Kurayami Monogatari

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Katamari Damacy April 21, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 8:48 pm

katamaridamacy

Overview

Katamari Damacy is the first for a long-going series of games from NAMCO!  The game is definitely known for its original concept and overall wtf-ness xD.

Story

The story goes is that The King of All Cosmos had gotten drunk and in his stupor ended up destroying the universe (talk about advertising how bad drinking can get when you’re an all powerful king xD).  So due to that, he decides to make his son (The Prince) to clean up the mess and rebuild the universe. There’s also a B-story as well with the Hoshino family dealing with all this randomness and seeing the Prince here and there and the daughter having some strange power of the Cosmos.  Very odd stories, but they were unique and gave some interesting moments in the game lol.

Gameplay

So how do you recreate something so large like the universe?  By rolling up the most random things into a big ball of wtf-ness xD.  Yeah the main goal of the game is to roll a Katamari up to a certain size (or in some cases certain amount of the same or similar object).  A katamari is just a ball with some kind of substance to make objects stick together and it has to be slightly relative to the size so anything tiny will be picked and gradually be able to pick up things like buildings and giant animals.

There’s technically three major places, the House, the Town, and the World (though that’s still kind of relegated to the area so it’s not like the later games).  Add in there are certain tasks.  Most of the time it’s to get the Katamari to the size presented (which is in Metric sizes, so us Americans might have a little trouble).  Once you get into the stages based on the astrological signs, there mostly based on said sign (like Cancer’s mission is just getting the most crabs and Gemini to find pairs of objects).  Even one is based off of just getting the biggest bear or cow in one grab!

Graphics / Sound

Graphics: The graphics in this game is really something.  I mean the art style is pretty bright and colorful and kind of have this pastel/cel-shading look to it without being either of them.  Mostly everything is angular (which shows tons on the people and animals) while other objects are more rounded out like fruits and other objects.  The scenes of the story are a bit jagged, but fitting for such a thing.

Sound: The series really shined bright with its soundtrack.  Mixing in a bit of technopop and J-pop and some really experimentive stuff, the music of the game was really different and unique.  I mean I’ve reviewed the soundtrack so you can tell I was a big fan of it.  Add in that a lot of the objects you can pick-up have sounds to em (mostly the people and animals with some other things).  There was even some voice active (mostly the King and the Hoshino family scenes, but it happened and it was good!)

Post-Game Activities

There’s quite a bit of stuff to do after you Make The Moon which I can talk about!

Get every item! – Yes to fill that completionist mind of yours, you can collect every item in the game that you can roll up with the Katamari and you can check them all out in the Collection area and read ALL of them (though it’s great to check what you’re missing and even get some funny commentary on most of the items as well!)

Get all the presents! – In every level there’s a present that you can put on your Prince to make him look a bit more snazzy.  One in particular, the camera lets you take photos in game, I thought that was pretty cool.

Get all the cousins! – Like the presents, there are one cousin per level, HOWEVER you won’t be able to use them because their only use in the game is for multiplayer…but still, getting them will fill your completion.

Multiplayer fun, sorta… – Yeah there’s multiplayer but not in the sense most of you think it is.  You basically go against each other to get the most of a certain item…yeah it does get old after a while, but I guess it’s good enough to do.

Beat your own score! – I mean the game has a score system based on how big the katamari is, so the best thing to do is to make it bigger and get a better score overall!

Listen to the soundtrack and watch the cutscenes!!! – There’s an area where you can do all these things as well when you just want to take a break from the game.

OVERALL: 6/10

As the first of the series, Katamari Damacy did a lot at the time with its innovative concept and just overall quirky look to it.  However, it didn’t come without its problems.  The camera is probably the worst offender and it still is to this day, but it’s not like you can really do much with it considering the point of the game being picking everything up in sight.  It’s also quite short of a game, being able to complete it in less than 12 hours and the game can get really repetitive considering there isn’t a lot of variety in the missions.

On the good side, this is probably the most difficult of the series even though it really doesn’t come off as tough (but compared to the other games of the series, this actually had some challenge).  The music is also a really awesome thing and becomes a standard here lol.  Still it was a great beginning for an awesome series!

