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Morning Musume ’17 – BRAND NEW MORNING/Jealousy Jealousy February 27, 2017

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 4:41 pm

brandnewmorning

Track Listing

  1. BRAND NEW MORNING
  2. Jealousy Jealousy
  3. Morning Misoshiru (SP Edition only)
  4. Get you! (SP Edition only)
  5. BRAND NEW MORNING (Instrumental)
  6. Jealousy Jealousy (Instrumental)

1. BRAND NEW MORNING

As the debut song for 13th Gen, BRAND NEW MORNING seems like it signifies that this is a shift for a new era since half of the 9th left.  As another EDM song to put in their discography, I feel like this one is a little bit different and a bit more aggressive than I thought it would be.  I also love the kind of powerful march-like atmosphere to the kind of Arabian-esque verses which was something unexpected from the group.  As for lines, you have the usual suspects like Duu, Sakura, and Fukuchan, but there’s also a good line for Eripon and of course solos for the 2 new girls; Kaede and Reina.  What I can say is that Yokoyan oddly reminds me of Zukki’s voice (deep and a smidge hoarse) and Kaedii well…a powerhouse.  It’s definitely a favorite of mine and a great debut for our new generation.  If you’re curious, Maachan is actually absent in the A-side (she’s on a break due to a herniated disc in her back).

2. Jealousy Jealousy

The other A-side is a bit more funk-laced with brass elements and strings!  I definitely wasn’t expecting this to be the other A-side, but it’s a nice break from the usual.  There’s still some EDM elements present, but not quite at the level of “BRAND NEW MORNING”.  Also it seems that 13th Gen are not quite as up front as the other track, but I’m fine with that!  I do like that it’s Ayumi, Miki, Sakura, and Mizuki at the front of the song and even better is that the track has some rapping sections (focusing most on Miki & Ayumi).  It’s a fun song and brings back so spice to the group!

3. Morning Misoshiru

So a little backstory, this was a song initially created to promote Miso soup in Japan (with all the members having a specific flavor, including Maachan who is actually in both B-sides of the single!).  Morning Misoshiru is essentially a remake of Momusu’s major debut, “Morning Coffee” but with one lyric changed in the choruses (which to me screams lazy).  The arrangement was also updated, but not very much.  To be fair, I do prefer the original over this one, but it’s mostly the vocals that kind of did it for me.  Still, it’s nice to hear Masaki’s voice after missing it in the A-sides.  Overall, it may be the beginning to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary!

4. Get you!

Last but not least, we have the 2nd B-side and this one is pretty out of the blue.  Announced back on Christmas last year, the group was going to collaborate with Rino Sashihara from AKB48 for a song on their upcoming album, “Thumbnail”.  That said, the song is arranged by Akimoto which means the song might not be quite as exciting as it should be.  Though what’s interesting is that this is a “single version” so to speak as this one focuses more on the Morning Musume members.  I do think the group sounds decent, but at the same time I felt like because of the arrangement and overall feel, it almost feels a smidge generic.  Not all can be winners I guess…

Their first single of the year, Momusu did a pretty good job ushering in our new generation of girls Kaede Kaga & Reina Yokoyama.  BRAND NEW MORNING is more EDM, but it did focus on the new girls quite a bit and it’s just an interesting song all-around while Jealousy Jealousy is something different and focuses more on our existing members and pushes Miki quite a bit (like how “Sou Janai” did for Maria).  The lack of Masaki in the A-sides is a bit disappointing, but it’s for her to get healthy again and return!  As for the B-sides, it feels like they were kind of thrown in just to make the SP edition a thing to get.  Morning Misoshiru is just a smidge lazy and Get you! feels like a forgettable AKB song (doesn’t help that Akimoto had arranged it…).  I’m sure it feels like the group may release a best album due to the 20th anniversary going on…and BOY ARE THEY DUE FOR AN ALBUM of sorts…

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AAA – WAY OF GLORY February 24, 2017

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 6:26 am

wayofglory

Track Listing

  1. WAY OF GLORY
  2. NEW
  3. S.O.L.
  4. Jewel
  5. OVER
  6. Interlude
  7. LEAP of FAITH
  8. Dangerous Gamble
  9. MAGIC
  10. Namida no nai Sekai
  11. Cocoa
  12. Yell
  13. Calling

1. WAY OF GLORY

Kicking the album off is the title track and boy it starts off in a pleasant and lifting kind of way with some strings and light various other instruments.  The song grows into a more upbeat track, but still containing the same motifs as the verses do which is nice and I’m liking the choruses a bit as its lively and just in a happy place for the group.  Like MANY of their other songs, Hidaka’s solo part is a bit out of place here since his rapping section sounds like a totally different piece of music.  I enjoyed it for the most part and sets up for the next track.

