Kurayami Monogatari

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SAWA – RingaRinga September 27, 2014

Filed under: SAWA — solarblade @ 5:20 am

ringaringa

Track Listing

  1. StarlightPavillion
  2. Kimi to Bartender
  3. Midnight na Hitotachi ~Especia~
  4. Midnight Confusion
  5. Mr. Brown
  6. RingaInterlude
  7. RingaRinga
  8. Lalalalai!

1. StarlightPavillion

Opening SAWA’s mini-album, we’ve known of StarlightPavillion for quite a while (since even before “Soprano Rain”).  I was so happy though because SAWA opened up with a EDM song which is already a plus after his last mini-album.  I’m liking the kind of steady beat with SAWA’s vocals and the overall feel just is cool and catchy as hell.  Definitely a pleasant way to kick things off!

2. Kimi to Bartender

The next track is definitely an odd song, I was so thrown off by the different time signature and the weird things thrown around the arrangement like piccolo and some synth slides and ad-libs.  It’s such a quirky song, but I can’t say anything bad because it’s also weirdly catchy.  There’s not much I can compare it to, but it’s a really neat and like I said quirky tune.

4. Midnight na Hitotachi ~Especia~

So we have our first interlude and it includes Especia (an idol group that SAWA had worked for).  It’s kind of hilarious that Especia are the voices but they’re being tampered with.  I’m not sure what they’re talking about during the interlude, but it must be something about our next track…

5. Midnight Confusion

That is since Midnight Confusion is a cover of Especia’s track that SAWA had worked on for them.  It’s pretty awesome to hear that SAWA would pull this off.  I was already a fan of the original so this was clearly going to leave the same impression.  I love the deep synths and SAWA sounds fitting with her unique vocals.  Cool song!

6. Mr. Brown

Our next song was released as a digital single a little shortly after “Soprano Rain” so it’s understandable that it kind of contains a little bit of the residue.  I do love that the song has a little bit of that bossa nova vibe to it though I’m not sure if SAWA’s vocals worked in its favor as she kind of sounds a little more nasally than normal.  Though once the chorus kicks in, the music is wonderful!  Interesting song though.

7. RingaInterlude

A 2nd interlude?  I know I’ve heard of DJ TARO somewhere, but hmmm.  Was it necessary that an interlude was needed.  It’s really just him talking for about a minute with a simple dance beat and melody behind him.

8. RingaRinga

As the title track for the mini-album, it contains the melodies found in the interlude and adds a little more to it just kind of give us this cutesy techno tune.  I loved the arrangement quite a lot and sounds airy and bright.  Add on SAWA’s vocals and we kind of get this poppy feel but I enjoyed her presence here.  One of the better songs on the mini.

9. Lalalalai!

The final track on the mini, Lalalalai! sounds like an appropriate tune to close things out because it just has that feeling of being the end.  It also kind of stands out because it doesn’t have any electronic sounds in focusing more on piano and plucked strings and an overall cute and upbeat feel.  It has that kind of shoujo anime feel to it that I usually frown out but SAWA sounds good.  Interesting choice of song to close it out tbh.

 

 

After my disappointment with her return through “Soprano Rain”, I was hoping SAWA would come back to better songs and with RingaRinga, she met my expectations!  Most of the songs are fun and catchy tunes and brings back that magic she had in her first 5 minis.  There are some slips like Mr. Brow, but I think overall this was MUCH better than her last mini-album.

 

Cupitron – Unicorn Parade

Filed under: Cupitron — solarblade @ 4:40 am

unicornparade

Track Listing

  1. Unicorn Parade
  2. Pikopiko Club (CD only)
  3. Kasei Tour (CD only)
  4. First Contact (CD+DVD only)
  5. Unicorn Parade (Instrumental)
  6. Pikopiko Club (Instrumental)
  7. Kasei Tour (Instrumental)
  8. First Contact (Instrumental)

1. Unicorn Parade

So I was wondering what Cupitron would do for their first single.  Lord if the technopop style wasn’t evident, it’s even moreso with Unicorn Parade with heavy vocoder and auto-tune thrown onto the ladies vocals!  It does slightly remind me of something but I cant grasp it yet.  Overall, it’s alright, but after “Summer Kaijuu”, it does kind of sound odd to me.  Not bad, but needs time to stick on me.

2. Pikopiko Club

So the single splits into editions and the CD only gets two extra tracks.  I wasn’t sure what to think but damn this song kind of has a certain anison quality to it that makes me kind of grimace.  The song though has a LOT of synths being thrown in (alongside some 8bit stuff).  That ~pikopiko pikopiko pi~ lines are so fast and I wonder how any of them could pull it off.  It’s the shortest track on the single, but it felt like a longer song than I expected XD.

3. Kasei Tour

I think Kasei Tour tones down the energy which is something refreshing for the group and I’m loving the addition of acoutic guitars in the arrangement, though I am curious to why the vocals are so layered and filtered (reminds me of how portable sounded).  It definitely sounded different for the single and I quite liked it a lot!

4. First Contact

I remember hearing it when they did their first live, compared to the single it does have some more natural instruments like guitars and piano and even plucked strings!  It also is pretty cool that it changes tempo throughout by moving from a pop to a march style and then speeds back up.  When the chorus hits, I feel like it’s missing some punch and could’ve used a heavier beat.

