Continuing on from where we left off. Here, it’s time to talk about something other than image songs.
Message: Part of the third election’s collection, this is a song that dares to play with long periods of gratuitous English and lives to tell the tale. It’s a decent enough song with plenty of cheer about it, but there are others around that do the same thing, better.
Kagayaku Sekai no Mahou: This is the second election’s bunch. Early days, I know, and it kind of shows. Still, I can’t fault the title; it’s definitely correct, given they say it plenty of times throughout. Struggling to care about it otherwise, though.
We’re the friends!: The other half of the third election’s collection. The instrumentation is OK for the most part, but this houses plenty of annoying ‘yay’s and ‘woo’s. Together. God help me. Also not sure about the singing of the chorus. Harsh, I know. But they got better with these election songs. Trust me.
Yuubae Present: Apparently, Cinderella Project sung this and it was the ending song for most of the anime’s episodes. I’m damned if I remember, though. I can’t remember a single thing about it. Give me a sec…
Ah yes, this one. It’s sweet enough I suppose, but…nothing too special. Another typical CinPro affair, really.
GOIN’!!!: This is a song I know more as an annoyance than anything else. This is because, until recently, I liked going to the pinya for Lives more often than not, and it gave me this song every…single…time. And I never FCd it. Ever. When I finally pulled it off, it was in a Live Groove. I was breathing metaphorical fire from my fingers in that particular groove, but it didn’t count. Amazing what you can achieve when you’re not under pressure. I did eventually go out and do it properly, and in all the time I’ve listened to it the song has grown on me to a certain extent. So, you know what, I’ll say it’s alright.
Memories: Is this the best thing to come out of Cinderella Project? Quite possibly. If you thought Minami’s song was 90s-ish, wait till you see this effort with
her girlfriend Anya. What a magnificent beat and set of instruments this song is lucky to have. And what a beautiful chorus these two sing. Once I remembered just how great this song was the first time it jumped right into my high tiers. Well done to you, Love Laika.
ØωØver!!: Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. Nya. In between these constant outbreaks of Miku lies a decent enough theme together with Riina, in a theme about as chaotic as their unit. No infighting was made in the making of this song. None at all. No, siree.
LET’S GO HAPPY!!: If you thought none of IOSYS’ songs were quite insane enough before, listen to this. It’s bloody mental. And as well it should be because a unit like Decoration encourages nothing but hyperactivity. This is plenty of fun, especially if you like your stuff hectic. I personally can take that sort of thing done just right, which this is. Great stuff.
Dekitate Evo! Revo! Generation!: The other best thing to come out of the Cinderella Project, NewGen’s main theme is the best song which is on nodding terms with the most typical idol-ish tracks. A surprising turn of epicness courtesy of some magnificent instrumentation makes this song so much better than anything else like it in this franchise. The tone the song sets is just right – absolutely ideal, even. With that, I reckon EvoRevoGen is an unqualified success. Even if their first attempt at it very much wasn’t. Thanks, Mio.
Happy×2 Days: Here’s another quality song coming from the anime. This one is made better by an unlikely hero in Anzu, who brings out her rap game to make it that little bit more special. A bit like the associated episode they got, actually. Kanako and Chieri are fine as well, this song still suiting Kanako and her gorgeous voice supremely well. Plenty of other sweet moments throughout make this a superb song on the whole.
-Engel- Adanasu Tsurugi Hikari no Shirabe: When I first found this song in the anime I actually rather liked it. As my opinion on Ranko has deteriorated, it has done so likewise with this song, effectively a second image song for the occasionally unconvincing chuuni. She still makes no sense in it. Oh yeah, and this is known to plenty as LEGNE. Guess what that’s a reverse of… Spooky. It’s also apparently really bloody hard on the highest difficulties. Just as well I’m not playing it on them, then.
Kono Sora no Shita: This was actually in Episode 20? Oh, bloody hell, I must have missed that. Gimme a sec…
Oh, that’s why. Because it’s Love Laika feat. Rosenburg Engel. It’s a much more peaceful affair than either of their other songs. As slow songs go, it’s not too bad, and their combined vocals aren’t too bad. But it’s a good example of why some cool songs send people to sleep. Which is not too good.
Wonder goes on!!: This was the supergroup that came to be out of Riina and Miku’s real partners. Half of the unit is good; the other half is not. The song, though? Well…
…It’s about as hectic as you’d expect. There’s all sorts going on, but it’s an awful lot to take in and it only adds up to about the sum total of the unit; average. Riina and Natsuki are lovely in my book; Miku and Nana are not. That, as they say, is the way it goes.
Watashi-iro Gift: The trade-off of one of the anime’s best episodes. Everyone from Episode 17 – still a source of inspiration to this writer at times – is in this one, and the highly charged voices of Decoration are compounded by a set of vocals from Mika that’re so good they’re almost distracting. Not so distracting, though, that I can’t nearly FC this song…on Master. Yes, you read that correctly. I made it through over 500 notes of about 550 and, with my
tokimeki escalated heart beating hard and fast, niced a note in the final section of the song. I should have taken overload Yuko to save me, really… Oh wait, I did. And she didn’t. Thanks, Yuko.
