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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TV: “Children of the Universe” Molly Smitten-Downes Official Video

“As I am awakened with fire in my bones”

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(“Yes, I am fabulous!”)

Rather excitingly, the official video for Molly Smitten-Downes entry into Eurovision 2014 has been uploaded in the past few days. The video, available on her official youtube channel, shows Molly amongst her band lounging around on plush furniture and standing in front of flowers.

The official video has clearer audio than the studio version that was uploaded earlier in the year. The song is actually pretty good, and even incredible considering this is a UK entry. Personally, I didn’t need any more reasons to love Molly’s creation, but the luxurious official video does help.

However, as good as the song is, it all depends on the actual night. Eurovision semi-finals will take place on the 6th and 8th of May, and the UK has automatic entry into the finals, taking place on 10th of May 2014.

See the video below:

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TV: Star-Crossed – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“Roman, Roman, where for art thou..”

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(“You know, those aliens are pretty good looking….”)

Airing on: Sky

Genre: Romance, Drama, Sci-Fi, Aliens, Age: 13+

Released: 4th April 2014 – onwards

Aliens called Atrians have landed on earth in September 2014, and immediately face hostilities. Emery Whitehall finds a young Atrian boy hiding in her shed, close to where the alien ship has landed. She takes care of the frightened young boy, however the military finds him and shoots him in front of Emery.

Ten years later, and Emery is beginning her first day of high school after spending the last few years in hospital. She and her friend Julia watch as young Atrians are beginning the same school; a program to integrate them into the same society as humans. If this program is successful, it could mean the start of cohabitation by humans and Atrians, but high school is never easy.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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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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TV: Eurovision 2014 UK Entry “Children of the Universe” Molly Smitten-Downes

“Power to the people”

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The UK entry for Eurovision 2014 was shown a few days ago. The BBC version is the most publicised, featuring Molly Smitten-Downes singing a live version of her song “Children of the Universe”.

Described as cool and contemporary, Molly brings a different and modern style to the UK entry for Eurovision. Think 2010 winner Lena and her song “Satelitte“, but with an actual British accent. Molly stomps across the stage, reaches achingly beautiful notes with her voice, and oozes casualness with her henna tattoos.

Last year, Bonnie Tyler represented the UK. and although her fanbase was prominent in the audience, the song didn’t do well in the UK charts or in the competition. Bonnie Tyler crooned “Believe in Me“, and reached 19th place, scoring a mere 23 points.

Although British citizens like to scoff at Eurovion, and the “political voting” between countries, there is always that spark of hope that the UK will place in the Top 10 in the competition. I personally think that Molly Smitten-Downes offers the best chance of getting a high ranking (and dare I say, even winning) since Blue with “I Can“, back in 2011.

Eurovision Finals will be broadcast on the 10th of May 2014, following Semi-Finals on the 6th and 8th of May 2014. As one of the major countries backing the competition, the UK has an automatic entry into the Finals.

I will be aiming to do a live commentary on the competition.

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Anime: Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“There’s a deity in my local shrine…”

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(“Please don’t poop on me… please…”)

Studio: Production IMS

Genre: Romantic, Comdey, Fantasy, Supernatural Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

Inari is a middle school student, who is sweet and clumsy, and loved by her two best best friends Keiko and Chika. On the way to school Inari rescues a “puppy” from the river bank, but her friends believe that Inari fell into the river due to her clumsiness.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Anime: Noragami – Episode 2 Summary + Review

“How to live with a tail…”

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(“Oh no! How am I going to get home without my body!”)

Studio: Bones

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Comedy Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

From the previous episode, Hiyori is carrying on with her normal school life, but her body and spirit are still seperating at unpredictable moments. Her spirit senses have been getting stronger, and she can see the small phantoms that surround everyone’s daily lives.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Anime: Noragami – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“Who you gonna call? Yatogami!”

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(Bullies target the only blonde girl in school)

Studio: Bones

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Comedy Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

Bad feelings cause phantoms to appear in the world, and there isn’t a worse time than during exams. Yato, an unknown and poor god, helps out a girl being bullied by her classmates. Tackling the phantom seems to be one step too far for his Divine Weapon (who is also a woman). She decides to quit, leaving Yato not only dirt poor (he doesn’t get much business) but also defenseless against the phantoms.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Book: The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time Book 3) Review

“Where’s Rand?”

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Author: Robert Jordan

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Age: Adult

Released: 10th December 1992 (UK version)

The third book in the series is a bit strange, in my opinion. It draws away from Rand, who I firmly believe is the main character, despite the infinitely large cast.The book instead follows the various subgroups that are in a quest to follow Rand, and his path of destruction, whether they know it or not.

Warning! Contains spoilers!

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Anime: Sword Art Online – Episode 25 Series Finale Summary + Review

“End of the virtual road?”

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(Kirito plays a dangerous game of tag with Sugou)

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Genre: Game, MMO, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Age: 13+

Released: 6th July 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, Asuna has woken up from the hospital and Kirito is on his way to see her. Danger is lurking the hospital carpark in the shape of Sugou, who was killed by Kirito in Alfheim Online.

Kirito is stabbed, and has to fend off a knife that could end his life before he has a chance to see Asuna in the real world.

Sugou has finally lost his mind, and although Kirito eventually beats him, Kirito chooses to spare Suguo’s life.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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