Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Japan Firsthand: Comiket 79 Part 1 - Rants & Reviews

So, Comiket 79. That happened. Click images for larger resolution. CDs from left-to-right, top-to-bottom:

Row 1
  • ココ 「ココボクMUSICPARTY」: 11 brand new songs featuring the hyperactive ココ, no way in hell I was gonna pass this up! I actually picked it up at とらのあな, which had it on sale one day before it was released at Comiket. The Innocent Key website has samples for each song. さつきがてんこもり is one of the guest composers, therefore it's a must-buy! Lots of denpa and wacky pop. ココ goes waaaay over-the-top with her voice on this one... and we finally get official confirmation that ココ=ボク.
  • t+pazolite 「RESetup;」: I picked this up from とぱぞ himself and just had to tell him that I loooove his songs, especially when リズナ is involved. Although this new CD only has her singing three songs, it's an absolute rager. There's no doubt about it, this guy has a gift when it comes to fucked up hardcore-denpa music (not to mention he's probably the only one out there). I also got to see him perform live at the MegaPeer event, where he tore shit up in front of about 25 screaming fans. Intense!!!
  • ヒゲドライバー 「3UP」: This didn't actually come out at C79, but it was released in late November 2010 so it's still very new. While checking out the booth babes in the business area, I spotted this dude walking around with an Higedriver sign. Since I love his unique brand of Chiptune Rock (and wasn't aware about a third CD) I had to ask what was up. An interesting Engrish conversation ensued with the president of LOiD Records, who was thrilled to learn that a gaijin knew about his label and the release of 「コスモドライバー∞UP」.
  • ALBATROSICKS 「MERGE THE STRAWBERRY!」: I own all of the ALBATROSICKS albums released so far, so I felt like I had to get this one too. It includes 5 remixed tunes from each of their five previous albums, as well as a bonus track which features a seemingly drunk MIKO screaming her ass off. Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure she handed me the CD herself but she wasn't all dolled up I couldn't really tell. She did have a similar voice. Quim was there too, unfortunately his attempt at making an English joke failed hard (sorry dude). This is a decent CD for the price, especially for the REDALiCE and DJ Command remixes. The others are kind of boring though.
  • とろ美 「とろみ仕立て」: YAYYYYY I MET TOROMI. Mandi was right, she is incredibly small in person. She was dressed up as とろ弁天, her Ryohoji character. It was definitely cool to see in person, especially since I didn't have time to visit the shrine. She was very excited to meet me and I made sure to thank her for her years of lovely denpa music. This new album is by far her best, not to mention it has two tracks composed by ARM! This brings their total collaborations to four (in 2010 alone). The artwork is fantastic and I still can't believe she does everything herself. What a girl!

