Music: Chihiro Onitsuka – This Silence Is Mine – Single Review

“This tattoo, this preview, this heartbeat”

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Artists: Chihiro Onitsuka

Genre: Folk, Pop

Released: 18th December 2013

Chihiro Onitsuka used to have this unreal voice back in the early days of her career. Her previous albums have some of the most beautiful and haunting music I’ve ever heard, and this is coming from someone who makes it their mission to find that kind of stuff. Sadly, due to some health issues, her voice slipped into a gravelly tone, rather than that angelic instrument that gave out those soaring notes.

To compensate for the change in her vocal abilities, for recent albums Chihiro Onitsuka has produced songs with a 70s/80s rock style that’s…. different. See Anata to Science, the other song on this single, to have a good idea of what the new sound is like. Well, I’m sure fans appreciate it, but it just isn’t the same, and no-one expected another epic ballad out of this singer.

Along comes The Silence is Mine, an eery, haunting track that seeps under the skin and settles deep, to fit Drakengard 3, a game that is equally disturbing. This song is ugly-pretty. Gorgeous instruments and a rasping voice. A thumping beat, accompanied by strings builds up to reach a breathtaking finale. It feels like this could be her final song, and the purity and energy surges through powerfully. Chihiro’s vocals are raw and edgy and almost crying through those long high notes in anguish, delivering each word with such conviction that this song will haunt you for a long time. Sweeping instrumentals carry the listener through the final parts of the songs.

Now Drakengard 3 actually got released a while ago, and sadly rather quietly as a PSN Download only. The Silence is Mine was used in the trailers to promote the game, and is also the in-game vocal theme. How many people will come across the game, bearing in mind that the Drakengard series only has a cult following to begin with? How many will hear this song? To bring out one of the best songs in recent years, Chihiro Onitsuka deserves recognition. It deserves silence.

See below for previews:

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Music: Androp – BooHoo/AM0:40/Waltz – Single Review

“It’s strange, “Everyone”, Who is that again? Aren’t you curious?”

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Artists: Androp

Genre: JRock, JPop

Released: 22nd August 2012

I cannot even explain the infatuation I began with Androp after coming across the video for BooHoo, one of the songs from this triple A-side single.

BooHoo is a guitar-riffed-filled pulse-racing track that incorporates breathless vocals with life questioning lyrics. The chorus strikes as high and screechy, and yet it is pretty catchy. Everything about this track is just momentum. The softer parts of the song are almost dreamlike. Cries of “BooHoo!” will get stuck in your head.

Being a triple A-side the quality of the next track is pretty good, and although AM0:40 is less memorable than BooHoo, the chorus is likable and positive. This shares some of lyrics from BooHoo, and while I feel that the first song is superior, AM0:40 is such a short affair that it doesn’t outlive its welcome.

If there was one song I wasn’t expecting from a rock band, it was probably something that sounds like it’s dropped straight out of a shoujo anime. The soft vocals, the rhythmic almost lullaby-ish melody, Waltz feels like a summery tune to put on a lazy afternoon. The intense energy of the band is still coiled in the background, but this song feels like a gracious break from sharp questions the band posed earlier.

I don’t listen to JRock much because I don’t particularly the style, but Androp have their own style. The band members just look like cool guys hanging out, and the whole feeling of the band is so relaxed, yet they give out their own intense energy. Perhaps vocalists get too much attention, but in this case Uchisawa Takahito, who is lead vocalist and also lead guitarist, his unique vocals in BooHoo has wormed their music into my brain.

High pitched vocals from a guy isn’t really a thing I would recommend to anyone, and yet it works. Let’s not call it JRock. Call it Androck.

See below for previews:

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Purchased: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD – UK PS3 Limited Edition

“Obsessed”

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Studio: Square Enix

Released: March 2014  (UK version)

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD was released over a month ago, and even though I have gushed about it for ages, it wasn’t even until recently that I could open the packaging. The Limited Edition packaging that I have handling ever so carefully, that it even gets a place of honour in my drawer.

