Tag Archives: Anime

SID Creates Another Brilliant Song; Bleach Remains Wholly Uninteresting

This was my favorite cover, because I love cats! Notice that SID has been keeping with a "watercolor painted" cover theme for the past few singles. Very distinguished.

With this being my first holiday season in retail, I had no idea what to expect. I now understand why people in retail hate the holidays. The spirit of giving has been replaced by droves of iPhone-wielding robot overlords who misunderstand the purpose of all manner of coupons, spit out obscenities, and do other types of… well… not nice things. It’s rather discouraging. My light at the end of the tunnel has been this little spurt of awesome j-rock we’ve gotten recently. That’s what’s been getting me through the long hours, broken toes, and cold weather.

Today’s little nugget of j-rock awesomeness is SID’s Ranbu no Melody. SID’s been riding the wave of quality singles since Uso dropped last April.

Ranbu no Melody served as the 13th opening theme for the bland and tasteless anime, Bleach. The song is actually exciting and provides a great contrast to the otherwise dull and listless experience one will have while watching an episode of Bleach. I do feel that such a great song being used for such an outdated-please-end-it-already anime is a bit of a waste. I mean, it’s misleading. This epic song is going to pull you in, then the show will start and by the end of the episode all you’ll be able to say is “Bleach taught me that you can be a superhero and a pervert at the same time. Also you can hop dimensions and give six-page monologues and then do like two cool things with a sword. Sure it sucks, but at least the theme song is fun. Right?”

One of Bleach's many enthralling moments, which is not only crucial to the nonexistent plot, but also gives insight about the immense maturity and wisdom of the viewing audience. Remember, children. If you watch an animated woman unbutton her shirt, your IQ will increase tenfold.

The opening sequence does a fantastic job of showcasing all 25897498759375890830859038957438908420849037859304583502830 Bleach characters and at the same time reminding me of exactly why I stopped watching the show in the first place. I think I can live my life without knowing Rangiku’s bra size, or whatever information Bleach fans find to be crucial. Surely the plot isn’t important to them, since we all know that Aizen is the most frustrating anime villain since InuYasha’s main antagonist and part-time bus driver, Naraku.

True story.

Now that I’ve covered why Ranbu no Melody by no means deserves to be in a tired and rootless series like Bleach, (although I will say that the 2-3 minutes of action in every episode completely captures the mood of this song perfectly) I do believe I should explain just what makes this song so great. This song is like an upbeat version of Rain. The melodies of the two songs are in no way comparable, but their pattern of building and exploding relentlessly is very similar. Mao is one of those vocalists that can put a lot of emotion into his voice and bring it out when appropriate. I like him for the same reason that I like Gara from the band MERRY, in that they both have relatively high voices for j-rock, but they exude soulfulness. SID is a ridiculously awesome band, and I’m so pleased with how far they have come so quickly. I am, however, disappointed that this single only charted at #5.

The b-side, Danrou is a fun throwback to SID’s earlier days when their work had a distinct jazz flair. I said it about D in my last review, and I’ll say it again here with SID. I am so happy that this band is changing directions and trying new things, but at the same time it’s nice to see them occasionally bringing back their old style and reminding us fans why we loved them in the first place. I love how cozy and fluffy this song is; two terms I tend to shy away from when reviewing music. This is the kind of song that makes me want to shimmy over to Starbucks and/or Panera Bread and drink expensive lattes because I’m just that self-important. My gosh, I love embellishing.

In Conclusion: This single was phenomenal in all respects. It is debatable to me whether or not this single or Rain was SID’s best achievement this year. Either way, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

~Alisa~

Next time, I’m taking on T.M. Revolution’s Save the One, Save the All! Yes, it’s another theme from that mutated abomination known by the common man as “Bleach….”

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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

“SHIVER” – The GazettE

Umm..

My second contribution to Visual Kei Heaven!

Hey everybody! I apologize for the inactivity and lack of drive lately. My fiancé has been working quite a bit in the last week, and while this shouldn’t affect me, I became a little catatonic from missing him so much. Seriously, I could write, direct, and produce an entire Lifetime movie from my sob stories. Anyway, in an attempt to shove some dedication down my throat, I turned off my modem to write this review. Don’t get me wrong, I love tweeting with everyone but it can seriously distract me. (BTW, Badymaru, when are we going to start our rush for new gacktpause fan club members?)

SHIVER is the latest single by The GazettE. First off, what is up with that cover? I feel ready for some sort of underground exploration by looking at it.

SHIVER wastes no time getting started. I don’t really like or dislike this song, truthfully. The melody is just average. I don’t know, I think for a song called SHIVER I expected it to be a little more chilling and harsh.

Next we have HESITATING MEANS DEATH. Yes, this title is also in all caps. I’m not just screaming at you via text for my own benefit. This song had that air of brutality that I was yearning for in the previous song. There is also a wicked instrumental break near the 2:30 mark. This song just made me want to kick something over. Not a tripod, though. D’espairs already did that. Maybe I could kick over a vacuum cleaner. Yes. Because that makes perfect sense. Let’s just hope I don’t hesitate before I do so because, you know, that means death.

When I saw the name of the final track was Naraku, I flinched just a little because of some painful memories. If anybody reading this is or was an InuYasha fan, Naraku was the name of the antagonist who JUST WOULDN’T DIE. I personally liked the arrangement of this song. It’s kind of spacey and elegant but still tense. The balance is pulled off really well and it’s an above average tune. That’s the most I can say about this track.

In Conclusion: This single didn’t necessarily blow me away, because I always think it’s unfortunate when the other songs outshine the titular track. I can still respect the single entirely because it was average. I like to always have my Visual Kei glass half full.

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

The Voice as an Instrument, Not a Messenger

Coming from the United States, a primarily English-speaking country, it is odd to people I meet when I first tell them that I enjoy Japanese music. I am always required to answer the inevitable question, “do you understand what they’re saying?”

To be concise, not really. But I’m a wordy person, so of course I have to add detail. Understand that I took AP English in high school; adding detail is in my blood now.

I don’t know very much Japanese. I can speak basic conversational phrases, and have assimilated a large and random vocabulary from watching subbed anime and reading translated song lyrics. I’m nowhere fluent, and I will be the first to admit that. But why do I love songs in a language I barely understand?

I have learned to appreciate the voice as just another instrument. If a voice is beautiful, powerful, or capable of evoking some kind of response in me, then the language the voice sings in is a trivial matter. The problem with the people who are baffled that I listen to music I don’t understand is that they rely on lyrics as a crutch. They think, “if I can’t understand or relate to this song, then its terrible and I reject it altogether.” Come on. There are plenty of English artists who make no sense and are still popular. (Pink Floyd, anyone?) The point is that you don’t have to rely on lyrical content to make a good song. What if a song has a good beat, a catchy melody, beautiful vocals? Is it any less of a song because you don’t understand it?

Take for example Meg, an Italian artist I happened upon while googling the Japanese artist MEG. When I heard her song Simbiosi, my first thought was “this song is absolutely captivating,” not “oh, this is Italian and I can’t speak that language to save my life.” By the way, I highly recommend for all my readers to click the link and listen to the song. Its pure magic.

If you went through my iTunes library, you would be surprised. I have songs in too many languages to count. Zulu, German, Portuguese, and Arabic are just a few. I don’t listen to these songs to pretentiously appear scholarly or worldly, I like them because each one of them made me feel something. The language isn’t important. Really, its not.

~Alisa~

Reader Question: Do people ever ask you if you understand foreign music, or why you like foreign music? How do you answer these questions? How do you feel about the voice as an instrument and not a messenger?

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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“Stay Beautiful” – Diggy Mo

"Stay beauuuuuuuuutifullllllll! Oh oh oh oh!"

Stay Beautiful is the six billionth ending theme for Bleach, the most worn-out anime on the planet. I’m not a Bleach hater by any means, but I am not a fan either. Despite the fact that I gave up on Bleach after, like, two seasons (there are too many characters for me to keep up with!) I still make sure to check out the new openings and ending because they usually have some good ones. The ending sequence featuring this song is awesome because you get to see a bunch of the characters out in the real world wearing contemporary clothing and whatnot. I found that to be an awesome thing to do for the fanbase.

Stay Beautiful is a fun song with a great toe-tapping tune and lousy vocals. My fiance said that “if the song were performed by someone who actually could sing, it wouldn’t be as fun.” I totally agreed with him. This song makes me think of the start of summer when all the excitement is building up after studying all year at school. Plus, I like the phrase “stay beautiful.” Its a timeless mantra we should all live by. Crap, my inner philosopher escaped again.

The b-side, Wardrobe #6 is a jazzy little piece, not much to it, but its a fun song as far as b-sides go, and couples nicely with the a-side.

Next review will hopefully be of my new addiction, immi’s Sign of Love! For now, I’m going to go out in my yard and see if I can catch this frog that’s been yelling at me for the past three hours. I love frogs.

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection