April 19, 2007

Haruko Momoi to appear in Kassel, Germany

Momoi will apparently be visiting the Connichi festival in Kassel, Germany from September 7th to September 9th. Having just returned from Europe recently, I curse my terrible timing. Did North America miss its chance forever after the cancelled UNDER17 event?

update: Typo on "Kassel" fixed. Thanks Balduin.

Posted by Paranda at 3:25 PM | Comments (9)

April 18, 2007

I've overlooked Goto Yuko for a while

goto.jpgAnd now it's time to atone. The more I read and listen to Goto Yuko, the more I realize how incredibly good she is at her job. Although she's not a great singer, she makes up for it in a lot of ways. Rapid-fire speech, a fine tuned ability to harmonize with her character roles, quick interview wit, a very appealing "default" voice (for live appearances and events), insightful prose even for a daily blog, and all around sense of natural style combine to make a powerful seiyuu, and one that quickly wins fans.

She might not have the same vigor of some of the younger seiyuu, but she's already got some moderate fame and recognition, and I think it has the potential to snowball into something much larger if things go right - which they appear to be, if her recent victory at the Seiyuu Awards means anything. I just hope she doesn't get lost as another cog in the machine that is Production baobab.

Posted by Paranda at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2007

Spring 2007 Anime, part 2

Pass:

Bokurano - The first thing I like about Bokurano: The OP. Second thing; Introductory monologue. Third thing: a huge cast of characters from varied family backgrounds, and serious analysis of motivations and social views. Hmm...so 3 things I like within 5 minutes of the show starting. And knowing this will turn out as some messed up Ender's Game/Lord Of The Flies thing later? Yeah I'll watch this. No doubt.

sola - I think I liked this show just from watching the first five minutes, where basically a guy bikes around in the dark accompanied by soft vocals and piano. I was kind of disappointed afterwards when I learned this wasn't going to be another ARIA, but after two episodes, I decided to stick with it anyway. The overall premise at least seems mildly interesting, even if I am not too fond of the characters (they are horribly unoriginal, and not in an ironic way). But, I do like the style and pacing so far, plus the cast is good enough to warrant a longer look. I'm not a huge Noto fanboy though - I admire her ability, but don't think she was the right voice for this character.

Hayate no Gotoku! - This turned out to be pretty funny after all. Moved from Undecided to Pass
Idolmaster Xenoglossia - Nothing spectacular but it has managed to hold my interest enough to get a pass.

Claymore - This couldn't possibly get any better. Still favorite show this season.
Nanoha StrikerS - Needs more violence!
Nagasarete Airantou - This is secretly Looney Tunes, but with anime girls.

Undecided:

Hitohira - Overall I enjoyed it. The setup is pretty nice: a girl with severe social anxiety is coerced by a bunch of upperclassmen into a drama club, and now she must confront her debilitating stage fright. The various characters are also fun, so I'll probably be watching this series all the way through. It's a good chance to see what a fresh name like Orie can do, plus I haven't heard Hikami Kyoko do anything in a long time.

Shining Tears X Wind - First impressions are not too good. Nothing in the first episode made any sense, and the characters aren't likeable at all. This show is an example of how not to make an anime based on RPG. Aside from Tony designs, and some famous voices, there's no reason to watch this. Unfortunately for this show, all my favorite seiyuu are already present in other shows this season so I already have my fix. If the next episode doesn't improve, this is dropped.

Dropped:

Kamichama Karin - Second dropped series of the season. Well I gave Kamichama Karin the benefit of the doubt after episode one, but after episode two, I can just safely say this show flat out fucking sucks. The story is shit, the characters are shit, the pacing is shit, the voices are shit. It took two full episodes for Karin to transform into a God, and her ultimate power manifests itself as a dress and a glowing ball that gets shot at a static target. Even Maitan couldn't save this travesty, and Sawashiro's horrible attempts at doing a "cool guy" voice only irritated me further. Koge Donbo is a Harry Potter obsessed no-talent hack and this show destroyed any respect I still had for her left over from early Di Gi Charat 4-koma strips. It makes me ashamed that I even watched one episode of this. This series is on par with crappy fanfiction written by an elementary school girl.

Lucky Star

Pending:
Seto no Hanayome
Kaze no Stigma
Toward the Terra
Heroic Age

Posted by Paranda at 9:08 AM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2007

Spring 2007 Anime

Time to assess some of this season's new lineup. In order from most favorite to least favorite.

Pass:

Claymore - This fantastic show seems to be my favorite so far. It has everything that I like: big swords, fantasy, demons, and especially superstrong oneechans voiced by Kuwashima Houko.

Nanoha StrikerS - A nice combination of famous seiyuu and what amounts to the techno-magic version of DBZ. Plus it has the coolness quota filled by Fate, cuteness quota filled by Reinforce Zwei.

Nagasarete Airantou - More seiyuu stuff that I need to watch. As for harem series, generally the crazier it gets the better, and this is pretty out there. In general, it is amusing although it abuses nosebleed gags way too much. Those haven't been funny for years, possibly never.

Undecided:

Idolmaster Xenoglossia - Initially I was skeptical about the mecha, but after watching the first half of the episode, I realized that if this had been another typical idol show, I'd have dropped it right away - because the first half was boring as shit. Watching Lovely Idol and Lovegechu caused me to burn out on idol shows, so the added mecha element was probably necessary. Which turned out to be right since the second half was kind of interesting. This also gets the three episode test.

Hayate no Gotoku! - I'm not really into this stuff, but Kugimiya+Shiraishi lead, KOTOKO OP, and a bunch of references force me to keep this in consideration. Will get the three episode test. As much as it pains me to drop a Kugimiya show, I suspect it will not pass, but I MUST HAVE HOPE.

