This blog is a storage space for various thoughts, observations and musings centering on shōjo manga (少女漫画, Japanese comics for girls), josei-oriented manga (Japanese comics for women) and manga created by women (in the widest sense). Topics from other fields of relevance, such as music, art, literature and film may be discussed here as well.

For the most part, Japanese names appear in their original order - surname first, followed by the given name.

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Viewing all posts in category: Music

Honey & Clover

Time passes way too quickly for me at the moment; the first week of May is already over! Which means it’s high time I started writing something about the new anime series that started in April. So here’s my impression of Hachimitsu to Clover, the new anime series I’ve been looking forward to the most this season.

The original manga series by Umino Chica is one of my favourite manga at the moment. I’m so in love with it! It’s been running in Shueisha’s Young You for slightly more than 3 and a half years now and it received the Kodansha manga award in 2003. The manga succeeds in combining light-hearted and often downright hilarious comedy depicting the everyday life of a group of art school students and some of their teachers with philosophical moments of bittersweet melancholy and romance that can move the reader to tears. Primarily, it is a manga for young women but it speaks a universal language that transcends boundaries of age and gender and thus appeals to both female and male readers from young teenagers to adults.

So last night, I watched the first two episodes of the Hachikuro anime TV series that is currently shown on Fuji TV. I was half-expecting something stylish but I was by no means prepared for something this perfect *_* Mind you, the first chapters of the manga were published in Cutie (before Young You picked it up), a fashion magazine for young women (and one of my favourite mags, too ♥), which means the series always had a artsy, fashion, lifestyle and music-related sort of background. So it’s no wonder that the anime adaptation is supported by fashion labels such as adidas, we and Levi’s. And the opening sequence is directed by Noda Nagi, an art&video director responsible for ad campaigns for a variety of fashion labels and music videos; it’s the weirdest anime OP I’ve ever seen. In a good sense :)
I don’t like the opening song too much because I’ve never been a fan of (ex-Judy and Mary no) YUKI’s voice, in fact I find it quite annoying ^^; But it fits the quirky, indie pop inspired atmosphere of the anime just perfectly.

The show itself is beautifully animated, the character designs are splendid and the voice acting is superb (though I don’t like the voice of Takemoto at all -_-). I’m really fond of the colours, they work very well together with the general atmosphere of the anime :)
The story follows the manga quite closely, though there are a few extra scenes and variations here and there.
They’ve preserved the hilarious slapstick scenes (oh my God, I LOVE Morita!!!) and even Hagu’s annoying-ness is just as bearable as in the manga. They could’ve made me hate her by giving her an overly cutesy voice actress but the voice she now has is quite alright. I’m also glad they introduced Yamada Ayumi right in the first episode and gave her a few extra scenes because she’s my favourite character (go Ayu!) and I think she’s the one most fans of the manga can identify with most easily.

And then, right in the first episode… a melancholic moment… a song starts playing – and it’s Hachimitsu by Spitz. ;__; (‹– Yuuya’s face during that scene)

That was the moment I decided this is my anime.

The ending theme song by Suneo Hair is much better than the OP, and the ‘insert song’ of the second episode by Suga Shikao came at just the right moment, just like the Spitz song.
The background music reminds me a lot of the Chobits BGM, with easy listening tunes that aren’t anything special but match the tone of the story really well.

The only weakness of the anime is the typical problem of books turned into movies. Things that are explained in the manga by a universal narrator who, unfortunately, isn’t present in the anime. Each episode of the manga ends with a philosophical little note that often foreshadows things to come. There is no such thing in the anime. So for example, when Takemoto’s stomach suddenly aches when he thinks of Hagu while carrying Morita on his back, it is left to the viewer to realise that this pain isn’t caused by hunger but by love, something which the narrator tells us in the manga (in a very sweet way).
But so far, this is the only negative thing I can note about the anime. And I’m so glad they’ve preserved the overall atmosphere of the manga and even enhanced it with elements such as beautiful colour schemes and (not so) indie guitar pop songs.

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Categories: Anime, Manga, Music, Various.
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Posted on May 8, 2005 (Sun, 10:21 pm). .


I’m currently going through a nihon bunka (Japanese culture) appreciation phase ^^;
No manga with any references to Japanese history/myth/legend/tradition is safe from being devoured within hours. That’s basically everything that is or has been running in Hakusensha’s Melody. I’ve also read Onodera Akira’s Rokutousei Supika for the millionth time. (If any manga is neo-Japanesque, it’s his.) At the moment, I’m reading Itsuki Natsumi’s Yakumotatsu. I can’t even find the right words to express my deep love for this manga (or any manga by Itsuki-sensei) ♥ Status: 7 volumes of 19 have been read, the rest will follow as soon as I get them.

Now, I also dug out my Kagrra CDs because they’re like the musical equivalent to all the manga mentioned above. Even though I haven’t been very fond of any of their CDs as a major band, they’re still one of my favourite bands because of all their indie releases. And in a moment of mental weakness, I decided to take my appreciation for all those earlier releases to a whole new level and translate my favourite Kagrra CDs -_-; I thought I’d start with gozen and ~Kirameki~. I’m absolutely fascinated by Isshi’s use of old words and grammar structures. They don’t make translating the lyrics any easier, but at least it’s interesting from a linguistic point of view. And it’s ultimately satisfying to bring out the beauty of the songs by fully understanding all those mythological references and the stories Isshi wrote.

It’s especially interesting with gozen because the whole album is one long story and it’s really nice to understand what exactly is going on in every song, how the music mirrors the respective events, how the story progresses and what themes, both in the lyrics and the music, are repeated throughout the whole album.


Categories: Japanese, JRock/JPop, Manga, Various.
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Posted on Feb 15, 2005 (Tue, 6:01 pm). .

Wolf’s Rain OST

Yohko Kanno + Maaya Sakamoto working together again. Wai, fangirl heaven. I’m talking about the amazing Wolf’s Rain soundrack. And Steve Conte (i.e. Cowboy Bebop Call me Call me et al god), too. I almost collapsed when I heard the Wolf’s Rain OP, ‘Stray’, for the first time -_-;; It sounds so sickeningly eighties, but at the same time it’s absolutely awesome o_O Aah obsession!!

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Categories: Anime, JRock/JPop, Various.
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Posted on Jan 13, 2003 (Mon, 12:21 pm). .

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