Whet Your Appetite: Dance/Upbeat J-Pop/J-Rock

 

I just threw this up in case anyone was interested in being introduced to some J-music. If there are any ‘genres’ you’d like to hear songs for then please comment and I can try to tailor a list to that request. I clearly went pretty diverse and indeed left out some appropriate artists such as Perfume, HALCALI, and more. So if you can think of more artists and/or songs that would fit then feel free to suggest them in the comments below.

(in no particular order and with varied styles)

1. AAA – “Dream After Dream”

2. w-inds feat. G-Dragon – “Rain Is Falling”

3. Zeebra feat. RYO the SKYWALKER, Mummy-D- “Butterfly City”

4. Sakanaction – “Native Dancer”

5. Boom Boom Satellites – “Kick It Out” [JP Version]

6. Shoji Meguro – “Burn My Dread” [Live Version]

7. Acid Black Cherry – “Black Cherry”

8. High and Mighty Color – “Hot Limit” [T.M. Revolution Cover]

9. Pierrot – “Yuuyami Suicide”

10. Maximum the Hormone “Rolling 1000 Toon”

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Zippy Lately (July 26 – August 1, 2010)

1. Highschool of the Dead (Manga!)

For fans of the series Highschool of the Dead this last month or so has been extremely exciting! First the series was licensed by Sentai Filmworks with a subtitled release on TheAnimeNetwork.com via stream. Now Yen Press has licensed the manga, which means it may also be included as a part of Yen Press Online. While I think the anime has been very true to the manga, more so than I could’ve imagined, reading the manga is a fun filled ride as well.

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2. San Diego International Comic Con (SDCC)

While there isn’t really one ring to rule them all, there seems to be one convention that does in fact dominate the American con scene. That convention is Comic Con, or more formally known as the San Diego International Comic Con. Few conventions get so many people, so much mainstream press, and so much awesomeness at one time! While many naysayers and perhaps long time SDCC attendees say that Comic Con has gone too mainstream, one can’t deny the continued success of the convention. Indeed seeing the casts of non-comic/non-geeky nighttime TV dramas, blockbuster movies, and more can seem a bit off putting at times; however, really at their heart of hearts the fans of the newer residents to SDCC are in fact ‘geeks’ as well.  Otaku in Japanese simply means to have a strong love or passion for something, and in english the word geek means likewise. So if you enjoy Comic Con’s many offerings, popular or cult, you can’t deny the awesomeness of Comic Con and all that it brings forth year after year.

3. Shiki

To spice up BBAMAJAM the club our fearless leader Nick decided to follow the suggestions to infuse more anime into our weekly discussions. Since we’re located in a public environment, we hadn’t been able to watch shows as a club. However thanks to Hulu, FUNimation, and many more companies we realized that there are a plethora of legal streaming opportunities that would allow us to watch the show(s) at our leisure, and then during club we could discuss the episode we watched that week.

The show we chose to discuss first is Shiki, which is being released by FUNimation. Having only seen the first episode I can only tell you that the show is spooky, uniquely drawn as seen in the character designs, and similar to Higurashi in its setting since both take place in isolated villages. I can tell there is going to be an abundance of twists and turns, so Shiki should be one exciting ride.

If you’d like to join in on the discussion, or if you’re a member of BBAMAJAM and you miss a meeting but still want to share your thoughts, then check out our new forum where we’ll discuss the episodes online as well.

What’s My Focus Now? 7/18 – 7/24

1. Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

In an effort to clear off my DVR, I’ve been watching a ton of Monster, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. For me, this is a perfect anime. It’s full of suspense, twists, and interesting characters. In fact, the characters are the best part of this anime. There are so many, yet each of them seems deep and believable. I cheer for some, I cringe at others, and I root for those trying to solve the mystery to get together and share their info. And please…don’t get me started on the characters who don’t make it. I’ve yelled at the screen on more than a few occasions.

At 74 episodes, Monster runs the risk of stretching on for too long, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s never an issue. Every episode develops something new. Not everything seems important at first, but with time, everything begins to tie together. Characters and plot points introduced in the first few episodes show up again towards the end. Nothing feels wasted or irrelevant. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, dramatic, well-planned anime, Monster is what you want.

5 out of 5

2. SHINee’s “Lucifer”

The anime club has some vocal K-pop fans, and SHINee is one group they often bring up. After listening to “Ring Ding Dong”, I decided I approved. It’s definitely a song I enjoy listening to, and the video is pretty fun to watch, even if it is a little too “boy band” sometimes. So when I heard SHINee had a new music video, I wanted to check it out.

 

I really like the song. It’s catchy, has a nice beat, and even throws in a few of those slightly made up English words SHINee seems to enjoy. It’s a lot of fun, and I can imagine many people singing and dancing along to it. The video, though…well…I liked it more the second time I watched it. The dancing is great, and while I don’t quite get the flowing streams of light, they do look nice. My biggest issue is the change of style. It just seems like change for change’s sake. Some of the looks aren’t bad, but some (*cough*Key*cough*) seem like they’ll be regretted in a few months. Psuedo-cowboy boots and a half-shaven head showing off a strange red spot? No no no. Otherwise, though, a fun video.

Song: 4.5 out of 5

Video: 4 out of 5

3. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Having played and enjoyed the LEGO games by Traveller’s Tales in the past, I was looking forward to this release. At their heart, the games have a pretty basic formula, and this one doesn’t stray from that. You explore a central hub and levels based off of the source material, breaking down and rebuilding LEGO pieces to open new paths and collect studs, bricks and other goodies. Other than being based on Harry Potter, there were two main changes to this game that stood out. First is the addition of potions, which require you to find 3 items hidden in the environment to mix in a cauldron which gives your character an extra power for a limited time. The other change is the added requirement of finding a character token to unlock the additional characters. In the past, you only needed to play the character in a story level to be able to purchase them. Having this added collectible group makes the game slightly more difficult, which is a big improvement.

As of this writing, though, there’s a pretty major flaw with the game. There are many bugs and glitches hidden throughout the game, including a few which require starting a new game to be able to finish. Luckily, the worst problem I faced was a tendency for my PS3 to freeze up. If you’re a fan of the LEGO games, or of Harry Potter, it’s definitely worth a rental, just be prepared for a few frustrating moments. However, if you’re expecting major changes to the formula or an innovative leap in game play, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

3.5 out of 5