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Messages - Manimal Claus

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Music / Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« on: November 28, 2020, 10:00:40 AM »

  • A track that hits you with that wall of comforting guitars. "Loop&Loop" has great melodies and production, the guitar tones are excellent and I love all the small details ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION put in their tracks. All the arpeggios and little fills have great effect, such as the small part at 0:56. This song has a unique structure as well, taking it's time to get to the first chorus. You really can't go wrong with the songs on their album Sol-fa. The band re-recorded the album in 2016. I much prefer the remade version of "Re:Re", famously used in Erased. However the re-record of "Loop&Loop" takes all the balls & punch out of the track. I say stick with the original.

Day 5 - Nana Kitade : KISS

  • Nana Kitade was known for her song "KISS or KISS" so logically she released an EP of songs with the word kiss in the title. The song "KISS" is a cover of a Princess Princess song and oh man, this is one of my top most beloved songs of all time. It's instantly sentimental to me and takes me back to late 2015 everytime I hear it. The instrumental is fantastic and I love Nana's catty vocals. She's forgotten these days which is a shame because she had some pretty good songs in the 2000's. She was in a grunge band The Teenage Kissers for a while and then made a surprise comeback in 2017 with a 4th solo album Violet Blaze. The short version of "KISS" is the only one on YouTube, I recommend seeking it out elsewhere to enjoy the full thing.

Music / Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« on: November 25, 2020, 08:03:19 AM »
Day 1 - the peggies : weekend

  • Rock trio the peggies have grown a lot in the last two years. Their latest EP anemone saw them take on something new with the fun poppy song "weekend". This is a delightful airy song with some funky elements. The instrumental is very nice with an awesome bassline and drum groove. Yuho's vocals sound sweet as always. the peggies have been a great group to follow and I highly recommend everyone to check out their album Hell Like Heaven. "weekend" has been one of my favorite songs this year and I've listened to it tons. I could hardly recognize Yuho when I first watched the video, the whole band has matured their image and sound a lot. 

Day 2 - Ayumi Hamasaki : Boys & Girls

  • An ultimate jam from one of J-Pop's classic artists. Ayumi has had many classics and most people who like J-Pop are bound to like atleast one of them. "Boys & Girls" is my favorite, it has that great techno instrumental with an awesome melody. This could of been a song in a 90's Gundam show. I can see the animation playing out as we hit the chorus. The production is awesome on this track, the whole album Loveppears quickly became a new to me classic recently. It's extremely good and this is the album's brightest moment.

Day 3 - miwa : We Are The Light

  • This song ended up becoming an all time J-Pop favorite for me. It's a wonderful track that highlights miwa's soft comforting vocals. The instrumental is fantastic and adds to the emotion and positive feeling of the song. This track came out in 2017 and I really wish miwa had released an album that year. She had two fantastic singles which focused on this Electro sound. These are my favorite kind of songs, not just of J-Pop but of all time. I can always go back and listen and love them as much as my first listen. 

Music / The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« on: November 25, 2020, 08:00:42 AM »
It's back. In 2016 I did this and now I'll do it again. Everyday I'll share a different J-Pop song as a advent calendar of sorts. I'm starting now and going for 30 days until Christmas Eve.

As to not clog the front page I'll only make a new post every now and then so keep checking back every day for updates. Enjoy the tunes and hopefully you'll find some cool new to you stuff.

Let's get into it! Links for every song under my small write ups. 

MR Pub / Re: Milestones
« on: November 18, 2020, 09:50:33 AM »
 :dance: 4000 posts :dance:

There was a time I remember Suuper catching up to my post count and I was like "oooh who's gonna get to 4000 first". That was a couple years ago now haha. This is certainly the most posts I've ever made on a message board, 1644 in the music section  :confused: .

