Tag Archives: Fullmetal Alchemist

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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Fifteen Power-Packed Japanese Songs

I know that last night on Twitter, I said this would be the top ten most powerful Japanese songs. I changed it to the top fifteen! This is to keep my list from looking like a big mass of anime/GACKT songs. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
I define a powerful song not by how strong it makes me feel, but rather how weak it makes me feel on the very first listen. The first time I hear a powerful song, I want it to leave me in a cold sweat, breathless, thinking “what has just happened to me?” Then, I want to grow to make the song a sort of personal empowering anthem.
I assembled my list after much careful consideration. This was harder to do than anticipated, and may have been another contributor as to why the list turned out a little longer than expected. Enjoy!

15.) Alumina – Nightmare: This song isn’t just powerful, it’s very disturbing. The mournful tone in which Yomi sings the song is downright eerie. The first time I heard this song was on Death Note, naturally. It frightened me terribly, which is a big reason why I respect this song as much as I do.

14.) Border – Girugamesh: From the first notes of this song, I just knew it was going to be intense. I feel like the boys from Girugamesh are grabbing me by the hair and dragging me relentlessly through this song. It’s intense and brutal. The vocals and guitar are positively barbaric.

13.) Colors of the Heart – UVERworld: The most powerful part of this song is that it builds and builds and builds but all the while Takuya retains a beautiful, clear singing voice. His delivery is strong and melodic. (A big reason why this song left me breathless the first time I heard it was because my fiancé introduced it to me before he was even my boyfriend! I think a big part of my love for this song is that memory.)

12.) Bel Air – Malice Mizer: Hard to believe this song is as old as it is, yet its strength continues to rattle my skull (and the skulls of many other VK fans I’m sure) to this day. The music box playing at the beginning and middle of the song contrasts wonderfully with the hard guitars and drums found in the song. GACKT’s performance is outstanding and fierce.

11.) Rainbow – Ayumi Hamasaki: Made exclusively for her A Ballads album, Ayumi’s breathy ballad has been breaking hearts for years. This song has so much power in its simplicity, rather than any actual muscle. “No rain can get the rainbow.” Remember that.

10.) Passion – Utada Hikaru: Don’t you miss this Hikki? Utada, this is the one. Not your washed-up American crap that flopped horribly time after time. This. Passion is a song full of light and darkness at once. The beat of this song is indescribable.

9.) Hallelujah – Rurutia: Okay, so if hard guitars coupled with elegant violins weren’t powerful enough, you get the contrast of Rurutia and her famous whisper-singing. The opening of this song is like getting hit in the face with a shovel made of solid gold.

8.) Renon – M: This song is still relatively new to me, so I won’t pretend to be a seasoned listener. Still, its MUCC-esque guitar style and raw, untamed vocals floored me from the first listen. The vocalist has some serious charisma even though his vocals aren’t up to par with other VK singers by any means.

7.) Rain – GACKT: Do you ever hear a song that makes you hurt all over? This song fits the bill for me. I feel like I’m drowning in some kind of torrential, yet gentle wave during the verses. In the chorus, it all comes crashing down. I never hear much mention of this song, which is sad.

6.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka: I had to find a place for my favorite song on here somewhere! It’s not as powerful as other songs, per se, but it still packs a heartbreaking punch. The tortured desperation in this song is incredibly moving. This song can make me happy and sad at the same time, which is rare for a song to do.

5.) Rain – SID: As I mentioned on my “weekly babble” post, I have decided that songs titled Rain are predestined to be good. The chorus of this song is tragic with strong feelings of loss. I think the majority of this song’s power for me is how well it ties in with the Fullmetal Alchemist story.

4.) Lust for Blood – GACKT: This song is probably the most hateful song I have ever heard. The melancholy opening makes way for a heavy rock sound and GACKT’s intense, angry vocals. It’s a heart-stopping piece just because it is SO raw.

3.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK: I’m sorry to all of you who tire of hearing about XodiacK, but I just love this song so much. The first time I heard this song, I felt like it was repeatedly punching me in the stomach. Another way this song left me breathless was due to the fact that I laughed so hard at the terrible PV. (But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?)

2.) Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki: Is it bad that I don’t think Ayu has released a single good thing since this dropped over two years ago? (Sparkle was okay, but not anything I couldn’t live without) Ayu is a powerhouse in this song, singing along with a military-style beat and angrily questioning the problems in the world today. The lyrics are expertly crafted and I love the energy.

