Computer Animation Show – “Miraculous Ladybug” Review

Reviewed on September 20, 2015

Zagtoon/Method Animation/Toei Animation/SAMG Animation – Miraculous Ladybug

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Personal Message: Already answering, yes, this is not directly a K-Pop related review. However, for how it does relate, Fiestar did sing the show’s theme song (and arrogantly sharing my own video for English subtitles). Though Fiestar was how I became exposed to the show, admittedly, I have watched two episodes, and to confess, have greatly fallen in love with it. This may, however, be due to university overly working my brain, and thus, though I am older (eighteen), I am able to find excessive joy in a show that is, arguably, aimed towards younger audience members (I would predict around twelve). Regardless, shows are, indeed, age-free, and most certainly, especially to be discussed later, gender-free (for example, even as a boy, I am entirely envious of Marinette’s beautiful room, even if it is feminine). While I will first digress with life updates, afterwards, as many readers may expect from me, a rather large digression will take place: one that consists of explaining why “Miraculous Ladybug” is an exceptionally important show.

Before continuing with the actual review, for quick updates and clarifications, if not already blatant, this review is simply a bonus. K-Pop reviews will always be of main priority, and in many ways, are going to come rather quickly. F.T. Island’s “Severely” is underway, and after this shorter review is finished, if time permits, the song will also be published in the same day. Song reviews are becoming more concise, and therefore, many more are able to come. To explain my longer absence, briefly stated, I have an abundant amount of university work. Lots of university work. Lengthy readings and numerous essays were the reasons for why my free time was restricted to solely watching videos and exercise. No time was available for writing reviews as, pitifully, my days were very work-orientated (though again, I am enjoying it all). Also, to offer a disclaimer, I do apologize if this review’s writing is to a poorer standard, such as by being incoherent. Due to already investing much towards schoolwork, for this review, I will adopt a more casual, unembellished style. However, that is not to say writing is not fun or that I will give no effort; writing is a very fun activity, hence why this blog exists and this review is being made, and as always, this blog provides a chance to safely experiment and improve with writing.

On the last bit of technical updates, I am now writing reviews in 12 font size (for font type, I was already using Times New Roman, as an older review discussed). Though this is incredibly irrelevant to readers as, when reviews are posted, the blog’s own font type and size are unmodifiable, for those who may have to work with MLA formatted papers in school or elsewhere, accept this as a basic reminder on the actual MLA standards: 12 font size, Times New Roman, and the usual one-inch margins. Embarrassingly, I have always assumed 11 was the standard and am now hoping that my ED class professor is even more amazing by being lenient with my paper’s wrong font size. And, as I have just realized, should there be new, welcomed readers who are solely reading this review because of “Miraculous Ladybug” and not for the usual content of song reviews, I do hope this review provides varying insight to the show on a mechanical level, but also, for why the show is even more admirable. (And, if I feel ambitious, for “Miraculous Ladybug” fans, I will attempt to contact Zagtoon for copyright permission to subtitle the episodes, though that is most likely a futile attempt.)

Finally discussing “Miraculous Ladybug,” for short, personal opinions, as stated, I have watched two episodes: the second and third. Without yet addressing the show itself, for an obligated comment, Marinette is, arguably, my favorite character out of all literatures and films and shows (though, bear in mind, I never watch fictional shows or read books in which there is a casual plot and not one of, for example, social inequities). Marinette can be, overall, summarized in three words: hilariously, awkwardly cute. Unless if she is Ladybug, her quirky acts, as highlighted by her vain attempts to flirt with Adrien (Black Cat, or “Chat Noir”), are simply adorable due to the amount of awkwardness. Personal affection aside, transitioning to a more serious tone, “Miraculous Ladybug” is a French-Japanese-Korean show. It has already begun airing in South Korea (the version I have personally watched; though my Korean is far from remarkable, it is enough to enjoy the episodes and, out of the three languages, the only one I know of), and from my understanding, will also begin to air soon for France and Japan. Other countries will be included as well: the United States, for example, will also have it broadcasted at some point.

To truly embark on the digression now (for readers who are uninterested, skip to the review itself, though I would hope the following words are meaningful), I am yearning that “Miraculous Ladybug” becomes a phenomenal hit; I am hoping the show becomes a huge sensation. Although what is presented in “Miraculous Ladybug” may now be the norm for how shows are conducted, nevertheless, when I began researching of the show and watching it with a critical lens, I became astonished: it is socially empowering as it presents much social equity. There is a copious amount of topics to discuss, but drawing one example, as one of the animation companies’ manager (from memory; she is either a director or manager) said, in summary: “It’s the first time in animation that there will be a female superhero.”

Coincidentally linked earlier, for the song review of “My Type,” in that review I discuss the underrepresentation of females in multiple areas of society, and relating to “Miraculous Ladybug,” an act is being done to combat that disparity by having Marinette, and furthermore, a feminine appeal, be of main attentions. It is a gambling act, considering how shifting away from the “norm” of superhero shows–male based shows–may place “Miraculous Ladybug” at a disliked position due to shifting away from how superhero shows are “supposed” to be conducted as, unfairly, masculinity is portrayed as the standard when, equitably, it should be of both femininity and masculinity. More will be discussed in depth below. As for other aspects, besides promoting that masculinity and femininity are both cherishable, race equity is additionally depicted. Since there is much to discuss, I will now elaborate the main aspects one at a time (and again, apologies for being disorganized; I am still a mediocre writer growing).

First, for perhaps the most projected notion, “Miraculous Ladybug” sends out an invaluable reminder: femininity is good. For one aspect, engaging villains does not have to be grotesquely gory and bloody, as is often time the case as masculinity correlates to such. Engaging villains can be, and more accurately stated, is, also the idea of utilizing a flashy, pink yo-yo as a weapon, and furthermore, pink, glowing magic. Even more momentously, “feminine” fighting, if that term may be used, is also certainly acceptable even in males. Adrien in his transformed form, Black Cat, provides an example: cat combat. Peculiarly, seldom are males associated with cats, and more so in the lens of superpowers as, for what is socialized, cats-related powers are for females. Disassembling stereotypes, however, “Miraculous Ladybug” unveils a capable male hero whose powers happen to fall within a “feminine” category. Thus, overall, in this regard, especially in a highly androcentric realm of superhero fighting, the show greatly challenges current, inequitable standards via including a marginalized perspective: female superheroes can fight, and that male superheroes can equally use “feminine” superpowers as, unlike what society showcases, femininity does not mean weakness and helplessness.

In addition to the fighting concepts, there are also more subtle details promoting gender equity: Adrien/Black Cat is moreover a sidekick, or at least, requires “princess charming” Ladybug to commonly save him. Before diving into the latter idea, for the first one of being a sidekick, it is exceptionally rare for males to receive a less prominent role and for females to adopt the main protagonist role. Interestingly, should rebuttals occur due to this “unfairness,” such as by advocating for both males and females to, simultaneously, be in main spotlight, ironically, very few would challenge current, genuine, unjust trends: males tend to be in spotlight while females are sidekicks. Therefore, it is not necessarily that both males and females need to simultaneously be in spotlight, but rather, that both genders should be able to individually take spotlight on an equal level. It is fine for males to be sidekicks, and also, females to be sidekicks; what is not fine is that, currently, predominantly it is superhero males taking the lead while females take the subpar role, or in certain cases, not even any role.

Delivering a more cohesive message, in “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s case, while Adrien can be rendered as a sidekick (though I would state both are the protagonists), and therefore, many may become defensive at the supposed lack of equality, that is not true. This is equitable as, it is not necessarily about both genders starring at once, but that both genders can alternate between being the protagonist and sidekick character. And of course, more male sidekicks and more female main superheroes are needed, and “Miraculous Ladybug” is contributing to that neglected side.

Bringing in the second component of how Black Cat tends to be saved often by Ladybug (Marinette, if unclear), a complete reverse to a stereotypical idea is displayed: females are definitely capable of saving others, be it regular civilians or a male sidekick, and also, that it is fine for males to be saved by females. There is nothing “emasculating” in that scenario, unlike what is often time believed. A minor detail to the plot, but as always, the macro level of society as a whole is impacted by the micro level, and the show tackles on those micro-based, personal incidents. Adrien/Black Cat being frequently protected and saved by Ladybug discloses that gender should not–does not, determine who needs to be saved or doing the saving; the two main characters of the show prove that it is absolutely acceptable to not behave within gender norms.

Homogeneously, to continue the prior idea of tearing down gender norms, another one is challenged, and it is one that is not quite reflective of fantasy superpowers: flirting. Specifically, the notion that females can, unequivocally, make the first move. With the targeted audience members being of a younger age, these types of subtle messages are even more important, and even if the notion of protecting is overlooked, for sure, this idea of females proposing first and such will not be. “Miraculous Ladybug” shows Marinette always advancing first to Adrien, and while awkward, it is not due to shifting away from gender norms, but instead, due to the basic awkwardness that emanates in flirting, romantic scenarios. In fact, overarchingly, a positive aura is given as, despite the amount of blunders Marinette commits, it is all endearing and cute–to viewers, at least. And, for a more equal stance, there is still the side of males flirting first, as observed by Blackcat flirting with Ladybug (to prevent confusion, for how the “love plot” works, Marinette likes Adrien, but when they are transformed and each other’s secret identity are unknown to one another, Black Cat likes Ladybug), but, for the main point, it is Marinette’s perspective that is highly emphasized, and thus, the gender restriction of solely males proposing first is disputed. After all, this is a trend that deserves to be broken down and I am hoping for, one day, a female, as Black Cat would say, “M’Lady,” to come and propose to me.

My pitiful romantic dreams aside, for perhaps the final take to the promotion of gender equity on “Miraculous Ladybug,” basic femininity is shown, and not in any mocking manner, as would, sadly, often time be the case, given by how society prioritizes masculinity over femininity (refer to countless reviews I have written addressing that disparity). Expanding this point, Marinette is very feminine–and that is fine, and in fact, good. Being feminine is not bad. More extremely, being a feminine male (as I believe in full honesty with readers, admittedly, such as me) is also not bad. Returning to the earlier statement of how I adore Marinette’s room, and very much, would love to have her room, should moments of disgust have appeared, that is due to the undervaluing of femininity; anything feminine, and more so in a male, is repulsive as femininity in general is supposedly so. Critically, however, should her room be “normal,” or bluntly stated, “masculine” in that it was not as colorful and so forth, my comment would not be controversial as masculinity is seen as normal when that is not a fair standpoint.

Focusing back to Marinette’s femininity, though, and why her being feminine is of utmost importance, in a show of relative violence (this would require a future review to discuss; where is the line for acceptable violent entertainment), often time such would create a “masculine” woman. “Miraculous Ladybug” kept that idea at bay, however, as Marinette constantly remains feminine–inside and outside of battles. This is exceptionally enriching as it delivers the necessary, lacked message: femininity does not mean being incapable or helpless or weak. Flinging around a pink-glowing yo-yo is nothing to scoff at, and for Adrien’s powers, slicing away with cat claws or using a batton versus, for an abstract example, a vicious sword, are acceptable and worthy of rendering seriously for the idea of weapons, even if the listed ones are arguably more feminine.

Considering the digression is running an excessive length, to now transition into another topic, the subject of race is equally important in the show. Already from Marinette, a promising perspective is given: a protagonist who is not only female and feminine, but also, biracial. Marinette is half White and Asian, specifically French and Chinese. Maybe due to being older and simply not heeding attention towards current cartoons/animations/shows (I hope the current, equitable trends are in various shows these days), Marinette is the first biracial protagonist I know of for a TV show. Marinette, herself, combats many unfair standards of what it means to be a superhero. Agreed to or not, for what is widespreadly urged forward and connoted, to be a superhero, it involves being a masculine, White, heterosexual male. This show very much removes that idea as Marinette provides the voice of minoritized people: female, feminine, and biracial.

Of course, to clarify, I am not intending to degrade those who do happen to be socially privileged in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth (my upcoming review on F.T. Island’s “Severely” will discuss this; rather than hating, it is worth educating, and more clearly stated, it is about hating oppression and not necessarily the oppressors). Rather, I am hoping to bring awareness on a social level. In fact, Adrien provides an example of how it is not necessarily an issue to be a superhero, even with his scenario of being privileged: White, male, heterosexual, and even wealthy, attributes listed above. Nonetheless, it is vital to be aware of what is showcased, and often time, being a superhero involves having “super” social privileges.

Proceeding on, for other examples of racial equity, there is racial diversity among characters, but that in itself is not what is important; what is moreover important is how, with the given racial diversity, the characters are treated and depicted. Bitterly drawing from an atrocious example in the past, TMZ’s incident with EXID proves that it requires more than racial diversity for racial equity. Equality exists, but equity does not. Explaining, and in the context of “Miraculous Lady,” the show genuinely presents racial equity as, while there are characters of multiple races, none are “exotified.” With Marinette’s mother, for example, a perfect example is gleaned: she wears more traditional Chinese clothing, but it is not construed to be seen as comical or grotesque, but instead, “regular” clothing as that is what it is. Differences are accepted and embraced. The idea of “sameness,” a false idea, is not ushered, but rather, the idea of “sameness love” towards actual differences is what is displayed. Considering where this show is aired, whether South Korea, United States, France, Japan, or wherever else, that crucial idea is reminded: everyone is different, but everyone deserves the same love and respect for said differences. (A future review may discuss the issue of “sameness.”)

Other examples exist, but for the purpose of time, I will halt the discussion. The main ideas and empowering aspects of the show should have been addressed. For personal hopes in the show, class and sexual orientation should be, eventually, included or addressed. But, on a realistic side, with how much “Miraculous Ladybug” is tackling, and most likely, how it is facing heavy criticism based on its equitable stance on gender and race, for what is given is more than sufficient. That is not to say, though, that other subjects should remain untouched; for other sensitive social topics that are not addressed in the show, other TV shows should come forward.

Slightly explaining the prior points, for example with class, though many minoritized voices are heard in the lens of race and gender, arguably, poorer people are not quite included. Certainly, Adrien may be wealthy and yet, still suffers due to the death of a mother and is under heavy constraint due to his father, or that Marinette’s home might be an apartment instead of a house (I am unsure on France’s culture regarding houses; as I know I have readers from France, I would be grateful if anyone with knowledge is willing to share), and therefore, implicitly, her family might not be entirely wealthy (though not to say living in apartments definitely correlates to a lack of wealth), but overall, it can be argued that the roster of characters are at least middle-classed. Every character is fashionable, and thus, money is rather necessary, and in other details, Marinette’s room would require some wealth to prettily decorate. As for sexual orientation, as is the trend, non-heterosexual relationships are not openly disclosed.

This is not to say, though, that “Miraculous Ladybug” is lacking. A show can only showcase so much, and for what is showcased, I remain in utter appreciation. Social responsibility is what has to occur next: “Miraculous Ladybug” is paving a way for gender and racial equity, and now for a future show, it is up to that show’s staff and team to either continue the pathway of equity, or to return to the “normal” standards of, for example, having a White, masculine, male superhero who saves helpless females and has a belittling attitude towards femininity. All in all, “Miraculous Ladybug” is truly a show worth caring for, and that is more than the plot and animations. “Miraculous Ladybug” is miraculous; the show, against all odds, strays away from current social norms via embracing differences and opening up perspectives that are often time shunned. Personally, while I will no longer watch its episodes except in secret with my stuffed penguin, I plan to search for occasional updates. Shows with positive, social messages, such as “Miraculous Ladybug,” need to continue and to become popular. Pop culture is influential, after all, and biasedly, I believe it is the best medium to truly transition society towards a more equitable standard.

Miraculously, I have wrote for, relentlessly, approximately four hours. If too much was stated, I will blame university for draining (and growing) my mind, and as an outcome, streams of thoughts are unfiltered. Once again, as the review will finally begin, it will be of shorter length due to this being a bonus review. Afterwards, F.T. Island’s “Severely” will be finished, and from there on, many songs. Stealing Marinette’s words, as I will need extra power to critique the show on an entertainment level, “Ladybug! Transfo–” I apologize for the most horrendous transition ever written. The review will simply begin versus stealing Marinette’s catch-phrases.

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Plot Summary: Truthfully, I am relatively embarrassed on the length of my Personal Message. At this rate, I might as well have created a Blog Opinion post rather than a review, but it would be wasteful to turn around now. Before dissecting the show on a mechanical level, its plot will be summarized and generalized to give readers some ideas as to what the show’s story is about.

“Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s plot revolves predominantly around, predictably, Marinette, an “average” teenage young lady (her age is unclear, though assuming audience members would be around twelve, I would estimate her and Adrien to be of around sixteen or so). Ignoring her superhero side, and jocularly, her occasional, beloved awkwardness, she is rather usual. Marinette attends high school (or actually, it may be college this whole time; readers should feel free to send in corrections), spends time with her best friend, and for future goals, yearns to be a fashion designer. And, as many will experience, she has a love-interest: Adrien, a model who is also her classmate. Unluckily, unlike her superpower of luck that appears when she is Ladybug, she remains highly timid and twisted in the presence of Adrien. Furthermore, for other perspectives, Adrien’s own life is also followed, though to a lesser degree than Marinette’s.

Their casual lives aside, however, “Miraculous Ladybug” is filled with its main conflict: stopping trouble within the city. Humorously and vaguely described, an unknown man in an unknown place possesses thousands of butterflies, but these are not typical ones: the butterflies under this masked man’s possession are “Akumas” (if I heard correctly)–creatures that are imbued with magic, but specifically, “dark” magic from the masked man and this is where seriousness may dwindle for older readers. Brushing aside the personally dreaded, overly used cliche of “dark and light” binaries (this concept is incredibly plain, and as life has it, there is never a “light” versus “dark” side), the masked man is unable to use the Akumas as direct weapons. However, the Akumas, when infused with “dark” magic, are capable of transforming a person, specifically those in deep anger or distress, into a magical being who exploits their newly acquired power for harm, or at least, for selfish, anger-driven reasons. The masked man’s motive for this, however, is to not necessarily decimate the city, but intriguingly, it is in an attempt to steal Ladybug’s and Black Cat’s source of power: their “miracle stones,” of which are in the form of earrings and ring respectively, and those accessories possess the duo’s own Akumas.

