• Blog Overhaul 2014!

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages!

    In preparation for the new blood signing up this coming Wednesday and Thursday, the blog is undergoing an overhaul!

    Expect new pictures to be uploaded and..... well.... stuffs!

    This image is as relevant as ur mom

    If you are interested in writing for the blog, do pass Anthony your email so he can add you up to the author list.
    It doesn't matter what kind of writing it is.
    Event reports, game review to persuade fellow members to play, rants about that shitty anime you just watched, basically anything.
    You can even spout random rubbish shit -as long as it's still relevant to anime-gaming-cosplay-internetculture.
    The point is to contribute to the blog and to make it more presentable to potential signups you idiot.

    The current theme is NISEKOI, but it might change to DEVIL SURVIVOR, GUMI, or K-ON!!
    depending on feedback.

    Do note that the images in the above templates are completely interchangeable.
    The only thing that matters is the color theme and the page template and layout.

    I'm thinking to change the Nisekoi banner but dunno wif wad.
    More display of cleavage perhaps.
  • 10 90s anime songs that hook you right from the intro

    Anthony is back to bequeath his anime song knowledge to you all.

    Now if you've read one of my oldest posts in this blog, you'll know that I'm not picky for my music, I enjoy pretty much anything.
    When it comes to QUALITY anime music though, the gloves are off. My otaku mode is switched on and I turn into a rambunctious food critic going wild in a faulty restaurant.

    2 years ago, I've written something on how the present day anime songs are not as good as the oldies.
    I'm not saying that the present day anime songs are bad, it's just that the overall pick for tie-ups (ie: indie punk rock bands, cutting costs perhaps) and original composition has gone downhill compared to the early 90s-early 2000 works.

    Nowadays you can barely find songs that are so catchy they can hook people into watching the show.
    Remember Cowboy Bebop? Kaleido Star? Gravitation? Fullmoon wo sagashite? Hikaru no Go? Bakuretsu Hunters? Exactly.
    Your mileage may vary, but those titles have songs that actually attract people into watching the show.

    In order to explain the subject better, let us go through a more concrete example with 8 comparatively newer anime songs, separated into two categories:

    category A:
    "unfinished", "Kimi no Shinwa", "Self Producer", "connect"

    category B:
    "Scarlet Knight", "Brave your Truth", "ZERO!!", "Be My Friend"

    Which category do you think have songs that will still be sung in karaokes in 10 years time from now on?
    Which category have songs that make you think, "Oh, the song is cool, let's check out the show"
    Things like syllables per stanza, repetitive melody, rhymes, and song pacing actually don't matter right? Right?
    Ultimately it's up to your preferences and there's no clear answer to which category is better, but the two categories have a very subtle difference.
    Yes, the difference is too subtle to be noticed, especially for those of you who don't listen to anime music as much, but those subtle differences are what separates potential AAA-classic anime songs with the rest of the flock.

    Unfortunately, present day anime songs lack this "hooking" factor.
    Especially the present comedy-harem-romance-nonsensical shows, which modus is apparently "let's mash various noises without a clear direction, make it so the tempo is fast but the vocals can't catch up and will jump all over the place, and insert a really catchy chorus later"
    Seriously, even THIS SONG has a clear direction, and the vocals keep on sticking to the music, not jumping everywhere.
    This is a very good example of a nonsensical music done with an amazingly catchy intro and chorus aaaand... verses with an out of place vocals.

    In the field of music where "good" and "bad" is completely subjective, the "hooking" factor can make or break your song in terms of attractiveness.
    Perhaps, they cut corners for tie-up choices. Remember any truly memorable songs out of the dozens Naruto-Bleach-Fairy Tail-One Piece themes? I bet you can only mention a few (unless you're a die-hard fan), and even then, those are sung by prolific artists like FLOW or UVERworld or Bump of Chicken.
    Perhaps, they focus too much on the concept of the show -especially when it's harem cum romance cum comedy shows- and they cut corners for original compositions.

    Another theory of mine is that the anime industry is now in such a booming state (otakus from all over the world WILL watch most anime titles every season no matter what), that producers just stopped caring to attract new consumer base by means of quality music.
    For example, School Rumble can also be summed up as a romance-comedy-harem-nonsensical show, but the music is so iconic you'll remember it for ages. It might make people want to check out the series years after its conclusion, filling them with nostalgia once the song starts.
    Compare it to current shows with the same genre. Exactly.

    To sum it up, producers nowadays may only care about maximizing profit and might have lost interest in establishing a legacy, a solid image of the show that will still be remembered for a few decades.
    just a hypothesis of mine though.

    However, note that this notion of 'present day anime songs are getting worse' does not apply for certain series with a strong image, Gundam and Macross franchise for example.
    Almost all of Gundam songs are catchy and memorable, not just any song can become a "Gundam Song" since they need to carry the Gundam brand image, and the producers need to live up to the series legacy by choosing high quality music.
    Macross series, being a space musical of sorts, has brought quality anime music since the dawn of "Macross: Do You Remember Love?" to the latest Macross FB7 movie.
    Similar to Gundam songs, all of Macross songs are of the highest quality, most of them included in various "Best anime song" polls.

    Without further ado, here's a list of 10 classic anime songs that can hook you right from the start:

    "Cruel Angel's Thesis" - Neon Genesis Evangelion

    I'm going to put it bluntly. If you don't know this song or never heard of it before, you don't deserve to be here.

     "dis" - Mugen no Ryvius
    Actually, this slot was originally for "Heart of Sword ~Yoake Mae", but then I saw a stupid review of Mugen no Ryvius in the internet (no hyperlink to protect the other party) and was like, "k since Heart of Sword is famous enough, I should replace it with -Dis-"
    The review basically said that Ryvius has some of the worst pieces of music and the idea of contemporary jazz mixed under hip-hop and r&b is very strange on paper, feels unnatural and doesn't fit on the show.

