Kurayami Monogatari

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GENERATION 4: All those legendaries :/ July 28, 2015

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 4th Gen~ — solarblade @ 5:41 pm

FINALLY, I’m able to finish Generation 4 and move onto Gen 2 (then 1 clearly).  On this post we get into the MANY legendaries that were shown off.  So let’s finish this off!

093: Rotom

rotomheatrotomwashrotomfrostrotomfanrotommowrotom

While it’s a controversial to whether Rotom counts as a Legendary or not, it did get their music when you first encounter it in Diamond/Pearl.  It’s also interesting with its Electric/Ghost typing.  It’s not really an amazing Pokemon in those games, but it’s unique typing and look just made things pretty cool.

Then Platinum happens and we’re introduced to 5 new forms of Rotom: Heat Rotom, Wast Rotom, Frost Rotom, Fan Rotom, and Mow Rotom.  Besides the obvious visual changes they also trade a move off from Thunder Shock with a single move of the particular form it takes on: Overheat, Hydro Pump, Blizzard, Air Slash, and Leaf Storm respectively.  Interesting to note that Rotom doesn’t change typings in Gen 4 until…

Generation 5 would bring new typings to these new forms.  Of them, Heat Rotom, Frost Rotom, and Mow Rotom gets unique dual typings which is pretty cool!  I’ve been biased to use Mow Rotom a lot because it’s got some new defenses and a lot of protection against other types.

094: Uxie

uxie

Getting into our actual Legendaries, we kick things off with the Lake trio with Uxie.  Maybe it’s just me but the fact that it does have a golden mask? (face?) made it stand out to me.  Beyond that it’s Psychic typing isn’t a new thing and it’s not exactly a powerhouse.

095: Mesprit

mesprit

I also thought the fuchsia color of Mesprit made it stand out quite a bit too, but like Uxie…not exactly worth using to be honest…just not that memorable.

096: Azelf

azelf

The last of the trio (and argubly the leader of the three), Azelf is probably the forgettable one in looks.  I mean if its face is a shade darker than its body, then it’s just a bit too mono.  Also like its brethren, nothing about it remotely seems too interesting

Honestly, I would’ve expected the tree to have gained the Fairy type in Gen 6 since they are legitimately fairies…what’s the deal GameFreak?!?

 097: Dialga

dialga

So then we have Generation mascots next starting with the one that fronted Diamond!  Dialga has the unique typing of Steel/Dragon and it’s a beast!  While I never got to own Diamond (ended up with Pearl), After getting it though, I have to say I do enjoy Dialga a bit more than Palkia.

098: Palkia

palkia

I was kind of expecting Palkia to kind of match with Dialga with the whole Steel/Dragon type, but strangely enough it doesn’t!  It’s actually typing is Water/Dragon (so what does it have to do with water?)  I mean it controls space so besides its movepool where does its Water typing come from?  I do like the design a lot, but after some time Dialga just took over lol.

099: Heatran

heatran

Moving to post-game legendaries, we have Heatran, which was another Pokemon I never understood where the status came from considering we catch this guy in Stark Mountain.  As a Fire/Steel typing (unique) Heatran was a pretty strong guy and his signature move, Magma Storm is pretty amazing too.  Also, it’s the only legendary with genders so that’s pretty unique too…still why is it a legendary?

100: Regigigas

regigigas

If its looks weren’t obvious enough, Regigigas is the kind of the ultimate of the Regis (I mean you can only get this guy if you own Regirock, Regice, and Registeel and go to Snowpoint Temple).  I do think the fact that it’s the first Normal-type Legendary to be kind of funny, but makes sense and it’s a POWERHOUSE.  Though with power comes its negtives and that’s mostly surrounding his ability Slow Start (which makes him unable to battle for a few turns).  Once it gets going though, it becomes a monster and hits REALLY hard.

101: Giratina

alteredgiratinaorigingiratina

Our next Legendary is Giratina and is the 3rd between Dialga & Palkia.  Being a Ghost/Dragon, Giratina was the one that I instantly wanted because of its scary appearance and cool moves it gets (including its signature move, Shadow Force).  Definitely one of my favorites from the 4th Generation.

However that’s now where it ends, Giratina becomes the post child for Platimum AND it gets a new form in its Origin Forme (the snake-like one).  While there’s not a lot of major differences between the two, Origin Forme was cause by the Platinum-only new area, the Distortion World.  Outside of that, the only way you can get that form is through a Griseous Orb held on Giratina’s Altered Forme (the main one).  Overall, it’s a pretty awesome Pokemon overall!

101: Cresselia

cresselia

Our final Post-game Legendary is this majestic Pokemon, Cresselia.  Considering that it’s the games roaming Pokemon (as in it moves around Sinnoh and randomly appears if you are in the same route as it).  Another pure Psychic type, Cresselia never really popped out at me and its signature move, Lunar Dance is a suicide move…it just doesn’t stand out nor does it feel like it manages to do much of anything.