Thus, when an Akuma attack strikes, Marinette, through the use of her own Akuma named Tikki, transforms and obtains her powers, and for Adrien, he also follows suit and assists Ladybug by transforming through his own Akuma, Plagg (or Plak, though I am sure the other version is correct), and through such, he becomes Black Cat (or Chat Noir in other versions). The two then cooperate with another to overcome the spawned, Akuma-possessed individual, and once successful, Ladybug “captures” the Akuma and reverts it back to a standard butterfly.

Gauging from three episodes, this structure continues onwards and endlessly: Marinette’s and Adrien’s personal, teenage or college lives are disclosed, and for an episode, an exclusive individual becomes heavily angered or stressed due to whatever circumstances, and expectedly, the masked man sends out a “dark” Akuma to possess them, and then, a battle ensues of Ladybug and Black Cat facing off the newly summoned, possessed individual. From the first three episodes, all have ended in the usual victory of saving the possessed individual and capturing the Akuma. This, overall, is a rough outline to the plot of “Miraculous Ladybug.”  

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Entertainment Value: 8/10

Finally beginning the actual critiquing of the show, for the category of Entertainment Value, as is its title, this is gauging how appealing the show is. This accounts for its plot, its animations, added humor and action, and so on. Offering a rating, an eight for a solid good will hold. Although the intended audience may be for younger viewers, even at my current age and if I am now rather shameless, it would be distasteful to disregard how entertaining “Miraculous Ladybug” is.

Granting one example of an appealing aspect to the show, its minutiae in plot are adored. Given that I am an older viewer and the combat scenes are rendered negligible, for the non-fighting scenes of Marinette attempting to flirt with Adrien or, very comically, attempting to digitally break into his phone with oven gloves on to “prevent crime evidence,” the more minor details to the plot are, indeed, charming. Regardless of ongoing scenes, “Miraculous Ladybug” is filled with its funnier, cuter and unique moments, and with that individuality attached to the show, appeal is granted. In the overarching picture, as to be discussed in the Structural Value category, the show may be relatively stagnant, but when focusing on specific, minimal details to the story, it is highly entertaining.

Peering at other traits, to look into the scenes, “Miraculous Ladybug” discloses a various amount of scene types. Usual fighting occurs, but then, in contrast, the typical daily lives of the heroes are also unveiled. There is never an incident of pure, same events; the occurred conflicts and moments in “Miraculous Ladybug” are always new. With this, besides the appeal of witnessing scenes that range from action to comedy to romance, development of story takes place. Viewers are able to, overtime, accumulate a personal understanding of the show, be it understanding every character’s personality and motive, how the general lifestyle is for the characters, and more.

On this note, in terms of character development, dialogue plays a significant role, and “Miraculous Ladybug” can be greatly praised for its script (this will be based on the Korean version’s dialogue, though I am very much confident that the same, general meanings will carry between languages). The dialogue is funny, witty, but most importantly, natural; the characters’ words to one another or even themselves reflect not a superhero, TV show plot, but rather, almost everyday life in a sense. Excluding catchphrases, that is. On topic, to elaborate, the dialogue presented does not leak artificialness. When Marinette speaks, for example, it feels like Marinette, an average teenager/college student. She stutters, mutters, and squeals in excitement as a normal human would. Distinct qualities hold based on personality, but there is never a sense of being excessively “cartoonish,” an issue that may arise most notably for older viewers.

After two episodes, I have yet to consider the dialogue as overly scripted and vapid, and to that, the show deserves some credit. Juxtaposing “Miraculous Ladybug” to, for example, clips of Korean dramas (I do not watch them, though I have had watched segments with friends), shockingly stated, I will argue “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s dialogue felt more natural than the dramas, of which are, clearly, showcasing real actresses/actors and not fictional, computer animated characters. Extreme in example, but it provides emphasis on how respectable the dialogue is in the show. In the drama clips I have seen (forgetful of drama titles), much of the dialogue can be considered as excessive, but for this show, that is not apparent for a vast majority of the time (if it does appear, then it is during the fight scenes).

Perfectly timed, for the discussion of animations, the computer animations are impressive. While I would be incapable of truly differentiating “good” animations from “bad” ones, for “Miraculous Ladybug,” it is sufficient, and to be foreshadowed, appealing. Though there are nuisances in the form of, for one take, recycling transformation scenes and other, typical segments (the Structural Value will discuss this), in focus of the animations themselves, it is detailed and smooth. Facial expressions and movement are in tune to the show’s atmosphere, and during combat, maneuvers are fluent.

Reiterating the rating, an eight will be given. Admitted or not, the show is certainly entertaining. It is funny and romantic, action-packed and laidback. “Miraculous Ladybug” does well with maintaining appeal in multiple categories.

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Structural Value: 5/10

An unfortunate decrease in score. Structurally, the show scores at a five for average. Transitions between scenes, how episodes are formatted, and, for the nitpicking part, how vapid the show can be, are a few examples of what the Structural Value includes. Simplified, this category is focusing more on the technical layer.

To begin, undeniably, the show lacks interest in its very general outline. Every episode may be adorable and intense with combat, but as partially revealed in the Plot Summary, “Miraculous Ladybug” is, harshly stated, a basic input-output machine. In essence, all of the episodes are the same. A laughable, personal example will be used to highlight this issue: my own layout of an assumed “unique” episode.

This will be episode 25 of “Miraculous Ladybug,” and it is not a single episode, but rather, a two-part episode bonus so that episode 26 will be included. Following the show’s episodes’ protocol, the daily lives of Marinette and Adrien must first be revealed. After endless days of hopelessly flirting with Adrien, Marinette found her luck: Adrien decides to eat lunch with her. Marinette will be in utter happiness for her miniature date, but now, it is time to create a conflict: another student also has a crush on Adrien, and under intense jealousy, she (we will use a female for now, though being the social challenger I am, I would love for the day to come where a homosexual male is used in this scenario to showcase that, homosexuality is normal and acceptable; refer to my review on Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” and others for discussions regarding homophobia) becomes a target for the masked man.

Now, with being possessed by an Akuma, as seen in episode one to twenty-four, she seeks not to bring back the “miracle stones” of Ladybug and Black Cat, but instead, menacingly, to remove Marinette. Due to gaps in my horrible, instantaneously conjured plot, assumptions will be placed that Black Cat found out and threatened “Jealous Student,” and he is now the target. Fast forwarding, the daily lives’ scenes are over, and now, the transformation scenes–of which have been played twenty-four times already–are played. Fast forwarding, as this a special episode that has to vary from the prior twenty-four episodes, there will be a moment where Black Cat is nearly annihilated, or in more audience-friendly words, will become very hurt. But the varying point occurs: Ladybug takes the hit for Black Cat. Eventually, for whichever reasons, somehow Jealous Student surrenders either due to force or realizing her vile acts. Now, though Ladybug is nearly incapacitated, she still manages to, like in episodes one to twenty-four, say her catchphrases when capturing an Akuma.

“Evil” has been stopped, and now the episode transitions into the post-fight moments and the duo’s daily lives are about to be witnessed again, and as always, a romantic theme is of attention. As this is the bonus episode of twenty-five, to intensify fans’ love, there will be a very intimate moment between Ladybug and Black Cat realizing their love for one another, but, to keep fans constantly in search, the two do not embrace the idea of being in love as, according to Ladybug’s very wise and heroic words, “love will only bring us trouble” or something similar to such as those phrases will always be said. Then, Marinette, who is still hurt from whatever blow she received, limps to school, and Adrien notices and assists her. The two still do not know the other’s secret identity, but this marks another moment of romance between the two. Episode ends with a fade out to the sky and a bird-eye view of the city, and then teasers for “Miraculous Ladybug: Season 2” appears.

If I did not manage to elicit any form of laughter or grinning, I will consider taking comedy classes. Also, if in any way my satirical take on “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s final episodes are true in the future, then, in addition to proving my earlier point, it will also prove that my spying is of the highest expertise. Jokes aside, this an overly exaggerated view of the show’s weaker structural component: it is predictable. The show is very much predictable. Marinette’s and Adrien’s lives will be followed, but then an Akuma is released, then Ladybug and Black Cat launch into action, succeed, and then the ending consists of more romantic interactions.

A glaring fault to the show, and critically, through an unbiased lens, this will impair the show’s overall rating. Optimistically, however, even with this issue, “Miraculous Ladybug” is still highly enjoyable as, though the outline is stagnant, the dialogue per episodes will, surely, vary, for example, and with my personal exaggeration, it is solely such: a very sarcastic, pessimistic look at the show. For other, minor structural problems, repetition of animations and catchphrases are ones, but accounting for the culture of superhero shows that are geared towards a younger audience, this can be overlooked. Similarly, the dramatic camera angles and poses during fight scenes also fall into the same category. Overall, it is primarily the episodes’ repeated outline that delivers issues. No matter the amount of positive outlook for “Miraculous Ladybug,” there may be a point in which the structural layout is too mundane.

