Kurayami Monogatari

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Country Girls – Matenai After Five/Kasa wo Sasu Senpai August 28, 2018

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 7:40 am

matenaiafter

Track Listing

  1. Matenai After Five
  2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

1. Matenai After Five

Well, I wasn’t expecting Country Girls to tackle more of a jazzier side to their music with this song which they first performed at the Summer tours.  Of course I was kind of surprised with the lighter sound in comparison to their previous releases of recent times.  I’m a little surprised to hear some vocal filters, but the song is really neat and the little guitar solo was just impressive as well!  Nice track overall!

2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

As the other track off this release, Kasa wo Sasu Senpai is giving me slight “Koi wa Magnet” with the bit of synth usage and more somber tone in comparison to “Matenai After Five”.  It’s surprising how far Funakki has grown because I hear her all over the song and she sounds wonderful.  Actually the song is really nice overall!

 

 

Seriously, they should’ve made this a physical single instead of being digital because both tracks are probably the best tracks they’ve done since Momoko left the group and the group itself going into its odd hiatus.  I know I never reviewed “Konamaiki Girl” or even “Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” but both songs were kind of mediocre…at least both songs here are really decent songs…just wished they made PVs for these!

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Let’s talk about Smash Bros. Ultimate 2! August 21, 2018

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 5:31 am

So I’d say that I was going to write about Smash Bros. again when something big comes up and lo and behold we get a Smash Direct about 2 months after the big reveal from E3.  There was a lot to talk about too so shall we get started on this?

Super-Smash-Bros-Ultimate-logo

Characters

Simon Belmont

Simon

Despite that an oops happened the night before the direct kind of spoiled the reveal, we finally have our first new 3rd party character from Konami in Castlevania’s Simon Belmont.  Personally, I have played the original and Symphony of the Night on the PS1, so I’m familiar to them.  Though seeing Simon in action, he retains a lot of what I remembered him back in the NES days with his weaponry of the Cross, Whip, Holy Water and etc.  Also like that Simon’s whip inherited Sheik’s old style of being able to move the whip freely as well.  Very cool addition (if not one of the more vocal ones fans been wanting to have added and the fact Bomberman missed too).

Richter Belmont

Richter

Though I had said the leak kind of led me to instantly believe that Simon was joining the roster, I was not expecting him to get his own Echo Fighter in Richter (another protagonist within the Castlevania series).  While I’m not as informative on this guy, he does look pretty cool and being an echo to Simon is neat (plus the blue holy water is nice!).

Chrom

Chrom

After Sakurai went in and explained more about Simon & Richter, he just immediately went in and announced two more Echo fighters starting with Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening!  Considering he missed his chance back in Smash 4 due to Sakurai stating that making a moveset would’ve been redundant (which is ironic because it’s the case here).  As an Echo to Roy of all people, I thought that meant another sad showing of a Marth clone, but Chrom takes some elements from Roy & Ike!   Honestly, I wish they’d lay off the FE characters (at least til DLC with Edelgard) but I suppose no harm no foul with Chrom right?

Dark Samus

Darksamus

Man, Metroid is getting some love this time around eh?  Of course being an Echo to Samus, Dark Samus was one that I kind of understood the addition to, but a smidge disappointed that her abilities as an Assist Trophy are for the most part gone.  Still, I’m kind of curious to how Dark Samus plays because her stance and the fact she floats interests me.  Even the Final Slash, using her Phazon Beam is neat!

King K. Rool

King_K_Rool_SSBU

Then ending the direct, we get one more trailer and it’s for this longtime villain from the Donkey Kong series, King K. Rool.  Considering that hasn’t been relevant for some time, it feels great to bring him to have more bad guys to the roster!  His moveset so far does a great job showing off his past from DKC to DK64!  Also after all of these reveals (plus the ones from E3), it really feels like the Smash Ballot that was held during the end of the SSB4 era had a lot to do with these additions!

Items, Pokémon, Assist Trophies

Because there wasn’t too many items shown off, I thought it’d be wise to finally talk about the new ones!