But anyway. On the whole, this song is all kinds of cheerful. It’s calm compared to Let’s Go Happy but certainly not calm by any other standards. This is a loud and proud song.
Shine!!: This one’s alright, actually. Better than its direct cousin Star, the opening to the second season is a more inspired song than the first to this writer. Realistically there shouldn’t be much difference between them, not when they’re both aiming to achieve the exact same thing and have to make do with the same 13-idol mega-show. So it’s fine margins that make one song better than the other and Shine nails them better than most songs like it. So I’d say it’s got plenty of appeal about it.
Trancing Pulse: World-class. No song in the series is as dramatic as this. Everything about the song lends itself to the kind of drama you can’t possibly resist. There’s the incredibly chilling acapella intro, the action-packed opening, the stirring instrumentation, and then the slow-down as it all builds up all over again, courtesy of a magnificent trio in Rin, Karen and Nao. Rin’s absolutely epic voice is in full flow, Nao’s adds plenty of blaring and looks like she’s making an absolute rave of the whole thing. Karen’s silky smooth singing is the icing on the cake. And you wonder why this is everyone’s favourite unit. It’s bloody brilliant. And once it breaks out again you have a song that is near-flawless from start to finish. One of the most terrific tunes I’ve been lucky enough to hear. This stands as my second favourite, personally. If I could recommend a song to anyone getting into iM@s, this’d be a good candidate. But I’d keep them waiting till Episode 22 when it hits in the anime.
M@GIC☆: Plenty of pomp and circumstance about this one, I suppose, but it’s not necessarily a total success. Magic is fine for the most part, just not that good. So with that in mind, Star stands as probably my favourite CinPro song. Yes, I know I haven’t covered them all just yet. But their songs were never going to be the ones that caught my ear the most. Hence the J-pop statement I made previously. Their stuff sticks closest to it than anything else, but in spite of that personal thing I reckon they make a pretty good effort on the whole.
Susume☆Otome ～jewel parade～: And now we start on the Jewelries songs. And Jewel Parade stands alone among its direct peers as an unusual song because its ‘full’ version was actually done by the Cinderella Project. Perhaps they should have stuck to a similar plan with the other two. I mean, 13 isn’t much less than the 15-idol frenzies that came later, but it’s a group of 13 we know works. The other three versions were split between the other three jewelries, some of which very much were not in CinPro. (I’d take the passion version, personally.) In all cases though, this isn’t the most inspiring song the collection has brought. It’s not totally without merit, but it does sound a bit generic overall. Like the kind of thing you’d hear in a casino or something. OK for a first attempt, though.
Atashi Ponkotsu Android: The best of the first jewelries bunch by some distance. And this is a song with Uzuki, Nana and Miku in it. That sounds like it’d be a disaster for me, but actually, the composition of this song is pretty great. The instrumentation is mostly strong throughout as well, and ultimately the combination of voices does the song plenty of justice. It would be more of a surprise if I hadn’t been into it for so long. So perhaps I should consider it one of my earliest unexpected favourites.
Nation Blue: Word has it the full version of this song is actually fine. I haven’t heard that yet and am going off the Deresute version which is highly disappointing. I’d been led to believe by other sources, even before hearing it, that it was something else, but it just leaves me cold every time. It just never really kicks off, despite having a very solid collection of idols (and Ranko). And then, once the chorus is over, it just…stops. Almost as if there were an actual power failure, if the MV is anything to go by. The likes of Rin, Kaede and Minami deserve better.
Orange Sapphire: This has the best unit on the basis that none of the idols are bad at all, and yet while this song is kinda sorta fun in places, it’s really not much more than an average ‘passion’ song. Whatever that constitutes. Probably far too many notes to be comfortable with. Why do they always do that with passion songs, anyway? It makes me coil in horror at the sight of them, sometimes. The exception that proves that rule is the next jewelries song coming up (Master difficulty notwithstanding).
Yumeiro Harmony: So this was apparently the ending song for chunks of season 2. Blimey, I’ll have to jog my memory on that one as well. Not good news when I loved S2 so dearly. Gimme a sec…
OK, yeah, I remember this one now, too. And I forgot it because it, too, was wholly unremarkable for the most part. Comfortably the most lukewarm of CinPro’s songs, I would vouch.
Nagareboshi Kiseki: NewGen’s second song. Not quite as good as their first, but then most other songs aren’t as good as their first either. And this one is actually fine. In fact, I’d even call the chorus tuneful. It also stands out, inexplicably, as being one of my first FCs on Deresute. I mean, I don’t find it that special, and I haven’t managed it since. I just nailed it once. And that’s fine by me. I haven’t managed that with plenty of other songs yet…
Snow Wings: This is what Bamco wants us to believe is the most important song in Deresute history. Or so it seems, sometimes. They aren’t fooling us. It’s not a bad song per se but it does get a bit too hyper at times. In particular, I’m not sure what to make of the chorus, from the moment the ‘Wings of snow’ hit. I’d prefer other sorts of wings, personally. Wings of buffalo? That’d sound much more attractive.