2. NEW

As the first single released for the album, NEW definitely picked my interest up a LOT after their disappointing last album, but it wasn’t without some disappointing factors.  Like “WAY OF GLORY” it’s upbeat and positive sounding and feels like a nice summer song.  What I hated most though was that most of the song is filtered so it sounds so much like it’s being played like how it would on a portable radio.  I wished they had omitted it and made an (album version) out of it, but sadly it never came.

3. S.O.L.

Moving to our next new song (that isn’t titled “NEW”), S.O.L., definitely is a throwback to some of their more carefree pop track from their first 3 albums and I appreciate the nostalgic vibes.  It has a vibe that really reminds me of “Friday Party!” and “Kirei na Sora” fused together.  It’s poppy and just has quite a fun vibe that made up for the mistake in “NEW”.  I also noticed a lot of Chiaki in the track as well!  Groovy track and one of the better ones the album had to offer.

4. Jewel

I’m surprised they included the B-sides on the album (even if there was only 3 singles and one didn’t even have a true B-side anyways).  Anywho, Jewel was the B-side from “Namida no nai Sekai” and was a duet track between Chiaki & Misako.  Unlike most of the album, Jewel is a bit more EDM-ish, but also a smidge like bubblegum pop.  Like I said back in the single review, I like the ladies singing in their lower range for the verses and then grow in the chorus.  I still have this pulling feeling that the song is missing something to make it great, but I did enjoy this!

5. OVER

Sung by Urata, Hidaka, and Shuta, OVER, I was kind of expecting a harder track between the trio, but OVER is poppy with some hip-hop elements.  I do think Hidaka works his magic in this song and he did a pretty good job at it and Shuta also has a LOT of presence here and it’s great to see how much he’s grown.  The tune itself feels messy in places, but the choruses and bridge have a solid melody and the beat is faster and up-front versus the rest of the track.  Not bad, but could’ve been better.

6. Interlude

I was wondering if this was going to be the same interlude that was somehow a thing back on the “NEW” single since that also came before our next track.  Luckily, despite having the same length, it is a different interlude here.  This interlude is very ethereal and flowing and had a beat to it before it drops to some quietness and then returning with a bigger glow.  Short track at a minute, but between the two, this kind of suits “LEAP of FAITH” better in the long run.

7. LEAP of FAITH

The B-side from “NEW” comes next and I was happy to be getting another dance track returning since the last good one was “PARTY IT UP” and that was a while ago.  It does begin quietly and slowly before it builds to its powerful chorus, but LEAP of FAITH showed that AAA wasn’t quite done with EDM tracks and I LOVED IT!  Add on that the track has a LOT of English here (a good portion at that!).  I also really liked that Shinji and Shuta took leads here.  Definitely a great track to have been included and funny enough my favorite on the album!

8. Dangerous Gamble

Maybe it’s me, but I wasn’t like the LQ sounding feel of Dangerous Gamble (a duet between Nissy and Shinji).  It has similar veins as “MAGIC” by including brass and a bit more of a classy Vegas-y vibe to it.  Throw in some weird surfer pop vibes and you get this track.  I’m not sure why, but this song doesn’t quite catch me as other songs on the album had.  Like “Jewel”, there’s just something missing…

9. MAGIC

Interesting that “Dangerous Gamble” came right before this track because the similarities are just so striking (though this features all 7 members).  As the last single released for the album, I haven’t had too much time with MAGIC, but it’s still my favorite of the A-sides released as it brought back that energy and fun side that AAA was somewhat lacking in their last album.  It’s a groovy and jazzy song and just was a nice addition to the album.

