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!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

HOBiTRANCE 「Ultimate A-Style2」 impressions, release party

HOBiTRANCE's 「Ultimate A-Style2」 compilation came out in late November 2008, to the great pleasure of MOSAIC.WAV fans eagerly awaiting the trance conversions of two of the sound unit's songs. Today, just under 2 months after the release, its producers are giving it one last promo push in the form of the 「Ultimate A-Style2 Limited Release Party」 that's taking place right now in Tokyo's amate-raxi club. Some of the artists on stage include DJ Shimamura and Ryu☆ (who are behind the two MOSAIC.WAV remixes) as well as Uraken, REDALiCE and a couple more big names (including a VJ and a special guest). Party time for sure, but since I'm exactly 6460 miles away from there as I type this, I can only weep softly and turn on the Wii.

Or I can share with you some of my thoughts regarding said compilation, because in a nutshell, it is far and beyond one of the best anime/trance compilations I've heard (not that the CODE SPEED competition is much of a threat). It also helps that MOSAIC.WAV and 榊原ゆい tracks make up four tenths of this album, but the others are nothing to scoff at. The number one quality factor is that HOBiTRANCE did not go for stand-in singers, they obtained the original vocal tracks and in some instances used the actual sound effects or instruments from the master copy.

After hearing this, some may think that the whole process is useless and that sticking to the originals might be just as well. But don't forget this is a trance remix album, so the tempo has been aggressively pumped up and the vocalists' pitch significantly altered (yes, even mi~ko's voice if you can believe that). There are also a few original gems in there, notably teranoid's "still dope" which has hilarious Engrish delivery by MC KENT (although his accent is really good). The MOSAIC.WAV remixes themselves are highly enjoyable, if only to see new life breathed in 2006's "100グラムの恋心".

Bottom line, high production values, expert remixers and original vocal tracks are the three selling point of this outstanding compilation, so I hope others take a clue from this one. By the way the first volume was also just as enjoyable, it just didn't have any MOSAIC.WAV songs for me to report on. Speaking of which, HOBiTRANCE released a 10 minute highlight video of this summer's event, so today's party is likely to be getting the same treatment. About 5:50 in you can see JAKAZiD, a scrawny-looking 20 year-old happy hardcore wonder from England who is definitely starting to play with the big boys... good on you!

And on a final note, mi~ko, kayapi and Ryu☆ visited the アキバ総研 offices on December 27th 2008 to talk about the 「ガチャガチャきゅ~と・ふぃぎゅ@メイト」 among other things. When asked about their impressions, they both agree that the remix is very well done of course. Kayapi says that he sees the original in a whole new perspective now. mi~ko was surprised and amused by the slight change in pitch applied to the vocals.

When asked about their songwriting process, she then joked that she is the right brain of the operation, while kayapi is the left one. I'm sure this has some signification of sorts, but I don't have a clue at the moment. For his part, Ryu☆ says that it is of the utmost importance to him that fans of the original also become fans of his remix, so he works long overtime hours to make sure all the details are in place. Of course they discuss their influences, so Kayamori name-drops P-MODEL once again. They end by discussing their future plans (nothing I haven't reported about) and by wishing everyone a happy new year!

Eh? What's that? Akiba Souken has had an English version since August 2008? Wow, I had no idea. It's significantly lighter on contents than the Japanese edition, but it's there and it's updated weekly. To conclude today's subject, you can read their 「Ultimate A-Style2」 launch report for extra information.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

むすめーかー getting English fan translation, more gaming news

Trio of good gaming news for you folks today. Don't worry, they're all sorta denpa-related, in a way. First we have むすめーかー (Musumaker), the one loli eroge I can't seem to stop writing about. What else could there possibly be left to say? How's this: a group of fans have joined forces and are currently working on an English translation patch. The sample images don't look too promising and they likely won't be able to translate everything since the game uses a lot of text on images. However, there's no denying the small boost in popularity MOSAIC.WAV are sure to get outside of Japan once this patch hits the tubes, so thumbs up to whoever's contributing.

In other news, Atlus USA finally announced (after a month-long ESRB leak) that they were going to publish Steal Princess in North America. This puzzle-heavy action game was developped by Climax Entertainment, with staff pedigree including such classic games as Landstalker and Illbleed, so it shows a lot of promise. But the connection with this blog is that Atlus USA wisely decided to leave the original Japanese theme song untouched (I called it!). This marks (to the best of my knowledge) the first licensed 榊原ゆい (Sakakibara Yui) song to appear outside of Japan. It's far from her best work (and I've already read quite a few disparaging comments from American gamers) but it's huge step forward in her career.

Finally, a reminder to everyone out there that the same Atlus USA will soon release Legacy of Ys: Books I & II on February 10th 2009 for the Nintendo DS. As a total and complete Nihon Falcom fanboy, the prospect of this series getting yet another official release outside of Japan is driving me wild with glee. After all, the avatar you see on the right-hand bar is none other than Adol Christin, the serie's iconic red-haired and hot-blooded protagonist. Furthermore, here's an interesting link: the game's music was composed by 古代祐三 (Koshiro Yuuzou), who recently was in charge of the Etrian Odyssey soundtrack, which in turn spawned a very popular IOSYS cover album (containing the hit song F.O.E.)... and that's your obscure denpa connection of the day.

Friday, 16 January 2009

CD検討: MOSAIC.WAV 「こどもざいく・やみもざいく」

True to form, MOSAIC.WAV announced their comiket merchandise just one week prior to the event taking place on December 28th 2008. This wasn't as much a surprise as the format which they went for: a concept mini-album which would be exclusive to C75 and never repressed. It also marked the beginning of a new distribution relationship, with VIEWS CORPORATION picking up where the staggering Russell (one L in the URL, two L's in the name...) left off.

The concept behind the mini-album is actually quite simple and oh-so-stereotypically Japanese, Light Vs Dark. In our case, mi~ko created two new characters that represent both sides, namely こどもさいく for the Light Warriors and やみもざいく for the Dark Empire. Which side will prevail in this battle of Good and Evil? Leave aside your preconceptions from years of playing Final Fantasy and let our review give you each side's strengths and weaknesses.

1. ひとりでできるかな (MP3 sample)
Right off the bat, this song will sound like a long-lost "Amusement Pack" B-side. A nicer way to put it would be that the experience gained from writing such "theme park" songs sure served them here. "Can I do it alone?" is mi~ko's love song to comiket, in which a new fictional character challenges herself to go to the festival by herself, and the hilarious situations and moral dilemmas that follow. One thing for sure is that I will never translate this song (sorry Surasshu!) because the lyrics are kinda really messed up (in a good way) and would require taking way too many liberties on the translator's part. Overall this is a nice little song that shows off mi~ko's creative writing process more than it highlights kayamori's musical prowesses.

2. おなかいっぱい
"Everyone! My stomach... is full!" And so begins track number 2. More insane lyrics that make little sense, backed by an instrumental track that could very well have been lifted straight from the first one. We're still on the "light" side of the album, so what we have here is a quaint and laid back track that really doesn't pack too much of a punch. Oh well.

3. おとなのねばねばスイーツ(Instrumental)
This is a "grownup" (read: jazzy) version of the hectic ねばねば Uju theme song which came out in November 2008. I have trouble believing 柏森さん did everything on his own, as the drums in particular sound extremely professional, and I've seen quite a few drummers in my lifetime. Nevertheless, the standout aspect of this track is the exquisite piano line which never lets up. I am certain that most listeners will skip this track because it is not a "true" denpa song but really, this is Kayamori building a portfolio for his eventual post-MOSAIC.WAV career (all good things must come to an end). And on that grim note...

4. 恋の死亡フラグ

Finally, we come to the "dark side" of this album! This is a self-remake of 2006's brilliant 「恋のチェッカー・フラッグ」 (Checkered Flag of Love) which was cleverly renamed "Death Flag of Love" and remade into a... death metal song! For this occasion, MOSAIC.WAV collaborated with 柏木るざりん of Denkai Circle fame... oh what am I saying? This is the guy who wrote the ridiculously addictive Miko Miko Nurse OP, which chibi-tech jocks to no end (suddenly, everything comes full circle). Needless to say, this is a huge collaboration for our favorite denpa sound unit. So how about the track itself? Well the original was one of Space Akiba-Pop's best songs (possibly 2nd right after Love Cheat!) and the new arrangement is really interesting... but unfortunately Kashiwagi's constant death metal growls kinda ruins everything. It would have been way more interesting to have mi~ko do her own backups with the appropriate tone. The part between 1:42 and 1:56 completely blows my mind!