Gokigen Party Night: This was the first jewelries song to feature one of the 15-idol maelstroms that came to define these collections. That’s a little overbearing so I tend to stick to the Cute, Cool and Passion versions of each, or, if you’d like, the event version Deresute provided. Of course, at the end of the day they are all very similar. None of the units who’ve sung this song are without fault, which is a shame because this is a really rather enjoyable song otherwise. You know what it makes me want to do? Party through the night. I suppose that most days, I’d compromise and listen to the cool version.
Pastel Pink na Koi: This one’s pretty good. It’s lots of fun to listen to, actually – it’s a relatively harmless song in the grand scheme of things. And it does that in spite of a unit which is a long way off perfect. No one in it is that great except for Kanako, but it doesn’t matter because they actually make for a rather good tune. Well done, you (not particularly) cuties.
Orgel no Kobako: This one’s just plain weird to me. Everything, from the MV, to the instrumentation, to the tone it sets, is just like ‘Huh?’ Certainly, it’s one great way to waste an otherwise promising unit of Mizuki, Koume, Anastasia, Nao and Karen. I can think of a million better ways to use them than this. Heck, Gokigen Party Night probably does them the most justice of all. Probably better to just go and listen to that instead.
Zettai Tokken Shuchou Shimasuu!: This is another surprise favourite of mine, my favourite from this selection of jewelries, just beating out Pastel Pink. The unit isn’t exactly star-studded but it’s better on the whole than its cute counterpart. Where this song is at its best though is in Deresute. The map is as fun as it gets, anywhere. It’s a real workout, but not to such an extent it tears you apart. Which is to say, the notes are plentiful but ultimately about where you’d expect them to be. And that’s my kind of song. Certainly, it’s helped me appreciate it that much more. Mind you, it took me a while to FC it ‘properly’. The first time I managed it was a Live Party, which blew me away somewhat at the time; the second time was in the most recent Live Groove which put my fingers on a real hot streak. Then eventually I went out and got my due’s worth for those two FCs. It’s a great warm-up song actually – it really gets you going. Good job, pashunistas.
…Just remember, I’m talking about Pro FCs. Not Masters. The less said about this song’s Master…the better.
Tulip: If you asked me the question ‘What is the best song to come out of Cinderella Girls?’, this would be the answer. Above all, Tulip stands as Idolmaster’s biggest ear worm courtesy of an insane level of quality that has made quite literally everyone fall in love with it. There’s all sorts going on with its beat and instrumentation. There’s jazz, electro, and more. It’s all quite mad and all quite brilliant. The lyrics are some of my favourites, and make for one suggestive theme, even if most of them are of course just the song’s magnificent wordplay, “Kiss me, Chu chu chu chu chu chu♡lip”. And the vocals to those lyrics are amongst the very best any song can offer, so utterly tuneful. Behind those vocals are comfortably Tulip’s biggest legacy, and what ultimately elevates it into one of the most special, iconic songs in all of iM@s; the unit.
It is, quite simply, better than any other. I found about them very early on in my initial induction into this idol hell. And, while it didn’t happen straight away, they have ended up being my top 3 – Kanade, Mika and Syuko – another member of my top 5 in Frederica and, ironically, my least favourite idol in Shiki. But, as I often find myself saying, when was anything ever perfect? And no way in hell can she bring down a foursome of the magnitude of her colleagues. They’re the stuff my dreams are made of. Of course, now that unit comebacks are officially A Thing, many are clamouring for the return of LiPPS this year. I count myself as one of those people. If the recent survey is anything to go by, they’d ideally be next in line after Triad Primus’ second effort. They tried to better Trancing Pulse and failed. If they managed to better Tulip…you can forget the rest of iM@s. It would have to go down as one of the greatest pieces of music…ever. It ‘only’ stands as my third favourite on personal grounds (maybe fourth now behind Tokimeki; there’s only so many times I can listen to it and Kanade’s solo before it goes a bit stale), but it unquestionably stands as one of the series’ biggest successes. I hope they build on it some more.*
*And hope they bring Misato Manaka a voice as the sixth member of LiPPS. Unless everyone ends up shipping her with Kanade. Presumably she’d have a million and one orgasms over her lips, but we don’t need that situation to get more difficult now. We’ve had her with Fumika, Syuko and maybe even Mika at this point. Still, you never know. Maybe Shiki will get lost or something next time round. You never know.
Absolute NIne: The best song to come out of any election and it isn’t even close. This is what I call the definition of ‘an absolute rave’. Like, my goodness. There are few songs in the series quite as epic as this one. The intensity is immense, the instrumentation is a little bit special, I absolutely love some of the dance moves on show in the MV and the vocals on show are just magical, even if only half the unit is actually any good. It’s no coincidence that my favourite election winner takes centre stage in this one; Syuko is really a very lovely idol indeed. Again, if I were recommending songs to a newcomer, this would be one of them. It’s J-pop, but not as we know it. It’s a normal iM@s song, unplugged. And it’s really bloody good.
