Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Here Is An Irrelevant Title

Let this (Re)set the tone for the rest of this post.

Except probably not. So I figured that I'd take some time to write something before the year ends. There isn't a whole lot to say but I must admit this festive season has been quite good for self-indulgence (read: eating); well it's fine since for some strange reasons I can't seem to gain weight. Anyway I talked about a2c being featured on Maon Kurosaki's Vanishing Point back in July, and I have been meaning to do this for a while now so here's Maon's first full-length album, "Butterfly Effect", which was released at the end of last month.

Move your mouse over it. The album starts with an introductory track which really doesn't seem to flow into "Vanishing Point", the highlight of the album, all that well. Indeed the more pop-oriented songs that have been put in between the heavier rock tracks make the album feel as if it is lacking in consistency, which is rather unfortunate because it ends up destroying the album's momentum. I wouldn't really know but some of you may find that a few songs sound familiar; Magic∞world and メモリーズ・ラスト, the ending songs of To Aru Majutsu no Index II; ANSWER, the opening to the To Aru Majutsu no Index PSP game; and SCARS, the ending theme of HELLSING IX OVA. All in all it's not a bad effort from Maon for her first album. It'd be interesting to see what directions she will take for her next release; will she stick with rock songs that seem to suit her or will she go for dance pop that feels a little off? The butterfly effect indeed.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Where In The World Did November Go?

Give me back my November. Actually on second thought, please don't. So yeah, changing the blog design was really troublesome. I'm beginning to think maybe I should just leave the background plain. In the end I decided to settle with Sanae and Kogasa; it seems to fit in with the overall theme quite well. While I'm not much of a fan of that particular pairing or just any pairings in general, Hang in There, Kogasa-san can be quite fun from time to time.

Anyway remember back in my first post I mentioned a manga series called Bloody Cross? Well I went back and read up to the latest chapter, since I liked the cast and thought the story was actually getting a bit more interesting as it progressed. However the days of seeing Tsukimiya and Hinata coming together are still far ahead, because I'm getting the feeling that Shiwo just loves to pit them against each other.

Insert inappropriate texts
Tsukimiya disappeared for a few good chapters, having been captured by a new organization called "Divine Burial (神葬, Shinsou)" who really showed up out of nowhere and overwhelmed the main cast with their superior numbers and prowess. They claim that their objective is to locate and take care of every single one of God's Inheritance, and supposedly they are also in charge of the second Crusade (?) after the first one finished without a victor. Anyway the Divine Burial guys are a secretive lot and literally live in a parallel or self-created dimension from what I understand. It's impossible to get in or out by normal means, as Hinata and Nao found out the hard way. Hinata had intended for Nao to go in as a spy alone but he was outsmarted by Izumi who forced him to go along as well. With the help of two traitors from Divine Burial - Ooma and Kanade, the captains of the third and sixth divisions respectively, Hinata and Nao manage to sneak in and make contact with Izumi. After rumours of traitors within Divine Burial's ranks begin to spread, Kanade (who started the rumours herself) and Ooma successfully frame the fourth division captain Yamabuki, who is then immediately executed.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I Don't Have Many Posts

So let's rectify that. Although it's a bit difficult when I feel like I have a lot of things to say and not sure where to start. In any case I've uploaded two new videos and they actually show up on the sidebar! A couple of quick notes on the tracks for those who are learning them; "The Lancer" is primarily in the key of E minor but during some parts it alternates between E and A minor. The solo is a bit weird to me, the way it's constructed isn't something I'm familiar with. As for the Arcana Heart 3 OP, I don't think there's much that can be said since it's pretty straightforward, even if the patterns can get a little tricky. I will probably go back to do some Touhou arranges for the next few videos, so stay tuned till then.

I randomly ended up playing Tenkuu no Yumina (Yumina of the Sky but well, Yumina the Ethereal) instead of LE FRUIT DE LA GRISAIA which I have been putting off for quite some time now. Anyway Yumina turned out a little different from what I thought it was, as it revealed itself to be what can be best described as the bastard child of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu and Aselia the Eternal; though of course before long I wondered if I was playing Star Ocean or Phantasy Star Online. The game's battle system will be very familiar to those who have played Aselia the Eternal (and Seinarukana), wait actually the game mechanics and even the interface should be extremely familiar since the game is designed by the same guy who did Seinarukana, not to mention the fact that ETERNAL is actually a child company of Xuse's.

