Better Late Than Never!: Chobi’s Review on A6 “Mokugekisha” Shonichi

So I’ve been sick for almost a week now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the only good that comes out of being under the weather is that being under house arrest gives you (well me, at least) a chance to rest up, gather your thoughts, and work on some writing.
So I figure while I cook up some ideas for short stories and fan fictions, I may as well write a review for Team A’s new stage, complete with Takamina-centric review and picspam ^_^

Set List
00. Miniskirt no Yosei (Zenza Girls)
01. Mokugekisha
02. Zenjin Mitou
03. Ibitsu na Shinju
04. Akogare no Popstar
-MC-
05. Ude wo Kunde (Nakaya Sayaka, Maeda Atsuko, Kuramochi Asuka)
06. Enjou Rousen (Takajo Aki, Sashihara Rino)
07. Itoshisa no Akuseru (Takahashi Minami)
08. Hoshi no Mukougawa (Nakata Chisato, Kojima Haruna, Oota Aika, Iwasa Misaki)
09. Saboten to Gold Rush (Ooya Shizuka, Katayama Haruka, Maeda Ami, Shinoda Mariko, Matsubara Natsumi, Nakagawa Haruka)
-MC-
10. Utsukushiki Mono
11. Ai wo Kure
12. Matenrou no Kyori
-MC-
13. Inochi no Imi
ENCORE
14. I’m crying
15. Zutto Zutto
16. Pioneer

First let me just say that I’m terribly sorry for the delay in post this; I rewatched the stage a few times in order to gather as much detail about the songs and performances as possible. I also decided to take screencaps, which also was time consuming, and writing the review in general look a lot longer than I thought (about 2 or 3 days of writing and 7 full Word document pages ^^;). But anyway, I’ll shut up now: Let Chobi’s long ass review begin! A6 IKUZEEE!!!!!!

00. Miniskirt no Yosei (Zenza Girls)

 

Like K6 and B5 before it, A6 starts out with the Kenkyuusei based Zenza Girls. To be honestly, I don’t have much to say about this song. I mean it’s cute and all, but it’s not memorable to me. I don’t find the chorus or beat or anything about it getting stuck in my head, which is rather a disappointment since I love their two previous songs, Lemon no Toshigoro and Romance no Kakuranbo. I love me my idol pop as much as the next girl, but there’s something about those slower based ballad-like songs that are just unf. Still, Miniskirt no Yosei is pretty adorable – it reminds me like a very girly version of an old school video game song, haha.
Anyway, I digress… Onward to A6!
Minishirt no Yosei Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (3/10 stars)

01. Mokugekisha

Here we go, first song of the stage, and it happens to be the stage’s title song. I found this a little surprising, since rarely is the stage title song the first song of the stage (wow, is that a tongue twister or what!), but whatever. Mokugekisha is a pretty cool number: it starts with footage… of some sort… I think RSL kindly pointed out that it was footage from the Berlin Wall. Anyway after that the footage cuts off and the actual song begins. Let me just say: Best. Opening. EVER! The girls are lying down on the stage as if they were corpses, and as boring and plain looking the jackets they’re wearing look the opening is pretty boss ^_^ As they start singing the girls slowly rise up in groups, and ugh, it’s just so darn cool! The chorus is also mega catchy (“We are eye witnesses”); to me it seems like the girls are telling a story. I so can’t wait until the official lyrics are posted to know everything they’re singing about.
Mokugekisha Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10 stars)

02. Zenjin Mitou

Second song of the stage! I was disappointed at first when the girls started dancing with the Mokugekisha coats still on – I was like “Damn, more boring coats!” but then they took them off and ta-da! – revealed cute cut-sew looking sparklie cap sleeve dresses. So cute! The song itself is very catchy, especially during the chorus. It’s neither a ballad or an especially heart accelerating song. I don’t want to call it ‘boring’ or ‘normal’, but you get what I mean – it’s neither super fast nor super slow.  It’s precisely the middle ground from which it can be classified into is what makes it flow well. The dance is also very nice and matches the song well – I especially like the hip swishing and clapping parts.
Zenjin Mitou Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10 stars)

03. Ibitsu na Shinju

This is the first song on the stage that made me scream “**** YES!!!” It’s such a cool song and I absolutely love everything about it – I’ve had it on repeat ever since the audio rips came out. The first beats in the intro vaguely remind me of the part right before the first verse in “One For All and One For All” by H!P All Stars (yeah, don’t ask).

