The Ultimate Conquest – A HANGRY&ANGRY Review

Long time no post, as usual. Pardon real life taking over for, oh I don’t know…practically a year? HA!

So what better way to return (for the time being) than with a review about one of my favorite duos, HANGRY&ANGRY!

 

So, it’s been roughly a year and a half since the girls released “Top Secret” and the Sadistic Dance album. Holy hell, what a wait, right? I was beginning to think this group was going to kick the can like several other unfortunate groups under the UFA. After all, when you’re under that company, it’s hard to get passed that 1st album slump. But thank goodness, the HANGRY&ANGRY have gotten off life support and are ready to reconquer your hearts.

Too cheesy? Sorry, but let me have my fun. It’s been way too long.

What’s there to really say about this single? Let’s start with their new look, shall we?

The girls decided to put their darker punk/goth wardrobe back into the closet and traded them in for something lighter. The white outfits were a nice touch for this particular concept. If anything, it’s a breath of fresh air to see them rocking a different color pallet (aside from their signature pink and blue). But of course, while staying true to their name, the girls are still in their respective outfit styles, with Yossi wearing a much more punk-styled outfit and Rika donning a lolita dress (with that signature garter of hers lol); it seems the girls were rummaging through H!P’s wardrobe, because they’re wearing those fantastic boots that I’d kill to have in my own wardrobe. I obviously wouldn’t be able to rock it as well, but a girl can dream.

Once again, Yossi’s hair manages to defy the laws of gravity, going all super saiyan with streaks of pink. No, this isn’t Goku reincarnated – it’s obviously better. Rika, on the other hand, seems to be getting a haircut with every single the group releases. I’m not sure if this is her call or what (I briefly recall her complaining about how heavy and hot her wig was, so I can’t exactly blame her), but her stage wig totally reflects her current personal preference for short hair. LET IT GROW OUT WOMAN! 

Yet as I fight a futile battle against Rika’s hair preference, we’ll move on to the next matter at hand: the single “Reconquista” itself. When I first heard the title, I wondered why they chose the title. I mean, it’s so Spanish (not that there’s anything wrong with that)! But hey, who was I to judge anyway? After the title was discovered, the single covers were next on the chopping block.

There were two single covers released: The one directly above, and the first image of this entire post. The one directly above does a great job of being very simple, yet easy on the eyes. The colors are very subtle and whatnot blah blah blah, and with all the HANGRY&ANGRY dolls strewn about the fence in the PV. It’s simple, it’s boring *yawn* The other single cover is the one at the very top of this post. It’s very reminiscent of their “Kill Me Kiss Me single cover, with the girls very close to a heavily anticipated liplock.  And once again, that’s it. Very simple, very to the point, but as a fan, this cover is obviously the winner of the battle. Just sayin’. This is saying something, as I’m not exactly one of the more rabid IshiYoshi fans out there.

Moving on.

As the day painstakingly dragged on yesterday, a 30 second teaser link via iTunes was released and fans were treated to a very short preview of the girls’ latest single. It was a mere 30 second teaser of the chorus of the song, which was enough to pique interest or destroy it entirely. Luckily for me, it was the former. When the full single was released via iTunes, I bought it without hesitation (YOU GUYS SHOULD BUY IT TOO! SUPPORT OUR GIRLS! CLICK HERE!) and although I was a bit worried, I took a gander at my purchase and fangirled for the duration of the song.

Not really sure why I freaked out. The single itself is very incredibly safe. It treads the fine line between rock (if you even want to call it that) and pop. “Reconquista” is chocful of those dj-fabricated beats that practically erase the actual instrumentals to a bare minimum in the background, which is rather unfortunate for those fans that prefer hearing actual guitars play along while the girls sing rather than synth beats. But because of this “misfortune,” the single seems to have gained a greater appeal to those that prefer a more pop-beat than a heavy rock sound.

Vocally, the girls weren’t shabby at all. I’m no expert on singing, nor do I have any real excuse to be critical of vocal talent, but I have to say, it’s always a pleasure to hear the girls release new songs as HANGRY&ANGRY simply because these girls have more than on/off-stage chemistry, they have wonderful vocal chemistry. I mean, their voices just mesh with each other so perfectly. Neither Yossi nor Rika have remarkable solo voices. Ignoring the minor autotune vocal distortion throughout the song, the girls once again deliver. And I swear, it might just be me but who knows, they both seem to have gotten much stronger vocally since their Morning Musume days. At least it sounds that way when you compare their H&A stuff to their Dream Morning Musume stuff. I just hate it when they make the girls try to sing in pitches that are far too high for their own freakin’ good. But that’s another story for another day.

