Takahiro Oomori (Director) – The Light of a Firefly Forest
Reviewed on June 11, 2019
[SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW; I RECOMMEND READING THIS AFTER YOUR OWN VIEWING. ALSO, REFER TO MYANIMELIST FOR PLOT OVERVIEW, CHARACTERS, ETC.]
“In the end, however, I was disappointed: I did not cry at all—let alone even shed a single tear. And while using emotional reactions as a gauge to film quality would be erroneous, I will say this: My apathetic reaction to the film, in this very specific instance, is connected to some of the larger problematic features to Firefly Forest. Although the film is indeed a tragic ending and it ends in an emotional bittersweet manner that does leave the audience in awe and pondering over the topic of love, I find that many fans and critics are overlooking its rushed and highly anticlimactic ending.”
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Nonetheless, amidst all of the praise towards the created mood and realism Someone’s Gaze brings, there is a consistent critique: length. The film is too short. On the one hand, I can see why that singular aspect is troublesome. In my view, though, length itself is irrelevant. However, once we account for a film’s duration potentially affecting, for example, character development, we can now see where the negativity towards Someone’s Gaze stems from. That said, I disagree with that critique. I argue Shinkai’s Someone’s Gaze should, first of all, be gauged on its merit; we, as critical viewers, need to look beyond length and raw entertainment.
More seriously, however, it is true I have not reviewed many of MAMAMOO’s recent songs. This decision was ultimately due to how the ladies already have excessive spotlight on this blog, but “Starry Night” changes this trend. Why? I was disappointed. And of course, bold stances oftentimes make for more interesting reviews and thus, I am reviewing MAMAMOO after quite a long time.
Specifically for what amazes me, it is not just—as many fans are currently praising—the vocals or even how the song itself is structured. What grabs my attention is how the composers purposefully crafted “Tell Me” so that its flow is that of short, choppy bits. Whether vocally or instrumentally, by slicing up the song in brief pauses, this gives the song an impactful effect: “Tell Me” is now able to adopt two contrasting positions. One position is that the song is able to give off a calmer, smooth flow but equally, the song is also able to possess an exciting, energetic and powerful style—all simultaneously as well.
With “Gashina,” although it is not a weak song per se, I hesitate to praise it as a
stronger song. Overall, while the song certainly excels with its performance
value (such as with its choreography and on-stage appeal) and does have a
powerful, alluring instrumental, I find that—especially if focusing purely on
the music—there are two significant concerns: disappointing climaxes and excessively segmenting the song.
For this review, while I will be giving numerical values as per usual, I will not
write the analytical section that elaborates and explains the assigned ratings.
This is, in my view, to respect one of Jonghyun’s musical works in of itself: I
wish to focus less on a critical breakdown of “Lonely” and instead, I desire
readers to simply listen to the song and admire his vocals (and Taeyeon’s) and
his role in also working on the song’s composition. There are, after all, times
where music works—ironically—not in a musical sense, but in an emotional sense. The latter is what I want everyone to focus on for this review.
So, unlike the many fans and listeners who praise VIXX LR’s latest song, I argue the opposite: that, if we move beyond stylistic preferences, we will find that “Whisper” is an incredibly incoherent song. That lack of organization is why I struggle to critically enjoy the song—even if, as many have said, the vocals and the like are rather appealing.
While I do agree with many that this song is worth praising, I still find that there are some questionable aspects. Specifically, while many are praising the choruses in “Love Whisper,” I will challenge that point by arguing that, as beneficial as the choruses are, there are some downsides to them that fans have not necessarily discussed.