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Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. - Yeats

Saturday, March 25, 2017

#Kalafina ~ unboxing tease


Oh lookie! What do we have here?!? :)
Yup, I have decided to try and do a series of unboxing posts next, starting with this beautiful box that a fellow fan gave to me as a gift. Thank you SOOOOOOOO much!!! :)

I hope to do this either tonight or by tomorrow night. We'll see. :)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#KajiuraYuki #梶浦由記 ~ Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale OST - unboxing / comments


I'm going to do a quick unboxing and writeup of this album just to keep my momentum going.  It looks like I might be getting very busy again but I really don't want to disappear from my blog for so many weeks. So maybe quick unboxings will help me keep at it. :)

Hence, here we go.  Photos. :)

             

The CD came to me n a plastic package, not shrink wrap which is nice.  It makes it easier for me to slot the CD back into the plastic packaging for safe keeping.

The slipcase is actually quite nice.  Matte finish not gloss and the colors really come through quite well.

The CDs inside are quite simply printed and so is the cover of the insert booklet.  The inside of the insert booklet is quite pretty though.  Lots of artwork.  I only shot samples of the booklet and forgot to count how many pages before putting it away. :P  I estimate it's maybe 12 pages including the cover and the back.

I shot photos of the credits pages in case anyone is interested in that but they aren't too sharp, so if anyone really wants a better photo, just let me know.

I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole soundtrack yet because I only just unboxed it.  But I expect that parts of it won't differ too greatly from the general feel and sound of the SAO series because if it did it would be weird.

I actually did purposely go to watch the SAO ~ Ordinal Scale movie in the cinema with the sole purpose of listening to the music.  BUT the mix was TERRIBLE and the music was mixed so much lower than the SFX and the voices that I started wondering if there was even a point in having an OST at all.  I was particularly annoyed about that.  Either that final mix was rubbish or the cinema's speakers weren't working properly.  Whatever the case, it was terribly disappointing and I felt it did a great injustice to the OST.

Many of the tracks are actually relatively short because this is an OST of all the tracks used in the movie and not a compilation release, so that's to be expected.   Hence, there aren't too many signature long tracks here.  There is quite a bit of stuff here that, in my opinion, is useful if one wishes to use it as temp music for a video edit before the cut goes to the composer.

In general though, I felt the OST wasn't bad at all and there are quite a few nice and atmospheric tracks. Seems like Kajiura Yuki used quite a bit of manipulation in some of the tracks like in T7.  That weird sound that increases and decreases in volume.  It actually made me feel uncomfortable which may have been its intended purpose in the movie.  Similarly, T11 and T16 had that really unsettling feel as well.  Even T17 and T20 really felt eerie.  Interestingly enough, I don't remember feeling that way after listening to all the other SAO soundtracks.

I also like T10 for some reason.  It seemed like a really nice take on the "triumphant" wining theme one would hear in a video game. :)

To be very honest, this isn't a release that everyone is going to like.  This isn't even a release that every Kajiura Yuki fan will like or appreciate.  There are really too many short tracks that listening to them out of the context of the film may not sound complete enough for some.

That said, I didn't dislike this release.  I rather appreciate it actually.  I think this release can only be really truly appreciated by people who either really understand what an OST does / contributes to a film / video or someone who works in the film / tv / entertainment industry.  I think if the listener is only a fan of music by itself, then they may not like it much or appreciate it much.

Having seen a badly mixed screening (or maybe the speakers were rubbish, I don't know), I have to say it's a real pity that the soundtrack wasn't given a more important role in the film.  The film was quite boring for me and even the battle scenes and the supposedly more intense scenes lacked urgency and tension quite possibly because the OST was so low it couldn't bring out those emotions in viewers.

Oh and yes, I almost forgot there is a CD2 with songs too. T1 Ubiquitous dB is soooo NOT my cup of tea.  T2 longing was okay, maybe feels a little too Kalafina-ish without the harmony that usually makes their songs sound more distinctive from each other. I did like T3 delete quite a lot though and looped it.  T4 Break Beat Bark! is another song which is really not my cup of tea, pretty generic anisong.  T5 smile for you I didn't mind at all.  It has a nice melody and the arrangement is nice.  Still, in the end, I still like T3 delete the best in the end.  My kind of song, I guess. :)

Well... I wrote a lot more than I intended to again. *sweat :P

Will stop for now. =D

For those who are interested in this OST.  It can be purchased at various online CD shops that deal with Japanese music.

I will provide a link to CDJapan's product page as usual and you are free to use this link or any other link you wish.  Oh, and there are links to audio samples for this OST on the product page if you wish to listen to what some of the music sounds like.

