Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hikki is Love

(Originally 26 April 2006)

A Nissin commercial (C/M) and the audio track have been uploaded to Rapidshare, among other services. The audio is a snippet of the first track of Ultra Blue, Utada Hikaru's upcoming album set to drop on June 14. If you couldn't guess, it's titled This is Love.

For instant noodles, this anime styled commercial is totally over the top. I found it hilarious given the context (or lack thereof). At least it's worth a chuckle. I don't know if this is also partly an ad for an actual anime series. So far everyone has referred to this as the Nissin C/M. It's hard to believe that they'd call in the director of Akira, and devote an entire website, just to do a single commercial for Nissin. Translations of that site so far seem to imply a new series, since it gives the characters names, and has some background. The main character likes Nissin, a sign of the increased use of product placement in place of ads, because ads seem to be declining in effectiveness.

6 of 13 tracks are from previously released singles. I know that over in Japan they do things differently — release a lot of singles in between albums, and then include all of them in the next release. This is pretty disappointing to me — essentially half of the tracks are old material. Her singles don't have much other than the title track, a B-side, and a karaoke (instrumental) version. Wings itself was a B-side on the Keep Tryin' single, and one that I wasn't particularly impressed with.

This is Love is a departure of sorts from her older work. Some would say it brings her more in line with her Exodus work, which is orthogonal to her Deep River era. After looping it for the past hour, I have to agree: it's more like Exodus, in that it's not like Deep River, like saying that a banana is more like an orange in that it's not like an apple. This track has a higher probability of sitting on Deep River than Exodus, though. It's eminently mainstream, very accessible J-Dance, and when I think J-Dance, I think Tamaki Nami and Ayumi Hamasaki (shudder). Others will beat me over the head and rattle off a huge list of J-Dance artists.

After more thought, the open atmosphere of the track, the tone of the melody, and background choral-like vocals, make me think of Yuki Kajiura, like Akatsuki no Kuruma. It's about the same tempo. Her work has more of a classical slant with related instrumentation, but the impression is in the right place.

The closest track from her previous work would be Traveling, but when I think of Traveling, I think of scenarios very much grounded in reality. That didn't make any sense at all, and that PV was pretty psychedelic which is business as usual in Kiriya Kazuaki land. I mean to say that when I listen to Traveling, I think it's more or less dance music done straight up.

When I listen to this snippet, at least, my impression is distinctly anime-ish. Seeing the commercial didn't help matters. But now in addtion to NRG dance and awesome night driving music, I think of Gundams. The commercial's added sound effects are really messing with my head, but it'd be freaking awesome if they were left in, and it became an opener for a new Gundam series.


Hilariously, I'm actually following Freedom, the OVA series that This is Love opens for. I was out to lunch on this one; this cup noodle commercial was a trailer of sorts for Freedom, not some series of short commercials built around promoting Nissin products.