Maserbeamdotcom  Angry god fists are a dime a dozen.

Servant x Service = ⑨

you_may_lick

Interesting to see that Touko-chwan is still cute today. Wait. What I really wanted to say was that she’s no longer used as a staple tsundere. Nor an imported exotic tsundere. I’d totally lick her. Yeah. Because imports are the best. (Not always.) Touko’s charm as a plain high school girl is starting to shine through! Okay, I might be dragging this slight sarcasm really far. But for some reason I really adore Touko. It’s that silly habit of mine again, getting attracted to side characters that can barely contribute to the main plot.

It also took me until episode 9 to realize that Touko is Ookubo Rumi, who had also voiced Yuzuko from Yuyushiki.

Lucy’s naivety and airheadedness is quite a thing. At first I thought I was going to hate Hasebe. But there’s so much crap he’s been getting, I feel for him. I heartily laughed though when Kaoru decided to relay her marriage via Miyoshi and Lucy. It’s as if she knew it wouldn’t properly get across to Hasebe. What a trickster; the ability to break hearts and phones without even lying to someone.

Lucy is totally a ⑨. This show manages to capitalize on it, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

I watched the Magical Mirai 2013 Miku Concert. Dang, they spent a lot of money. It also looked like they finally hired dancers and choreographers because instead of just slowly flailing around to the beat, Miku and company were actually moving around. The amount of minor animation details skyrocketed compared to past performances. It does create a weird visual discrepancy when a particular dance move is captured so well. I was often thinking, “The body is moving realistic enough, that it’s now weird to realize its head has Miku’s face.”

-maserbeam

gg GJ Club.

With a nearly anemic opening episode and several episodes of alpha wave inducing vibes, GJ Club escalated very quickly into quirky character antics. The quicker a show can do this, the more likely I am to stick around. I watched the first two episodes wondering what the hell I was watching. Is this it? All I’m getting is a single set piece and they muck around in it? This can get boring real fast. Sometimes I appreciate such things, like the 7+ minutes of Nagato and ambient noise in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. Or even the dinner table segment in FLCL. But for all the exceptions, there’s a helluva lot more that need to follow the guidelines.

They manage to move the characters to other locations besides the club room before I got fed up with club room specific antics. I would like to reference Seitokai no Ichizon as being exemplary of treading this line dangerously. Short one-off jokes can quickly become annoying if there is no greater arc of conflict, story, or joke to help contain it.

Going back to GJ Club.. after re-watching a couple of the previous episodes, the trolling that the rest of the cast does towards Kyoya isn’t as cringe worthy as I thought. Probably because in the end, it’s rather harmless, and Kyoya himself understands that. Whether or not should he react strongly, is what the audience gets to participate in. I’ll have to admit to wanting a more dominant attitude from him, but his voice really achieves a pacifist tone without a seiyuu just trying to sound as relaxed as possible. Or I’m wrong and Shimono Hiro is simply speaking slower and calmer than usual.

Except for when he can be Oré-Man. Which is fucking silly AND still manly, somehow.

More lovely Miku after the break.

-maserbeam

Haganai Season 2 and hiring assistants.

Right. So, that previous Planes and Pants system was too much of a hassle to explain. I did a field test with it, talking about it with friends. While they agreed without much of a fight that it is a good system for first impressions, I started to feel like it was also too nebulous a way to categorize and compare the anime I watch. There wasn’t a definite difference between two series if they both scored a +3/+3 on the PnP system. Imagine if the two shows that were compared were Fist of the North Star and the FLCL.

If I did explain the reasons behind a +3/+3 for each one, you would also be hard pressed to use the system yourself, since it’s not very good at capturing the sense of deconstruction that comes naturally from a standard review with a letter or number rating system. A series that scores a 7 has a greater chance of not being as impressive as one as that scores a 9. A series that manages to land itself a 3 is something to avoid, although it also makes you wonder why it was a 3, and not a 1. The Planes and Pants system had a huge fault of comparing a +3/-3 to a -3/+3.

Let’s say the pants rating is a -3; it’s supposed to mean it would not tickle your jollies, it’s not arousing at all, and it’s most likely depressing, or a talking heads show. All these dumb factors would have to be explained almost every time anyway.

So instead of that, I hired Miku.

Wait. You hired Hatsune Miku?

-maserbeam

Another Miku concert I almost missed.

Now now, Miku.. I say another one, but really, I missed one I wasn’t able to watch to begin with anyway. Your people didn’t want others to record the show. And there was no livestream. Stop looking like a copyrighted series that I’m currently watching.

Aside from acting like a faggot just now, there’s another Hatsune Miku concert going on. HATSUNE MIKU LIVE PARTY from Singapore happens this Friday at 19:00, for us west coasters in the US that ends up as 3am. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to be any different. Perhaps the setlist will have a few new songs. It’s interesting to note that I have another Vocaloid related post right behind this one, highlighting the composer NantokaP (kiichi). Maybe I’ll have my wish granted. This I’m sure won’t happen because I’ve checked the view counts on nicovideo and they’re paltry compared to the songs that make the live concert setlists.