    The first thing that came to my mind was, "This guy clearly never heard of Samurai Champloo before", which one of its selling point being its music, oh and Persona 3, and Third Strike.
    I can't really judge on the guy's way of thinking since music is subjective, but one thing for sure is that the guy is absolutely wrong.
    I can safely say that "-dis-" is one of the most chill anime songs ever made, it's the kind of song you blast on your speakers when you're out for a session of night driving.
    Personally I was sold in just a mere 5 seconds into the song, that's how powerful and memorable the intro is. -dis- R&B version -dis- English version

    "Grant me the light! 
    In order for me to go to that different place, so that I know when will we meet again 
    Though I don't know how I'll do it, though what I want has no form at all
    I'll smash the final space and head now to tomorrow 
    To the hiding place of that invisible thing that connects us"

     "Saa!" - Mamotte Shugogetten
    This song was made using the classic recipe of 90s anime song hits, with a hearty and crunchy bassline.
    The title is literally translated to "Go ahead", or can be interpreted as an invitation to do something, perhaps in this case, to laugh at how pathetic the guy is.

    At any point of a relationship, you might fight with your partner, sometimes even leading to a break up.
    You kind of knew that it was mostly your fault, but your bloated ego refuses to acknowledge it.
    Then, after some time has passed, you realized that you were such an immature asshole and begged for your partner's forgiveness.

    Yes, this song basically tells a story of a useless guy and his stupid ego.
     Also, Mamotte Shugogetten is a pseudo Harem-romance-comedy show, why can't the directors decide on using this kind of songs for the present harem-romance anime titles instead of the current "let's mash various cute noises without a clear direction and insert a really catchy chorus later"?

    "I keep on bluffing, "I can do everything by myself", fully knowing that I can't do anything without you  
    Now that this small room looks a little larger, I opened the fridge and I find nothing inside  
    Go ahead and laugh with your innocent smile, tease me again like what you used to do,  
    "What a useless guy", or "It's too late that you realized it now after we're separated"
    Go ahead and devour me down, so that I will lose my useless pride 
    As I thought I love you more than anyone else, I can't say goodbye to you"

    "HARUKA ~ Sailing for my Dream" - B't X
    FENCE OF DEFENSE is a veteran in the music industry with over 25 years of mileage.
    Although they didn't contribute as many songs as their peers did for the anime industry, their anime works are nothing short of astounding.
    Haruka is probably their most well-known contribution and is forever imprinted in the memories of 90s kids as the opening of Steel God Machine B'tX, shortened B'tX.

    The song is, well, like any shonen standard issue. Dreams, hopes, love, etc.
    The path to the future is in front of your eyes, it should not take you that long a time to choose. Just jump first and think of it later, time is precious, and so on and so forth.

    "Piercing the clouds, betting it all on this love of mine, I can overcome everything if it's for you
    No matter what hardships are waiting for me, I shall hack them to pieces and aim for the tomorrow Setting my anchor to the skies of that faraway future so that I can chase my dreams 
    It has begun, this real overflowing power will grant way to that everlasting light 
    Shining upon us all"

    "Through the Night" - Outlaw Star
    Like "Cruel Angel's Thesis" and "Totsugeki Love Heart", this song has been in various lists of "best anime song of all time", mostly ranking in top 100.
    Songs like this might just be one of the reasons why producers nowadays don't seem to be bothered to make quality music anymore: "Well fuck, songs like this will cost a fortune, might as well don't give a fuck about it"

    From the very first second, you can already tell that shit just got real with that powerful hooking intro.
    Up to the very last second, "Through the Night" oozes out epicness while still maintaining that amazing pacing, that's like press instant classic button yo.

    Now that you think of it, space opera almost always have amazing songs. Starting from Uchuu Senkan Yamato, Cowboy Bebop, Kiddy Grade, Uchuu no Stellvia, Starship Operators, Gundam series, Macross series, and so many more, including Mugen no Ryvius featured above. Fuck, even a space harem-comedy-romance show has a kickass music too.
    It's like, things went from primary math to rocket science when space is involved. Oh wait...

    "Seems that I've always been swayed by your kindness, but sometimes it makes me feel insecure
    I've been doing whatever I want as much as I wanted to, but as I thought, being close to your chest is the best.  
    Don't cheapen it! Don't destroy it! Don't give it up! Everyone has something that they will never give up. 
    Only love, only dreams, only you. Those are the things I'll never let go, ever.  
    What do you want? What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? 
    Cut through the darkness and run to grab it through the night"

    "Mienai Chikara ~Invisible One" - Jigoku Sensei Nube
    If you've read my previous posts in the blog, you'll know that I'm a big fan of B'z, the legendary duo that have evolved their music from Electronics, Dance-pop, Blues, Ballad, and Hard Rock.

    In the latter half of 1990s, Japanese musical landscape was forever changed by B'z with their era of power ballad. The duo set the highest standard of power ballad in Japan, producing all time classics like "Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni", "Yume mi ga Oka", and "Brotherhood".
    Mienai Chikara is one of them, and as a part of B'z oricon legend, it (and all other B'z singles and album) topped the chart on the first week of its release.
    Suffice to say that it can capture your heart faster than you can spell the word "capture".

    The costs of doing a tie-up with B'z might be astronomical, but the result is a sustainable image of your show that can last for generations to come.
    Even now, people remember Nube as "that one show with such a good ending song" and voila!
    Nube is forever engraved in your memories.