 

 

I was expecting the worst when it comes to seeing Cupitron debut and their first single, Unicorn Parade wasn’t all that bad!  I don’t think the leading song was good enough to surpass “Summer Kaijuu” but I suppose it did sound a little more invested.  Of the B-sides, Kasei Tour and First Contact were the better songs, definitely has potential and shows potential for the group’s future endeavors!

 

Fairies – BLING BLING MY LOVE

Filed under: Fairies — solarblade @ 4:06 am

blingblingmylove

Track Listing

  1. BLING BLING MY LOVE
  2. Don’t You Wanna Dance
  3. BLING BLING MY LOVE (Instrumental)
  4. Don’t You Wanna Dance (Instrumental)

1. BLING BLING MY LOVE

Huh, the song opens up with guys singing?  I wasn’t expecting, but at least after that Momoka kicks things up in the song.  I was afraid coming into this because J-pop can’t pronounce ~bling bling~ very well and when I hear the group sing it, it comes out as ~purin purin~.  I love the energy I do get from the song at least and it has a lot of cool moments for sure.  I still would rather hear the other girls more than Momoka, but at this point I think she’s kind of the ace/face of the group so why not cash it in more.  Cool song, definitely worth multiple listens.

2. Don’t You Wanna Dance

Then we have the B-side and I already can tell the group has a bit more attitude in this song and I actually prefer this to the leading track and I feel like there isn’t as much of line hogging to be found here and that’s great!  The beat is punchy and the group like I said sound a LOT more into this song than in “BLING BLING MY LOVE”.

 

 

As the 3nd single of the era, I definitely enjoyed this single as a whole a lot more than I did with “Super Hero/Love Me, Love You More.” since both songs were just solid dance tracks by them.  Like I said, could use less Momoka but nothing I can do.  If things keep on this way, they’ll become way better!

 

T.M.Revolution – Phantom Pain

Filed under: T.M.Revolution — solarblade @ 3:48 am

phantompain

Track Listing

  1. Phantom Pain
  2. Count ZERO (Re:boot)
  3. Hesoshukujo -Venus- (Re:boot)
  4. Phantom Pain (Original Backing Track)

1. Phantom Pain

Interesting that we get Phantom Pain so quickly after their last single.  Funny though that the song is a much slower-paced track for the duo.  It kind of reminds me of their older songs like “Hajimari Nami” and “THUNDERBIRD” in a lot of the arrangement.  It’s been quite a while since we have gotten a tune that shows a more softer side to Takanori’s vocals and I already think it’s much better than “Tsuki Yabureru”.  I liked this kind of nostalgic trip and it’s a pretty solid song overall!

2. Count ZERO (Re:boot)

The remainder of the single is some live versions of some past songs.  With Count ZERO, Takanori continues to sound really powerful and has some pretty cool chants that go along with it.  Being a song that was released earlier in the year as a part of the split single with SCANDAL, Count ZERO is a pretty solid song to hear and even live contains its great energy.  Solid overall!

3. Hesoshukujo -Venus- (Re:boot)

Then we seriously dive back in their discography for Hesoshukujo (which is techinically the first single released by them).  Of course the song has got a touch-up including more instruments and having a much cooler vibe and groove.  I dug it and Takanori tackled the song sowell that I would love a full recording of this!  Very good live version!

 

 

Only coming a month after their last single, Phantom Pain is kind of a step back into times with each song.  The main track gave me some “THUNDERBIRD” vibes, but I was into it and after all those edgy songs, it was nice to see a song like Phantom Pain happened.  The live versions were pretty solid too and Takanori sounded great.  Overall a solid single and much better than their last one.

 

GENERATION 4: Last before the shift! September 21, 2014

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 4th Gen~ — solarblade @ 6:03 am

So today’s post is about the next 25-ish Pokemon before the Dex just straight moves into evolutions and such for past Gens.  So let’s jump in!

052: Bonsly

bonsly

Initially, Bonsly was part of the first 3 Pokemon to really kick the 4th Generation off (alongside Mime Jr. & Mantyke).  Also, we had a first where we could play alongside them in well a non-handheld Pokemon game in Gale of Darkness.  Kind of weird promotional material (even if Mime Jr. and Munchlax was also in said game).  If you may have guessed, it is the Baby Pokemon to Sudowoodo which means it’s still a pure Rock type.  Still not the most exciting but definitely interesting (plus seeing it in Super Smash Bros. Brawl was neat!)

053: Mime Jr.

mimejr

Yup if you also couldn’t guess, Mr. Mime also had got a pre-evolution!  I thought it was weird that it did, but I had also thought that maybe they would introduce a Ms. Mime or something which is unfortunately the case and still makes no sense why female Mime Jr.s can evolve.  Also it is also pure Psychic too, but that’s no surprise is it?

However, in Gen 6 with the addition of the Fairy type, Mime Jr and its evolution got the dual type of Psychic/Fairy and I thought that made it more usable in the long run!

Surprisingly though, Mime Jr. (and Koffing oddly enough) neither got Galarian forms in Gen 8 though the evolutions did.

054: Happiny

happiny

Yup, even Chansey got a Pre-evolution too.  With Happiny, I didn’t feel like it was needed considering how powerful Chansey (and Blissey) were so it was odd to give it even more possibilities here.  I do remember it fondly when Brock owned one in the anime, but beyond that I never really cared (and if I did, it was only to just get Chansey).  Oh yeah Normal type…didn’t get the 6th Gen boost (though that would probably make it OP).