Row 2
  • doubleeleven Upper Cut 「Do you like Upper Cut?? 2!!」: Although I'm certainly their biggest fan in Canada, sometimes I feel like I'm also their greatest fan in Japan. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but the bottom line is that I really, really, reaaaally fucking love deUC. I made sure to congratulate them on their gig with 民安ともえ and told them that I play their songs in the gym all the time. Pure energy! They seemed really happy to "finally" meet me too. Bring on volume three!!!
  • とろ弁天 「がうたま・れじぇんず」: Toromi didn't have this for sale, so I had to pick it up at the Surfer's Paradise booth in the business area. This CD has five stories and the karaoke version of 「寺ズッキュン!愛の了法寺!」, quite possibly 2010's hottest denpa song. Again, ARM+TOROMI is a dangerous combo so I definitely wanted to get my hands on this disc, even if his role is limited to BGM here. But uno (RoughSketch) is also listed as a BGM musician! Although this was originally listed as a more "serious" release, trust me when I say that Toromi is absolutely hilarious.
  • ちぃむdmp☆ 「電波っぽいのっ!」: I'm really at a loss for words on this one, but I'll try my best. BEST FUCKING ALBUM OF 2010. How's that? I mean, I'm still reeling from the shock of having met these beautiful ladies in person, so my opinion might be slightly biased. But still, TWELVE brand new PURE DENPA songs? I still can't wrap my head around this concept yet. It is SO GOOD, SO LOVELY, SO BRUTAL. Gah!!! More details at a later date, probably through a review or something. BUY THIS ALBUM NOW! Give these girls ALL YOUR MONEY!!!
  • でじゆに 「Party☆しよーよ!」: I've been keeping an eye on Digiuni's latest album for some time. When I randomly bumped into their booth and a pretty girl told me to listen to a sample, I said no thanks... just take my money! Although I've seen some people throw the "d-word" around digiuni's songs, they're more of a moe/pop kind of unit. However the song 「OCEAN REVOLUTION」 is pretty hectic so I can see where these people were coming from. What sealed the deal for me is the knowledge that their members are huuuuuge fans of hockey, which is a rarity in Japan. About half of their blog entries are about hockey pucks, gloves, skates and Zambonis. I just had to throw these good folks a bone! Great CD overall, too.
  • KuKuDoDo 「~VOC@LOID Songs & Legacy Modules~」: Although Birdtune has been kind of quiet ever since みりん☆ left the denpa circle last year (what a shame), they are far from dead. The latest release is a 初音ミク data CD from musical genius KuKu-motherfucking-DoDo, which includes MP3s, wallpapers, a digital calendar and more cool stuff. Although I'm not the biggest Miku fan out there, I'll be the first to admit that he is doing a bang-up job with her voice, especially when paired to a badass new denpa track such as 「健康ランド」. While I praised the man on and on about his splendid creations and the fantastic Energy Reimen series, I also told him that we want more Gumi! What a pretty lady... with such a great voice! Both KuKuDoDo and Gumi exploded when we met and we took about a million pictures together. I really want to thank them for their fantastic gifts... I'm not worthy!!!
Row 3
  • Katahotori Presents 「プチリズムCHU」: I bought this CD with very high expectations and one month later, I can safely say that it is one of the best 萌えソング albums ever made. The artwork is splendid, there's not a single bad song and the girls definitely gave it their best. Although the producer Katahotori seemed a bit nervous about having to deal with a foreigner, the mood quickly became festive when I told him and singer ひなうさ (who is dropdead gorgeous BTW) about 電波の世界 and how I felt about this new album. Again dude, GREAT JOB! This one's for the ages.
  • 天然ジェミニ 「東方女乱演舞」: This came out at 紅楼夢6 but since I didn't get a chance to pick it up back then, I was glad to learn that the Tenjemi girls would have a booth at comiket. Truth be told, I'm a sucker for anything that features さつき が てんこもり or 未来派. While these two masterminds delivered three admirable compositions, the other three tracks aren't quite as interesting (as far as I'm concerned anyway). Satsuki's explosive track alone makes this a worthy purchase however, so I'm pretty pleased. As for 未来派, I strongly feel he should start releasing his own discs, because his style is so damn unique and I'm getting desperate for more!
  • IOSYS 「東方云符不普」: YES! Finally IOSYS got the memo: give us a full denpa Touhou album! There's just so much win going on with Unfufufu, I don't know where to begin. Wait, I do know: the first track has ARM+TOROMI. That's almost all you need to know, but two tracks by Yukkuri is also pretty generous of them. Of course the track by 龍波しゅういち feels kinda out of place at first, but I can see why it belongs there. Boy, that guy can sing! The sexy cover and "NO DENPA NO LIFE" subtitle are just the icing & cherry on the cake. Bravo IOSYS, job well done!
  • ばーどちゅーん 「THE BEST ~KuKuDoDoの巻~」: Just one of the many gifts Gumi gave me! See: entire bottom row and kick-ass Holic Service bag. I already own most of the source albums which this best-of draws from, but it's still a nice package, especially if you're a new KuKuDoDo/Birdtune fan.
  • Siestail 「魔法のリップサービス」: Been following Siestail for some time (especially because they released so many albums that featured リズナ) so it was a pleasure to buy an album directly from them. It helps that "Magic Lip Service" is a sweet effort from Spelunker and his friends, and I do mean sweet, although "cute" also comes to mind. Spelunker has quite a unique style when it comes to his compositions; almost always staccato and rarely legato. In other words: snippy, jumpy and hyper-fucking-active... but not quite denpa. He rounded up a number of awesome ladies for this album, including 小宮真央, ℃iel, ココ and many more.
Row 4
  • COOL&CREATE 「HELLO HYPERSTAR」: Intruder alert #1! I didn't actually buy this at Comiket, since it came out in Summer 2010. They were playing this crazy CD at the MelonBooks in Osaka and I just had to know WHO it was from. I've heard of COOL&CREATE for quite some time but never actually paid them much attention outside some well-known tracks such as 「Help me, ERINNNNNNN!!」. The big difference with this mini-album is that it actually features 5 original tunes instead of their usual Touhou remixes. I wonder how that shit flies with their old-time fans (they've been around since 1998) but it sure struck a chord with me! I guess "Fucked Up Eurobeat" is a good qualifier for most of these tracks, but there's a bit of punk rock going on too (and not the weaksauce crap you hear on TV). This guy BeatMario has so much energy! Very pleased with this purchase.