    "What were the words that I truly wanted to say?As much as I regret it, those days will never return
    Unchanging power whispers to you now 
    'It's OK, baby, don't be afraid to go on living while loving somebody' 
    Why has it taken so long to finally reach my heart? 
    Everyone is connected by this invisible power 
    It's not important whether you're by my side, or we're apart 
    Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, your smile will always be in this heart of mine"

    "In My Dream" - Brain Powerd
    In the anime song community, "In My Dream" is notorious for its spicy lyrics, especially because it's an anime song.
    The show itself however, does not reflect what's inside the lyrics.
    Well, there are some incest and sexual undertones but not as much as you think, at most it's at EVA level. Of course, the opening sequence full of flying naked women and obvious phallic symbolisms certainly didn't help at all.
    On the other hand, you can think of the lyrics as the female characters' wildest dreams, since in the end, all of the female characters main desire is for someone to love them truly.

    Brain Powerd is famous for its intricate female character development, it's like a shoujo manga with good character background (rare as fuck, I know) and robots!
    Which is saying alot since its one of Tomino Yoshiyuki's own creation.
    If in Gundam series, female Newtypes are shunned since their emotions can create mental instability in the battlefield, Brain Powerd is the complete opposite, with emotions being the key to control and empower the Brains, robots that can be said are the pilots' children.
    Suffice to say that the show features a lot of feminine topics, which shortly becomes the central issue behind the story: Motherly love, female jealousy, over-possessive lovers, hunger for love and affection, blind love and loyalty, incest, May-December romance, etc.  

    "You appear in my dreams whenever you want  
    Like a nightmare, you make me go crazy for you and disappear every morning 
    Tossing and turning me over the grass, he's like a different person 
    I want you to tease me, excitingly, passionately 
    In my dream, let’s spread red roses all over the room and make love in a bed of silk until morning 
    I can't get enough of your love 
    In my dream, don’t let me wake up, I won’t let anyone get in our way 
    Keep whispering in my ear like an endless tape: Love me forever"

    "Ohayou" - HUNTER X HUNTER
    I still remember those days back in school when I wait every evening in front of TV with a plate of french fries on my hand, waiting for this song to pop in.

    For those who don't understand Japanese, one thing amazing about this music is how it depicts a guy who is completely fine being friendzoned.
     One way of interpreting the lyrics is that the guy wants to be her lover, but still finds her to be his irreplaceable friend.
    Give the guy a cookie for being a man and doesn't whine about friendzone.

    For you comrades struggling in the friendzone, take a chill pill, cheer-up, and stay positive! In the end, it's not like you're going to die if you remain as friends.
    The more friends the merrier, life it is.

    "I've been getting awkward. Something is holding me back and I can't see the most obvious things
    I know that the only one who can love me more than myself is YOU, and it's kind of annoying but hey,
    I've been thinking too, you know. 
    If it doesn't turn out well, it's like I self-destructed  
    So I stood on the starting point even if it's too late, made my first step, and hope for the best.  
    Circling my arms around your shoulder, connecting my hands with yours
    Even if we turns out to be lovers, I also want us to stay as friends  
    so a "Good morning" to you and let us shower each other with dreams again    
    I'm blessed with this natural way of living"

    "Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokorotsuyosa to" - Street Fighter II the animated movie
    One of the catchier and more well known songs in this list to the mainstream audience.
    Even if you're not familiar with the world of anime music, as long as you're into the Jpop culture, you're bound to know this song.

    Literally translated to "Desire, Sadness, and Willpower" (another alternative is "Heartwarming, heartwrenching, and heartening feelings"),  this masterpiece is the love child of prolific singer-actress Shinohara Ryoko and Japan's father of digital composition, Komuro Tetsuya.
    The song is extremely popular it always makes it into various lists of "most memorable songs" in Japan, and has been covered by dozens of artists all over Japan throughout the years.
    This theme kicks in on the final showdown between Ryu-Ken and Bison. AAA official cover m.o.v.e official cover, "Schwarzgazer" Kikkawa You official cover Komuro Tetsuya Vocaloid tribute album  

    "I gazed at the distant sky that day, still a youth craving for experience
    I dreamed of my life ahead in eternity. 
    I can't ever do those days over again, but I can't live without looking back 
    I long for that time, but little by little I'm beginning to understand the need to fight!
    Heartwarming, heartwrenching, and heartening feelings 
    I always have these feelings whenever I look at you, 
    You, who keeps on moving forward, fearing no mistakes and hiding your tears 
    I just want to gaze at you"

    "Totsugeki Love Heart" - Macross 7
    Probably the best example of an anime song that can win your heart over in just a mere few seconds of the intro.
    You know you're in for a treat when that hearty guitar riff kicks in.

    Totsugeki Love Heart is widely popular in the anime song community and has been featured in numerous "All time favorite anime songs" lists in various Japanese anime magazines.
    This song is not only popular due to its catchiness, but also the Basara effect it had on various shows and games that starred him.
    It takes gigantic balls to go to an intergalactic warzone armed with only your guitar, shooting out speaker pods to your enemy while blasting out your song, "War is foolish, listen to my song!".

    From then on, Basara singlehandedly stopped the universe-threatening invasion of soul-sucking alien force AND MANAGED TO TAME THE SHIT OUT OF A RAMPAGING GALACTIC WHALE JUST BY SINGING.
    That's how badass and iconic Nekki Basara is, he proves that the power of singing can save the universe.
    Even though out of all the songs in this list, Totsugeki Love Heart has the cheesiest lyrics, the Basara effect alone made it to be one of the most epic anime songs ever made.

