Kanamemo: A touching comedy

Kanamemo is a story about a girl named Kana who becomes homeless after losing her grandmother–the only family she had. So it’s off to a tragic start and similar to Fruits Basket in that respect. She ends up meeting an unusual group of girls. I won’t go into detail except the lesbian couple is cute, especially Yume. Yume has a bright friendly smile. She’s sympathetic and gives her lover little kisses when they’re together. Their relationship is light and cheerful–a pleasant change from Strawberry Panic which I’ve stalled on due to the burdensome relationships.

Mika Kujiin
Mika Kujiin

Unfortunately, the story leaves some unfinished business. One of my favorite characters is Mika who befriends Kana. She makes herself out to be cold and uncaring but she’s really sweet. She also claims to be from a upper-class family but there’s hints something’s seriously wrong with her situation. And so the story ends without us knowing what’s going on.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

【IKZO】 Japanese YouTube meme

Ikuzo Yoshi: Ora Toukyou sa Igu da
Ikuzo Yoshi: Ora Toukyou sa Igu da
I’ve noticed Ikuzo Yoshi popping up on YouTube music videos (Japanese mostly). I believe the purpose is to prevent YouTube software from recognizing copyright material therefore users can bypass detection and upload songs or music videos. The results are amusing.

Ikuzo Yoshi was a singer, song writer, and TV personality popular during the 1970′s – 1980′s. He also did the OPs and EDs for Gegege no Kitarou and the ED to Notari Matsutaro. Ikuzo was famous for the song “Ora Toukyou sa Igu da” (I’m Comin’ Down to Tokyo) which describes a country hick’s desire for city living. Ikuzo’s song was the first time rap had ever been done by a Japanese artist. The rap song’s lyrics are easy to layer over other songs creating mixes. You can find these mixes by searching “ikzo” on YouTube.

Japanese minyou music

If you’ve ever seen an anime that featured a festival scene (i.e. Obon) you probably heard minyou music in the background. Often people will be dancing in yukata. You’ll hear the big taiko drums. The crowd will shout out kakegoe during the song like “a sore!,” “sate!,” or “ha iya sasa!” The ED for Ojamajo Doremi DOKKAAN! is a good example:

More CDs arrive from Japan

Tenso shipped my 9 CDs from Japan for $82.00.  That’s the most I’ve had shipped at once.  The box was bigger than before too (12x8x5.5″).  Everything was well padded.  The CDs were encased in bubble wrap and the box was stuffed with air pillows.  I purchased all of the CDs from Amazon Japan–most of them used.  The used ones were listed as “Used – Good” but most were better condition.

Contents of Tenso box

  • TV Anime Lucky Star Opening Theme Motteke! Sailor Fuku
  • Rosario to Vampire IDOL COVER BEST
  • Toradora! BEST ALBUM √HAPPYEND
  • Nankai Kio (Neoranga) Second Season
  • Nankai Kio SOUND TRACK
  • Mariya Takeuchi: Whisky Ga Osuki Desho
  • AYUSE KOZUE: U & I
  • EPO: VITAMIN E・P・O
  • EPO GOLDEN☆BEST – EMI YEARS

Rosario to Vampire IDOL COVER BEST

This has to be my favorite anime CD in the bunch.  There’s a lot of reasons why I like Rosario+Vampire and the music is one of them.  I love that the director put so much effort into giving this anime a musical theme.  He gave it an 80s theme which this otaku appreciates since he grew up listening to 80s music.  I read one of the reviews on Amazon Japan.  The reviewer thought it was okay but cheesey.  Obviously, he doesn’t know of or appreciate 80s music.

This CD is a gold mine of 80s j-pop which I’ll use for research.  Before I bought the album I was watching one of the episodes and the insert song was familiar.  It was “Desire-Jounetsu.”  Nana Mizuki sang it just like Akina Nakamori. Akina has a throaty commanding voice.  Nana was singing it as the grown-up version of Moka.  I’m not sure if that’s her natural voice.  Rie Kugimiya does a cute job of singing “Slow Motion.”  It’s another Akina Nakamori song but one when she was very young so Rei’s soft voice goes well.  All the seiyuu do a good job singing.  The director must have made it a requirement.  A few of these songs are OP/EDs to other anime too. See track information.

EPO

EPO is another singer from the 1980s.  I’m really liking her songs from her album Vitamin and I’ll probably get the rest of her CDs.  Her Golden Best album doesn’t have that 80s sound though:  I think she covered her own songs with just a acoustic guitar to give them more of a generic sound.  Some do have a Brazillian feel to them like Brazil 66.  Golden Best songs are soft and mellow–something you could sleep to.

Toradora! BEST ALBUM √HAPPYEND

Toradora! is one of my favorite anime.  I love Taiga’s character and the camaraderie between the others.  I love the addictive upbeat music too.  I could have bought the OP/EDs on iTunes but it was better to get the CD itself.  I love Yui Horie’s songs.  She has a lot on iTunes Japan.

