Kurayami Monogatari

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Aira Mitsuki – I’LL BE BACK August 23, 2013

Filed under: Aira Mitsuki — solarblade @ 9:15 am

基本 RGB

Track Listing

  1. Mysteric
  2. twinkle twinkle
  3. you know
  4. Interlude #1
  5. Butterfly
  6. make new world
  7. tell me
  8. Interlude #2
  9. I still love you
  10. Interlude #3
  11. I can fly
  12. time machine
  13. Hound Dog (feat. Terukado)

1. Mysteric

Opening the album, Mysteric kicks things off with a pretty cool mid-tempo synth track that sounds almost familiar to Western artists.  The smooth synths play around the track and lets Aira take the stage in a pretty good way.  I actually really like this sound she went for with this song and definitely put my expectations a little higher with hoping how the rest of the album will turn out.  Definitely a club banger!

2. twinkle twinkle

Seeing the title of the next track, twinkle twinkle at first seemed to really sound like it was going to be cutesy and somehow when the song opened up, it kind of reminded me of “BARBiE BARBiE” but at the same time has a rather “???” sound to it as well which kind of is weird at first but as I listened on, it got a bit more modern sounding too.  I like the sparkly feel of it and sounds really like something she would’ve done in her first two albums.

3. you know

Moving on, you know is a bit more progressive than the previous track and I’ve all of a sudden I hear Aira using a bit more English in the track which actually sounds quite nice.  Though I will say when I hear ~I need you, emotional~ it kind of makes me tilt my head.  Actually overall, this is a pretty straightforward song and it’s kind of catchy but doesn’t have the longevity that “Mysteric” had so far.

4. Interlude #1

Since when did Aira do interludes for her album 0.o.  The first one is only 40 seconds long and strangely enough it sounds like a radio going through channels and it lands on songs that were from “COPY” like “GALAXY BOY”, “China Discotica” and “Yellow Supercar”.  It’s pretty strange but honestly fitting on such an album.

5. Butterfly

Butterfly comes next after and honestly coming from the interlude, I was expecting Aira to really bust out some grittier synths with this track but this kind of sounds like a “6 FORCE” song but honestly it works because I’m loving the bass line and the piano chords laid out in the track.  I kind of like the movement of the track though and fits amongst the more chiller tracks she has.

6. make new world

Moving out, I was definitely loving the fact that make new world picked up the pace once again.  The beats, bass and added guitar licks really gave this a bit more form!  I was a tad surprised to know this is the shortest track of the vocal tracks.  I do like the middle 8 section the most of the song however lol.  Not a bad track overall!

7. tell me

It just keeps getting better from here!  tell me really sounds like something from the early 90’s with the synths and arrangement of the song.  I just love the beats and Aira sounds actually good in this song (even though she has in the previous tracks >.<).  This is a great track to waste your energy jumping around!  Yeah…this was pretty cool!

8. Interlude #2

I was expecting after the first interlude, the second would be cuts from “PLASTIC” but that didn’t exactly happen.  The interlude is a strange recording from Apollo 11 launching (you know the first U.S. landing on the moon).  I still don’t quite understand the reasoning behind making this an interlude into our next track but it was nice nonetheless and the music was sweet too.

9. I still love you

The thing that I liked coming into I still love you is that while it is electropop, Aira still makes it sound so damn cute!  I mean it might just be a little cheesy of a track since it is roughly about love and all that schmooze.  Of the songs on the album, this didn’t really leave too much of an impression on me.  There’s just something missing in this song that doesn’t work…plus being crammed between two interludes…wasn’t worth it lol.

10. Interlude #3

Our last interlude is the shortest one (being only 25 seconds long) and it really only features Aira repreating phrases and the build on top of each other.  Just kind of there…also quite confusing lol.

11. I can fly

As we enter our final stretch of songs on the album, we enter I can fly which seems to mirror up similar feelings I had with “Mysteric” with the ethereal synths but also there’s a moving beat to drive it a lot stronger than that song.  I actually enjoyed it so much that it’s probably my favorite of the album!

12. time machine

I was hoping time machine was going to be a banger, but it seemed to be another one of those mid-tempo ditties to kind of just smooth things by.  I will say that I love the sound of the verses for sure but when the chorus comes in, I’m just kind of over it hahaha.  It sounds a bit too familiar to another one of her songs (but I can’t think of it at the moment).  Though it’s winning moment is during the middle 8 where you here Aira’s muddled voice is singing the chorus to “Robot Honey”.  I thought that was pretty clever.  Still besides that, the song just kind of flew by my radar.

