30-Day Song Challenge Day 17: Songs You Like Hearing Live

So I’ve never been to a J-pop concert in person before (sad, I know). But it is one of my goals, so I’m tryin’! In the meantime, however, YouTube recordings of performances will have to suffice. And at this moment, there’s only two bands I can think of that I especially love to hear live:

Anything by fripSide: “only my railgun,” “sister’s noise,” “LEVEL5 -judgelight-,” “black bullet,” “HesitationSnow,” “fortissimo -from insanity affection-,” “late in autumn,” and more

Today, fripSide at the AFA Singapore 2014 x MVR series with “sister’s noise”

I found the most recent one that I could, but doesn’t Yoshino Nanjo look like she’s having a blast? I love the Misaka clone and Kuroko that lurk around the stage dancing! Gah, so adorable :> But I love fripSide’s live performances because A) they go all out with the light show, B) Nanjo always has on the coolest outfits (see America, you don’t have to wear a swimsuit to rock a good music video), and C) everyone is so full of energy! The band members, the crowd – you can practically feel the sweat dripping it’s so intense.

Anything by Yuki Kajiura, performed by Kalafina: “To the Beginning,” Heavenly Blue,” “Hikari no Senritsu,” “ring your bell,” “Magia,” and more

Today, Kalafina with “ring your bell” LIVE 2015

Gosh, these three are always so beautiful, so graceful. In contrast to fripSide’s flashy performances, Kalafina opts in for heavenly, majestic, powerful, sometimes somber performances (harmony to die for). Yes, their style is completely different besides there being three of them and only Nanjo for fripSide, but it feels more personal with them – more like a professional concert rather than a pop one. Both are incredible to watch, and I wish I could see both of them in concert one of these days 🙂

So there are two of the best bands EVER – GO WATCH FROM THEM AND ENJOY! I honestly love them both so much! What I’d give to go to a performance . . . Tune in tomorrow for more awesome songs and bands, till then, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Black Bullet Review

The apocalypse cannot be summed up in thirteen episodes, especially when half of those episodes are pointless loli fights.

In the near future, humans have been defeated by the giant viral insects called the Gastrea. Shortly after, mankind created Varanium, a weakening metal that is immune to the virus and wards off the Gastrea effects. Black Varanium walls were erected around the Tokyo area to keep the insects out, but the real toll has already been taken in the form of the “Cursed Children.” Due to Gastrea infecting the mothers, Cursed Children were born as red-eyed girls with superhuman powers.

Satomi Rentarou lost his family to the Gastrea in an earlier war, and because of his hatred for them ended up joining Tendo Civil Security as a Promoter, one of the many organizations fighting against the Gastrea. Teamed up with his loli partner, Aihara Enju, the two receive requests from Tokyo’s leader, Seitenshi-sama, that involve protecting her from harm’s way, managing public safety and of course, killing off the Gastrea with their black bullets.

I expected this series to be an action rom-com, similar to Aria the Scarlet Ammo, and I got that impression, that is, from the first half of the series only. The first half follows Rentarou and Enju beating up all who oppose Seitenshi-sama. There are comedic scenes, decent character development and yeah – just pretty laid back.

But around episode eight or so, the government gets involved, and we all know what happens then. Our little fights become all-out war and by then the show isn’t even interesting anymore.

And for a show about the Gastrea, they never show up in the city after the first episode, so I don’t really know what genre to classify this series as. Replacing the Seitenshi-sama bits with in-town Gastrea fights would have at least kept the consistency of the overarching plot.

At least the anime does a decent job at defining the discrimination between ordinary citizens and that of the red-eyed Cursed Children. I got really emotional when any of them died, but maybe because they are only little lolis. Still sad stuff though!

The only characters worth mentioning are Enju, Rentarou and his boss, Kisara Tendo. Enju constantly asks to marry Rentarou, but we never really find out why – or at least it’s not memorable. Other than that flaw she’s pretty cute, innocent, and a kick-ass fighter!

Rentarou’s only redeeming quality is the fact that his voice actor is Yuki Kaji (Shu Ouma, Eren Jaeger). He does such a phenomenal job at capturing the youth male in an expressive and active manner. Towards the end, I only watched the series for Kaji’s amazing acting.

Kisara is . . . hmm, Rin Tohsaka? Pretty much, only that Tohsaka’s a billion times cooler. They belong to involved families, aid the protagonist, act somewhat, and I say this lightly, tsundere, and they both look the freakin’ same.

But I still liked Kisara. She and Rentarou actually push the romantic level in this series to a point where I was satisfied, and not overdone. Her end, though, makes me question her bi-polar-ness. “I am evil.” What the hell?

The reason I started this series was for its animation by Kinema Citrus Co. I love the bright colors and matching pallets on the characters. Eyes, hair, clothing, boobs – just everything was nicely done. The only problem was the cheap CGI animation in the Gastrea. They seriously look like dumb indistinguishable blobs.

As far as sound goes, the OST is pretty vivid. A variety of different styles were used to caption the different moments. Techno, choral, orchestral and even Western-inspired tracks were present. Emotional death scenes are well supported by the soundtrack. I can’t really complain.

Now the opening –I love the J-pop band fripSide after hearing them perform the openings for A Certain Scientific Railgun and its sequel, but their new song (the opening) certainly raises the bar. “Black Bullet” (original, I know) amplifies itself with rushing choir chants similar to Attack on Titan’s second opening, and it’s such a catchy beat. CHECK IT OUT!

The ending, “Tokohana” by Nagi Yanagi, also deserves a shout out for its haunting glow. It subtly captions the cries of the Cursed Children. I bow to you, Nagi Yanagi.

At its end, Black Bullet finishes with an epic fight, yet ultimately resolves nothing. I guess the Cursed Children get it good, but Kisara only gets a start to her story. Along the way, the show answers no questions, adds new ones, and just fails to explain anything. Had the last ten minutes specifically been taken out then I could have made an enjoyable experience out of the whole thing, but sadly, no.

I guess Black Bullet falls into the trend of “good animation, unexplained plot,” similar to TRINITY SEVEN that I recently finished. If the anime just answered its own problems before adding new ones – antagonist Kagatane, I’m talking to you – then again, I would have had a lot of fun with this series. And because of its lack in explanation, I can’t really recommend this anime. Perhaps if you enjoy loli combat, colorful animation and fripSide, then go ahead. Black Bullet had something going, but shot too many holes in itself by the end. “The scariest thing about killing people is getting used to it” – Satomi Rentarou

If you had similar or even favorable thoughts on Black Bullet, feel free to leave a comment below! I want to know if it was just me who was unsatisfied. Thanks for reading, have a good one, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host