Top Japanese boyband KAT-TUN
recently released their music video "No More Pain" in conjunction with their album release of the same title (If you've never heard of KAT-TUN, they're the Japanese equivalent of TVXQ or possibly Big Bang). And it is...interesting.
First let me put forth the disclaimer that I only recently started following KAT-TUN, though I've been peripherally aware of them for years, so I'm not an expert on their musical style. Having said that, PVs, like songs, should stand pretty much on their own. Hit continue reading to check it out (unfortunately English subs aren't available due to copyright claims from Johnny's Entertainment, but the lyrics are below)
"Yeah 2010 NMP
If tomorrow is the end of the world If tomorrow is the end of the world
I'll wanna be, always here I'll wanna be, always here
Let's go Let's go
Where is the heaven? Heaven and earth are split, this body is deeply wounded. Where is the heaven? Heaven and earth are split, this body is deeply wounded.
My prayers doesn't reaches you so far away, the cross has decayed My prayers doesn't reaches you so far away, the cross has decayed
Why does the truth just smile while reality remains without justice? Why does the truth just smile while reality remains without justice?
Burn into your eyes my eternally fighting figure. Burn into your eyes my eternally fighting figure." Read more
The song itself is is reasonably addicting - intense and fast-paced, with layers of pop and rap and some hard-hitting choruses. It's not fantastic, but I could stand to re-listen to it on my Ipod. But the PV - oh the PV.
First off - the guyliner
. There's a lot of it in this one, even for an Asian MV. The amount of make-up these boys are wearing makes me cringe. Then there's the generally goth-punk look and emo vibe of the entire PV, with the heavy make-up, dark costumes, angsty screaming-of-the-lyrics, and lots of intense looks shot at the camera. I find this hilarious on many, many different levels, but mainly because this is not the kind of band that KAT-TUN is - they're a pop boyband with talent that comes and goes, and wouldn't even be able to say hello to an actual punk band complete with goth attire, metal studs, and screamo/heavy metal choruses. It's not that KAT-TUN haven't dabbled in this stuff before, but they really pulled out all stops with this particular PV, and it is really entertaining, mostly because it just comes off as deliciously cheesy ( I would be more forgiving of this video if it was even slightly tongue-in-cheek, but like most music videos of this kind it's ridiculously intense and somber).
Lots of biceps and moving tattoos.
Kame channeled the same intensity into this he does into everything, for better or for worse (and looks deeply photoshopped in the process)
"No More Pain" is a song about sorrow, pain, hope and the end of the world. Concept-wise, they decided that the most logical way to express all these emotions and deep themes was to make the PV look like a cheesy video game, complete with a menacing army of soldiers wearing alien-type armor, led by the KAT-TUN boys, with the sound of the army's marching introducing the PV. All of this doesn't just look like it was ripped off from a video game, however - all of the Egyptian motifs (the PV also begins with a pyramid in the background) and the armor which retracts to reveal the face is also eerily reminiscent of the Goa'uld from Stargate SG-1, the 1994 American sci-fi film and recently ended 10-season-long TV show.
The armor retracts like such- (oh, and let's throw in a pretty flower-looking tattoo for sheer androgynous effect, shall we?)
Finally, the overall theme with its doomsday vibe and talk of pain and sorrow, as well as the the admittedly beautiful closing shot below, reminded me of TVXQ's "Rising Sun" MV.
Don't get me wrong - "No More Pain" isn't deliberately or even overly derivative - it's more that most of the top Asian boybands tend to follow similar trends and have a similar style.
Amusingly, when I watched the "Making of" for this PV, I discovered that not only do the boys never actually wear that armor(aside from the headpiece) but the entire shooting for the marching/army stuff was done indoors with fans to blow their hair and an oddly, intensely green background. The KAT-TUN members also laugh a lot. And Kame trips over his cape.
Watching how the PV turned out after shooting
They're wearing as much make-up as I thought, but even I hadn't noticed the purple eyeshadow.
Recording (Apologies for all the Kame shots, can you tell he's my favorite member?)
In summary, KAT-TUN's "No More Pain" PV is a ridiculous (but rather beautifully shot) music video that should not be taken seriously but is much good fun to watch in an addicting, train-wreck kind of way.