  • Healing Field – After being thrown you can stand in the field and heal some damage away if you are able to stay in the field, simple as that!  What surprised me more was it can cling to walls and the field’s healing goes horizontally instead of vertically!
  • Black Hole – Once a characters tosses this item, it drags nearby opponents into the middle leaving them rather defenseless and for free shots while they’re being spun around.  Even items get pulled in as well!
  • Super Launch Star – Didn’t expect an item from Mario Galaxy, especially not this!  Kind of like what it does in its game, the Launch Star launches character to whatever direction it’s pointed towards!
  • Fake Smash Ball – Just as the name implies, it’s a fake Smash Ball and visually is only different because the Smash logo inverted and if attacked it explodes into an X and does big knockback! (as a sidenote. the Smash Ball itself had some small change so that sometimes it might not float around and will occasionally roll around like a Soccer Ball).
  • Bomber – A Kirby enemy, whenever a character picks this up, it’ll light off and explode giving people in its range big damage!
  • Banana Gun – Kind of a 2-use item, the first part is shooting the “gun” for some damage and then the empty Banana Peel can be thrown to slip enemies up.  Neat little item I’d say!
  • Killing Edge – Finally we get an item from the Fire Emblem series!  It’s a sword, but its much stronger the longer you have it held and the sword turns red.
  • Death’s Scythe – If the player has high enough damage, this Castlevania weapon can KO with one swipe of it.
  • Staff – A new item from the Kid Icarus series (as if we haven’t had enough from the last game), this weapon is stronger by how far the opponent is (the farther, the stronger)
  • Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom – An enemy originally from the Mother series, this item once picked up and used, the spores hit the enemy and reverses their controls (I feel like this would be more effective going against Human players and less CPUs).
  • Rage Blaster – A new original Smash Bros. item, the Rage Blaster is stronger if the character has a higher damage percentage.

Pokeball

  • Bewear – Once this guy comes out, he’ll walk around and if he gets near enough to an opponent, he’ll use Sky Uppercut and boy does it look powerful!
  • Solgaleo  – Uses Sunsteel Strike to charge across different places on the stage.
  • Lunala – Uses Moongeist Beam to shoot a rising vertical laser a couple times
  • Alolan Raichu – Uses electricity to surf around the stage and use Wild Charge, tackling into the opponents.
  • Alolan Vulpix – Uses Powder Snow to freeze opponents for a short moment.
  • Abra – Teleports around the stage and if the opponent is nearby Abra when it uses it, it goes with it to a random spot on the stage.
  • Togedemaru – Uses Zing Zap, but to what its use is is unknown (only small footage of it has appaeared).
  • Alolan Exeggutor – Not sure if it even uses a move, but its current use is that it creates a temporary vertical wall wherever it comes out of its Pokeball from.
  • Mimikyu – This Pokémon uses its Z-move (currently the only one that uses a Z-move), Let’s Cuddle Together where the shadow grabs you and pulls you underneath the cloth and damages you.  Reminds me of Gulpin back from Brawl essentially.
  • Pyukumuku – This may be Wobbuffet’s replacement, but this Alolan Pokémon uses Counter if an opponent strikes it.
  • Marshadow – Seems from what we saw that it stuns an opponent and uses its Signature move, Spectral Theif to punch it from behind!
  • Ditto – Initially was to be a Pokeball back in Melee but was cut due to time restraints and some issues with him, Ditto FINALLY makes his FIRST Pokeball appearance here.  Using Transform to change into your character and fights as an ally

Assist Trophies

  • Rodin – Comes out of the trophy and does some big punches (kind of like Bayonetta’s smash moves) and tosses an item before leaving.
  • The Squid Sisters – Callie & Marie appear on the stage to perform one of their songs while the camera slowly zooms in on them and by camera, I mean the blast lines are closing in as well and anyone caught outside of it is KO’d.
  • Bomberman – I mean if there was to be another KONAMI rep, it would’ve definitely been this guy here!  Bomberman appears and randomly places bombs with maximum firepower in the shape of the +.
  • Burrowing Snagret – This enemy from the Pikmin series pokes up from the ground and pecks nearby opponents.
  • Sukapon – This Japan-only character from Joy Mech Fight, Sukapon roams around and tosses opponents.
  • Arcade Bunny – I’m surprised they made this little dude an Assist Trophy but happy nonetheless!~  Anyways he pops out and uses his cranes to drag characters off the screen (like the Beetle and Boss Galaga items).
  • Alucard – Comes out and attacks using his Crissogram and can dodge attacks.
  • Zero – Comes out and slashes oppenents with his sword or uses a beam sword attack for long-range attacks.
  • Knuckles – Punches opponents and moves around by digging like a drill and can use a Homing Shot on nearby targets (with the reticule too!).
  • Krystal – Attacks using her staff and use her ice powers on occasion as well.
  • Klaptrap – Crawls on the ground and if it’s near an opponent, it’ll pounce and latch/bite them for a while.
  • Kapp’n – Drives a bus off the stage, not quite sure how it’ll work when there’s a pit involved, but so far it just drags the opponent off the side of the stage.
  • Chef Kawasaki – Essentially uses the move it has from both Kirby Super Star & Star Allies and was the Final Smash for Kirby back in Brawl where it grabs opponents and puts them into a cooking pot where healing items pop out!
  • Nikki – Another fun inclusion, this time from Swapnote of all things, Nikki appears and draws various pictures that do different things like a Bullet Bill that charges forward and whatnot.
  • Shovel Knight – Wow, an indie character is making his appearance as an Assist Trophy, that’s a pretty big deal I’d say and he uses basically what he’s known for which is the dig and the pogo hop.
  • Moon – As in the one from LoZ: Majora’s Mask, the Moon essentially does what it was all about in the game it originally came from…comes crashing down!!  Big explosion and VERY impactful.
  • Rathalos – Though Sakurai made a pretty big deal out of this Assist Trophy, not only being 3rd Party (from the Monster Hunter games), but it’s a huge one and it seems like it has other uses outside of it being an AT).  There’s more to this curiosity and we’ll get to that!  Rathalos in Smash has a LOT of different attacks like claw attacks to shooting fireballs!