10. Namida no nai Sekai

Then we move back to the 2nd A-side of the album and it’s the ballad, Namida no nai Sekai.  Coming back to this, I was surprised to hear that the song was sung mostly by the guys of the group (with the ladies joining in the bridge).  The song itself had potential to be quite nice, but I feel like it was ruined a bit by the lack of the ladies and Hidaka’s odd rap.  Though being the only ballad of the album, I suppose it’s does its job.

11. Cocoa

Interestingly chosen as the promotional song for the album, Cocoa is another Chiaki/Misako duet.  Unlike “Jewel”, Cocoa has a bit more of a natural sounding arrangement, but still feels like something us Westerners would have heard in the 2000s.  That said, this song also felt like it could’ve been so much more, but I ended up feeling a bit bored by it mostly because of the duo not sounding like they weren’t really interested in singing it.  Kind of meh overall…

12. Yell

The other B-side from “Namida no nai Sekai” made the cut and it was a pretty OK choice, but I was kind of almost right in the way that it’s more towards the end of the album.  I do like how this album just feels like many of the songs have this upbeat, hopeful kind of feel going for it.  Yell reminds me of like a synthier sounding “WAY OF GLORY” actually and it’s interesting that they are at separate points in the album.  I like it though and it has grown a little since the single review.

13. Calling

Finally, we have the final track which is also the last new album track here.  I swear when I saw the title that the group already had a song called this, but I found out I mixed “CALL” and “SAILING” together…  Anyways, about Calling, the song is another track that’s just in the same vein like “WAY OF GLORY” and “Yell” in the kind of poppy upbeat arrangement and positive lyrics.  I’m a bit surprised 3 similar sounding songs ended up on the album together and it just made Calling very bland and uneventful for a closing track, making me wish “Yell” was the final track.  At least the chorus is decent, but otherwise…something I’ve heard already earlier.

Tracks Recommended

  • LEAP of FAITH
  • S.O.L.
  • MAGIC
  • NEW
  • Yell

Song of Avoidance

  • Dangerous Gamble

Knowing that anything was going to top their last album, (the 3rd disc from their best album which was yes, credited as an original album) WAY OF GLORY didn’t have to do too much to at least make me notice it.  The album felt like an AAA album and the group sounded more together and interesting this time around even if there were some mediocre songs.  Sadly, this is Chiaki Ito’s last album with the group before her graduation (and pregnancy).  Curious to see what 6-nin AAA are going to do…but this is the last from a GREAT iteration of AAA.

 

Mai Kuraki – Smile February 23, 2017

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 6:21 am

smilemai

Track Listing

  1. YESTERDAY LOVE
  2. Mystery Hero
  3. Garasu no Bishou
  4. OPEN L♡VE
  5. SAWAGE☆LIFE
  6. I Like It
  7. MY VICTORY
  8. Serendipity
  9. Make that change
  10. Tell me why
  11. My way
  12. Kimi e no Uta

CD2

  1. I Like It (Remix)

1. YESTERDAY LOVE

Opening the album is the only kind of actual single released (even if it was a DVD single).  I do appreciate that it does sound like an opening track just from the intro too!  Now getting past that, I wasn’t surprised that YESTERDAY LOVE is more on the fringes of delving into EDM as Mai-K has been kind of toying around the genre for quite some time now.  I always love Mai’s lower range as it’s more wispy and just soft to listen to and then adding the sort Eurodance flow is just an interesting combination.  Definitely a good way to kick the album off.

2. Mystery Hero

Kind of surprised that after the first track, we’d immediately go into a ballad with Mystery Hero and boy it starts off slow with just Mai’s light vocals with some piano melody.  I was wondering throughout the song’s length if there was going to be any changes or additions to the arrangement, but no, Mystery Hero is entirely what I described above…a VERY simple ballad.  We just went from cool opening track to sheer boredom the next, I’m kind of worried now lol…

3. Garasu no Bishou

Luckily, things pickup a bit with our next track and acoustic guitar is added to the piano in its intro before the beats kick in.  Now, this song actually feels like something from her pre-“DIAMOND WAVE” days in which Mai was focused more on R&B and the soulful side of things.  For as softspoken the song comes off as, it feels ultimately short, but has a nice fade-out ending (which is rare for me to enjoy songs that close out that way to begin with).  Still, kind of generic, but also not entirely without merit as it’s soothing and Mai normally suits this style perfectly.