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Morning Musume – Brainstorming/Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai April 18, 2013

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 7:09 am

brainstorming

Track Listing

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai
  3. A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai (Limited A, B, C, and Regular B only)
  4. Tokimeku Tokimeke (Limited D only)
  5. Itsumo to Onnaji Seifuku de (Limited E only)
  6. Rock no Teigi (Regular A only)
  7. Brainstorming (Instrumental)
  8. Kimi Sae Ireba Nani no Iranai (Instrumental)

1. Brainstorming

So I’m so amazingly surprised with the first A-side of the single, Brainstorming.  It’s like Tsunku took what he did the last couple of singles and meshed them altogether and this came off with an extra sprinkling of badass lol.  Just like all the singles from “One Two Three/The Matenrou Show” to now, it’s an electro fest but this song has a some electric guitars in the background giving it that special kick.  The members seem to stand out more, especially Masaki, Haruna, and Ayumi as they all have some lengthy solo lines, but everyone else gets the same treatment as they did in “Help me!!”.  There’s just something about this song that just makes Tsunku’s saturation of electropop seem so perfect!!!  Yeah, one of my favorites so far this year!

2. Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai

Moving to the other A-side of the single, Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai is more of the electroness that Tsunku’s been drawn to but this song is a bit more strange for me.  I mean the different ideas aren’t as bizarre like in “Brainstorming” but there is just something about the song that seems a bit more leaning towards the Platinum era songs.  Add in Tsunku’s ~2000 people on the dancefloor~ and I’m just a little bit weirded out haha.  Though Ayumi gets a nice lengthy part while everyone just kind of lays back here.  Not bad of a song, but after “Brainstorming”, this is a bit disappointing.

3. A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai

The B-side sung by all the members is even more electro goodness, actually a bit more trance in certain areas.  I really liked the song because it has a lot of interesting solo lines but there’s a lot of staccato lines in the song and repetition, but it sort of works given the situation.  It’s a really catchy song and surprisingly one of the better B-sides the group’s done!

4. Tokimeku Tokimeke

The other B-sides are split into groups this time being youngest to eldest and that sort of thing.  First up is the older girls which are: Sayu, Eripon, Fukuchan, Ayumi, and Harunan.  Their song is also in the veins of the other synth-heavy tracks and of course Tokimeku Tokimeke is pretty good.  Add in the voices that mostly are kind of in the range of good to meh, plus most of the voices are under some auto-tune soooo.  It does remind me a bit of “A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai” because of the synths found in, but this has a bit more filling!  It’s a pretty cool song as well!  Definitely the better of the two split tracks!

5. Itsumo to Onnaji Seifuku de

The remaining girls, Riho, Zukki, Sakura, Maachan, and Kuduu get the other song and it’s a song that doesn’t sound like it fits the single because it doesn’t have anything to do with electronics much.  It’s kind of like “Seishun Domannaka” but not as peppy.  I mean with Masaki and Haruka getting most of the lines that’s good…but this song just doesn’t fit on this single period!  Sore thumb of a song!

6. Rock no Teigi

You might be wondering, what about Reina?  She’s a part of this group right?  Yes, as this is her final single Tsunku gave her an original song as her graduating present (because they were dumb enough to not give Aika or Gaki their own song).  Even though the song has the work rock in it, it’s not really one but more of a synthed up track (sort of like “Brainstorming”).  I had no problems because the song is energetic and has power unlike Ai-chan’s solo track >.>.  It’s quite a cool track to go out with and Reina sounds great in the song.  Definitely a fitting track to say goodbye with!

As this is Momosu’s 3rd single (and possibly the last before an album), Brainstorming/Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai is definitely the best the era had to offer.  I mean the leading tracks were both pretty good, but Brainstorming was SOOOOO good and surpassed both “Wakuteka Take a chance” and “Help me!!” by a huge amount.  Kimi Sae Ireba I would say is a moderately good A-side as well kind next to the previous tracks.  As for the B-sides, they’re all good except Itsumo to Onnaji Seifuku de where it just felt out of place for the single.  I can’t wait to see what’s on board next for the group ESPECIALLY since Reina is leaving after this single (makes me thing Riho and Sakura are gonna take charge).

 

Nami Tamaki – REAL

Filed under: Nami Tamaki — solarblade @ 12:21 am

realnami

Track Listing

  1. REAL
  2. emotion
  3. Believe -2013- (Regular only)
  4. REAL (instrumental)
  5. emotion (instrumental)
  6. Believe -2013- (instrumental)

1. REAL

I was wondering what Nami do for her third A-side under Teichiku and honestly, I’m happy she switched producers for this one!  I have to say that I’m surprised she got the same guy that produced “Brightdown” because REAL sounds JUST like that song but more suited for Nami of today.  Nami sounds amazingly in control and the chorus is just as much giving this epic performance!  I just love that Nami tackled rock again!

2. emotion

For the B-side, I was kind of expecting a ballad to come along but emotion kind of also has the pop/rock flair, but it also kind of sounds like something SONY Nami would’ve released as it has some synths.  I actually have to admit that I kind of like this song a smidge better than “REAL” because her vocals are deeper and way cooler to listen.  The chorus has a bit of some odd transitioning, but the song is very cool as well.  Damn xD

3. Believe -2013-

On the regular editions of the single, we get a bonus track which is a self-cover of her debut song Believe which is a surprise for me!  Given the time that’s past since then, the song got glossed up by being a bit more electro and with Nami’s vocals matured as they have and her resing it…it’s something.  It does feel like Nami toned the energy down, but the mood of the song is different but at the same time familiar.

Nami’s 3rd single and she’s just bringing all the feels in.  REAL and emotion really sent the message that she wants to go back to her SONY sound on this single and it’s like she never even did the UNI-J failures.  Both songs are quite impressive and her voice has never sounded better!  Her self-cover of Believe is a smidge weaker than the original, but the new arrangement was a nice touch!  She’s just on a roll!!!!!

 

°C-ute – Crazy Kanzen na Otona April 15, 2013

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 9:01 am

crazykanzennaotona

Track Listing

  1. Crazy Kanzen na Otona
  2. The☆Treasure Box
  3. Chikyuu Kara no Sanjuusou (Limited D only)
  4. Watashi wa Tensai (Limited E only)
  5. Kanashiki Heaven (Suzuki Part Ver.) (Limited A only)
  6. Kanashiki Heaven (Okai Part Ver.) (Limited A only)
  7. Crazy Kanzen na Otona (Instrumental)
  8. Kanashiki Heaven (Instrumental)

1. Crazy Kanzen na Otona

After “Kono Machi”, I was curious as to why °C-ute was releasing a new single so quickly after that fiasco and truth be told Crazy Kanzen na Otona was just what I needed!  The song is a lot like “Kiss me Aishiteru” in the way the style is very synth-driven and pretty quick paced as well.  Add in a touch of sexy and smokiness and this song is just really cool to listen to all the way.  Add in that everyone sounds amazing in this song (even Nakky and Maimai sound good!).  Definitely another °C-ute song that I ended up loving to death!

2. The☆Treasure Box

The B-side found on most editions of the single, The☆Treasure Box would’ve been such a good if there wasn’t such an annoyance repetition of that whole ~OI OI OI OI OI~, god damn is that fucking annoying!  Taking that out, the song has more focus on the guitars and it kind of mixes the group’s rockin’ feel.  However, the feeling of the song is so muddled with that arcade fighter grunt that makes this song nearly impossible for me to enjoy!

3. Chikyuu Kara no Sanjuusou

Then two editions have a different B-sides but the group is split.  Maimi, Airi, and Chisato take the first song and I’m kind of stuck on what genre it’s supposed to represent because it’s poppy but the melody has touches of country and doowop almost.  Add in the interesting melody the girls are singing together and it sounds more country for some reason xD.  The song is a bit strange, nothing too spectacular, but it’s not bad of a tune…just plain xD.

4. Watashi wa Tensai

Of course Nakky and Maimai would get their own sugary cute song in the form of Watashi wa Tensai.  I mean Nakky sounds great in this setting which is pretty strange to listen, but Mai sounds a tad nasally for this cutesy synthpop song with a strangely slow chorus line xD.  I mean it fits the two quite nicely, but like the previous track…maybe a bit forgetful.

5. Kanashiki Heaven (Suzuki Part Ver.)

So remember this song from “Aitai Aitai Aitai na”?  Yeah the surprisingly awesome Chisato and Airi duet…well the song was split half into their solo parts and hearing them is quite strange.  Airi of course has the lower melody and hearing her sing solo is kind of interesting.  Of course, the song feels like it went down a couple levels on the scale to suit Airi’s vocals.  Not bad of a solo take.

6. Kanashiki Heaven (Okai Part Ver.)

So of course, Chisa get the higher ranged version like the original and her higher pitch is actually good but her unique stylings kind of hinder some parts but the fact she says ~seventh heaven~ clearly is shocking.  I like Airi’s version just a bit more, but this wasn’t so bad!

