Attention please! We are looking for a new writer!

電波の世界 started in December 2007 and while our passion for the genre has only increased over the years, it's been difficult to find time for new articles and features. That's why we (denpanosekai and mandichan) are looking for an enthusiastic new writer! Here are some typical articles and tasks:

※ album previews and reviews
※ event reports (comiket, M3, live, etc.)
※ artist spotlights and interviews
※ denpa watchlist renewal
※ a new theme would be nice!

Do you want to make a difference and contribute to the original and leading source for English denpa news worldwide? Please contact denpanosekai [at] gmail [dot] com today!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

YMCK live performance in Washington, DC


Heads up to all of our Washington, DC readers! Japanese chiptune band YMCK will be performing for FREE at the 2008 Japan! Culture + Hyper Culture event in Washington on Sunday, February 10 2008 at 6PM. I plan on writing a YMCK band profile in the near future, but until then I wanted to pass the word about this specific event.

Sadly, I won't be able to attend even though Washington's not extremely far from here. Not only will I be missing out on some killer 8-bit tunes performed live; the whole 2 week event sounds too good to be true. To add insult to injury, I have a bit of a love story with the city itself. Seeing Ovechkin play to his home crowd is a must, plus I know a couple of restaurants that I definitely need to re-visit ASAP! Why couldn't this event happen this summer instead? Would have been such a great road trip...

If anyone is planning on going, please drop me a line! I would love to put up your pictures for all to see.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

電波 201: In defense of Denpa


Welcome to the second part in a series of editorials about denpa-kei. In case you missed it, you may wish to read the first installment, in which we covered the very definition of the quirky musical genre. Today, I will take a closer look at how denpa is seen by the rest of the world and shed light on some of the misconceptions that surround it. I frequently use Google to take the pulse of the internet regarding denpa. Before 電波の世界 existed, there weren't any denpa-specific websites, meaning that I often land on blogs and boards that focus on Japanese music and animation in general. Sadly, the majority of the posts and blog entries that I find are often written in a pejorative way. Let's take a closer look at some of the top Google entries.

(...) those really squeaky voices that try to get themselves labelled as moe. Examples would be like mosaic.wav and IOSYS.
Excerpt from: Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts

First of all, I wish people took time to look at definitions before throwing words around for all to see. Moé (萌え) is the new hentai, isn't it? The proper usage of 萌え is to describe an emotion and certainly not a style or label. 萌え is the warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside of you when you look at your favorite anime character or, by association, listen to your favorite artist or musician. On the latter, I strongly think that the music in question has to be related to anime in one way or another. I don't think you can feel 萌え while listening to Coldplay or the Cro-Mags. But maybe YOU can, however that's not the subject at hand here, so I digress. Back to the author, it is obvious that despite his willingness to explore the complex world of Japanese culture, he has failed to realize that Denpa "is" 萌え ONLY if it makes you feel that way. Implying that NO ONE feels 萌え while listening to MOSAIC.WAV is wrong and certainly not the case with me.

Secondly, I think this author really shot himself down with this particular blog entry. After a quick skim through other posts, it is clear that this person has fair knowledge about the anime culture. Pray tell then, why would he or she have an objection to "really squeaky voices"? I understand that a person who has never been exposed to anime and denpa might experience cultural shock when it comes to the higher pitched voices that I'm used to (loving). I don't expect all anime fans to automatically love denpa the way that I do, but this just one example of how denpa is unjustly persecuted. Next!

Denpa is ok, but too much of it gives me a terrible moe-induced headache. I looped Short-Ciruit II for 2 hours. The result was disasterous.
Excerpt from: The Ephemeral Sol

Well, at least this person tried to enjoy something new and different, but failed at the task. Again, the m-word is thrown around like it's going out of style (it probably is). I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence through this editorial but let's set the record straight: if it gives you a headache, IT'S NOT MOÉ. I also fail to understand how it took that person 2 hours to realize he or she was annoyed with the genre, instead of a few seconds. But I'm just splitting hair here! I just hope that this person, who again has an interesting blog and with whom I actually seem to share a lot in common, takes the time to properly enjoy/criticize the genre in the future, instead of writing it off as an Advil sales pitch. Next!!

This last one actually has a lot of "good" quotes. All excerpts from: Denpa: The Scourge of Music.

The denpa style dominated the erotic game arena, creating minor celebrities out of poor singers.