102: Phione, 103: Manaphy

phionemanaphy

Now we get into our event legendaries starting with an odd one.  I’ll start off with Manaphy first because the only true way to get a legitimate Manaphy was transferring its Egg from any of the Pokemon Ranger games.  Manaphy is a pure Water type and is more well-known because it has a lot of appearances in the anime/movies AND its unique move, Heart Swap is pretty neat.

Then there’s Phione which can only be obtained by breeding Manaphy and Ditto together.  The strange thing is that while Manaphy can produce Phiones, Phione cannot evolve into a Manaphy (just seems rather ass backwards if you ask me).  To be honest, neither of them stuck around for me through the games, it’s just cool that it’s interesting to obtain.

104: Darkrai

darkrai

Oooo, our first Dark-type Legendary!  Darkrai is pretty amazing and it looks pretty badass too!  Learning that it is paired with Cresselia makes it more interesting and Dark Voice is such a useful move haha.  Beyond that, there’s not much else to say about it, but it’s one of my favorites as well!

105: Shaymin

landshayminskyshaymin

I never knew what was so exciting about Shaymin to be honest.  I mean its Land Forme is cute with the flower on its head and such, but being a pure Grass-type it just left me wondering what was special about it.  Seed Flare is amazing though so I can’t say too much about that hahaha.

Though it was known when it data-mined in D/P, when it was officially announced (during Platinum days), a new forme was also announced, a Sky Forme as you will and it’s OK, I don’t think it looks that great, but the fact it becomes a Grass/Flying type (shares with Tropius) makes it somewhat more interesting. Plus you get it from the Gracidea flower.  Overall, it’s OK, but yeah not my favorite.

106: Arceus

arcrus

The final Pokemon of Generation 4, Arceus is credited as the God of all Pokemon and it shows with its overpowered stats and its gimmick.  It has plates of EVERY type and once it’s holding it, it becomes that typing (so Arceus can be any type of the game!).  Also Judgment (its signature move) also becomes that typing.  Honestly, it’s pretty amazing, but what could you do from here? XD

 

Juice=Juice – First Squeeze! July 27, 2015

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 2:05 am

firstqueeze

Track Listing

CD1

  1. Ten Made Nobore!
  2. Romance no Tochuu
  3. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (MEMORIAL EDIT)
  4. Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (MEMORIAL EDIT)
  5. Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo
  6. Hajimete wo Keikenchuu
  7. Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS
  8. Arekore Shitai!
  9. Black Butterfly
  10. Kaze ni Fukarete
  11. Senobi
  12. Date ja nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa

CD2

  1. Wonderful World
  2. CHOICE & CHANCE
  3. Ai・Ai・Gasa
  4. Umaretete no Baby Love
  5. Erabareshi Watashitachi
  6. Ça va? Ça va?
  7. GIRLS BE AMBITIOUS
  8. Ai no Diving
  9. Tick-Tock Watashi no Shun
  10. Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!
  11. Tsuzuiteiku STORY

CD3

  1. Magic of Love (J=J 2015 Ver.)
  2. Kousui (J=J 2015 Ver,)
  3. Narihajimeta Koi no BELL
  4. Scramble
  5. BABY! Koi ni KNOCK OUT!
  6. Last Kiss

1. Ten Made Nobore!

I find it strange that Juice=Juice would open their first album with their 3rd indies single (a collaboration with the trainees of Hello! Project at that).  To be honest, the song was never one of my favorites and seemed a bit strange for Juice=Juice to be a part of.  Though, hearing it with the 6 members (yes, the album features all 6 members on this one song, Aina Otsuka’s final song with the group ironically enough).  It’s alright, not the worst song of the first disc, but quite reaching that point.

2. Romance no Tochuu

Then we move into the group’s major debut, also from this point on it’s just the 5 members that we currently have.  I had curiosity about how the group would be handled after their indies era had ended.  Romance no Tochuu safely quelled my worries because this song is literally one of my favorites from the group!  It’s very disco and old H!P sounding which had quickly caught on.  Though with the short notice of Aina’s departure, it was clear that Karin was going to have a butt-ton of lines while Sayubee and Kanatomo would take the mid approach leaving Yuka and Aarii with barely any moments in the song.  Regardless, the song is pretty amazing and an epic major debut!

3. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (MEMORIAL EDIT)

I mean, if you had Aina in “Ten Made Nobore!” why wouldn’t you just simply put the original version of their first two indie songs at the beginning?  It just baffles me.  The MEMORIAL EDITs of the two indie songs added some new parts on top of the fact the lines had to be redistributed.  What we ended up was something familiar but not quite as good as the original sadly.  The bridge was what took me out of this version and just simply felt REALLY out of place in the entirety of the song.  To be honest, I’ll probably just remove this and make this tracklist right on iTunes XD.

4. Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (MEMORIAL EDIT)

At least the revisioned Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru ended up being slightly better than the original (not counting the lack of Aina of course).  Like the previous track, lines were redistributed and the song added some new parts which actually FIT the song we’re talking about.  Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru was a more rockin’ affair in comparison to “Watashi ga Iu…’s” more dance-centric style which still showed off a pretty cool side to their music.  Despite the fact that these changes were going to happen even if Aina hadn’t left, I felt this revision was handled better overall and the energy was still pretty much on fire!  Pretty cool overall.

5. Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo

After leaving the messy major debut, we finally starting calming down with the next track and that’s Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo and to be honest, it’s a bit like “Romance no Tochuu” with a little less brass power.  It’s still a pretty solid song with a pretty cool groove and sound to it.  It’s really more like the aforementioned song due to the line distribution and all, but it’s a good song still.

6. Hajimete wo Keikenchuu

Wondering what we’d get for our first 2nd A-side (I don’t count the memorial edits as new songs), Hajimete wo Keikenchuu was a bit of a switch-up for the group as we have only known them to really be a cool and stylish group (not counting “Ten Made Nobore!” because that’s more of a Kenshuusei song).  I do like the guitars that are playing in the background to give a more full sound, but the bigger surprise is that Akari and Yuka have the focus here while the remaining members tend to be more of the 2nd most which is awesome since neither of the first two have made strides in vocal appearances since their debut.  For their first cutesy love song, I pretty much enjoyed it a lot!!!

7. Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS

Then came 2014 and the group really went through some experimentation in their songs.  Starting with Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS, I wasn’t expecting a full Latin charge (ala to Momusu’s “Iroppoi Jirettai”).  For such a strong and quick song we got, I thought the group managed to pull it off well and it exudes quite a lot of sexiness (which might be strange for such a young group) but they were good with this one.

8. Arekore Shitai!

So just like the last single, the secondary A-side was leaning towards more of a cuter side to the group and we find ourselves with a much even line distribution for the group.  Though I can’t say that I was too big of a fan of this song unfortunately.  I’m not entirely sure why I don’t care about this song, but there’s something that didn’t work for it unlike in “Hajimete wo Keikenchuu” and there’s some similarities between the two too…damn…

9. Black Butterfly

So two Spanish music style in two A-sides?  Yeah, Black Butterfly took a tango route this time and when it came out, I was a little confused on how to feel.  I do love the arrangement (cept for the eh chorus), Tomoko and Karin sound REALLY good in such a minimal arrangement and it’s just such a mysterious sounding song all in itself.  Though like I mentioned above, the chorus is kind of where the song falls flat for me because it’s loud and most of it consists of the title being sung so it’s really blah.  Still overall, it’s a decent song and a style that’s rarely tackled in H!P.

10. Kaze ni Fukarete

Next up is the secondary A-side from the single and it’s the uptempo Irish-y dance song lol!  I actually love this song a lot more than I did with “Black Butterfly” because it’s really what the group does best is dance tracks that are a little more serious and less playful/sexy.  Great beat and the group sounds amazing (though I still do wince sometimes with Sayuki’s lines).  Overall one of the best songs from the first disc if it wasn’t for…

11. Senobi

As the final single closes the first disc (wait, what?), Senobi as the primary A-side was really out of nowhere (literally was announced shortly after “Black Butterfly/Kaze ni Fukarete” was released.  So I was surprised to think that this was their first actual EDM song and boy was it a strong song.  A lot of cool effects, the dubstep wasn’t stupidly placed, the quintet sounded great (especially Sayubee) and just ended 2014 on a high note for me!

12. Date ja nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa

Then we get this song which sounds like a nice throwback to “Romance no Tochuu” with the kind of funky arrangement and peppy brass that we’ve grown to enjoy.  Initially, being the other A-side to “Senobi” I was more entranced by the latter’s EDM sound more than the familiar funk sound that came with this one.  After some time with it, the song is pretty awesome in its own right despite Sayuki once again trying a little too hard on the vocals.  Beyond that, it was a nice song with good enough line distribution to get by.  Maybe not the best song to end the first disc, but it makes sense.

CD2

1. Wonderful World

Though I’m curious to why the “Wonderful World/Ça va? Ça va?” single is on the 2nd disc (full of new songs, mind you…maybe it’s just because it’s the only 2015 single they’ve released prior to the album, though that would’ve meant “Erabareshi Watashitachi” also should’ve been on CD1 since they’ve been performing it for so long).  Anyways, CD2 begins with Wonderful World which I was definitely not impressed with.  Like “Arekore Shitai!” it’s a little too overbearing with the cute vibes and the group themselves sound odd (looking at you Tomoko!).  Though I do love hearing Yuka and Akari more in line with the 3 other members, so it’s a small good thing, otherwise…just too sugary for me.