Hi-Fi☆Days: So this is the unit we all know as LMBG, but more notable is the fact the song actually made it to number 1 in Japan’s singles chart, and got awarded a Gold disc as well. Like, wow. I just wish it’d been spent on a better song. There’s plenty to commend here, though. You can just about get up and dance to it, but that’s to be expected with its insanely high pace. Chie’s vocals are even quite interesting in places. But while this is actually a half-decent tune, it’s not the be all and end all of iM@s. From this, therefore, we can only conclude that Japan is a nation that likes 9-12 year old idols. Hello, police…
Tsubomi: The complete and utter opposite of its election’s other side. This is as soft and innocent as you can imagine in iM@s and it turns out perfectly alright. And again, it manages this in spite of only having half a good unit. I really wish they’d kept some of the better parts of Absolute Nine’s bunch, but alas the people of 2015 were wrong. One suspects we won’t get a better pair of election songs than this, considering most of the top 10 is likely to be filled with girls the hivemind have decreed they want voiced. Twas ever thus with the Cinderella Girls.
Seizon Honnou Valkyria: It took me a while to take in this song properly. Even them getting proper costumes (unlike LiPPS, whom Bamco copped out on with their dresses) didn’t draw my attention to a unit that is actually perfectly fine. Actually, it seemed to give off an aura of sadness outwardly. Even the art on its cards is really bloody edgy. Minami and Arisu have form with sadness, I suppose. But Aiko and Yumi? Really? Bloody hell. However, despite the song seeming rather bleak at times, thanks to some decent instrumentation, it isn’t all gloom and doom actually. Unfortunately, the cheerful bits aren’t really notable enough for me. Can’t help but think they left a lot on the table with this one, to be honest.
Ashita Mata Aeru yo ne: Having somehow contrived to make two very good songs from two bad units, it was probably natural the Cute jewelries would drop the ball with its best unit’s song. Even putting aside the Shiki in the room, Frederica is as good as cute idols get and the other three are largely inoffensive. And yet this is what they get. A song with a catchy intro and outro, and…that’s about it. Unbelievable.
Saite Jewel: The best jewelries song by a long, long way. After two very nondescript cool efforts, they loosened the shackles for their third effort and ended up with something special. The tempo and drama of the song is palpable. The instrumentation is particularly epic, and the vocals are just fantastic, thanks to probably the best unit any jewelries song can lay claim to – even if their solo moments can be few and far between at times. Obviously Kanade and Syuko are very excellent, but no one’s noticing them together because everyone’s busy paying attention to Kanade and Fumika instead. Tachibana-desu does a fine job too and I’m more than willing to give Asuka a pass here. This is one highly enjoyable song.
Late post-edit: What would make it even more enjoyable is the fact it should have been my first proper Master FC. There’s just one problem: the FC in question was in Live Party. So it doesn’t count. Bollocks.
Kimi ni Ippai☆: Considering the Passion jewelries used up all its best idols on the very first pass, this is actually a pretty good combined unit. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t get a song to do them much justice. I mean, it’s all a bit wild and silly, which is fine in Passion terms I suppose, but rather uninspiring on a musical level. I can see why people might like it, but I wouldn’t count myself as one of them, sadly.
Junjou Midnight Densetsu: Now that‘s what I call a unit. I don’t care if some of them aren’t quite so good by themselves, combining Takumi, Rina, Ryo, Aki and Natsuki is an inspired decision, and some. And it doesn’t matter what you do with them, you’re gonna end up with something highly charged with all of them in that mind. With that in mind, Midnight – while not an entirely perfect song – stands out as a very good song to listen to, the chorus probably the highlight. But my god, that unit is good.
Love∞Destiny: My opinion on this blows very hot and cold. Probably because literally every element of the song itself is the definition of ‘a mixed bag’. Well, the unit’s mostly alright. Karen, Miho, Riina and Chieri are fine; Mayu is not. The start of the song features a rare and inexplicable moment of good, but weird sounding yet strangely satisfying English, coming from no one in particular, but the rest of the song isn’t that memorable until the decent chorus. It’s strange to think I used to think this song wouldn’t be that great, probably largely on account of Mayu’s presence, but it’s not too bad. And yet there’s just something unerring about it, to me. Probably the tone it strikes. I don’t think it suits some of the other idols very well. Chieri most of all, probably.
Summer Carnival!!: Tears for the much-unloved Suzuho and Emi here. This is about the only thing most fans remember them for and they were stuck in one real hotchpotch of a unit. I mean, maybe if I squint I can justify it, but on paper having them with Mizuki, Akane and Yuko just does not seem that appealing. Still, you can’t deny the song they made has some gusto to it. There’s plenty of effort thrown behind it, but alas it’s not the greatest song in the world. But at least they tried.
