New ad is perfect example of too much of a good thing.

One of Japan’s largest telecom companies, NTT Docomo, recently produced a television commercial to promote one of the leading smartphone brands, the iPhoneX. To do so they enlisted up and coming actress Mitsuki Takahata to perform the X Japan hit “Kurenai” which they licensed.

▼ The original version of “Kurenai” just so we’re all up to speed.

The result is a brief but attention-grabbing skit in which Takahata plays a corporate worker who has been dumped by her lover. In response, she begins to passionately sing the classic power ballad through her iPhoneX’s animoji feature.

With all that corporate muscle and star-power this commercial should have been a slam dunk — and it was at first, with many complimenting the 26-year-old’s vocal chops. It was also successful at spreading the word, netting over two million views on YouTube alone in a couple weeks.

However, thanks to the vast resources of the companies behind the spot, it got generous air time on most, if not all, major stations in Japan, especially during the World Cup when viewership was high.

Not too long after, the praise quickly changed to cries of annoyance from viewers trying to escape the piercing refrains over and over again.

“At first I thought Takahata’s ‘Kurenai’ was fantastic… but they are playing it to death. Now it’s just irritating.”
“The volume is way too high on that ‘Kurenai’ commercial. I have to change the channel whenever it comes on.”
“Why is she even singing like that in a business suit in the middle of nowhere?!”
“This ad scares my dog.”
“I kind of don’t like X Japan any more.”
“The part where she goes ‘kaze ni – NA-RI – taiiiiiiii‘ makes me cringe.”
“Maybe they should have had a series of commercials with different songs to mix things up.”
“It’s not Takahata’s fault, but they have to stop showing that.”

Incessant commercials are hardly nothing new, but they rarely seem to generate quite the same level of discomfort as this one has. So while the frequency is definitely a major factor, there must be more at work.

Takahata is an award-winning musical actress, so few people are placing the blame on her. But as Randy Jackson always said throughout his years on American Idol: “Dog, song choice is important.” Doing an a cappella version of such an instrument-driven song like “Kurenai” was a risky choice to start with.

▼ For comparison here’s an a cappella version of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”

Actually, that was still pretty cool. Damn, Lemmy kicked ass….

Okay, how about this version of “Chop Suey” by System of a Down with the vocals isolated.

At first it’s not so bad, but listen to that every fifteen minutes or so for the next week and be sure to crank up the volume each time, because according to some complaints there may be issues with the commercial’s volume levels too. Though no fault of the singer, it shouldn’t take long for the soothing lubricant of nostalgia to be washed away, revealing all the grating glory of any a cappella hard rock performance.

Furthermore, I thought the plot of the commercial was a little cringe-worthy. The first time I saw it I thought she was just rocking out by the pier for no reason, and then sending it to her dad as a goof. But thanks to the repeated viewings of it, I could see a lot of dark details emerge.

For starters, while I give Micchan (Takahata) points for finding a use for that animoji feature, there’s something unsettling in the fact that her instantaneous reaction to her boyfriend breaking up with her is to load up the cute puppy face and begin singing “Kurenai.”

▼ Check the times, and you’ll see she didn’t even hesitate for a minute
to come up with and execute this plan. What’s up with that?

It would almost make me side with the guy in this situation, if it weren’t for the fact that he is labeled on her phone as “Cap. Tsutsumi.” The exact nature of both their professional and personal relationships isn’t clear based on info gleaned from their commercial appearances, but some speculate that ol’ Cap here is a rather high level (and likely married) media department head dipping his pen in the company ink.

▼ Here’s the Docomo ad where these two lovebirds
really get their ill-fated romance into high gear.

In conclusion, there aren’t many redeeming aspects to this commercial, but through no fault of the individuals involved. Takahata is still the quality actress who started out carrying her weight through the inherent awkwardness of the first Hentai Kamen film, both X Japan and the iPhoneX continue to do honor to their capital letters, and Docomo… well, we’re still kind of lukewarm about them to be honest.

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Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.

Source: Josei Jishin, My Game News Flash, Itai News
Images: YouTube/docomoOfficial