AKB48 Team Surprise – Hell or Heaven (Pachinko Hall Version M7) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by  


“Hell or Heaven” is probably one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise singles that I have watched thus far.  The song is unique for an AKB48 related track and the music video really is dark, well-acted and well-choreographed.  I absolutely love it!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: Hell or Heaven (Pachinko Hall Version)


CATALOG #: AKBS-20113/14


RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2014

1. Hell or Heaven

2. Hell or Heaven (off-vocal ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 3:42

  1. Hell or Heaven Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The seventh AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Hell or Heaven” and is sung by Takahashi “Takamina” Minami, Matsui Rena and Yamamoto “Sayanee” Sayaka.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features Matsui Rena, Takahashi Minami and Yamamoto Sayaka on the front cover. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Watanabe Mayu and Sashihara Rino in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Hell or Heaven”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Hell or Heaven” is a rock track that resembles something that you would hear from a group like Kalafina or artist, Elisa with its arrangement.  According to the liner notes, the goal was to create music that is either black or white and in this sense, a track that is black (darker) and in the title, reversing Heaven or Hell to “Hell or Heaven” and a play off titles inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s title track or even touching upon the darkness of a track like the Eagles “Hotel California”.  So, this song explores a little of the darkness and lyrics staged as something you would see in a movie.  The song is more mature compared to other AKB48 Team Surprise tracks and is composed by Sakai Mikio (best known for the music for the anime series “Date a Live”, “GUNxSWORD”, “Planetes”, “S-CRY-ed”).

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video is well-choreographed and well-acted as it features the three in dark leather and black garterbelts are handcuffed by their oppressors.  The facial emotions by Takamina is rather exciting and to see the women freed from their chains and seeing them free and dancing…it’s just one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise music videos that I have seen.

It’s also great to see a video showcasing SKE48’s Matsui Rena and NMB48’s Matsumoto Sayaka!

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one vocal track and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Hell or Heaven” is probably one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise singles that I have watched thus far.  The song is unique for an AKB48 related track and the music video really is dark, well-acted and well-choreographed.  I absolutely love it!

Looking for an AKB48 Team Surprise single…”Hell or Heaven” is recommended!

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