13. Hound Dog (feat. Terukado)

The album’s final track was a strange choice as we’ve had this song available since back in April 2011.  To be honest, this track isn’t the best choice to have ended (“time machine” was a lot more appropriate).  The song itself is probably the funkiest track and there’s some stock vocals and Aira is doing some whisper-singing.  Like I said, this track is like the black sheep of the album and I’m curious as to why she (her label) decided to throw this 2 year old track on here when everything else is brand new.

Tracks Recommended

  • I can fly
  • Mysteric
  • tell me
  • Butterfly

Song of Avoidance

  • I still love you

So we finally get Aira’s 4th album (well maybe 5th including the Aira/Saori album) and unfortunately it seems like the last we’ll get since Aira is going on hiatus from music.  I’LL BE BACK is actually a solid sendoff and honestly is so much better than her last album, “???” in which nearly all of the tracks were likeable in some fashion.  The only real qualm is the need of interludes 2 & 3 and Hound Dog.  I felt if there were gone, it would’ve been a great album haha.  Still, this was a pretty strong album!

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alan – DREAM EXPRESS ~Mugen Kuukan Chou Tokkyu~ August 22, 2013

Filed under: alan — solarblade @ 12:01 am

dreamexpress

Track Listing

  1. DREAM EXPRESS ~Mugen Kuukan Chou Tokkyu~
  2. First Love ~Hatsukoi~
  3. DREAM EXPRESS ~Mugen Kuukan Chou Tokkyu~ (Instrumental)
  4. First Love ~Hatsukoi~ (Instrumental)
  5. First Love ~Hatsukoi~ (alan ver.)
  6. First Love ~Hatsukoi~ (Ryosuke Itamiya ver.)

1. DREAM EXPRESS ~Mugen Kuukan Chou Tokkyu~

Getting a new alan song is great, even moreso in Japanese.  Listening to DREAM EXPRESS, the song does sound a bit generic, but it is very anime so that’s to be slightly expected.  I really enjoy the strings and bright sound, but there just something that doesn’t seem to really feel like alan…it might be the generic arrangement, but I also feel like alan is just half-assing the song almost.  Oh well xD

2. First Love ~Hatsukoi~

The B-side of the single was an interesting choice since it is a duet between alan and Ryosuke Itamiya and while I have never heard of the latter, I was curious (especially after “Ai no Chikara”…).  When I first listened to it, I was like quite bored because it’s a ballad (sounds like a 90’s ballad xD).  I do like them singing together, but the song was quite the snoozefest.

5. First Love ~Hatsukoi~ (alan ver.)

Of course they would put in something like this on the single.  It’s the same song of course and Ryosuke’s part is muted so it’s just alan you only hear.  Though hearing alan by herself makes this seem like it’s a ballad you would’ve seen on “my life” (which doesn’t mean it’s a good thing either).

6. First Love ~Hatsukoi~ (Ryosuke Itamiya ver.)

Ryosuke’s is the opposite so alan is missing from the track.  Ryosuke’s voice is nice to listen to and doesn’t seem to be abrasive to alan’s smoother and lighter voice.  He does slightly go off pitch in the higher ranges but despite that it’s not a bad guy to have chosen to be her partner.

 

 

It’s been 2 years since alan has released a single in Japan and well she kind of blew it. I mean this doesn’t feel like its alan but more avex being cash cows.  DREAM EXPRESS and First Love are really nothing to put high praise for, though I will say alan chose a great partner in Ryosuke Itamiya.  I don’t know but, if this is what she wants to come back with…it wasn’t a very smart choice.

 

Kaya – TABOO August 21, 2013

Filed under: Kaya — solarblade @ 11:31 pm

tabookaya

Track Listing

  1. TABOO
  2. Infection
  3. TABOO ~Kayaless ver.~
  4. Infection ~Kayaless ver.~

1. TABOO

It feels like it’s been a while since Kaya has released an A-side that’s a bit more on the brighter side of things in electro land and I have to say I was sensing he was going to be using dubstep, but luckily he avoided that and just used a lot of gritty synths in the arrangement.  I would even argue that it’s one of the most aggressive songs he’s released in this era so far.  I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this song and didn’t see many flaws (it’s probably going to topple “SALOME” as my favorite A-side in the era).

2. Infection

Well if you were looking for that dark electro track from Kaya you’ll find that as the B-side to the single.  Infection has such an eerie but compelling intro that really grabs you and then it builds into this chaotic arrangement which I fell INSTANTLY in love with.  Kaya’s voice is under some gritty effects which add to the sullen and creepy feel of the song.  Definitely a great coupling song for sure!

