Tuesday, February 28. 2012
A few weeks ago, a friend caught my attention with his claim that the new series Moretsu Pirates (officially "Bodacious Space Pirates" in English, although Stormshrug insists on calling it Hot Pirates) had the worst OP sequence he'd ever seen. Now, I've seen a lot of OPs in my day, and some of them are pretty bad, but nothing stood out as being seriously the worst of the bunch, so I went and checked it out -- sure enough, the Moretsu Pirates OP is pretty bad: everything about it is kind of scattered and inconsistent, like, what are they even trying to achieve here? Is it a show about hot girls in space? Is it a serious space opera with exploding ships and stuff? And the song itself, by the always-peculiar group Momoiro Clover, is just as confused: is it supposed to be heavy metal? Light seiyuu pop? Is it supposed to be like the campy-yet-strangely-catchy Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko OP? I'm not sure.
And yet, after talking with my friend Tsubasa, he tipped me off to the existence of an even worse anime OP from this same season, one that I'm pretty sure after watching it takes the cake for the worst anime OP, ever. It's so bad I want to watch it again but I can't because it's too terrible. I... there are just no words that can capture the experience. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Kill Me Baby
So now that you've seen that... first thing's first, my apologies. But I ask of you... what are your candidates for worst OP ever? Can anything top our reigning champion?! ONLY TIME WILL TELL.
Wednesday, December 31. 2008
I've been posting more at my personal blog recently, but right when AnimeRemix went down and OverCoat revived NMM, the perfect opportunity to post here popped up. A friend of mine recently acquired a copy of a CD called Exit Trance Presents SPEED ANIME TRANCE COMPLETE BEST while browsing Kinokuniya. It's a pretty fun album that contains a lot of trance remixes of popular anime songs (mostly opening themes, but with a few others). The limited edition also comes with a figure of some Exit Trance anime mascots (the ones in the image). It turns out this is sort of a collection of tracks from several previous Speed Anime Trance albums on the Exit Tunes label.
The style and quality of the music is pretty reminiscent of Beatmania trance, if you're familiar with it. This is not a coincidence - our resident Bemani-fanboy Spiritsnare took one glance at the box and recognized some of the same artists! That's not to say that it's bad - in fact, most of the music is pretty catchy if you like trance. It leans towards the cheesey side once in a while, but overall I'm a big fan of the album. And most people should recognize at least a few tracks. (I knew just over a dozen; my friend was familiar with all but three or four of them.)
The vocals are all covers sung by a few different artists. None of them are really up to par with the tracks' original singers (Maaya Sakamoto, KOTOKO, Nana Mizuki, etc.) but it's nice to hear a fully original cover rather than just sampled vocals. I also feel like the mastering of the vocal tracks is unfortunately muddy, but it doesn't make the songs unlistenable.
The CD is presented as a gapless "megamix" in 30 tracks, which is pretty impressive. A few of them are presented as full versions, but most only follow the TV-size versions of the original songs. I've bolded the full-length tracks in the following tracklist:
So there you have it! If I don't pick up a copy of this CD at Kinokuniya soon, I'll probably end up ordering it or one of the other volumes.
Did I mention that the album jacket art is pretty nice, too?
Edit: fixed some references to the Macross F songs in the tracklist. It's hard to properly mark something as "OP2" for example when there's another song used for one episode between it and the first OP, and it's sometimes used as an ED, too... but I've tried to use the most obvious way to refer to things.
Wednesday, August 22. 2007
So today I received the OP single to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, by Eiko Shimamiya. Considering that the CD was officially released in Japan this very same date, that is freaking fast. The title song, å¥ˆè½ã®èŠ± (Naraku no Hana, or "Flower of the Abyss") is pretty much exactly what I expected out of it - a long (5:01) version of exactly the same thing the opening is. It has an extended intro consisting of some more filtered, reversed sounds (actually the reverse of the ending few seconds of the long version, it seems), which is pretty creepy-atmospheric. Some segments in the longer version that remind me a little of the first Higurashi OP - at least, moreso than the TV size version does. That's a good feeling. There's also what's almost a solo of the extremely synthetic sounding guitar lead (I suspect it's just very filtered, not actually "fake") which leads into a wonderful breakdown with just the chorus over some slight pads. It works beautifully to provide a refreshing pause before the climax of the song. I was also impressed with the strength and quality of the bass during the second verse. Overall, the song is still quite what I expected, in a very good way.