2. CHOICE & CHANCE

Then we get a bunch of new songs!  The first song up is actually one of two that were chosen to promote the album!  I was happy we got this one because this is a banger!  It has a LOT of punch to it and makes the group really sound cool (though I’m not sure if I agree on the vocal filters being used on some girls (it’s REALLY apparant on Akari, Tomoko, and Yuka).  Still, the song is really cool and while H!P is slowly moving away from EDM, this stands as one of the better tracks introduced.

3. Ai・Ai・Gasa

Next up is the rather sparkly song Ai・Ai・Gasa and it starts off nice and shows a cuter side (not as sugary as “Wonderful World” mind you) but it’s still kind of nice.  I hate to say it though, but the chorus is kind of where I got annoyed with the whole ~ai-ya ai-ya ai-ya ai-ya ai-ya gasa~…they repeat that a little too much for my liking and made the chorus fail where the verses won me over.  It’s just kind of in the middle of the road for me.

4. Umaretate no Baby Love

Moving on, Umaretate no Baby Love is next and this one threw me for a loop.  It reminded me a lot of a Taiyou to Ciscomoon song, “Magic of Love” (ironiiiiiiiiiic).  It’s a nice discotheque kind of song and the band is pretty exciting to listen to, but it could’ve been a 2011 song for all we know hahaha.  It’s not the most intriguing song for me so it kind of flew over my head.

5. Erabareshi Watashitachi

Jeeze, it took forever to finally have a studio version to listen to.  Of the new songs, it seems this is the only Tsunku song on here which is surprising, but yet not at the same time.  Erabareshi Watashitachi was first performed last year in lives and since then had been hiding until now and for good reason because it’s a REALLY solid song!  It has a bit of an edgier sound and the guitarwork is pretty cool too!  Pretty amazing song overall and just caught my interest quickly!

6. Ça va? Ça va?

Then just randomly, this A-side is placed in the middle of the album (very strange).  Luckily, this song is still a favorite of mine this year.  The mix of surfer rock and French pop is unusual, but very welcome to H!P after the oversaturation the company had.  I’m loving the kind of frisky sound it has and the group is just sounding really pleasant.  Even Karin’s ~Je’taime bien~ line is just ADORABLE.  It’s a cool song though and hope to see more of this unique style to them with future A-sides.

7. GIRLS BE AMBITIOUS

Not to be confused with GREEN FIELDS song of the similar name (hmm yet Yuka is in both groups) nevermind that!  This song is definitely something I could’ve seen Buono! pulling off easily with it’s fun rock arrangement and yet some of the song reminds me of that Jet song, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”, but that could just be me.  It’s a loud song and the girls wasn’t particularly worried about meshing together and it sort of shows.  It sounds perfect for live performances, though as a studio song…eh?

8. Ai no Diving

Next song, I really wasn’t sure what to think of it.  Like the arrangement is pretty much all over the place (verse-wise) and the chorus is no better.  I mean there’s some cool effects like the synthwork and the fact once again, it would make a great live (with a live band).  Otherwise, this song kind of just fell rather flat for me.

9. Tick-Tock Watashi no Shun

Another cutesy song appears next as well and it got worse.  It felt like the arrangement was done wrong because there’s like NOT ENOUGH bass and the effects from that point sounded REALLY cheap to me.  I mean the group sounds good and can do cute if they did it right, but this kind of cutesy anime tone doesn’t work and the arrangement is just in the shitter…pass.

10. Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!

After all the odd songs, it’s nice to get Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!  I will say that it does feel like a pop song and an ending song mixed together and I approve of that because it just has a nice wrapping up feel.  Plus it helps they do chant the group name in the afterchorus XD.  Might not be at the same stretch of greats like “CHOICE & CHANCE” and “Erabareshi Watashitachi” but it’s decent!

11. Tsuzuiteiku STORY

So the other song chosen to promote the album is ironically the first ballad they’ve done (not counting the stageplay they did).  It’s a pretty standard ballad from H!P, but luckily it keeps my interest with the sitar plucking in the arrangement, without it…it could’ve been really vanilla and forgetful, but the vocals are quite nice as well…decent way to close out disc 2 (though “Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!” would’ve fared better).

CD3

1. Magic of Love (J=J 2015 Ver.)

So Disc 3 is all about covers of older H!P songs (sad there’s only 6).  First is Magic of Love and I think a lot of their fans expected it because they’ve performed it soooo many times since their debut.  Yeah, so despite “Umaretate no Baby Love” taking some melodies out of this one, this is a pretty awesome song (though nothing could really surpass the original).  I actually have to say, Sayubee just kicked ass in this song and I loved it.  The changes to the song is pretty minimal besides the arrangement getting updated…still awesome song!

2. Kousui (J=J 2015 Ver.)

Just like the previous track, this cover song also got a slightly updated arrangement.  Tackling Melon Kinenbi’s big song, Kousui is a song I was never too into, but this new version is at least decent (maybe a bit over arranged xD).  The quintet sound nice though and Kanatomo was the one that stood out for me the most…dang!

