Major debuts are always fun. I’ve only had the privilege of seeing S/mileage’s debut, so I’m very glad Kikkawa can finally have her own. I finally got her single today and I couldn’t wait to blog about it. I’m not going to review it (in fact I’m letting go of the entire “review” concept entirely), but I will try to talk objectively about it. I won’t talk about her storied history (quick recap: lost out to Aika in the 2006 Morning Musume audition, was made part of Hello! Pro Egg, joined anime unit MilkyWay with Kusumi Koharu and Kitahara Sayaka before finally debuting), but will instead concentrate on the single itself.
What S/mileage began, Kikkawa has continued. There is finally a reason for fans to pick up more than one edition of this single. The inclusion of different coupling songs for different editions is genius and I’m betting a lot of die-hard fans picked up every edition, even more so than they usually do. I took a different approach and decided to only pick one. I listened to rips of all couplings and decided Sayonara Namida was my favorite. I do this because I strongly believe that (much like with Koi ni Booing Buu’s Limited D) there are marketing (and recording) people out there who are watching the sales numbers of the different editions and will base her future style on those sales.
The songs themselves are great. Kikkake wa YOU! is almost cliché idol pop, but when you’re watching the PV and are seeing Kikka’s facial expressions, you can’t help but smile. Sayonara Namida goes quite deeper and truly shows Kikka’s potential. I know I shouldn’t say this but Kikka sort of is Matsuura Aya if she hadn’t started singing slow (and often boring) songs. The whole package is there, the facial expressions, the choreography, everything.
One last thing. Unlike other acts from UFA, Kikka is under Universal. This has had some positive effects like massive amounts of promotion as well as a decent Oricon ranking (a bit better than Mano Erina’s last single). It’s also had some negative effects like the fact that I can’t find this song on the various international iTunes stores. We may harp on UFA but that is one of the few things they have done right. Nearly all releases from 2009 on have appeared on the various iTunes stores. Universal really needs to adress this. Also, as far as I know, since she technically isn’t under H!P, she won’t be participating in the various H!P concerts which is a real shame. The best indication for this is that while she opened the last H!P winter concerts she wasn’t featured on the DVD’s. I read somewhere that some fan had already envisioned a one-shot unit with Mano Erina called “ME and YOU”. Looks like that’s off the table, at least for the moment.
Still, I’ll be following her efforts with great interest and so should you. Or to say it in geekspeak: the Force is strong in this one.