Anyway this is the first song of the stage that makes me think “Wow, this would be great to see live!” mostly because of the awesome dance moves throughout the song, and of course, THE TAKAMINA DANCE SOLO RIGHT IN THE BEGINNING!❤❤❤ (Ok, so technically Mariko is dancing with her too, but she’s all the way on the other side of the stage and the camera focuses more on Takamina.) What really hooked me about this song were the girls’ solo lines (Haruna and Acchan before the first chorus; Takamina and Mariko before the second), and of course, the chorus. Unlike most songs, however, it’s the end of the chorus that I really love, when the girls say “Ai no shinjitsu” and then go “Ooooooh” or whatever it is. There’s something a little bit haunting about it that really stood out to me and makes me love the song.

Also, another reason this is a great song to watch live is because of the costume change – it happens so fast! I didn’t notice it until the second or third time I watched the song live. It’s safe to assume the girls wore the dresses – which are red plaid and covered with black ruffles and strings of pearl, fucking adorable – underneath the Zenjin Mitou costumes, which were in turn underneath the Mokugekisha coats (This can also explain the lack of intricate dance steps in the first two numbers. Layers of clothing + hot lights = icky). Once again the choreography is amazing; a lot of movement, a lot of awesome dance steps, which range from point, to sort of jogging in place like steps, and shuffling around the stage.

Ibitsu na Shinju Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

04. Akogare no Popstar

OMG. ADORABLE MUCH??? This song is sooo cute and catchy, and definitely suited my classic idol J-pop craving. To be honest I’m a little biased, since I decided I loved the song based on the title alone before I even heard it. I mean c’mon, “Admirable Popstar”?  It’s like the girls are singing about themselves, it’s totally adorable.

While high paced like Ibitsu, Akogare no Popstar is definitely more on the cute end of the spectrum than cool, so the girls’ movements are even more energetic (once again, I love the clapping hand gestures) and their facial expressions really light up: especially Takamina. I mean look at her, she looks so damn happy and genki – she really shines here.

Not only does Takamina make the song a great viewing experience, but the lyrics are also adorable. From the bits and piece I can understand the girls are saying like “You’re a popstar… I understand but… look over here… an awesome popstar…” and I hear them talking about smiles and hockey and sexiness and rivals at some parts.  In short: totally adorable, and it makes the perfect idol theme song / idol shoujo anime opening.
Akogare no Popstar Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

So if I had to rank the first set of songs: Ibitsu na Shinju/Akogare no Popstar > Zenjin Mitou > Mokugekisha.

I didn’t review the MC, or any of the MCs for that matter, because, well, I don’t understand everything the girls are saying. Takamina’s introduction was really cute and energetic though, and Acchan was so adorable when she went to announce the song titles. I think she was nervous because she kept saying “Mokugekisha” a couple of times, chuckled it off, then apologized and continued on. In either event it was definitely amusing to watch, so I highly recommend people check out the full LOD!

Now, onto the unit songs!

05. Ude wo Kunde (Nakaya Sayaka, Maeda Atsuko, Kuramochi Asuka)

After, as RSL referred to it, ‘the longest pause in the universe’, the first unit song of the stage begins – Ude no Kunde. Oh. My. GOD. I absolutely adore this song! Like I said before, there’s nothing more in life than appreciating a gorgeous, amazing J-pop ballad. To be honest I love Acchan but I don’t see why people go crazy over her voice, but performance is absolutely stellar here. Mocchi is amazing as always – I’ve always loved her voice, and she’s so freaking pretty (I also argue that she’s the only girl on the planet who can look mature and cool with her hair in pigtails). Unfortunately I can’t say as much about Sayaka; to be honest I’m not familiar with her, and whenever I listen to this song I tend to forget she’s a part of the unit. In my defense I feel like Acchan and Mocchi both overpower her voice, plus poor Sayaka doesn’t get any solo lines. What I do admire about her though are her piano playing skills – I was so excited to see a girl sitting at a piano when the lights went back up! (In future performances however she’s been dancing along with Acchan and Mocchi).

In addition to more Sayaka exposure, another bonus of seeing Ude no Kunde live is seeing the girls in costume. All three of them wear white dresses with flower looking hair pieces and bands on their arms. Acchan wears a flower around her upper right arms and left wrist, Mocchi wears a longer one on her lower right arm, and Sayaka wears a rather large one on her left shoulder. In either event all the girls look pretty and the song is unf.
Ude no Kunde Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

06. Enjou Rousen (Takajo Aki, Sashihara Rino)

Unfortunately I don’t have much to say about this song. I have to admit it is real cool, and Aki and Sasshi have excellent vocals here, but it’s definitely not uber memorable to me. The costumes are pretty cool though – Aki in blue, Sasshi in hot pink – and chorus is really cool, especially whenever they say “Enjou!” However, despite the fact that it’s not one of my favorite songs of the stage and I’m not fangasming over it like the other songs, I would like to know what the lyrics mean. It seems like a really cool song, but simply not my cup of tea.
Enjou Rousen Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10 stars)