BEYOND THE STARLIGHT: Starlight! If you’re a fan of mid-high tier idols which consensus agrees are no more, no less than ‘pretty good’, you needn’t look beyond…Beyond the Starlight. Rika, Chieri, Karen, Mizuki and Yui is the largely inoffensive, if a little odd, mix for a song that is another which I FC’d surprisingly early, in spite of it being fairly generic on the whole. Like really, it’s not even that memorable. A bit like the unit itself, really. Not good. Not bad. Just fine. But it’s a great song if you suddenly find yourself with a random urge to shout “Starlight”. Starlight!
Near to You: This is the best of the three jewelries’ combined songs, and yet I still wouldn’t take the 15-idol madness here. Even though I only dislike one of them. I mean, if you’re gonna throw that many idols on, you might as well turn the whole thing into a dancefloor for the audience. Although on second thoughts I don’t think 346 wants its idols stolen away. Anyway, you’d think, going off my statements earlier, that the Cool version would be my preferred choice. You’d be right, but one tiny aspect of their song always gets me: right at the start, the idols all drop a ‘yay’ at the start. The passions make a particularly impressive showing with their effort, and the cutes are fine too. But the cool’s attempt, hilariously, results in what has to be the single deadest example of the soundbyte in the series. When you look at the idols in it again, it’s not hard to see why. I suspect Kanade and Fumika did theirs with a gun to their head. (The former’s recent effort in Ding Dong Dang suggests I might be right.) It’s just bloody hysterical. Otherwise, real good song.
Kimi to Boku no Mirai: Ah, yes. This was their collab with Granblue Fantasy. It was alright, I suppose. Nothing worth blowing my frock up over, though. Granblue’s side of the coin, on the other hand…
Love Letter: The Cute type’s attempt at rivalling Triad Primus. They miss by about a million miles. Even though their song is not completely terrible.
STORY: When you think of a collab between NewGen and Triad Primus, you expect fireworks. What we got given instead was a song I’m pretty sure I heard at a wedding once. By itself, the song is probably fine. But considering the potential of what they had here, did it have to be this way?
Jet to the Future: The Riina-Natsuki
love-in duet the world wanted. The resulting tune, as you might expect, is highly impressive, and yet I suspect they could have gone even further with it. I suppose they didn’t want to make Riina look too much like a proper rocker. But really, this is fine.
Treasure: This is an interesting concept, and with Mika and Riina alongside NewGen it had the star power factor to be special, but I suspect that, at the time, Bamco didn’t really have the means to make it work. The music plays out more like a drama than a full-time song, but that sort of thing needs quality visuals to go with and Treasure doesn’t have much more to it than a kind of awkward MV. If they made something like it tomorrow, they’d probably make it work like a charm. The game’s MVs have evolved immensely since this point in its history, but this stands out as a case of a song that came too soon.
Aikurushii: This started the trend of taking a song from the Idol Collections and topping them up with extra idols to give them the magic five Deresute needed. First up was Aikurushii, a Sae and Mayu original given an extra boost of quality cute idols in Yukari and Kanako…and Kanade, for some reason. We’ll gloss over the song doing the equivalent of putting a white shirt in the red wash and instead focus on the fact it is really very good indeed. It’s as calming and relaxing as you could you possibly ask for, one of CG’s slowest songs. It’s all very sweet and innocent, and the vocals reflect that wonderfully. Even Mayu’s solos make me take some notice here, and then there’s Sae and Yukari’s silky voices. Kanako’s warm voice, meanwhile, is at its very best here. She is the standout performer here for me, even ahead of Kanade, whose low tones actually lend herself to this song just fine. This is a great effort all round, and it also stands as the first Pro song I ever FCd. You can call it the song I’m best at on Deresute, and I’m happy I can say that about such a good song.
Flip Flop: This was the second time a song got new idols, this one an Aiko and Akane affair added to by Shizuku, Tamami and Karin. From this, you’d expect an all types song – after all, Kanade’s presence alone was enough to make the otherwise all-Cute Aikurushii an all-type. And yet Flip Flop remained a passion song…even though it had literally every type in it. All we’re asking for is a bit of consistency… And this wasn’t the last time they’d drop this particular ball, either. The song itself is as fast-paced as you could possibly imagine, enough to get anyone jiving, but the actual music itself isn’t much more than ‘fairly good’. Also the whole thing seems to take place on a field, if the MV is anything to go by. Justifies Shizuku’s inclusion, at least.
EVERMORE: I have to get a bit mean now. Because Evermore stands out as one of those songs everyone likes…apart from me. I have numerous problems with it. First of all, there’s the unit. Yes, Mika is in it. No, even she can’t make up for the presence of Shiki, Miku and Chuunibyou United. Second, there’s the MV, which is incredibly overblown to me. When you see them rising up onto a stage with what must be about a million people surrounding it, you’re thinking “Well, blimey. They’re not being shy about this one.” And yet all I seem to hear is some relatively underwhelming trumpets, which gives off the weird double act of pomp and circumstance and relative indifference at the same time. If anything though, after all that hype, it’s the chorus that disappoints the most. It’s just so…lukewarm. You’d think they’d properly go for it for their fifth anniversary, and yet… There is just nothing there. So I’m sorry, but Evermore has to go down as one of the few songs in iM@s I don’t like. Like I said previously, though…they don’t need to get every single thing right to be good.