Throughout the entry, the author shows that he or she has sound knowledge about denpa since key points such as the history of the genre are accurately covered. Then, why are we not privy to complete details regarding said poor singers? If the article was written with such a negative tone and obvious debilitating intents, why weren't names named? What are you fighting for when you don't know the enemy's face?

Music and vocals that are politely termed “overly enthusiastic,” and often intentionally horrid.

This comes from a list of "generally accepted features", which means that the bullet points should be FACTS, not opinions. Read through the lines, people!

Lyrics that have no meaning (I know translators who’ve lost years of their life to denpa songs).

Same comment as above. Also, really? Years and years? Even though the genre's explosion in popularity is only about 3 years old? Also, allow me to contact said translators. Either they created translation masterpieces that I simply must partake in, or just completely sucked at it.

It has come to extend to people who live off in their own little dream worlds and have trouble communicating with the real world (mostly otaku). So, in essence, denpa songs are songs made to appeal to these types of people.

Hah! That one's great, just great. I'm not even going to describe myself as proof that this person's gross generalization is completely false. As deeply as that last comment insulted my beliefs, my private life is beyond the scope of this blog. However, this remark is a powerful statement when used as a sample of how much some people lack intercultural and interpersonal relationship skills. What are this person's sources for such a generalized affirmation? Common knowledge, you say? *shakes head in disgust* Akibattler, SLASH!

Given the blind hatred that internet anonymosity generously confers, I foretell a second part of "In defense of Denpa" will need to be published sooner or later. My next editorial will be much brighter in contents however, as I plan to explore the ways in which denpa can be used to create a better world. Kirameku indeed! Stay tuned for 301!

Friday, 11 January 2008

DVD検討: SHORT CIRCUIT II Premium Show

Turns out Comiket 73 wasn't a total bust from I've Sound after all. They did end up releasing "I've MANIA Tracks Vol. 1" a weak and unimpressive compilation of obscure, "hard-to-find" and mostly remixed songs that no one asked for. Well, I never heard KOTOKO's "Crossed Destiny" before, but it certainly isn't one of her best songs, since, you know, I would have heard it otherwise. On the other hand, they also released a very solid DVD featuring the first and only SHORT CIRCUIT live show that took place on July 21 2007 in Tokyo.

I realize that for my readers' sake (millions of them) I should be writing a SHORT CIRCUIT article before reviewing the DVD, but that's just how unorganized I am. Let's just say that SHORT CIRCUIT a) has nothing to do with the radical '80s movies and b) is I've's collection series of mostly-denpa songs. Most will argue that KOTOKO and I've (possibly) came up with the first denpa song with 恋愛CHU! Eventually I will cover the series, but for now let's just take a closer look at the first show...

First things first, you will notice that the video and sound quality are as good as they can get! You'll get a thrill from hearing the crowd shouting at the top of their lungs and watching them shake their light sticks in unison. My major complaint about the camera work is that, while the number of angles provided is more than sufficient, I would have appreciated more closeups of the musicians and on-stage performers. I find it amazing that they managed to capture what are essentially electronically-created songs and transform them into a much more natural and musical format. We barely ever see the drummer, the performer which I find myself staring at more than the singer when attending concerts. However, I don't think he's the same one that accompanied KOTOKO when she played Toronto and Dallas in 2006. Either way, talented folks, the lot of them. Let's rip into the songs.

めぃぷるシロップ: Great choice for a first track, as it sets the pace for the 2 hours to follow! KOTOKO is surrounded by 10 energetic cheerleaders while she dons a purple dress and puffy skirt. Unfortunately, she is slightly out of tune, as if she hadn't practiced prior to the concert or is simply nervous in front of the capacity crowd. The latter of which obviously doesn't mind as everyone is ecstatic and responds to the song with great synchronization.

はじめまして、恋。: NOW WE'RE TALKING! This is easily my favorite song from Short Circuit II, and having shook off what little nervousness she previously possessed, KOTOKO marvelously performs this one. The cheerleaders get the boot as they are replaced with KOTOKO's "sexy dancers" (as she described them on YTV Canada). It's almost a good thing I wasn't there or I would have been kicked out from stage dive attempts! Notice how no security guards or bouncers are to be found even though we're talking about a major event. She briefly pauses to welcome everyone to the premium event and to introduce the lovely Utatsuki Kaori who joins her on stage to perform...