°C-ute seems to really be kind of lost on this single.  I mean sweet Crazy Kanzen na Otona is an amazing track from them and really gave off such a sexy vibe to it that I just really loved that about it.  Also it was really nice to see Kanashiki Heaven split in half so we can her the song sung by the main two.  The rest of the single was just ugh.  I mean both of the split up groupings weren’t really anything groundbreaking nor interesting and The☆Treasure Box was just annoying as hell…but could’ve been great had it not been for the annoying chants!  I still think “Aitai Aitai Aitai na” is the best single of the era tbh.

 

Juice=Juice – Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 8:11 am

watashigaiu

Track Listing

  1. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne
  2. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (Instrumental)

1. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne

I was so elated to see a new group coming out of H!P and was surprised even more with the gals that were chosen!  I really found it interesting that the song focused more on saxophones because honestly when was the last time that happened?  The vocals sound pretty good too but the line distribution was just like S/mileage of current days where Karin and Sayuki got the most lines, Tomoko and Aina kind of had the middle amount and Yuka and Akari kind of round out the back xD.  Still the song is a pretty cool track to listen to and for a debut it’s pretty damn catchy like “Massara Blue Jeans” catchy!

I mean it’s a surprise that it took so long for Tsunku to do something new with H!P and J=J’s debut single is an easy win for me!  The song’s energy is awesome, the girls sound pretty good (though the line distribution is looking a bit shady) and it’s a debut…things are looking good for this fruity group!!!

 

 

Best and Worst of 2012: Mini-Albums

Filed under: ~Best of 2012~ — solarblade @ 7:53 am

Yeah, this has been forever in the making so I feel like I should move my ass and finish up these posts eh?

BEST MINI-ALBUM SONG!

  • Shoko Nakagawa – Tokimeki☆Dreamer (nsum ~Nakagawa Shoko ga Utatte Mita!~)

canyouhearmesangawakiyumemiru

So here we have the mini-album songs that I liked but didn’t make the top 2, but overall there wasn’t a lot of choices this year.  Just Friends (Can you hear me?) from Kie was a surprisingly fun song to hear from her and is one of her best songs yet!  palm love (Sang) by Eri Takenaka was a definite chill and unique experience, especially with how light and pretty Eri sounded and finally Loveless (Awaki Yumemiru Yoiyami no Gaibana) from Asriel definitely was the best the duo released this year with perfect vocals and soft arrangement.

2. Buono! – Mirai Drive (SHERBET)

sherbet

Buono! released another surprisingly good song in Mirai Drive this year which is a bit lighter but also one of the more pleasant songs as well!  I guess it helped that it had acoustic guitar and all three of the ladies sound good here.  Yeah this was just a great song!

1. D – Like a Black Cat ~Mujitsu no Tsumi~ (Namonaki Mori no Yumegatari)

namonakinoyume

Strangely enough, I felt like D’s song, Like a Black Cat was definitely the best of the mini songs here.  It was dark and gothic and brought back the things I love about D (especially ASAGI).  There’s a lot to this song that really worked out so I was happy with my decision!

WORST MINI-ALBUM SONGS

loveyunchiamoyamo

You know, like I said there wasn’t a whole lot of songs this year to really deal with but there were some bad ones.  Melody (LOVE) isn’t totally bad persay, but the song didn’t really make me feel anything for it.  Guruguru* (Yun*chi) would’ve been OK if there wasn’t so much dubstep thrown in alongside Yun*chi’s YUKI-like vocals. AMOYAMO’s theme song from the A☆M☆O☆Y★A★M★O mini-album was pretty damn bad, especially the hook of it is mostly spelling the song out too..yeah that was not a smart move!

2. GO GO Summer! 2012 (KARA Collection)

karacollection

KARA really didn’t need to do what they did to GO GO Summer!, but they did with this being included on KARA Collection.  GO GO Summer! is already a great JPN KARA song, but seeing it retouched and given another slab of synths did not work this time around.  Just drove me nuts!

1. Asriel – Souyoku Fuuga (Awaki Yumemiru Yoiyami no Gaibana)

awakiyumemiru

Asriel knows how to do good songs, but that’s covered with so many bad songs that it’s really strange.  Souyoku Fuuga is definitely the worst they put out this year.  I mean KOKOMI shouldn’t be singing like the banshee she was in this song TBH…Yeah it was bad!