Ankira!? Kyousoukyoku: Anzu and Kirari’s crowning triumph, this is a song that’s about as insane as you’d expect from the pair of them. You will not be surprised to hear that this song is really, really popular. And as well it might be because Anzu and Kirari’s antics here are pretty great.
Inochi Moyashite Koiseyo Otome: Since the title is a bit of a mouthful, I tend to refer to this as ‘the old hags song’. Harsh, I know, but consider it a legacy from Touhou’s use of the term. As you might have guessed, this features all of the oldest idols (well, apart from Mizuki). They work well enough together, unless you have all their SSRs on hand, in which case Nana looks completely out of place. It was always thus with her. But the song itself is absolutely fine, better than fine even. There’s some great instrumentation throughout and some of the vocals work brilliantly.
Lunatic Show: You know how I was talking about Deresute’s hypocrisy in picking types for these idol collection songs? Well, how about a Cool song with one Cool idol in it. Genius. This Syoko and Koume original is redone with the addition of Yuki and those pillars of lunacy, Sachiko and Sae. Because they are of course exactly who you think of when you think of a hard rock song. This utterly bizarre unit choice aside, the song works well enough. It’s certainly an agreeable alternative to Syoko’s image song for me.
Sweet Witches’ Night ～Rokuninme wa Daare～: Behold this terrifying quintet of witches, including Airi with her terrifying lack of awareness, Nono with her terrifying negativity, Shizuku who…erm…well, she could knock you out with her tits, I guess. And… Kanako? I can’t think of anybody less scary than her. Nor Noriko, whose donuts aren’t the scariest thing ever, either. Still, let us not dwell on its unit; this is a fine song. It’s actually quite relaxing overall considering the theme, well-rounded in all musical aspects and it’s generally very easy on the ear. Oh, and I’ve FC’d this one plenty of times, too.
Angel Dream: Now, this was the collaboration with some taiko game called Taiko no Tatsujin. And I think it’s rather good. Rika, Riina and Chieri make for a fine trio and the song is really, really fun – especially the chorus. The vocals are particularly sweet to me. I enjoy this one.
Jounetsu Fun Fanfare: The passions attempt at matching Triad Primus this time. Again, it doesn’t really work out. It’s just too weird-sounding for my tastes.
Sakura no Koro: A song so traditional I came out from listening to it with a Japanese passport. It’s a fine and calm affair though, impressive in places and the unit is spot on. This is a good one.
∀NSWER: If you thought my opinion on Evermore was bad, wait till you see my opinion on Answer. If anything, I enjoy it even less. Again, the unit is a real problem here. Syoko works well with good colleagues around her, but she hasn’t got any here. Mirei…I don’t know about her, really. She seems like Koume without the surprisingly positive side to her. And Nono’s negativity annoys me deeply. So that’s a bad start. And it gets worse the instant the song starts. Call me mad, but I really do not like the instrumentation here. That sound which should be mimicking a guitar instead sounds like an actual angle grinder. It’s horrid. And the vocals don’t help matters, especially when they inexplicably (and badly) start autotuning them. Plus the MV appears to show them dancing in a darkened cage, which has inexplicable bits of metal flying around, and then suddenly and without any real explanation they’re on a stage. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense. Are they suggesting they’re performing inside the cage before they leap onto the stage, or something? Because no one can hear them down there, the silly idiots.
You know what else I’m not big on? Everyone is forever asking when its Starlight Master is gonna come out. I’m not sure whether I don’t want it because I don’t like the song (unless they provide a superb second image song to go with, or something else), or whether I do want it because it will stop people bloody asking “Answer when?”. Yes, Starlight Masters have slowed to a crawl and it troubles me as well. No, that doesn’t mean I want this one, too.
shabon song: The shanbon song continues the trend of entirely accurate idol collection songs by being a Cute song with only one Cute idol in it. The janbon song was originally Mika and Miho’s jam, a good combo to begin with, and adding Yumi, Haruna and Miria does it no harm whatsoever. It’s one of the stronger units for these sorts of songs, but the bonbon song itself is no more than decent. Also it appears to be a song mostly about bubbles. That’s interesting if you’re a West Ham fan, or Peter Drury, but not if you’re anything else. Still, at least Mika looks nice… Isn’t that right, Miho? In fact, Pinky’s lovely, distracting voice is probably the best part of the bourbon song.*
*Incidentally, it’s Mika’s seiyuu’s birthday as I write. Happy birthday. Keep that tokimeki escalated. Keep that voice of yours wonderful and distracting. And have mercy on me in Deresute, please.
Nocturne: The most spectacular of any of the Idol Collection songs. This is a Cool one and – voila – it actually has five Cool idols in it! Well done, guys. And not just that, but five idols who blend together incredibly well. Kaede and Mizuki’s original is bolstered by three more mature idols in Minami, Ryo and Kanade (yes, she showed up in two of these, the lucky girl). And the song they sing really is something else. Unlike some of iM@s’ attempts at epics, this one manages to hit the spot just right. It’s an incredibly powerful song.
