Sunday, 18 May 2014

M3春: Album round-up review!

The M3 of spring 2014 hosted a suite of fantastic circles, both old and new. The quality of denpa and moe song releases this time around was staggering! With the recent 例大祭 also having quite a number of strong CDs, 2014 is truly shaping up to be an incredible year for denpa fans worldwide!

First of all, a short introduction: I’m fruitcake and I’m an Australian currently on exchange in Japan for about a year. M3春 was my first 同人音楽 event, and it was honestly one of the most memorable days I've had since coming here! Because of the sheer quality of the releases, I decided to write up a mass review of my purchases!

A lot of albums have finally been added to online stores fairly recently, so the time is ripe to send in a batch order if you haven't already! Foreign fans can use proxy services like Goody Japan, FromJapan or dv8cag. I've used the first multiple times with no hassle and have heard great things about the latter two!

At any rate, here are the albums I bought at my first ever M3!

Row 1:

おでんぱスタジオ 「メインヒロイン()
The first four albums make up what I’d like to call ひろて~'s gauntlet ... boy, was he busy this M3! Being directly responsible for three of the albums here and a contributor to the fourth deserves massive props, what a heroic effort!

First up is the new, ゆな focused single by おでんぱスタジオ. Of the two songs included the first is new: a bouncy, fun song bound to make you pay attention to ゆなit seems like she’s (temporarily) conquered her lack of presence that has caused so many problems, like in the 2012 song LOVEってなんだ!? スペシャル!! It's thematically similar to the ゆるゆり character song 「私、主役の赤座あかり」 and just as good! The second is a remix of one of my personal odenpa favorites, ろりぱんつ. Great single, and I have a feeling that we're going to be getting more singles focusing on each おでんぱスタジオ character. Fun times ahead!

Buy online: toranoana

えんじょぃs first single 「ごきげんよーじょ」 was one of my most anticipated C85 releases, but I wasn’t able to listen to it because it wasn’t sold in stores! Luckily, the two tracks from the first single feature in えんじょぃs fantastic first album. There are a lot of recognizable names in the staff list: odenpa’s ひろて~and ほたる, 33. turbo’s いのっち, 遥風啓司¸ 木下いちご, 星野あず (You might recognise her as AZU from the holic service vs. birdtune album). All the tracks on this album are incredible, from the slower paced childrens’ choir-style 「まほうのおはこ」to the highly energetic title track 「えんじょい☆えんじょい」 and super catchy 「未来の申し子」. 「おふろ de しゃぼん」is also a fun entry in this incredible CD, where have I seen that naming scheme before?!! This loli-style album was definitely worth every yen, and I'm eagerly looking forward to whatever えんじょぃ pops out next. I fully expect every coming release to be just as thoroughly enjoyable as this one.

Buy online: toranoana

Twinkle 「ぱじゃま deあ・そ・ぼ 」 
Wonder duo Twinkle release yet another glorious single! Last time around it was school uniforms – this time the theme is pyjamas! ちょこ and みるく wearing matching pyjamas and handing me this single while exclaiming ありがとう、お兄ちゃん~ was one of the most memorable moments of M3 for me! The first and last tracks are the fast-paced, highlight addictive tunes that I'm sure everyone has come to expect and love from Twinkle (and the middle track is extremely cute too!) Personally, 「ぐどもにもーにんっ☆」 is a strong contender for the 'best denpa song to set as your alarm' award, which I made up just now. Waking up to Twinkle every day? Sounds good to me!

Buy online: toranoana, akibaoo

The first mini-album from the newish duo うさみみりぼん! I say newish because they've actually released a song together two years ago, from Zero-Shaft's 「なつぴよ」! うさみみりぼん were actually one of the first groups to release a crossfade for this M3, so their album was at the top of my mental checklist! All four songs have sufficient amounts of denpa and are, to be frank, catchy as hell! ひろて~ makes an appearance in the first track, it's the peppy and upbeat song you'd expect from him. The highlight of this mini-album for me, though, is Program Error, a song with plenty of interesting, futuristic, ピコピコ sounds as well as a great bass line and extremely cute chanting. It's slightly off-kilter, which means it's the perfect amount of kilter! I'll have to keep my eye on かそかそ from now on, hopefully he decides to make some more similar songs. Incidentally, Teleportation is quite similar to Program Error- this mini-album truly is loaded full of impressive tracks! Buy it quickly while you can, I can't recommend this enough!