4. OPEN L♡VE

Oh?  We’re using heart symbols now?  Talk about random right?  The tune kicks off with plucked strings and turns into a little more urban R&B, but only a smidge more than it was in “Garasu no Bishou”.  I feel like this was a song that was left of something like “FAIRY TALE” that focused on more of mixing her R&B elements into something a bit more funkier.  I do like how cute it’s coming off and once again, something Mai has done before, but at least here it’s a somewhat decent track!

5. SAWAGELIFE

Then comes the 2nd Digital single she released (July 2016) and another Meitantei Conan theme, SAWAGELIFE is a pretty different direction for the album to take by heading more for a rock n’ roll type of track (something I haven’t really heard since “Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you”) and it’s a welcoming change of pace and trying to push away from the norms this album has churned out already.  I do feel like her voice had been uplifted to actually stand out from the arrangement (because normally her voice isn’t quite loud enough to handle guitars and drums and all that).  I do like the catchiness of the track and she’s having a blast, but some of the notes in the chorus are rough and the spelling in the bridge is a bit campy for my tastes lol.

6. I Like It

I’m going to assume that this was promoted (since there’s a whole 2nd disc surrounding its remix).  I do enjoy the kind of latin vibe I got from it, mixed with some saxophone thrown in for kicks.  There’s something about the song is screaming fun and Mai is definitely in her space and she’s throwing a little more spice (especially how she tackles the chorus).  I dug this track quite a bit and has a lot of passion and fire to it!

7. MY VICTORY

Oh hey, we’re going back to EDM-ish tracks now?  Well, MY VICTORY might not have the flow as “YESTERDAY LOVE” did, but it does have a nice beat and Mai is once again showing a bit more fire in her delivery of the lyrics (even some small rap).  It is a little formulaic, but I found the song to be decent enough to stick out on the album.

8. Serendipity

Then we have what technically kicked the era off with the 2015 digital single, Serendipity.  Considering it’s about 2 years old, this song is kind of chintzy just like “OPEN♡LOVE” and it tries to come off as light and breezy of a song and while I give props to Mai’s adorable syncopation of saying ~serendipity~, the tune otherwise kind of feels bland to me.  Meh…

9. Make that change

Oh?  Two rock songs on the album this time?  Yup, unlike “SAWAGELIFE”, Make that change sounds a bit more like garage rock and a LOT more like “Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you”, but a smidge anison and also a bit more powerful.  I REALLY enjoyed this performance though and Mai let her hair loose and just having a fun time with this song and I ended up rockin’ out to it.  Great song!

10. Tell me why

Next up is Tell me why and just like “Garusu no Bishou”, it’s a bit of a nostalgic kind of song for her fans as it goes back to her earlier days as a full-time R&B artist.  Going from the amount of layering going on in her vocals to the simplistic arrangement.  Not a bad song persay, but nothing I would really come back to for another listen.

11. My way

As we’re getting towards the end of the album, I wonder why My way wasn’t chosen as the end song because it’s another ballad from Mai.  Luckily unlike the boredom I had with “Mystery Hero”, My way at least has strings to try to alleviate some of my first impressions.  Though midway through the song, it adds some R&B beats and then it kind of jumps back to being a snoozefest…not quite as much as the aforementioned track but still boring nonetheless.

12. Kimi e no Uta

Yeah, chosen as the ending of the first disc, I suppose Kimi e no Uta suited being the last track, but not quite as fitting as “My way” does.  Unlike the other mid-tempo/ballads of this album, Kimi e no Uta has a nice boom-clap-boom kind of sound going on and a positive feel going on.  I do love the addition of the guitar present and Mai’s wispy vocals are nice to hear here.  Nice ending though, a bit better than what I was expecting.

CD2

1. I Like It (Remix)

I really hate that Mai is doing it again with the 2nd disc being only 1 TRACK!  Waste of plastic if you ask me.  So taking a song that I really liked on the main disc, the remix of I Like It takes the latin-fusion and replaces it with some beats and a bit more like something Koda Kumi would appreciate.  It’s OK, but didn’t really deserve its own disc (couldn’t fit that on the main album???).