Nothing but You: The MV for this is particularly interesting, I have to say. And the unit is pretty decent too…with the exception of Miku. I’ve seen a few people question just what the hell she’s doing in this song. The song itself is hardly the worst, but it feels a lot like the kind of song a popular band would do after they’ve claimed they’re ‘experimenting’ with different styles of music, only to find no one likes it. Not that no one likes this, of course. But personally, I think that while they could have done something pretty special with this, they didn’t quite pull it off to the best of its potential.
Mouretsu★Yonaoshi Guilty!: Blimey, this is quite something. Sexy Guilty is a unit to behold in the form of the stacked Sanae, the stacked Shizuku and…well, Yuko’s alright, I suppose. The song itself would probably take a back seat to this lot if it didn’t happen to be pretty good itself. It’s full of humour, yet is actually a very fun tune in its own right. They nailed this one, I say.
Yes! Party Time!!: I’ve seen plenty of people give this song love, and I can kind of see why. But while it’s pretty decent on the whole – as are the costumes they gave to everyone for it – it’s not as good as some perhaps make it out to be. This being the original version, of course. Few give credit to what Deresute did with its event version, which was to put LMBG in it. That wasn’t as well received.
With Love: A calm and actually half-decent song, and one I’ve FC’d a few times as well, despite the unit being a bit of a motley crew on the whole. Yuki, Yuuki and Yukari are all decent by themselves, as is Kirari, but together they don’t seem like they should work. Unless they were going for a tallness theme here. Kyoko isn’t the most inspiring idol either, but despite this the song manages to work. So I say, fair enough.
Little Riddle: Ah, now this is one of the most fun songs to listen to of them all. Even though the unit isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Anzu is a top tier leader, proving her place as the rap god in this song. Rika is good too, but I’m less inclined towards Mirei and Koume, although the former puts in a good shift here vocally. As for Asuka, well, blimey. I don’t see her fitting in with this lot at all. It doesn’t matter though. This is a lovely, lovely song and one I find myself singing to quite a lot. Well, Anzu’s rapping, anyway. So much so I kept on missing the actual all-important lyrics the other four were singing. Once I got out of that habit, I managed to FC it eventually. Good stuff.
Kawaii make MY day!: Here’s an interesting one; a Cute song where all the idols are actually relatively ordinary, but not so ordinary they bore you to tears. Yuka and Yukari are both good here, and I suppose Noriko is fine as well. And the song they make isn’t half bad as well. Nice and catchy actually. Lovely vocals as well, and even the composition is pretty decent on the whole.
Illusionista!: A grand show of a song this one, Illusionista is jazz with the wick turned up and it does all the little things very well indeed. I’ve already previously talked, at length, on how much I enjoy its MV on every single level, it’s a lot of fun to listen to, get up and dance to on the whole, and it even had the honour of introducing the 2D rich MVs which are just even more fun. It’s not perfect, mind. They’re releasing the Cinderella Master of this imminently but apparently the full version is rather uninspiring. And while Mio “HABBA GOOT NAIT” Honda does a fine job up front, along with Minami and Fumika, I’m not as enamoured with Mayu and Sachiko. But they don’t take away from what is undoubtedly a worthy song for Deresute’s 2nd anniversary.
Take me☆Take you: The 5th election song, which is actually perfectly alright musically…but not so strong in terms of the idols it got. Mio and Kaede are fine, but not as fine as Nono, Uzuki, Nana and Miku aren’t. And all the event version did was take out half the unit…including the only two good idols in it. And they didn’t even have the inclination to take Miku and Nono out. Still, if you gloss over this considerable flaw, this is actually fine.
Souyoku no Aria: A song so edgy I actually came out of it with a stab wound, this is the result of forming Chuuni United and getting Ranko and Asuka together. A song I assume so many people wanked over when it came out, I thought about rubbing my phone down with a damp cloth before playing it, just to make sure. It’s about what you’d expect – a song full of pomp and circumstance with a hugely overblown MV and all the drama you’d expect of these two drama queens. This is a song up about a million people’s streets, but I’m not one of those people. Still, full marks for effort.
Twin☆kle★Tail: They gave the Jougasakis a song together, too. And it too is about what you’d expect; it’s like listening to a normal song while being plugged into the actual mains. It’s chaotic, and some. Not catastrophic, however. And that’s fine because it’s pretty fun to listen to in some places. Weirdly, while I find this nigh impossible to FC on Pro (hey, that’s new for these sisters), it’s not quite as much of a handful on Master as I expected. Even the last segment of the song where it all goes a bit mental after the quiet section wasn’t as bad as I remembered it after the first time. Which gives you all the more time to admire the immense production value that went into its MV. If you compared anything from the early days to this, your mind would be blown. It’s genuinely impressive.
