Posted by: Leek | May 3, 2015

Music Purchase in Review: Aikatsu! OP/ED Single 6 – Lovely Party Collection|Tutu Ballerina

I really tried to peck at this review as much as I could but events and the start of Golden Week made things a tad bit difficult. But we’re here and done and it’s time for another Aikatsu! music review.

General Overview
Music releases have been really sparse this season, and this is only the third real release for the third season this year. So we really have to treasure these releases when we get a chance. I could say something grim about this being our last OP/ED single, but I’d find it really strange for Aikatsu! to stop with all the developments it’s gone through as of recent.

The past two OP/ED singles have all been really big deals for some odd reason or another, and this is the first time I’ve reviewed one that there’s actually nothing special to say. It is worth mentioning that long time veteran Ishihama is back to give us another fresh Aikatsu! OP again. And this time he’s joined by a different member of onetrap, Yusuke Naruse, who is the man behind the new ED. If that name sounds familiar you’ll probably recall that he was the one who wrote “otona mode” from last season. You know, that one song I went really, really crazy for. Not that I’m trying to the raise the bar or anything by saying that.

Unlike last time, this single only contains 4 tracks (2 being backing tracks). So we’re more or less back to the same formula that everyone’s come to expect.

Design
You know of all the transitions of OP/ED to the next, this is probably the least amount of change as of yet. So I won’t really draw out this section as much as I really do. It does make me wonder if the members of AIKATSU☆STARS! will be showing up on the back of album/single covers from now on. I don’t have a huge issue with it but I did kind of like things like “Cute Look” where it was a design that stretched across the entire case. If this is only for the OP/ED singles I won’t have a huge issue though.

Since I didn’t really say it, I do think the design is cute. But I just feel that it does nothing that “Du-Du-Wa DO IT!” didn’t do better.

Music/Track Progression Musical Overview
I remember that last OP/ED single that I commented about the consistency in the music style. All three tracks last time were very cute and upbeat, but this time around we’re given two tracks with two very different sounds. That dramatic impact that was missing last time came back a bit with a very different ED track this time around. It is a really nice aspect to return again though. As much as I loved the smooth consistency of “Du-Du-Wa DO IT!”, it was missing that oomph that you get out of a lot of the Aikatsu! singles.

I’m not completely positive that both the styles that show up on the single will appeal to everyone, but it’s hard to say that both songs aren’t well done. I can understand there would be a few cases of people wanted to buy for a single track and if that really doesn’t sit well with you there’s always the Best Of album in the following year where you can grab everything at once. It really is a return to that Aikatsu! formula that everyone is used to by now. And who can really hate that variety?

Track by Track Breakdown

Lovely Party Collection – The first time they posted the game version of “Lovely Party Collection”, I instantly chose it as my favorite track of the new season. And there was a part of me that was really trying to find what track in the Aikatsu! library that it shared the closest resemblance with. I kept telling myself that style wise it would be closest to “fashion check” from the first season until it really hit me that it was, in actuality, retaining most of it’s features from “Du-Du-Wa DO IT!”. They’re far from the same song but outside of style they still have this similar simplicity and upbeat nature. Honestly, I have no complaints about “Lovely Party Collection”. It’s a really fun song from start to finish and I’m really glad the third season managed to receive two really great openings.

Tutu Ballerina – I’ll admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Tutu Ballerina” the first time I heard it. Actually, I recall talking a lot of shit and didn’t really give it much of a second chance. I think my issue with it was more of it as an ED song where it was probably better pushed as a normal insert. Sumire’s image so far was pushed to the same gothic side as Yurika before her. The exception was that her songs were pushed to a techno image more so than the rock image of Yurika. And from that standpoint I really enjoy it as a song since it seems to be really defining Sumire’s character further. More so than anything, it brings back a lot of memories of when “eien no tomoshibi” came out last season. Even as an ED theme I don’t mind the three doing it, but I definitely see it as more of a fit with it’s in anime intention with Mona and Nanase performing it. It took time but it’s definitely a song that’s grown on me over time.

Lovely Party Collection OFF VOCAL – Unlike “Du-Du-Wa DO IT!” I do feel like “Lovely Party Collection” has a bit of a more simple backing track. I don’t feel there’s as much to break down but it still has the same really enjoyable elements that are fun to break into separate parts and pick out one by one. If you’ve heard everything Ishihama has done for Aikatsu! previously it won’t be a surprise and chances are you’ll get the same fun out of hearing him do what he always does. I believe Minamida did an excellent job for the first half of the season but even last time I mentioned how it doesn’t feel like an Aikatsu! OP without Ishihama at the reigns. And it does feel really good to hear his prowess again.

Tutu Ballerina OFF VOCAL – Tutu Ballerina is 100% a song that’s supported by it’s vocals and it’s hard to say you’re going to get a incredible amount out of listening to the backing track. But it is around if you want to check it out. I can’t say I can really go much into it because there’s not a whole lot to break down about it. But I do believe one of Naruse’s strengths is how he emphasizes vocals, because even “otona mode” wouldn’t have the most glorious instrumental (there would be a bit more to break down in it however). It’s just the style of the song itself and I won’t complain as anything beats hating a track in it’s entirety.

Wrap Up
Lovely Party Collection | Tutu Ballerina did a really good job of continuing with the usual Aikatsu! pattern of mixing up the OP/ED really nicely. And, above else, it was one of the few singles where I really couldn’t complain. Do I still have an issue with Tutu Ballerina being chosen as an ED song over other potential candidates? Maybe a little. But without it there would be a good chance we’d get a repeat of the formula from the first OP/ED single. It’s a great single to pick up and if you’re hesitant about one track or the other, you know you always have the Best Of album waiting for you. And, who knows, maybe at that point we’ll also get the in-game version of Tutu Ballerina with Mona and Nanase instead of the main three.

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