A five will hold for this category’s score. It is average at most due to, sadly, how the episodes are outlined.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score)

In the end, “Miraculous Ladybug” averages a seven for score, and therefore, it can be considered an above average show, and to that I can agree to. Of course, however, as this is a bonus review and hardly in depth, this Overall Score is far from accurate, and most certainly, is based on a personal analysis of the show. Concluding a final message, though, the Overall Score is less important than what was discussed earlier. If including the “Social Score,” a 15/10 would be in place. That piece is what I hope readers extract. “Miraculous Ladybug,” while not flawless on the entertainment level, it is still exceptionally enjoyable, but most remarkably, its empowering social messages is what brings it genuine respect and care. While I doubt I will actively watch more of the show due to time restraints, as stated, I plan to keep track of it (and to watch an episode here and there). On final notes regarding this review, though short and mediocre in analysis, I will urge that it is a show worthy of watching, and as excessively stated, one that needs to be emulated in every other show. The social equity presented is important to perpetuate, and much credit is deserve towards the producers for taking a risk to challenge current standards.

Switching to the end, thank you for reading this review, whether a fan of K-Pop or “Miraculous Ladybug.” I am incredibly grateful to those who continue to return to the blog, even despite it being inactive. University comes first, but reviews will not be abandoned. F.T. Island’s “Severely” will be of review next, and after it, I plan to hastily finish the current schedule of reviewing male artists. I do hope this bonus review, though, was enlightening and delightful for a change in reviews. Leaving an estimated publish date for “Severely,” perhaps next week at latest. I still have much schoolwork to attend to, but I will do my best to still release reviews briskly.

Thank you once more for reading, and as Ladybug would say, “Ladybug, out!” But, she never said those words. This is rather problematic as my iconic closures cannot happen. It will be assumed Marinette stated those words. Stay tuned for the return of K-Pop reviews, and specifically, F.T. Island’s “Severely.”

Hi, I’m Rick! It was a ‘long’ time, I hope you are well. Waiting any review of you. Take care n-n

Hello Rick, and thank you so much for checking in. I have been doing well, even if busy and somewhat overworked due to university (though not overwhelmed–or at least not to a large degree).

On Friday and Saturday I plan to grind out two reviews: a special bonus in the form of a show, and F.T. Island’s “Severely.” Both will hopefully be finished soon, and at this point, shorter writing will have to take place to balance my academic workload. But, it should all be fine and reviews should not decrease in terms of quality. 

That stated, thank you again for checking in. I hope you also are doing well. Reviews will be coming shortly, and for readers who are continually checking the blog, thank you for the patience. I will attempt to make the wait worthwhile.  

Girls’ Generation – “You Think” Review

Girls’ Generation – You Think (Live Performance)

Girls’ Generation – You Think (Music Video)

Girls’ Generation – You Think

Reviewed on September 8, 2015

Personal Message: After nearly a week of university (as of this sentence, one more day is left before a full week), for a simple, encapsulating phrase: weekends have never appeared so alluring. If time permits, a video may be made to share my experiences, but in short, I am thoroughly enjoying university. Work remains abundant and challenging, but nothing is utterly overwhelming. Furthermore, I am excited to begin “field experience” with teaching, and of course, meeting new people is always delightful. Life updates aside, in terms of the blog, as stated, I am certainly continuing it. Nevertheless, as university is rigorous in schedule, reviews may either dwindle in rate or length, the latter being what I am aiming towards. On the subject of reviews, against the disclosed schedule, guilt has, rightfully, consumed me: Girls’ Generation’s “You Think,” as requested, will be reviewed.

Originally, “You Think” was to be delayed until other songs, but as it has been nearly three weeks, doing so would further elevate the current rudeness I am displaying. To the requester, I sincerely apologize and am thankful for given patience. “Lion Heart,” the previous review, will have hopefully fulfilled some waiting. Afterwards, personally chosen songs will continue. More male artists are to arrive, and furthermore, new groups–in the sense of being introduced on the blog, that is. Peculiarly, Girls’ Generation has been excessively reviewed on the blog, even despite not personally being a tremendous fan. As a result, with the group enlightening that repetitiveness, variety will be of high priority. Quickly addressing the links as well, a live performance and music video are included. Respectively, the first is to unveil the choreography in full, and the second, for the purpose of crisp audio (and flashy visual content).

Now before digressing on a certain topic, as to be expected knowing my tendencies, to share new ideas regarding the blog, I am hoping to significantly reduce length, but in compensation, to greatly increase quantity. Truthfully, many of my reviews are excessive; the given writing per review could be vastly more compact. Thus, instead of a scrutinized, systematic deconstruction of songs (seeing the “structural” layer, then the “mechanical,” and so forth), while organization will remain, I will focus moreover on each song’s distinct quality, and if done properly, length will be reduced and reviews become less tedious. Trials will be conducted, and if worst comes, continuing the current rate and format will be of no issue.

That clarified, a unique digression is in mind (readers who wish for solely the review, skip below): “privilege jokes,” or less kindly phrased, insults towards social privileges. Especially with the context of Girls’ Generation’s “You Think,” the song of review can be interpreted as targeting males in a negative tone: “Boy, you ain’t cooler than me,” and from the prior song of “Lion Heart,” this trend is more so continued. Focusing on “privilege jokes,” though relatively minor in Girls’ Generation’s recent comeback, it is still an emanating topic, and thus, will be discussed.

Beginning, with the prior review–and truthfully, multiple reviews–seemingly antagonizing males, readers may gather an idea: that males cannot be trusted and all are unworthy and worth beating. Should the prior notion be believed, it is a questionable stance to possess, and in a future review, “education versus retaliation” will be discussed (in other words, “hate sexism, not males,” and so on), but for the topic of main attention, defensiveness of privilege is one. With these related topics, often time, replies of, “but I’m not like that,” or “not every male is like that,” naturally arise, and furthermore, this applies to other social aspects, whether race, class, and more. Delivering the overarching point for this digression, those with social privilege should not become defensive; during moments where privileges are attacked, understanding needs to occur versus defensiveness because privilege is momentous.

Utilizing Girls’ Generation’s comeback as an example, many males may feel wrongly accused: males may feel that the archetype of the character, Lion, is overly exaggerated; males may feel that “You Think” is biasedly siding with the female’s perspective; males may feel, overall, that these messages are “sexist” (refer to a poorly written review of Dal Shabet’s “B.B.B” for why reverse oppression is nonexistent). Even under the circumstance of direct hatred, such as with “all males deserve to die,” males should not become defensive: privilege carries significant power, and thus, even with burning hate, insults towards privilege are rendered meaningless. Granting a transparent example, a poorer person can yell at a rich person with raging remarks, but in the end, the wealthy person can merely return to their mansion while the poorer person has to struggle with balancing three jobs to survive. The effect: the one of privilege remains unaffected, even if emotionally hurt, but certainly, they will always benefit with their privilege and can neglect received insults.  

For a more common, controversial example, in the context of America, the following phrase ignites much discussion (or fights): “screw White people.” Although admittedly “screw” may have been modified for friendly language, the same idea holds. On topic, before proceeding, it is worth noting that the phrase can, and is, hurtful. Optimistically stated, very few Whites are genuinely racist (the prior review of “Lion Heart” does dive into subconscious racism), and therefore, upon hearing this phrase, it feels unfair, derogatory, and seemingly “racist” (repeating the earlier point, reverse oppression is false). This is where understanding privilege must occur. Certainly, it hurts, but equally, being White surely provides benefits that do, indeed, render the insults are nothing: Whites tend to be wealthier, have more access to higher education, and for discreet components, do not have to deal with microaggressions (racist jokes, having automatic assumptions of living elsewhere, etc.).

Of course, these are few examples out of the copious amount, but for an overall point, while it is tempting for those with privilege to react with denial or, horrendously, actual oppression and discrimination, being able to understand possessed privilege and its benefits will showcase a new perspective: that being White in America, for example, carries unfair bonuses, and therefore, it can be understood as to why someone would state, “screw Whites.” Conversely and atrociously, should the phrase be of “screw Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians–or simplified, any minoritized race,” a clear contrast is visible. No longer does “screw Whites” appear as hostile as minoritized races already face significant challenges in daily life. Thus, delivering an overarching message, for those with privilege, such as by being a male, or by being Korean in South Korea or White in America (“dominant groups” vary per place), while situations may occur where said personal social traits are attacked, understanding privilege needs to take place.

Nevertheless, in the next review, “education versus retaliation” will be discussed, and already leaking the argument there, insults toward privilege should not occur in the first place, but rather, educating those who are in privilege (though, as explained here, should insults occur, understanding and acceptance should take place). Ultimately, understanding and disarming privilege is what needs to occur. Those with privilege need to learn their given benefits, and resultly, act accordingly so as to provide equity. A male may face comments of “men are all garbage,” and rather than becoming sexist, for an act, they should instead do their role of providing gender equity, such as by rejecting false ideas of masculinity or by not being “sexist with a smile.” More will be discussed in the next review.  