What I didn't expect was how interesting it would be to listen to the "instrumental" (read: karaoke) version, which omits not only the main vocal track, but the reversed versions of the old Higurashi intro. There's a lot of interesting audio texture and composition going on here that's lost behind Eiko Shimamiya's (admittedly wonderful) vocals. There's a lot of good string composition, some generic but nicely played, quiet background guitar, a few more filtered sound effects that I didn't notice, and an overall different feel - the emphasis goes on different beats and it feels much more laid-back when just the kick/bass/sfx groove takes over during the verse or the pads take over during the bridge.
The B-side, "FLOW", is not bad, but it's not up to par with Naraku no Hana, in either incarnation. It's getting closer to traditional J-pop, with an upbeat and totally overdone chord progression - though it doesn't develop into much else, as huge chunks of the song are spent switching between only two chords repeatedly. It has a nice, slow-attack, rhodes-esque synth lead laying down the main melody, while the stereotypical J-pop guitar riffs over drums, which are so obviously sequenced it's painful. There are some interesting effects here and there, but the song doesn't do much by comparison, and the instrumental / karaoke version really doesn't go anywhere, without Eiko Shimamiya's vocals.
As for packaging, aside from the cover which looks like it's trying to be Henry Matisse, the back is a picture of Rika and Hanyuu back to back, apparently naked except for a bed of flowers and flowing hair. The inside of the booklet is plain, just mostyl red, grey, and blue, with some inversed flower pictures and the lyrics; the CD is a nice texture and shade of plain, empty grey, except the title written in small red text. There's also a "Character Card" inserted in the pack - I don't know if they're all the same, but mine has a couple images of Hanyuu on one side, and part of a larger picture on the back: I got most of Rena plus what looks to be Shion's hair and a bit of her cafe uniform. Honestly, the card is not worth really noting, despite the sticker they put on the packaging proudly advertising its inclusion.
Overall, it was quite a tasty album, and the karaoke version of Naraku no Hana is a pleasant surprise, but the main point of the single is the one, title track. And when shipping (Â¥2000) is almost twice as much as the already-pricey CD (Â¥1200), that means that this song comes at a very dear price to fans. Is it worth it? Probably not. But is it good? Oh yes.
Thursday, July 26. 2007
My El Cazador CD arrived via DHL today. Well, at this point, it might be more accurate to say yesterday. It came in just before noon while I was at work. "El Cazador Original Soundtrack 1", as it is labeled (not getting creative like they did with the Tsubasa Chronicle "Future Soundscape" OSTs here) contains 17 tracks for a total of 51 minutes, 1 second of
Overall, this first El Cazador soundtrack is very solid quality, with Yuki Kajiura sounding a lot less restrained than in some of her other recent endeavors. The level of traditionalism and experimentation is about on par with her Madlax soundtracks, which is high praise. Many of the tracks, such as #1, "Maxwell's Witch", are sort of less interesting songs that get used often in the background of the anime; #14 ("hotel del sol") and #13 ("small fry") are all passable quality but not worth frothing over. There are a number of subtle but good tracks, such as the mood-setting acoustic guitar solo "ennui", the haunting pan-pipe piece "murderous intent", the rocking "hit it and run!", and the bluesy "ballad of a bounty hunter", each of which is definitely worthwhile in its own way - but it cost me $50 to import this thing (international shipping on CDs still feels like banditry to me). Thankfully, there are three songs of such incredible quality that I don't regret it at all:
Anyway, the gist of this is that if you're familiar with Kajiura, you probably don't require this review to decide whether or not you want the soundtrack. However, it's up to you whether you're willing to import it at that price. Roughly $30 for the CD plus $20 in shipping adds up to highway robbery (heck, for that price you could get an entire season of Emma), but for a soundtrack like this, I'm willing to suffer the cost.
Tuesday, July 24. 2007
This song is, apparently, the character single for Keiichi and Detective Oishi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. The images are just a MAD put together by a fan. I think they only complement the incredibly amazing song, though.
As an aside, I got an email from Amazon Japan this morning - I didn't get a chance to look at it closely, but I think it means my El Cazador OST shipped. I'll be sure to review it when it arrives!