Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

Tsubaki Factory – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Thank You Very Berry” Original Soundtrack November 28, 2015

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 6:31 pm

1bTGCS8954_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wa Mitanda
  2. Kaijuu no Ballad
  3. Thank You Very Berry

1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wa Mitanda

As the first song off the single, Ano Ko ga Utau no wa Mitanda opens up with Maasa singing the first lines, but quickle actual group joins in shortly after.  I’m enjoying the kind-of wintry sound despite the fact it’s quite a Spring song (if we’re going by the cover).  The tune does get a beat after a while for the chorus.  I’m liking most of the vocals involved (Rikoriko sounds odd though, but she always kind of has).  It’s a nice first track overall and Maasa kind of stole the show (sorry Tsubaki!)

2. Kaijuu no Ballad

Of the three songs, Kaijuu no Ballad is the most upbeat of the three, but I was sorely disappointed that it’s only 1:20 in length, but what they got out of it was exciting and that chorus could’ve been amazing if only they had stretched the song out longer…Maybe the rerelease will fix that up?

3. Thank You Very Berry

As the main song for the play, Thank You Very Berry is quite familiar to me especially this year because Berryz Koubou had decided to resing it because this stageplay was originally done by them on their final album.  Tsubaki’s version changes the arrangement around a little bit with harps added in and some more flowing strings and less percussion.  Also the spoken dialogue in the bridge is omitted too.  As for the vocal performance, it was decent, a lot better than what “Seishun Manmannaka!” produced.  They are still a bit weak, but they could handle this tune.

 

 

Seeing as a trend of H!P of recent is to release a smaller cut of the OST before bringing in a much fuller release, Tsubaki’s stageplay single is OK for the most part.  Kaijuu no Ballad really needs a longer length because it has a lot of potential going on!  Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda is decent, but Maasa took a lot of the spotlight here.  Also with Thank You Very Berry, I feel like we were spoiled a bit much after hearing Berryz resinging it earlier in the year, so this feels unfortunately weaker in the long run.  I can only wonder what could be added on the rerelease (which I hope is coming soon).

Advertisements
 

Kanon Wakeshima – Kimi wa Soleil November 25, 2015

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 4:36 am

kimiwasoleil

Track Listing

  1. Kimi wa Soleil
  2. Princess Charleston
  3. Kimi wa Soleil (instrumental)
  4. Princess Charleston (instrumental)

1. Kimi wa Soleil

I’m happy to see Kanon just be as active as she is.  Kimi wa Soleil is a bit of a departure from her strings by being a more airy and acoustic guitar pop/rock song (think of miwa or YUI), but taking a more mid-tempo route.  Not gonna lie, the song does kind of paints a different picture for Kanon, but I’m not sure her fans will think this song is of much flair.  I suppose it’s OK, but after “RIGHT LIGHT RISE”, this is somewhat disappointing.

2. Princess Charleston

Interesting to see Kanon bring back one of her older songs (an album track from her sophomore effort, “Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~”), Princess Charleston wasn’t just a typical recut!  The song added about two minutes in length and the arrangement is a bit more fleshed out.  The updated version is quite nice and it’s fun and eccentric and Kanon sounds a lot more bubbly than I thought she did in the original.

So the 2nd single to the era, Kimi wa Soleil might not have been a strong single for her, but it wasn’t a complete failure.  The leading track is a bit devoid of the cello and it sounds a bit vanilla if anything otherwise.  At least this updated Princess Charleston made things sound better and nicer.  I’m just curious to see what’s next!

 

RURUTIA – don’t look at the color November 21, 2015

Filed under: RURUTIA — solarblade @ 4:23 am

dontlookatthecolor

Track Listing

  1. don’t look at the color
  2. Not Afraid
  3. Little in My Little

1. don’t look at the color

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve heard RURUTIA last, but she quietly brought out a new single for us.  don’t look at the color was definitely not what I expected from her as she takes up rock atmosphere with this song.  The verses sound mysterious and something a bit like “Seirios” was.  Though I also feel like the chorus is a lot more mainstream sounding than other songs she’s done.  Overall, it’s a nice song a nice comeback (hopefully).

2. Not Afraid

Our first B-side sounds a bit more stressful of a song due to its arrangement which is ironically still feels a lot like “don’t look at the color” minus the weird electronic trips.  RURUTIA’s vocals do feel a bit weak here as she’s hitting thin notes here and there (mostly in the chorus) but I still like the guitarwork behind this one.  Though I have to say when she says the title, it’s like she’s saying ~not a fly~…kind of humorous lol!

3. Little in My Little

I’m really curious about RURUTIA’s liking of this echo-like filter that she sings in through all three songs…it’s a bit haunting and yet fits her vocals.  As the ballad of the single, Little in My Little will be familiar to fans of her music and I do really like the acoustic/piano arrangement…A nice haunting song and closes the single nicely!