BEST ART COVERS!

youmakemebluenamonakinoyumesopranorain

Covers this year have been pretty good for the most part.  Yukino’s You make me blue is such a pretty shot of her in front of some mountains (if they’re photoshopped, then it’s pretty damn good lol).  Namonaki Mori no Yumegatari cover is quite symbol heavy with the deer and the black/white of them showing light and darkness.  I loved that cover though.  Soprano Rain feels like artwork with SAWA standing in front of it and it kind of worked for her lol.  Very colorful yet simple lol.

2. Mix Speaker’s, Inc. – SEAPARADISE no Hihou

seaparadisenohihou

This kind of fits in with “Shiny tale”, but SEAPARADISE no Hihou had a bit more going on with the showing the members in their ever-changing outfits on a pirate shit!  Still very colorful!

1. Asriel – Awaki Yumemiru Yoiyami no Gaibana

awakiyumemiru

Finally I give some positive to Asriel, they always have the most elaborate and beautifully drawn artworks for their mini-albums and Awaki Yumemiru’s is no exception.  Very pretty and innocent looking and just kind of suits with the many other covers they have!

WORST ART COVERS

sangloveyunchi

The thing about Sang and LOVE that found themselves here was the fact that they’re just close-up shots of them and neither really do much otherwise XD.  Yun*chi is just a bit plain though its kind of weird that she and her mirrored image kind of creates a lip xD…weird xD

2. Tommy february6 / Tommy heavenly6 – HALLOWEEN ADDICTION

halloweenaddiction

I think the duo covers for Tomoko’s HALLOWEEN ADDICTION were pretty bad, mostly because they look so plain and while the February version has a beige color, both are still kind of meh just from not having to much on it.

1. MIYAVI – SAMURAI SESSIONS vol. 1

samuraisessions

MIYAVI took the crown of worst cover of the year…both covers for SAMURAI SESSIONS were a bit too odd looking, but this with the hair in front of his face just made him look psycho XD.  Doesn’t help the text is bad for the album title LOL

BEST MINI-ALBUM OVERALL!

canyouhearmeagainquinamonakinoyume

2. MIYAVI – SAMURAI SESSIONS vol. 1

samuraisessions

Even though the covers are bad, the experimentation MIYAVI did was splendid!  SAMURAI SESSIONS vol. 1 was a great thing for MIYAVI to have especially with having the singles prior included as well.  I love that the songs were all fresh and totally different…I hope there’s a second one in the future because this was a great mini!

1. Yukino – You make me blue

youmakemeblue

HOWEVER, if there was one artist that blew me away it was new artist Yukino and her debut mini-album, You make me blue.  She sounds AMAZING on the mini and her style was completely refreshing from the pop stantards Japan is slowly fading into.  It was a bit jazzy, but also bright pop too…it was just such a sweet surprise!

WORST MINI-ALBUMS OVERALL!!!

halloweenaddictionkaracollectionsopranorain

Sooo there’s really not a lot of TERRIBLE albums but they were on the lower side of the spectrum.  HALLOWEEN ADDICTION by both Tommys has 3 great songs BUT the killer fact is the those three songs are split into sections (the older songs never had that treatment).  Yeah it just wasn’t very well done or very smart.  KARA’s KARA Collection isn’t bad either, but none of the songs really stood out (plus GG! Summer 2012 was horrendous).  Soprano Rain by SAWA was a bit meh and a bit shaky but it’s because SAWA switched labels.

2. NIKIIE – CHROMATOGRAPHY

chromatography

NIKIIE might have impressed me with “Everytime” but CHROMATOGRAPHY was quite unimpressive overall and seemed like dropouts from her first mini-album which was pretty depressing.  Yeah I mean one REALLY good song and I was just like over it XD

1. Yun*chi – Yun*chi

yunchi

When I think of my least favorite mini-album of the year it was between NIKIIE and Yun*chi, but NIKIIE was slightly better because her vocals are so much better than Yun*chi’s!  Her self-titled debut was very lackluster and the only good song was the promo track Reverb*.  Yeah the other songs were like zzzzzzzz…

NEXT TIME: ALBUM SONGS

 

So I return BUT… April 13, 2013

Filed under: ~Announcements~ — solarblade @ 7:54 am

Yes, I am back from a nice lengthy break, but I’ve given thought and I can’t keep up with everyone I’ve added anymore so I’ve decided to review what I want when I want…So music reviews have mostly been axed haha, but I will review things that really impressed me or by groups that I’ve REALLY came to love.  It’ll be hard to catch up with various things…but I wanna review video games more as well…even it out….

 

What do you guys think, yay or nay? XD