Halloween♥Code: Hmm. The song is all lovely and sweet, surprising for a Halloween tune, but again it’s the unit that lets it down. And it only has three idols in it. Two of which are Nana and Miku. Dearie me. Still, Yuuki is nice to have…
Akikaze ni Te o Futte: This was the first of the seasons songs they put into the game, songs which seem like they get their units by pulling names from a hat. Still, some of them aren’t entirely hopeless. Like this one, which has a wholly decent trio of Riina, Yuka and Yumi. And the song they sing is good as well. One of the better slow-tempo ones. They’ve all got fairly attractive voices, as it turns out. And I think they shine quite well in this song.
Kimi no Soba de Zutto: The other 5th election song, and again one which is about as good/bad as the nine-idol unit, only halved. Kaede remains but so do Uzuki and Nono. And this song does not have the relative loveliness of its A-side to bolster it. It’s a more relaxing song, much as Tsubomi was to Absolute Nine, but this one is just plain boring. A lot of users joke about nodding off on some slower songs, which usually I think is a bit harsh, but it really does sum this one up for me. The event version is a bit more interesting, mind. Ayame, Tamami and Karin is a nice mix, which makes up for their relative averageness as individuals.
Trinity Field: So, everybody loved Triad Primus so much they got another song. Which, when they announced it, was terrific. Mind you, it was hard to see how they could possibly better Trancing Pulse, literally one of the best songs in the entire series. As indeed they didn’t. Not for the want of trying, though. They threw in all the symbolism in the world into what is a very overbearing MV, so much so you can only take it in in full in 3D rich. Sadly, if I try to play it on my phone in 3D rich, I end up with a lot of lag and a phone that feels like it’s on fire. So for instance, instead of having their silhouettes on that triangle at the start I just end up with…nothing. So it just looks like an inexplicable triangle spinning around. It’s very confusing and yet probably sums up the theme of the MV by itself. But, away from these bizarre moments and far too many triangles, the song itself is, as you’d expect, pretty great. I hear instruments from different series entirely in places (is this just a Nao thing?), but on the whole it is, predictably, very impressive. By itself, it’s a fine song…but not as good as Trancing Pulse. And that’s fine. Because topping that would have been nigh on impossible. But they had to be seen to be trying. So they had to go at least a bit over the top with this. It’s a bit like what Final Fantasy 8 was to 7. I like FF8 a lot, though. And I like Trinity Field a lot, too. The question is…which unit will get a second song next? Sexy Guilty? Love Laika? …LiPPS?!
Koi ga Saku Kisetsu: Bamco must have been chomping at the bit when they got the chance to voice five new idols with the 6th election. You know what else has five idols in it? Starlight Stage songs! So they introduced the new idols to the series all at once in Starlight Stage by giving them a song together…albeit the song that also happened to be the 6th election song anyway, but we’ll gloss over that. Presumably the full version will be added to the game accordingly, which is fine, given the only real bad idol of the lot is Mayu. But as for the five new ones, well, their debut isn’t anything too special. The instrumentation is alright on the whole but there’ve been much better songs than this.
Fuyuzora Precious: Unlike the autumn colours, with which they actually used the main song, the winter colours just had the passion song instead. Probably partly because the main winter song is a bit of a waste of my two favourite idols (and Miho), and partly because this one is actually quite action packed. The instrumentation is not great, and the unit is remarkably average at best, but it’s composed very well and is a lot of fun to listen to. Sometimes you can get by without being perfect, you see.
Happy New Yeah!: They brought out NewGen for this latest new year song, and their guest stars on this occasion are the currently trending Shin and the lovely silky tones of Kanako. Lovely silky tones which are entirely wasted on this song because it is wholly unremarkable. It’s another basic round of J-pop from NewGen, which isn’t completely terrible and is sort of the point, but it could have been more. It should have been more.
Bi ni Iri Sai o Ugatsu: It’s Kyoto: The Song, as they get Syuko and Sae together for a song that…is not done by IOSYS. Missed a trick there, boys. Mind you, the result is still pretty epic regardless. It’s all sorts of hectic and it’s a riveting song to listen to. The MV also happened to blow absolutely everyone’s mind, and rightly so. It is very well choreographed and seriously dramatic, inexplicably flying umbrellas be damned. A worthy song for a unit people were waiting for.
always: As is customary with the election album’s B-sides, this is a calm affair next to the more intense nine-idol bonanzas. That worked fine with Tsubomi, but they didn’t match it next time out and they haven’t matched it this time either. There’s a fine margin between making a slow-paced song beautiful or boring, and this comes out on the boring side. Also, Starlight Stage opted to shun the original in favour of doing one with the five newest voiced idols…again. Their version, inevitably, is worse, since they’re removing two great voices in Kaede and Mio from the original. They’re milking this lot for all they’re worth, aren’t they? I’m pretty sure I didn’t see the statement where they said these five would be the main characters from now on. Again though, we can expect the original to come round in Deresute at some point in the distant future. So that’s alright, I suppose.
Blimey, that was a lot of songs, wasn’t it? All that’s left to do is finish up the last of the image songs and I’ve covered the lot. I’ve left the second half of those for last, and for a very good reason…