Tracks Recommended

  • Make that change
  • I Like It
  • YESTERDAY LOVE
  • Kimi e no Uta
  • MY VICTORY

Song of Avoidance

  • Mystery Hero

Wow, has it really been over 5 years since her last studio album, “OVER THE RAINBOW” was released?  It definitely didn’t feel that long ago (then again, she did have a best album between the space of the two albums).  Smile is her return to the scene and I’m kind of in the middle here.  It surely didn’t have the magic that her last couple of studio albums had, but there were some gems.  It kind of feels like how I felt with some of her albums after “delicious way”…kind of there, but it’s listenable…also just not sure to put a bland ballad as your 2nd track…a little goofy decision.

 

Ai Otsuka – Watashi February 22, 2017

Filed under: Ai Otsuka — solarblade @ 4:38 pm

watashiai

Track Listing

  1. Watashi
  2. Sakura Harahara
  3. Joshi Shelter
  4. Watashi (Instrumental)
  5. Sakura Harahara (Instrumental)
  6. Joshi Shelter (Instrumental)

1. Watashi

As the leading track of the single, Watashi is actually quite nice and something that just isn’t a total balad, but something more along the lines of an upbeat tune.  It’s been a while since I’ve heard Ai-chin sounding like something from her first three albums. I do think the best part of the song is its choruses where the beat takes over and the tune goes to an fun and upbeat area.  Maybe not her most striking A-side, but it’s pretty good!

2. Sakura Harahara

Our next track, I have to say was something I wasn’t expecting with a spacey arrangement and is that pan flute I hear in different places on top of small snippets of shimasen?  Yeah, the tune is a laidback kind of mid-tempo ballad that throws in some Japanese folk instruments to spice things up.  It’s a slick song and probably my favorite of the single!

3. Joshi Shelter

Though I feel like the other B-side of the single is more like leftovers from “LOVE TRiCKY” due to its dance-centric arrangement, but at the same time, it does feel a little different from her recent happening since it has chanting and it’s got a pretty cool arrangement to add to the dance beats.  Definitely another favorite of the single.

After taking another small break, Ai-chin returns with Watashi and she hasn’t missed a beat as the whole single is very enjoyable to listen to.  Watashi might not be the star of the single, but this is a decent A-side and really makes up for some of her past singles that I wasn’t quite into (plus it does remind me of old Ai-chin music).  Sakura Harahara & Joshi Shelter though were the surprises as both just are unique and really brought back the Ai-chin that takes risks in her music.  With an album coming next, I’m kind of excited to see where her sound rounds up to!

 

Perfume – TOKYO GIRL February 19, 2017

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 8:30 pm

tokyogirl

Track Listing

  1. TOKYO GIRL
  2. Houseki no Ame
  3. TOKYO GIRL -Original Instrumental-
  4. Houseki no Ame -Original Instrumental-

1. TOKYO GIRL

As the leading song, I was wondering what Perfume was going to come up with for the single and TOKYO GIRL and for the most part it’s a smidge forgettable for me.  The beginning reminds me a little of “STAR TRAIN”, but once the song grows in the prechorus and eventual chorus, the tune does turn into a bit more of the upbeat sound we’ve had from the group.  Actually the chorus reminds me more of “Cling Cling” for some strange reason too.  Honestly, the song is a little underwhelming IMO.

2. Houseki no Ame

Then we move into the B-side of the single and Houseki no Ame reminds me of songs from their “LEVEL3” album but also a little more on the Kyary-ish side of things.  I like the playful arrangement and the bopping synths give off this 80’s vibe as well!  Still, I feel like the trio sounds a little too lifeless for a track like this so I also felt a bit disappointed from this track.

 

 

Kicking off a new era after “COSMIC EXPLORER”, I feel like it started off with one of the weaker singles Perfume has released in quite a while.  I’m not sure why but neither TOKYO GIRL nor Houseki no Ame left much of an impression on me and felt like album tracks.  TOKYO GIRL could eventually start catching on, but Houseki no Ame was just boring for me.  I hope their next single fixes things up (and include “Atmospheric Entry” too!).