Manga Talk / Re: what manga are u reading now?
« on: November 18, 2020, 09:44:25 AM »
I started reading the Gundam Wing manga recently, Endless Waltz Glory Of The Losers. It's basically a more comprehensive version of Wing's story, adding in the flashback scenes from the Endless Waltz movie and having lots of foreshadowing for later events. The art is really nice. I'm not crazy on some of Katoki's redesigns of the original anime Gundams but they look great here. Even though the fight scenes can be a bit of a mess. The manga loses the charm of the show, which got by on it's campy dub, but it's a decent read if you want to really understand the plot of Gundam Wing.

Of course anyone can read it, you don't have to have seen a single episode of Gundam to understand what's going on in this manga.

Anime Talk / Re: Which Anime series you are watching ?
« on: November 18, 2020, 09:34:21 AM »
Gundam SEED Destiny is driving me a bit crazy right now. I'm 11 episodes in and I still can't decide if this show totally sucks or if it's worth finishing. Every episode is like "um...okay ya...sure".

The biggest issue Destiny has as a sequel is that is sucks the character out of the old cast. Cagalli was a very strong and independent character. She was well rounded and very likable. One of those characters like Captain Bright and Emma Sheen who fought for their own principals of what was right. Now in Destiny she is utterly spineless and weak. Pushed around by everyone in Orb. Kira has spent these first 11 episodes staring off at the sky, posing dramatically in his Michael Jackson jacket. Athrun atleast feels like his arc is continuing decently.

Another big issue is the new main character Shinn. He is introduced to us via a tragic flashback. Shinn is an emo boy who mouths off, pilots his Gundam really well and keeps having the same flashback. Compare with Kamille in Zeta Gundam. In those first episodes we learn everything important about Kamille. His motivations, principals, what pisses him off and what he admires. Also his Newtype powers which hinted at the themes the show was going to have. SEED Destiny wants to pull a Zeta by being a sequel that integrates new cast with old but it fails to make the new characters likable.

The best part of SEED was the characters. You knew Kira was unstoppable but you got to see him really struggle and go through heavy emotional turmoil. This made him a character you could connect with and it made the fights all the more intense. Destiny has no character. I only like the new purple haired girl that pilots the red Zaku and I don't even know her name!

Speaking of which this show lazes out and gives the majority of the cast recoloured Zaku suits. Wow, good job. The Force Impulse Gundam is cool though and I love the shots of it in the OP. Oh man it's so awesome how it ties into the music.

I think I'll try watch something else, but it's weird because I'm not hating this show outright. It's just like man they lost the plot here.

Manga Art Gallery / Re: MK's gallery
« on: November 18, 2020, 09:20:09 AM »
Nice progress! The poses look really great and this kind of practice always impresses me. 1000 pages might not be too far away at this point haha.

Manga Art Gallery / Re: Stardustpink Art
« on: November 18, 2020, 09:16:31 AM »
Hey nice to see your art again! These are really nice colourful pieces. The backgrounds add a lot and you fit your drawings into them very well like the album cover one. The last picture is my favorite.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: November 17, 2020, 03:12:12 PM »
Listening to some records & tapes this afternoon.

Ac/Dc, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Despite it's legendary title track this is not one of the band's best albums. It is their most sleazy and dirty album however, with primitive riffs and "dangerous" lyrics. Bon Scott sings firmly tongue and cheek about sex and causing mayhem. "Ride On" is one of the only songs in Ac/Dc's discography that takes a step back to reflect on Bon's lifestyle. That song is the strongest moment on the record, it's a hangover slow jam that with a genuine tone. The album is very Blues and Rock 'n Roll based, with the shuffle riff appearing on most tracks. Most explicitly on "Rocker" and "There's Gonna Be Some Rockin". 