055: Chatot

chatot

So I remember first seeing Chatot and immediately thing that it would’ve been a Normal/Flying type and that came true, though I was hoping it would evolve like the others did and well…I was proven wrong.  That said, Chatot doesn’t stick out to me even though it does have a signature move in Chatter (which you can record your voice and it acts as an attack and induces confusion).  Gimmicky I suppose, but fits because it is based off a parrot.

056: Spiritomb

spiritomb

The next Pokemon really threw me for a loop (and I’m sure many of you were in the same boat).  Spiritomb is a pretty odd Pokemon all-around, but I think it is definitely worth to get it.  In Diamond/Pearl, Spiritomb is found by owning an Odd Keystone then going to the underground and talk to people you’ve personally connected with 32 times before coming back up and talk to the well on Route 209.  Such an odd way to capture this guy who is Ghost/Dark (which is shared with Sableye).  I’ve always thought this was one of Pokemon’s oddest designs because it’s a sphere of a soul stuck in a piece of rock.  I personally never owned one until X/Y because of the Friend Safari.  Yeah weird…

057: Gible. 058: Gabite, 059: Garchomp

giblegabitegarchomp

So yeah, we got our Pseudo-legendaries quite early in Sinnoh with the Garchomp line and makes sense because they’re quite the feared land sharks.  Yeah Ground/Dragon is its typing and it’s a beast in battle and I thought it was one of the more useful Pokemon from the Generation.  Though I will say something about Gabite’s artwork makes it look awkward but it’s still a great Pokemon.

Oh, but that’s not all, Garchomp in Gen 6 was another Pokemon chosen to have a Mega form.  Though we find out that it’s actually weaker than normal ole Garchomp which is pretty weird and makes me wonder why’d GameFreak would make one if it was going to turn out worse in the end…

060: Munchlax

munchlax

I think Munchlax really kicked off the Generation as we got to see it for the first time in Destiny Deoxys.  Acting like a bit of a nuisance but also seeming to help Ash and the gang.  Personally, game-wise like most of the other Baby Pokemon, I really didn’t see any use for it besides getting it to evolve into Snorlax and going from there.  Still nothing really special being a Normal type, but Snorlax is always good fun!

061: Riolu, 062: Lucario

riolulucario

So we get our poster Pokemon and really, could you really argue about it since Lucario was so popular to join Smash Bros. Brawl?  When we first saw Lucario, everyone had thought it was going to be a legendary because every movie since the first to up that point had importance to at least some kind of legendary.  After Lucario and the Mystery of Mew released, we find out that it was part of the regular Pokemon and starts off as a Riolu before then (some people mistakenly call it a Baby Pokemon when it really isn’t).  It does start off just as a Fighting type but once it evolves through Happiness in the daytime, it gains the Steel typing as well (why…beats me since it still doesn’t fully seem like it would be Fighting/Steel).

It still doesn’t make too much sense when in Gen 6 it also gains a new Mega Evolution and actually Lucario is one of the main story elements in X & Y simply because the gym leader, Korrina is in blood lineage with the Mega Stone and owns two Lucario (to which one takes a quick liking to you and joins your team).  I persoanlly didn’t know this during my playthrough and had gotten a Lucario through owning a earlier-caught Riolu so I had to make a choice and honestly, I still have both of them, but the Lucarioite went to the Lucario that I had trained from a Riolu (SORRY, Korrina, but the one you gave me is still kicking with my others ^^).

063: Hippopotas, 064: Hippowdon

hippopotashippowdon

Granted, the next Pokemon are another set that really never interested me despite being based on hippos…I mean I do like them lol.  Being pure Ground types (interesting since they are water animals, but looking at Hippowdon’s art, I suppose you can argue the parallels of sand and water).  Also, the gender differences are pretty noticeable here, especially female Hippowdons where her entire body is this blackish-grey look which is pretty cool!  Also another Pokemon with the -don suffix?  Jeeze…

065: Skorupi, 066: Drapion

skorupidrapion

I always love to see scorpions be a thing in Pokemon and we almost got that with Gligar (whatever that is based off of), Skorupi and Drapion are a pretty cool set of Pokemon.  Skorupi starts off as a Poison/Bug type which makes sense but upon evolution at Level 40, he drops the Bug type for the awesome Dark type (which is shared with Skuntank’s line).  Visually I enjoy Skorupi, but I’m not too fond of Drapion’s accordion smushed body..just something doesn’t add up and it’s face looks really weird to me.  I’m not sure, but I can get over it at least because it’s a solid Pokemon IMO.

067: Croagunk, 068: Toxicroak

croagunktoxicroak

Wow, a unique typing of Poison/Fighting? AND they’re based off of frogs?  Yeah, Pokemon and frogs are always interesting and this isn’t any different.  I actually like this line and stands as one of my favorites of the generation.  Toxicroak is pretty cool and has some nifty tricks that I love to use a lot.  Plus Croagunk, kind of took up the mantle May/Max left as the Pokemon that pulls Brock away when he gets all horny, LOL.  Overall, neat Pokemon!

069: Carnivine

carnivine

Wow, so another Pokemon that I can only remember because of the anime, Carnivine was the replacement as James’ bane (ala Victreebel, Weezing, Cacnea, Chimecho etc.).  Beyond that, Carnivine doesn’t stand out much.  It’s a pure Grass type and it’s neither viable to me in anything since Diamond/Pearl.  I just wonder why he was brought in (kind of reminds me of Maractus actually, but the latter has some good tricks).

070: Finneon, 071: Lumineon

finneonlumineon

If there was one Pokemon that seriously left nothing in my mind to remember them, it’s definitely the Lumineon line.  I mean we already have multitudes of pure Water types, and a LOT of them fare much better in the metagame as well which makes me wonder why they were added.  Seriously, nothing about them stands out to me.  I suppose the tropical look is nice, but I would think it’d fare much better had it been in the Hoenn region.

072: Mantyke

mantyke

Coming back to Baby Pokemon, we have one for Mantine, which is surprising because I like others didn’t think it really needed one.  Interesting to note though, to evolve it, you need a Remoraid in your party (simply put because Mantine has Remoraids on its underside).  Still not a great Pokemon and being weaker, makes it much worse since Electric attacks just nukes it to death.

073: Snover, 074: Abomasnow

snoverabomasnow

Ending the post off, we get the Abomasnow line which still today is pretty unique as being the only Pokemon as Grass/Ice which is a pretty cool typing albeit still somewhat weak to a lot of things.  I still am not sure where Snover’s eyes (or mouth) is but it’s a neat little thing and then Abomasnow comes in with its monstrous look and it’s a beast.

So, in Generation 6 Abomasnow appears during the story to protect its lair and once you come by and check things out, it’ll present you the Abomasite which grants your Abomasnow the ability to Mega Evolve and it’s even more beastly and looks pretty awesome.

NEXT TIME: EVOLUTIONS APLENTY

 

U-KISS – MONO SCANDAL September 19, 2014

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 4:21 am

monoscandal

Track Listing

  1. Kkiburijima
  2. Hana
  3. Dasi Naegero Wajwo
  4. Neo Eopsineun Andwae
  5. Kkiburijima (INST.)
  6. Dasi Naegero Wajwo (INST.)

1. Kkiburijima

So the leading track on the mini, Don’t Flirt (the title’s meaning) is a really cool slow jam and has a cool, laidback groove to it that really emcompasses such a sexy and mature style that almost makes me think I’m listening to porn music XD.  I really dug it though and all of the members sounded good!  Though I will have to mention Jun.  As the newest member of U-KISS (and evidently replaced Dongho and currently AJ), his voice is really deep and his raps are smooth like syrup.  Though 17 and in a risque video like this?  Wow!  I wouldn’t say this is their best leading song (but I’m seriously waiting for an epic dance track from them), this was a killer song and definitely shows off their cool sides.

2. Hana

So the next track is a lowkey R&B ballad, Hana and I really liked how every member got one significant section to sing which is pretty cool.  Even Jun and Eli had their own rapping parts (Interesting to note that Jun did his in all English).  I mean arrangement-wise, this is nothing new, but I felt like this managed to bring the vocalists together as a group and they sung beautifully.

3. Dasi Naegero Wajwo

The same can be said about the third minus the R&B elements.  Another ballad that features a LOT of solos between the members and we get to hear Jun sing and he’s impressive here.  Otherwise it’s more of the same vocals and style which didn’t do too much.  Although, Kiseop was really underutilized here…that sucks bunches.

4. Neo Eopsineun Andwae

The final track begins with a busy signal from a phone before it kind of turns into this mid-tempo R&B track, but not as sensual as the leading track.  There’s something nice about this song actually and I think it was just how smooth and fitting everyone was in the song.  Still bummed at Kiseop only lines are repeats of one another, but over it’s a really smooth song and Hoon can really do these songs justice.

 

 

Caught up finally!  Anyways, after the news between losing AJ once again to college and the addition of Jun, we finally got out first taste with MONO SCANDAL and overall, this release was missing some punch.  I mean Kkiburijima was definitely an upgrade over the releases for “MOMENTS” but still not the badasses I was kind of expecting.  The remainder of the mini-album just kind of slid by me without much of an impact.  As for Jun, he fits in quite nicely in the group and his rapping is cool and his singing impressive.  Makes me wonder how they’ll sound once AJ returns.

 

U-KISS – MOMENTS

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 3:52 am

moments

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. Mysterious Lady
  3. Nae Yeojaya
  4. Bulkkeo
  5. Hey Man
  6. Jamkkanman
  7. Nae Yaojaya (Inst.)

1. Intro

So U-KISS opens their 8th mini-album with a minute intro and it has spoken monologue from AJ and then some yeah-yeah-yeahs and some extra ad-libbing…talk about some lead-in though at the end AJ says ~she’s mine~ which is the promo song.

2. Mysterious Lady

Funny though that instead it begins with Mysterious Lady and it’s a pretty sultry tune for the group that begins with a LOT of Eli in the track before the remaining guys come in with the first verse.  Of course, it is still a fest of the main singers but I am happy to see some good things here otherwise.  The groove is pretty damn smooth and the guys just seem to fit in the arrangement quite awesomely.

3. Nae Yeojaya

Now we come to the song that promoted the mini and boy did it throw me off.  I’m very used to the group doing K-pop/EDM so hearing She’s Mine is a wake up call!  It’s definitely quite hip-hop as it goes and it really fits home for Eli and AJ who are all over this song with great rapping skills present.  I also love how Kiseop is just getting equal lines amongst Kevin, Soohyun, and Hoon…he might not have the range Kevin does nor the power the latter two have, but he has a really nice tone to it.  Once the singers go, the tune does turn R&B, it definitely has flavor and is pretty unique and a nice change of pace from the group’s previous leading tunes.