  • team Love Bullets 「タイアッパーズ!」: Intruder alert #2! team Love Bullets needs no introduction on this blog, since we've been covering them for just about as long as Miyu Inoue and Kai Isomura have teamed up. I've already covered the tracklist in-depth, so I'm just gonna give you a quick ears-on impression. Here's the deal: I was quite thrilled to get my hands on this album (and I still am glad, don't get me wrong), but it looks as though team Love Bullets are starting to move away from pure denpa songs. That's not to say there aren't any blistering tracks (album-exclusive「がーるず☆はいやーっ!」 hearkens back to their early material), but the truth is that this full-length album is mostly made up of ballads, pop punk and soft rock. At least everything is very well put together, this album ain't gonna find its way to the 百円ショップ bargain bins anytime soon. But if you're looking for a full-on denpa experience, then perhaps you should spend 30$ on something else... like ちぃむdmp☆!
  • レコライド 「絶叫みだれラリーランド」: Intruder alert #3! Not sure when or how I first heard about RECORIDE, but I remember being blown away instantly. Again, this came out in late November 2009 and I didn't buy this at Comiket (doubt they'd show up there anyway). Actually I got it from the band itself at one of their gigs. Somehow it got into this picture! But rest assured, I will be talking about this album and band very soon, since I plan on writing an article about that crazy show (tons of pics too).
  • みりん☆ 「プルプルおもちゃ箱」: Mirin my Queen... where did we go wrong, you and I? Why did you have to "graduate" from Birdtune?!? Oh right, she's now known as Reco+ and has very little to show for other than a couple of lives and a so-so debut song. This makes it so much harder to revisit her wonderful Birdtune-era reign of pico-pop terror. Anyway, I already own this one, so I made someone in my hometown very happy when I gave this away along with one of the twelve Hatsune Miku posters Gumi gave me. This CD contains "Vitamin-tune", one of the most recognizable (and enjoyable) compositions from Lord KuKuDoDo.
  • ほりっくさーびす 「BACKWARDS OR FORWARDS」: More KuKuDoDo xHatsune Miku madness. Four songs, some old, some new, all awesome! I'm a huuuuuuuge fan of 「Love Spiral」which is quite possibly my favourite KuKuDoDo song, not to mention it features Gumi and リズナ! But the one that surprised me the most here was 「Switched on Flowers」. For whatever reason, I didn't pay much attention to it when it came out at C78 and now I'm kicking myself. See, KuKuDoDo can do some fantastic New Wave stuff, in fact you could say that his denpa songs are nothing more than over-the-top New Wave. He's also getting real good as a 初音ミク manipulator.
Row 5 (Birdtune madness!!!)
  • ばーどちゅーん 「夏色の気持ち IOSYSリミックスCD」: This is a very confusing CD. Not that it's bad, actually it's quite awesome and definitely the better of the two IOSYS/Birdtune collaboration CDs. What's weird is that the four songs all have the same name 「Summer Mermaid Lovestory」 and they're all sung by the lovely ちな, who is definitely worth looking into if you're into cute vocals. Anyway, tracks 1 and 3 are quite straight-forward: the first one is by D.Watt (IOSYS) and the third by KuKuDoDo (Holic Service). The former is chiptune/electropop-style and the latter is pure denpa-style with a "taste of the 80s". They're both excellent by the way. But tracks 2 and 4 (which are also GREAT), not really sure what they're supposed to be! It's like a "best of" medley from KuKuDoDo's early years, interspersed with that Mermaid song. Very interesting! Fantastic little CD.
  • ばーどちゅーん 「東方ちゅんちゅん郷」: Another gem from Birdtune that seems to have been forgotten by the Touhou masses... for shame! It's got an interesting variety of composers: 天音 (Rolling Contact), 貿易風 (Birdtune), Yuuna Kamishiro (Sound∞Infinity) and more! This makes for an interesting mix of hardcore/techno, electropop and of course denpa. All songs are great and contribute to the compilation in their own unique ways, but the winner is clearly 「常識に囚われない星の歌」 sung by みりん☆ and composed by 貿易風. One HELL of an explosive combo. Are they gonna give us more extreeeeeme songs like this in their new band Roco+? Only time will tell.
  • ばーどちゅーん 「れいん IOSYSリミックスCD」: Second part of the IOSYS/Birdtune collaboration CDs. Unfortunately, nowhere near as good. While the first was cheery and upbeat, this one is gloomy and pretty slow. But maybe this works for some people, just not for me. It's the same format as the previous one, with 「Rain」 being track 1 and 3 and KuKuDoDo classic 「恋の回路」 being remixed under tracks 2 and 4. Definitely worth tracking down, but get the other one first if you have a choice!
  • ばーどちゅーん 「すいーつぱれっと」: Yeeeet another GREAT Birdtune compilation album that features big names such as KuKuDoDo, ななひら and みりん☆ + ちな singing the opening track as a duet! Sweets Palette indeed. For some reason, this has a couple of instrumental-only tracks (which would have been so much better with vocals) but them's the breaks. It also seems as though the songs featured here are pretty close to ZUN's original Touhou songs, for better or for worse. Still, another high-quality release from Birdtune you just can't live without!
  • みりん☆ 「ピコピコ電波予報」: WHEW! Last album of the bunch, but also one of the toughest to review. I'm sure you can imagine why: this was mirin's first full-length Birdtune album and still one of the best to this day. This "graduation" will haunt me for quite some time, not sure when I'll get over it (if at all). Regardless, this album is also home to some of KuKuDoDo's craziest compositions, such as the delightful 「大好き!バイバイ。」and 「コイノカイロ」 (the katakana-version). This may have been released in early 2009 but it already feels like ages ago. Come on Roco+ !!! Do something! Don't let us down! Anyway, just a splendid entry in Birdtune's solid discography.