All that stated, jocularly and hypocritically, to return to “You Think,” a song that rightfully puts boys in place via labeling them as immature and overly emotional (obviously this is my own “privilege joke,” and as discussed, males should embrace this joke as males are incredibly privileged), in a musical lens, I predict it scoring well. Many of Girls’ Generation’s latest songs have been decent, whether “Party,” “Lion Heart,” or even “Green Light,” and from the pattern, I expect “You Think” to also follow suit. Guesses aside, it is time to follow the title: to actually think and see how the song grades.

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Song Score: 7/10 (6.6/10 raw score) – “Above average”

– Vocals: 8/10 – For the vocals in “You Think,” a higher-end score holds.

Every single section in “You Think” discloses melodic and powerful singing, and though the degree varies per section, nonetheless, overall, each section’s vocals showcase such. Offering the most prominent, pleasing section, the pre-choruses provide a stunning example: the vocals remain exceptionally melodic, as given by the constant, strenuous note stretching and fluctuation, and furthermore, power also exists, as showcased by members hitting high notes and strain. On the sole basis of the pre-choruses, much of the song’s Vocals score derives from it. After all, lower notes being stretched to create a rhythmic, vibrating sound, and shortly after, being accompanied with higher, energetic notes, is all appealing: variety exists along with delightful sounds.

With the other sections, positive points still exist. The verses adopt the pre-choruses’ vocals, though all are more orientated towards deeper or higher pitches, depending on the verse number, and conversely, for the choruses, rather than focusing on stretching low or high notes, pure emphasis is placed upon power, as noticed by the blaring, intensive vocals that occur. Remaining sections of bridge and rap are also noteworthy, though the latter section is slightly more dull. At most, for moments of critique, the choruses do carry an intriguing issue: excessive power. However, in the end, it does not harm the overarching vocals, though, as to be discussed later, it will impair the Sections category.

All in all, an eight will hold for the vocals in “You Think.” Exceptionally melodic and powerful are the two words to describe the singing.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

1. Introduction: 4/10

2. Verse: 6/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4. Chorus: 4/10

5. Rap: 6/10

6. Bridge: 5/10

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: Leaving random notes, I am attempting to finish this review in one take, and so far, conceitedly, I believe I deserve some praising as this seems to be possible. Pitiful arrogance aside (and it is doubtful that this will be finished in one day), for the Sections category, five does hold as the average, of which indicates, humorously, average. Vocals in “You Think” may be excellent, but in this case, it appears the structure to the song is at fault.

Starting with the introduction, remorsefully, a four is the score–and duration in seconds. Due to the shorter length, it may be unfair to grade the section as is, but for consistency, nothing can be spared. For what is unveiled during the brief period, merely a few horn sounds are heard. Sonically, nothing pleasing arrives, and pessimistically, solely annoyance, and additionally, with minimal complexity, it leaves an incredibly mundane section. Purely launching “You Think” into its core is what the introduction excels at, but ignoring that single role, it is a poorer section.

Addressing, also, a section that received a four, the choruses prove similarly mediocre. Absurdly, the Vocals category did note the choruses’ possession of powerful vocals, and thus, a high score would be anticipated, but unfortunately, a section is more than sounds. In truth, the choruses are, as stated, excessive: the regular singing that occurs in the section is acceptable, but once complemented with the yelling, piercing background vocals of “you’re not,” a sharp, undesirable contrast is in place. Should the background vocals be calmer, and therefore, more suiting as the choruses would retain their usual, established style, then perhaps a higher score would hold. But, factoring in that and, for other traits, a repetitive format as the singing follows a stagnant path, a four holds.

In terms of the rap, it renders as slightly above average. Explaining such, it feels nearly unfair to give only a six; biasedly, the rap is liked, but realistically, there are a few glaring issues. Sooyoung’s and Hyoyeon’s rap lacks mechanically, though structurally, it is very much respectable. Clarifying, the layout of the rap is fantastic. Sooyoung’s part begins slowly, and flawlessly as time progresses, her rap gradually generates speed, the latter being noticeable through “what, what, what.” This offers the section variety, but more importantly, progression: the rap is not a plain, linear spit of words, but instead, a flowful, open rap. Hyoyeon’s part is also equally respectable, and anticipatedly, builds off Sooyoung’s prior part. A brisk rate maintains the rap’s cohesion as doing so is extending Sooyoung’s part, but towards the end, the rap does slow, and besides allowing a perfect transition into the bridge from such, reiterating the earlier point, variety is extracted as multiple rates are observed. Disappointingly, what prevents a seven or even an eight is the weaker delivery, figuratively and literally phrased. On literal terms, more vocal power during the rap would have been more suitable, especially when focusing on Sooyoung’s miniature, fragile note stretches near the start. Nonetheless, these are minor pickings. The rap is pleasing, though due to the minor issues, a seven will be preserved.

Discussing the bridge as it is the chronological follow-up to the rap, a five for average proves to be the score. Sonically, the bridge is solid; it is unequivocal that the section’s vocals are alluring. However, as notioned during the choruses, a section requires more than vocals. In the bridge’s situation, the format of it is remarkably basic: slower, dramatic singing that is built up, and eventually, at the end, a climactic point is created in terms of a note hold. Thus, with the bridge following the standard section protocol, higher ratings will be saved. If the layout was relatively unique, or if the section was amazingly structured for also outstanding vocals, then perhaps better ratings would exist, but as it is, this bridge is basic, even despite having stronger singing.

Transitioning to the sections that will reap praises, the verses and pre-choruses hold such roles. Six and seven are the scores, respectively. As the following applies to both sections, the mechanical layer to the sections are admirable: smooth, melodic, and impactful vocals exist. With the verses, the first one prioritizes deeper notes, as noted by the charming note stretch towards the end, but also, by the simplistic yet effective rhythmic start. Later, with the second verse, a similar concept holds, though towards higher pitches. However, as noticed, a six is still the rating, and the reason for such is moreover towards the second verse. With the specific section, the engrossing, lower noted stretches in the first verse are swapped with, not note stretches, but rather, higher notes in general; the attractive quality to the first verse was its take of stretching out lower notes, but with the second verse, that is lost for merely hearing higher notes that are not even stretched or held. Therefore, as a result, a slight reduction of score occurs. Analyzing the pre-choruses, however, an above average rating is in place. Concisely stated, with highly enchanting vocals, as discussed in the Vocals category, much of the section holds well. It is diverse with sounds and singing, whether through the various note pitches or the style of singing, and additionally, for its role of a pre-chorus, “You Think” is certainly prepared to meet the upcoming section. A brilliant section is the pre-chorus.

Finally concluding the Sections category with the conclusion section itself, a six is its score. The conclusion does utilize the chorus section, but with how the choruses are conducted, it provides a decent ending. Musically, the downsides of the choruses are translated over, but positively, with the solo instrumental break that plays at the end, “You Think” is able to naturally fade out, and desirably, to linger as the song’s highlight was the final section played. Hypothetically, if the choruses were seducing, the conclusion would score significantly higher, but, as that is not the case, on the basis of a weaker section carrying over, the score is slightly impaired.  

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Eight members are in Girls’ Generation, and unluckily, memory fails to recall whether, in past reviews, the group size has been a challenge or not. Ignoring past reviews, eight members can create challenges, and knowing “You Think” ‘s focus on difficult singing, a more restrictive distribution may exist.

Gauging Taeyeon’s share, her sections include the first and second pre-choruses, and the bridge because of “because.” Three is her count, and that is rather disturbing. For being one of Girls’ Generation’s main vocalists, a much higher count was to be expected.

Sunny, the next member to analyze, possesses a total of three sections: the two verses and the bridge. Homogenous to Taeyeon, no disparities are present. It will be hoped the trend continues as so.

For another main vocalist in the group, Tiffany’s sections consist of the first verse and second pre-chorus, and also, two choruses. Thus, four is her total, and assuming the rest of the group follow with three or four, there will be no problem.

Switching over to Yuri, her spotlight appears at the first verse and one chorus. Two is the outcome. While the group’s perfect streak is lost, unless if similar quantities arrive by the other members, this is of minimal concern.

Sooyoung’s parts are of one chorus and rap, and thus, she and Yuri are in identical situations. This may be impairing to the overall score, but of course, it depends on the rest.

Covering Yoona’s share, she had solely the first chorus. Though she appears at moments of  other choruses, as to be explained at the end, those specific incidents can be assumed as the entire group singing. Therefore, a lonesome one is her quantity, and that will reduce the score greatly.

Hyoyeon’s distribution, in hopes of redeeming the overall score, includes two sections: the rap and final chorus. Two, like Yuri and Sooyoung, is her count.

Lastly, for the youngest member and a main vocalist, Seohyun’s lines are of the first pre-chorus, the second verse, and the bridge. Three is her total, and even with it, a poorer outlook appears for the group’s share.