Buy online: toranoana

とろ美 「艦これ やりました。」 
It's a holy union of the two main とろ美 circles, とろみせ屋さん and ぷねうまレコード. ひろて~’s gauntlet sort of continues because his good friend ベイビーレモネード somehow makes an appearance here (which means that even astromyu- is represented in this album!) Don't let the kancolle theme dissuade you if you haven't played it, because I sure haven't and I sure as hell enjoyed it regardless. Mainstay あいかわらずな's tracks are, as usual, fantastic. 高速なブラ's track,「奇跡の駆逐艦 雪風ちゃん」 is also dangerously incredible – it reminds me a lot of 僕の仏陀のプロペラは、素晴らしきかなメイド イン ニルヴァーナ」from one of とろ美's 了法寺 albums. All in all, a great album worth checking out especially if you're a fan of ぷねうまレコード's style of music as it does tend to lean more to that side more than the とろみせ屋さん side.


Second demo of STAR CROSSED LOVERS, a rock band with vocalists by 井上みゆ. Not much to say, the second track is pretty cute.

If they'd ever meet, あかりん and ゆな would certainly be the best of friends!

Row 2:

Confetto - 「らぶちゅ!」
Put together ココ, ななひら, 11 songs and a suite of fantastic composers: what do you get? A must-buy album, らぶちゅ!We've gotten two 桃箱/ななひら releases, but this is the first time for this particular combo. かめりあ leads the lineup with an energetic, high-tempo song,「アメリカ語 Supar Lectyaawhich features some cute English. What I really want to know is how かめりあ manages to keep churning out absolutely amazing songs (and he's showing no signs of slowing down!). Speaking of continuously churning out amazing songs, かたほとり's 「そんなんじゃダメダメ」is incredible: it seems like a かたほとり song with ダメダメ in the title is a recipe for success! Recently I've been listening to Task's contribution quite a bit: 「ななひらさんだいすきのうた. It's a glorious composition which features ココ singing a love song for ななひら, with energetic 合いの手 by ななひら herself. The ending is guaranteed to melt your heart! It's nice to see veteran SAM/samfree with a track. It's also nice to see はるばな compose more 同人音楽 songs, I've been following him since his song on minamototrance's Sparkle of Voices – and the song he composed this time around,「狙えイチコロ☆アサルトくっきんぐ!is one of the craziest on the album! Truly, everything about this CD is amazing, from all the songs to the familiar BGM used the drama tracks. Definitely worth a buy.

Buy online: toranoana, melonbooks

桃箱 「ふあふあガールフレンド(仮)」
Not one to be outdone by her partners from Shaking Pink, 桃箱 releases yet another solo album! This time it's a collection of image songs from a smart phone gameガールフレンド(). Spearheaded by 華飯, this album is fairly similar to 桃箱's last album 「ぴぃちぼっくす」. Check out the insanely amazing song 「フレンチ★KiSS ざにお which has been uploaded to youtube (embedding doesn't seem to work for this video, but please click it - you won't regret it!) Familiar names muhmue and ニゴロウ round out the roster. 桃箱 also sings a song in a mature voice – although we've heard her mature voice several times before it's still as surprising as ever! All the songs here are fun and a blast to listen to, this CD is a welcome addition to my 桃箱 collection!

Buy online: toranoanamelonbooks

ポヤッチオ HOTO-grafitti
Bask in the slap-bass, catchy choruses and cute vocals! It's a かたほとり solo album! Included are new かたほとり songs, songs from previous releases and other circles as well as remixes of older songs with new vocals! The vocaloid remix selection is great – みかん汁 sings「ヒミツのキモチ」, which was actually a submission by かたほとり for the oreimo 2 ED songcontest. ななひら covers the classic 「ぎゅ~っ☆とね」... for the second time (the first was in a 2009 ポヤッチオ album, the Five Sisters Story). This time around is a bit more peppy, great song! Shaking Pink also play backup for 松下 in another vocaloid cover, the extremely cute「隠れオタクでごめんなさい . Speaking of groups playing backup, three of the おでんぱスタジオ girls show up to support 桃箱 in the incredibly catchy 「ふぉ~りん↓だ~りん☆だるまおとし」... I'm honestly shocked that I hadn't heard that song before listening to the CD!