As usual, I urge you to buy, if you can afford it, to support those who created this release.

Theatrical Feature Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- Original Soundtrack

Good night. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#Kalafina ~ live in Singapore ~ a perfect weekend for the fans


Kalafina took 5 1/2 years to grace the sunny shores of Singapore again.  Well... maybe it wasn't so sunny when they came. LOL  But it was definitely warm. :)  On the day of the live itself in SG, it was pretty much the famed "Kalafina weather".  Look at that sky, I'm pretty sure it did rain later in the day. :)


The 5 1/2 year wait was made completely worth it by a really awesome performance at the inaugural Anisong Fantasy Live vol.1 (Singapore).  I will get to that later. :)

Actually, the entire AFL event was quite enjoyable and the vocalists they brought down were all not bad.  I like Aimer and Kalafina the most, with Kalafina of course being the runaway NO.1 in my heart, next to Kajiura Yuki. :)  

This is the second time I have heard Aimer live.  The first time was in Anime Festival Asia, two years ago I think. She's really good live.  Just that I've not fallen head over heels in love with her songs.  She reminds me of YUI for some reason.  Her singing style, that is.  But she seems like a really sweet, shy person on stage.

I actually didn't know who Takigawa Alisa was till AFL.  The others I have watched live at AFA before so I knew what to expect.  I must say Takigawa wasn't bad at all.  But I do have a soft spot for girls who play the guitar. :P  Like Ieiri Leo who really plays a really mean guitar.  Saw her live in Zepp Diver City and she opened the night with some pretty awesome guitar playing.

Anyway, enough of that, let's get to Kalafina. :P  I ramble too much. :P

Since it took Kalafina so long to make good on Keiko's "I'll be back" promise at AFASG 2011, A group of devoted fans in SG, including me, wanted to make sure that our feelings of overwhelming joy at their return would be conveyed to them.  So we sent flowers to the venue and got fans to sign on the banner. I cannot take credit for all the hard work.  I didn't really do much.  Another fan did most of the leg work. Many thanks to this person!! :)

 

Before I got to the location, the vocalists and the band were rehearsing in the hall.  I think after the rehearsal, Kalafina walked out of the hall and past the crowds into the JEM mall, I think.  I'm not very clear of the details, someone I know was there to buy merch and he related it to me.  OH!!!! Why was I not there? LOL  Maybe it was during this very short break that they went and shot those photos of themselves in the mall. Their trip was really short.

Soon enough, it was time for the live. I had awesome seats, thanks to a friend who so kindly went super early to Suntec to queue for those tickets.  Third row from the front and center. :)  I could see all the vocalists so clearly. :)




The live started with a relatively lengthy clip of Claris with bits from their Budokan live, I think, and a Singapore version MV of one of their songs.  I'm not familiar with most of their songs except for the ones from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.

Then it was GARNiDELiA, followed by Takigawa Alisa, Elisa, Haruna Luna, Aimer and FINALLY Kalafina.  (I THINK... I may have mixed the order a bit in the middle, I don't remember clearly anymore) I rather enjoyed the last song  GARNiDELiA sang but I don't know the title.  The rest was a bit of a blur for me till Kalafina showed up.   :P

Kalafina opened with Magia which was really well sung.  To be very honest, I still have the habit of worrying about this song. LOL.  I did hear it live the first time they sang it live in Dec 2010 and numerous times after that and in the beginning, they really had trouble getting this song right.  But they've been getting this song right a lot at the lives these days and it sounded very good on Saturday night.  It was a good song to open with too because it really got people excited and accentuated the sense of mystery and power that is present in many of their songs

Then it was One Light and Kimi no Gin no Niwa.  All sung beautifully, the harmony sounded so good.  It was heavenly.  I thought they were going to sing to the beginning when they talked about singing a song from Fate/Stay Night but instead it was ring your bell which was really nicely done.  They did the first bit slow and acoustic before the band came in full force.  They've been doing this version at the lives these days and I love it.  It was a nice taste of Kalafina acoustic and it showed off their prowess really well.  I have yet to go to a strings or acoustic Kalafina live, still a big regret for me and one I hope to be able to correct in the future.

All too soon though  :(  , they ended their set with sprinter.  I thought sprinter was the perfect song to end the night.

君に会いたい
君が恋しい
君に会いたい
君が愛しい

This set of phrases always gets me at the lives.  Because Kalafina will do their signature pointing thing.  And if you're lucky and they point and look in your direction, it's like cupid's arrow to your heart. LOL.  I could have sworn that one of Keiko's finger pointing pointed at me. :P   They do it in other songs too but I remember this section the most because these lyrics really do say what every fan feels:

(translation courtesy of Anime Lyrics dot com)
I want to see you. 
I miss you. 
I want to see you. 
I cherish you.