Stages

So with the recent direct, we got a LOT more stages (mostly returning ones that weren’t confirmed yet) and a LOT of the great ones were included but with the knowledge that not all stages are returning we’re going to look at what is left.  Well, let’s look at the brand new stages first!

  • New Donk City Hall – Kind of spoiled about it in Mario’s character trailer from the main site, we finally get a better glimpse of this Super Mario Odyssey-themed stage and immediately it gives me similar vibes to Prism Tower (the Pokémon stage from Smash 3DS).  The thing that caught my eye is tapping the band members and Pauline will get them to perform the main theme for Odyssey.  Though I can’t help and wonder what if the track that plays isn’t the Odyssey theme, what happens then?
  • Dracula’s Castle – Other than Inklings, so far Simon’s the only other newcomer to a get a new stage (seems with all the nostalgia the stage selections been having), there won’t be many new stages it seems.  Anyways Simon (and Richter’s) stage is really neat and dark and very atmospheric.  Though it does seem a bit like a Battlefied stage but with walk-offs.  Though the big feature are the old bosses from the Castlevania games making an appearance like the Mummy, Werewolf, Carmilla etc. even to Dracula (who is speculated as a Boss?) and what could be Kid Dracula (from an OBSCURE Castlevania parody game).  Interesting stage though and I love the focus on detail like the attacking the candles for an item shtick.
  • Final Destination – It’s just like that with a new paint job, the ring in the back is interesting, but otherwise it’s the same FD.
  • Ancestral Steppe – While it hasn’t 100% officially been deemed a playable stage, it does house Rathalos on it and it looks like to be a Boss?  Like Dracula and his fight they both look similar using the full screen but lacks platforms.  Though just from assumptions, I do think there’s going to be a MH stage since Castlevania got its stage (just makes me wonder if Capcom’s next representative is going to be a Monster Hunter).

