[OLD] Furubokko – review

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First of all, I’ve listened to sachlich and the lyrics are up! Though, I won’t spend other words on it because, honestly, I found it very disappointing. Sorry. Now, let’s move on.

This is an article that means a lot for me. But before starting with the main dish of this review, let’s do a retrospective about BUTAOTOME’s originals, the side of them I prefer the most. We could divide them in eras:

– 2010-2011: the “0” era
At the time BUTAOTOME were just a new doujin circle with lots of potential, and they produced exclusively Touhou songs. But in July 2010, a compilation was released, and it contained “Flight on deep time”. It was the very first original song they ever composed, though many fans managed to listen to it only with Bowling’s release two years later. During 2011 and beginning of 2012, we also got my beloved Akubi in another compilation and Dilemma for the game Sound Voltex. All great songs that demostrated their awesomness with original material!

– 2012-2014: the first era [doujin]
Starting in August 2012, original albums were released at every Comiket, in concomitance with the usual Touhou vocal album and Nekokenban. In these three years, we got a total of 5 albums: Bowling, Chess, Billiards, Hanafuda, Doubt. All of them share some characteristic, but each one of them has its unique charm. From rock tunes to melanchonic ballads, passing for more pop-oriented songs and some weird-ish stuff, the BUTAOTOME-ness was still there.

– 2015-2016: the “1.5” era – this is what I consider to be the transition between the doujin era and the major one.
Heisei Kaisei Dottenshan, while being a short music game tune, was the first song released after Doubt, and introduced us to these two years full of “where the fuck is the sixth original?” We got lots of music game songs, Mondai in a certain live-exclusive CD, the Fanbook with a couple of new songs. Butaotome also started to make live performances at liveshows completely unrelated to the doujin/Touhou world, and where they also played exclusively original songs (plus a random Gensou no Satellite sometimes, because it’s still their signature song!). They also appeared a couple of times in Japanese radios… The original albums weren’t released, but the Pig was telling us that something was coming.
Plus, a couple of new tracks played during one man lives were a foreshadow to…

– 2017-current: the second era [major]
July 2016: the live “gohoukoku ga arimasu” (we have news) was announced. But what was the “news”? I didn’t pay too much importance until the live day, except that for sure it wasn’t something negative (break-up, someone leaving the group etc.).
December 2016: every Piggy was at the live, or watching it from Nicovideo. A video annoucement was shown during the encore, and it was the news of the major debut with a mini album release set for spring 2017. Signed under the label Avex, this is a new beginning for BUTAOTOME: from now on the original albums will be released under major and their music will get much more exposure outside the doujin world. However, they will also keep doing doujin CDs/Touhou arranges, unaffected by the major.

Finally Furubokko, the first major album, is in my hands, so let’s properly start this review!

furubokko review

Starting with the cover art, I’m so glad that the Original-kos are back! They are the symbol of the “Original World”, and it’s hard to imagine an artwork for an original release without one of those girls. This time we have two different girls on the same background, one for the regular edition and one for the special one. I’m personally not a fan of the look of the dvd-edition girl (mostly for that bee-esque skirt), but she has a little easter egg I appreciated a lot: the t-shirt of the girl on Bowling’s cover. It’s a nice link to the fact both albums share a song (Sharekoube) and possibly to the fact they are both “first” albums. On the other hand, I love the girl in the regular edition, she is probably my second favourite Original-ko, after Moni-ko (one of the girls in the Fanbook, also the one I use as Tiramisu’s avatar in the various social networks). I’m glad that she is in the regular edition, so I can use her artwork for all the pages in the site, where possible w
Design-wise, the booklet is pink and light blue, there is also a group pic in the middle (the same from the poster I got from my purchase on Melonbooks). Oh, and milk. And a cow. Basically, something in the same style of the five doujin album!

Time to comment the music!

1. Radical Shoujo
A great opening and catchy pop-rock tune, this track became a classic even before Furubokko’s release! For a bit of background story, this was one of the two new songs played live during the Kashiramoji shows in September 2015, and it also seemed to be the fan favourite among the two. It then got played again during the March 2016 show and it finally got released in July for the music game GITADORA. In this album we find a full and re-recorded version of the song, and since I was used with listening to the Gitadora version, at first I was not very fond of this new take, but then it grew on me.

2. Furubokko
It’s the titular track and which track would represent better the album? Furubokko has all the elements you can find in a typical BUTAOTOME song: their typical sound, the catchy refrain and so on.
This song also got a music video, but I’ll talk about it in the DVD section.

3. Hakusen
And here we have the ballad of this album. All of BUTAOTOME’s ballads are beautiful, and this is no exception. Ranko also puts her emotional power in her voice, especially in the final part.

4. Sharekoube
A re-recorded version of this old classic. If you are familiar with the original (on Bowling), it doesn’t add very much, except that it has a “renewed” feeling. In the other case, it’s your time to discover this song in a better shape!
But before commenting the next song, I want to reflect upon something: do you think the future major releases will include more re-recorded songs from the doujin era? I think the remaining original albums will progressively go out of print with time, and the most important tracks will be re-recorded.

5. Motelab.
This is the other song that was played live before, but unlike Radical Shoujo, it didn’t get any music game release, so it was a complete mystery until the album release (unless you went to those lives and remember the song). Background story aside, this is my favourite track of the album! It’s probably one of their craziest tracks ever, mixing lots of stuff: many things are happening in just less than 3 minutes.

6. Mou ashita nanka iranai
When the tracklist was revealed, I was expecting this track to be a sad ballad. It’s actually another standard-ish track, but despite the upbeat instrumental, this song nicely closes the album!

Overall, I don’t think this is at the same level of the five original albums. I also admit I would have preferred a couple of tracks added, to arrive to the canonical “eight” and I would have placed Hakusen late in the tracklist. But I still love it, and it’s a good and solid first release which gives to people a quick taste of what is BUTAOTOME. This new chapter of their history has only begun!

Furubokko’s special edition comes with a DVD. It lasts about 20 minutes and contains 3 videos.

The first video we have is Furubokko’s full MV, which adds the final part missing from the Youtube/Niconico version. This was the first experience for Butaotome with a full live-action music video, it’s set in a school and it alternates scenes of them playing the song with shots of a schoolgirl. The best scenes are the one with the girl and the four members alterning in the desks following the rhythm of the song (I love so much the final shot that I used it as logo for TC) and the one in the final part, where the girl speaks following Ranko’s singing voice.

Then we have the MV offshots, which is basically a regular “making of song’s videoclip” video, nothing too special except for the bear and the cat (+ bunny filming) wandering in the school in the first minutes.

At last there is the “short short movie collection”: it’s basically a collection of short clips of the Butamembers (mostly Paprika, some Comp and Sis, no Ranko at all) doing random and fun things. Think about some ot the “Kyou no Comu” Paprika posts on Twitter (though almost no Mini Pap -her noisy puppet- action in this collection). Some of the clips I liked the most are the one with Comp sleeping surrounded by teddybears, Paprika playing with an alligator thing and then rageswiping it and Pap and Sis costantly opening confetti poppers until they run out of those (“Yay, let’s party woooo!!!1111 …oh, the party has ended.”).

Now I don’t have anything else to say about this album. I once again give my best wishes to the music group of my heart for this big and important achievement and a reminder that I’ll keep supporting them and updating this site, even though I live overseas. Thanks for everything you gave me in these five years, and for what you’ll still give me in future. Whatever is the second major release, the Reitaisai album or even the Dichromatic Butterfly arrange for the PS magazine, I’m eagerly looking forward your next work!