Extra 1: MOSAIC.WAV doujinshi

I've been eying this one for some time, since it came out in December 2009. Without spoiling anything, it features Magical Hacker Kuru Kuru Risku (one of mi~ko's most beloved character creation) fighting an evil penis monster. I realize that "evil" and "penis monster" is slightly redundant, but it's also catchy. The dude who made this manga was dressed up as mi~ko in her "Amusement Pack" gear, from head-to-toe. We shook hands and had a pleasant conversation about international MOSAIC.WAV fans. Here's to a sequel!

Extra 2: MegaPeer DJ battlers manga/CD

Just refer to this article for more info.
Absolutely stunning artwork and fascinating story.

Extra 3: Tenjemini Poster

Pure hotness!!!

Extra 4: Holic Service Bag

Walked around Tokyo and Osaka for days with this bag.
People definitely looked at me like a freak.

Extra 5: Birdtune/初音ミク poster

They gave me ten of these, so I dropped some off at my local
anime store and made some people very happy.

Extra 6: KuKuDoDo + 電波の世界 + Gumi

Gumi absolutely wanted to take a picture, but we ended up taking a dozen.
What a sweet girl she is! I told KuKuDoDo: More Gumi, MORE DENPA!

Check back later for Part 2: Photo Journal!
Mostly a bunch of pro cosplayers, but also some reaaaaally interesting stuff!


mandichan said...

Awesome haul, enough to make anyone jealous, especially on that sweet wolf blanket! Thanks for your expert insight on each CD!

Anonymous said...

Awww... none of MOSAIC.WAV's Newest single for Uju? ; A ;
I really wanted to read about that one > _ <"

And you're really lucky to have met Toromi in person! I want to meet her! She seems like a really nice person~