them to Eito – is an exaggeration. That in every group there will be members who stand out more, or less, in terms of looks is expected. I take it that everyone agrees Arashi members are all ikemen, but Eito’s are generally easy on the eyes. C’mon~ Ryo, Maru, Yoko, even Hina (without discrediting the other three) are good-looking. Hey! Say! JUMP’s more like half/half. The same thing may not be said in the case of 5-member KAT-TUN or 4-member NEWS. Mind you, this is MY personal preference.
Kisumai… from what I’ve seen from the PVs and live perfs, they are not bad at all. Only after I warm up to their faces – no, not names yet – did I realize those who “aren’t bad” belong to the same persons. Or more like three persons. This brings me to Kisumai’s concept – from my pov. That some members will develop bigger fanbase, get more screentime in PVs or live perfs, and receive more individual work offers is inevitable and intelligible. However, to split them so blatantly when they appear as one unit… I can see why it turns many people off.
Three placed in front/center, four at the back/sides. The song’s verses are split equally among the three, the other four would join in during the choruses and serve seemingly as back dancers. We would get copious amount of close-up and lingering individual shots of the three, hardly any of the rest. As if those aren’t glaring enough, the two ‘groups’ are dressed in different colors.
Why would the management do that? Those three arguably possess superior looks, I get it, but still – in the world of fairness – WHY?? Why didn’t they just debut them as a group of three, then, if that’s the case? Why makes viewers feel bad for the other four? As much as I like Kisumai’s songs, I can never get this concept they’re presenting. It is not the members’ fault, but I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like them more than this.
That said, I believe fans and turned-off audience alike are thrilled to see Tanagokoro’s PV – as ordinary as it is, that’s the fairest parts division and screentime allotment I’ve ever seen of them. Which raise the question: do those four get to sing solo parts in non-single tracks? I have yet to listen to more of those and to secern their tones to figure this out myself.
How can guys’ hands be this pretty?