3. Narihajimeta Koi no BELL

So the next two covers’ arrangements were not changed hence no version behind the titles.  I LOVE the original from Ongaku Gatas and was surprised Juice=Juice was going to tackle it.  Overall it’s actually not that bad and the group has the same power and energy about it (though the ~aaaaaaa~ parts are still a bit wince-inducing, sorry Tomoko xD).  Still this was probably my favorite of the covers.

4. Scramble

Funny enough, I’m not too familiar with Maki Goto’s original take but I do know her voice well enough.  Having a 5-member group tackle this is pretty interesting and they didn’t do too bad, though I had to really go by just this version so I’m not too certain how it compares to Gocchin’s (probably not AS good as Maki’s but eh). It’s solid.

5. BABY! Koi ni KNOCK OUT!

The final two cover tracks have our group split up into more groupings!  Starting with this Petitmoni cover that has only Yuka, Akari, and Tomoko at the reins and it’s a little strange.  If there was any point on this album where I thought Yuka and Akari didn’t sound right, this song might just be that one.  I mean they aren’t weak by any means, but this song might’ve been just a bit too rough on them and Tomoko while a great singer…also didn’t seem to suit this song either.  It just didn’t roll well for me as much as the Yasuda/Goto/Yoshizawa version did.

6. Last Kiss

Finally, we have the Tanpopo cover of Last Kiss sung by the remaining two members, Sayuki and Karin.  While it’s going to rough already trying to be better than the original of Iida/Ishiguro/Yaguchi, I would say this is a nice version regardless.  I do think Karin’s more higher register doesn’t seem to gel much to the arrangement, but Sayubee rather impressed me here…maybe not at the same levels as the 3 mentioned above, but she held her own.  Overall a nice cover.

Tracks Recommended

  • Romance no Tochuu
  • Senobi
  • Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS
  • Kaze ni Fukarete
  • Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo
  • CHOICE & CHANCE
  • Erabareshi Watashitachi
  • Ça va? Ça va?
  • Last Kiss
  • Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!

Song of Avoidance

  • Arekore Shitai!
  • Tick-Tock Watashi no Shun

Wow it seemed like forever until we finally got our first album from Juice=Juice.  I was surprised at how packed it was to the brim with songs (which is most of their current discography).  When it comes to the first disc, well it’s songs that we fans have known since their debut and most of it was pretty strong, of course they’re all A-side quality with a couple of misses here and there.  The 2nd disc was what most people were excited for because besides the 2015 single, that whole disc was never before heard songs.  Sadly I think I was hoping too much for this disc.  Minus 3 rather impressive songs, the others felt lacking and kind of forgettable.  Finally, the 3rd disc isn’t really much to gawk at…good covers, but definitely not as good as their originals.  Overall strong album with a lot of variety…Now I just want to see what’s next for the quintet!

 

T.M.Revolution – Ten July 26, 2015

Filed under: T.M.Revolution — solarblade @ 7:58 pm

ten

Track Listing

  1. The ether
  2. DOUBLE-DEAL
  3. AMAKAZE
  4. Tsuki Yabareru – Time to SMASH!
  5. Thread of fate
  6. HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS ~Get the Power~
  7. Summer Blizzard
  8. Salvage
  9. Dream Crusader
  10. Phantom Pain
  11. CRIMSON AIR
  12. Count ZERO
  13. FLAGS
  14. The party must go on
  15. The edge of Heaven & Revolution
  16. Tsuki Yabureru – Time to SMASH! (Re:boot) (CD only)
  17. Thread of fate (Re:boot) (CD only)

1. The ether

Opening up the album is an introduction of sorts with The ether.  It’s a pretty interesting intro with the kind of weird mechanical sounds mixed with Daisuke’s more breezier strings section (and some interesting Final Fantasy-esque sounding melodies).  Then it kind of ends and there’s this rush of sound bridging up to our first new track!

2. DOUBLE-DEAL

Which leads to a fanfare intro and then Takanori’s voice just barrels in and the song switches gears into something VERY familiar to T.M. fans out there!  Taking some fast paced beats and strong vocals, the song just meshes all the things that I love from them into this track.  Honestly, I felt like there was some ideas taking from stuff like “INVOKE”. “Zips”, “Naked arms”. and even “resonance” and just spliced them into an amazing song to kick this album off!  AWESOME!  Though, chosen as the recut single AND it doesn’t have an original B-side to it?  Shady stuff there…

3. AMAKAZE

Moving onto AMAKAZE which sounded like it was the promotional song for the album as it’s tied to an anime, AMAKAZE honestly sounds like a song best left for abingdon boys school, hell if I didn’t even know better, I would’ve immediately thought it WAS them.  Touting a heavier rock sound, it’s a pretty good song regardless though I do find that DOUBLE-DEAL had more energy and power behind it.  I actually did LOVE the verses for some reason!  Just enjoy the lighter riffs and then the pre-chorus just opens the song up.  Fitting song for the anime and for this album.