Nayuta is a Super Robot
The game follows Ayumu who is instructed by his father to protect Yumina, a likable girl who is seemingly good at nothing. In order to avoid repeating a grade after failing her maths exam and banish grade retention forever from the school, Yumina decides to participate in the Seitokai tournament which will determine the next student council president, who has the power to set whatever rules he or she wants. As the students prepare for the tournament however, the teachers seem to be secretly planning something else.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

I'm Writing This

But I don't know what to say. So here's a picture,

Sanae, making moves on blue-haired Touhous since 2007
Watch where your hand is going Sanae. Anyways I got around to uploading some more videos of me messing around on the guitar. By the looks of it, the YouTube player on the side hasn't updated yet; I'm leaving out the links since chances are if you are reading this, you were probably linked from my channel anyway. Ideally it would have been better if I played more accurately and faithfully to the original tracks, but I don't feel as committed to figuring out songs as much as I did a couple of years ago. These days I'm pretty content with just playing whatever that comes to my mind, though every now and then I try something different; it would be terrible if I get stuck inside my own small bag of tricks. I will be updating the channel irregularly with random covers; I'm thinking it's going to be mostly Touhou tracks but I'd like to do some other music as well. It's going to be fun I guess; too much fun for me maybe; the last two videos took 2 hours and 53 minutes to upload. There's a reason why I'm a bit reluctant to record long tracks.

This will be the second time I mention it but the Overloud TH2 is really good. It feels and sounds a little more authentic than AmpliTube 3 to me, but I think both software are very well-made. I don't particularly like the TH2 user interface; it's more straightforward than AmpliTube 3 but I reckon I can switch between things much faster in AmpliTube. Apart from that though I don't have anything bad to say about the TH2, the amp models sound really nice, the mics are also very well-done. Many of the presets are also very usable, which is somewhat surprising because often the presets tend to be mediocre at best. All in all I think it is a software worth getting. Blatant advertising.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

What If I Were To Write The Title Of A Novel Which Is Pretty Long And Even Though I Didn't I Still End Up With This Long Title?

What if the female manager of a high school baseball club read Peter Drucker's "Management"? Better known as Moshidora, it's a story about Minami Kawashima who takes over her best friend's position as the manager of their school's baseball team after the friend is hospitalized due to an illness. Minami, who used to love baseball but realized that women should stay in the kitchen and make sandwiches it was impossible to achieve her dream of becoming a professional player because of the differences between man and woman (seriously), so her love for the sport turned into hate instead. With no previous experience in managing teams, Minami goes to buy a book on management but ends up with Peter Drucker's business book, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices because otherwise the story would have been completely different. Soon enough Minami starts applying Drucker's concepts to managing her team, hoping that they will be able to reach the nationals.

Now I have never actually read the original novel, glanced through the manga, watched the anime or the film; I heard the novel was one of the best-selling books of 2010 but the anime received mixed reactions. However that didn't stop me from getting this (or rather from a friend as a birthday present),

Top of the world Reisen, top of the world
The very first extra-large picture in this blog. Time for celebration. Anyways, that's Minami reading Drucker's book. I will leave other poses and faces till my friend comes here with his big camera next time. Now I just need more nendoroids from shows I don't watch, but it looks like all the new ones won't be released until next year.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Back To Basics

I think not. I wonder why I'm writing this post at all but,

Yes the album cover really doesn't say much. It's an album by MANYO of Little Wing and arcane, released back at M3-10 last year. Five (female) vocal tracks with two instrumentals. The overall feel of the album is perhaps best described as haunting, or at least that's how I felt about it. Beautiful instrumentation by MANYO and emotional deliveries from the singers; it's quite a nice record to relax to.

Then there's this,

An album with a bit of everything, from trance version of "Credens justitiam" to rock instrumental of "Connect". It's a fairly decent album, mostly because Madoka had a somewhat solid soundtrack to begin with. I quite like Sayaka/Oktavia's theme for some strange reason.

Friday, 30 September 2011

I Had An Ingenious Idea For The Title Of This Post

But I forgot what it was. Well I suppose I got a bit lazy but it's okay now since here I am, writing the last post before October comes.

You have all seen these two before, but here are some higher quality pictures of Mato and Yomi,

I almost got blinded when my friend took these pictures...bright flash is bright. Now that I think of it, I had actually pre-ordered another nendoroid which was due out at the end of this month. More on that when it gets here. And then more nendoroids.

So apparently I have and will be uploading video performances of me covering various songs on the guitar onto YouTube, as much as I dislike it and why did that sentence sound so awkward?