    Totsugeki Love Heart Acoustic version  
    Totsugeki Love Heart Fukuyama Fire tribute by ANTHEM  
    Re: Fire Totsugeki Love Heart A.D. 2060 future version
    Macross FB7 Totsugeki Planet Explosion feat. Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee  

    "There's a love heart soaring through the night sky, carrying our burning emotions, shooting down sadness and hatred everywhere it sees it in sight.  
    There's a love heart beating inside you too, telling you to take destiny head on  
    Rush on, no matter how many hundred million of light years, Charging Love Heart!" 
  • Travis's Blog Entry

    ---posting on behalf of our member Travis---

    1st May, 2013 

    Let's do a review of what happens to Superheroes in their comic’s universe during the time their movies come out, staring with Iron Man:
    In 2008, Matt Fraction became the prominent writer of Invincible Iron Man, introducing a conflict against Obadiah's son.
    Unfortunately for Iron Man fans, the following year was the worst time to be Tony Stark, the man who lost everything to Norman Osborn.
    After hitting rock bottom in the spring of 2010, he got back on his feet with a new company and armor, just in time for Iron Man 2.

    During the time X-men Origins: Wolverine came out, the main title was being occupied by Mark Millar's alternate universe dystopia “Old Logan”.
    In the sister title “Wolverine: Origins” the storyline was dealing yet again with Wolverine’s fight against his murderous son who’s status as a killer was on the rise.
    In 2011, four superhero films came out. The first was Thor. Around the movie’s release date, marvel published several series starring Thor, apart from the flagship title.
    Shortly after the movie’s release in May, the main series was relaunched as “The Mighty Thor” with a storyline regarding Asgard’s continuing existence in Broxton, Oklahoma, and the Silver Surfer’s arrival to seek help to drive away Galactus.
    Later that summer came the company-wide crossover event Fear Itself, which focused on the return and destruction of Thor’s banished uncle, The Serpent.
    The event concluded with a battle between the two and with both of them dying. Thor was later brought back to life in the spring of 2012.

    In June of 2011, X-men: First Class came out. Not much happened with Marvel’s merry mutants during that time other than when Kieron Gillen became th sole writer for the flagship series and that the series got caught in the Fear Itself event. However, shortly after that fiasco, came the status quo changing Schism, where the X-men ended up splitting into two camps: Cyclops and his Utopia base near San Francisco forming the Extinction team that fights for mutantkind’s survival, and Wolverine’s X-men who return to Westchester, New York to reopen the school for gifted youngsters to teach them how to use their powers to integrate into human society.

    Later that summer was DC Comics’ cinematic entry, Green Lantern. Around the movie’s release, Hal Jordan, the main Lantern in the franchise, he and his power ring bearing brothers in arms get right in the middle of the conflict known as War of the Green Lanterns, which involved donning the rings of other similarly colored lantern corps, and Hal killing a corrupt Guardian of the Universe, leading to stripping of his ring and title. In September the same year, the new series begins with the powerless Hal being dragged into a conflict by his longtime nemesis and former mentor Sinestro, who is now granted the position of a Green Lantern again.

    In late July, Marvel released their next superhero film as the final film of their Avengers Initiative, Captain America: The First Avenger.
    During that time, in the comics, Steve Rogers resumes his title of Captain America, after his successor Bucky Barnes appeared to have been killed in action during the Fear Itself storyline.
    The relaunched series was written by longtime Captain America Writer Ed Brubaker, who has been writing the title since 2005.
    At the same time, another series also written by Brubaker featured Cap teaming up with partners from the past and present: Bucky, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Namor, and Black Widow.

    Then came 2012, the year of the release of the most anticipated superhero movie everyone was waiting for – Marvel’s The Avengers.
    Two interesting comics were going on during that time, in the main Avengers storyline, written by Avengers veteran writer Brian Michael Bendis, the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes went into war with Marvel’s premiere team of mutants the X-Men, involving an incoming cosmic force and the fate of the world.
    At the same time however, Bendis started writing a new Avengers series titled Avengers Assemble, starring the team roster from that summer’s blockbuster on a canon, but standalone adventure.

    Later that summer, Marvel’s reboot of the beloved wallcrawler, The Amazing Spider-Man leapt onto the big screen. Around that time, our hero is put into a dangerous situation as his prominent foe Doctor Octopus holds the entire planet hostage in Ends of the Earth.
    To make matters worse, he puts a bounty on Spidey’s head to stop him from foiling his pot, and that means having even the Avengers to bring him down. By the end of the year, writer Dan Slott made a bold move by killing off Peter Parker and having the role of Spider-Man given to Doc Ock, who now has his mind planted into Peter’s body. Starting 2013, the era of the Superior Spider-man began.

    The last Superhero movie of 2012 was DC’s and Christopher Nolan’s third and final installment of The Dark Knight Trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises.
    When it was released in July, the Batman comics at that point in time were concluding Batman’s first case since the New 52 reboot. The case in question was the Court of Owls, secret illuminati that has been controlling Gotham behind the scenes for centuries.
    During that summer, the Court began their assault on the city, targeting important elites and officials, and Batman with his team spent a night protecting the targets and finding out who is behind the Court.
    In May that year, came the revival of Grant Morrison’s hit series Batman, Incorporated. The series was a continuation of the Dark Knight’s global fight against crime by recruiting superheroes from around the world to face the terrorist entity known as Leviathan.
    Recently, the series has come to a low note as Batman not only loses an agent in his international crusade, but also a family member.

    In the coming months, we will be treated to more superhero films such as Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine, and Man of Steel.
    Who knows what storylines would come up during the movie’s run?
    It is said that Wolverine’s upcoming story arc, written by Paul Cornell will be called Killable, which somehow ties with the plot of this year’s movie if the trailers are anything to go by.
    Only time will tell us what to expect. I look forward to knowing what storylines the companies can come up with to bring in the fans of the movies.