4. Tsuki Yabureru – Time to SMASH!

As the 2nd A-side released for the album, Tsuki Yabureru just made me worry about how the rest of the era would’ve turned out as it wasn’t a song I really enjoyed.  As I’ve said in the single review, this song sounds like a VERY watered down take of “Naked arms” with the pulsating beat and everything.  Maybe it’s just me, but Takanori sounds rough too…very scratchy voice honestly!  Also, very short song for an A-side (2:51).  Didn’t satisfy me and definitely didn’t impress after he took a 3 year break.

5. Thread of fate

Which didn’t help that the B-side from the single once again comes after it.  Thread of fate does tone things down a bit which is a nice change of pace, but there’s something off about it still.  I mean the jazzier vibe and almost old T.M.Revolution sound is a great thing to have here and Takanori sounds nice, but there’s just something that doesn’t seem right in this song and I can’t figure it out.  I will say I do enjoy it a lot more than it’s coupling A-side that’s for certain.  Maybe it’ll continue to grow on me.

6. HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS ~Get The Power~

So T.M.R also released two digital single as well and they are both up next (yes, I’m not counting the duets with Nana Mizuki).  We start with the one released later with HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS and my first thought was…is Takanori working with Bentley Jones?  The banging arrangement is really interesting and the slower pre-chorus is nice too.  Though I wasn’t sure what to think of the song as a whole…maybe it could’ve been an access song too hahaha.  It’s definitely an interesting song and the different vocal readings are fun to follow along.

7. Summer Blizzard

The other digital single is the bizarrely titled Summer Blizzard and I wasn’t expecting a song like this.  Now I’m not too big on Takanori’s voice being under vocal filters, but the arrangement is pretty exciting and has a simple, but effective EDM feel.  Is it weird that I think it’s one of the better songs from the album? :P

8. Salvage

Back to a couple more new songs, Salvage is up next and I INSTANTLY fell in love with that opening!  Then things just got weird when Daisuke introduces some dubsteppy parts on top of the synth/keyboard melodies.  I wasn’t sure what to think because I was confused where it wanted to be between a ballad or some dance track (I would’ve preferred the lack of the dubstep parts honestly).  Can’t help, but say it’s a little messy here (though I got “AQUALOVERS” vibes here).

9. Dream Crusader

Now this song is pulling some nostalgic vibes for me.  Actually, why does it remind me of “Tears Macerate Reason”?  The powerful choruses, the electric guitar vibes, and the slowish tempo of the song overall, just REALLY reminds me of that song and that was a while ago.  Despite the similarities, I did enjoy this song and definitely made up for “Salvage’s” strangeness.

10. Phantom Pain

Then we get into the 3rd A-side released and Phantom Pain and I’m starting to wonder if Takanori/Daisuke is trying to hit this nostalgic chord on this album because when I reviewed this song I immediately thought of “THUNDERBIRD”.  That’s not bad, but considering how this album has been so far, it’s getting a bit strange actually lol.  I still do love Phantom Pain though and still is up there for best song on the album.

11. CRIMSON AIR

For a song titled as such, I wasn’t expecting a song like this.  I’m loving the power chords from the guitar and the verses with the acoustic guitar (and some of Daisuke’s trickery).  It’s got a unique sound to it and I just love the different transitions this tune goes through and the chorus is just a nice punch to the face.  Really cool track overall!

12. Count ZERO

Now as I have heard the live performance of this, I was wondering what the original studio version sounded like since I never reviewed the single (which was a joint single with SCANDAL).  I love the strings opening and the 180 twist to this VERY hyper dance track.  Like “DOUBLE-DEAL”, Count ZERO excels because of it’s strong arrangement and punching beat.  Honestly, this song is a winner and I was wanting a song like this since “Naked arms”!

13. FLAGS

I feel like the duo just shoved this at the end for no other reason, like a last minute inclusion.  It shows because this single was released in 2011!  I will say it does fit the album ironically and coming after “Count ZERO”, FLAGS really has a certain Daisuke charm to it (like a “Doubt&Trust” vibe).  I loved that they included it, but I’m not sure placing the single at the end was a good idea?

14. The party must go on

Which makes this song the oddball of the album.  As the B-side from “FLAGS” it definitely wasn’t better than the track which isn’t surprising, but I felt like this song has gotten considerably weaker as time went on for me.  The guitarwork isn’t as quite interesting (also, it didn’t feel like it worked).  Then again the 90s keyboard strikes and ~WOO~ made it a lot harder to listen to.  LOL, they should’ve just shoved “UTAGE” on this album too XD.

15. The edge of Heaven and Revolution

The album ends normally with this track and what a bizarre way to close this album.  I mean the songs on this album have been mostly powerful and serious tracks (maybe not “Summer Blizzard”) but hey.  The edge of Heaven and Revolution is literally a mood changer to a happier place and the arrangement is also quite light-hearted as well.  I think after going through this album, I think this ending piece just left a bad taste in my mouth.  By itself, it’s actually decent and Daisuke’s arranging is refreshing to hear…still…not a good way to close this album with.