 

GENERATION 7: Those legendaries and what? Ultra Beasts…ehhhhh? February 18, 2017

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 7th Gen~ — solarblade @ 8:20 am

Here we are, to the big legendary post right?  Yeah there’s quite a lot this time (maybe not much as Generations 4 & 5, but still a lot).  So shall we start?!?

064: Tapu Koko

tapukoko

We begin with the first of the legendary Tapus which in the game are considered island deities!  Now most fans will think Tapu Koko because it was shown off first (the other 3 would be revealed together a couple months later).  Being an Electric/Fairy type, it does share its typing with Dedenne, but luckily it does have more power (being a legendary, you’d hope so, right?).  Now all the Tapus do share similar abilities and signature moves (on top of a specific Z-stone they share amongst each other).  Though, I do like Tapu Koko still over the other 3, but I dunno it’s cool…

065: Tapu Lele

tapulele-jpg

The next Tapu is the guardian deity of Akala Island!  Being the Psychic/Fairy type (shared with the Gardevoir & Mr. Mime lines).  Now because of that I’m not totally fond of Tapu Lele as much as I am with the others, but oh well.  So talking about unique move’s, Nature’s Madness is learned between all 4 Tapus and it’s a move that cuts HP in half…pretty cool move to have I’d say!

066: Tapu Bulu

tapubulu-jpg

Just from the look of it, I never would have guessed Tapu Bulu would’ve been a Grass/Fairy type (I going by actual colors, I would’ve thought it was a Fire type, but color me surprised when it isn’t).  Sharing types with Whimsicott, Tapu Bulu was quite a feat to capture (wasted so many Ultra Balls on this thing)…and I was so finally happy to capture this guy, but once again I felt like Tapu Koko had more interesting options.  Talking about abilities, they all have an ability called ____ Surge where it’s like a ____ Terrain move but the type of Terrain is of the Guardian’s primary type so here with Tapu Bulu it’s Grassy Surge which puts down an automatic Grassy Terrain for 5 turns.

067: Tapu Fini

tapufini-jpg

Last but not least, Tapu Fini comes in as the Water/Fairy Tapu (sharing types with the Azumarill line & Primarina), it’s probably the next forgettable Tapu for me though I do prefer it slightly over Primarina, but definitely not Azumarill.  Still, it’s one of the more interesting designs of the 4 so that’s always good!

068: Cosmog, 069: Cosmoem, 070: Solgaleo, 071: Lunala

cosmog-jpgcosmoemsolgaleosolgaleoradiantlunalalunalafullmoon

Wow, our first Box Legendaries that actually evolve from something?  Yup, interestingly enough this is a split evolution line and is made so from what game you own (Sun for Solgaleo & Moon for Lunala).  As majority of the story revolves around Lillie and her growth and story, we also follow her Pokémon, Cosmog…now storyline-wise, you do watch it go from its aloof self to the legendary of the game (and later keep, as Lillie doesn’t want it to not have an adventure).  Though it’s weird that you can get another Cosmog post-game, but it’ll evolve into the same legendary you have already.

Talking about the pure Psychic-type Cosmog & Cosmoem, they’re both REALLY useless in the game as the Cosmog you get post-game starts out at level 5 and only knows the move Teleport, and only evolves into Cosmoem at level 43 and only gains the move Cosmic Power which is still mad useless.  I will say that Cosmoem is the heaviest Pokémon currently now, but otherwise these two are bad to have on a team.

Ten levels later, Cosmoem will evolve into either Solgaleo or Lunala depending on the game.  Starting with the Psychic/Steel Solgaleo, I did end up getting this after the game through trading since Moon didn’t have it.  Now, I personally thought it would’ve been a Fire type because of its signature move Sunsteel Strike being a thing).  Now, the whole Radiant sun form doesn’t really show up anywhere in the game (well storymode a lil bit, but nowhere else not even in battles).

Lunala was what I got and I ended up enjoying it so far though being a Psychic/Ghost isn’t a new type to us (Hoopa has it).  Moongeist Beam has saved me a lot of times and honestly between the two, Lunala has the better design IMO.  Like I said above, it’s “alternative” Full moon look, isn’t really delved upon, so not sure why the site made a big deal about it though.