Kalafina talk often of wanting to return the fans feelings by singing their best at the lives.  I think they did it too.  With every song, the audience keep cheering louder and louder and Kalafina seemed to draw energy from it and they looked like they were really enjoying the live, as much as all of us in the hall did.  Thank you very much Kalafina!! It was an awesome live!!

They weren't done yet though.  There was still the encore.  Well, those of us who follow the news on twitter already knew that there was going to be a collab with Aimer.  Some of us shouted encore as loudly and as long as we could.  I must say that this part, the audience a bit FAIL lah!! Why are Singaporeans and some other Asians so self-conscious.  Next time shout ENCORE or clap really hard.  Although it seems like it's a given for encore these days but still... there are no guarantees and while I don't think we would have gotten anything extra in the encore in a music festival like this, STILL, it's nice for the vocalists and bands to get a super rousing encore call even if they don't or can't come out to do the encore. IF Kalafina do come for a one-man (my dream and all Singaporean Kalafina's fans dream), PLEASE make sure we do the encore as best we can.  The flumpool one at Millian was awesome, we managed to get them to sing quite a few more songs after they were suppose to end the night because we kept clapping and cheering and flumpool was very nice to obliged.

Well... of course it could also be.... MAYBE there WAS a decent call for encore and I just wanted more so I perceived it as not being loud enough. LOL  Who knows?  That's quite possible too because humans are subjective beings. :P

At any rate, I was happy that it was Kalafina that wrapped up the night.  I still remember that at the AFA SG 2011, our Kalafina encore call was cut short by the organizers because May'n had not sung yet.  This time, I did get to call a proper encore and we did get an encore. :)

The encore with Aimer was quite amazing too!!  According to a blogpost from Hikaru, These two songs sung in the collaboration was first performed at the Machi Asobi in Tokushima.  Given that the Machi Asobi event isn't an event too many of us will go to, this was quite a treat because most of us have never seen / heard this collab.

One of the songs they did was Kalafina's believe and the other was Aimer's anata ni deawanakereba.
I'm not familiar with Aimer's song so I'm not certain what the differences are but the Kalafina x Aimer version was quite beautifully done.  Slower and more acoustic to suit Aimer's style and voice better.  Both songs were really nicely done and I enjoyed both immensely.

After the encore, it was really the end and they exited.  But before that, as they exited Kalafina did a pinky promise to come back to Singapore.  They hooked their pinkies on the way out and called out "約束" which means "promise" in English.

It was a perfect ending to what felt like a perfect performance from Kalafina.  I was so high and happy that if you asked me to recall more details now, I could not.  I can only remember how high and happy I was that whole day and during Kalafina's section at AFL.  LOL.  Yes, I was THAT happy. :)

I hope the promise at the end won't take another 5 1/2 years to fulfill. :P
With Kalafina now in SACRA, maybe it really means good things for international fans?  Maybe it means another tour outside of Japan?  If so, I hope that they have legs that will take place in Singapore.  After all, Kalafina still have to return and take a walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens as suggested by Aimer during the MC. :)

To cap the night off, all VIP ticket holders also got a "signed" autograph poster.  Sadly, these aren't signed on the spot and they aren't even signed for real. They are printed signatures.  Still, it was better than nothing and I was happy to take it home. :)



OH!!! It's also very kind of Kalafina to post photos of us at the airport, the flowers and the banner with all the messages in several updates on their blog.  It made all the fans very happy.  THANK YOU!!! :)

After this live, I'm more in love with Kalafina than ever.  And it has renewed my desire to come back to blogging more consistently. :)  I still have Kajiura Yuki's latest SAO cd to unbox and a few goods from other lives to go through.  And a message from someone in my blog FB  page that I really need to get to and will get to soon.

Ah.... I do have one regret which I do need to talk about.  My only regret was that I was unable to gather more fans.  That was mostly my responsibility but I was unable to get more people. :( We really started the process way too late, to be honest.  So in order not to be caught out again, we started a FB group called "Kalafina / FictionJunction Singapore Fan Club (unofficial)".  It's not a page, just a group and it's a closed group for now.  We're really inexperience at this so bear with us for a while.  However, we are really serious about gathering fans from Singapore or who are based in Singapore to join the group.  If Kalafina really makes good on their "約束" (promise), we hope that we will be more prepared than we were this time. :)

So please join us!! If you're a Kalafina or Kajiura Yuki or FictionJunction fan, join us!! You can either search for the group in FB and send in a request or use this link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1936347716651751