Anyway, the highlights of HOTO-grafitti for me are probably the original songs: SUUDON盛ル☆テンカス」sung by ななひら is an energetic tune that maintains a high tension from beginning to end, just my type of song! The final track, 「シグナル:ラブパワー」is probably my favourite... the vocalist list is truly ポヤッチオ top quality: 愛原圭織, kana, 内緒妹, ななひら, ひなうさ, 桃箱. There's no way you can go wrong with singers of that calibre, and the song delivers: it's an enthrallingly cute track with adorable singers, all wrapped in the nice ribbon that is a かたほとりcomposition. Bravo!
(Also, anyone who hasn't heard the ちぃむdmp, Honey Came Lab and プチリズムsongs included in this CD should probably do so as soon as possible).

Buy online: toranoana, melonbooks

末広アンテナ 「ラブギガヘルツ」
I don't think this was originally an M3 release, but it's really good so I'm including it. This was actually sold out by the time we made it around to さつきがてんこもり's booth, so we went to Tower Records after M3 to buy it. It was cool to see someone picking up the CD before us, hopefully more denpa singers can get their albums sold in mainstream CD shops! Anyway, as I'm sure everyone already knows this single is by the new idol unit 末広アンテナ- ななひら and 有野いく. The single itself is amazing, and both songs were uploaded quite a while ago on youtube!

「ラブギガヘルツ」is unfathomably addicting, and has great lyrics to boot. It has the perfect amount balance between the vocalist's voices and the instrumentals, and there are numerous subtle shifts in tone that make me keep coming back to the song! 「うるせえ黙れ」is just as amazing - I have a soft spot for repetitive choruses, and while I'm usually not a fan of 'wubby' instrumentals it just works in this song (actually, it seems to natural work with a lot of denpa songs). It's worth buying the single for high quality and y0c1e's sweet remix.

Buy online: Amazon

MOSAIC.WAV 2015年に起こること」
Yet another mindblowing single by MOSAIC.WAV, it's sort of amazing how they can still pump out incredible songs one after he other. In all their years of activity, has there even been a period when they seemed weak? I guess not, and the new song in this single is just as amazing as any other MOSAIC.WAV song! It's one of the type of songs with a rolling, endless amount of energy that doesn't slow down one bit, and it features super enthusiastic chanting. It feels sort of like a mixture between 「洗脳・搾取・虎の巻」and SPACE WAVE AKIBA-POP!!」but I guess comparing it to previous songs doesn't do it justice. Grab it when you can!

Buy online: Mosaic.WAV eStore

Wisteria Magic - 「マリナ VS メカマリナ」
As a foreign denpa fan, Wisteria Magic is one of the circles that I haven't been able to listen to much (read: at all) because they don't sell their songs at online shops! It's a mixture of drama tracks and songs sung by 藤原鞠菜 about the defence of earth against mecha enemies. I haven’t had time to properly listen to the album in full yet, but I love conceptual CDs so I'm definitely going to sit down with the booklet sometime and listen to it properly! The actual songs are great, 「メカマリナのテーマ」is a fun song with a lot of interesting electronic sounds and a cool chorus. so much, too much, but I want it!is a fast-paced song rock song, I really enjoy the guitar in it! I fear for my wallet, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up buying a lot of Wistera Magic's older releases next event.

Row 3:

denpa*garden 「早く二次元になりたい! 
It's been a while since denpa*garden's first mini-album,HEROINES. Since then, both ほのか and らいね have contributed to last years' awesome album, Parallel Honey. In 「早く二次元になりたい!they finally sing together, and it... is... amazing! The omnipresent 塚越雄一朗 busts out the tile track, yet another highly addicting song that features compliments ほのか and らいね's vocals with a wicked electric guitar and lyrics I'm sure everyone can identify with. I love how it captures the alternative feel of Parallel Honeywhile the second track, titled 「アンチヒロイズム宣言」,captures the jumpy, catchy mood of the two faster songs of HEROINES. It's no surprise that the composer of 「アンチヒロイズム宣言」 and the two aforementioned songs from HEROINESis the same: frequent denpa contributor ニゴロウ. All in all, this is a stellar single and one of my favourites from this M3. Full album when?

Zero-Shaft 「ちびキュート!」
Zero-Shaft didn't release any full-length original albums in 2013 so I was pleased when they announced「ちびキュート!」. Notable tracks include long-time Zero-Shaft composer ねぎとろ's bright, peppy contribution with なゆ「Let`sBotti, as well as the extremely cute duet by りこ。and ゆきまめ, titled 「幼妻教育ダブルLOVE!. しの also pops out a sugary tune sung by ななひら「春爛漫私色キャンバス」, which is a perfect start to the album and sets up the sweet, happy mood that Zero-Shaft always goes for! Another important mention is 小宮真央's cover of the memorable「ダイエット☆ガール」which originally featured in Zero-Shaft's 2012 album, 「あどれっすんす」.

Buy online: toranoana

ぉこランチ! 「ぉこランチ!
The amount of amazing duos that showed up to this M3 is actually pretty mind-blowing, now that I think of it. Every duo I've mentioned so far (Five, count them!) have had incredible releases, and 「ぉこランチ!」is definitely no exception! This cute pairing features がきコ, who you might now from her work on Zero-Shaft as well as her solo mini-album released last year. The other half of the pair is すずしろ, who I wasn't aware of beforehand... or so I thought! According to a good friend, she's sung as ののな, who you might also recognise from Zero-Shaft!

Anyway, all five tracks on this mini-album are very good! The three tracks with both girls singing are all upbeat and fun songs. Two of these, WEEKLY→WEEKLYby むちゃ and 「働いて勇者おにいちゃん」by かたほとり,
serve as a strong one-two punch to lead the album, which had me hooked from the get-go! Task's song this time around is his catchy style of arrangement that always reminds me of colorpop, good song ! The final track is by U-ske and it's everything you'd expect from him – a feel good, unfathomably cute song that is easy to relax to. すずしろ's solo vocals are perfect for his style of composition! All in all, a great mini-album and hopefully the start of much much more.

Buy online: toranoana

夏冬TOHKA ACT|「Trial」|denpa la mode」
The first is actually a collaboration between three different circles, but I haven't really listened to it much! Same deal with the second CD here, a 夏冬TOHKA only mini-album. None of the tracks really jumped out at me after the first listen, sorry!

denp a la modeisn't an M3 release, but I decided to lump it together with the other 夏冬TOHKA albums here. I've actually listened to the crossfade of this one quite a bit (ever since C85)! It warmed my heart to finally be able to listen to the CD in full, and what a CD it is! All 3 tracks grow on my every time I listen to them, and they all have their strong points. I love the small build-up to the final chorus in the third, Heart burst. Definitely a feel-good song. 木下いちご's 「クライアントの問題」is very catchy, and the great duet「〆〆ダイナマイト」has a really nice atmosphere, complimented by a great percussion line. I hope夏冬TOHKA decide to release more similar CDs!

When I went to Tokyo I brought with me a small suitcase filled with clothes and food – When I returned back to Osaka it was full of music, manga and other related goods! Trip successful!

Row 4:

33.turbo 「電波deわっしょい」「ガチムチかるた」
You can always rely on 33.turbo to make some great denpa, and this festival-themed CD is definitely no exception! As usual, いのっち and なおひら have composed a host of high quality songs, like the energetic「カーニバルフェスティバル祭」and 「キャベツまつり」. The second half of the latter song is crazy, I love it! (Also both songs get a cover by the usual 33.turbo male vocalist. Glorious as always!) The excessively cute and catchy cat composition「ごはんは猫の最大のイベントです。」also deserves a mention, it's absolutely addicting! This may be a bold statement, but I'm starting to think it's one of the cutest songs that 幼女A has sung! It's the type of fun song that I'd gladly play over and over again. Actually, I'd gladly play the whole album over and over again – every song is up-tempo and a blast to listen to, beginning to end!

「ガチムチかるた」was an extra CD with a lot of 5-8 second tracks, all random sentences. They're pretty funny, and I think they're meant to be for a karuta variation or something? Not too sure.

Buy online: toranoana

Apparently there were only 15 copies of these brought to M3! 第二生徒会室 is pretty hard to buy without going to events, so I was happy to be able to pick these up as well as an older album. The first is a mix of various 第二生徒会室 songs, the flow from track to track is nice! The second are three cool instrumental songs. I really like the home-made feel of these CDs – they were pretty much hot off the plate when we got them, and we watched the titles be written onto the discs with a marker before receiving them!