Kamichama Karin - I don't really like the characters (the guy is an ass, and I don't consider his actions at the end enough for redemption unless he fucking apologizes for that cat comment), and I'm also getting bored with Koge's art. But, I like Maitan, and "playing God" series, so I'll watch just one more episode before deciding.

Dropped:

Lucky Star - First dropped show of the season. I enjoyed playing the DS game, but the show just didn't appeal to me. There's too much talking and the cast isn't strong enough to back up watching this for even seiyuu reasons. They should just scrap Lucky Star and make a Lucky Channel spinoff.

Pending (haven't watched, but want to):
Seto no Hanayome
Sola
Bokurano
Toward the Terra
Shining Tears
Hitohira
Kaze no Stigma

Posted by Paranda at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

April 9, 2007

Impressions: 4-EVER - Music of the Eternities, Sakakibara Yui - Far Away.

LACA5622.jpgI finally got around to listening to 4-EVER's CD "Master of Epic Original Soundtrack - Music of the Eternities" that was released last month. I've only seen two episodes of the show, and it's not that special aside from having a few amusing puns, Chuu*Bukotsu scenes, and CLOVER cast as Waragecha V. The soundtrack on the other hand, is pretty standout. I'm not going to go as far as to compare it to masterpieces like Satou Naoki's work for Eureka Seven, but "Music of the Eternities" is probably too good to be wasted on a seemingly cheap generic show like Master of Epic.

4-EVER uses a large mix of instruments creating a lot of nice and sometimes surprisingly complex sounds. There's stuff using the harpsichord and accordion, full-on orchestral tunes, and cheesy synthpop to provide a theme for every possible setting, and none of it is boring. Other nice bonuses, also composed by 4-EVER, are the Waragecha V theme song and Wonderful World sung by CLOVER, both of which will forcefully drill themselves into your head and make it hard for you to resist singing randomly in public at great social detriment. Koike Masaya once again proves himself as a capable BGM musician, and his new unit is off to a good start if this soundtrack is indicative of what is to come in the future.

Another single I have picked up lately is Sakakibara Yui's new release, Far Away. This CD follows the same formula as her previous two singles, coupling one upbeat fast-paced pop tune with one slower acoustic track (Ai no uta) to show off her range. The production is solid, and although the Far Away lacks the insanely addicting qualities of "Beautiful Day" it is nonetheless fine looping material. Plus, if you enjoy looking at your track play through spectrum analyzers, this one is especially frantic. I also think Ai no uta is one of the better slow tracks that she has put out lately, further adding value to this single. Importing is expensive, and although I regularly sing hyperbolic praises of many many seiyuu, I am actually relatively picky on which artists to buy as routine. At the current rate, Yui is very close to moving herself from my "sometimes buy" to "always buy religiously" list.

Other music suggestions for this month:

Edelweiss Vocal Album "Sunset Sunrise": YURIA and yocuza* are present, which already makes this worth getting, but the real treat on here is some great stuff from Satou Hiromi (the singer, not the porn star) and Nakahara Ryou.

Love Planet Five - Tenjou wo Kakeru Mono Tachi: Standard I've stuff, but this is the first time I've seen a single with this many I've singers since "See You". A good kickoff to the special unit that is possibly here to stay, if Rondorobe giving them their own section means anything. Fans of Kawada Mami should also consider grabbing the Mami Kawada First Live Tour 2006 "Seed" Live&Life vol.1. Although, word of warning for obsessive types, "Vol.1" means you will inevitably be lured into buying more volumes to complete your collection. Goodbye paycheck.

Posted by Paranda at 6:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2007

Reinforce Zwei

Cute. Yukana is OK in my book.

I love the way she says Zwei.

But...Subaru~~~~

Oh..Saito Chiwa, can I love you any more?

I am not coherent today.

It is because Nanoha Strikers.

The happiness.

Posted by Paranda at 4:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 1, 2007

Ar Tonelico, 18 hours and counting

After killing myself for two weeks with a MASSIVE amount of work, I've finally had time to take a break. Reviewing Haruko UP DATE 2 is temporarily on hold as I spend this precious weekend mass playing Ar Tonelico before I return to another week of midterms and papers. Luckily, the game is short enough that I can probably beat it by today.

Ar Tonelico is a 2D RPG game with zero grind, a light hearted story, plenty of distractions to break up the crawl, cute character designs, heavily disguised (and sometimes not-so-well-disguised) sexual dialogue, and plenty of moe dating game elements. I've gotten pretty tired of the sheer amount of boring tasks required to complete games for RPG perfectionists, especially after sinking some 90 hours into FF12 in nothing but dark dungeons. Ar Tonelico, with its short zero tension romp through bright forests and villages, was the game I needed to cleanse my mind from FF12's dirty aftertaste. But how can it get better? Ar Tonelico's three main characters are voiced by none other than the RAMS power cast.

There's RAMS's flagship female, ultra veteran Nogawa Sakura as Misha, the childhood friend. Representing Clover, the high pitched "gyaorurururuu" Miyazaki Ui plays Aurica, the traumatized girl with no confidence. And, my favorite rookie superstar Sakai Kanako stars as Shurelia, the heavily armed oneesama.

edit: Finished.

The no "new game+" is bullshit though. I should have saved more at critical plot points. I had to betray the Aurica storyline I was running throughout the entire game because Sakai Kanako seduced me with her voice at the last second :D

Posted by Paranda at 8:06 AM | Comments (0)

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