4. Bulkkeo

Moving onto the new songs of the mini, Bulkkeo lightens up by going back to something their fans are a little more well-known for.  I am loving the piano melody of the tune and it sounds fun to listen to.  I do think it’s kind of charming of a song and it’s interesting to hear some of the singers sing in a different tone than normal (Eli sounds so different, like “Bingeul Bingeul”-like voice).  Fun little song for sure!

5. Hey Man

Kevin, please do not start the song like the way you did for Hey Man.  Actually the brighter dance feel is nice and kind of reminds me of the songs from “COLLAGE” which is pretty cool.  Of course we have the usual things going on vocally which isn’t surprised, but I do enjoy the Keven/Soohyun lead here.  Not much else to say here, but it’s not a bad track.

6. Jamkkanman

Ending the mini, Jamkkanman ends things off with a more sexy song which is a nice way to end things, but I felt of the songs on the mini, this could’ve been a leading track since I seem to remember it more than I did with “Mysterious Lady”.  It has a lot of personality and the vocals are pretty strong throughout.

 

 

As their first Korean release without Dongho, MOMENTS was a step further away from their K-pop/EDM sound to a more interesting and kind of back to basics sound with being all R&B and sultry for most of the tracks with an interesting amount of Eli and AJ found throughout.  Actually, they really were the most memorable members on this release, I found that a lot of their rapping had energy and punch moreso than the other 4 guys singing.  I also am noticing Kiseop is finally getting somewhere in the group (most of the time, he’s the member that really doesn’t contribute much in lines in songs, at least since he joined).  Though what’s this? AJ is going back on hiatus and auditions for a new member….WHAT IS GOING ON U-KISS?!?

 

U-KISS – COLLAGE

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 3:17 am

collage

Track Listing

  1. Step By Step (Intro)
  2. Standing Still
  3. Sumdo Mos Swieo
  4. Missing You
  5. Nappeuda
  6. Apeumboda Apeun
  7. My Reason
  8. Party All The Time
  9. Sweety Girl
  10. Saranghanikka
  11. Aperumboda Apeun (Inst.)
  12. Standing Still (Inst.)

1. Step By Step (Intro)

So the album begins with a pretty interesting introduction that starts like an EDM song but quickly fuses it with dubstep midway through this minute-long track…For being a precursor to the next track, it doesn’t make too much sense to me since well it’s a whole different feel which bothered me somewhat.  Oh well lol.

2. Standing Still

I know I’m late reviewing this but I decided to kick throw their Korean releases.  As the promotional track for the album, Standing Still is still a pretty cool song to come back to because it showed a really solid U-KISS performing together and they seriously gelled as a group for this one.  All the singers sound amazing and suited the serious arrangement as well.  Plus it’s been a while since the 7 of them were together so this was amazing to witness.  However, this would become the last video Dongho would be included.  Just really bummed he left, but this song is still such a great song and one of the best tracks that came out in 2013.

3. Sumdo Mos Swieo

Moving onto the rest of the album, Sumdo Mos Swieo follows with a similar dance/R&B mix with Hoon/Kevin leading the track and for being a rather deeper song, I’m really digging the atmosphere of the song for sure.  Though I did get lulled into Kevin’s hooks in the chorus for sure which is surprising to me xD.  I do like hearing the other members contributing to the song too, a lot of nice lines.  Good song overall!

4. Missing You

I really love the synth arpeggios that open the next track alongside Kevin (really takes the poster boy feel in U-KISS huh).  The song has a feeling that it wants to be a ballad, but caters more to the dance-side of things which gives it a nice, upbeat feel to it.  I LOVE that Kiseop has pretty lengthy parts going on alongside the trio of typical leads: Soohyun, Kevin, and Hoon.  It’s a really chill song and something I can imagine listening to a lot in the future!

5. Nappeuda

No we’ve come to a change on the album from the dance tracks to something more laidback and heavy on their R&B style.  Nappeuda is a pretty safe song for U-KISS to pull, really lets their vocals take charge and give a nice performance, without going under or over the borders.  I mean it’s still a lot of the 3 mains which is eh, but the remainder of the group have lines here and there.  It’s a pleasant song overall, but nothing quite as memorable as the previous three tracks.

6. Apeumboda Apeun

So the next track is the first of the split groupings, the first being between the two (IMO strongest vocalists, Soohyun and Hoon).  It feels like I’ve already encounter a duet between the two before and it doesn’t help that it’s a ballad which also kind makes me roll my eyes because everyone knows it’s going to be a vocally impressive track.  I’m not fond of ballads as it is, so this isn’t much for me to really get behind.  Like I said though the two guys sound REALLY good here so that might impress their fans a lot!

7. My Reason

So, throw in an acoustic and you got Kevin’s solo.  It really is that basic and really forgetful moreso IMO.  Though Kevin sounds good too and really threw me off when I heard a woman doing some monologuing.  I was surprised to see some lines overlapping making it feel like Kevin had someone else singing too…but that wasn’t the case.

8. Party All The Time

Finally we have a duet between Eli & AJ (wait Kiseop and Dongho didn’t get one?!?) and luckily it’s not a generic ballad!  As the group’s rappers, the song was going to be something upbeat and focused on the raps.  Well, it does for Eli, not AJ interestingly enough.  I love how much fun this song is and Eli really shows off his skills in a goofy light and there’s even a”Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” reference thrown in.  As for AJ he actually does the singing which surprises me in all the good ways.  I had a lot of fun with this one and my favorite of the split pairings.