恋愛CHU!: As previously noted, this is probably one of the "first" denpa songs made famous. Kaori wears the same sort of frilly dress, but a pink one. For whatever reason, she doesn't look very comfortable on stage as she is constantly arching forward, possibly from the embarrassing platform shoes that she had to wear. The two girls make very little movement and KOTOKO gradually leaves the stage.

消えない想い: I don't remember this song being a part of the Short Circuit series, and I don't remember hearing it before. It sounds like it features backing vocals by KOTOKO but she is nowhere to be seen. This one is mellow, but in an annoying way. I actually can't stand it, so allow me to move to the next one.

I'm home : Wow, 2 smooth ones in a row? What is Kaori trying to do and who is she kidding with that out-of-tune singing? I'm sure that song has its hardcore fans but they'd be hypocrites if they weren't cringing like I was.

レモネード: Strike three, you're OUT! By now I've had my fill of Kaori's boring songs, let's just hope the next one isn't as sleep-inducing.

Pure Heart ~世界で一番アナタが好き~: Not bad, not bad. 4 dancers get on stage and try their best to light up the crowd after three downers.

アナタだけのAngel☆: Much better, I love the fast palm muting on this one, but of course, they won't show the guitar player. This isn't bad, but I want KOTOKO back. Kaori still can't her tone down perfectly and it just ruins an otherwise fine song.

Do you know the magic?: I remember the first time I heard this on Collective (aka I've Collection 6), I instantly fell in love with the guitar licks and I really wish I was there on stage performing it. Being surrounded with so many cheerleaders would only sweeten the deal, of course. The crowd really lights up for this one and provides the backing vocals for what would normally be echoes of Kaori-chan's voice.

Cream + Mint: KOTOKO is FINALLY back but, sadly, is performing one of her least memorable songs. At least she changed into a nice black robe which, dare I say, gives her a bit of a gothic lolita look, Yousei Teikoku-style. She chats up the crowd just a bit then goes into...



さくらんぼキッス ~爆発だも~ん~: This powerful denpa number really, really brings me back into a happy mood. KOTOKO is alone on stage for this one, but moves along admirably considering she never goes out of tune and doesn't gasp for air.

きゅるるんKissでジャンボ♪♪: They really kept the best for the end, didn't they? Two great denpa songs in a row is just what the doctor prescribed for that genki feeling. Two sexy maid dancers really help pushing the moé factor as far as possible...



Princess Bride!: This song was previously played live at the 2005 Mutant Dwarf fan event in 2005, and while this new version isn't bad at all, the previous one is much more energetic in comparison. Not to mention the camera angles extensively feature the musicians, which greatly pleases me. But KOTOKO is giving it her all, as usual. She eventually starts to run out of dance moves and goes into an embarrassing little jig, which would even make my moves look good.

ねぇ、…しようよっ!: Here's a great song that usually perks me right up when I'm feeling blue. The odd thing about the performance is that the dancers are brought out wearing the same uniforms they were wearing during the aforementioned 2005 event. For consistency's sake, shouldn't they have come out during Princess Bride? Maybe they weren't ready... you never know what goes on backstage!

Change my Style ~あなた好みの私に~: This is one of my favorites and it was also played at Mutant Dwarf 2005. Again, I'm a little disappointed with the new performance, as the older one featured tons of improvised guitar work that gave it a unique feeling. While still enjoyable, it remains a bit dry. Here's another, older version, that's just as insane. Check out that huge crowd!

夏草の線路: One of my favorite Kaori X KOTOKO songs ever written, it always gives me good vibrations when I hear that intro. The transition from electronic to real instruments is, once again, incredible! Which begs the question, why didn't they just do it that way in the first place? At least Kaori doesn't mess this one up too bad...

ジェットスマッシュ!: Never heard this one before. I don't see the need for bringing out so many cheerleaders on stage for such a bland and average song. Kaori still looks like she's suffering from back pain and KOTOKO is having major problems with her bra strap... those are by far the highlights. Next!

Short Circuit: Some real action on this one, from all fronts! Both girls are loosening up and moving around a lot more naturally. Camera angles cycle between each other at a rapid pace, lots of zoom in/out and of course, the cheerleaders are going nuts! How the hell did they muster so much energy for the whole night? At the end of the song, KOTOKO, Kaori and everyone else get off the stage, leaving the fans screaming for an encore. They quickly show up on mini sportsbikes, much to everyone's enjoyment. Each member of the band, dancers included, gets introduced to the audience. It's pretty obvious what's coming next!