16. Tsuki Yabureru – Time to SMASH! (Re:boot)

On CD onlys of the album, we get two bonus tracks and ironically it’s to the weakest single of the era.  I thought they’d be live versions like what we got from “Phantom Pain”, but no! They’re rearranged and Tsuki Yabureru was obvious when the synths were changed up to not be at the forefront and the rock variation took over and I actually preferred this version over the original!  It’s still short though…but still…a great version!

17. Thread of fate (Re:boot)

The other is of course to Thread of fate and the differences aren’t quite as obvious as it was with the previous track.  Maybe a little more interesting things in the chorus is all can pick up.  I still think it’s an odd song, but it’s an interesting song regardless.

Tracks Recommended

  • DOUBLE-DEAL
  • Phantom Pain
  • FLAGS
  • CRIMSON AIR
  • AMAKAZE

Song of Avoidance

  • Tsuki Yabureru – Time to SMASH!

It’s been quite a while since the duo released an album and we finally come back with “Ten”.  Honestly, most of this album felt like a nostalgic trip through what made T.M.Revolution so amazing in the first place and it worked many times and other times just fell flat.  I do think it’s a LOT better than the new songs we were given from “CLOUD NINE” so really it’s just a couple songs I wasn’t a big fan of.

 

AAA – LOVER

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 6:55 pm

LOVER

Track Listing

  1. LOVER
  2. LOVER (Instrumental)

1. LOVER

To me, it seems like the group is a little late on the reggaeton summer song phase that most Westerners dealt with years ago XD.  Really there’s not a lot to say about this one either, but I do like how it portrays the group in a more fun light than other songs during this anniversary release wave.  The group sounds nice (though Shuta does sound a little more rough than usual).  Not bad, but once again nothing totally amazing.

As the 7th and FINAL single in this 7-month string of singles, LOVER closes things out with a harmless summer tune which is nice and I do enjoy that it is reggaeton for the simple fact it’s something I haven’t heard in a while from Japan.  Though looking at recent news we have an album AND another single in September, so I will bet that all 7 singles I reviewed will be a part of the album…I’m not exactly excited for it, but who knows.

 

Nana Mizuki – Exterminate

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 6:46 pm

exterminate

Track Listing

  1. Exterminate
  2. Bramble
  3. It’s Only Brave

1. Exterminate

I was surprised that Nana would open this A-side by singing alone with no arrangement before the song actually kicks in.  Once things start to fill the speakers, there’s a lot of electronic beats (ala in similar fashion to “Synchrogazer” and “Vitalization” so this kind of familiarity was happily expected this time around!  While it might not be as heavy or punch-worthy as the aforementioned songs, it oddly fits amongst them and feels like a superb trilogy of this fusion of electronic and her anison sound.

2. Bramble

I wasn’t sure what to expect with a song titled as Bramble, but it’s like the focus is more along the anison/strings side of Nana’s repertoire of songs in the style.  Actually if I had known better, I would’ve said it’s a song that was from the “HYBRID UNIVERSE” or “GREAT ACTIVITY” era of songs.  On here, the song does sound a bit generic and lacks a little energy for me where “Exterminate” managed to pull off better.  I do love the melody of the strings, but not enough to save it.

3. It’s Only Brave

Hmmmm, what I thought would be a ballad, It’s Only Brave is pretty much an anison song down to its core.  Funny enough, some of the chord progression reminds me of “COSMiC LOVE” but without the sawtooth synths found throughout.  The chorus of the track is probably the best part of the song as it’s high-energy and Nana sounds amazing through it.  Overall, it’s still a little basic, but I kind of dig it.

As the 4th of the era, I feel like Exterminate is the kind of normal single I would expect her to release (not so much like the last couple).  The leading song is a pretty familiar setting with the synth beats and serious tone, which is something I do love…not as amazing as the others but still good.  It’s Only Brave was surprisingly good and despite the slightly cutesy sound…probably my favorite off the single.  Bramble though felt uninspired to me and just lacked interest…I sense an album soon!

 

ANGERME – Nana Korobi Ya Oki/Gashinshoutan/Mahou Tsukai Sally July 23, 2015

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 3:23 am

nanakorobiyaoki

Track Listing

  1. Nana Korobi Ya Oki
  2. Gashinshoutan
  3. Mahou Tsukai Sally
  4. Nana Korobi Ya Oki (Instrumental)
  5. Gashinshoutan (Instrumental)
  6. Mahou Tsukai Sally (Instrumental)

1. Nana Korobi Ya Oki

The first A-side, Nana Korobi Ya Oki really struck me at first listen.  Yes, the arrangement is a little similar to their previous A-side, “Otome no Gyakushuu” but this one has a lot more power and fire in its arrangement.  I was also taken by surprise that the group (sans Nyon, Rinapuu, and Rikako) got strong solo lines (especially Maho!).  Really it’s a pretty wondrous song and just has a lot of energy…dang ANGERME is just really kicking a lot of butt since in the name change huh?