For your viewing pleasures. I faintly remember someone requesting a tab for it on MoTK; but it's easy enough to learn by watching I think.

Playing xi-on's songs kind of makes me want to get a 7-string guitar; while Demetori leaves me longing for an 8-string; and バンビ makes me regret giving my classical guitar to my friend.

A certain scientific magical 70's Reissue Stratocaster felt amazing though.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Parity In Partiality

Take a break from all the Touhou and whatnot doujin music, and listen to some nice instrumental covers of famous movie soundtracks,

Produced by Tak of B'z, featuring Michiya Haruhata (TUBE), Oga Yoshinobu (OOM), Masuzaki Takashi (DIMENSION) and of course Tak Matsumoto himself. The album covers various movie themes ("My Favorite Things", "Over the Rainbow", "The Godfather", "Mission Impossible Theme", "Scarborough Fair" and so on) as well as one original track which is done by all four guitarists together. My personal favourite would have to be "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" which was originally composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto for the eponymous movie, which Sakamoto himself starred in alongside David Bowie, Jack Thompson and Takeshi Kitano.

In other news I have re-recorded the guitar solo on "Because Princess Kaguya Is Scolding Me" as well as making some other adjustments. This time I decided to record the solo on my acoustic guitar since ultimately I felt the electric one didn't seem to fit very well (the sad truth however is that I can't mix it very well at all). I used my AKG D88S for recording the solo, whereas the other two short guitar breaks were recorded with Shure SM57. The D88S is super-cardioid and has a wider frequency range than the SM57; it certainly seems much louder than the SM57. I actually recorded a video as well but then I figured the resolution was not too good, so I got rid of it. Anyways the link to the updated track is included in the previous post.

Currently watching Mayo Chiki! for Subaru reasons unknown. At first I thought she was Sora from the Baldr Sky duology, but it's the same artist so yeah.

The lack of coherence in this blog is terrible.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Autumn Fall

Not really. So here's an arrange of Minoriko's and Kaguya's themes, and my latest entry for Distant Phantasm.

I have to admit that after listening to it again, the drum beats after the key change made me feel like throwing up. I also noticed that the bass was rather overwhelming. So I decided that I should probably fix some of the problems I saw with the track.

Hopefully this is a better version; one that I won't feel the urge to tear it apart any time soon. Sorry if any of you experienced discomfort or lower back pain while listening to the original. There's so much to learn honestly.

But wouldn't you be happy too if you got a Sanae for free?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

5 Minutes Alone

Why did it go over the five-minute mark again? Anyways here's my arrange of "Desire Drive", the Stage 4 BGM of Touhou 13, for the 2nd Movement of Distant Phantasm, an online event for overseas Touhou arrangers.

Desire Overdrive

A rather misleading name I say, and YouTube seems to hava some weird audio compression thing going on. Well I guess I still have a lot to learn.

Carnival Phantasm was hilarious though.

Monday, 15 August 2011

This And That

But in a pure and innocent sense. So C80 has officially concluded; somehow I had been looking forward to it more than the last year's, probably because of Touhou 13. According to the Mainichi Daily News, the number of attendants this year dropped by twenty thousand, most likely due to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan a few months ago; but I reckon five hundred and six thousand is still quite a lot.

Anyways since many music, books and games are still waiting to be uploaded, it is perhaps a little too early to give my impression of this year's summer comiket. Nevertheless I'm quite pleased with some of the releases so far,

Seiga Nyan-Nyan, why you so lovely?
Of course, Touhou 13 was the main dish for me, despite the fact that the demo was a bit disappointing. So as I powered my way through the first three stages (which were in the demo anyway), I instantly fell in love with Stage 4's BGM, "Desire Drive". I wouldn't go as far as to say it's my favourite, since "Fall of Fall ~ Autumnal Waterfall" is still pretty hard to beat, but "Desire Drive" is definitely a very nice track. It really gives the game a feel of urgency which the first three stages lacked; and is just me or the chorus sounds a little bit like "Extend Ash ~ Hourai Victim"? I actually laughed a bit when I saw Seiga, I think I need more time to get used to ZUN's new art style. She was also pretty easy to defeat, even though she had Yoshika as a meat shield. My memory gets a little hazy after Stage 4; neither Soga no Tojiko or Mononobe left good impressions on me, currently waiting for good fanart to convince me otherwise. Toyosatomimi no Miko was awesome though, even if she did look a bit out of place...must be the hands. I refuse to comment on the Extra Stage boss.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Generic Title is The Best Title

Especially when it's not even a proper one. I don't know why I'm posting this but I think it's worth a listen if you haven't already,

a2c on the guitar again, doing some of the best solos I've ever heard on "夜明けのプリズム". It's really amazing how well the solos compliment the song while still being rather technical; no wonder a2c gets called to do work here and there, he's a very good musician (might I add that TERRA and setzer are pretty beastly too).