  • Anthony's Jpop Recommendations: Valentine Special

    Happy Singles' Awareness Day 2013!

    14th of February is just a normal day for most of us, but for some of them hitched people, Valentine's Day is a special day where you express your love for each other.
    And for the rest of the world who are actually conscious about it, 14th of February is deemed to be a Singles' Awareness Day, where the singles lamented their singleness, and on more extreme cases, cursing those who can circle their arms around the waist of their significant other.

    So happy valentine for our club members who already have your own sweetheart, and for those who are still single -including me lol-, we can also play our part on celebrating this diabetic chockfull chocolate day by obviously eating lots of discounted delicious chocolates.

    "but Anthony, when will you get your own valentine?"

    When I can get Choi Sooyoung all for myself muhahahhahahahahahahahahahahahah

    "GEE" - SNSD

    NO, NO BUTS.

    "Might as well stop being stubborn, I'm going to steer clear and go at it full speed
    With my pastel nails, natural makeup, and fluffy curls, you’ll start to fall for me

    Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby
    Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby

    "Say Yes" - Chage & Aska

    Ah, a classic! Undoubtedly one of the most popular Japanese love songs (welp the most popular is Hikki's "First Love" no contest) up to this date, Say Yes was a huge hit in the 90s.

    The song is based on the image of a marriage proposal. Suffice to say some weddings in Japan have played this song as a part or even the main theme of the ceremony.
    The lyrics depicts a marriage proposal.
    The couple is ready for everything, their bonds tempered with lovely memories and by overcoming various hardships. Ready to pledge his future with the girlfriend, the guy stepped up his game and proposed.

    "Just the two of us, we shall chase our dreams together, and live together forever 
    For one love, there's another to reciprocate, embrace it, so not to lose the touch of love we have now
    I will say this no matter how many times, I am sure you do love me
    Don't hesitate, SAY YES, don't hesitate"

    "Jikan yo Tomare" - AZU feat. SEAMO (Itazura na Kiss)


    Translated to "Oh Time, Stop!", this is actually one of my lullaby songs, up with the likes of "Fields of Hope", "Garden of Everything", and "One Drop", but since today is valentine, I need to include this magnificent love song in this valentine special edition.

    The song depicts the wishful feelings of a couple, each wanting to stop time when they are both together.
    The guy, portrayed by SEAMO, thinks that 100 hours won't even fit in one day, that he wants to find all the good points of the girl.
    The girl, portrayed by AZU, relished their time together and wants time to stop, or if possible, teleports to tomorrow to meet up with the guy again.
    In the end, they both think that even if time won't stop, they will still be able to meet each other since they are destined to be together.

    The words I hide in my embarrassment, the moments when our eyes met, the time we spent together
    I wish they all had lasted longer
    You held my hand until you saw me off at the final train
    , that gentlemanly kindness makes me happy

    Every time, everyday, everything
    Even if I don't put it into words, you are my special person
    If I could be granted just one wish, Dear God, please stop time when we are alone together"

    "Suiheisen" - Inaba Koshi

    Damn youtube taking down videos. Here's a youku link instead

    Here's one for you heartbroken comrades who courageously confessed your loves but for some specific reasons, got softly rejected.
    This is so far the most beautiful heartbreak song I have ever heard in my life, and from my favorite singer on top of that!

    Suiheisen means "Horizon", the line that separates the ocean and the sky (Chiheisen, on the other hand, refers to the the horizon that separates the earth and the sky).
    It reflects the entirety of the song, so close yet so far, about a man who is unsure of his own fleeting Horizon-like feelings for a 'friend' of his, realized it in the end, and tries desperately to appeal to a girl who doesn't see him as any more than a friend.
    Yes, you read that right, this is a song about the dreadful Friendzone
    The entire song is full of mindblowing metaphors that depicts how the guy and the girl experienced joy together and sometimes clashed with each other, all of it helped the guy to realize how he has fallen for the girl, and how the Horizon will always stay flat in the end, eternally separating the sky from the blue ocean.

    "Please, don't go anywhere, you, whom I need to discover mine important feelings with
    'tis too sad, and too heavy a burden for me, this sweet scent of 'Friendship'
    Sit beside me and put on your smile, play along, pretend that you enjoy my boring chatters
    It's okay even if it's only in my dream, as long as I can be with you for just a little more time"

    "Valentine Kiss" - Iroha, Yukimame, Hinanata, Nanahira (Niconico Utaite)

    I swear valentine day is getting more dangerous for us siHHHNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH

    This is a diabetic cover on Kokusho Sayuri's original version, which was released more than 25 years ago, and is the most popular valentine song in Japan.
    I can't say much, my chest is in pain.

    "Valentine day kiss! With the taste of an adult"

    "Hysteric Moon" - Janne Da Arc

    But what is Valentine's day without some hot.... or not... stalking action?
    Here's a song dedicated to you stalkers, be it facebook or real life ones, keep up the good job.

    As I have said before, Hysteric Moon is a song about stalking... which some said to be the holy art of secretly protecting your beloved from afar, delivered as per usual Janne Da Arc's kickass pop rocking sound.
    The lyrics depicts the entirety of a stalker's mindset: Silently watching the victim and following his/her every movements, phoning the victim at midnight, having a secret wish to be found and hopefully for their feelings to reciprocate.
    Well, the ending can be interpreted as, the stalker finally broke inside the victim's house, implicitly raped him/her until the police finally came and arrested the stalker. What a bloody valentine *Mr.Bean*

    "Do you know why I don't need words anymore? It's because I understand everything about you now
    I’m right by your side so don’t be afraid, but I can only watch you from afar because I’m shy
    Amongst the crowd I found you, there are dangerous guys around, so I shall escort you silently
    If it’s for you, my beloved, I’ll fly through the skies
    Under the shining full moon, I shall dance with the god of death!"