So is there a reason to watch this one? It’s already cheaper than the previous livestream. I remember paying around $18 USD last time, and now it’s $11. The cost of a lunch from where ever. I think I can skip food to watch a lithe Miku dance in front of me with the support of a damn good live band. If it’s the same guys as seen from the AX2011 and the original 39s-Giving Day showing, then you can bet your ass (or other equally valuable asset) I’m watching it.

Besides, I already laid down the 11 quid to watch the livestream. Can’t go back now.

***

I’ll also take this time to reference the image above. It’s a Hatsune Miku drawn in the style that has been used in Denpa Onna to Seishuun Otoko and more recently Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai. If you’ve crawled danbooru for a while and other anime related imageboards, you’ll probably know the artist Buriki. I first took note of the artist when I found his Touhou fanart — most notably the one where Nitori and Cirno do a hit-and-run skirt flip on Sakuya. (Since when is a skirt flip not hit-and-run? If you’re not running away, it’s just revealing girls’ panties. Oh, technicalities.) It’s been thanks to the adaptations of his art that there’s a noticeable difference in character art.

Lips. They’re drawing lips on the characters. Normally they’re drawn only when there’s a need to draw attention to the lips, or it’s a close-up. Even then, a lot of anime simply don’t draw the lips. Sometimes a character is lucky enough for it to be a focal point of their design (e.g. Mamimi from FLCL). It seems a little silly to give some praise for such a minor detail. However small it is, people took note to realize these character designs looked significantly different from the modern crop of anime. So to that, I salute the original artist and character designers for both series.

Sometimes I can’t tell if my standards are falling, or it’s just me getting hooked on an art gimmick. Maybe it’s both.

UPDATE: I misreported the time as 3pm PST, when it’s actually 3am for those in PST. The concert starts at 19:00 this Friday (11/11) in Singapore. It has been corrected in the post.

-maserbeam

Music Spotlight: Not your usual Miku.


niconico link: sm14639636

Before you’ve reached even this far down this post, I assume you’ve listened, or are reading this while listening to the above music. I hope you’ve reached the same conclusion as me: “Sure sounds a lot like Radiohead.” Even if you don’t make the same connection, it’s not the usual upbeat Vocaloid music.

So is it really that different from any similar Vocaloid music? It’s a sound I hear all the time in the rock space of music: shoegazing and what not. But I hardly ever get to hear it in the Vocaloid community. It’s detached from the usual cheery stuff. All of the Vocaloid music I had been listening to are generally of the lighter-hearted and cheery sounding music. It’s meant to energize — even if the lyrics are to be interpreted as scary or anything other than optimistic. More importantly to me, the song I’m linking to is a Vocaloid being used for a focused sound: sinister and moody. The effectiveness of a voice among it’s own kind of instruments — synthesized — is incredibly powerful. The sounds of synthesizers amplify Miku’s ability to reach eerie tones, something I normally thought was reserved for the analog and living.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Vocaloid stuff. I’ve been around the stuff for a while, but it wasn’t until the last month or two that I decided to invest time into looking for Vocaloid music.  I gravitate towards the stuff that’s not very catchy nor flashy. I’ve found that I really like the music that uses the Vocaloid music banks — which we all recognize as characters (e.g. Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, Kaito) — as another instrument.

Yes, the previous statement sounds obvious, but there’s a fairly distinct and detectable difference between Vocaloid composers. On one hand, there are those who prefer writing lyric centric songs and have the kind of melody and backing that’s intended for the voice to stand out. In most cases, this is what people do. It is an easier way to write music for Vocaloid, and in no way do I dislike it. There’s plenty of songs that I’ve heard that are very good that take this route. Songs like Ura-Omote Lovers by wowoka and World Is Mine by Ryo are driven by the voice and lyrics, which should already be emphasized by the mix.

Then there’s the ones that feel like they’re written with instruments before Vocaloid is taken into account. To some, the order of things is writing the instrumentation first, then implement the voice, and later, back and forth tweaking to compliment the ranges and mood within the song. Often these songs have to be imaginative about structure and implement flourishes within the song to keep it interesting. Sometimes you can hear the vocals being mixed into the music at low volume, as if to the hide the lyrics. The melody might not be as catchy, but it fits right in with the rest of the instruments — never feeling like it’s stepping over heads just to be heard, nor is it way in the back to fly under the radar. Kiichi, a.k.a. NantokaP, is the kind that does this. Should be no surprise since he’s done BGM for games such as Corpse Party. Admittedly, while I’ve been addicted to his music, I’m not sure it would fit in a Hatsune Miku live concert. Wouldn’t complain if it showed up.

Keep an eye out for kiichi’s music. The caliber of his compositions are nothing to sneeze at, unless you’re near allergens and can’t help it. Speaking of which, kiichi wrote Fluticasone, a great song featuring Luka. Straight from wikipedia, fluticasone is a synthetic glutocorticoid that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The more common variant is fluticasone propionate, which is used to treat asthma and hay fever.

.. What a derail.

I suggest using this link to get an mp3. Just in case you folks want to download it.

-maserbeam