Friday, August 03, 2007

Maintenance is on...

Hi, everybody! I hope to have an entry with new music ready for the weekend, but in the meantinme I have been reuploading albums, erasing spam comments, updating entries... just regular maintenance work on the blog.
The posts for the months of February, March, April and May of last year (Mari Hamada, Kiroro, Spitz, Escaflowne Movie OST, ROmantic Mode, Akino Arai, Nanase Aikawa and many more) are fully operational now, so go take a look at those by clicking on the above links. Keep checking the Archive section down on your right for more music. I'll be back as soon as possible, dropping a quick message to let you know of other updated entries and/or with that promised brand new music post I've been talking about. Take care. AOI.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Glad to be back...

Hi everybody... After so much time without posting, I don't know how to start writing this entry but with apologies for the long delay. I've been awfully busy. Yes, for this past 7 full months. Really. And this blog has evidently endured the consequences. It's not like I am suddenly done with my studies or my work is more flexible in any aspect, but I can't really go on looking the other way while the comments sections of the entries are filled with spam, album links expire, youtube videos are down and so on.

So I decided to come back once and for all, start posting again and also do some maintenance work to the site. The word verification system is on for the comments (though I wish I could erase the spam... if somebody knows how to, let me know via email) and I will start uploading the albums that are gone, replacing youtube links... hell, even correcting typos in the entries if I spot them ! :-)
I began with one of my favorites entries, the one about the movie "Windaria" and its wonderful soundtrack. Now, this score is VERY RARE, so you better grab it as soon as possible here, love it and hopefully it'll be enough to make you want to check out the film, if you haven't already. Just AVOID the dubbed, cut/censored/infantilised American version and try to get the original Japanese version. A visitor long ago had asked for a new rip in better quality of this soundtrack, and I'm happy to have fulfilled that request. So if back in the day you downloaded that album from this place, be sure to get it once more, in better quality and without that annoying sound at the beginning of each track. I also reuploaded the songs posted in my very first entry, which explained the concept behind this blog and introduced Akino Arai. You can check it out here.

Ok, now I got to go back to my books... :-S I'll be dropping a line here to warn you that an entry has been updated. And of course I hope to be writing new ones soon, posting new music. I look forward to it. Thanks to everybody that's been commenting and leaving short messages in the box in my absence.
Feels nice to be back !

AOI ^_^

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Friday, December 29, 2006


You thought I had passed away in India ?! Well, you're not THAT lucky... :-) Don't get me wrong, I got bitten by a stray dog (?!) and had to take rabies jabs as a precautionary measure, but that isolated incident and commuting to downtown Mumbai using public transport was the closest I ever felt to "danger" in such a fascinating country. Hopefully someday I'll be able to go back there...
I'm back home since a week and a half ago, but didn't have the time to update as promised. Gomen, gomen... You know, it's actually hard to go back to the routine after such a nice trip, specially if you have to go back to work and study during the holidays, when you are supposed to be having a great time with family and friends ! :-S

Anyway, those that are already used to my apologies for scarce updates know that at least I try to make up for them as well as I can. Today I have in store a triple treat for you: the 3 CD set compiling ALL of the songs made for that iconic OVA series released in the late 80's: BUBBLEGUM CRISIS ! To anime fans in their 30's, this name brings back loads of nostalgia. Bubblegum Crisis (BGC, for short) was one of the very first hits in OVA format (anime produced for straight-to-video release), and one of the first major titles overseas, having garnered legions of fans in Western Audiences. The reasons are multiple.

On the one hand, there was the sci-fi/cyberpunk plot: BGC is about a female group of mercenaries called "Knight Sabers", living in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, fighting biodroids (boomers) that actually helped re-built the city from scratch after a devastating earthquake but that are going berserk now. As the series progresses, it is revealed that both the group leader and the corporation behind the construction of boomers have hidden agendas. On the other hand, in the technical department, this series excelled. Although now it may look extremely dated, back then these standards of quality for animation were high, specially for the OVA format. And even if the animation may not have aged well, at least the music has.