So apparently Midori Kanda (神田翠) has quit cosplaying with the removal of her blog, twitter and Cure accounts, as well as an apology to her fans. What a shame. I had just finished watching Omamori Himari too, which I picked up after seeing Midori's Himari cosplay.

No hard feelings
A somewhat average show as it turned out. It was mildly amusing until the last two episodes, which were essentially one big cliché storm. I'm hoping the manga is better. To be fair though, at least Yuuto wasn't as clueless and useless as many other harem anime protagonists. Also Korone from Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou is totally Shizuku. In fact I think there are quite a bit of similarities between these two shows; Yuuto being a demon-slayer who doesn't wish to harm demons and Akuto being the demon king who doesn't want to hurt humans; both have a female lead who wields a katana; Ageha and Lily Shiraishi who can both stretch their limbs; Kuesu and Fujiko who are both witches and try to force themselves onto the main character. Even the art looks somewhat similar sometimes, but that's probably just me.

I also watched Ga-Rei Zero, the anime prequel to Ga-Rei. It was tough watching the show as Yomi's world fell apart. No matter where, Yomi's always the best. Although I must admit I was constantly being reminded of Hitagi Senjougahara every time I saw Yomi, and I still can't decide if that's a good thing.

Boobs. Boobs everywhere.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Bad Asteroid

Guitar virtuoso Guthrie Govan's first album which came out about 5 years ago, but I have a feeling that a good number of people have not heard of it yet. Well if you hadn't heard it, or didn't know who Guthrie was, you should check it out.

Personal favourites are "Waves", "Wonderful Slippery Thing", "Ner Ner", "Fives" and "Sevens". Guthrie combines his prowess on the fretboard with some excellent (and quirky) phrasing, which keeps the tracks technically and melodically interesting. While I can't say that I enjoyed every single track on the album, it is pretty solid. A couple of pieces also somewhat remind me of Steve Vai (particularly "Uncle Skunk"), but certainly the album has Guthrie Govan written all over it. 

The cakes were delicious and definitely not lies. A couple of days ago I happened to stumble upon a manga series called Bloody Cross by Shiwo Komeyama who used to go by the pen name Aoi Mizuki. Apparently she also drew the Star Ocean: Blue Sphere manga; good game. Um anyway, Bloody Cross follows Tsukimiya who is half-angel and half-vampire as she gets caught up in the Holy War, a "game" which determines who shall become the next collecting God's Inheritances apparently. The major candidates seem to be the full-blood angel Tsuduki and his fallen angel older brother Satsuki, who wears an eye-patch for no real good reasons other than to look cool. Other characters include the male lead, mixed-blood angel Hinata; half-human, half-angel Nao who gets on well with Tsuduki; Tsuduki's servant Hanamura who's good with guns; Full-blood demon catgirl Momose; and people whose names I don't remember.

Tsukimiya boob close-up No.I-lost-count
...No, not really. However, there's indeed something about Tsukimiya's boobs. The only logical conclusion that the cursed marks always appears on the side of her right boob is that so Shiwo can keep on having Tsukimiya pull open her top and show us her boobs...I mean her cursed mark. They also get groped repeatedly, and don't get me started on how many times Hinata and Nao have stolen kisses from Tsukimiya. Yeah it's that kind of manga...I also suspect TsudukiXHanamura. Anyways, the fights are mildly engaging. I feel the fact that everyone's trying to use each other for their own gains quite's no Death Note or Liar Game but still enough to keep me reading, but really I just want to see more boobs. Another thing was that there seem to be quite a number of half-angels, I guess angels really get around in this manga (don't they become fallen angels/Grigori?).

All in all, nothing exceptional about Bloody Cross; the drawing is okay but it does get better progressively; the plot is what plot I got distracted by boobs alright, I think it might be better if Shiwo did more research and went info dumping about all those God's Inheritances on the readers; the characters aren't bad at all; Sanae can learn a thing or two from Satsuki, who became OP after he threw away "logic" (common sense). A decent series. Read it while you wait for your instant noodles. Oh yeah the official site is here Bloody Cross Official Site (JP), contains a link to a Special Movie which isn't special at all.

Well that was a pretty terrible review but first post so yeah.