1.) Jesus – GACKT: GACKT’s big comeback single after Returner was incredibly anticipated, and this single did not let me down at all. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest GACKT songs to date. The heavy rock sound, GACKT screaming, the lyrics, GACKT behaving in such a taunting manner in the PV… It’s incredible, and so unreal. This song sent me into a completely different dimension, where I felt as though I was standing face to face with something so much greater than myself, and I was trembling long after the song had finished. I’ll probably never have another song grip me as tightly as this has. I am proud to call this the most powerful song I’ve ever heard.

~Alisa~

Which songs do you consider to be the most powerful? Do you think ballads or rock songs are more powerful? How do you feel when a powerful song overtakes you?

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Sakurayume’s Weekly Babble

New feature, OMG! Thank you Sakura Pierce for letting me steal, uhh ahem ahem, borrow and pay appropriate tribute to your idea.

Songs I’ve Had On Repeat This Week:
“Renon” – M
“Driving Time” – Girugamesh
“Lolitawork Libretto ~Storytelling by Solita~” – Kanon Wakeshima
“Dears” – GACKT
“Dress” – abingdon boys school
“Rain” – Mika
“Ice” – Lights
“Resonance” – T.M. Revolution

Musical Rants
(feel free to respond to any of these in the comments section, just leave the number of the statement you’re referring to!)

1.) If you don’t like the song “Resonance” by T.M. Revolution, GET OUT NOW. Just kidding. But that song is too cool fo’ school.

2.) I’ve been listening to quite a few cover versions of songs lately. I think this will be the focus of the new poll coming up tomorrow. (by the way, there is still time to vote for your favorite GACKT album!!)

3.) How in the world did we survive the GACKT hiatus in between “Returner” and “Jesus?”

4.) Is anyone else sad about the end of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga/Brotherhood anime? The anime seriously helped to boost SID’s popularity.

5.) I had a epiphany via Twitter that I am some kind of chosen Visual Kei ambassador, sworn to spread the word of XodiacK to the masses. (allegedly to make amends for my breaking them up in the first place?)

6.) Speaking of XodiacK, I know this is impatient of me but I WANT A RELEASE!

7.) You know you have too much music when you scroll through your iPod and have a song called “I Love You” followed by a song called “I Still Love You.” Once your iPod gains the ability to reiterate, you’re in trouble.

8.) I’ve found that if you give a song the title “Rain” it is, like, predestined to be good.

9.) I feel like this year has me in a constant state of anticipation. One release drops and then I’m like “oh, wait but _________________ comes out next week! How am I going to stand the wait!?” Its actually a pretty good feeling.

Okay, all finished with my mental vomit there. Be sure to leave comments! Also, let me know if a weekly babble thingy is even worth the time and effort.

~Alisa~

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“Rain” – SID

Get ready for my most overzealous review yet.

After their last single “sleep,” which disappointed me greatly, SID has returned with THEIR BEST SONG EVER. Again, they are providing a theme song for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, but this time it is an opening rather than an ending. An interesting bit of trivia is that SID provided the first ending (Uso) and the final opening for Brotherhood.

Rain has been featured as FMA’s opening theme since early April, which means that I’ve spent a grueling two months waiting for this to drop. The wait has not gone by quickly either! I love this song because when I hear it, I just think of Fullmetal. The opening is sequenced perfectly along with the song. It took me a while to realize this and I understood it even more as the show progressed just how well SID has captured the “it all ends here” feeling that these final few episodes of Brotherhood have given off. I could barrage you with poignant screencaps of how the opening plays upon the ambiguity of rain falling on someone’s face (as in, are they crying, or is that just the rain?) but I won’t since not every one of my readers is as wild about FMA as me and I’m not a fan of torturing people. If you don’t watch FMA, the song is still an amazing listen, but I firmly believe that watching and having knowledge of the anime and its plot accentuates appreciation of the song. Its a little slow before the chorus, but its got a wonderful and epic chorus and is absolutely heart-wrenching. SID hit the nail on the head with this song, and I highly recommend it to anyone! It is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, and the best anime theme of all time, to me. If you want to watch the PV, click here.

Cut, the b-side, is significantly more energized than Rain and reminds me of a song from a MegaMan game. I know that probably sounds strange, but you’ll just have to listen to it to understand what I mean.

We also get a live version of Chapter 1 an older song by the band. The audio is horribly muffled. Personally, I’d skip this track altogether. But that’s just me.

In Conclusion: Rain is definitely my favorite song right now and probably will be for quite a while. I don’t see this song becoming stale to me anytime soon. Absolutely amazing. Breathtaking. Dare I say “perfection?”

~Alisa~

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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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