There are some very questionable lyrics on "Love At First Feel" and "Squealer". "Big Balls" is funny the first time you hear it but that song lost all it's novelty for me. Just like "The Jack". While "Squealer" has an awful title that is repeated a million times at the end of the song, Angus rips his absolute brains out during the extended outro. In general the song structure is poor on this album, leading to 7 minute tracks like "Ain't No Fun (Waiting 'Round To Be A Millionaire)" which go nowhere after the pick-up. Ac/Dc improved dramatically with the following three records. On Highway To Hell producer Mutt Lange was able to reel the band in just enough to keep their Rock 'n Roll energy alive inside stronger song structures. Dirty Deeds is a rougher album with it's own appeal. I enjoy listening to it every now and then. 

Metallica, Kill 'Em All

This is an all time favorite album that I listened to heavily when I was 15. I haven't so much in recent years, opting for Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets for my Metallica fix. However Kill 'Em All is always fantastic. It's extremely energetic and shows all the talents of the band from early on. "The Four Horsemen" shows the band's ability to make long epic tracks that go over multiple sections. "Whiplash" and "Hit The Lights" are blisteringly fast Thrash Metal jams. This album even has the massive balls to put a 4 minute bass solo in with "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)". That's just how great Cliff Burton was. Kirk Hammett plays the most aggressive he ever did to keep up with Dave Mustaine's original leads. Kirk's solo on "Hit The Lights" is insane.

The simpler tracks like "Motorbreath" and "Jump In The Fire" show the band's NWOBHM influences. "No Remorse" has always been a favorite of mine for it's fast pick-up. Over time I've come to view "The Four Horsemen" as the album's finest moment. It's so well put together and kicks ass. James and Lars expanded on Dave's original track and made the perfect Metal song. "Phantom Lord" is great also with James Hetfield giving a cool scream at the end. James' vocals are not in full form here yet, he hadn't developed his big voice at this early point. I listen to the 1988 cassette version for the inclusion of their "Blitzkrieg" and "Am I Evil?" covers. This is how I've always listened to the album and it's simply not complete without "Am I Evil?" at the end. A track that caps it off great while paying tribute to one of their favorite bands. Kill 'Em All is a mess of youthful energy, I love this album for it's power and aggression.

Skid Row 

I've always liked this album and it's one I still need to get on record. Skid Row were a very post Guns 'n Roses 80's Rock band. They were heavy and edgier but they also had the "Hair Metal" singles including a Power Ballad. and just like GNR they were done after their first few releases. Sebastian Bach gave the music a lot of energy and attitude. The opening song "Big Guns" is absolutely fantastic and "Sweet Little Sister" kicks it as well. They are fast and Hard Rocking songs with great melodies and riffs. The songs are so catchy on this album that I can look at the titles and remember the choruses without having heard some of these tracks in 5-6 years. "CAN'T STAND THE HEARTACHE! SO BLEEDS THE RED RED ROSE!".

Of course this album has Skid Row's three hits on it. "18 and Life" is good, I may of heard it way too many times but at it's core the song is excellent. "Youth Gone Wild" turns the attitude of the other songs into something more commercial and anthemic. "I Remember You" is our acoustic power ballad. Honestly it's a great song that doesn't feel cheesy or insincere. We also have the bass driven "Piece Of Me" which is really cool. Skid Row's debut is an excellent record. It's true strength are the album songs which are even greater than the singles. On their next album Slave To The Grind they went full on heavy, I love that record as well.

Music / Re: 2020 In Music
« on: November 15, 2020, 01:05:43 PM »
Ai Furihata, Moonrise

Ai completely shocked me with the release of "CITY", an amazing City Pop throwback song that perfectly captured the old J-Pop feel. The thing most surprising about this is that she voiced Ruby in Love Live Sunshine. Not to disrespect her performance but Ruby was a very high voiced character with an awful singing voice. When "CITY" autoplayed on Spotify I thought it was an 80's song and I could of never guessed it was a seiyuu I knew. Most of the other Love Live seiyuus have released highly generic J-Pop, the norm. Ai Furihata on the other hand has completely distanced herself from that with this EP.