072: Nihilego

nihilego

Moving onto the Ultra Beasts now, these guys were post-game missions where they transported to Alola from the dimensional portal that Lusamine opened in the game’s story.  As Nihilego is kind of shown off as the main UB shown off (at one point taking over Lusamine), Nihilego is quite a danger to people.  Though after capturing one, we find out more about it and it’s very cool!  A unique typing of Rock/Poison (strange but suiting), it’s a cool thing! (they aren’t classified as Pokémon, so I’m not calling them that).

073: Buzzwole

buzzwole

I have to admit, these UBs were such a shock to see being included because their designs overall are so different and doesn’t scream Pokémon at all!  One of the Sun exlusives, Buzzwole are Bug/Fighting types (shares with its Moon counterpart, Pheromosa & Heracross) and such a strange look to it, but that may be due to its HUGE muscles and yet walks on fours!  Like I said in previous posts, Sun exclusive were late to the party so I haven’t really paid too much attention to Buzzwole

074: Pheromosa

pheromosa

To be fair, I was more intimidated by its Moon counterpart, Pheromosa which like I said with Buzzwole, a Bug/Fighting type.  It’s quite something when they’re super fast and quite crushing with their moves.  I think I would’ve preferred some color here and let’s be honest, despite not having genders…it’s CLEAR which one is male and female here lol.  Though there was a scene in the game where Buzzwole/Pheromosa would clash off with Tapu Koko, there was no true conclusion to it and left me wondering.  Still, I really liked this Ultra Beast!

075: Xurkitree

xerkitree

When they started showing off these UBs, I, like many others felt that they were connected to some of the human characters (like Nihilego resembled Lillie, Pheromosa with Lusamine and now Xurkitree with Guzma (Team Skull’s leader).  Of the UBs though, Xurkitree is the only one with just a single type, Electric.  This one can be a terror if you let it reign over you.  With a lot of strong Electric-type attacks mixed with its ability, Beast Boost (an ability that all UBs have where it boosts the highest stat of the specific UB, in this case Xurkitree’s SP.ATK when it downs an opponent, so battles can go from doable to unbearable real quick!

076: Celesteela

celesteela

They just keep getting more bizarre doesn’t it?  Another set of game exclusives, this time the Moon exclusive comes first in Celesteela (which ties with Cosmoem as heaviest Pokémon).  This futuristic bastion of a Pokémon, Celesteela shares its typing with Skarmory (Steel/Flying).  I really like this Ultra Beast though (but I’m a sucker for the turquoise color!).

077: Kartana

kartana

An Ultra Beast that’s based off of origami?  Though like Nihilego, it does have the great unique typing of Grass/Steel (and great, I mean a totally unfortunate one because it has an EASY 4x weakness to Fire moves.  It’s also so tiny, but I like that it leans a lot of slashing moves.  It’s probably my favorite of the Ultra Beats, but I’m sad that I had to trade for it since it’s a Sun exclusive.

078: Guzzlord

guzzlord

Hmmmm, the strongest of the Ultra Beasts (and the last one to obtain in the post-game mission), Guzzlord is quite the best and it doesn’t help that its best star is its HP (which luckily is not boosted from Beast Boost but its defenses are raised.  This thing is just HUGE and such a big mouth!  Sharing its dual typing of Dark/Dragon with the Hydreigon line, the two share a lot of strange things together, but this one cane survive a LOT more hits.  Interesting fella to say the least.

079: Necrozma

necrozmanecrozmasolnecrozmaluna

So after you’ve finished dealing with the Ultra Beasts, Looker tells you of another possible one found on Melemele Island.  Though unlike the UBs, Necrozma is actually a Pokémon, due to it being able to actually be caught in a Pokeball (something I didn’t mention was that Ultra Beast can only be caught by Beast Balls).  It’s a strange happening and it feels somewhat anticlimactic because there’s really not much behind it sadly for a legendary.  I do like the design and the whole prism shtick is great…but a pure Psychic?  At least make it Rock/Psychic at least…

Though in USUM, we’re introcuded to the idea that Necrozma is an Ultra Beast and it comes out and essentially forces itself on Solgaleo or Lunala (depending on the version of the game) and becomes a similar situation to White/Black Kyurem.  Types don’t change so it retains the type that the box legendaries are.  Interesting designs, and it looks like a virus corrupting the two!