5. 地獄のヤンデロイド (MP3 Sample)
"Hell's Yanderoid"... how can you go wrong with a title like this? Compared to the previous track, mi~ko really plays the role here, giving her voice a sense of urgency rarely seen in her previous performances (I'm reminded of the Akibattler series in particular). This aspect really comes alive in the last moments of the song, when mi~ko breaks out the box cutter and switches into full yandere mode, complete with the psychotic laughter... some great acting on her part, if not a little scary! Koike-aniki is in charge of the arrangement and pulls a Visual Kei tour de force that seems to just have naturally flown from his fingers, despite years of creating "cute" songs. Somehow I really feel like playing Castlevania now! This is by far the mini-album's best track... and those lyrics look simple enough to translate...

6. あなたのせなかにfunny beat kiss.
I told you guys that Kayamori could play the piano well, right? If track #3 didn't somehow completely convince you, this sad song is more proof. This is the first "ballad" the band has performed in a long time, perhaps not since 2003's "GRANDE" and "Gamer's Actress" actually. I like the fact that they stuck this on an "unofficial" mini-album rather than on a regular single, because this is really a bone they're throwing the fans, not an accurate representation of the MOSAIC.WAV sound we're accustomed to. It gets really long and spacey towards the end, so it won't fit in well with the rest of your denpa playlist, but it sure feels refreshing once in a while.

So there you have it. The not-so-good tunes are greatly offset by track #5 and the opportunity to listen to creative remixes of past hits. 2008 was an outstanding year for the trio but despite the multiple releases towards the end of the year, 「こどもざいく・やみもざいく」 is a fine way for the unit to properly thank their fans who stuck by them for the past 5 years and 10 comiket events. Back to this article's opening question, which side won the epic battle for album domination? The Dark Empire for sure, thanks to the stellar 地獄のヤンデロイド and its complex arrangement.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

New IOSYS eroge theme 「ゆっくり揉んでね☆ぱいタッチ!」

I say "new" but this is one of those things where I forget to post about a recent song until I am reminded of its existence on someone else's blog. Regardless, IOSYS are a tough bunch to track, which is mainly due to the fact that almost none of their non Touhou-related releases are ever promoted on their official website. A crying shame, really, because as you listen to the following eroge theme, you'll wonder why they don't do these all the fucking time...

You can download your own MP3 and high quality video at the PAITOUCH website. I'm just going to say this and most will probably disagree, but I'm sick and tired of all their Touhou rehashes. That's most likely how they earn their bread and butter, sure, but with songs like this and the equally awesome Penguin Musume ED, they have no reason not to start beating their own path (though I guess that's what they started Albatrosicks for). At least we can all agree on ARM being a true musical genius, with a long career still in front of him...

What also strikes me as interesting in this new game OP is the vocalist they're using. Sure, IOSYS have plenty of singers at their disposition, but this "momiji" character strikes me as new. Correct me if I'm wrong (mandi-chan) but she only started working with them since the 東方氷雪歌集」 album, then considerably lent her voice for the C75-released 「Bubbling Underground」 full-length album (more Touhou remixes). A bit of stalking googling turned up her personal blog as well as a cute new year cosplay picture.

Now don't get me wrong: I love MIKO to death, her unique voice (read: completely fucked up) truly put IOSYS on the map... but I'm liking what I'm hearing here. She's definitely got what it takes to become a notorious denpa singer and not just another random
声優. Although momiji is under contract with monotone (talk about a lousy/unfortunate name for a voice actress agency), I'm hoping these are but the baby steps of a long relationship between her and IOSYS.

