Category Archives: Simoun

Simoun Fans: AX 2007’s Got Your OP and ED

...Straight from her homepage

It’s not new news, but Chiaki Ishikawa and Savage Genius are both having appearences at AX. Probably together.

Together with the Hare Hare Yukai team and Momoi, that’s like… 1/5 of Animelo or something. Maybe that skinny thing will make up the other 4/5…or something.

As much as AX is criticized as more an industry affair and not as fan-pandering compared to other cons, I think that’s only true if you do fandom differently than I do fandom. For crying out loud, this year’s AX has finally surpassed my threshold of “lol I don’t really care” with their high-power, high-profile guest list…and their damned musical performances. I’m just glad no one on my “must see” list has made it there, since I just don’t have the time and money for this business.

Anyways, Ishikawa is the neglected half of See-Saw, but I think she brings a lot to the table and makes good complement to Kajiura’s sounds. I like her solo works a lot too. Splooge on her website here. Too bad “uninstall” is still a corny word.

Back in 2006

I think I’m still not completely over with Simoun.


It’s just odd; so I have a copy of the second soundtrack to Simoun on my portable mp3 player, and I spend about 80 minutes listening to music on my commute daily. Normally I listen to a bunch of random anime pop songs mixed with other random songs, but yesterday I switched over to the Simoun stuff for some unexplainable reason. This was on my way in the morning.

Later that day I was at lunch with a colleague who I’ve known for some time, but mostly casually. I know he watched anime but isn’t much of a hardcore guy like many others who may be reading this blog. Conversation invariably turn towards anime, and he was lamenting on Busou Renkin, and so was I–I guess both of us was expecting more out of it than what it is. On our way out of the eatery suddenly he mentions Simoun. I was like ZOMG ANOTHER PERSON WHO WATCHES IT. What’s amusing is that he said the same things everyone who’s seen it in entirety has said: it’s fresh, original, unexpected; good art and music; pandering is a draw but something more lurks behind. Mamiina is a good girl. The soundtrack is really good.

In the greater scheme of things, I believe, looking back at 2006 is going to puff my expectation unrealistically for the current year. While I can’t say that 2007 has been “bad” already, 2006 was really a very, very good year for anime. Japan has to do better than Negima!? and Manabi Straight to match, and those two shows are already top notch.

OTOH, it’s also a matter of “when you’ve seen these shows” as all the great 2006 shows will be making their way to the English-language fan-sphere this year. Mushishi? Tsubasa? Paprika is coming out in 35mm. Plus Suzumiya Haruhi and Black Lagoon. My.

I can’t wait.

Animelo 2006 on DVD = Animelol

So these babies came in the mail. LOL only means that it reminded me I already downloaded the DVD ISOs before new years. Time to watch!

Just for your information, if you didn’t know: I am a HUGE Masami Okui fan. I’m not even going to say why because I can’t bear to see my fanboy inner flesh sprawled out for no reason. By extension, I really dig JAM Project as well as some of Makkun’s (her fan nickname) collaborations. Makkun is also a very prolific anime musician, and over time she worked with a lot of different other musicians who have attachments with the anime scene. Chihiro Yonekura (and ROR/S), Minami Kuribayashi and Yoko Ishida are just a few.

But 2005-06 mark the years of Nana Mizuki’s biggest splash yet. She’s a pop cultural flag for the Densha Otoko generation, so it’s not a surprise to see her headlining this giant concert that is Animelo 2006. Animelo is this annual thing, for a couple years now, that the JAM Project folks have been throwing. It’s a lot of fun. And 2006 is their biggest show yet with the first time release of the show on DVD.

If you want to know how the show was, this is a much better read. For the sake of not reinventing the wheel I’ll just get the nitpickery regarding the DVD release out of the way and put in my two cents.

The DVDs, released by King Record (volume I) and Victor (volume II) are produced pretty much together. The design, art, the poster insert that you can put together for a full-size poster, and video production sync so they’re likely to be from the same production team. The release, however, are from two different labels. It’s no surprise because there are a bunch of different labels represented by the artists themselves, not even including our Suzumiya Haruhi trio: Aya Hirano, Yuko Goto and Minori Chihara. Their sole performance, Hare Hare Yukai, didn’t make the cut. Boo.

Other than that, all the acts seems to be on the discs. The DVDs also come with a behind the scene snippet, showing the day when all the performers arrived early in the morning, snippets of the rehearsal, people relaxing in the back room, people getting pumped before heading out to the stage, and stuff behind the scene during the massive roll call at the end. The featurette ends with individual post-concert interviews, each group telling us how Animelo 2006 was for them. The behind the scene bonus is on both DVD, and it’s exactly the same!

The DVDs divide the show up by gender, sort of. Naozumi Takahashi‘s two songs went with the male medley on Victor’s disc (along with JAM Project’s songs, and Ali Project). Kuribayashi’s taunting outfit along with the very cute Aiko Kayo landed with the female medley on King Record’s disc. The division is begging someone to come along and rearrange it to the concert’s proper order.

Ah well, onward with the impressions.

I’m honestly shocked: this would be my first time watching ALI PROJECT live, and she (Arika Takarano)’s definitely a looker. And I mean it in a high class model kind of way–she’s got the built and she takes care of her face. I suppose that’s a must if you’re going to look good on camera prancing around in that hardcore gothloli getup. The goth drag queens as backup dancer was neat, and I have a hard time saying no to Rozen Maiden Traumend OP.

And it took me years to realize Chiaki Ishikawa is the other half of See-Saw. Or rather, it just didn’t stick when I read her name back when Kajiura was hitting the popular waves here. I even have a copy their old CD…well, she does have curly hair now. I like her songs, naturally–they’re crowd pleasers as See-Saw’s new stuff tend to be.

But I should’ve known, Ishikawa actually wrote and compose entirely the OP to Simoun, which she performed on stage. When I first read of Animelo’s content, this didn’t even register. Who would’ve known what that meant six months later? Savage Genius also performed Simoun’s ED at Animelo 2006, and … yeap.

I think I said Aiko Kayo is cute. She really is. And it’s not the frail kind of cute that the SOS-Dan trio seem to be. I think Kageyama cracked a joke on Matsumoto over it.

Minami Kuribayashi definitely wins the provocative dress award, even giving Takarano’s oddish gothloli thigh+cat-o-nine-whip a good run. Her white dress during the medley part is very nice.

Nana Mizuki has legs. But I am always happy with that Eternal Blaze going.

I think the real highlight of the show for me is the 9-man raid full of SKILL! You got the JAM Project folks plus Yoko Ishida, Chihiro Yonekura, and Minami Kuribayashi. I think Fukuyama spent more time on the DVD screaming than saying decipherable words. It doesn’t help that I’ve done group karaoke over that stuff before. It really is hella fun.

Runner up would be Kuribayashi and Makkun’s duet for Mask. I always like that song.

It’s a ton of fun. The DVD reproduction is just a fraction of its total energy, but even then it’s one (or two) of the most enjoyable concert DVDs I’ve had the chance to watch. If you’re a person into anime pop, this is hard to pass up. At 4800 yen a piece I snagged both during the holiday season when it was 20% off from Amazon Japan (ftw!). Even with fast shipping I spent less than $85, overall.

Totally worth it, worth beyond its impressive song list and guests.

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Of a Dying 2006 Pancake Jamboree

This is the season to bake a cake
With our Queen of all pancakes
Her batter is first-rate
But one thing we all hate:
Skip her jam; your life, it’ll take.

Of the flame of wintry passions
Few hotter is an odd fusion
Of sickeningly cute “moe”
Mixed with a rarer, “moe”
An odd 萌え 燃え confusion?

Makoto, right before the snow
covers her, as if winter knows
that next year,
like every year,
again, memories anew will grow.

But what of tears under half a moon?
Of wishes undying, lovers swoon
to an eternal pledge
and they jump off the edge.
No, I’m not laughing at Black Lagoon.

But of kisses, war and boobs;
Fewer confuses more n00bs
than the trap gallery
on board the flying gallery
of Arctus Prima, the shoujo test tube.

Still there is no understatement
To fandom’s greatest testament
When the morning comes
And your alarm hums
Nayuki’s trademarked statement.

Still, it’s better to sing a song
Even if you get it all wrong
Like a undine
With a karaoke machine
to where the tone-deaf have gone.

If all of that is a pain
Then watch some Soukou no Strain
It’s serious as pie
And full of oppai
It belongs in its own domain.

But of wrecks this year
Perhaps none can possibly compare
To a sequel
With no equal
Because, she sang, life is a canvas.

And with a strong kiss, she landed.
Smitten, like heavy irony, candid
Of Paprika
As Hayashibara
Daughters of moe have commanded!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
When Renton did his flying round
For love
Kind of?
Death rained down all around.

If “pancake” was a code word
In this theater of the absurd
It’ll spoil the story
Of Jesus’ destiny
Savior of many, head of his herd.

Because we go to war over it
And idol singer acts for it
Awesome cameras
For positive otaku karma
Will FLAG as a banner, fit?

This deadly note must stop
But only because to slumber I drop
You can lament
In my comments
It’s a grand criticism swap.

The Theme of Memories is the Theme of Me

I’m not sure how many people out there recall the first few fansub renditions of episode 18 of Nadesico, but I thought that was always a touching way to translate something to get across the spirit of the language behind the title.

I’m not sure how many people out there enjoyed Kanon, either through the game, the fan stuff (radio shows and what not), or the Toei anime. I thought the new Kanon TV show is a self-fulfilling experience to re-experience your first time through Kanon, if you’re one of those people.

I’m not sure how many people out there even watched Simoun. I thought that was the saddest part about the whole thing. Who is going to stand vigil and remember the Chor Tempest?

The theme of memory is one that has real value the older you get. It doesn’t have to be mixed with regret, but it can. It certainly can be filled with “what ifs” and “now I get why.” Kanon is the story about a boy who grew up and couldn’t remember. It’s not a tropical, swashbuckling Peter Pan, but a downtempo, warm embrace. Because of that, re-watching Kanon is an enthralling experience. It’s not quite just going through the motions, but also going through your emotions when you remember your first trip with Yuuichi. It encourages you to remember. Could I remember Nayuki’s name if she asked?

What’s even more beautiful about this upcoming circumstance is that no longer we find our dusty, old remembrances dated with age. With even a critical eye we can re-examine Kanon through its new body. Thanks Kyoani! It’s really having the best of both worlds.

Memory is a favorite theme for many great pieces of anime. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you just how that plays with Paprika tomorrow. I suppose that’s why I’m somewhat soft versus Charlie Kaufman’s films? Not to mention Satoshi Kon, but even Mamoru Oshii’s rendition in Jin-Roh and the two Ghost in the Shell films touch on this.