9. Sweety Girl

Did they just suddenly become One Direction for this song?  It’s clearly that bubblepop/rock beat that really sets this song off and really feels off on this album.  There’s just a lot of cheesyness going on here, but at least the vocals are still spot on and even though they could’ve had a little more energy (and less sensual) this could’ve been an alright song.  Overall, odd song and a bit chintsey lol.

10. Saranghanikka

Ending the album is Saranghanikka and it seems like it was going full circle because we’re back to dance beats and synths.  I do really enjoy the floaty arrangement quite a bit and the vocals are really pleasant.  As the final song, it’s definitely an appropriate song and really brought our everyone.

Tracks Recommended

  • Standing Still
  • Sumdo Mos Swieo
  • Party All The Time
  • Missing You
  • Saranghanikka

Song of Avoidance

  • My Reason

Yeah, I know I’m late!  COLLAGE taken to account when it was released is a pretty solid album (being their 3rd).  Granted, it is a small tracklist, but I think they did mostly well.  I would’ve loved if they had a Kiseop/Dongho duet since they did with everyone else damnit.  Then again, maybe not because the weakest songs were the ballads here.  Then to find out this was Dongho’s final release just kind of made me think even more that their company really didn’t do too much with Dongho it feels.  Compared to their previous two Korean albums, it is the worst so far…but there was a LOT of good songs from those album sadly.

 

AAA – Sayonara no Mae ni September 16, 2014

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 9:51 am

sayonaranomaeni

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara no Mae ni
  2. Next Stage
  3. Sayonara no Mae ni (Instrumental)
  4. Next Stage (Instrumental)

1. Sayonara no Mae ni

I still don’t know what’s up with AAA and their songs that lead in this era, but I just can’t seem to get my head around the songs this time around.  The tune begins with some twinkling sounds before it becomes a rather mid-tempo song that ironically reminds me of a lighter “Kaze ni Kaoru Natsu no Kioku” which despite I enjoyed the latter, this one sort of missed its mark.  I honestly felt as it this should’ve been merely an album song since it really doesn’t stand out to me beyond the nice vocals, but that’s really something that just is normal with AAA these days.

2. Next Stage

So the B-side was actually released as a preview out back in August because of its tie-in to One Piece (hmmm, odd that they couldn’t have put that on their previous single).  Rather, once I started the song up, I quickly took back my statement as it wouldn’t have worked.  I have to say that I was instantly taken by Shuta’s voice (honestly, since when did he sound THIS good?).  Then the tune shifts to a dance track and I immediately focused into the track.  I’ve been waiting for song to fully impress me and it seems that it turned out that it would be the B-side!  Definitely the better song!

 

 

As the 4th and final single before their “GOLD SYMPATHY” album drops and I’m still wondering where AAA has gone.  Sayonara no Mae ni like the other A-sides they’ve released have been met with lukewarm responses for myself as they don’t seem to have that oomph (ok, maybe “SHOW TIME” but that isn’t going to be on the album so, that’s a moot point).  At least Next Stage sounds really good and does make the album’s cut.  I just hope the album will do something to make up for this rather mediocre set of singles.

 

Let’s Talk about Smash Bros.! The FINAL Roster & The US Demo September 15, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 9:15 am

So we finally have our final roster.  I’ll just talk more in-depth about the remaining new characters and not the veterans.  Though the returning vets are: Ganondorf, Wario, R.O.B., Ness, Jigglypuff, Falco, and Mr. Game and Watch.  Let’s go and talk about the remaining new characters/additions!

drmario

I do have to mention this guy.  Returning from Melee (and currently the only character to have missed out to return to the series, Dr. Mario returns!  Honestly, I could’ve lived without seeing him again (as an alternate costume, I would’ve loved it).  From the gameplay shown so far, he retains a lot of his Melee tactics (even his Down B is still the tornado which is awesome!).  Also even though his FS is a Dr. Mario-esque take on the Mario Finale, it’s still really cool otherwise…Still would’ve rather had him and an alternate costume though.

Dark_Pit_SSB4

Which carries over to the next newcomer, Dark Pit.  I had figured he’d be a thing after his appearance at the end of Palutena’s trailer.  Sadly, like Dr. Mario and Lucina, he’s a pretty biased clone of Pit.  There’s not much of a dfference between the two characters (cept side B uses the Electroarm and Dark Pit’s FS is different, but looks a lot like Zelda/Shiek’s FS).  Honestly, at the moment just from watching, he’s my least favorite inclusion as a newcomer (though it’s shared amongst many people too).

duck hunt

As our retro newcomer we get Duck Hunt who was more of a Western character as all of us had gotten that game alongside Super Mario Bros.  It also cove more of the NES Zapper which is shown in its moveset pulling along Wild Gunmen and Hogan’s Heroes.  What a random but great love letter to such a device. Even then, the Duck Hunt Dog is just so cute and its Dalmation costume with it’s Mallard Duck pal is perfect for me!  What a great inclusion and quite WTF (though I still think Wii Fit Trainer beats it, despite being one of the first newcomers announced).