UPDATE 02/07/2009: The long version of the song is also on youtube.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

MOSAIC.WAV on Animelo TV Special

Heads up to our many Japanese readers: MOSAIC.WAV and the rest of the stellar Animelo Summer Live 2008 artists will appear in a one hour TV special this Sunday 01/11, with a replay on 02/12. The documentary promises behind-the-scenes footage as well as interviews with said artists, but also with the production staff, which is just as interesting to me considering the logistics involved behind such a large scale event. For some folks, this will be a chance to relive this summer's mega-concert but the rest of us will get a glimpse at just how great this event was, not to mention a sneak-peak at what is sure to become bonus features on the upcoming DVD.

Until a kind soul uploads the whole thing to Youtube or Nicovideo (if at all), there's always the Animelo 2008 Digest to watch until said DVD comes out. The denpa block comes in at 5:44, with performances by 桃井はるこ, UNDER17, MOSAIC.WAV, ave;new, IOSYS and IDOLM@STER (click on these links for much longer videos).

番組名:アニメロサマーライブ 2008 -Challenge- ~日本最大級アニソンLIVEの全貌
    放送日時:2009年1月11日(日) 深夜25時55分~26時55分(予定)
    放送日時:2009年2月12日(木) 深夜24時00分~25時00分(予定)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Art Attack! Belated holiday well wishes

Because "better late than never" is one of the only mottos I'll ever swear by. Sham Studio are also fashionably late to the party, with the new year card 5 days overdue. Notice that the art is from B.K, who also provided MOSAIC.WAV with the jacket art to their recent C75-exclusive こどやみ mini-album. mi~ko lovingly refers to the character on the card as 牛子さん... new theme song confirmed?

(click for a much larger version)

This next one is from momoi-superfan mandi-chan, who as you all know contributed the superb artwork for this blog's banner. Thanks again! She wishes all of us a merry [insert your own personal appellation of a December 25-related holiday] and a happy new year (only to her LJ friends however). I can't wait to see you as a tiger next year...

Finally, I have no art to offer (of course) but stick around this blog for another great year of denpa reporting, speculating and opining, to the best of my ability and availability. I welcome all of your (few) comments and your (numerous) emails, so let's have another great year together!

Monday, 5 January 2009

New YMCK full-length album, DVD... recipe book?

And we're back! Now that Canada won Gold at the WJHC, I can continue writing about denpa and crazy Japanese music in general. Hope everyone had a decent holiday break? I mostly spent mine grinding for levels in Persona 4 and fighting a new enemy in my very own house... BED BUGS. These sneaky bastards are hard to get rid of and sure love sucking on my blood, but I think I'm starting to get the best of them.

We start 2009 with some leftover YMCK news from 2008 that I completely missed out on, somehow. It seems just like last week I wrote about their two cover albums, so I apologize for missing this one. PerfumeCity user jigenbakuda was nice enough to point me in the direction of a brand new YMCK full-length album and DVD which both come out on January 21st 2009. Hardcore fans will supersize the combo and go for the full collector's meal which includes a ... recipe book?

Yes, a recipe book, because cooking in the main theme behind the group's fourth original album. Pretty brilliant if you ask me. The official website does not state if the DVD contains live segments, but it most probably does. Here's the tracklist for the album... you'll notice all the songs have something to do with cooking:
  1. おもちゃの兵隊のマーチ
  2. カレーだよ!
  3. サラダ・シャバダバ
  4. 三ツ星シェフの歌
  5. グルメなアイツ
  6. ふわふわ卵のオムライス
  7. 帰り道、晩ご飯。
  8. ワン!ダフル・チョコレート
  9. バンバンクッキング
In related YMCK news, they will be playing many concerts around the world in the coming weeks, just take a look at the Denpa Watchlist to your right for the details. One event that deserves further discussion is the upcoming 「ファミ詣」 (famimode) event with its all-star chiptune lineup and Famicom Battle (the fuck? are they playing some Battletoads?)

POWERPLAY are going to Japan all the way from Sweden, no doubt on the invitation of YMCK who played many Swedish shows themselves. Then there's also the eclectic duo KPLECRAFT, mostly known for their multiple contributions to the Namco Idolm@ster Famison series, but also the 2006 BlipFest performance. Here's a great recent interview with kuske, who makes some very interesting comments about the state of the chiptune scene in Japan.