And now we reach the main course, the PV!

The PV starts out with a very cryptic, borderline creepy image of the girls peacefully trapped/sleeping in a cocoon-like hammock contraption. Admittedly, when I first saw this on my phone, I was thinking, “What the fuck is that thing and why is it bleeding?” Obviously, I’m not a functioning morning person.

After an almost obligatory shout out to the fashion franchise, the PV moves on to revealing the girls tied up (get your dirty minds out of the gutter…even if I wanted it that way too LOL)  in a marionette fashion. The girls sing their individual lines with a lifeless eyes and lifeless…well, everything. Odd, but rather symbolic. We’ll get to that in a minute.

The next scene shows the girls at a torn up wire fence, rocking to the chorus of the track with their very own white mini megaphones, covered with HANGRY&ANGRY. Aside from wanting my own freaking megaphone, I couldn’t help but think of Otsuka Ai‘s “Happy Days” gimmick when she sang the song live with her own megaphone. Oh, I’m so old.

The rest of the PV is mostly switching back and forth among the previous scenes of the cocoon hammock, the fence, and the puppet scenes, with bits and pieces of very subtle IshiYoshi loving and H&A goodies pimping. Once the track hits the bridge and an acoustic break into the pre-chorus, there is a change in scene revealing the girls under a few light beams while the camera circles around them in still motion. Then the girls finally break out of their cocoon hammock and are finally free from their puppet-like positions, and the track reaches back to a higher octave right into the chorus. Let me just conclude this tidbit by saying how wonderful the lighting was for this PV. If anything, it was the lighting that made all the difference.

So what’s the silly symbolism that I speak of? Well, I could just be sleep deprived or jumping back into my college habits of reading in to passages or whatever. Or I could be spot on. Who knows? So, as you might or might not know, the girls have switched labels from Zetima (under the UFA) to Universal Music. Of course, the whole “Gothuall” tag at the very beginning of the PV throws that off, because that is another branch of the UFA tree. But if we disregard that, we can take into account the various bits of symbolism in the PV as the group’s “freedom,” if you will, from their previous company.

Being trapped in the cocoon, being held back by a fence, being tied up like a puppet are all signs of restriction. The girls were seen as lifeless and prevented freedom (musically or whatever). But then they were freed (torn up fence, hole in the cocoon hammock, and cut up strings) and were brought to life. Or I’m just crazy. Maybe if I understood the lyrics to the song, this would all make more sense than this nonsense that I’m uttering. But for now I’ll just choose to believe that the video is symbolic of the girls freedom from the crappy ties of the UFA and being reborn to reconquer under Universal. Perhaps that’s why it was such a safe, nearly boring PV. Meh.

But alas, I’m just a mere fan.

All in all, my views and thoughts on the single and PV are rather positive. I did have some disappointments though. First, despite what the single cover implied, there was not much Ishiyoshi interaction in the PV. Few touches and leans here and there, but aside from that, nothing. No groping, no near kisses, NADA. I was pretty disappointed, especially after the first two PVs for their previous singles. Second, the single was on the poppy side. I like pop and everything, but I kind of wanted the girls to return to their heavier rock roots. However, because of this newer, radio friendly style, the girls will be able to reach out to a broader listener audience, which is always a good thing. Nevertheless, I wish the girls would return to the style that was originally intended for the group. I’m at a real conflict here LOL as I would also like them to try new things, such as this concept. It’s different, but it strays from their origins. I mean seriously, what happened to the blood and guts and whatnot?

So, yeap. That’s it. Let me hear your thoughts!! Did the girls deliver a flop or did they successfully rise back after a 1.5 year silence to reconquer your hearts?

2 responses to “The Ultimate Conquest – A HANGRY&ANGRY Review

    • wish i could help you out with that but my japanese is pretty horrid these days. “Sotsugyou” is mentioned a lot, and the song title is about reconquering, so who knows lol sorry i can’t help beyond that haha

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