News: Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Box Set – UK English Version UPDATE

“Make some room in your life…”

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Studio: Studio Ghibli

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Release Date: 8th December 2014

Following on from my previous post about this great box set bargain, which is basically all of Hayao Miyazaki films as a Blu-ray Box Set. The picture of what it’s supposed to look like has finally emerged from the producers, and I’m in love with the clean looking design.

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Each disk is housed in a cardboard sleeve, with the official artwork for the film encasing it. If there was ever a reason to pick up all the movies from the legend Miyazaki, this is the time to do it.

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The box set is produced by Studio Canal, who have handled the rest of the Ghibli releases in the UK, so I’m expecting both English and Japanese dubs on the disc.

The set contains twelve discs, of which eleven are movies, and there’s one mysteriously titled Bonus Disc. I just can’t think of what it could be, possibly short films or commercials?

Soundtrack? (*fingers crossed*)

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I’m disappointed that more films weren’t included. Yes, I wanted a Ghibli box, instead of just Miyazaki, just to save me the hassle of collecting those stray films, but maybe the price point would be driven even higher, and it’s already making a hefty dent in anyone’s wallet at £180.00 down from previous RRP of £250!

Get the Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Box Set here.

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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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News: Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX Official Game Guide Trio Box Set Pre-Order

“Everyone can just fangirl now”

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Release Date: 4th November 2014

While I’ve been doing my regular rounds through my favourite shopping spots, I spotted a mysterious new entry for a Final Fantasy Box Set.

It’s billed as a deluxe hardcover set of three books, which are the official re-rendered and updated guide books for Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy IX.

Yes, I think everyone can take a moment to just fangirl at this statement.

Each of the three books comes with a ribbon marker, similar to the treatment the latest Final Fantasy Limited Edition Guide’s have been receiving, see Final Fantasy XIII-2’s Guide Book as an example.

I think it’s fairly easy to get excited about this! Who doesn’t want to get their mitts on more Final Fantasy merchandise, especially books? These things don’t really see much of a release in the UK, and even so, they’re a bit of an abridged version compared to their Japanese (and sometimes even US) counterparts.

This Box Set version published by Prima Games however, claims to have 752 pages of goodness, which works out at roughly 250 pages per book. That’s a full-sized book if I ever saw one!

The cost of the box set really pushes the boundaries of what I want to pay for three books, with an RRP of £80 or $129.99. Happily, however, the books have been heavily discounted, and I’m just going to pre-order my copy before I explode.

These are available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK. Preview image from Barnes and Noble.

 

News: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Final Mix Limited Edition Preorder

“Time to save some pennies for December”


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Release Date: 2nd December 2014

I must have been living under a rock to miss this! For some reason, I started out 2014 eagerly checking for the pre-orders of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Final Mix Limited Edition (*phew* mouthful…), and when the pre-orders do open, it’s almost like I’d forgotten the game existed.

This is of course the HD update for the original Kingdom Heart 2, and also contains the Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. I can’t seem to figure out if Re:coded is actually the game or just the cutscenes? Regardless of whatever it is, I know I’ll still end up purchasing this.

Sadly, there’s no mention of an artbook like in the release of Kingdom Hearts 1.5, but for your hard-earned cash you get an *Exclusive Pin*. Yes, the artwork for Kingdom Hearts 1.5 wasn’t brilliant, but at least it made me look forward to getting the package, now it’s a…a… PIN.

Hard to get excited about that.

You can see the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix Limited Edition (PS3) here.

See below for synopsis and trailer:

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News: Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Box Set – UK English Version PRICE DROP

“Being a total steal.”

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Studio: Studio Ghibli

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Release Date: 3rd November 2014

There is a fantastic deal I’ve spotted on Amazon UK for the Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Box Set. This is basically the collection that got released in Japan, and is the 13 discs that features all of Miyazaki’s movies. The price has actually dropped drastically from £250 to £160.40! That is insane, it brings down the cost of each Blu-Ray disc to around £13.33!!

It couldn’t have come at a better time really, with the fans fretting what will happen to Studio Ghibli. Retail therapy may be required…

Admittedly, details are not yet confirmed about WHAT will actually be on there (the picture shown above is the Japanese version), but a good guess is all of the fan favourites (Spirited Away, Howl’s, etc) will be on there. Since this being released by Studiocanal, it will likely contain the English dubs as well, even if the only language mentioned is Japanese with English Subtitles. The English dub feels forgotten in the description.

The big difference between this and the Japanese version is that, this is twelve discs, the Japanese version had thirteen, but, still worth investing in.

Get the Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Box Set here.

News: Brandon Sanderson UK Event Dates – Leeds + others

“DO NOT WAKE ME UP!”

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On 6th August 2014, at 1 PM, my two favourite pastimes are going to be at one place.

Brandon Sanderson + Waterstones = Bliss.

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The tour is to promote and sign copies of, Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two, Brandon Sanderson will be going to various locations across the UK. Most importantly, he will be coming to Leeds, which is my local bookstore.

Words of Radiance is a sequel to the stunningly epic The Way of Kings, which was so epic that it had to split into Part One and Part Two. That was the main reason that I hadn’t picked up Words of Radiance yet, seeing that the hardback book resembled a brick (over a 1000 pages!).

That doesn’t matter! I will pick up the brick at the store, and get it signed, and also stare at my favourite author like a total creep. I’m allowed to do that (I think).

I actually had the opportunity to see Brandon Sanderson in Manchester when the initial UK tour for The Way of Kings was on, IF I skipped a lecture at Uni and travelled down. I ended up not skipping that lecture, and really regretted it. This time, I suppose I shall fangirl twice as much.

Brandon Sanderson will be visiting London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and Nottingham. See the rest of the UK dates here.

 

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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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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Musings: Avoiding Britain’s Got Talent

“Change channels”

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(Dancing for a YES)

I don’t usually publicly announce that I’m boycotting, or avoiding things, because usually I change my mind and have to explain why I reverted. However, in this case, I will explain why I have been avoiding Britain’s Got Talent for the past couple of years, and why after seeing a snatch of it now, I’m glad I don’t keep up with it anymore.

Britain’s Got Talent is a big feature of Saturday evenings, and is watched by millions of people all over the country. Yet, it’s the judges, not the acts, that are putting on the biggest show.

I thought it was about finding an entertaining act for the Queen? Or even, something worth £250,000?! Wasn’t that the point? Surely the judges can get past the their huge egos, of which no-one’s is bigger than Simon Cowell‘s.

When dance group Cartel auditioned in tonight’s show, one of the members was being judges far more harshly based on his looks and age. Jamie, pictured above on the far left, is in his late 20’s, and his teammates are in their teens. Simon see a terrible error in letting an older dancer perform with younger ones.

Does Jamie‘s age affect his performance? Not at all. He is as slick and proficient at dancing as any of those other performers, but was singled out because he is older. Apart from being incredibly rude, this is being ageist. Do I have to watch Simon’s opinions rule over television? Absolutely not, I will change the channel.

Hopefully in the future, there will be an end to over-produced audition-based shows, with egoistic judges, and auditions with sob-stories. My fingers are crossed for a fresh wave of entertainment, on new platforms.

See Cartel’s audition below:

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