BGC is unanimously remembered for its high standards in the music department. Each of the 8 OVAs that were produced counted with an individual soundtrack album by Kouji Makaino and the songs therein included are among the biggest classics in the fandom. Borrowing elements from the sounds of Heart, Laura Branigan, Bonnie Tyler -among others- and of the soundtracks of films such as "Streets of Fire", "Footloose", "Flashdance" or "Top Gun", the BGC songs will certainly take you back to 80's pop/rock bonanza. Of course, there are tracks to be skipped. CD2 of this collection gathers the songs sung by the seiyuus in the roles of Linna, Nene and Sylia and the material is not as great as the songs in CD1 and CD3. Nene's seiyuu (Akiko Hiramatsu) seems to have problems even holding a note and although Michie Tomizawa is an accomplished singer, her songs are the kind of 80's pop that nobody cares to remember... except for "Route California" ! That one's awesome and worth downloading the whole CD.

Now don't let my review of CD2 discourage you from getting the whole package. If the BGC soundtracks are to this day a milestone in anime music and a reference that raised the quality bar in the industry, it is mainly for what you'll hear in the other two CDs. The songs performed by Kinuko Ohmori (the seiyuu for Priss), Maiko Hashimoto (seiyuu for Vision) and Yuiko Tsubokura (of Kimagure Orange Road fame), as well as the songs peformed by the Knight Sabers as a group, are all great and worth giving to them a listen in loud volume.

To see what I mean, enjoy here the OP clip to the first OVA, courtesy of machinaezero @ YouTube, in which we get a first glimpse of the main characters of the series and the threat that boomers are while the addictive rhythm of the instant anime classic "Konya wa HURRICANE" by Priss is heard on the background:

And now courtesy of Murrrrraaoowrrr @ YouTube, here you have a rare clip of Maiko Hashimoto (the seiyuu for Vision) performing "Say Yes" in concert, with combined footage from the OVA, in a clip taken from the special video release "Hurricane Live 2033":

Undoubtedly, my favorite of the whole bunch has to be "Mad Machine". As if that song wasn't great enough and Kinuko Ohmori's rendition wasn't absorbing in itself, you have that wicked guitar solo that starts at the 3:45 minute and doesn't let go for over a minute. A must listen.

BGC had many other incarnations and spin-offs, most notably the 26-episode TV series "Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040", which aired in 1998. To call that TV series a remake is not exactly accurate, but in any case, as in any other product related to the BGC universe, the soundtrack was a priority and some excellent music was produced and sung by Priss's new seiyuu, Akira Sudou... including a revamped version of "Konya wa HURRICANE".

Now, enjoy "Bubblegum Crisis Complete Vocal Collection 3CD Set"
Download CD1
Download CD2
Download CD3

And Happy New Year to everybody... ^_^

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another quick update :-S

Sorry guys, you know this is not the ideal way to do an update like those you are used to if you are regular visitors to this place, but believe me that I've been very busy and didn't have the time or the concentration to write one of my usual rants about a certain Jpop act and their links to anime... :-S Let me just keep this place alive by fulfilling mike's request for the OP of the TV series "Boys Be". The song is "Daijoubu" and, together with its ED "Minna ga Inne", are performed by Aki Maeda.

Download "Daijoubu"
Download "Minna ga Inne"

And I'm sorry, but on the weekend I'm leaving to India... yay ! :-) Two weeks presenting a paper in a workshop and doing some tourism. It'll be my first time in that country and I'm really excited. Wish me luck over there and when I get back home, promise to write the entry on Eureka Seven and on the album that I'm dropping here for you to enjoy during my 14 days of absence... Naomi Tamura's "Thanks a Million ~The singles of Naomi Tamura~". A brilliant compilation for a brilliant singer/songwriter, very popular in the fandom after performing 2 OPs for Magic Knight Rayearth (both included in the compilation...).

I hope to come back soon and still find visitors to this place and comments on the music !! :-P
Til then, take care !