The cover of the packaging shows the new models of Yuna and Tidus, in what could be called a “new” image. I’m sure fans love it, and won’t get sick of this solitary image that is constantly being repeated on pretty much every surface. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of the new model for Tidus, he looks a bit more feminine than Yuna, which is strange, since his character is a jock, I would have expected him to be “machoed-up” or something.

 

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The cardboard box that you get is just the beginning is the lusciousness.

More information and pictures below:

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Manga: My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) Volume 1 Summary + Review

“I’m not getting involved with this”

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Publisher: Kodansha Europe

Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Shojou, Drama  Age: 13+

Released: 20th March 2014 (UK Version)

Hardworking schoolgirl Shizuku Mizutani is a student with a life mission to get perfect grades. Her life is turned upside down when she is asked to deliver a homework assignment to the school delinquent, who then manages to convince himself he is love with her. Haru appears to have very little social skills, but the pair clearly have a chemistry, even if Haru is getting in the way of Shizuku’s goal of being number one at her school.

This is the manga that formed the basis for the anime series, and the first volume covers up to the first two and a half episodes.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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News: “Sanzoku no Musume Ronja/Ronja the Robber’s Daughter” Studio Ghibli Announcement

“Not your average Ghibli girl..”

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Studio: Studio Ghibli, Polygon Pictures

Genre: Adventure, Age: Children’s

Released: August 31st 2014 (Japan Version)

The internet is positively abuzz with the announcement of Studio Ghibli’s first TV series.

The series will follow the adventures of Ronja, a young girl who lives in a forest, and is based on the books by Astrid Lindgren. The production will be directed by Goro Miyazaki. More details have yet to emerge.

This is an exciting new venture for Studio Ghibli, especially since Goro Miyazaki is taking the helm of this project. I find his work to have a very different feel from the rest of Ghibli’s projects.

See more information at this source.

Anime: Digimon Frontier – Episode 19 Summary

“All for one meal”

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(“I’m hungry for a burger, or your babies”)

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Age: All ages

Released: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002

From the last episode, After making a good burger, Papaburgermon is attacked by Petaldramon and his Chamelmon minions. Papaburgermon is held captive, and the little Burgermon kids are in danger. The Legendary Warriors arrive after their win in the Trailmon race, and decide to help get Papa back!

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Anime: Digimon Frontier – Episode 18 Summary

“All for one meal”

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(The humans stuck out in a crowd of digimon)

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Age: All ages

Released: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002

From the last episode, the legendary warriors get onto a Trailmon, but instead of taking them to the Rose Morning Star, they end up at a completely different location, which is holding the Annaul Trailmon Competition.

First Prize is a burger, and Zoe has never been hungrier! If Zoey is going, then JP is going, and soon everyone has grabbed a Trailmon to take part in the race.

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Anime: Digimon Frontier – Episode 17 Summary

“All you can eat digi-food!”

(New in town? Try not to stare.)

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Age: All ages

Released: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002

From the last episode, the Toucanmon have stolen the digivices and ran off to the Autumn Leaf Fair. The Legendary warriors make it to the strange fair, which is a hot summery spot in the middle of an arctic desert. Now the search to find the Toucanmon and their digivices begins.

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Anime: Digimon Frontier – Episode 16 Summary

“Who is the fairest of them all?”

(“Girls can be tough. Very tough”)

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Age: All ages

Released: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002

From the last episode, Zoe is pumped up to get the boys digivices back and find her own Spirit Digivolution. The boys are a bit more worried about ho scary her Beast Spirit will be, if it’s anything like Calmaramon’s.

The Toucanmon that have taken the digivices have flown to a island across the sea waters.

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Anime: Digimon Frontier – Episode 15 Summary

“Beach Party”

(Kouji’s secret weakness has been found, and will be exploited at every opportunity.)

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Age: All ages

Released: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002

From the last episode, Whamon drops off the digi-destined on a tropical island. It’s been a while since they’ve relaxed, so everyone thinks this is the perfect chance. Even Kouji changes his mind once he’s been tickled enough.

It’s a shame that Ranamon has sent out lookouts to all her followers. Anyone that can bring her the digi-destined’s digivices will be rewarded…

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