 

Using HDMI on the Samsung Droid Charge

I’ve been watching Crunchyroll on my phone which comes in handy when I’m not home.  The screen is a bit small which leads to eye strain after prolonged use.  I was curious about using the phone’s HDMI.  The Samsung Droid Charge (SCH-i510) comes with a HDMI port.  You’ll need a HDMI to HDMI Type D (micro) cable.  The micro HDMI resembles your phone’s micro USB cable.  You’ll also need a 1080 capable HDTV.

Initially, I purchased a Sigmac 15″ HDTV (480-1080i) for my phone however no video appeared.  The TV flashed 1080i once hooked up but no picture.  Then I purchased a Samsung T22B350ND 21.5″ LED.  It worked fine.  I was watching Squid Girl on a TV screen 5 times bigger than my phone’s with easy to read subtitles.

Picture Quality

Don’t expect 1080 HDMI quality.  It’s not even DVD quality.  It sort of looks like a low resolution YouTube video with jagged lines and pixelation.  The only purpose the HDMI serves is to screen capture your phone and enlarge it to your TV screen.

Quality comparison of Droid Charge HDMI
Quality comparison of Droid Charge HDMI (View image @ 100% for detail)

iTunes: Play selected albums more often from any playlist

headphonesSay you want to listen to your soundtrack playlist but have music from Interstella5555 play more often.  This tweak will give certain albums more play from any playlist.

Features

  • Randomly selects tracks from playlist
  • Sets a ratio of playlist versus selected albums
  • Playlist refreshes on next play excluding tracks just played

Steps

  1. Create a new smart playlist
  2. Select “Playlist” then “is” then select your playlist
  3. Click the plus symbol and on the next line select “Last Played” then select “is not in the last” then enter 1 then select “days” (skip this step if you don’t have enough songs)
  4. Check the check box before “Limit to” and then enter a number (i.e. 100) then select “random” and click OK.

Create a smart genre

  1. Create a new smart playlist with album to be played more often
  2. Select “Album” then “is” then enter the name of the album
  3. Click the plus symbol and on the next line add a required rating (optional only if tracks are rated)
  4. Click the plus symbol and on the next line select “Last Played” then select “is not in the last” then enter 1 then select “days” (skip this step if you don’t have enough songs)
  5. Check the check box before “Limit to” and then enter a number (i.e. 25) then select “random” and click OK
  6. Repeat these steps (6-10) to add more albums (optional)

create smart albums

  1. Lastly, create another smart playlist.  This will be the one you actually play.
  2. Select “Playlist” then “is” then select playlist created in step 1-4
  3. Click the plus symbol and on the next line, select “Playlist”  then “is” then select playlist created in step step 6-11. Repeat this step as needed if you created additional playlists
  4. On the top line select “any” before “of the following rules”
  5. Leave the check box before “Limit to” unchecked and click OK

Create smart more-plays playlist

Tip

To adjust the ratio of your genre versus specific album(s) adjust “Limit to” number for each. For example setting an equal number would create a 1:1 ratio.

More CDs from Japan via Tenso shipping

EMS package from Tenso
EMS package from Tenso

Three CDs arrived the other day in an Express Mail Service (EMS) pouch.  I have to sign for EMS mail when it arrives.  I bought all of them from Amazon Japan.  All were listed as “Good-Used” but in much better condition than expected.  NaNa Mizuki’s Trickster included a retail plastic cover.  Trickster came in a Super Jewel Box which I’ve never seen before.  It had rounded corners and opens by pressing instead of prying. The cover artwork is enclosed on all sides preventing it from falling out.

Tsuyoshi’s All ABOUT LOVE has varying styles of R&B.  “tell me” is more a club mix.  Kono Mama Zutto is a ballad which uses the Stylistics’ You Are Everything as a background melody. “Magic” is an another ballad with an older R&B sound and very pleasing on the ears.

There’s several tracks on Trigun’s OST which I like but PHILOSOPHY in a Tea Cup is my favorite.  I like its soft jazzy sound.

Tenso package contents
Tenso package contents
NaNa Mizuki: Trickster
NaNa Mizuki: Trickster
TSUYOSHI: ALL ABOUT LOVE
TSUYOSHI: ALL ABOUT LOVE
trigun the first donuts

Queen’s Blade: The Exiled Virgin

Queen’s Blade: Ancient Princess Menace

I finished watching Queen’s Blade: The Exiled Virgin on Crunchyroll.  I had heard about it on the forums as it being ecchi.  It certainly was and yet managed to pull off decent character development and storyline.  The episodes were entertaining and went by fast.  It certainly had unique character design.  I kept wondering where the rest of Echidna’s snake was as it clung to her crotch.  I gave this a 5/5 rating for ecchi and story. I plan on watching the sequel.

My rating5 out of 5 stars