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5 Anime Soundtracks #1

samedi 23 juin 2018 à 05:03

1. Gunslinger Girl (2003)
The first anime soundtrack that always comes to my mind is that of the first Gunslinger Girl adaptation. This is a gorgeous and emotional orchestral soundtrack by Toshihiko Sahashi, entirely appropriate for the tragic storyline and Madhouse visuals. Delicate melodies and beautiful dynamics.
Marvous Music Vibrations:

2. Initial D: First Stage (Sound Files) (1998)
Well-known for its upbeat assortment of eurobeat, the BGM composers of the Initial D franchise are often overlooked. Ryuichi Katsumata's work adds as much character and fun as any Dave Rodgers or Mega NRG Man track. "Deep Fear," "Sad Emotion," "Sad," and "Enigma" (to name just a few) instill immediate nostalgia.
Avex Trax:

3. Noragami (2014)
Taku Iwasaki is easily one of my favorite composers, and his score for Noragami was key to my enjoyment of the series. His trademark funky electronic beats, heartfelt instrumental passages and sliced up samples can be found in abundance within this diverse song collection.
Avex Trax:

4. Air Gear (2006)
The groovy themes continue with the Air Gear soundtrack, and how appropriate that Hideki Naganuma is the man behind the jams of this over the top, high-flying action sports anime adpatation. Going under the name "Skankfunk" this time around, Hideki is more known for his work in video game music, including the Jet Set Radio titles.
avex mode:

5. School Days (2007)
Conceptually-simple, Ookubo Kaoru's School Days soundtrack gently shifts from giddy classroom themes to sadder, more reflective piano tunes before dropping fully into darker territory with tracks such as "Hamon."

Please note that this is not a "top" or "best" list.

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Now and Then, Here and There

vendredi 8 juin 2018 à 20:27
Now and Then, Here and There (TV Series, 1999-2000)
Produced by Pioneer LDC

I've just finished re-watching Now and Then, Here and There, and honestly I have no idea where to begin. That's less than ideal when my entire point of watching this millennium-crossing series again was to write a review for it, but alas... I'll just have to take a deep breath and fling myself right into it.

We won't be fighting. It will be much worse.”

Created and directed by Akitaro Daichi, Now and Then had its broadcast debut in October of 1999. The series sees Shu, a young boy who loves recklessly charging forward in kendo class, sucked from his peaceful hometown into a world of war and chaos. For Shu, and all of those he meets on this unnamed planet, things only go downhill from here.

On the warpath is Hamdo: a maniacal military dictator with a paranoid streak and a desire to bend the world around him to its knees. He's a fantastic villain—splendidly out of his mind and merciless. His abrupt changes in tone are very jarring at first. To complete his vision of domination, Hamdo has abducted entire villages: men, women and especially children. His primary objective, however, is the powerful Lala-Ru: a child in appearance who uses a special pendant to control water. So begins Shu's journey to protect Lala-Ru and put an end to the terrible fighting.

Running at thirteen episodes, Now and Then wastes no time. Exceptional writing makes each episode breeze by, but the powerful scenes make sure that definite impressions are left. Dynamics between characters such as Hamdo and his right-hand woman Abelia are unpredictable and fascinating to watch.

Animation by AIC is pretty standard and probably the most forgettable aspect of the series. The flat-colored late-nineties look is in full effect. Details are lost in big picture shots, but the animation is thankfully more consistent than Blue Gender (another AIC title which debuted the same week).

Handling the music is a favorite composer of mine, Taku Iwasaki (Katanagatari, Noragami, Soul Eater, Gurrenn Lagann, etc.). As only his third animation assignment, Iwasaki stepped up to the task with some devastating themes (“The Bottom”) and intense action tracks (“Deadlock,” “Tumbling”). Reiko Yasuhara, the voice of Abelia, also lends her voice to the great closing theme composed by Toshio Masuda.

Now and Then isn't a pleasant watch. It's cruel, and not for those who are unable to watch cruelty unfold in all manner of ways. There are no punches pulled in this grisly depiction of war. Even on re-watch the final few episodes had me sobbing. Each time you imagine things can't get more awful they do—senseless tragedy, all spurred on by power and the greed for more. Despite the strong anti-war sentiments of Now and Then the only “preaching” comes in the form of action. Great characters carried by great writing. In my opinion this should be required watching.

-2 Awful, ruined it
-1 Took away from the experience
0 Okay, didn't leave an impression good/bad
+1 Added to the experience
+2 Superb

Story: +2
Writing: +2
Characters: +2
Art/Animation: 0
Music: +2
Entertainment: +2
Personal Bias: +1


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Eleven & Warbound

samedi 2 juin 2018 à 15:58
The first full-length Battle Lolisalbum since 2012's Blood Flows North is now available for digital download in the links below.


Eleven & Warboundshall be the first in a five-album series dealing with the Soviet-American War. The Soviet-American War has been the subject of previous Battle Lolisalbums including Исидора, Исидора II, andHeroines Of War II - Survival & Honour. The next album in the series will be released later this year.

More information on the Soviet-American War can be found at the newly-launched Battle Lolis blog. This blog will be updated with information on the Battle Lolis concept.

Boots On The Ground

Eleven & Warboundcover art is copyright of Ceridwen Art:

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Aggressive Retsuko (ONA) Review

jeudi 10 mai 2018 à 06:54
Aggressive Retsuko (ONA Series, 2018)
Produced by Sanrio

Retsuko is twenty-five years old and single, a fifth year accounting employee and a low rung upon her corporate ladder. A buzzing alarm clock sets her daily grind in motion: a cramped ride on the train followed by a full-time endurance test of gossips, suck ups and a very “traditional” boss. Throughout this mundane, lonely existence one thing keeps Retsuko going: Karaoke room 201, catalog number 9091-89. Death metal karaoke. Only after unleashing pent up rage into her personal microphone is the normally-shy Retsuko able to return to being a mild-mannered employee.

Aggressive Retsuko is workplace slice of life, and like most slice of life it's small in scope and relies heavily on your capacity to relate with its characters. Retsuko's co-workers fill your office archetypes and are given some defining quirks (Tsubone's unopenable jars, Gori and Washimi's confident stride, Fenneko's lovely laugh). Most of them take part in some fun relationship-building and break character with excellent timing and result.

Art, courtesy of Fanworks studio, is simple, sleek and cute. Everything about the presentation is concise. The high-saturation visual design carries over into the audio, in which pumping electronic themes and ordinary jingles amount to the polished soundtrack's bulk. And of course there's the metal: crunchy riffing with the grindcore shrieks of a red panda desk jockey pushed to her limit. These climactic bursts of rage only grow more satisfying as the series goes along.

Running a meager ten 15-minute episodes, Aggressive Retsukois a very easy watch, and I felt I got a lot more out of it than I put in.

-2 Awful, ruined it
-1 Took away from the experience
0 Okay, didn't leave an impression good/bad
+1 Added to the experience
+2 Superb

Story: 0
Writing: +1
Characters: +2
Art/Animation: +1
Music: +1
Entertainment: +2
Personal Bias: +1


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Sun and Snow

samedi 5 mai 2018 à 15:18
With spring rushing into summer here it's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were stuck in a hellishly-teasing cycle of snow-melt-snow. It was during these days of fifty degree temperature swings that this song was made. "Sun and Snow" is a chill four-minute track with hints of chiptune and trance.

In other news...

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