Bowser_Jr__SSB4

Ahhh Bowser Jr.  Now I was surprised to hear that the Mario series got two new representatives and I was worried that Bowser Jr. was going to be a clone.  Luckily with his Koopa Clown Car, he avoids that and brings a unique and literally fun looking moveset.  Even throwing in some Mario Sunshine reference is even ncier in his FS with Shadow Mario.  Definitely looking forward to using him however!!!…

iggylarrylemmyludwigmortonroywendy

Bowser Jr. doesn’t have regular alt colors.  Instead, we have the Koopalings acting as his alternates.  Easy because most of the moveset belongs to the Koopa Clown Car.  I really do love that the Koopalings have been getting a LOT of love these days with appearing in the main games and even Mario Kart 8.  Now what makes them different from being just alts is that in-game they’re called by their names and not Bowser Jr. despite not having their own slot.  The first time where this has happened in Smash Bros. where alternates get special treatment.

alph

This also goes for Alph from Pikmin 3.  Just like the Koopalings, he’s another special alternate this time for Captain Olimar.  He has 4 outfits to himself and the same moveset to his counterpart. It’s pretty surprising Sakurai went and made him a (sort-of character).  I still am happy that there is some Pikmin 3 representation though and he looks great on the Wii U version.

==============================================

So let’s talk about the demo!

Nintendo released the demo for Platinum members on Club Nintendo on 9/12 (with a public demo coming out on the 19th).  I fortunately had gotten a code from a friend (another thing, Platinum members got four extra codes they could send out).  So I wanna talk about what was on it.

First off, the game is smooth like butter! very good and the gameplay feels nothing like any of the previous incarnations which is also good!  The 3D didn’t slump the demo much as well.  Though my only gripe is that the 30FPS of some of the Assist Trophies and Pokemon are pretty jarring I must say and kind of makes me grimace almost.  Still with the amount the full game has, some sense of sacrifice had to happen so I can’t complain.

The demo comes with a Tips section which has A LOT OF INFO for a demo about the full game (Smash Run enemies, techniques, other Assist Trophies, stages, and even characters that aren’t even in the demo.

Also, it only comes with one stage: Battlefield.  Though it does come in its “Omega” version (which is its Final Destination version) and two songs, the main Battlefield theme and the primary Melee menu screen music.

Items

So most of the items (if not all of them, were here) so let me talk a little bit on each). At least of the new ones

  • X Bomb – Fire in an X-shape or a +-shape.  Pretty cool range and knockback for what it is and I find myself missing enemies a lot XD.
  • Hocotate Bomb – So you throw it and it launches into the sky (can carry opponents off too) before crash landing down in a big explosion…if it hit, oh damn it’s so powerful!
  • Steel Diver – Shoots out little torpedoes but does good knockback the farther the shot was.  I love how it starts slow before accelerating to fast speeds!
  • Beetle – What an item!  You throw it and it grabs the opponent and drags them up off the screen (well mostly if they don’t do anything XD).  Very useful, but somewhat cheap.
  • Bottled Fairy – If you have more than 100% health damage, you can heal all of it away.  If not, it doesn’t activate and become a throwing item that can damage opponents…but if they have over the percentage of damage…you heal them.  Think before you throw basically XD.
  • Ore Club – This item has quickly become my favorite of the new items.  Basically it’s like a Beam Sword but with some extra oomph.  If you use it as a Smash attack, it sends tornadoes (size depends on how long you hold it).  Use it as a full Smash attack and it’s a huge tornado across the stage.  It also runs out after a couple of uses..but it’s still badass of an item!
  • Cucco – Lovely, these chickens roam across the stage and if you hit it, its flock comes at you and attacks. If you pick it up and toss at someone they’ll get the unlucky barrage of feathers in their face!  Such an exciting and hilarious attack.
  • Gust Bellows – To me it’s more like a useful F.L.U.D.D. but with wind properties!  Makes pushing people off platforms a lot more easier.  Though once you throw it away it’ll activate on it”s own and blow itself all over the place and can push characters around.  So it’s best to stay away from it once it goes berserk xD.
  • Spiny Shell – So I’ve already explained what this does (chases the leader (or 2nd place if you’re already winning) and blows up on them).  Oddly enough I seldomly see this landing on the person I want to (though it does hit others in its radius which is still good enough for me).  OK weapon I guess.
  • Rocket Belt – Lets you hover and recover from below.  Expected, but I didn’t know that when the item ends it forcefully makes you short hop so the item can fall off.  Odd.
  • POW Block – Nothing much to say really, though it is odd to see that the POW Block makes the person who threw it hop as well.
  • Fire Bar – Great weapon to whack people with. Though learned the fireball that’s closest to the hilt is the strongest which does mean that once the other fireballs fizzle out, you still have a pretty useful weapon on you albeit have to be real close to them.
  • Back Shield – Still as it applies in the previous posts…does break after some strong hits but it’s rather nice to have on ya in free-for-alls!
  • Bombchu – So they aren’t as powerful as the Bob-ombs are, but they do scurry along the stage (and for Battlefield that’s good) and they blow up on impact.  Cool item, surprised it took them this long to include it!
  • Super Leaf – Besides the quirkyness of seeing characters with ears and a tail, the Super Leaf grants them the ability to float (ala Peach’s ability).  It’s cool, didn’t seem to use it too much, because the button mapping in the demo is kind of horrid for me, but it’s still a cool item.
  • Master Ball – So it’s been talked about before, but we learned that Goldeen appears from this a well (as a troll).  Beyond that woo Pokemon! (BTW will not talk about them or ATs until the full game is out).
  • Bullet Bill – I love how it just bum rushes any opponent in the way for some pretty hefty damage.  I was worried that it’d go too far and makes a self-destruct, but it doesn’t seem like it does that.  Very cool item and one many will charge for.
  • Beehive – So like the Cucco, you attack it and the bees will come out and continuously attack ya (and disrupt your movement which is quite annoying).  Though definitely useful tossing it at others so they feel the sting.  Quite an odd item though lol.  The Cucco’s are much funnier.
  • Drill Arm – So this thing fires off a drill that does continuous damage and can carry an oppenent horizontally off the stage.  The handle can be tossed once I’ve noticed too.  Makes sense since Jill from Drill Dozer isn’t even in the game.
  • Special Flag – This is definitely a high risk and reward item, what you do is pick it up and press the attack button to activate.  Once that happens you have to sit still until it gives you the +1 KO (or +1 life). Honestly, it really is difficult to maintain the item since one hit will make you drop it.  I think it might be too much risk to really go for it.
  • Boomerang – So this item can be tossed and it’ll gradually gain power.  Though I’m not sure where it caps off because it can be used for quite a long time (if not the whole match if you’re good with it).  For me it’s a pretty fun item, though it kind of gets rid of all of your A attacks for the time you have it…though it is good to use it for comboing…very useful.
  • Killer Eye – So you set this item down and it fires a laser like it’s a smidge stronger Ray Gun.  However, it can be used by anyone, attack it and it changes direction (or if it’s something powerful get flung everywhere) lol.  I don’t find too much use for it, but it does make the opponent think on ground fights.
  • Boss Galaga – So it works a lot like the Beetle where it basically snatches the opponent and flies them off screen, of course they can escape and the Galaga ship can be destroyed.  Cool item and I love that it makes its signature sounds too!
  • Daybreak – So the alternate to the Dragoon, Daybreak acts almost the same way but once you obtain all the pieces you’re stil able to run around and position yourself…however if you get hit good, someone can take the fully working Daybreak and use it on you!  I like the item and its full range…awesome!
  • Grass – So the only item left that wasn’t talked about yet, we get Grass.  Yeah, not the Weed from the Animal Crossing series but the Grass from the USA SMB2.  So this is pretty much an item that gives you an item.  Wait, what?  Think of Peach’s Down-B move and you’ll get the gist of it.  You pull out a random item (sometimes nothing) and that’s all the uses.