07. Itoshisa no Akuseru (Takahashi Minami)

So whilst I was writing this review, and was writing my thoughts on the songs preceding Itoshisa no Akuseru, I came to the conclusion that screencaps alone would not do Takamina justice (furthermore I realized it was extremely difficult to get a decent screencap with all the dancing). So with that in mind, enjoy the following video:

Now before I get on to the actual review, I would just like to say one thing: I CALLED A TAKAMINA SOLO MONTHS AGO SO YEAH, LOOK WHO WAS RIGHT PEOPLE!!!!! <3333333 I knew it, I knew it, I absolutely knew it was coming. I could tell as soon as B5 came out. Sayaka, Team K captain, got a solo in K5, Yukirin, Team B captain, got a solo in B5, so it was only fair that Takamina, captain of Team A, would get the say in A6.

Woo. Yeah. Ok so anyway now that I got that off my chest, moving on to Itoshisa no Akuseru…

BEST THREE MINUTES AND FORTY-FIVE SECONDS OF MY LIFE!!!

But seriously, the song, the performance, Takamina, everything about it is perfect. The opening is pure epic win, from Takamina emerging from some secret door, to Aki and Sasshi leading her in. Sooo much win. Then you get a good look at her outfit. My initial response: Takamina is a prince!!!!! Seriously, she looks like some noble knight… or at least like she stepped out of some action anime or RPG. The black sparkles, the silver trim, the baggy pants and black boots, the Card Captor Sakura looking thing on her head…. All awesome (I also figured Takamina must have been happy with the outfit; as stated in her Shukan AKB 100 Questions she said her favorite color was black ^^). Oh, and one more thing: THE SWORD!!!! So freaking cool, especially when she takes it out and starts dancing and slashing it around during the bridge ^_^

And speaking of slashing her sword around…. The dance? Fast-paced, energetic, and epic: very much like Takamina herself❤

Ok… mini fangirl rant over ^_^
Itoshisa no Akuseru Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

08. Hoshi no Mukougawa (Nakata Chisato, Kojima Haruna, Oota Aika, Iwasa Misaki)

 

I’ll try and keep this short: Love love love love LOVE this unit! The girls sound amazing together, the lyrics (the bits I understand) are gorgeous, and the costumes are so cutesy and girly. They’re sort of similar to Ude no Kunde’s, only cuter – the girls’ skirts are ruffly (almost like Lolita), and Lovetan and Wasamin look like milkmaids in their costumes, which I consider a good thing.  The song itself is a ballad, and I feel it’s great to listen to when you’re in a day-dreamy or “in love” kind of mood. Haruna also leads it, which could be another reason why I’m so biased (Kojiharu is my third favorite AKB member ^_^).
Hoshi no Mukougawa Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

09. Saboten to Gold Rush (Ooya Shizuka, Katayama Haruka, Maeda Ami, Shinoda Mariko, Matsubara Natsumi, Nakagawa Haruka)

I don’t have much of an opinion on this song. To be honest I was a little sad when I realized there was another leftover unit because I really wanted to see Harugon and Natsumi get a lot of attention as part of the new Team A. Instead they were put in a filler group… with Mariko leading (To be honest I don’t really care for Mariko all that much, although I’m trying to like her). I have to admit though the chorus is pretty catchy, and the costumes are bitchin’: the two of them conbined gives the song a sort of  “western” feel. However, aside from that, there’s not much else I like… I’m sorry, I just can’t get into a song about cactuses and gold rushes.

Oh, and am I the only person who thought of Saboten no Himitsu when I saw the title?
Saboten to Gold Rush Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (3/10 stars)

And that’s it for the unit songs. Overall ranking Itoshisa no Akuseru > Hoshi no Mukougawa > Ude no Kunde > Enjou Rousen > Saboten to Gold Rush.

(If the review starts failing and getting shorter, word and picture wise, from this point forward I’m sorry – I just wanted it to be over xD)

10. Utsukushiki Mono

 

Can someone say Ibitsu na Shinju 2 (Not sound wise but epic-ness wise)? HELL YES!!!! This song is…. Ugh so much unf, words can’t explain how much I love it. The lyrics are so exotic, erotic, and addicting, and the song itself has an excellent flow to it. The costumes also match it quite well: sexy, red, somewhat flamenco-esque frilly dresses.

