Tuesday, June 11, 2013

L's Bravo Viewtiful Review

As a fan of both Kim Myungsoo and of photography, I was very excited to order L's Bravo Viewtiful!  I am very inspired by Myungsoo, who despite having such a hectic schedule as an idol, still has time and energy to pursue his hobby of photography.   Seeing his dream come to life has given me encouragement to also pursue my own hobbies.  Heads up, this is going to be another photo-heavy post!
L's Bravo Viewtiful was originally only going to be printed as a First Press edition in Korea and Japan, which includes the photo essay book, making of DVD, notebook, seven photocards and poster.  The notebook, photocards and poster are only for the First Press edition.  Apparently this photo essay book is in such high demand, that possibly more will be printed.  The packaged notebook and photocards are inside the brown envelope, which is bound together with the photo essay book by the white information strip.

The Photo Essay Book
L's Bravo Viewtiful is a 212 page photo essay book that covers 93 days of everyday guy Myungsoo, not Infinite's L, as he explores the world around him through his camera lenses.  During these three months, Myungsoo photographed in Korean and Japan, capturing images of a variety of subjects, from landscapes to food to Infinite members.
Here are the front and back covers of the photo essay book.  There is a mini book jacket at the bottom (I've never seen this before on any book-it's either the entire length of the book or none at all) that is identical to the white slip that bound together the book with its first press package.
On the binding, at the top it says 'part 01.'  Does that mean Myungsoo will release another photo essay book in the near future?  In an interview with Haru Hana Magazine (Vol. 18, May 24, 2013), he also mentioned that he regrets putting a picture of the Han River in  this book, but will definitely put it in his next one.  I'll anticipate for the release of his next project!
There is a table of contents, separated into 3 sections of his 93 day journey. The layout of each page is simplistic yet artistic, with a diagonal line leading to the page number.  This book was very well thought out and the little details make it that much more special.
This book is really like a journal documenting Myungsoo's daily life.  On each page he has photos and accompanying vignettes, all of which are dated.  Occasionally he also doodles on the pages and photos, adding more personality and making the pages come to life.
Many of Myungsoo's photos are of natural landscapes and of basic objects.  He captured such gorgeous scenery, such as this sunset with the parasail.  I love how he sees beauty in even the simplest objects seen in daily life, such as that umbrella, those playing cards and that jar of jam.
Myungsoo also documented his own life as an Infinite member.  He takes his audience behind the scenes of Infinite's daily life, such as while they're on stage, off stage, or just hanging out with each other.  The top photo is the poster of Infinite's 3D concert movie, the left is of Dongwoo's bright personality while Infinite eats at a BBQ restaurant, and the right is of Sungyeol being chic.  This photo of Sungyeol is such a beautiful portrait; the striking contrast, along with the movement, creates a unique composition (I had to bring my art history background into this critique)!
I truly appreciate Myungsoo branching out and writing in other languages as well.  He has kanji characters here and there, and on two pages he even uses English!  Myungsoo introduces himself in English, using basic sentence structure (all the sentences are practically the same).  The way he creates his 'O's and dots his 'i's are so adorable.  He also wrote a poem entitled "So Simply Style Cafe," which fits his simplistic yet cute poem.  I hope Myungsoo continues to learn English so he can write more vignettes!
I love how the photo essay book ends with 4 pages of "thank you's."  The members of Infinite always express their gratitude, and this project is no exception.  I feel even more grateful to support such gracious people.

The Making Of DVD
The DVD is in the inside of the back cover, held together by two small paper flaps.  Because of its fragility, I won't be taking the disc out often in fear that I'll tear the flaps.  This back cover also contains the hologram of authenticity.  The making of DVD contains 26 minutes of behind-the-scenes of putting L's Bravo Viewtiful together, as well as the teaser.  Sadly there are no subtitles, but the disc is still enjoyable. I'm rewatching this DVD a year and a half later, and I noticed that Myungsoo had his interview at Coffee Cojjee, a member of JYJ's coffee shop next to Infinite's hair salon in Gangnam! To know I've been there, wow hehe.

First off, I loved the soundtrack accompanying the 'making of.'  The songs consisted of a range of Infinite's songs, including solos and duets like Myungsoo and Kim Ye Rim's "Love U Like U."  This section also includes clips of the entire process of how L's Bravo Viewtiful came to be.  It's fun seeing Myungsoo as a photographer, and learning his perspective of how he views the world.  Here we see him taking photos, reviewing his works on his laptop, and going to various scenic sights.  I like how I can link photos from the book to the locations, as if Myungsoo is giving me a tour of these beautiful places himself.  The viewer is also taken behind the scenes to an Infinite H performance, which is interesting to see what it's like backstage.  This DVD also shows the behind the scenes for making L's Bravo Viewtiful teaser.  Throughout this 'making of,' Myungsoo speaks a lot.  Sadly without subtitles, I can only guess what he's saying.  But it is nice hearing his voice since he usually doesn't speak much in Infinite interviews.

The First Press Package
The First Press edition comes with a package containing a notebook and seven photocards.  Each package is sealed with a golden "special edition" sticker.  
Sadly this packaging design was poorly created, because removing the sticker subsequently removes part of the cardboard.
After opening this package, the four flaps open to reveal the notebook on top and photocards underneath.  Another flaw with this design is once the sticker is removed, the only way to close this package again would be to use some adhesive, which would further damage the cardboard.  I am highly organized and always want my merchandise to look just as when I first purchased them, so having to damage my precious envelope crushed me.
Here is the notebook.  It is small and thin, perfect for bringing around to take quick notes if you were to ever use it.  But of course I'd never actually write in this notebook!  It's just too precious for using.
I'm not sure whether or not the notebook is different for the Korean and Japanese versions.  For my notebook, there are at least seven photos of the Infinite members printed throughout the pages.  Myungsoo's the subject for most of these photos, and then there are some...interesting (and cute!) photos of the other Infinite members. [Edit: I review the Japanese version here.]
The first half of the pages are lined and the second half are blank, all with "L's Bravo Viewtiful" printed at the bottom. 
The Korean and Japanese versions have a different set of photocards.  The Korean version comes with two photos of Myungsoo, one of Hoya, Sungjong, Woohyun, a snowy setting and of tame sheep.
The back of each card is white, with the logos of the photo essay book and associated companies.  It really is like a nice postcard!  Overall, I love how the photocards have a mix of the members and scenery photos.

The Poster
The poster (which shipped separately from the rest of the package) is quite large, with dimensions of 53cm by 77cm (or 1.74' by 2.53').  It's just as wide as my New Challenge poster but even longer (by 1cm), showing how Infinite's products are offering greater value than before.  I anticipated for this poster to be simply of Myungsoo aiming his camera at the audience, the same image as on the front cover, but I was wrong.  Along with the image I had in mind, there are also various pictures directly from the photo essay book.  Though all the photos comprising of the poster are nice, they make this poster look more like an advertisement or flyer for the book rather than an enhancement to the product itself.  I was looking forward to a poster of just Myungsoo, but this poster will just have to do.  Actually I think I'm being too harsh.  This poster really is gorgeous and does showcase the beauty of this photo essay book.

Overall, I'm so glad to have gotten L's Bravo Viewtiful!  The notebook, photocards and poster are beautiful additions to the physical book.  The DVD gives the viewer a glimpse at the dedication Myungsoo put into making this project come to life.  And the photo essay book is absolutely gorgeous!  I am so grateful to be able to see Myungsoo's passion flowing in his photos and anecdotes.  And most of all, I'm thrilled to support Myungsoo and his dream of actively pursuing photography!

No comments:

Post a Comment