 

So let’s talk about the characters from the demo!

mario

So funny enough Mario feels quite nice on the 3DS.  I mean nothing too big has changed about his character.  To be honest he felt buffed a little.  Like his attacks are feeling like they have punch to it.  Nothing really changed in his moves for the most part and remains otherwise the same as he was in Brawl which is nice to see.  I still did enjoy him in the demo at the least and will probably the first person I’ll use when I get the game in full (though I probably will not and go for Yoshi or a newcomer).

link

To me Link became a little more stronger.  I surprisingly became really good with Link in Brawl and hoped not too much has changed and well for the most part he, like Mario, remained unchanged with one little exception.  His Dash Attack has changed to mirror his attack in Ocarina of Time and I will admit that I had to get used to it because in Brawl it was an instand slash while this time around it’s a jumping lunge.  Not that I mind, but I do seem to miss a lot (Brawl in my mind still).  Also his Up Air has also gotten a different look which is kind of odd-looking and his Bow can KO at high percentages 0.o.  Still, I was able to use him pretty well and loving his look too.   Also, Fierce Deity Link is a thing in the full game…ugh…I can’t wait!

pikachu

Our little rodent has gotten some upgrades to his shocking arsenal!  First off, Thunder’s cloud has a meteor effect and also has a glitch in the demo where in can go through the middle platform of Battlefield.  Also, it comes out faster than any other iteration of Smash Bros. which is pretty damn scary.  Its moves actually look painful this time and I love the energy in his moves.  I think Pikachu does seem slightly weaker, but it could just be me.

Villager

As the first newcomer shown off when the game was announced, Villager has become a HUGE threat in the metagame already!  Not only does he have the creepy eyes going, he/she has a moveset that’s based on directly on strategy and mindtricks.  Their B Special, Pocket can store projecticles or items to use later on in the battle, Lloid Rocket fires a gyroid that can also be used for horizontal recovery, Balloon’s to float up and a 3-step Tree that does huge damage if it connects.  When I played as Villager, I thought their A attacks weren’t much to gawk at, except for Smashs….Forward Smash brings a cannonball and despite not having distance, it hurts!.  Up Smash is fireworks that does good damage and Down Smash pretty much buries the opponents.  Not sure if they are the broken character yet, but damn are they good right now.

Mega Man

Last but not least, I was surprised that we got Mega Man in the mix here.  I had worried that he’d be uselsee after his mediocre status after E3 but Mega Man feels good to play as mostly.  I did find myself having to get used to MM not having a Forward Tilt A since it basically is just him running and shooting bullets.  Most of the magic however is in his other A-moves which are powerful or have interesting things about them.  His B moves though doesn’t leave much to be desired.  Metal Blade is nice, but basic, Crash Bomber often comes bac to me and I get damaged, Rush Coil is like Sonic’s Spring Jump but Rush doesn’t seem to damage, and Leaf Shield is just stupid.  I mean all the aforementioned moves are slightly useful, but most of the KOs will be from the A attacks.

OVERALL?: HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPEDDDDDDDDDD