Tag Archives: FMA

Weekly Babble, Hoorah!

What I’m Listening To This Week
“EVER” by GACKT
“Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai ” by D
“Death Point” by D’espairsRay
“SILENCE” by RAMPANT

What I’m Thinking This Week

1.) Whatever they say, I’ll never change my way. 🙂

2.) I’ve been on a ridiculous j-rock binge. I don’t really acknowledge the existence of other genres as much as I used to.

3.) Faraway is the only GACKT song I can’t stand, yet it is still on my iPod and I have no intention of deleting it.

4.) When I checked the OriCon charts yesterday, I noticed that a Fullmetal Alchemist soundtrack (compilation of all openings and endings) was ahead of VAMPS’ BEAST album. That’s a little sad. MAYBE if Hyde went back to L’arc the sales would be higher. Okay, that was uncalled for. Nothing against VAMPS, I just miss L’arc. A lot.

5.) Sometimes I forget just how good GACKT is.

6.) I’m challenging myself to use the word “ever” as much as possible over the course of the next week. Would anyone like to join me?

~Alisa~

Heh.... EVER.

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“Ray of Light” – Shoko Nakagawa

Part of me knew this song wasn’t going to work out. Shoko’s voice is just too cutesy to work with the mood of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The instrumentals are great, but I totally wish Nana Mizuki had done this song instead. After all, she was IN the show (Lan Fan, holla!) The chorus doesn’t fit much with the amazing stanzas, but the strings that play throughout suit the “moving forward” kind of vibes you get from Brotherhood.

Not even going to fool with the b-sides.

Sorry if it feels like I put little to no effort into this “review.” I am physically and emotionally exhausted, but I didn’t want to leave you all hanging. Best wishes! Hopefully I can get back into the groove of blogging in a week or so.

~Alisa~

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Only the Best: The Top 5 Songs of 2010

Hold it, Alisa! 2010 isn’t even halfway over!

Yeah, I get that. But! In the nearly five months that we’ve been in this new year, new decade rather, some seriously great music has come out. I’ll be talking about it right now! Yay! These are my top five favorite songs that have come out this year.

#5 Sakurabito – Sunset Swish: This is the second ending theme for Bleach that this group has done, the first being the strangely African-sounding My Pace. Sakurabito is a beautiful ballad with intense, heartbreaking melodies and traditional sounds. Very beautiful. Its a little strange that such a spring oriented song came out in January, but I’m not complaining.

#4 Rain – SID: Yeah, this song hasn’t even come out in full yet. See how little I care? Rain is the fifth and final (I think) opening theme for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. I’m a big sucker for anime songs, ehehe. I think the reason why I have fallen head over heels for Rain is because of the breathtaking opening sequence from Brotherhood. If you haven’t seen it, WATCH it. The song just goes perfectly with the mood of the show. I’m going to cry my eyes out having to wait until June 2nd for the single. 😦

#3 GOLD – UVERworld: This song earns the number three slot from me simply because its so weird. It has about a thousand different beats and rhythms and takes a zillion different musical directions, but it works. So far, I’ve not seen anyone indifferent towards the song. Its either loved or hated. To me, its the third best UVERworld song after D-tecnolife and of course Colors of the Heart.

#2 Jealous – Jasmine: I am so impressed by Jasmine! She’s going to be a huge star in a couple years, I hope. Jealous is a relaxing yet powerful R&B tune. The vocals are fierce and sexy and I love every part of this song. There’s something regal about it.

AND!

#1 Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK: One word. “Duh.” This is visual kei, or galactic rock (whatever) at its best. I’ll miss this band.

Well, there’s my five! Comment me with yours! My next review will be Shoko Nakagawa’s Ray of Light. Seems like FMA Brotherhood themes are mandatory reviews for me. 🙂

~Alisa~

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My L’arc Will Go On

Japanese culture in the United States is pretty much hit or miss. Either you love it or you know nothing about it. Not too much gray area. Besides that, a lot of Japanese cultural elements are stripped out of popular anime like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, to Americanize them. Names get changed, the theme songs get replaced with English ones, and really bad ones at that. Thanks a lot, 4Kids. Consider this video:

When you have to change rice balls to sandwiches or donuts or anything BUT rice balls, you are totally ruining the Japanese-ness of the show.

So where does L’arc fit in to this rant?

Listen. If you like anime, you’ll at least know about Fullmetal Alchemist. If you know about Fullmetal Alchemist, you’ll know L’arc. Maybe I’m being disgustingly linear, but for me, L’arc was the band that introduced me to Japanese music through FMA. Shows like Fullmetal and InuYasha were ones that didn’t entirely lose their original themes when they were dubbed and brought to the U.S. Sure, Fullmetal cut down their ending themes to 30 seconds and lost two out of four openings when shown on TV, and InuYasha never had opening music on TV, but at least you got that tiny snippet of Japanese music somewhere. That made all the difference.

An anecdote:

One August day in 2005, I was in my local record shop buying Pocky. I noticed they had a small bin of CDs labeled “anime.” Curiously, I looked through and saw soundtracks from popular shows like DBZ, FLCL, and some others. Then, I spied a copy of L’arc~en~Ciel’s SMILE album (lots of people didn’t like this album, but it is my favorite!) with a big sticker slapped on the front reading “FEATURING ‘READY STEADY GO’ FROM THE HIT ANIME FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST!” I bought it.

My experience with SMILE was gradual. At first, I played “Ready Steady Go” over and over and over again. Then, I eventually accidentally hit the shuffle button instead of repeat, and the song “Revelation” played. I adored it from the first listen. My interest was piqued, and before long I had listened to every track and learned every lyric.