    "Nukumori" - HOME MADE KAZOKU


    Another feelgood ballad by HMKu, translated to "Warmth".
    This song actually depicts the warmth of a mother, an endless love supporting your life journey.
    It can however, be applied to other precious people you have in your life.
    Be it your mother, family members, friends, boy/girlfriend, or even exes, be thankful for their warmth that have supported you to grow into a splendid person and treasure them always.

    There's a time in life when you feel lost and confused, bearing great sorrow, or feel like you are betrayed by love and thus incapable of loving someone. Most of the time you man it up and got up again strongly, but sometimes you just feel like you can't take it anymore.
    In such cases, it's okay to be meek and show your weakness, the warmth of your loved ones will always be there to save you from that cold darkness.

    "Hands intertwined, you passes on the warmth from your palms to me,
    "It's okay to be spoiled sometimes"

    you said, and I felt relieved hearing that
    In the middle of your simple kindness, that supporting warmth of yours silently spoke to me,
    "Nobody can replace you"
    with that I realized all of your affection for me

    Thank you, thank you for this indescribable warmth

    "Angel Voice" - Fukuyama Yoshiki & Ijima Mari (Macross Dynamite 7)

    Composed by maestro Kanno Yoko and sung by two of the greatest singing personas in the anime industry, Nekki Basara and Lynn Minmay, Angel Voice is unquestionably a masterpiece.
    Originally sung in solo by Fukuyama or Ijima only, this is an unofficial mashup where their vocals are mixed together and made the song ten times more epic.

    The song depicts the longing of a guy to meet his 'angel', whose voice is still ringing inside his heart.
    When he first laid his eyes on the divine angelic figure, his dream was to meet the angel again someday.
    Finally both of them have reunited, and even if they are to be separated again, the angel's image has been burned into his eyes so that he will never forget.

    "If you listen carefully you can probably hear it, yes that voice
    This feeling that can't be put into words, I always feel it, that's the voice of an angel
    Sparkling brightly beyond the horizon, your figure there wasn't a dream, at last the two of us finally meet
    I have engraved your appearance into my very eyes, so we can meet again even if I close my eyes
    I always hear it in my heart, that angel voice of yours"

    "Towa ni Tomo ni" - Kobukuro

    Another marriage themed song.
    Translated to "Together Forever", this is one of the most romantic Jpop song in existence and is used widely as marriage song even until now.
    Different from "Say Yes" above in which that song is a marriage proposal, "Towa ni Tomo ni" is a ceremonial theme where the marriage has actually took place.

    The lyrics mentioned that everything flows naturally, from the moment they met each other until both of them stood together on the altar. Even though they fought and bickered, it only strengthened their bonds and steeled their resolutions. The first bell has rung, the groom held the bride's hand with a serene calmness in his heart, and their new life together has just begun.

    "I didn't wear anything special, but you, dressed a bit grander than usual, look stunningly beautiful.
    I am always busy with something, so I don't have lots of memories with you,
    but finally, from now on, we can step forward to the future, the starting bell now echoes throughout this town.
    Walking together, Searching together, Laughing together, Taking vows together
    Feeling together, Deciding together, Crying together, Leaning against each other,
    Hugging each other, Getting lost together, Building together, Wishing together
    I shall paint those pictures of our days"

    "Ai no Bakudan" - B'z

    Literally translated to "Love Bomb", this song is popular circa 2005 for its catchy melody and easiness to cover, except for the vocal part, that is.
    There's a famous saying regarding this song right after its release: "It's a crime for a pair of 40 year old men to make a song as cheerful and as catchy as this"

    The song tells us to fight against the overwhelming hatred and jealousy in this world that has turned the people into ignorant masses full of negativity.
    Feeling depressed? Jealous? Short tempered? Always looking at the negative side of things? Fear not! Let's spread the love bombs and make the world a better place one smile at a time!

    "Today is yet another day in this imperfect world, even if you didn't cry, someone else did
    People have created an illusion of sorrow, the only thing that can change it is your pure smile

    Drop many more Love Bombs for me, right in the middle of this sleepless town 
    Scatter many more Love Bombs for me, into the pockets of people who passes by each other
    What we should be fighting now, with our hands raised, is the jealousy that has swallowed the world"

    In the end, Valentine's day is a happy day! Don't be jealous or depressed, just enjoy and join in the celebration!

  • Anthony's Jpop Recommendations: Christmas Special

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2013!

    At the time this post is being written, it is nighttime, 25th of December 2012, and Anthony is enjoying his year end holiday away from Singapore.
    But fret not! For Anthony is always with you guys in spirit to celebrate this wondrous occasion that is Christmas and New Year!

    Here is a compilation of Japanese Christmas themed songs for your listening pleasure:

    "Hurry Xmas" - L'arc en Ciel

    A really happy and joyful Christmas song, my top choice for this list.
    This song depicts a happy couple spending their time on a happy Christmas season, impatiently waiting for Christmas eve to come so they can party all the night and celebrate their love.
    The joy and energy of Christmas permeates in every tone and syllables of this swinging rock n' roll, such fun!
    "Thank you, Jesus!" Thank you Hyde and Tetsu for composing this wonderful song!

    "I'll steal the night sky and light the candles, I'll keep her present hidden for the moment 
    There are stars in those beloved eyes of hers, will she be happy?
    These glasses are starting to get full with bursting sweetness, SO SWEET!

    Come on, the party is starting, come on music!"

    "Itsuka no Merry Christmas" - B'z

    If "Hurry Xmas" depicts a scene of celebration and jubilation, this song portrays a melancholic and romantic side of Christmas, a favorite Christmas choice for the Japanese since 1992.
    Gackt, being a fan of B'z himself, has so far covered this song in Christmas TV specials with Namie Amuro and Ayumi.
    This ballad depicts a romance story on a certain Christmas in the past.
    The romantic melody and vivid storytelling of the lyrics easily captures the heart of listeners worldwide, and the heartwrenching last sentence totally sealed the deal.
    A 1998 acoustic version featuring Inaba's more developed voice can be found here.

    "Watching the candles light up our room, I said, "Let's never, ever be parted"
    Before long, I found myself in tears, without even knowing why

    Standing on the street now, the one beside me is just an after image of people passing by quickly
    All of them hugging their presents with such happy faces"

    "Christmas" - Judy and Mary

    Judy and Mary hits it home with this heartwarming rock number.
    The melody and Yuki's bratty vocal is always guaranteed to pop a smile on your face.
    The song tells you a girl's wish to be with his beloved for Christmas.
    Meeting Santa inside her dream, she wishes, "Instead of luxurious sparkles, give me my most precious person"
    Spending the white Christmas eve, praying together just she and her boyfriend.

    "I have something that I want no matter what for this Christmas baby
    It's not a diamond wrapped in red ribbons
    Light a fire to that candle and enjoy the eve with me together 
    Merry Xmas for just the two of us 
    Stay beside me until I open my eyes"

    "Holy Night" - Kugimiya Rie, Kitamura Eri (Toradora!)

    Here's one anisong representative, a Christmas song from Tenori Taiga and my favorite girl Ami-chan!
    They are here to brighten your mood with their cute vocals!
    You don't need to be an expert in Japanese to understand the lyrics, it's pretty basic really.
    "Saa Christmas! Ippai no egao!"

    "Christmas this year is a little special, even if it’s not a white Christmas
    It will definitely be a special night, a lonely Christmas will be boring
    Illumination of the stars, look at them piling up on the ground
    I vow to you on this holy holy night"

    "Juunigatsu no Love Song" - GACKT

    Translated to "December's Love Song", Gackt sends shiver down your spine with this uplifting Christmas track.
    This song is actually meant to be a song about world peace and harmony.
    As seen from the PV, Gackt made this as a tribute to the 9/11 WTC tragedy victims.
    The lyrics is all about love and overflowing romantic feelings in the Christmas season, but if you see it in a more general way, the words can also be applied for friends and family.
    Truly a song about world peace, let's love each other and live in harmony forever.

    "As I gaze into the show window, I passed by so many couples holding each others' shoulders
    As I wait for you, I tried to place these thoughts into every white breath that leaves my lips

    Because you mean so much to me, don’t ever change, and keep on smiling
    Because I love you so, I’ll keep on holding on to you, only you"

    "White Love" - SPEED

    Ah, classic SPEED, the biggest girl group to hit Japan's music industry.
    This song is about how a girl treasures her newly forged relationship, how she misses her boyfriend dearly on nights when he doesn't call her, how she scribbles his initials all over her notebooks.
    Her love gives her unimaginable happiness, but the more happy she is, the more afraid she is of losing him.
    This anxiety powers her up to love him even more, creating an unending cycle of sorts.
    A recent live with the members all grown up (12 years gap) can be found here.

    "Like the light of the stars that go on forever
    I want to cover you with the love that fills my heart
    Our encounter, a gift from the angels
    Will fly through the air and keep sparkling forever"

    "Silver Town" - HOME MADE KAZOKU

    And now, for a more modern hip-hop take on the joys of Christmas.
    This is the first song that came to my mind when making this list, a typical HMKu's feelgood energetic rap music, with a Christmas twist to it.
    The song, especially the rap part, perfectly depicts the bustling and joyful city scenery in Christmas.
    Starting from how the town becomes suddenly bright after 5pm with lovers holding hands together, how the guy gets bored while waiting for his girlfriend in his car, to how he surprises her with a well hidden silver ring, all in a joyful scenery covered in snow.
    The only bad thing is that there are no higher quality versions in youtube, and my copy of this song is locked inside my currently spoiled HDD.

    "When the bell of happiness rings, the hands of two are intertwined, eyes locked at each other 
    I pulled your ear slightly, please listen carefully while I say those embarrassing three words to you.
    That stained glass is starting to shine just like this blushing December
    Careful about the people watching, the boyfriend gives a kiss
    And then, a whispered “Merry Christmas”

    "Winter Wish" - Yonekura Chihiro (Love Hina Christmas Special)

    Probably one of the best and most iconic anime Christmas songs, Winter Wish is sung by Yonekura Chihiro of Gundam 08th MS Team fame.
    Yonekura's crispy vocal goes hand in hand with the romantic melody, creating an anisong masterpiece that transcends time.
    The song depicts a romantic couple, their only wish is to be together forever always.
    As they hug each other, that warmth they are feeling is their winter wish.
    I don't know about you guys but this song makes me want to cuddle up with someone, a teddy bear will do perhaps.

    "The powdered snow that fell on my face turned into tears
    Stay by me forever, don't let go of my hand
    Shining stars in the winter sky wrapped around the both of us
    These white shoulders, this white breath, this is my winter wish I'm feeling with you"

    "A Christmas Song" - Monkey Majik, Oda Kazumasa

    When you see Oda Kazumasa and Monkey Majik in one sentence, both big names in the soft ballad world, you know you're in for an amazing treat.
    Released in December 5th this year, this very new Christmas track quickly proved itself to be a pleasurable song to listen to.
    The song depicts the solemn aspect of Christmas, a silent joy and fuzzy warm happiness.
    Spending the day with the people you hold dear, being grateful for all the blessings received throughout the years, praying for these peaceful days to continue forever.

    "As the sun sets, the street corners start to glitter
    People passed by each other with gentle smiles
    The fluttering snowflakes look like angels

    Tonight, the entire town is surrounded by happiness
    Overflowing with love, the sounds of the bell echoes gently in the night sky"

    "Can't Wait til Christmas" - Utada Hikaru

    A serene yet lighthearted love song from Hikki, delivered with piano and her ultrasonic relaxing voice.
    Unlike her usual style, Hikki's voice in this song is cuter and raspier.
    This song is about a girl who is waiting for a confession from a seemingly dense guy.
    The guy is gunning for her, but he doesn't know that the girl already has feelings for him.
    The girl knows that both of them has feelings for each other and is now waiting for the guy to actually ask her out, before Christmas comes perhaps.
    A bit of fun trivia, this song is best coupled with EXILE's entry below, "Yumemiru youna Christmas".

    "Don’t make me wait until Christmas
    The whole town is starting to fall in love with you
    Don’t put up your cool acts in front of me
    I’m already, ahh, loving you"

    "Snow Halation" - μ's (Love Live!)

    Yes, any decent Jpop list needs that certain bubblegum song that makes you scream, "MOEEEEEE!!!" or "Please be my waifuuuuu!"
    This song, as you can see from the PV, depicts the struggle of lovestruck girls on facing their own feelings, gathering their courage to confess to their crushes.
    The acoustic guitar actually caught me by surprise, it strangely fits really well with the overall composition.
    "Love Live!" is scheduled to air on TV this coming January, hopefully we can see the girls performing this number on the anime.
    On a side note, Umi-chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!! Eri-chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!

    "From the first time we met, the melody of my heart has shouted a sign 
    Before I knew it, my true emotion had grown so large
    It’s painful only seeing it as a dream, the one I want to call my lover is you

    I don't want to be swayed and bewildered by those gentle eyes
    Take all my affection as it is all at once please!"

    "Yumemiru youna Christmas" - EXILE

    Translated to, "The Christmas you see in your dreams", this is one of EXILE's happier Christmas beats.
    The whole song is a freaking love confession and diabetic sweet wooing combined into one. 
    It all started with the guy giving his 'friend' a well prepared Christmas gift, and after the line, "First, I want you to listen to what I have to say", be prepared for a storm of embarrassing love serenade.
    Of course the story ends happily, with the two exchanging a small kiss under the night sky, officially becoming a couple.
    I think if you sing this as a confession, you can instantly melt them girls no wonder how ice cold their hearts are, of course, provided you can sing as good as Atsushi and Takahiro.

    "Even if there is sadness you can’t erase, even if you have an unforgettable pain
    If you leave it to me, I’ll definitely get rid of them for you
    Even if there is happiness you can't reach, even if there are past joys you can’t regain
    If you leave it to me, they will always be yours

    If you are to be mine, the Christmas you see in your dreams will surely be yours"

    "Winter, Again" - GLAY

    ... but of course! Your year end in Japan is not complete without this song.
    Now some of you who are familiar with GLAY might ask, "Why not "Time for Christmas"? Isn't it more befitting with the Christmas theme?"
    Simple, here's the answer: "Winter, Again" is one of GLAY's signature song, their best selling single which was 2000's Japan "Song of the Year". It is one of the best, if not the best, song from GLAY.
    The song depicts a guy who remembers his late lover whenever winter comes, his love for her frozen in time on a winter long ago. 
    Now he can't meet his lover again, but he still longs for her, their past together left an unerasable mark on his heart.
    A 2011 tribute version to Japan tsunami victims with piano intro can be found here.

    "Someday, I want the two of us to go back to the time when the snow started to fall
    I want to show you the whiteness of the town where I was born 

    I want to see you, I'm longing for you the more I remember the past
    In these cold nights I can still hear, the ringing of the bell in my heart"  

    "Christmas Eve" - Yamashita Tatsurou

    This is the so-called Japan's national Christmas carol.
    Since 1983, this song has been blaring throughout Japan's radio stations whenever Christmas comes.
    The lyrics is actually very simple, comprising of only 10 sentences, in which 4 of them are the chorus.
    The charm of this song comes from the catchy and happy melody, complete with powerful background vocals, something that can be said crazy awesome in 1983.
    An English version of the song can be found here.
    Also, 1:59, epicness ensues.

    "The rain, in this time of night, has changed into snow
    Surely you won't come, another Christmas Eve spent all alone
    Deep inside my heart, this hidden feeling of mine, will it be granted or will it not?
    This feeling of mine for you still won't disappear, it lingers around the night"

    "Shiroi Koibitotachi" - Kuwata Keisuke

    And now for the closing number, here's another popular Christmas song that is often repeated on radio stations all over Japan, brought to you by the soulful blues vocal of Kei-chan.
    The melody of this song is so melancholic yet so uplifting and romantic it simply grows on you, makes you want to take a girl by her hand and waist and proceed to dance slowly.
    It depicts a story of a guy who reminisced upon his past lover for one last time, shedding tears of goodbye, hoping that his lonely days will eventually pass and a new love to dawn upon him.
    This song has been covered by prolific vocalists like Hirai Ken and Shimizu Shota and even the super RnB group Boyz II Men, but still their voice profile can't perfectly grasp the soulful swing of the song like Kei-chan does.
    Too bad the epic PV is removed from youtube, except for this short version.

    "Outside, it’s cold enough to freeze a sigh, wind howls through the empty winter streets
    I’m at that *Akarenga station, waiting for someone who will never return

    Tonight I shall sing a tearful love serenade, it’s a love song that I still haven’t forgotten
    Snow, let me celebrate my love once more, grace this night of lonely tears with white love

    *Akarenga: Yokohama historical red brick building

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