The Remaining Stages that aren’t in the game

  • Planet Zebes – Maybe deemed too similar to Brinstar to bring back and deal with, but I seriously don’t see why it couldn’t be brought back otherwise?
  • Sector Z – Same reason but with Corneria.  Though I thought it’d be back because it’s much larger and could handle the 8-Player Smash a bit better since there’s much more space to fight around.
  • Icicle Mountain – I think it’s the lack of popularity that the vertical scrolling stages that really put a damper here and Icicle Mountain had the extra struggle with adding ice physics to the platforms as well.  Add on the new stage shifting process and this could be an odd thing to work into!
  • Mushroom Kingdom (Melee) – Well with Mushroom Kingdom 64 making the cut and this one didn’t, I feel like this is the case of monotony here despite that both stages have different layouts (but seriously so many stages based off of the original Super Mario Bros. is tiring).  It may make the cut still because of the latter reason, but I wouldn’t count on it
  • Poké Floats – I mean this is an odd stage to begin with so I assume why it’s not back is pretty much due to the vertical scrolling and probably weird to implement to the stage shifting mechanic that was brought in.  It’d be neat to see, but another stage I won’t hold my breath against.
  • Mute City (Melee) – Not quite sure why this hasn’t returned, some people say it’s too much like Port Town: Aero Dive to warrant its non-inclusion, but I kind of disagree because we have other tracks the travel around to so to see Mute City not return is odd and there’s no other reason why it can’t be included (though it is nice to see Mute City (SNES) make the cut.
  • Flat Zone  & (Flat Zone 2) – Flat Zone X exists, moving on…
  • Mushroomy Kingdom 1-2 – Of these stages, this one I feel like it’s already there, but hasn’t shown off yet for some reason.  The underground variation of the stage was missing when its sister 1-1 made the cut for Smash 3DS, but now we’re back on the console and I’m curious to see if it’ll retain being a little bit of a hidden stage of just not make the cut entirely.  Probably has the biggest support of still being included to be honest.
  • Rumble Falls – Like Icicle Mountain, Rumble Falls is pretty much frowned upon because of the vertical scrolling that goes on here on top of the general odd layout of the stage mixed in with those purple spikes that can EASILY kill you at low percentages.
  • PictoChat – There just isn’t a true reason here for this not returning because unlike the Flat Zones, the 2 PictoChat stages are in and out entirely different from one another minus the basic stage layout (without the drawings essentially). Another point is that Pokémon Stadium 1 & 2 made it so why not both PictoChats?
  • Rainbow Road – Kind of the same story here compared to Mute City (Melee), it’s a pretty nice 3DS stage and the fact it’s a moving one also works well but not quite sure why it hasn’t shown up yet (maybe a graphical challenge perhaps?)
  • PAC-MAZE – Not sure how or why this one hasn’t been shown off yet, but PAC-MAZE is bizarre considering most gamers are familiar to the original PAC-MAN game looking like this arcade classic.  Not that extremely bizarre and brightly colored PAC-LAND.  Maybe the the stage’s gimmick is the reason, but we have Golden Plains (and Xerneas back) so there’s really no reason to not have this stage.
  • Jungle Hijinxs – I can see this missing because of the stage shift mechanic and honestly, I suppose that makes sense to me, but it was an interesting stage though being able to move from the background to the foreground, but yeah…it’d be hard to defend it when you have it transform to another and your character is in the background area.
  • Pyrosphere – Ridley is the most glaring reasoning, but I mean you could still use him because the Ridley on Pyrosphere is actually a clone (if we’re going lore wise).  You could also simple erase him too and just leave with the remaining enemies to stick around.  Not sure the reasoning otherwise.
  • Woolly World – Would the look of the stage REALLY affect its chances on making the cut?  I don’t know why Woolly World has been left off but there’s so many Yoshi stages that I feel this wouldn’t be too damaging, but it is from a pretty amazing game, so what gives?
  • Orbital Gate Assault – For a stage that took a year that ended up being disliked by the majority, it could have something to do with not being a returning stage.  I mean this stage was beautiful, but it was chaotic and the missile jumping and trying to land on the Arwings was just a bit screwy.  Otherwise, the stage switch mechanic might be an odd one too.
  • Miiverse – Miiverse is gone, its gimmick made useless and abused when it was active, and it’s just Battlefield… Yeah…

 

PHEW, what a lot of stuff to talk about, I’m sure the next Smash post will be rather small since I’m sure we’ll get a general Nintendo Direst talking about Online service so maybe we’ll get one character (maybe an echo too?).

 

Perfume – Future Pop August 15, 2018

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 4:47 am

futurepop

Track Listing

  1. Start-Up
  2. Future Pop
  3. If you wanna
  4. TOKYO GIRL
  5. FUSION
  6. Tiny Baby
  7. Let Me Know
  8. Chorairin
  9. Mugen Mirai
  10. Houseki no Ame
  11. Tenkuu
  12. Everyday

1. Start-Up

Opening the album is a short intro to the album!  Of course since it’s Nakata-centric, the arrangement is more of the technopop I’ve been so used to over the years.  The intro is a little bit ethereal and kind of as a certain Kyary pop to it as it grows and then it just ends at that.

2. Future Pop

The end of the intro doesn’t quite lend itself to slide into our first full track, the title track at that, Future Pop!  I do like the acoustic guitar in the intro and how it builds into the more of a stronger techno track thanks to Nakata.  The tune is pretty awesome through the first build-up and the chorus itself is pretty much in your face when it hits!  It does feel short (3 minutes) and the ending is kind of an odd choice, but it’s a decent track to kick things off.

3. If you wanna

Since all of the A-sides (and B-sides) made the cut, it makes things a little easier.  Starting with the second single released in the era, If you wanna on first review doesn’t really stand out to me.  Even shorter than the previous track, If you wanna still doesn’t quite do much even if the song is mostly in English.  It’s just a very cut n’ pasted song and just doesn’t quite feel very put together (but that could be the dubstep arrangement).  Just very disjointed, good that we get through this song early on.

4. TOKYO GIRL

Interestingly enough, the iTunes tag is as a remastered take but I hear VERY little difference if any at all for the first A-side released for the album.  After having the most time with this song, I initially from shrugging off to having it stand out more for me after the shaky era this album produced as a whole.  I’m loving the slow build-up to the electropop chorus and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from Perfume!