↑青春ロケット↑ : We all knew the show wouldn't end so soon, and it's a nice touch they got them to change outfits so quickly, to really emphasize what a great song this is. Nice show of respect to their fans! You can feel the energy in the club, everyone is just jumping and singing along and it makes for an electric performance.

Double HarmoniZe Shock!!: All good things must come to an end, and what better way to end the night than with arguably one the most powerful Short Circuit II song? I'm running out of compliments here, all I can say is that the performance is stellar and highlights I've as a serious musical force to contend with.

Whew, there you are. When it's all said and done, this DVD comes highly recommended (if you can find it!) despite a number of passable songs and some sub-par performances from Kaori. NOW, how about a MOSAIC.WAV ~first live~ DVD? We all know it's coming, let's just hope it comes sooner than later.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

アニメ検討 - げんしけん2 (Genshiken 2 Review)


I love anime, as you can probably imagine, and one of the many things I love to do is to pull an all nighter and watch episode after episode until I ascend to anime heaven and just crash when the multiple Red Bulls have no more effect on me. Of course with Real LifeTM and old(er) age taking their toll on me, that rarely ever happens anymore. But with the recent holiday break we've just had, I couldn't miss the opportunity.

The original Genshiken was a big hit with me. Not only did I love every bit of the anime, but I also went crazy for the Kujibiki Unbalance theme song and by association, UNDER17. Without wanting to spoil too much, Genshiken has but a simple premise; it follows the "adventures" of a bunch of Japanese teenagers who are part of an anime club. I say "adventures" because it mostly revolves around criticizing anime, playing videogames, cosplaying, going to "Comifes" and so on. But the real meat of the show is the exploration of various issues attached to the otaku lifestyle; issues such as interpersonal relationships and (lack of) confidence in oneself. The first season sort of had a hero in Sasahara Kanji who learned to accept himself as a hardcore otaku in the end, with the help of his newfound friends.

The second season uses the exact same formula, except now we follow the heroine Ogiue Chika who absolutely despises Otakus even though it is obvious she is one. The rest of the cast now take on much more serious endeavors; as many of them are set to graduate, the job hunt is on. And they are not content with simply going to Comifes anymore, instead we follow them as they go through not one but two group publications. Every single detail is as true-to-life as it can be. Again, I don't want to spoil too much, but new relationships are also explored. The Kasukabe X Kousaka couple's limits are also pushed to new extremes; if you thought she had it bad in season 1, you've seen nothing.

The later episodes also introduce two new characters, Sue and Angela, two American Otakus who join Genshiken as guest members for a short time. Both of them were Ohno's friends when she lived in America and they showed up at the last minute for Comifes. Most of their manners are considered rude by the Genshiken crew but they try their best to accomodate them, as most Japanese people are wont to do. Note that every little bit of Engrish was spoken by Japanese VAs, so the end result is simply hilarious (the internet agrees). The writers definitely wanted to leave no stone unturned this season as yaoi manga is also explored in great detail.

That's it for the review, short as it may be. I'm now off to watch the SHORT CIRCUIT II Premium Show IN TOKYO DVD which came out at Comiket 73. Another short review coming up. Until then, watch the glorious Genshiken 2 opening which parodies Gundam Seed with amazing precision.



Thursday, 3 January 2008

Huge denpa database on sound.jp

Sound.jp is a web host of sorts and I found a nifty user page on it with tons of links to denpa songs. Most game companies (and sometimes anime studios) will offer its users a short version MP3 of the opening theme. This probably is an artist demand as well, given the short market penetration rate that these games sometimes have. Admittedly the quality varies from good to downright terrible - that's why this blog focuses on top artists such as KOTOKO and MOSAIC.WAV. So consider yourself warned and never forget that denpa and eroge are usually closely associated, so the NSFW warning is always in full effect.

About the page itself, once you scroll past the couple of adverts, you will come to two alphabetically-sorted lists. Clicking on a song title will bring you to an information box, with links to the game maker or sometimes even youtube. What I find hilarious is that the author included separate 電波 (denpa) and 萌え (moé) ratings for each and every song.

The link: http://sound.jp/dempa_song/