So "CITY" is amazing and a total jam. From first listen it's utterly undeniable. Extremely catchy, memorable and endlessly relistenable. "Cinderella Time" is fun and "Y no Higeki" is super catchy. "Love Song wo Kakete" has a tropical feel, the instrumental is fantastic. "Poolside Cocktail" brings the synth pop elements, it's a nice laid back track. I do wish the EP had another jam like "CITY" but overall this was a fun listen with good variety. You get the feeling Ai got to make the kind of music she actually wanted to. I'll be interested to see what she does in the future. Ai was nerfed in Love Live Sunshine and now we can hear her true voice.   


Ac/Dc will always be my second favorite band but the prospect of new music doesn't excite me. I thought they were finished and released their final album in 2014 with Rock Or Bust. I'm happy to see them come back and continue to live out the spirit that the band has always had. Fans are loving this album, detractors are pulling their typical BS (they will never fundamentally understand Ac/Dc). But for me it's just...fine. It's extra bonus content, not something I'm going to listen to much. Ac/Dc in my opinion have been creatively bust since 1990. There have been some good songs since then but nothing with the same spark "Thunderstruck" brought the band.

Power Up is a nice tribute to Malcolm Young and it's just the band doing their thing. It has great production and Brian Johnson still has a strong voice. The songs are...fine. The only element that is lacking to me are Angus' solos which just pass by. The album has some decent moments like "Realize" and "Demon Fire". Some riffs stand out also like on "Code Red". I would say it's a stronger release overall than Rock Or Bust however it will likely end up as forgettable with me. Ac/Dc have always been a legacy band to me. I will always love the records from High Voltage to Blow Up Your Video, they truly energize and excite me. But this record, it's a nice bonus and that's it for me. Ac/Dc have never strayed from their path and in my opinion they are one of the most respectable Classic Rock bands ever.

Charli XCX, how i'm feeling now (Relisten)

My second full listen. Charli's albums tend to be bumpy for me. I love so many of her songs but her albums are always full of songs I find completely unlistenable like "Click" & "Shake It". how i'm feeling now begins with "Pink Diamond" which falls into that category. But then we have "Forever", a song I really like. It feels weird to listen to since it's completely associated with April and May for me. It's like hearing a distant past. "detonate" has become my favorite song on the album. It's everything good about Charli's music. I love every song from "Forever" to "party 4 u". "anthems" is...meh. I like the instrumental but not the vocal parts. So with this album there is one song I would outright skip "Pink Diamond", one song I'm meh about "anthems" and then 9 great songs. I might order the record for the sheer number of excellent tracks.

I can't believe I dismissed Seiko Oomori's song "counter culture" it's actually damn amazing! Such a great track! That said her new song "Night On The Planet" is just...not good. In fact I think it's one of her worst songs yet. I have no idea what to expect for the new album with singles this inconsistent. 

I relistened to kitixxgaia the other day and I still love that album! It's so damn good and it perfectly summarized what 2017 was like for alternative J-Pop. Kusokawa Party didn't have the longevity of kitixxxgaia, TOKYO BLACK HOLE and Sennou for me. I still absolutely love the first 7 songs but the last half doesn't live up to that. I'm very curious to see what Seiko's going to do on this new album.

MR Pub / Re: The Manimal's Unbelievable Gameplay Commentary
« on: November 11, 2020, 07:29:13 AM »
Whoa here we go resetting my channel again. I got two episodes of Tetris NES, most likely a stress inducing Let's Play given how I play the game. It's more about my commentary though, I want to make chill videos.

Tetris NES | Episodes 1 & 2 

Anime Talk / Re: Which Anime series you are watching ?
« on: November 02, 2020, 06:19:42 AM »

This was a dumb show from last season with a silly premise that ended up being pretty enjoyable. In some ways it's your standard anime romance, comedy, harem fluff. In other ways this show can be outrageous and gives us some...unique...scenes. Also they are college age! So rare and so great to see in anime. Please make more college setting anime like Golden Time!