5. FUSION

As the B-side from “Mugen Mirai”, I was desperately in need of a heavy hitter from Perfume and it came in this track.  Like the cool arrangement is definitely unexpected from Perfume, especially since the sound REALLY reminds me of stuff from capsule (primarily from “WORLD OF FANTASY”).  I’m still disappointed in the lack of the trio’s vocals in the song and so the tune can feel like a glorified interlude.

6. Tiny Baby

Finally some new tracks to listen to!  Tiny Baby is the first that comes up and just lyrically, I could feel that the song was slightly kiddy, but not in the same veins as songs like “Communication” and “Toki no Hari”.  It does slightly remind me of songs from “LEVEL3” just with the overall arrangement, but the song has a certain Springtime kind of feel to it that’s pleasant and not as boring.  Not bad!

7. Let Me Know

Chosen as the song to promote the album, Let Me Know starts off nice enough with an interesting melody with the synths!  I’m surprised at how mostly this album has been pretty mellow with things but this is reminding me of a cooler version of “TOKYO GIRL” with the a better drive and build-up and it’s kind of really catchy in spots.  Yeah, this song might be my favorite of the new tracks to be quite honest, even surpassing “Future Pop”!

8. Chorairin

For some reason, our next track gave me some Chinese vibes in its arrangement in a similar fashion to “Cling Cling”!  Though the synth/electronic vibes are stronger in this one.  It’s almost video-game like in presentation which also added to the atmosphere of the song on top of being just a cute bop of a track.

9. Mugen Mirai

As the 3rd single released for the album, Mugen Mirai was arguably my favorite of the 3 A-sides released, but it follows the same style like other tracks following a similar quiet but active build-up until it reaches its peak in the choruses.  I mean the synth beats are dream-like and the trio sound effervescent alongside the tune and the chorus has a nice amount of punch to it too!  Not quite as epic as previous leading songs they’ve had, but it’s a really cool song to listen to on earphones!

10. Houseki no Ame

Returning from its B-side placement on the “TOKYO GIRL” single, I had totally forgot about how this song sounded!  I guess if anything the song is remining a LOT of what this whole album kind of sounded like.  It does give me “Chorairin” and “Tiny Baby” smushed together out of this track (or split up because this came out first).  It may be the cutest track off the album, but it’s kind of fallen to the wayside for me and didn’t help being added to the album.

11. Tenkuu

As the last of the new tracks, Tenkuu feels like the Perfume that would release a cool, electro track and Nakata kind of nailed it here as well like with “Let Me Know” in tow as well!  The song feels progressive and the arpeggio synth lines are quite magical sounding…probably the first song that kind of reminds me of their sound back in “GAME” through “JPN”.  It’s a pretty good track overall and just gives me those good Perfume vibes.

12. Everyday

Closing the album out is the B-side from “If you wanna” which is odd because the single got the PV for this song primarily and not the leading track (probably because it was incredibly short in comparison).  I had forgotten this song too and I forgot that this has the toy piano melody (something that I thought was mostly for Kyary’s music).  I take it back, this song is probably the cutest track of the album just for that reason alone.  Still not quite the song I was hoping it’d be, but it makes for a fair ending, I guess…

Tracks Recommended

  • Tenkuu
  • Let Me Know
  • Mugen Mirai
  • Future Pop
  • TOKYO GIRL

Song of Avoidance

  • If you wanna

What happened with this album, maybe I’m in the minority, but I wasn’t quite interested in this album versus when I first listened to their last two albums.  Maybe it was the singles that pretty much turned me off from the album because other than Mugen Mirai, it just felt boring and vanilla compared to their works both coming before “LEVEL3” and “COSMIC EXPLORER”.  Plus, the album is actually shorter than I was expecting too which is odd for a Perfume album (especially as their 7th).  Maybe Nakata is slowing down some in his exciting arrangements…but I have to say I was disappointed with Future Pop…

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – TROUBLE August 14, 2018

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 4:16 am

trouble

Track Listing

  1. We are the QUEENS
  2. æternal
  3. WORDS
  4. W
  5. The way I am

1. We are the QUEENS

Not quite sure why Ayu decided to wait for this song over a year (almost 2) to release this song on a physical disc.  Opening the mini-album on an ominous note, We are the QUEENS definitely gives me so grandiose vibes that I haven’t heard since at least “BRILLANTE” happened.  For a 2016 song, We are the QUEENS does give me vibes.  I will say that I wasn’t expecting the tune to move from its grand intro to something electronic and heavy.  The chorus though is a bit too preachy to me, but the song is really exciting regardless and kicks things off on a good note despite being the oldest track here!