香花すうとピンキーロケッツ 「おにいちゃんだして」
This band has a really, really nice alternative-rock feel with a little splice of denpa/anime-style song thrown in. I actually went to their booth because I sampled one of their older albums and liked it. The M3 release was alright, but to be honest I think I prefer their older releases! I feel like this is one of those CDs that might take a while to grow on you. Anyway, good news is that you can get their older works on bandcamp. Hell, you can sample all of the songs in full for free. Take a listen and buy the HQ if you enjoy it.

ゆりあ*「YURIAPOT type EURO*」 
To be honest, this CD didn't really do anything for me when I listened to it... until I reached the third track! It was actually the reason I wanted to buy it (because of the cross-fade), I just had forgotten! The single is worth buying forLOVEってぺったん肉球」alone, it's an enjoyable denpa composition with plenty of cute sounds and an infectious chorus! The other two tracks are by no means bad compositions, so you might like those too!

Buy online: Amazon

Row 5:

Lilith Lolita MirrorDoll|はにーみるみる 「HONEYGIRL」
浅倉小春 is half of Lillith Lolita and is the solo vocalist for はにーみるみる, which is why I picked these up. Of all the songs here, I really like 「からふるはーと」from HONEY GIRL. It's the fastest of the lot and a sweet song. The spoken word sections are incredibly cute, and the chorus is fairly catchy! An enjoyable listen.

Alternative Ending One 
Not really denpa or moesong so I won't write much here, but I liked this much more than I thought I would! miko's voice never ceases to amaze me and all three songs are very cool. 溝口ゆうま's compositions compliment the full range of miko's serious voice!

Buy online: akibaoo 

Great first release by this new unit! The CD is very enjoyable, especially the tracks where all three members sing together. Rainbow in the skyis a very solid starter to the album, and I really enjoyed REDALiCE's bright compositionmake me HAPPY!. It's not exactly often that it happens, but it really is nice to listen to a happy and fun original composition by him. The bonus track「働きたくないでござる」by 溝口ゆうま is amazing and probably the highlight of the release for me. So much energy!

Buy online: melonbooks

しなもんしゅがー☆ 「サクラ☆レボリューション」
This is a circle I've always read about but have never had the chance to buy from because the albums aren't available at online shops! I'm truly glad I've finally gotten a chance to buy しなもんしゅがー 's 'soft denpa' singles, of which this is the fourth! The first song,「サクラ☆レボリューション」is a ear-catching track with a great, catchy chorus... and the single only gets better from there! The next songSUN!SUN!決闘!イライラを越えて輝く太陽よ」is an exquisite composition that is a brilliant listen from beginning to end– the tempo shifts from a high-tension, breakneck speed to a calm dolcissimo (and then back again!) are amazing! I love the electronic sounds scattered throughout! The final track 「ちゅっちゅっちゅちゅるるる」is very alternative, yet another addictive track and great composition. The song's title is repeated frequently, and it's been thoroughly hammered into my mind! I love it! All in all, a fantastic single – I wouldn't have minded paying 4 or 5 times the 300 yen it cost me!

仲村芽衣子 「こいなか ~ぎゅっしてハピネス~」
Opening theme single for the Game 「こいなか」. The OP song is a feel-good, catchy song that is very easy to listen to. There isn't much else to say, it's just a fun song! A pleasant acoustic was also included.


Birdtune and Holic Service couldn't make it to this M3, which made me a little bit sad because I was probably most excited for their releases! The silver lining is that we have more awesome music to look forward to in the future! In addition, the space was being used to sell previous releases, so I ended up buying a CD and got a sweet ナナノ☆マジカル poster as a bonus!

ねこじゃが actually made it to M3 but their new album wasn't ready in time! A sizable queue formed at their booth about half an hour before the end of the event, it was quite intense waiting with everyone wondering if the album would arrive (it didn't!). Again, at least we have that to look forward to!


So on top of all the new releases I was tempted at every other booth or so with a host of older releases! I actually just ended up buying most things I felt like, which was a huge blow to my wallet, but it was worth it! Finally getting my hands on physical copies of masterpieces like 「アタラセカイ」 and 「ちびロリっ!made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. In addition, I at long last managed to complete my Zero-Shaft Princess Vocal Collection! 
In short, M3 is basically a vortex that sucks in money and spits out happiness. I'd go every time if I could!

1 comment:

mandichan said...

Your first article couldn't be better!! Thanks so much for joining the team. It was great meeting you at M3 and I loved reading your opinions on all the albums. Hope to see you again soon at Denkyun!!