 

 

With an album announced for December, Kaya might just throw one more single out before then, but if this was the last of the era, TABOO might have solidified my interest for the upcoming album.  Both TABOO and Infection have won me over with what Kaya does best and it’s making great electro songs!  Can’t wait for the album now *RECOMMENDED*

 

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale August 15, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 9:02 pm

PlayStation-All-Stars-Battle-Royale

Overview

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal (or PSASBR for short) is a party/fighting game released last year for the PS3.  It also came with a free downloadable version for you Vita players out there as well.  At first glance, the game immediately signals that this is Playstation’s version of the grandeur Smash Bros. series but actually it’s quite different once you really get into the mechanics of it all.

Story

Well, there really isn’t a heavy amount of a story but in Arcade mode, each character basically has an intro (basically getting an invitation to the battle ahead), a kind of rival scene (which is mostly the same, you offended me, I defeat you deal), and the ending (which is more of well we fought, but my story continues).  It’s very generic sounding and it should because I would think there’d be more going on…but whatever

Characters

Probably one of the most important factors, was actually looking at the faces of Playstation’s past and seeing who actually made the cut.  It was pretty obvious that some were chosen as they were current known faces like Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sly Cooper, Cole McGrath (though two forms???).  Some were a bit odd choices (Fat Princess, Nariko, Toro, Raiden (though Snake was in Brawl…), and Big Daddy and there were some that were just pure nostalgia like Sweet Tooth, Parappa, and Sir Daniel Fortesque.  All these faces were great, but they seriously had so many more to choose from and the lack of a certain bandicoot and dragon was REALLY unfortunate as they were THE faces of Playstation.  It was a pretty unusual cast and frankly, even I didn’t know some of the faces like Radec, Emmitt, Kat, Fat Princess…(though it’s probably because I’m not too involved in the PS3 world yet lol).

Stages

There isn’t a whole butt ton of stages (about 14 with like 5 extra practice stages) but that seems to be a good enough number.  The way PSASBR did it was to fuse two series together to have a stage. I mean Dreamscape was a fusion between LittleBigPlanet and BUZZ! which was cool and they have different things going on like the addition of extra platforms while the BUZZ! announcer asks a question and you have to stand on the right area.  There are similar things in each of the other main areas so that’s pretty cool.

Gameplay

So after all that, we get into meat and bones of the game.  The main controls are easy to follow.  The square, triangle and circle buttons are attacks and are different with directions (like Smash).  The X button is for jumping, press it twice to double jump of course.  L2 is to taunt, L1 is to dodge, and pressing left or right is a dodge roll.  R1 is to pick up items and L2 is used for supers.

The point of the match is to defeat your opponent with you Supers and there’s 3 different levels to them.  The higher the level the better it is (but for some characters it’s quite the opposite).  You also have the normal Time battle and Stock battle, but PSASBR has an extra mode, Kill battle where you have to kill to a certain amount and you win lol.  Now this sounds a bit edgier because it actually makes you focus on your opponents since there’s no ring outs to be had (though in certain stages, if you fall off the stage, you’re placed back on it and put into an automatic dizzy state.

However, the flaw of this idea comes with the unbalanced characters.  I mean if you are Dante, Kratos, Kat, Nariko, and Raiden…you’re pretty much going to win (unless you’re REALLY bad with them).  Though it doesn’t mean it’s entirely in their favor because you can be quite good with all the characters and manage to kick some ass.

Graphics/Sound

  • Graphics: For being a PS3 game, it actually looks quite good and the intro to the game was pretty nifty (though why darken them out?).  The fighting is smooth and there’s not a lot of issues in this department.  Though I will say that for the “story mode” they shouldn’t have done still shots…that was a bit of a copout IMO.
  • Sound: Minus the menu theme (gets annoying), the stages’ music was actually a nice collection.  Though I’m not too familiar with a lot of the music in the first place but some were really cool!

Other Things to Do

  • Trophies – Of course this is with EVERY game on the PS3…most of them have to do with Arcade Mode though
  • Arcade Mode – It’s not the most exciting thing to do because while each character has his or her own prologue/epilogue and the final boss is a cool nostalgic trip, Polygon Man (old PS1 mascot).  Though this mode is primarily used to level up characters and gaining trophies.
  • Online – Of course this is the main reason the game has replayability because it’s online is quite good (SO MUCH BETTER THAN BRAWLS) though if there’s a connection issue, bars will pop up to warn others of what is happening.
  • Practice – There is a practice mode, but there is also an intro to the mechanics of the game and it really does help and you unlock tokens to go further in and learn more (and even then, each character has their own set of techniques to learn).  Another good thing to keep in mind basically if you wanna learn the intricacies of the game.
  • Customization – There’s also costume customizing (not a big deal), changing your loading emblem and such, having a minion (still don’t exactly see the point of them are), and customizing intros, winning theme and victory pose in battles.  So that’s another interesting thing about it.

