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Mano Erina to Graduate From Hello! Project July 22, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Blog Stuff, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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As I’m sure you all know by now, Mano Erina is going to graduate from Hello! Project on February 23rd. You can read translations of the official announcements here.

I must say I’m surprised to see that H!P is letting go of their only soloist. Her career seemed pretty solid as her sales were always decent and she still has her youth. Judging by the official comments it seems she just wants out of the idols business and to take a different turn in her career.

Mano has always been a bit of a sore topic for me as I’ve always felt that I’ve wanted more from her. While I won’t deny that she has grown into an impressive performer over the years, she has yet to really bring the whole package together. Her singing never matured to a point that I’d like to see, and I’ve never felt that she has ever really had a “great” song. Sure, she has had some “good” songs, heck, even a few great PV’s but no singular release that I can point to and go, “Yup, that’s why Manoeri is such a great idol.”

The frustrating thing is that I have no doubt she is capable of it. She already has most of the pieces, I just hope by the time of her graduation she can complete the puzzle. It would be a crying shame otherwise.

In more upbeat news: NEW HEADERS! After more than two years of using the same header, Isilie was kind enough to make some new ones for me. I’ll be rotating them every couple of days so keep a look out for them!


Mano Erina -『My Days for You』 August 14, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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Now, when a person normally goes to talk about a new release they generally do it around the time of initial availability of that said release. Personally, I think that’s become rather passé. I mean wouldn’t you really rather read about it two weeks later? Well then it’s your lucky day!

Now, I’ll say first off I’m not quite overly smitten with the song itself. It’s sweet and pleasant, but nothing spectacular. It does fit her voice quite well, though. Mano has this kind of inherent sweetness to her voice and I do think it complements the lyrics and arrangement for this particular song. One one hand I’m a bit impressed by how well they have tailored this release to suit her (though I guess this should be expected as she is a soloist), but on the other I can’t help but be a little disappointed that she isn’t being pushed a bit more by a more challenging song.

What I am rather smitten with is the PV. To put it frankly, it really is quite fantastic. Take a look for yourself:

I’m almost astonished at not only how well directed it is, but also the raw quality of the cinematography. Personally I think it’s probably the best H!P PV I’ve seen this entire year. There aren’t any crazy flashing lights, extras or back-up dancers to distract you. It’s just Mano, her camera and some beautiful scenery.

I'm a complete sucker for bright blue skies.

Throughout the PV there is rather extensive use of tilt-shift style photography to simulate a shallow depth of field. Here it is put to good use to make it seem like Mano is in some sort of small model or diorama. I also rather enjoy the framing of this shot with her sitting on the monkey bars.

I love how the angle here make it look like the apartment building extends on forever.

A soft focus and a slightly exaggerated level of brightness give this shot a very pleasant feeling I would say is reminiscent of Summer's morning

There are quite a few shots of Mano riding on a bus and these too are quite well done. The environment outside of the bus's windows is nearly blindingly bright and gives the interior of the bus a cheerful feeling.

The ending few scenes of the PV contrast with the rest by being shot at sunset. Not too much to say here except that they're quite beautiful.

I know I’ve complimented Mano in the past for having some pretty good PVs but this one truly raises the bar. The thoughtfulness of nearly every shot is rather refreshing when compared to the usual studio dance numbers that are the norm. I can’t help but hope that this sort of style will catch on a bit for the rest of H!P in the near future.