More Bits & Pieces

Filed in Cult of Pop 1.0

Ahh… You know that assignment I had to send in right fucking now early Friday morning? I finally sent it out now, early Monday morning. My work schedule was pushed back by the first delay, I had some information I needed to process and re-process for the assignment…

But the real reason was, I had a hard time letting go of the work. Usually I can’t wait to get an assignment out of my sight and in the hands of somebody to approve or dismiss as they please. Just as long as I didn’t have to deal with it anymore – “letting go” as being sick from familiarity. But in this case, I kept thinking there was more that could be done, I had all these insights that didn’t fit the assignment but were fucking brilliant – it made me wish I was a comic book academic again.

Anyway, it’s now almost 2 AM and there’s no caffeine in me, but I figure some quick points to sate my blogging thirst.

I finally saw Batman Begins and kept thinking of American Psycho during the Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy sequences. Good Lord, that made the story so much richer! I love American Psycho, I first saw it right before I fled to the Bay Area as a pathetic latecomer to the dotcom gold rush, and it made me think twice about what I was getting into. (I went anyway, of course.) But Patrick Bateman as Batman’s alter ego made perfect sense – the obscene slickness, the mask of privileged excess in the face of a very disturbing secret…

All the silent nods to the great Batman comics – Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and Long Halloween – were appreciated. I really like how the new Batmobile captures the spirit of the behemoth paramilitary tank of Dark Knight Returns, if not the sheer size. And man, Gary Oldman was fucking great as Jim Gordon. This is the Jim Gordon of Year One and Oldman completely nailed that personality, though perhaps making him a bit more nebbishy than the kick-ass ex-military Miller and Mazzucchelli envisioned.

And I was completely caught off-guard by the reveal about Ra’s at the climax. Which means I could’ve paid closer attention, perhaps…

The actual Batman parts were solid, but I liked all the back story a whole lot better – Lucius Fox, Alfred as the wise partner in crimefighting, Jim Gordon, and especially Patrick Bateman / Bruce Wayne. But I’m a hardcore comics geek, so of course I’d like that more.

There are times when watching Hawaii nightlife makes me think of a Heartsdales PV. Maybe it’s the look of the girls and guys, or the fashion, or the vibe they give off. It’s probably just in my head.

I miss Ayaya’s happy songs. I don’t care about her ballads and it’s now a year and a half since “Kiseki no Kaori Dance,” her last great song. I’m now reminded of how much I want new, upbeat Ayaya every time I listen / watch that PV. It’s kind of sad.

I miss Halcali. It’s way too fucking long since their last single. Hopefully they haven’t broken up.

I now expect more from Viyuden than any other H!P unit. Which is kind of fucked up, all things considered, but they’ve nailed me twice with their last two singles, “Kaccho Ii Ze! Japan” and “Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari”. (And yeah, when I listen to it while writing, my hands flutter around and do the stupid robot moves.) They’re my two favorite songs of the year so far – well, Dream’s “Soyokaze no Shirabe” is up there, too – and I didn’t even give a damn about their first single.

W hasn’t been as consistent lately, nor has Morning Musume or Berryz Koubo (their new single is okay but not as catchy as “Special Generation”. I don’t think this reflects on a drop in quality with the other H!P units, but rather an unexpectedly high standard with Viyuden. Besides, Erika’s dancing in the PV for “Ajisai” proves she’s the sexiest H!P girl around, with the possible exception of Masae of Melon Kinenbi.

I’ve been putting off the final parts of the Why Jpop? series I started, but will finish it in the next couple days. Haven’t been able to think on it too much because of deadlines. All the important points were already hit upon, anyway, this is just rhetorical mopping up…

The part where Kago gasps “Ai!” in “Shabondama” is probably one of the most beautifully heartbreaking expressions I’ve ever seen. No, really. Just watch it. It’s around three minutes into the full PV.