080: Magearna

magearna

Then we have our event legendaries and ironically enough Magearna was the first of the 7th Generation to be revealed!  Being a Steel/Fairy type it might not have an unique typing but the look and artificiality about it seems unusual here.  It also looks a LOT like Diancie but more mechanical and technically its true because it was created to be based off a Diancie to begin with.  It’s cool and though it has been released in-game, I want its Pokeball variation (is it going to be any different or what?).

081: Marshadow

marshadow

 

The last and currently unavailable event Pokémon, Marshadow actually was initially name leaked alongside the names of the starters and legendaries way at the beginning of promotion for Sun/Moon.  Being a unique typing of Fighting/Ghost, Marshadow is going to be interesting because it has a unique move AND a specific Z-Stone.  Though it doesn’t seem to have an alternate form at the moment, but things could change considering USUM is coming out soon.  Still, an odd choice for an event Pokémon.

 

Tsubaki Factory – Hatsukoi Sunrise/Just Try!/Uruwashi no Camellia

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 5:41 am

hatsukoisunrise

Track Listing

  1. Hatsukoi Sunrise
  2. Just Try!
  3. Uruwashi no Camellia
  4. Hatsukoi Sunrise (Instrumental)
  5. Just Try! (Instrumental)
  6. Uruwashi no Camellia (Instrumental)

1. Hatsukoi Sunrise

Ah, opening the single up, we have Hatsukoi Sunrise (which ironically was the last of the 3 songs revealed, yet first to have its PV released hm..).  I will say of the three songs on the single, this one actually impressed me the most because it was a strong song and the fire of the arrangement and power of some of the vocalists was more impressive.  While it does show that Kiki is a prominent member here in the track we got to hear a lot of the other members and the three newbies (Mao, Saori, and Mizuho) definitely joined with a punch as well especially Mizuho who had a pretty awesome solo!  Though Saorin and Maopin also had strong lines too.  If you like some high-speed EDM dance tracks, I’d say this is one of the better ones out there!

2. Just Try!

Moving to the first A-side revealed back in November, Just Try! is a little more of what we’ve been getting from the group during their indies run.  Though as the song is from Tsunku, the EDM is a bit more contrived and simple though at the same time, it does struggle with some other songs by sounding like 3-4 songs pasted together in random ala songs like “Brainstorming” and “Aitte Motto Zanshin” from the other H!P groups.  I thought we had moved on from that, but seems not.  I do like the opening sections with the focus on the beat, but the robotic verses to the kind of chintzy chorus just made it feel a bit sloppy.  It’s my least favorite from the single, but there’s been worse.

3. Uruwashi no Camellia

Last, but not least, Uruwashi no Camellia closes the single out in a rather unique and new style for the group to try out.  I wasn’t expecting ragtime to be the style of one of their A-sides, but hey it’s a thing.  I do like how cute and upbeat the track is, but I definitely was thrown off by the song being filtered to sound like it was being played via a phonograph.  Though once the chorus kicks in, the filter drops and the tune clears up and it sounds playful and adorable.  Add in that the solos in the 2nd set of verses is cute and happy to see Riko, Ami, Kisora, and Risa get them lines is awesome (actually all 9 members get a decent line so that’s great!).  Though it’s strange that because of the filtered part in the first verse of the song, the rest of the track feels oddly short…am I the only one who feels this way?

 

 

Long time coming, but we finally have a major label debut from Tsubaki Factory!  Though since the last review (“Hitorijime/Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo”), the group had added three new members into the mix.  What I can say is that I feel like Saori & Mizuho will be more fortification to the vocals as both members seem to have lower tones than majority of the rest of the group while Mao is more for visuals (she accels at dancing, but her voice isn’t quite at the levels that other members like Yumeno, Risa, and Kiki have).  As for the single, I liked Hatsukoi Sunrise the most as it’s powerful and just showcases a lot of cool from the girls like “Kedakaku Sakihokore!” did.  Uruwashi no Camellia is a unique song for the group and it’s cute, but I think the filtered section could’ve been lessened or personally left out.  As for Just Try!, it’s a messy song…feels like a 2013-15 song from Tsunku and just felt like it was a shelved song from then brought back to life.  Overall, great major debut and I pretty excited to see where things go for the group!