Now addressing the disclaimer, as the choruses possesses multiple members, it is nearly impossible to track line ownership, and thus, background vocals are entirely excluded; solely the standard singing lines during the choruses are gauged. This, overall, should have minimal impact as every background vocals are equally neglected. Granting an overall score, as the average share per member is at 2.5 sections, two members can be deemed outliers: Tiffany has an extra section while Yoona lacks one. If a basic trade was conducted then, in truth, “You Think” would score perfectly as half the members have three or two sections. Miraculously, a nine will be earned. Given that Tiffany’s extra line and Yoona’s lack of said line is the sole disparity, and adding the component of how the choruses include various members, a nine will be earned. If correct, the past reviews have had very high scores for the Line Distribution category, and comically, Girls’ Generation is continuing the pattern.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Returning to my earlier arrogant statement, I have failed. This sentence marks how far I got in one session, though regardless, it is desirable to finish a review in two days. Digression aside, with returning to this review in the morning, the instrumental to “You Think” is, sadly, average. Biasedly, though, the instrumental is adored.

First, with the instrumental, its sound predominantly consists of bass and beats, though there are lighter, piano-like sounds, such as during the pre-choruses. But, as it is mainly of the mentioned two sounds, both positivity and negativity arrives. One benefit of the instrumental includes contrast: with the instrumental adopting deeper, slower sounds, Girls’ Generation’s singing, an opposite in that the vocals’ pitches and rate are high, is then able to become accentuated for attention. Generally, as well, the combination of vocals and instrumental mesh well in terms of sounds. Neither aspect is overwhelming the other, but instead, both synthesize properly to deliver a cohesive, complementing song.

For the negatives, an obstructive point is mundanity. While in itself the bass or even the beats are attractive, with minimal changes occurring, the constant playback of the sounds become dull over time. Clarifying, however, it is worth noticing that complexity is not necessarily an essential factor to an instrumental’s success, but in “You Think” ‘s case, with a soundtrack that focuses moreover on foundation than, for example, a leading melody (such as with a piano sound), repetition tends to accumulate more easily, and thus, staleness holds. It is rather difficult, after all, for purely bass and beats to become highly enticing by themselves.

Though a five holds, as the instrumental is–as intended to be–combined with the vocals, it should not be entirely disregarded as simply average.

– Lyrics: 6/10 – Already leaked, “You Think” does involve targeting a boy for his acts, but for what has yet to be revealed, the entire story is still a mystery. Perhaps a break-up occurred, or perhaps the boy happens to be relentlessly harassing the main character. Halting speculations, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will provide insight on what each character is “thinking.”

You stay up all night, heart aching because of me?
You worry about me?
Wow, never heard that before
You pretend to be a good guy
You pretend to cry because of me
You try so hard on all your SNS accounts,
only posting your stories on how you’re hurt

You call my name in time
that has already passed and erased
Back then, we shined
All the beautiful memories that I tried to keep,
but you spit it out, however you wanted,
coldly spit it out

You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
That’s just what you think
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah
You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
It’s the end of your illusion
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah

(Never heard that before)
Hah, yeah, you’re talking about us again
So people can focus on you, you used me
You’re calling me a thorny bad girl
I was going to let it go but you crossed the line again

Under the fading and slowing clouds
Under the falling rain
The tears that I hid all alone
The scars that I received
You spit it all out, lightly spit it all out,
easily spit it all out

You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
That’s just what you think
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah
You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
It’s the end of your illusion
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah

Boy, if you’re not confident, back up
Why are you here looking at me that way?
Be clear–what what what
Why can’t you be bold?
I’m a bad girl from the gossip
that you made up
It’s fine, it’ll all return to you in the end, anyway
But listen carefully to my decision
I have no regrets anymore, go away

I used to think
you were my world
But I’ll give you a clearer answer
I’m way too good for you
Because

You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
That’s just what you think
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah
You think ya real cool (you’re not)
Ya think ya real cool (you’re not)
It’s the end of your illusion
Boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah

Mindreading activated, to answer what the characters are thinking, though the former love-interest’s thoughts are excluded, the main character’s mind is showcased: angry. She (or he; lyrics are always open to be gender neutral) directly calls out the boy with words of, “you think ya real cool, that’s just what you think,” and for a final call, “boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah.” Seeking the justification behind the main character’s acts, it appears that the former love-interest is biasedly crafting a story of, implicitly, the two’s breakup: “You try so hard on all your SNS accounts, only posting your stories on how you’re hurt.” The main character is frustrated by this as the boy is “[pretending] to be a good guy” and “[pretending] to cry because of me.” In the end, while it is impossible to judge who is sincerely guilty, the main character, eventually, offers her perspective: “The tears that I hid all alone, the scars that I received, you spit it all out, lightly spit it all out, easily spit it all out.” From the line, it can assumed that the boy, even if in tears now, is also at fault as he left the main character with “tears” and, hopefully, figurative “scars.”

Rating the lyrics to “You Think,” a six holds for slightly above average. For the plot, the song did differ from many, even if it is still with the standard theme of a relationship split. A conflict exists to give the plot its unique take, and furthermore, with two perspectives to analyze, depth is included. Questions exist, such as of wondering why the two split, but also, if the main character is innocent or not. Surprisingly, all this time, she might be the one at fault. Debates away, with multiple points of discussion, the lyrics prove engrossing for its story. Nevertheless, for drawbacks, as with many lyrics, the lack of details are one. Many sections are repeats, whether through having exact lines, or in different cases, merely repeating a similar idea, such as the emotions of the main character. As a result, potential plot development is lost. All in all, however, “You Think” does have an appealing plot.

– “Critical Corner”: For this bonus category, at most, the digression at the beginning covers potential controversy, but in terms of other topics, none can be seen. Minimally, for a simplistic comment, should a breakup occur, having respect should take place so that, unlike the song, a peaceful, understanding and accepting outcome occurs, not one of fights as is in “You Think.”

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Disturbingly, this review’s length is significantly shorter than many prior  ones. Understandably, for the Personal Message, the given digression was concise, but even so, I am fearing that the conducted analysis for the song itself is perhaps insufficient. Personally skimming over  will be done, and of course, for readers, sending in feedback is always welcomed and appreciated. Without digressing further except for the obligated compliment of how Taeyeon’s eyeshadow was extremely beautiful and that, in general, all of the members’ makeup were charming, for the choreography to “You Think,” it is a tie between a seven or eight, but with the points to cover, an eight is more justified.

Syncing is flawless for the song; every dance maneuver in “You Think” links to the song’s audio. For examples: the choruses sync with both vocals and instrumental, as observed with hand motions matching to the lyrics’ flow or by the light, foot pacing to match the beats; the verses’ dance set is reflective of the slower, rhythmic bass and singing as motions are homogeneously sluggish, but for the moments of increased intensity, the dancing equally becomes upbeat, such as with Seohyun hastily crawling forward; and for the last example, even with the rap section, the choreography still remains precise with syncing due to relating to the instrumental’s beats.

Adding onto the sharp syncing, for what truly shifts the score from a seven to eight, the various key points deserve credit. Every section remains distinct, and more so than types of sections. The first verse contains its own dance set, and thus, for the second verse, an entirely new choreography is in place. Furthermore, even the choruses differ, though similarities carry over. Because of the diverse key points, the choreography is able to maintain constant appeal as the dancing remains new per section, and accounting for the stellar visuals per dance, as explained with the syncing, the various key points ensure a higher rating.

A fabulous choreography exists for “You Think.” Two main aspects of choreographies are excelled: the syncing is accurate, and the key points all vary and still appear as exquisite.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – Against personal predictions, for “You Think,” one of the comeback songs for Girls’ Generation, it can be regarded as a solid song. Extraordinary, in fact. Admitting my foreshadowed score, I expected, at most, a seven, but most likely, a six. But, as the choreography and audio are fantastic (though to say, the Line Distribution may be saved the Song Score), the current rating is understandable.

To the requester, thank you very much for being patient, and happily stated, surprise; this review may be unexpected as I did state that it would be delayed, but correctly, it was prioritized and finally finished. However, with it being nearly three weeks, I greatly apologize for the delay in the first place. University is keeping me busy, but reviews will always still come. On that note, this review does appear significantly shorter than prior ones. Again, as briefly mentioned, if this is due to the lack of analysis, I will be concerned, but should it be due to saying more in less words, this will provide a huge growth point for the blog and personal writing. That is my current goal: to cover more ideas in a more concise manner. This way, reviews retain entertainment, and furthermore, more reviews are able to be posted. More experiments will be done to see, but I will strive to keep reviews at this length or, ambitiously, even shorter.

Since I have not stated so, thank you to those who have read this review. Skimmed for numerical ratings or read to every period, I appreciate any given time towards the blog. More reviews will be arriving, many of which will be artists that have yet to appear on the blog, and as male artists have been rarely reviewed, for the remainder of September, I will aim to cover purely male artists. In terms of life updates, a review will cover how university is going (I am loving it), and for those also keeping track of my YouTube channel, subtitled videos are to still come.

As this is the end, once again, thank you for reading. Even with now being incredibly busy (I misused the word during high school), time will always be allocated towards writing reviews. After all, I would not desire readers to taunt me with “ya think ya real cool, that’s just what you think, boy, you ain’t cooler than me, nah.” Though that statement is certainly true as readers are much “cooler” than me, I am thankful for those who read my atrocious writing. Stay tuned for an upcoming male (group) artist, and hopefully, an even more concise, purposeful review.

Girls’ Generation’s Music Video – “Lion Heart” Review

Reviewed on September 1, 2015

Girls’ Generation – Lion Heart (Music Video)

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Personal Message: With college occurring in less than a week (as of the time of this sentence), I have been busy organizing and retrieving materials, finishing write-ups, and for other events, collaborating with a friend for subtitling a video, and therefore, was unable to write for a few days. Also, for a side note, I may, in a video, share my current feelings regarding university, and for what readers may be interested in, advice regarding careers and future goals. On topic, with everything nearly cleared, I am returning to writing reviews, and specifically, for a partially requested one: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart.” Clarifying the term of  “partially,” I am stating such as, though a reader did request both of the group’s latest songs, “Lion Heart” and “You Think,” solely the latter will be reviewed in a standard song format. For “Lion Heart,” I have personally decided to review its music video for the purpose of time and variety.

Addressing the music video, besides regretfully watching it at night and getting hungry, I absolutely adore it. From a biased standpoint, I find the plot and layout to be incredibly alluring and comical (and more seriously, empowering, as to be discussed), but even from a realistic perspective, higher ratings would still be justified. Though to be explained within the review itself, with a significant plot twist occurring, the music video is able to retain a higher score. If it were not for the drastic change in story, statistically, “Lion Heart” would fare equally to ZE:A J’s “Marry Me” ‘s music video. In essence, both videos are identical: every character (member) is followed with their own romantic scenario. Differently, however, with “Lion Heart,” rather than a plot instilled with pure, sweet romance, bitterness appears at the end, and that change is valuable.

To already digress, with mentioning how the music video is empowering (for readers who wish for the review, skip ahead), intentional or not, the video sheds light onto a prevalent issue: sexism, but more specifically, subtle sexism. “Sexism comes with a smile,” as the phrase is, and with the term “phrase,” to prevent copyright related issues, if correct, I am referencing an article title. On a more serious note, however, to utilize the mentioned phrase, Girls’ Generation’s video highlights it. Furthermore, with this topic, other oppressions are also truly uncovered: racism, classism, and so forth. Often time these oppressions are rendered as blunt, heinous acts, but in reality, that is not always the case, and realistically, many of these social issues are discreet.

To bring an understandable example, racism tends to provide the most clarity. Derogatory remarks, physical assaults, and similar, blatant acts fueled by racism appear as the main forms of it, but seldom are, for examples, remarks of “Asians are math geniuses” or “I love Koreans” regarded as racist. Very few incidents, in fact, are intentionally racist, but many are subconsciously, hence why education should appear versus aggressive retaliation and defensiveness (as to be discussed in the next review), but specifically for the upcoming discussion, why understanding what oppression (sexism, racism, etc.) truly is, in the context of appearances, needs to be discussed. Offering a final example, as a few readers may already connote the prior examples as racist, for a more complex one, especially in the lens of America, police provide such. Many now correlate police officers as racist people: it is assumed that police officers wake up and look out into the horizon, hands on hip and gun handle, and that they will state, “What a great day to shoot down a non-White civilian.”

Although, due to human diversity, there will always be officers that are, indeed, ominously racist, in truth, many are not–on the conscious level (and this applies to every human). Yet, if the prior statement is true, then police brutality cases affecting predominantly minoritized races would cease. This is where the discussion of “oppression comes with a smile” appears. To continue the current example, while a significant, vast majority of police officers are not consciously racist, in a life-and-death, high-stress situation, subconsciousness takes over, and sadly, in that state of mind, the officers may be racist, and that is not their fault. It derives from society. It derives from society showcasing, and perpetuating, the idea that, for example, African Americans are “gangsters” and “dangerous.” Needless to say, that standard is incredibly racist and pathetic, but returning to the main point, subconscious oppression matters and needs to be equally addressed as conscious, blatant oppression.

To now fully focus on subconscious sexism as it relates to this review directly (though not to say it is not worth discussing how racism, classism, and other oppressions break down; even if a topic is indirectly related to a review, it is worth ruminating over, and in another review, “intersectionality” will be discussed), “Lion Heart” ‘s music video is a perfect depiction of it. Specifically with “sexism comes with a smile,” to continue usage of the phrase, a few reviews have already partially dived into the topic: a show review on “Channel Fiestar” and even at an older music video review. Nevertheless, a full discussion will now take place, and perfectly, with “Lion Heart” as example.

First, in isolation, Lion’s acts (for simplicity, the lion character’s created name will be unembellished) in themselves are genuinely friendly. Essentially, per Girls’ Generation member, a very kind gesture was made. On the surface, Lion cannot be sexist; Lion cannot be assumed as sexist when, for one, he has permission from the ladies, and secondly, his sweet acts and gifts are all delightful. Unfortunately, he is certainly sexist. Unequivocally sexist. The reason for such is his “kind” gestures, ironically, are motivated by a horrendous one: winning women, as if women are trophies and objects to be won (refer to “Channel Fiestar” ‘s review for more information). Thus, Girls’ Generation’s music video deserves much praise for its given message. Easily, the song could have potentially adopted ZE:A J’s video’s route: pure, perfect love. Instead, the music video director opted to showcase a live, active social issue, and implicitly, she/he delivers a potent message through the members’ acting: it is not acceptable to be “sexist with a smile.” After all, doing so results in having Hyoyeon decapitate males no rewards, but instead, beatings and hatred.

Now, although the music video has been shortly analyzed, it would be pitiful to end the discussion at that point when many other highly subtle acts are still rife. With “Lion Heart” giving perfect background, more examples will be presented: “I can’t hit you since you’re a girl”; “I’ll pay for the dinner since you’re a girl”; “I’ll be the one to ask you out since you’re the girl”; “I’ll handle all the physical work since you’re a girl.” Certainly, many other phrases exist, but these appear as common ones that would grant more insight into “sexism with a smile.” Reiterating the prior paragraph, these acts seem sweet; the listed acts would seem endearing as it saves females money, hassles, and gives protection. False. And false privileges. Though these points appear as privilege, to state that females are privileged would be to state questionable, cheesy jokes from my high school professor a joke. Females are not privileged. Males are. “Sexism with a smile,” as given by the list, merely covers real privilege and attempts to veil current gender inequities.

Finally critiquing each of those statements, all are heavily rooted in sexism. Those seemingly charming acts are not so once deconstructed. In terms of “I can’t hit you since you’re a girl,” it is laugh-inducing. If that statement is true, there is definitely a flaw as females are, in fact, abundantly physically hit by boys, as given by domestic violence statistics, and though not exactly “hit,” cases of rape and sexual assault, of which are physical harm. Therefore, already, that phrase is moot. Besides the hypocrisy in those words, there is still sexism involved: asking why. Why are males unallowed to hurt females (though, again, many boys fail to follow the standard in the first place). Similar to the “trophy” idea, the same could also translate: females cannot be hit as it would be hitting a trophy, and thus, harming an object is certainly wrong. Jocularly, rather than “I can’t hit you since you’re a human being,” it is “girl” as, inequitably and wrongly, that can be objectified.

Progressing on, for the phrase of “I’ll pay for the dinner since you’re a girl,” and homogeneously, “I’ll be the one to ask you out since you’re the girl,” though money lost and social trepidation are prevented, and thus, the phrases appear as benefits, once again, sexism is stemmed from. Incapability is what is implied, specifically when tied to gender norms. There is a momentous difference between casually paying and paying on the basis of gender, the latter being what the phrase is focusing on (I will clarify differences between genuine acts later). With males deciding to be the payer as “it is a man’s role,” doing so is, discreetly, stating that females cannot afford to pay for themselves (though gender wage disparities is another topic), and more critically, that, in general, females cannot take care of themselves. In terms of the second phrase, the same trend is followed: females are helpless and passive, and resultly, that males must always take the initiative, such as for proposal. Even the final phrase of “I’ll handle all the physical work since you’re a girl” follows suit.

Now, to address a rebuttal that this may be overly sensitizing the phrases, to clarify, these acts should not be prohibited. There is nothing wrong, in itself, with a male deciding to propose first, or for another example, to entirely handle heavy physical labor. What is worthy of scrutinizing is the motive for such. After all, stealing Tiffany’s words, “Ladies,” and of course, gentlemen, “y’all know what I’m talking about, right?” Sexism and genuine kindness are easily differentiated. If a man’s reason for entirely paying a dinner is due to it being a gift for a beloved partner, there is no issue. However, if, in opposite, it was motivated not on the premise of being affectionate, but instead, because of having to comply with “being a man,” issues are present. Likewise, for individually handling physical labor, if the justification resides with being kind and sparing a partner from sores versus, for example, the pressure to utterly “protect” a female since that is a “man’s job,” then it is fine.

Overall, the main message is not to prohibit males from sweet acts, but rather, to bring awareness to subtle sexism. Males’ kind acts towards females should be exactly such; whenever a male decides to do a friendly favor for a female, it should not be fueled by “winning” females or expecting to receive a date, but instead, because kindness is always worthy of granting and spreading. Males should not hit females simply since “they are girls,” males should not hit females because no human deserves to be physically assaulted. Males should not pay for entire meals because it is a “man’s role,” but because it is always sweet to pay for anyone’s meal. Similarly, males should not feel pressured to be the proposer because of gender norms, but instead, since they want to create a (hopefully) romantic situation for a dearly loved  person. Lastly, for females, subtle sexism should also be disengaged: females should also be willing to propose first and to pay entirely for meals, as breaking down current standards equally challenges, and removes, sexism. It is all about shifting sincere, sweet acts to being stemmed in actual kindness and not inequitable norms.

Digression aside, to finally return to Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart,” repeating the earlier praise, this music video deserves much positive attention for its message that promotes equity for both males and females. Additionally, if not for the more veiled aspect to the video, for the blatant layer, female protagonists and showcasing that femininity is as desired as masculinity are always empowering points as, sadly, the opposites are exceptionally more common. On topic with the review itself, with high visual appeal and an equally pleasing plot, the ladies’ latest music video can be predicted to score well.

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Plot Score: 6/10

Though to explain at the end, this review has been delayed momentously. University is beginning tomorrow, and therefore, I will be busy (and already was), but optimistically, more studious times will exist for peaceful writing. Updates aside, before critiquing the music video’s plot, a personal, short summary will be given so that readers understand where criticism, if any, will derive from.

“Lion Heart” begins with eight characters (Girls’ Generation) enjoying pizza. Soon, the ladies decide to watch a film, of which the music video then adopts for its main content. After a transition, Yoona, a character (members’ names will be used for simplicity), is seen holding a ticket close to her. It is not the ticket she treasures, but rather, the love-interest who gave it: a boy named “Lion” (or at least will now be named as such), as to be discovered later.

Continuing, in a new scene, Taeyeon is introduced, and also, Lion as well. Taeyeon instantly becomes captivated by his appearance. Afterwards, identical to Taeyeon, Sooyoung also falls for Lion’s appearance as, while busy with her painting, his arrival leads to utter shock. Yoona is then shown again, though at a point prior to receiving the ticket: she is bored on a train ride until Lion visits her. Predictably, similar scenes are disclosed, though different in scenarios: Tiffany has Lion repair her broken car; Seohyun, reading in a cafe, has Lion catch her book before it hits the floor; Sunny, a bakery shop owner, bumps into Lion, but in response, he kindly picks up her dropped items; Hyoyeon, during a solo picnic, has Lion abruptly appearing and offering her wine though, realistically and to ruin the plot’ mood, this scene is rather “creepy” as this stranger is excessively intimate; and lastly, Yuri and Lion are observed in a boat where Lion performs music and magic.

Hastily progressing to changes in story, Lion now gives a date to every member for, assumingly, when to meet him. Every member is witnessed with her own way of receiving: Yuri gets the date to appear on her cloth due to a magic trick; Seohyun has it written in her novel; Taeyeon, simply, has a paper slip given; Tiffany, during a drive, had Lion tell her (or that he completely changed out her license plate to show the date, but this being more unrealistic); Sooyoung discovers the date in a portrait of herself, of which Lion drew; Yoona, as reflected at the music video’s beginning, received a ticket with the date; and lastly, Hyoyeon and Sunny, while ambiguous on how they received their notes, it can be assumed they have also.

Fast forwarding, the members are all now at a train station to, based on their notes, meet Lion. Interestingly, a strange incident occurs: all of the ladies are in the same scene. Lion’s romantic acts were not exclusive per member. Eventually, Yoona discovers him, conspicuously, hiding behind a newspaper, and shortly after, the remaining characters gather. Confusion exists, but solely for a few seconds: upon them realizing that Lion delivered “sexism with a smile,” they all decided to remove said smile. After some physical hitting on Lion, his phonebook drops. Planned, multiple dates, are written, and now with even more anger, the ladies continue chasing him.

Ultimately, for the music video’s conclusion, it showcases Lion attempting to reconcile with the characters, but, clearly, it is all in vain. Whether through Yoona ignoring him as he attempts to chase after her train, or a tearful Yuri elbowing him and smacking him with an oar, or even Tiffany exploiting his ruined state to clean her car, Lion will not repair relationships, and rightfully so. Focusing on the very end, the music video returns to the outside plot of the eight friends enjoying a movie, though now all are asleep. Jocularly, they wake up to a nightmare: Lion is there in the room (perhaps to showcase that “Lion” is, indeed, a person who can exist in life). Like the ladies in their movie, they all begin hitting him, and from there, it can be happily assumed Lion would never pester anyone again.

– Analysis: Boring summary aside, though, as explained, it helps maintain understanding for what will now occur, for a score to the plot, a six for slightly above average will hold.

Addressing positive aspects to the plot, for the earlier phase, the eight varying scenarios of romance bring multiple benefits. Each member can be examined for their case and how supposed love unfolded, and furthermore, with each scenario significantly differing from the rest, the diversity grants automatic appeal. Nonetheless, in the end, with solely this part, like the prior music video review, a lower score would hold. While romantic and delightful, the plot lacks depth; the first section of “Lion Heart” merely discloses basic, flirtatious stories. No conflicts were present, and though each member’s scene is unique in itself, overall, all are still within identical styles.

That stated, the score is a six and not, for example, a four. A plot twist occurs, hence the higher rating. Upon the climactic point of the characters all encountering Lion, humor, distinction, and actual happenings are all present, and these attributes allow the plot to become enticing. Versus the chronological, repetitive nature of the plot’s earlier stage, the plot twist brings flexibility; the plot to “Lion Heart” is no longer of pure romance, but, jocularly, pure hatred. However, even with a welcomed surprise, the plot still fails to contain high complexity, and thus, no higher numerical rating will be given,  though not to discredit a six. In the end, the plot is still relatively linear, especially when accounting for how scenes, after the climactic point, replicate prior ones. Varied from earlier ones, the later scenes showcase hate versus attraction, but nevertheless, the same, linear sequenced shots still occur.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Switching to “Lion Heart” ‘s structural score, as foreshadowed for a majority of music videos, visual appeal is excellent. Although the plot remains moreover stagnant, visual content, conversely, remains exceptionally diverse. A plethora of backgrounds, as displayed per member’s scenario, and additionally, the various, chic and stunning clothing and makeup sets each member possessed, contribute to the music  video’s visual appeal. Each background, though akin to one another in the sense of theme and time, can  still be rendered as individual. For examples, Tiffany’s car scene provided an outdoor, road context, and in contrast, Sunny’s scene included an indoor area, and also, beautiful colors. Similarly, Girls’ Generation’s fashion follow equal trends: varied yet all are chic and captivating.

Besides blatant visual content, the structuring of said content is also endearing. Though traditional, “Lion Heart” utilizes an effective format: alternating between plot and choreography. Reiterating prior points in ZE:A J’s review of “Marry Me,” with the constant switching, additional visuals are able to be added, and with those additions, constant stimulation is maintained. Elaborating, due to the choreography being included, new types of scenes are granted: dancing becomes the main focus, and with such, new backgrounds and fashion are brought, all of which create more visual appeal as differences are unveiled. Adding on, for moreover what delivers and maintains high stimulation, shorter durations and hasty alternating of scenes can be credited. Minimal time exists to dissect a scene thoroughly, and thus, curiosity naturally accumulates, but with entirely new, alluring scenes occurring in a few seconds, the mentioned curiosity fails to fade.

An eight will hold as the structural score to “Lion Heart.” Visually, the music video is fabulous. From scenery to clothing, to acting and dancing, the video in the category of visuals is, basically phrased, good.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

To confess, slight rushing did occur. However, considering music video reviews are bonuses, it is not entirely troubling. Truthfully, I am yearning to begin standard song reviews once again, and optimistically, many are to arrive (realistically, however, the usual rate of one or two per week may be it). Attention towards one of Girls’ Generation’s latest music videos, “Lion Heart” averages at a seven, of which indicates it is above average, and that is agreeable. While a “best” music video is nonexistent for my personal list, “Lion Heart” does reside with a few favorites, such as Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” (I may review her latest song). Overall, it is a respectable music video.

Leaving final remarks, for one, I greatly apologize for this review’s delay. University has started, and I have attended my first day. If time permits, I will share the experiences, but in short, I am loving college. With a more definite schedule in place, I have found a perfect time for reviews, and depending on how productive I am, many can be expected. That said, schoolwork will always, blatantly, be prioritized. Nevertheless, I do feel regretful for the delay and am thankful for readers’ patience. Also, thank you for reading, whether skimmed or read entirely. For the requester, though not in a standard song review, I do hope this review is still accepted. Thank you for your patience and for sending in the requests. “You Think” will be reviewed soon, though for purpose of reorientating with song reviews, it may be delayed for one song. Apologies if that occurs.

Summing up updates, more reviews are to come. For purpose of speed and due to personal critiques, 4Minute’s Hyuna’s comeback of “Roll Deep/Because I’m The Best” is most likely to be reviewed, but afterwards, I will, hopefully, return to finish the current request. Regardless, look forward to upcoming reviews and an improvement of publish rate. After all, “tell me why, why does my heart keep shaking?” Most likely due to being lethargic with writing reviews. Stay tuned for the next one.