I hope all my fellow Americanos had a great turkey day. Now it’s time to eat cereal and play Kinect all day. T__T Anyway! A few days ago, Erina Mano’s PV of her last single, NEXT MY SELF, was released. I must say, I was extremely moved.
I’ve never been much of a fan of Erina Mano–actually, she was always at the bottom of my list when I did Hello! Project rankings. However, over the past year, I’ve warmed up to her quite a bit. I’m not sure what made me do that. I think I realized that she’s human and not a evil, screechy-voiced demon out to kill everyone. Yeah, for that reason, I nearly hated her guts. But that’s not fair! I don’t know her as a person and here she is, the loneliest member of Hello! Project and I’m just trying to hurt her more.
Mano is a woman now. It’s weird to finally say that. It seems that adulthood becomes the reason why most members move on: Ai Takahashi, Risa Niigaki, and now, Reina Tanaka and Erina Mano.
The PV really only contains two shots, one of which is contiguous. Mano starts out singing in what looks like a parking lot in a white flowergirl dress(that’s what it looks like to me, lol). As she progresses in the parking lot, various people come up to greet her. First, two schoolgirls, next a business woman and man, then a housewife, then a random dude, and last, a pair of morons who bust their asses. At first, I thought these were the fans that Mano asked for from her fanclub. But once they started to dance, I knew they were hired.
The group continues walking as the fans finally come in. Of course, no one should be surprised that there is a majority of males; the only female I see is on the extreme left. The fans act as an audience, cheering her on behind her as she dances and sings. It’s a great touch considering I’ve never seen any other group or artist incorporate their fans into music videos. It’s nice that the fans are able to be supportive in a way other than seeing her last concert or buying her last CD.
The video ends in probably the most touching way ever. As the fans and dancers file out, Mano runs behind the previous crowd into another huge group of fans. With her arm out, she runs parallel to them, as if to magically flip over the squares that they hold. The squares spell out NEXT MY SELF. Mano comes back out, close to the camera in a very casual outfit. She looks at the fans then smiles into the camera.
I have to admit, I did tear up watching this. From what I can see, the PV contains a lot of symbolism that makes it that much better. I really couldn’t care less that it only has two shots; the fact that they actually put care into this video makes it so much more memorable. First off, the fans. Like I mentioned, I haven’t seen any other video that incorporates fanclub members like this video did. Not only is that extremely innovative, but it’s a great moment for those fans. They have a memory that will stay with them past Mano’s graduation.
Secondly, the use of the dancers. At first, you might think, “Why didn’t they let the fans dance?” And sure, that might have been even cuter, but it could’ve been messy. In a sense, I think the dancers represented the fans. Did you notice how each of them had a very different outfit on? Two were business people, two were schoolgirls, another looked like she was simply working out–they all came from different backgrounds. I think this showed that no matter what your age, no matter what you do, or what your gender is, you are allowed to be a fan. Idols are there to entertain and make the audience forget about the daily stresses of life. These dancers proved how different all fans are from each other and still, they are there for the same reason: they love that idol.
Lastly, the use of the wardrobe on Mano. In the parking lot, Mano is dressed in what I described as a flowergirl dress. In the other lone shot, she is dressed in very casual clothing, hair straightened and all. I think these wardrobe differences represent the idol side and the normal side of Erina Mano. On one hand, she has to be this upbeat and fun idol in funky clothing and frilly dresses, while on the other hand, she’s a woman who is ready for normalcy.
The final word I want to add about this song is about the song itself. The song isn’t as different and unexpected as Song for the DATE, but I still really like it. It has a calm, light-hearted sound that is perfect for a graduating Mano. I really don’t think a crazy, hardcore song would have matched the girl that Mano is. Even though Mano still sounds like she’s doubled by someone or herself, she doesn’t sound too bad. I still don’t think she’s a powerhouse, but she has surprisingly good control here. Singing lessons paid off well, Tsunku!
In conclusion, yes, I like this. Mano finally looks like the woman she is, finally sounds like the woman she is, and is finally off to do something that she wants to do. Next, is herself. Next, is adulthood.
02. Seishun Rainbow
03. NEXT MY SELF (Instrumental)
The single will release on December 12th.