Kazuya gets dumped by his girlfriend of one month so he turns to an app that lets you "rent" a girlfriend. Basically a wholesome hooker without sex to take a dates. Things get crazy when he starts showing her off to his friends and then both of their Grandmas get involved. Basically with every episode it gets more complex and then a few other girls show up to create an anime love triangle. There are a few moments that are too real in this anime and it was hilarious. I mean there is a scene where Kazuya starts herking his gurk to a picture of his ex girlfriend but then he starts thinking about his rental girlfriend and he debates who he loves during a 2 minute jerk with a Rock song playing in the background. I might forget a lot about this show but I'll always remember and associate it with this scene for how crazy and unexpected it was.

It explores the premise as it goes and has it's serious moments. Of course there can't be too much progress made towards Kazuya and Chizuru forming an actual relationship otherwise there wouldn't be a show. Other girls like Kazuya's ex Mami, a thrill seeker dead set on being his girlfriend Ruka and a really awkward sweet girl Sumi round out the cast. I like Kazuya's friends, they kept it real. and his Grandma is like a pro-gamer with headset and laptop, wasting her money on microtransactions. You can't take the show too seriously and over analyze it otherwise you see how awful Kazuya treats Ruka by leading her on when he has no interest in her and how evil and spiteful Mami is.

I found Rent-A-Girlfriend to be good fluff. It was fun to watch and had some pretty crazy moments. I watched the show because the peggies did the OP "Centimeter" which is fairly good. The artstyle is average here and the voice acting is good. As a buffer series between Gundam entries for me this was just a decent light watch.

Golden Boy (Re-Watch) 

SO EDUCATIONAL! Golden Boy is a pure classic and it was nice to watch again after 6 years. This is just a super enjoyable six episode OVA with some of the most hilarious moments in anime history. Kintarou is a legend, even though he's a big pervert with a toilet fetish he's well meaning, thoughtful and out to learn. Roaming around like The Littlest Hobo from town to town, taking new jobs and meeting fine women. Each episode is distinct with it's own theme and the animation is fantastic.

The dub is why Golden Boy is so good. This is one of the greatest dubs ever, it enhances the quality of the show. Doug Smith does to Kintarou what Mark Gatha did for Domon in G Gundam. He's so outrageous and dedicated to the role that it transcends. His comedic timing and cartoony voices are so hilarious. The first episode is my favorite with so many classic deliveries. This show wouldn't be half as good without him, and the voice actresses are also mostly great as well. It's a complete classic 90's dub that gives the show so much charm and character. So ya, Golden Boy was great before and still just as good now.

MR Pub / Re: Chit Chat 2020
« on: November 01, 2020, 01:11:17 PM »
Is anyone doing any November "Challenges" this month? NaNoWriMo or otherwise.

This year I'm trying National Solo Album Month. It's just write and record a solo album in a month. So for me, just make a new album this month. I don't know if I'll make it but doing this sort of things is always a motivator. Even if I don't complete the challenge it gets me doing something atleast. This is basically the same as FAWM (February Album Writing Month). But November is a better time for music making than February I find.

Anime Talk / Re: Which Anime series you are watching ?
« on: October 29, 2020, 11:59:27 AM »
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED 

My expectations were rock bottom for this show, and yet I was still curious. At first I was enjoying it but I thought it was "kind of bad". Before I knew it I was invested and came to really like the characters. Then by the end I loved it. Gundam SEED was an awesome series that recaptured the thrill of my first anime series and had me engaged in it's drama for the whole ride. Not once did I feel the show dipped in quality or had a rough patch. It only got better the more it went on until it's fantastic emotional ending.

SEED is plainly a teen demographic show, more so than the original. It's full of soap opera drama which if I'll be honest...I love. I was really into the dynamics between the characters and I ended up liking the whole cast. It's one of those series with an overpowered main character who you know can't lose, and yet I still had a sense of excitement and suspense in the battles. SEED had a very strong cast, I even liked characters such as Flay who was the one that caused most of the drama on the ship. Kira and Athrun were the friends forced to fight which made for something interesting. Captain Ramius was great and so was Mu La Flaga. Cagalli was a good character...I just really liked them!