I thought, “hey, this is really good. I bet there is other really great Japanese music out there too!” I began to research popular music and order albums from the big names like Ayu and Utada. Loved ’em. I discovered all kinds of music, even the superindie stuff that I’m so hardcore about these days. All thanks to L’arc.

I can’t call L’arc my favorite group, but I will always credit them as my jumpstart to loving and appreciating not only Japanese music, but international music as a whole.

In this way, L’arc~en~Ciel will always be the most enduring Japanese musical act to me. I also think they will endure because they are everywhere. Besides Fullmetal, they have tie-ins all over the place, and Hyde himself is one of the most recognizable figures in Japanese pop culture.

Maybe this rant makes little sense to my readers, but I wanted to take some time to thank L’arc for bringing their music and culture to a nation where a lot of it is silenced and diluted.

Reader Question: What was your first experience with Japanese music?

~Alisa~

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A Post No One Will Care About!

Thought I’d post my top 25 most played songs in iTunes as I am bored and like bragging about my music. Feel free to comment with your 25. Or something. Uhhh…. yeah.

By the way, a bit of news. My next review will be of a KOREAN artist! I’m so addicted to the rapper e.via that I thought she deserved a review of her own. Stay tuned for that.

Alisa’s Top 25 Most-Played Songs

1.) Rose of May – Nobuo Uematsu
2.) Must be Dreaming – Frou Frou
3.) Misery Business – Paramore (this song’s about me, I really think so)
4.) Ya Soshla S’Uma – T.A.T.U
5.) Nothing I Won’t Give – Vic Mignogna (Yeah, I know)
6.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK
7.) Journey – MEG
8.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka (favorite song EVER)
9.) Aisu x Time – Ai Otsuka with SU from Rip Slyme
10.) HEART – Ai Otsuka
11.) Alice – immi
12.) Fly Away – Maki Goto
13.) Ame no Hi Wa, No Thank You – Toru Okawa and Michiko Neya (Roy and Riza song!)
14.) The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
15.) Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
16.) Fast Car – Namie Amuro
17.) Planetarium – Ai Otsuka
18.) Mirror Ball – Aquamarry
19.) Suddenly – Gackt
20.) Physical Thing – Koda Kumi
21.) Crushcrushcrush – Paramore
22.) Copy That – Namie Amuro
23.) Come Away – Nini Camps
24.) One Night Magic – Utada Hikaru
25.) Hey! – e.via

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“Period” – Chemistry AND “Shunkan Sentimental” – SCANDAL

In honor of Valentine’s Day, you will be getting two, count ’em, TWO reviews today! Here is another reason why you’re getting two reviews: THE ENGLISH DUB OF FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST BROTHERHOOD PREMIERES TONIGHT ON ADULT SWIM AT MIDNIGHT!!! Aaaaaah! For those of you who don’t know, the two songs I am reviewing today currently serve as the opening and ending themes for this spectacular anime. I will start by reviewing “Period.”

Track 1: Period- I’m not proud to say this, but I am the queen of snap decisions. I usually decide whether or not I like a song before I have even heard thirty seconds of it. This is not the kind of song to be judged so quickly. When it starts, you’re going to think “here we go again. Its just a typical anime opening song. Bleh.” You have to let this song get to the chorus before you decide what you think of it. I loved the chorus, mainly for the flowing, emotional vocals. It is sung very very well. I feel like the drum beats are a touch awkward and somewhat out of place, but the main thing you want to listen to here is the voice. Overall, a good song and an energizing opening for Fullmetal.

Track 2: Brand New Season- Am I a bad person for not normally listening to b-sides? … This song is a midtempo ballad with some nice instrumentals and soothing back-up vocals. Its really quite boring other than that, and sung with zero emotion. Its your average b-side.

(also included on the single are instrumental versions of both songs)

“Shunkan Sentimental” is the newest release from up and coming girl band SCANDAL. The song is currently the ending theme of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

Track 1: Shunkan Sentimental- I hated this song the first time I heard it. You really have to let it grow on you. After listening a few times, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best song Scandal has put out to date. It makes “Shojo S” look like a joke. The instruments along with the vocals are strong without being overpowering and the chorus is just exhilarating. Plus, in the ending sequence from FMA Brotherhood you get to see Roy Mustang making a really stupid face as he leans against a wall. This has nothing to do with the song, but its funny! “Shunkan Sentimental” is a great song, a very fitting ending theme for Fullmetal, and a blast to listen to.

Track 2: Hoshi no Furu Yoru ni– Pass the earplugs, please! This was a sad attempt to ride the wave created from the previous track’s sheer power. It starts out with the most irritating guitar riff imaginable and the vocals are off-key. Don’t listen to it, for the sake of your ears.

Track 3: Yumemiru Koro wo Sugitemo- Okay, now we have a more mellow track. The guitar is a lot like that in Gackt’s “Suddenly” but the vocals aren’t there. At all. I don’t know what it is with SCANDAL. Sometimes they sing like a powerhouse and other times its just a mess. This song is a big step up from the last one but worlds away from the title track.

(the single also contains the instrumental of “Shunkan Sentimental”)

In Conclusion: Both “Period” and “Shunkan Sentimental” bring a new flavor to Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. I felt that both fit the mood of the show and were not a bit out of place. (Ugh, does anybody remember “Let it Out?” *vomit*)

Finally, I leave you with something amazing! A picture of me in an Alphonse Elric hat!

~Alisa~

P.S.- Don’t forget that the request section is open! If you want me to review your favorite song or album, let me know!

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