2. æternal

First of three new tracks, æternal kind of reminds me of slower songs off of earlier albums like “Duty” and “LOVEppears”.  Not quite sure why it’s giving me that oddly familiar feeling, but the song does sound somewhat from the early 2000s.  I will say that Ayu’s vocals have somewhat found its pacing again and shes sounding like what I’ve listened to for so long.  Not a bad song though and has that kind of nostalgic feel to it.

3. WORDS

Released as a concert only single back in 2017, I was also surprised to see WORDS make the cut!  As a ballad, WORDS is kind of more of a lively ballad than others she’s released previously in her career.  Though I was surprised it would widen out once she hits the chorus and it turns into a rock ballad and once again I’m getting early album vibes out of this song (back to even her first album sound), it’s kind of shocking Ayu is diving this far back for the sound of this song (and “æternal” for that matter).  Not bad though!

4. W

As the remaining two tracks are brand new, I was wondering what she’d bring for both and W was a song I wasn’t expecting to hear as it’s more aggressive and heavy sounding (even more than “We are the QUEENS” and Ayu sounds really cool and fits the style just as she did when she tackled rock songs in the past.  Does remind me of “Microphone” but honestly, this was the best off the mini-album.

5. The way I am

Ending off the mini-album, of course it’s not of without one slow ballad to close things out and since Ayu has a plethora of them in her discography, it’s becoming difficult to really tell these ballads apart.  That said, Ayu’s voice sounds the most nasal and unfamiliar to me here, but once again not totally her fault, but because she is slowly becoming deaf so keeping on note is harder.  Yeah this is the only meh song here…

 

 

Yes, this release is TROUBLE, that’s for sure.  I mean only 5 tracks (with 2 already previously released as digital/concert songs).  It’s a bit disappointing that Ayu would comeback after a two year break with something that EASILY could’ve just been a glorified single.  I mean other than The way I am, the mini is decent, but familiar territory….I’m just kind of unphased by the release besides We are the QUEENS and W.

 

Juice=Juice – Juice=Juice #2 -¡Una más!- August 2, 2018

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 6:46 am

unamas

Track Listing

CD1

  1. Fiesta! Fiesta!
  2. SEXY SEXY
  3. Naite Ii yo
  4. Vivid Midnight
  5. Jidanda Dance
  6. Feel! Kanjiru yo
  7. Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~
  8. KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!
  9. Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou
  10. Next is you!
  11. Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai

CD 2

  1. Never Never Surrender
  2. Jouro (Album Version)
  3. TOKYO Glider
  4. Synchro.
  5. Abaretekka?! Have a Good Time
  6. Sunao ni Amaete
  7. Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~ (Album Version)
  8. Gin’iro no Telepathy
  9. Kono Sekai wa Suteta Mon ja nai
  10. Kindan Shoujo
  11. Otona no Jijou
  12. Wonderful World (2018 English Ver.)

1. Fiesta! Fiesta!

From looking at the tracklist of the 1st disc, I did see it was placed reversed chronologically from the newest to the oldest EXCEPT for one song which is odd, but at the same time makes sense especially with the title being in Spanish.  As the lone digital single here, Fiesta! Fiesta! also marked the debut for new members, Ruru & Nanami and boy did they kick things off with a bang.  I mean the first big solo is from Dambara and she owns it as if she’s always been a part of the group.  The song itself is just exciting and powerful and festive and a great way to open the album!

2. SEXY SEXY

So here now we’re going from the recent to oldest A-sides starting with SEXY SEXY which like “Fiesta! Fiesta! was a nice track to focus on Yanamin here.  Like the title suggests, the song is more of a sexy romp of a song with some sensual lyrics to throw around as well!  I really like the tone of the song and the focus on Nanami is surprising but she kinds of owns the cute/sexy vibe.  Overall, still the best of the single and happy its on the album!

3. Naite Ii yo

Then we hit Naite Ii yo which is one of two ballads on the first disc and compared to “Feel! Kanjiru yo”, I slightly prefer this one just because the arrangement doesn’t sound so plain and boring.  Don’t get me wrong, Naite Ii yo is still kind of a snoozefest of a song, but the arrangement feels more natural and the 7 members do sound mostly nice (some hiccups), but I feel like the focus on Kanatomo, Aarii, and Yukanyan is nice

4. Vivid Midnight

As the 3rd A-side from the physical debut for Yanamin & Ruru, Vivid Midnight is a quirky song for the group and they sound like they’re having a lot of fun and reminds me of the more crazy poppy songs, or “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!” with the silly funk based sound!  I do get irritated from the arpeggio synths that are found in the chorus, but beyond that the song is just cute and fun.

5. Jidanda Dance

Moving onto 5-nin A-sides for the album, Jidanda Dance is and still a pretty surprising A-side for them.  It’s even more wild and silly than “Vivid Midnight” before it and the quirky arrangement kept me dancing alongside the tune.  Plus hearing all 5 members singing their own lines is just awesome and the Ondo-esque break was a fun little sidestep to the track.  Yeah, I still pretty much love this one!

6. Feel! Kanjiru yo

Yup, the other ballad is next and I still can’t find myself getting into this one.  There’s just something that kind of blocks me from enjoying it and it could be from the synth horns and strings.  I suppose, it’s a little more upbeat than “Naite Ii yo” but there’s just something missing to this song that kind of zones me out.

7. Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~

Oh yeah, I definitely remembered this song and thinking how cool is this EDM track from Juice=Juice!  I really do like the sentimentality I get from the arrangement and lyrics of the song.  Plus the saxophone melodies are neat as well.  The only things that truly bothered me was the dance break which sounded pretty separate from the song itself and the choice to make it fade out in the ending…what a bizarre choice for a song like this.  Still, I really do like the song and the group sounds good!

8. KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!

Though since the single review, I actually ended up loving this track more than “Dream Road”!  Just from the Michael Jackson-like sound and the energy coming off from the quintet, especially Karin and Sayuki and it really makes the song exciting and fun to listen to!  This was a pretty lively song from them and one of my favorites off the first disc.

9. Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou

Of all the 11 tracks of the first disc, I actually had forgotten about this one (no surprise because it felt underwhelming coming after the previous two tracks.  As the song feels more like a Kobushi Factory song because of its rockin’ arrangement, hearing Ju=Ju tackling something like this is surprising and made for an interesting choice as an A-side.  Still, the song doesn’t quite excite me like many other tracks on the album sadly.  Though the bass is badass…but yeah.

10. Next is you!

Wow, I even forgot this song too somewhat.  As one of two songs released by the fictional unit, NEXT YOU (Juice=Juice basically), this track felt like some older H!P songs circa 2011-12 with the sawtooth synths and booming clap beats.  It felt somewhat plain to me because it does sound like something H!P has done for and otherwise the catchy chorus, the track just flies over my head.

11. Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai

As the last song of the first disc, the secondary A-side from the single is if “Next is you!” and “Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou” combined together and we kind of end up with this track.  There’s a powerful dance beat, but there’s also rock elements that kind of gives the tune a more gritty touch.  It’s still a decent track though and is pretty nice to hear so much Tomoko!

CD 2

1. Never Never Surrender

Opening the 2nd disc, we have a lot of unreleased material of songs Juice=Juice had performed for quite a long while.  Though it seems this song is technically is more recent, performed shortly after Ruru & Nanami had entered their ranks.  I liked the intro with the bagpipes (or synths technically), but the tune opens into a poppy bop.  I mean it’s a song that sounds pretty typical for H!P, but the track is decent and cute and nice as the first track of the disc.

2. Jouro (Album Version)

So I was pretty surprised to see all the digital singles released in the era make the cut.  Mostly the differences between the original and the (album versions) is that they included Ruru & Nanami to the tracks, but the overall song is pretty much the same thing.  Since I never reviewed the original releases, I can actually talk about it.  Though with the updated vocals, I suppose it’s nice.  The song is upbeat and cuter than the previous track that’s for sure and while the 2nd Gen members aren’t quite as heavily featured as I hoped, I suppose it’s a decent track, even if the song isn’t too memorable.

3. TOKYO Glider

One of the more well-known songs that are from the album, TOKYO Glider feels like something that was leftover from their first album.  Actually it kind of reminds me of TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE in style with the funky groove and disco-esque tones.  I really like the feel of the song and the members sound classy and powerful here too!  Pretty neat song I’d say!

4. Synchro.

So on the album, there’s actually three new songs (that haven’t been performed before the announcement of the album).  Though these three songs are special because they include their newest member (ex-Country Girls member, Manaka Inaba).  I’m kind of surprised that this is more of a ballad from the group.  I think of the three brand new tracks, this is probably the weakest but it is far and beyond more interesting than “Naite Ii yo” and “Feel! Kanjiru yo”.  It’s just real nice to hear Manakan with the rest of the group.

5. Abaretekka?! Have a Good Time

I don’t know why but whenever I hear Kanatomo in the beginning of the song, it feels like she’s saying ~ARE YOU READY TO FUUUUUUCK~…it’s just always makes me laugh hard.  After “Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou”, this is the other rock song in the album!  Just like the previous track, I do kind of prefer this rock track with its freeform groove and the amount of slap bass is just awesome!  Of course being part of the trio of tracks that were first performed as just 5-nin, adding Ruru and Nanami kind of made it feel more complete.  I think it could’ve filled out the headphones more, but it’s a quirky track!

6. Sunao ni Amaete

From just the intro, I was immediately thinking of “Romance no Tochuu” from the horns and guitar flickering, but the song switches modes into something a bit more sexy and classy for Sunao ni Amaete.  I really like hearing all the members especially Ruru as she just exudes this confidence.  This is just a really cool and smooth song for the group and I ended up loving it!

7. Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~ (Album Version)

Just like “Jouro”, Goal was updated to feature Ruru & Nanami in the song and the songs’ pop/rock vibe definitely give me Buono! vibes throughout and I quite find myself enjoying it.  Though the song was resung, it still feels the same to me and I don’t think I quite hear the new members in the song (probably in the vocal melodies).  The song itself remains the same otherwise and I enjoyed it originally when it was first released last year digitally.

8. Gin’iro no Telepathy

I think of the 3 songs they had started performing from last year, I think Gin’iro no Telepathy was the one I was quite enjoying a lot because of the space-like atmosphere in the track.  Listening to a studio cut to the song does make me feel a little better but at the same time, the song is lacking something, but I’m not quite sure…maybe the drive is a bit too samey?  Though I do like hearing all 7 members here.  It’s cute and I think did it better than “Never Never Surrender” did.

9. Kono Sekai wa Suteta Mon ja nai

Hearing Karin and Tomoko starting the next track is pretty awesome and this song was the one of the three sung by 5-nin that kind of left me conflicted because it feels like a mix of “Never Never Surrender” and “TOKYO Glider” kind of just fused but the song is a bit more complex and poppy.  I don’t know, the song is kind of just the filler track here and I’m kind of forgetting about it.

10. Kindan Shoujo

So I think this song was kind of used as promotional material for the album and it showcases all 8 members together!  I’m so happy that this was chosen because of the three 8-nin tracks, this is my favorite as it has this kind of poppy EDM-ish feel that kind of makes me think of an old H!P song, “Magic of Love” (something the group has covered on their last album).  Definitely the favorite off the 2nd disc for sure!

11. Otona no Jijou

As the ONLY 5-nin song on the 2nd disc, Otona no Jijou probably would’ve fit better right after “Next is you!” to be quite honest as it sticks out in the oddest way here.  The song is pretty much more EDM-ish than “Kindan Shoujo” but hearing just the 5 original members here is kind of interesting.  I do still enjoy the song as all 5 members sound nice and strong even as this is the eldest song on the disc.  I just wonder why it wasn’t on the 1st or updated like the other digital singles (actually prolly not updated because it is credited as NEXT YOU).

12. Wonderful World (2018 English Ver.)

H!P, can you stop shoving this song in our faces, this song isn’t that great and making it into English wasn’t a good idea to be honest.  Now if you didn’t know, this is the 3rd time I’ve reviewed and each time it’s somewhat different.  Though in this specific cut, it’s just adding Ruru & Nanami to the track but it feels like it still remains as the original 5 have the solos.  The song still does nothing for me regardless and just kind of made me go meh.

Tracks Recommended

  • KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!
  • SEXY SEXY
  • Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~
  • Fiesta! Fiesta!
  • Jidanda Dance

 

  • Kindan Shoujo
  • TOKYO Glider
  • Otona no Jijou
  • Sunao ni Amaete
  • Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~ (Album Version)

Song of Avoidance

  • Feel! Kaniru yo
  • Wonderful World (2018 English Ver.)

Is it already Juice=Juice’s sophomore album?  I guess what I would say about this album is that I actually enjoyed this album a LOT more than I did with their “First Squeeze!” album as there were a lot more memorable songs here than there was from the first.  I mean I’m surprised they didn’t make a 3rd disc with covers like they did with their first, but as a whole I was impressed.  Disc 1 had all the singles (mostly) and it was a solid list of them (with a couple eh tracks).  Disc 2 though had the most interest because all the new tracks and studio cuts from concert songs they’ve held back for some time.  Little weird to see Otona no Jijou and a 3rd version of Wonderful World on the album…but the interesting fact is that only 3 songs had the current members (as in with Manakan)…I can’t wait to see the first single with Manaka.