Wow, it feels like years since RURUTIA, well 3 years since her “NODE for R” album and literally 9 years since her last single, “Reirei Tenohira”…don’t look at the color is a rather obscure and strange timed release for a single.  Overall though it’s interesting seeing her kind of going the OLIVIA route here with both the leading song and Not Afraid taking a more rockin’ sound while keeping Little in My Little as her go-to ballad.  It’s nice, but I feel like I just want more from her on her next release!

 

Nana Mizuki – SMASHING ANTHEMS November 17, 2015

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 6:57 am

smashinganthems

Track Listing

  1. Glorious Break
  2. Never Let Go
  3. SUPER☆MAN
  4. Angel Blossom
  5. BRACELET
  6. Lazy Syndrome
  7. Koi Uta.
  8. Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-
  9. The NEW STAR
  10. Clutch!!
  11. Netsujou no Maria
  12. Ego Ideal
  13. Eden
  14. Ambivalence
  15. Exterminate

1. Glorious Break

Nana hardly ever disappoints when it comes to the opening track and Glorious Break is no exception to that rule fortunately!  It kicks off with this synth/orchestral intro that builds itself for a whole minute before Nana enters the song and the synths back off and the orchestra takes a punch, but then things take an unusual turn inserting some dubstep behind the horns and strings (what an odd mix though).  I do like how Nana still sounds epic with the arrangement switching back and forth.  It’s still no “Avalon no Oukan”, but that’s asking for a lot xD.  Still for the first track, this is really different but really epic!

2. Never Let Go

The album continues on with Never Let Go and I already knew that I was going to love this song with its emphasis on the punches of percussion and neat pop/rock sound!  While I didn’t expect the song to keep at the same time and not be overbearing on the heavy rock song, this was a solid track and Nana gave a powerful performance.  This is already becoming a quick favorite for me on the album and I haven’t even started on the rest XD.

3. SUPER☆MAN

Chosen as the album’s promotional track, SUPER☆MAN I thought was going to be a cutesy, upbeat track and while it does retain a little bit of that charm, the arrangement is a bit mixed with disco and techno beats and some violins too.  I do think it’s a bit slow for a song, but I do like the direction it wanted to take so I appreciate that about this one.  Also the PV…what? XD

4. Angel Blossom

Then we come to our first A-side on the album (specifically, the leading 3rd single).  Back on the single review, I thought Angel Blossom was OK, but quite generic as Nana songs go regardless.  On the album, it is the first of the anison-like songs though so it’s kind of nice to hear, but I still can’t really shake off that feeling that we’ve heard this before.  Though the chords and Nana’s vocals are surprisingly pleasant though so I would say the song is still continuing to grow on me.

5. BRACELET

I love the introduction to our next track, very mysterious and light!  Though once the remaining arrangement enters the song, yeah it’s another one of those songs that remind me of stuff like “PHANTOM MINDS” and “Silent Bible”, but I actually enjoy those songs immensely so this song fits right at home.  The guitarwork is a nice touch to the song and adds to the strings and piano that also accompany the song.  I would say this is a better “Angel Blossom” if it was handled differently.

6. Lazy Syndrome

As the B-side chosen to be added to the album (this one coming from “Angel Blossom”, Lazy Syndrome wouldn’t have been my choice to include (would’ve rather chosen “BLUE” or “No Limit” here).  It’s still a solid choice regardless because it would’ve been my 3rd pick.  I thought the intro reminded me of something from school food punishment, but it lays off that idea once the main focus of the song is introduced.  I enjoy the overall rock content of the song, but there’s something a bit flat in this song when compared to other songs on the album.  Though the rapping section was interesting hahah!

7. Koi Uta.

As the album’s ballad?  Koi Uta. is something else and nothing strong like “BLUE” was.  I think the acoustic/electric guitar mix and stringwork didn’t seem to work very well together and Nana vocally wasn’t all quite there and I felt things was just not connecting for me.  This track just felt draggy the entire time and I couldn’t even remember how it went after just one listen.

8. Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-

As the first single released for the album, Kindan no Resistance is the lone song to get some kind of edit on the album and it’s taken from one of her recent tours.  Opening with a really nice orchestral intro and Nana singing some new lyrics, I really love the addition and her emotion is carried out quite nicely before entering the main course.  I still love the embrace of Celtic sounds and her synth/rock style (that’s become a favorite of styles Nana tackles), Kindan no Resistance is still a favorite of mine and with the new intro, the song is that much better!

9. The NEW STAR

Back to new songs, The NEW STAR begins in some odd chords, but then it’s led to an even stranger direction.  Becoming this kind of funky, bass-heavy song.  I also noticed that Nana is singing in a lower register and I welcome the change since she can pull off songs in a deep tone.  I overall feel like the song could also use a speed boost, but this is pretty cool and just stuck out to me on the album with weird things like some ad-libbing during the dubstepp-y bridge.

10. Clutch!!

I would’ve expected a song like Clutch!! to be the promotional song because it’s a more upbeat and pop/rock sound that’s akin to some of the more cuter songs in Nana’s repertoire.  I think it’s OK, but there’s just something lacking in this one for some reason, but it’s not short of energy and spice, but there’s once again that feeling of I’ve heard this before like with “Angel Blossom”.

11. Netsujou no Maria

Seems like return to the anison songs with Netsujou no Maria and really there’s not much to differentiate it from other songs of similar variety.  Once again though, Nana’s lower register is very pleasant and the chorus does save it from sheer mediocrity, but mostly, it’s more of the same as I’ve heard from previous releases.

12. Ego Ideal

Oh!  The piano intro for our next track is really bouncy and upbeat for a song title like this lol.  I wasn’t surprised that the song quickly fizzled out as quickly as it did because almost immediately after the intro, Ego Ideal just kind of became another typical song.  I suppose I do like the piano taking precedence over the arrangement, but it’s like another anison track waiting to be filled up with the typical stylings.

13. Eden

Which kills me further that my least favorite of the A-sides, Eden is up next.  While it does to me strike me as the hardest hitting song with the overabundance of percussion, without it, the song just would’ve fell to the wayside even moreso than it should.  I do also like the chorale in the background in some specific parts of the track giving it this rather haunting kind of feel.  It still doesn’t rank high with me sadly…

14. Ambivalence

The last of the new songs, I thought we were going to get another “Ego Ideal”, but I’m happy we’re getting this light funky song as it shows a little more variation than the album has been giving out.  The groove of the song is really unique and Nana sounds wonderful and the whole laidback feeling I get from this song is really nice and breaks the monotony before the finale.

15. Exterminate

I found it surprising that Nana would end the album with Exterminate and not a ballad (it’s been a while since this has been a case).  Being released as the 4th single, Exterminate is definitely in the same vein as “Synchrogazer” and “Vitalization” which is always a plus to the song itself.  Being very aggressive and full of striking sections, this song is up there with “Kindan no Resistance” as best songs, but this still might make 2nd place.  I still find it strange that it’s the album’s closer, but still a cool song.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-
  • Exterminate
  • Never Let Go
  • BRACELET
  • Glorious Break

Song of Avoidance

  • Koi Uta.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of SMASHING ANTHEMS, but it seems to have affected me the same way “SUPERNAL LIBERTY” had which was that it started out pretty strong, but then faded out to essentially boredom during the second half (with some exceptions both ways).  I also felt like half of the A-sides were pretty bland too which is odd, but oh well.  Not bad, but she’s had much better.

 

alan – Michishirube November 15, 2015

Filed under: alan — solarblade @ 7:24 pm

michishirube

Track Listing

  1. Michishirube
  2. Over the clouds -RESURRECTION MIX-
  3. Michishirube Live version ~alan symphony 2014~
  4. Michishirube (instrumental)

1. Michishirube

I wasn’t expecting alan to come back to Japan, but once again she surprises us with Michishirube (even though this song was released as a digital single earlier back in March of this year).  The tune itself is interesting with the kind of clock ticking behind alan’s light but pleasant vocals.  I do like the marching drums that come in later and we even see a return of the Tibetan yell (even though it’s held back and the echo filters are in use).  It’s a pretty decent song and I like how it’s upbeat but still sounds like a ballad.  Decent track overall!

2. Over the clouds -RESURRECTION MIX-

Seems like the B-side comes in and it’s a remix of Over the clouds (which I can safely says still with avex).  This new mix really places heavy focus on the arrangement by changing it into this aggressive and dubstep-heavy sound.  Despite the short length (2:22), this track makes a unique spin of a song released a while ago

3. Michishirube Live version ~alan symphony 2014~

So it seems like this single also comes with a live version of the A-side!  Really the arrangement sounds almost the same to the studio version, but alan’s vocals do legitimately sound like she’s singing in a microphone.  Though I think the best part is when she does her Tibetan wails as she hits them with confidence.  It’s a pretty decent live version too!

With it being two years since her last single, Michishirube kind of came out of nowhere with little fanfare simply because the leading track has been out since March already.  The single itself is nice though with Michishirube being a lot more like her typical self “Dream Express” was a VERY odd single for here still.  The Over the clouds remix is cool, but pretty short and the live version is well still shows that alan is still an amazing singer all these years later.

 

Smash Bros. November! November 13, 2015

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 5:55 am

Hey! seems like I needed to update on Smash Bros. after the Nintendo Direct yesterday!!!…but first I should probably also update on the September update as well!

So in September, we didn’t get a new character, but we did get two new stages (though two of them are console/handheld exclusive!

  • Super Mario Maker – To kind of celebrate the release of the rather successful Super Mario Maker there was a stage based on the game released here!  Funny though, as of this post this stage has slopes whereas the actual game lacks it which is REALLY shocking.  Other facts on the stage is that each time you pick it, the layout is always different and plays with the 4 themes from SMB, SMB3, SMW, and NSMBWU (think of the Tortimer Island stage on the 3DS).  It’s a pretty cool stage though and embraces where it comes from…even if its DAMN RECENT!
  • Pirate Ship – We actually didn’t even learn about it until after the update was released, but Pirate Ship is returning from Brawl.  This stage was mad colorful and rather exciting to play on because of the random things that can happen from the ship crashing, getting hit by cannonballs, being lifted into the air by a tornado and more.  Only for the Wii U, it’s a pretty neat stage and happy it was chosen to return.
  • Duck Hunt – Even though I would’ve preferred something else to be included on the 3DS.  I mean it’s nice that the two games share this stage, but eh…it’s an interesting stage but I’ll talk about it more when I review it.

THE BIGGEST NEWS though was from yesterday and the announcement of a new character and stage!

cloud

Color me surprised, but Cloud was not the character that I was expected to see join the roster, but I’m still VERY excited and happily will get him.  Now many will clamor about how Cloud hadn’t been in a Nintendo game but he’s been in a couple: KH: Chain of Memories and both Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy games on top of the upcoming Final Fantasy Explorers.  With also the impending release of the FF7 remake, Cloud is definitely seeing an uprise again of relevance.  His moveset does remind me of a mix of Ike and Shulk, but faster than the both.

  • Midgar – Of course with a new character (at least with an original moveset) we get a new stage as well and Cloud’s stage is something else.  At first, it looked like a simple Battlefield clone, but the stage quickly turns the table when the stage hazards (the Summons) join in like Ifrit, Odin, Ramuh, Leviathan, and Bahamut ZERO do their signature attacks and affect the stage in different ways.  Really interesting stage and can’t wait to see it.

After the announcement though, it was announced there’s a special broadcast in December….so it might be the next post I’ll be doing.

 

ANGERME – Desugita Kui wa Utarenai/Dondengaeshi/Watashi November 9, 2015

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:21 pm

aglm_SgA-CDDVDh14obi

Track Listing

  1. Desugita Kui wa Utarenai
  2. Dondengaeshi
  3. Watashi
  4. Desugita Kui wa Utarenai (Instrumental)
  5. Dondengaeshi (Instrumental)
  6. Watashi (Instrumental)

1. Desugita Kui wa Utarenai

I kind of chuckled when the song opened up with that horror fanfare line, but things really jump off the cliff.  The tune is definitely a shift in sound for the group taking a more speed rock kind of arrangement (partially because some of the song was worked on by Yuki Uozumi (a member of Reina Tanaka’s band Lovendor).  It makes sense since the song is just metal enough to raise some eyebrows.  To be honest though, while I do like the song mostly, the chorus with the speeding drums bothers me…just a bit too messy for my liking.  Though the group is just powerful and definitely kept up with the furious arrangement.

2. Dondengaeshi

If I thought “Desugita Kui wa Utarenai” was too chaotic, then Dondengaeshi is the controlled chaos.  Actually, it does come off slightly as an anison song, but I’m really enjoying the arrangement and the girls once again are really powerful sounding (a little less shouty than in the previous track).  Likewise, this song just punches you in the face with the guitarwork and heavy drumming, but I definitely felt like this was more cohesive as a track overall.  Definitely a badass track!

3. Watashi

After two rock songs, Watashi is a bit out of place and strange to be on this single.  HOWEVER, this song is solo song for Kanon Fukuda who’s graduating at the end of the month.  The kind of dance-pop arrangement is pretty nice sounding and does make some nods to dubstep as well (luckily it doesn’t come to the forefront.  Nyon sounds like what she was when she first joined S/mileage actually (squeaky and cutesy).  It’s good enough graduation song, but sticks out in a weird way being put next to two rock/metal songs.

As the 3rd ANGERME single, I thought this single is kind of good, but not as good as their last two singles.  Desugita Kui wa Utarenai is good, but it’s definitely way too chaotic for me to fully enjoy whereas Dondengaeshi fixed it right up and that made it my favorite song from the single.  While there’s not a lot of time for Nyon to perform Watashi, it’s a cute graduation song (a lot more better than Sayumi’s “Shabadaboo~”).  Still with this single out, we have to now wait for Nyon’s graduation and the impending addition of 4th Gen (if it’s going to happen)…