The girls from Namba will release their first summer single soon01 May, 2012 by Mus
As the normal rotation goes, it is of course time for the summer releases of the groups in the AKB48 family. Nagiichi is NMB48’s first try at a summer themed single, this being their fourth release since debuting nearly a year ago. With Nagiichi, the girls will have finally released a single for every season of the year. How do the girls from Osaka handle their first bikini single, and does it live up to expectations, as the girls have just come off a solid release in Junjou U-19?
Nagiichi is short for ‘Nagisa de Ichiban Kawaii Girl’, or translated as the cutest girl on the beach. It is also one of the insert songs used in the commercial collaboration with entertainment chain Round 1. Showing the girls as employees of the chain, the commercials present the girls as they work at Round 1 and show off the attractions there, which include bowling and karaoke. These commercials can be seen at a special site created for the campaign here.
The single sees a re-shuffling of the senbatsu, with returning Team N member Yoshida Akari as well as Team M’s Tanigawa Airi and Murakami Ayaka getting spots ahead of Yogi Keira, Kishino Rika, and Kinoshita Haruna. As the number of members in NMB48 increases (the number is up to around 60 with the 3rd generation), we should be seeing more and more shuffling of the senbatsu as additional singles get released.
It remains to be seen if there is any real way for junior members to get their time in the limelight through singles, but some are definitely getting pushed.
The White and Red team system of previous singles stays in Nagiichi, with some shuffling done to the lineups. However, it does not seem apparent that either of the teams have a particularly catchy song, unlike previous b-sides like Hoshokusha Tachi Yo.
Fans however, might be interested in Watanabe Miyuki’s solo song in the theater version. Titled Warukii, it’s a hilarious number about how she loves men with big muscles and needs someone to help her carry her bag. Some might also see the thinly veiled references to her being involved in the scandal that got her dropped from senbatsu of Oh My God!
The song itself is a guitar-driven melody, not unlike the previous singles. One problem that seems to be evident is that the guitar melodies are split down the middle between ‘very catchy’ and ‘totally forgettable’. Nagiichi’s guitar leads fall in the former, but unfortunately this also means that it is the only thing many listeners bring away from the song.
With the group singing format of NMB48, there are no memorable lines, and even the chorus is not a particularly engaging hook. The sound of the song is too generic to the point that it’s rather easy to tune it out if you’re multi-tasking in any way.
Which brings up the other point about the Promotional Video. As is usual for summer themed singles, Nagiichi’s has the girls in bikini. Some question the propriety of having teen girls in bikinis. While that is a point of contention, it’s clear that they’re trying to cash in on the sex factor, with frontgirl Yamamoto Sayaka being put into a bikini a size too small whilst dancing at the front.
Disregarding that however, the PV features the girls doing watersports and cruising the roads of Guam in an open-top convertible. In the opinion of this writer, it’s a great PV that showcases the summer feel of the song.
The single drops on the 9th of May, 2012.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for Nagiichi and other related items.
Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.