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Eureka ! An update and an album reuploaded ! :-P

I'm once again sorry for the lack of updates. Let me just tell you that I reuploaded (for the second time, damn it ! :-S) the amazing compilation album by ROmantic Mode "Romantic Pleasures: The Best of ROmantic Mode" and post for the moment the link to "Eureka Seven Complete Best", the album compiling OPs and EDs for this great 2005/6 anime TV series produced by the BONES Studio. I'll write the corresponding article as soon as possible. Enjoy ! ^_^

Monday, October 23, 2006

Anime Music Brilliantine 2006 Part II

Hi again and my apologies one more time for the delay in updating the blog. This time I won't bore you with whatever's been going in my life that is *slightly* more important than this place, but be sure that I still enjoy blogging, posting music, exposing some amazing Japanese artists to the world and get your comments, messages and emails. Yeah, the two of them that I get each 15 days... To make up for the lack of updates, I thought about doing part two to the 2006 anime music brilliantine... you know, some songs that have really caught my attention throughout season 2006 in anime. With the second part of the season starting this month, there'll surely be at least a Part III some time in the future.

So let's start with the best of the bunch, IMO. This has to be the latest OLIVIA single, a double A side with the second OP & ED of the TV adaptation of "Nana". In part 1 of the Brilliantine I posted the first OP (courtesy of Anna Tsuchiya) and ED (also sung by OLIVIA) and I wrongly reported that Anna would sing the second OP as well. Well, it turns out that Anna is quite busy promoting her fantastic album "strip me?" and couldn't be on board for recording a track for "Nana". At the same time,"Nana"'s author Ai Yazawa was so pleased with OLIVIA being the singing voice of the character of Reira that now we have the new OP & ED sung by the latter. Enjoy (courtesy of @ YouTube) the new intro clip of "Nana" featuring the song "Wish" and sporting awesome animation and direction:

Since I previously talked a bit about "Nana" and what it is about, let's focus on OLIVIA instead. OLIVIA is amazing. That is what you have to know first. If you are one of the 430+ people that downloaded "A little pain" and left no comment whatsoever, you know what I'm talking about. Think Amy Lee of Evanescence, only cooler and more talented. Her music can be sometimes weird, but never ceases to catch your attention. And then there's the voice ! Oddly, she has never been a popular act in Japan, and why she is not an international star is beyond me. She's the daughter of an American man and a Japanese woman, so she is bilingual and shouldn't have a problem with language barriers. The fact of increasingly composing in English has raised her popularity overseas, yet only thanks to her involvement in "Nana" are the Japanese (re)discovering her talent. For now, enjoy the next two songs. In a loud volume. And if you don't love them, don't even bother coming back... :-P

OP2: "Wish" by OLIVIA
ED2: "Starless night" by OLIVIA

Secondly, we have OP and ED of "Ouran High School Host Club", a comedy set in the world of the insanely rich high school students of Ouran Private Academy. In that school, a guy has the idea of creating an all-male Host Club, with the guys entertaining the girls with easy talk over cups of tea and cake, and seducing them with ludicrously corny lines... all for a price. In this team, the accidental entry of Haruhi will turn things upside down from the start. Initially mistaken for a boy by the rest, the girl will become a resounding success in the Host Club cross-dressing as a male student. But there will also be complications when several Host Club members start having feelings for her... A great comedy, full of likeable characters. Enjoy the opening here, thanks to orenxso @ YouTube:

That addictive song is "Sakura Kiss", by Chieko Kawabe, a girl that started her music career in the role of Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury in the first musical they did on "Sailor Moon". Since then, she has collaborated in other TV projects, most notably contributing the ED "Be your girl" to "Elfen Lied" TV series. The ED to "Ouran..." is performed by a rock band called LAST ALLIANCE. The use they make out of this song in the final episode was very wise and moving. It's a series I recommend, even if the ending (with the manga still ongoing) feels a bit rushed and you think they could have developed a bit more such great characters. When you reach episode 24, you'll see what I mean ^_^. Enjoy the songs:

Ouran High School Host Club
OP: "Sakura Kiss" by Chieko Kawabe
ED: "Shissou" by LAST ALLIANCE

Now it's the turn of "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" intro and outro songs. Actually, these are the OP & ED for season 2 of the series, which is ongoing with great success. Tsubasa is a manga that the CLAMP ladies started simultaneously to their other current big hit: XXXholic. The crossovers between both series abound, a resource that CLAMP loves to use in their mangas. Still, this particular story didn't catch my attention at all, so I'd feel awkward recommending it. But hey, the soundtrack is penned by the amazing Yuki Kajiura (Noir, .hack) and the songs are great.
Check the OP2 clip here, courtesy of DCo @ YouTube:

Rather boring, I must say, like the series itself, IMO, but the songs are quite good. For OP2 and ED2 both KINYA and lovely Maaya Sakamoto were around for reprising their duties and singing in season 2. Now... Maaya had her own post not long ago, so let me tell you something about Kotani Kinya: if his voice sounds familiar to you, it might be because he became a household name by being the singing voice to the character of upcoming rock star Shuichi Shindou in the TV series of "Gravitation". He's also an actor, having participated in the Jdrama "Love Story" in 2001. Take a listen to the full version of "It's" and then to peppy Maaya singing "Kazemachi Jet".

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles
OP2: "It's" by KINYA
ED2: "Kazemachi Jet" by Maaya Sakamoto

Next are the OP & EDs to Honey and Clover II, the 12 episode sequel to last year's Honey and Clover ("Hachimitsu to Kuroubaa"). H&C is a nice series. If you are into "slice of life" stories like me, sprinkled with romance, drama and comedy, you'd enjoy this one a lot and warm up to the characters immediately. It tells the story of three male students at an art college and the love triangles they are caught in with different women in their life. The soundtrack features A LOT of insert songs by Spitz (one of my favorite bands) and Suga Shikao, since Chika Umino's (the author of the manga) favorite albums are precisely "Hachimitsu" by Spitz and "Clover" by Suga Shikao. But the songs I picked for this post are performed by Yuki, Suneohair, and a band that goes under the name of "The band has no name" (?!).

God bless Yuki... ^_^ Her voice can be quite unnerving. I should know because I absolutely detested her when I heard for the first time the song she did as OP for the first season of H&C... And yet I love this one below, don't ask me why. Suneohair ... well, I don't really have much information on him other than he became famous thanks to this series and that he sounds A LOT like a younger version of Masamune Kusano from Spitz. To make up for this lack of info, enjoy here the PV for the song you'll find below ^_^, courtesy of wickedrigel07 @ YouTube:

And about "The band has no name", well, all you need to know is that the song below is amazing, so download it and stop asking questions, ok ? :-P

Honey and Clover II
OP1: "Fugainaiya" by Yuki
ED1: "Split" by Suneohair
ED2: "Mistake" by "The band has no name"

And finally, let's finish this wrap up with some shonen anime. "Gintama" premiered last April with the first notes of Tommy Heavenly6's latest single "Pray" (Well, actually she has a Halloween single hitting the airwaves right now that I think is being released this week). Gintama tells the story of a samurai living in a fictional Japan invaded by an alien race that has forbidden samurais to carry swords... Well, I haven't seen the series and I don't plan to, though I've read a couple of the manga chapters and I must say that the absurd humour in them is very appealing ^_^. But as far as the music goes, the Tommy OP is a winner, and the ED by newcomers Captain Strydom (who also did an ED for "Naruto") will have you humming for a while... Enjoy them

OP1: "Pray" by Tommy Heavenly6
ED1: "Fuusen gam" by Captain Strydom

So that makes it for today's update. I noticed that each time I post individual songs, the post (in number of downloads) is more popular than if I post a full album... can somebody actually explain to me that ? Is there a reason I'm missing ? I welcome your feedback, so if you feel it's better to have this kind of updates, let me know.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Re-Upload Galore II

A quick message to let you know that two more albums have been reuploaded. I'm talking about Akino Arai's latest compilation and Nanase Aikawa's "Crimson" album. The soundtracks to the Escaflowne and Windaria movies will be re-uploaded once I rip those CDs again in January with a higher bitrate... The new ripping is specially needed in the case of Windaria, 'cause the files I have with me here in Switzerland have an annoying clicking sound at the beginning of every track :-S. So, for now, this will conclude the re-uploading session. Follow the links below to check the entries I wrote about Akino Arai and Nanase Aikawa. And always remember to check the archives of this and other blogs, 'cause you may be missing great things and letting valid links expire because of inactivity :-(. If you find any other dead links, please let me know via email or the shoutbox. I'd appreciate it.

Nanase Aikawa
Akino Arai