What I love the most about Utsukushiki Mono is the chorus: it’s really unique in that as all the girls are singing in unison, one of the four front girls (Takamina, Acchan, Haruna, and Mariko) will speak the lyrics. The way it both stands out and blends so well with the other girls’ voices… god, it’s amazing. I think what really pulls it all together is that as the speaking girl is speaking the other girls gather around her, as if they’re phrasing an idol (if you’ve seen the translation to the song, it works sooo freaking well).

And can I just take a moment to fangirl over Takamina’s speaking part? Takamina speaks during the second chorus and oh. My. GOD. HER VOICE. IT GETS SO DEEP. <333 Again I felt like I was listening to a prince, she was so cool ^^
Utsukushiki Mono Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

11. Ai wo Kure

Shortest review yet: Pass. It’s not that I think the song is horrible, it’s just that I don’t find anything about it that makes me scream “OMG this song is awesome~!”, although I do essentially enjoy each and every song from this stage. I do however like the chorus and how the girls sing “Give me ai, give me ai wo kure” but aside from that I found the song to be rather bland.
Ai wo Kure Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ (4/10 stars)

12. Matenrou no Kyori

 

6 words: This should have been a single. Absolutely love this song to pieces, and I can’t wait until it’s performed in concert❤ The lighting during the chorus also gets you pumped and really energetic ^^ Let me just add I’m pretty sad they didn’t do another costume change at this point; I felt like 2 songs was more than enough of the red dresses, and I could have totally seen the girls rocking this song out wearing more comfortable yet cute clothes, like summer tops and t-shirts with jean shorts.
Matenrou no Kyori Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

13. Inochi no Imi

 Love the song, and it was great seeing another slower paced, almost ballad-esque song in the stage. I think the lyrics also have a good, strong meaning to them, and once again I can’t wait to read the translations. I also like the ‘serious’ sound to it. I am not, however, a fan of the costumes. It looks like Team A raided a crossover of a marching band and the Brady Bunch’s wardrobes.
Inochi no Imi Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10 stars)

ENCORE, FINALLY!!!

14. I’m crying

 


Initial and still current thoughts: it sounds like it was ripped straight from the 90s from either The Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears. Despite that, I like it – the costumes are mega cute (school uniforms! <3), and the lighting, dance, and beat makes it a really fierce number. You also gotta love the girls curling their fingers to first look like claws, then as they move them down their faces to look like tears.
I’m crying Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10 stars)

15. Zutto Zutto

I basically have the same feelings for Zutto Zutto as I do for Matenrou no Kyori. I LOVE this song! The energy from the girls is honestly really breathtaking, and this is another number I would live to see either live or performed in a larger arena. The lyrics are so dawww too: “Always, always, I’ll be by your side…” – How can you not love that???❤ It make me think of what would of happened if Oogoe Diamond, Aitakatta, and Kimi to Niji to Taiyou to met up, had a threesome, and then had a baby: This is their baby😀

AND TAKAMINA SOLO LINE OPENING FTW!!!!!!😀

Oh and while not Takamina related, let me just say I love how Natsumi looked in this song: all smiles and totally genki. You go girl! ^_^
Zutto Zutto Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

16. Pioneer


To be honest when I read the title I really didn’t think I’d like the song, but then I saw everyone raving about it. I was so excited to get to it, and when I finally did I was so happy❤.

FINALLY Team A gets a team song, and not one about AKB48 in general. To be honest I always wondered why Team A never had their own song, and it stuck out to me especially back when the sports fest occurred. The winning team was allowing to sing one song, and for Team A it was AKB Sanjou!, Team K had Korogaru Nishi ni Nare, and I’m pretty sure Team B had Wasshoi! B (I think it was either that or Shonichi). In either event, it made me realize how up until now Team A never really had a team song of their own, so I was so happy they finally got it now. Chiimu A wa Pioneer dayo!

Honestly, it’s such a great song, so kick-ass, and made me so proud to be a Team A and Takamina fan. What a way to end a stage and keep you craving more❤.
Pioneer Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

So yeah… here’s what I thought of Team A 6th Stage “Mokugekisha”’s shonichi in a nutshell:

Favorite songs: Itoshisa no Akuseru, Utsukushiki Mono, Matenrou no Kyori, Ibitsu no Shinju, Pioneer, Akogare no Popstar
Favorite costumes: Ibitsu na Shinju, Saboten to Gold Rush, I’m crying
Favorite dances: Itoshisa no Akuseru, Ibitsu no Shinju, Akogare no Popstar, Utsukushiki Mono
Favorite member: Takahashi Minami
Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10 stars)

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