There’s also some minor things like option changing and character profiles to read but that’s basically it for the game lol.

DLC

What is surprising is the DLC that came out.  Of course there’s your alternate costumes and many other minions to be had, but the important things are the stages and characters.  There’s actually four character (Kat, Emmett Graves, Zeus, and Isaac Clarke) and to be honest none of them really piqued my interest at first glance (because besides Zeus, I didn’t know them) but in game…they look like they’d be fun characters.  There was also 2 stages as well: Fearless (Heavenly Sword+WipEout) and Graveyard (MediEvil+TheUnfinished Swan).

There was supposed to be more (Abe from OddWorld and Dart from Legend of Dragoon) and a stage based upon the mix of Gravity Rush and Journey) but it was cancelled with SONY announcing the end of content for All-Stars).  All that’s left is costumes and patches for characters now sadly.

OVERALL: 6/10

I actually really wanted a PS3 for this at the time, but after having played it…it quickly waned.  I mean the idea is nice and surprised it hasn’t happened sooner after how big Smash Bros. had become, but the problem here is that I think Nintendo has a lot of nostalgia and popularity in their characters whereas SONY’s hasn’t stuck on as much (plus shunning Crash and Spyro was in bad taste, but not their fault).  I just don’t feel like this cast was as complete as it should’ve (because there are SO many more they could’ve added like Abe and Dart….maybe Croc….I-Ninja, Ty…I mean there was a LOT even some big series weren’t even brought in like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy (anything Square-Enix for that matter)…and etc.

I did like the gameplay and it did lead to some pretty edgy battles online which is good…but beyond online modes and with friends, by yourself…this was a weak package.  I mean the menu screens look so terrible and single player mode was just vague and bland to deal with.  I mean you can go on for so long in Practicing your characters before you get bored.

Worst of them all, I experienced during some battles (at the end) that the game freezes, forcing you to reboot.  THAT SUCKS…something needs to be fixed about that kind of thing TBH.

It’s not a terrible game though and the intentions were quite good, but there were some flaws for sure and sometimes felt like it was a tad unfinished as a product, but for what we got…it’s not bad…but Melee and Brawl still topple it miles wide.

 

DAT AUGUST COROCORO…POKEMON X&Y! August 12, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 3:36 am

So damn, this month has been quite amazing with Pokémon news (sort of…) so let’s really get it out of the way…at least the basic stuff

  • Well we got news of what Super Training is and it’s finally making the more competitive side of the series look a little less intimidating than all that math and junk you had to learn in previous generations.
  • Mawile is now Steel/Fairy
  • Our 4th gym leader, Korrina was announced.  Supposedly she’s the key to understanding our new style of Pokémon, Mega Pokémon.
  • When riding Pokémon, you can actually jump up ledges!!
  • Mega Pokémon (while we are on that subject) are enhanced versions of some least form version of current Pokémon, of course we learned that they are only possibly in battles with a “Mega Stone” which is looking to be their placehold names (because like Blazikenite and Lucarioite exist, I’m betting the others will be similar).  What we know is that only one Pokémon on your team will be able to pull it off each battle, what effects are known is raised stats (and for some, type changes)
  • There are 7 announced so far (yes there’ll be more according to previews of next Corocoro): Mewtwo (one we have known for a long time), Lucario, Blaziken, Absol, Mawile, Ampharos, and Kangaskhan.

That being said let’s talk about the Mega Pokémon and then the brand new ones!

Mega Mewtwo

mewtwo 1

Yup, we’ve comeback to this guy and we figured out that this is Mega Mewtwo (though there has been a rumor saying that there’s another form for Mewtwo as well.  Still don’t know too much besides the name and the fact it has the ability, Insomnia (means it can’t be put to sleep).  Weird, but anything beats Pressure to be honest haha.

Mega Blaziken

megablaziken

I was quite surprised when the others chosen for Mega evolution were shown.  I wasn’t expecting a starter Pokémon would be one of them but it seems quite cool since Blaziken was a fan favorite from the Hoenn region.  We learned that for it to reach its Mega status, it has to hold the Blazikenite which is not found in the game.  It is given as the first event Pokémon, Torchic.  Also it sounds like it gains a lot in stats and it has Speed Boost (means every turn, it gets faster).  Sweet Deal!!!!

Mega Lucario

megalucario

So, the Sinnoh region also had some faces and Lucario was up in the front.  I wasn’t surprised it was going to get a Mega Evoluton and to be honest,  it looks quite awesome.  It has a different ability from this change, which is Adaptability (powers same type moves).  This could be a heavy hitter honestly!  I’m sure like Torchic, this will be found by a Riolu holding a Lucarioite.

Mega Absol, Mega Ampharos, Mega Mawile

megaabsolmegaampharosMega-Mawile

The next three were released together with Blaziken and Lucario but there isn’t as much information like the two above (like the name of their Mega Stones, though Absolite, Ampharosite, and Mawilite?…hm).  Absol looks pretty wicked and has Magic Bounce (Reflect stat changing moves back to opponent), Ampharos not only gets the ability, Mold Breaker (Use moves with no ability to stop it or effect it), but it also changes it’s typing to Electric/Dragon (in which it only shares that with Zekrom).  Mawile on the other hand gains the Fairy type (but Mawile itself will get the change) and it has the ability, Huge Power (gains more attack power).  I will love to get my hands on an Ampharos to get it to it’s Mega form…love it!  Though the other two make it sound great as well!

Mega Kangaskhan

megakangaskhan

Announced at VGC, we get our 7th Mega, Kangaskhan or let’s be truthful, the baby gets the treatment.  What is known about this is that they come with a new ability called Parental Bond (where it attacks twice in one turn)…this could be a VERY useful ability (and it might sound like it’ll be the unique ability and only for Kangaskhans.

NEW POKEMON

Also there’s been a couple of new Pokémon announced but they were quite shadowed by the Mega Evolutions.  So let’s talk about them!

Skiddo

skiddo

The first shown (well 2nd but will get to that later), Skiddo is the first form of Gogoat.  Still is a Grass type and is also able to be ridden across Kalos.  I think it looks rather cute and makes for a great Pokémon to have in the first half of the game (hopefully that is the case).

Bunnelby

bunnelby

Our next new Pokémon, Bunnelby follows along the cute and cuddly Normal types (you know like Buneary and Minccino).  It is also called the digging Pokémon and suddenly I feel like its evolution will be Ground-type (Normal/Ground maybe).  It looks cute as hell though!  It also has two abilities, Pick Up or the new one Cheek Pouch (in which if they store Berries, they will get HP health alongside the berries properties).

Dedenne

dedenne

Of course it’s no generation without the Pikachu-esque Pokémon to fill it up.  Dedenne actually looks like a tiny Raichu!?!  It also has the type Electric/Fairy (seems to squash the Pikachu will be getting a new type rumor).  I think it’s quite cute, but not the most necessary of additions.  We’ll see if it evolves into anything good (though this is probably the closest rivalry to a Pikachu IMO).

Oorotto

oorotto

The last Pokémon is kind of a weird addition because this still hasn’t been touched upon really (except for a Japanese trailer showing it off in a horde battle).  I’m quite interested in this because it’s like a possessed tree.  Though I have to strange feeling that it’s going to be connected to Sudowoodo…but maybe it’s just me.  From the looks of it, it could be Grass/Dark…but….if it’s tied to Sudowoodo…could it be Rock/Dark?

THAT’S FOR THIS MONTH, CHECK IN NEXT MONTH FOR OUR NEXT BATCH OF UPDATES!!!!

 

Shoujo Jidai – LOVE&GIRLS August 10, 2013

Filed under: Shoujo Jidai — solarblade @ 4:32 am

lovegirls

Track Listing

  1. LOVE&GIRLS
  2. Lingua Franca

1. LOVE&GIRLS

I was wondering what they could do after their second album and well…they throw out LOVE&GIRLS which is in the veins of their more bubblegum sounding songs like “Gee”.  Adding a lot of chanting moments and whistle blowing, this song seems to really be kind of generic for SNSD.  I mean it does have a certain bounce that I enjoy, but there’s also something about that just says ~been there, done that~ about the song.  Not a great way to start their 3rd era.

2. Lingua Franca

Strange title of the B-side.  They took more of a reggaeton sound at first but like LOVE&GIRLS, it still kind of has a cutesy tone to it and actually sounds a little more generic than the A-side!  I mean the chorus can be cute for a couple spins, but after a while this track makes you question what you just listened to.

 

 

After their 2nd album, I was kind of wondering what they would do.  After “I Got A Boy”, I was kind of getting a bit tired of their sound and sadly brought it over with LOVE&GIRLS.  Neither tracks on the single really stood out to me and just kind of felt like a generic single overall.