The story was good and very competent in SEED. It was easy to follow and had all the elements you expect in a Gundam series. While SEED heavily mirrors the original show it has themes of it's own such as genetic modification. It has recognizable elements but then it does it's own thing with them. There were plenty of emotional moments that really worked for me. The combination of soap opera drama and military, which was a big thing in the first part of the show, was good. Then it ends in an awesome space battle for the last 8 episodes, all of which were top notch. SEED really payed off and was a very enjoyable watch.

The soundtrack was brilliant and high quality. The songs were beautifully dated to the early 2000's with the Nightcore ready arcade racer beats. I really liked the first opening "Invoke", a song so catchy you can't forget it. Mika Nakashima's "Find The Way" was used to amazing effect in the last episode. I watched the HD remaster and it looked pretty good! The artstyle is heavily dated and I had to get used to it. At first I found it off putting but then I came to like it. The Gundams are so cool in this show. The Strike, Freedom, Justice, Providence, M1 Astrays, these are fantastic designs that have bulky and great aesthetics. Everything is very colourful and outside of some CGI shots of the ships it still looks pretty good thanks to the remaster. 

I found SEED to be a great series and I had a fantastic time watching it. In some ways it reminded me of when I first watched Full Metal Panic! in 2008. It's a very different show (FMP is not Sci-Fi) but since it was made around the same time there are familiar elements. I was expecting a really dumb series but I came away really liking it! We'll see about SEED Destiny, my expectations are rock bottom with that show. So if I like it, cool, and if not I won't be disappointed. SEED is a certain 8/10 for me.

Music / Re: 2020 In Music
« on: October 28, 2020, 11:50:15 AM »
Bruce Springsteen, Letter To You 

When Bruce records with the E-Street Band it's always worth listening to. For this new album they recorded it live in the studio in just a few days. Clarence Clemons' nephew Jake takes over on the saxophone. Three songs Bruce wrote prior to his first album are redone here. Over his career Bruce has been able to adapt his sound as he ages. This has made for great albums like The Rising and Wrecking Ball past his peak in the late 80's. Letters To You is not much different from his last few albums. It has all the trademark elements of his music. The early songs stand out for their more abstract lyrics, otherwise the melodies and vocal deliveries are fairly predictable. The instrumentation is good and the live feeling comes across. Bruce has always needed the E-Street Band and this album shows that clearly.

I admit I am very biased against late career albums from my favorite artists, even my ultimate hero in music Bruce. I don't think I'll be listening to this album very often but it has it's moments. I do like the songs "I'll See You In My Dreams", "Janey Needs A Shooter", "The Power Of Prayer" and "Ghosts" especially. "I'll See You In My Dreams" really stands out with it's lyrics, it's a great way to end the album. Jake Clemons does a good job on the sax in the rare instances of it here. "Ghosts" is the album's strongest song, it has great melodies. Overall it's nice that Bruce has given us a new album with the E-Street Band as it's meant to be. I'll listen to it a couple more times but one first impressions it's good but nothing hits me hard like Bruce albums normally do. 

Seiko Oomori's new album Kinstugi comes out in December. She says it's an album about "sharp parts, dirty parts, and cute parts of human beings". Although I haven't been thrilled by her recent singles this is still exciting. Kusokawa Party was two years ago after all. I won't be buying the album until I hear it this time however. "Re: Re: Love" and "JUSTadICE", two strong singles from last year, are not included.   

I actually really like Ariana Grande's latest single "Positions". I stopped giving her a chance after Dangerous Woman but damn she's gotten way better since then. I'll listen to her new album when it comes out on Friday.

EDIT: I listened to a bit of the album and I didn't like it. Atleast I enjoy one song off of it.

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