2. Gashinshoutan

Moving on, I was sure what to expectfrom Gashinshoutan, but it’s a fun song to listen to.  It really has a certain Takui vibe going on and the energy might not be on par with the previous track, but this song is quite fun to listen to.  Also EVERYONE has a decent solo line thoughout (even Rikako!).  It really does have a nostalgic feel to it to the earlier days of S/mileage which is rpetty awesome to say the least, but honestly Rina caught my ears a lot in this one…how strange!  Pretty cool song overall though!

3. Mahou Tsukai Sally

Then there’s the 3rd A-side which is funny enough, a cover of an OLD cartoon theme in Japan.  Even more surprising is that 3rd Gen are the only ones to get solo lines (ignoring the spoken dialogue from Ayacho and Nyon in the bridge).  Though I would give this song to Rikako as she ended the song like she did XD.  As for the song, it’s pretty strange by being a little more cuter than normal and yet has this interesting lean on EDM beats too.

As the 2nd single released under their new name, ANGERME continues to thoroughly impress me with their A-sides they’ve released.  Nana Korobi Ya Oki is quite dramatic and just gives this really mature and cool sound to the group that previous singles were leaning towards.  Gashinshoutan is a cute and exciting song too and really showcased the equality between the members.  Mahou Tsukai Sally is the oddball song, but given its nature and the fact it’s a cover, it was decent!  With Nyon announcing her graduation towads the end of the year AND 4th Generation auditions announced, it’ll be interesting where this all ends up at the end of the year!

 

Ciao Bella Cinquetti – Omotesandou/Futako-Tamagawa/Never Never Give Up July 13, 2015

Filed under: THE Possible — solarblade @ 4:01 am

omotesandou

Track Listing

  1. Omotesandou
  2. Futako-Tamagawa
  3. Never Never Give Up
  4. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Yurika Akiyama (Regular A only)
  5. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Robin Okada Shouko (Regular B only)
  6. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Yuki Goto (Regular C only)
  7. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Aina Hashimoto (Regular D only)
  8. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Kanami Morozuka (Regular E only)
  9. Omotesandou (Instrumental)
  10. Futako-Tamagawa (Instrumental)
  11. Never Never Give Up (Instrumental)

1. Omotesandou

Being a cover of the classic song, “Les Champs Elysées”, I wasn’t expecing CBC to cover something after the name change, but what can ya do?  For a cover though, it’s rather cute for the group having a nice bouncy arrangement alongside some electric guitarwork here and there.  After a while though that chorus of repeating the title kind of grinds my gears and I start to ignore the rest of the song, it’s sort of cute in a way, but I definitely won’t remember this after a month.

2. Futako-Tamagawa

The next A-side, is funny enough the ballad of the single and I was happy to see that every member gets a solo line in the first stanza of the song…very nice.  As for the rest of the song, it’s a nice slow song and we haven’t gotten an A-side like that from the group since “Family ~Tabidachi no Asa~” so this was a nice song to come into.  Plus everyone sounds great (even Gotuu!).  Very soft, but nice track from the group.

3. Never Never Give Up

Finally, we have Never Never Give Up and it took notice because Tsunku worked on this one!  The song itself sounds really nice and very Tsunku, but there’s a feeling in my gut that wants this song to have a heavier beat because despite the great stringwork and vocals…it’s missing a backbone and a solid push to really make it a powerful song, like it sounds like a watered down version of C-ute’s “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare” for some reason and I can’t seem to shake that thought off.  Still it’s a nice song overall, just needs more oomph.

4. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Yurika Akiyama
5. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Robin Okada Shouko
6. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Yuki Goto
7. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Aina Hashimoto
8. Omotesandou (Acapella Ver.) feat. Kanami Morozuka

Feels like with every single, we’re getting these tracks so it’s probably time to stop mentioning these lol.  Though, this is basically solo versions with no music so there you have it…it’s OK and definitely there for people with their biases intact so I suppose it’s a win for the wota/fans.

So you might be wondering what’s up with the name change.  Well in a string of news, their old label, TNX went under (well the idol part of it) and the group had signed onto UP-FRONT with that announcement (after “1116” that is) and then a month later announced this single on top of the fact they were changing the name from THE Possible to Ciao Bella Cinquetti to start a new chapter (odd timing to do so, but it’s whatever).  The first single under the new name is OK for the most part.  Omotesandou is kind of repetitive and the lightheartedness might be too much.  Never Never Give Up is OK, could’ve used a little more work, but as it stands it’s a decent song.  Finally, I would that Fuktao-Tamagawa was the best off the single, nice vocals, nice arrangement and simple…hmmm.  Wonder what’s next for them!

 

 
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