Okay, that's it for now.  Time for bed for me.  My last dosage of meds is beginning to hit me and I'm getting quite sleepy.  It probably accounts for the rambling post... or maybe it's just my excuse for it... since I'm a pretty streams of consciousness blogger. :P  Anyway, yeah... the excitement of  last Friday and Saturday must have taken it's toil because I woke up sick on Sunday. LOL.  I managed to get through the work day on Sunday but in the end succumbed and took sick leave for Monday and Tuesday.  So now I need to sleep and rest to prepare for my return to work. :)

Good night. :)

p.s not going to proof-read tonight and I am a terrible proof reader anyway, so please excuse any glaring errors. :P  cheers

Saturday, March 18, 2017

#Kalafina ~ meeting Kalafina in Singapore !!!


source: Kalafina LINE blog
(I'm in there but I'm not telling you which one. :P )

This has got to be one of the most memorable moments in my life. :)  It probably rivals the first time I met them at Anime Festival Asia in Singapore when they signed the poster in front of me.  And the time I met them at AFA Malaysia twice, once when they handed me the autographed poster and once when they signed the CD.

Maybe this moment even surpasses all those moments, hahaha!!!  Having a photo taken with Kalafina, a vocal unit that I've been a HUGE fan of since 2009, is like a dream come true for any fan.  I never expected that my impulsive decision to see them live in Japan in Dec 2010 would lead me down this path.  Hahaha.... I loved the "Kagayaku Sora no Shijima niwa" live at the then Lemon CC Hall.  I loved it so much that I became a confirmed fan and have not looked back since. :P

I have never ever gone to the airport to meet any celebrity before.  But this was Kalafina.  It's a vocal unit I've been devoted to for years and have travelled to Japan numerous times and Malaysia once, just to see them live.  I HAD to go.  Resistance was futile.  This was a chance to meet Kalafina up-close and personal AND to show our support and that they have fans in Singapore too. :)

Sadly we don't have an illustrator in the group of fans that I know in SG so luckily the Taiwanese fans offered to help to draw something for our banner.  Then it was a mad scramble to finalise the printing of the banner. [edit: I forgot to add, that the mad scramble wasn't done by me but by another huge fan who put in way more effort than I did, thanks boss! :) ]

I had also asked for some time off from work to go the the airport for a few hours but it turned out in the end, my producers weren't ready by Friday morning so told me to take half a day instead and come in on Sunday to work since I also wanted time-off.  So for Kalafina's sake..... I'm working half day on Sunday. LOL :P  BUT WORTH IT!!!!

It was so nerve wrecking at the airport. Hahahaha.... we guessed when they would arrive but had no idea which flight they took because there were two different flights from Japan coming in at the same time.  Problem was, they were at two different terminals.  Lucky we guessed right. :)

Meeting them was really incredible.  I waved through the glass panels and they saw a group of us in Kalafina concert Ts and waved back.  They exited the luggage collection area and saw us with our banner.  They asked to take a photo with us and the banner... of course we said YES!!!!  Then they thanked us and exchanged a few sentences with us and had to go.

It was AWESOME!!! :)

I haven't seen them live since last Jan (2016).  I went for the both "far on the water" final lives in Tokyo and both of the 8th Anniversary lives at Tsutaya O-East... all incredible lives.  The anniversary lives made me cry with joy and till today I can remember how happy I was to sing along with Samidare. :)

Gosh.... this is such a gushy post.... but how can one not gush.... LOL

Kalafina hardly comes to Singapore.  This is only their second time.  The first time was five years ago.  And both times they came only as part of a festival.  I still hope that one day they will come and do a one-man live.  Meanwhile, I will keep saving money and leave up to see them live in Japan or some other country again. :)

Now I am just looking forward to tonight's Anisong Fantasy Live.  Ganbatte Kalafina!!!!  Thank you soooooo  much for coming back again. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

#Kalafina ~ Singapore fans

screen cap: Kalafina Arena Live 2017 BD
Soon fans in Singapore can see Kalafina live too!! :)

Hello! Kalafina fans from Singapore. Please do contact me if you can. :)

I was suppose to do this at the beginning of the week, Sunday night to be precise, but a lot of things conspired to make it hard for me to write a blog post about it.  I did write a tweet and FB about it though. :P

Well, the Anisong Fantasy Live is going to happen this Saturday and a couple of us are thinking of doing something.  So if you wish to get involved, you still can.  Please do contact me either on Twitter, on FB or comment below.

I will get back to you ASAP.

Also.... I will definitely be getting back to blogging real soon for those who do read my blog. :)  Apologies for the long absence but I needed to get my career back on track and that really needed some time and a lot of energy.  But I think for now I have managed to get it more or less settled and have also just completed a freelance gig so I have some time now. :)

I hope to do a Kajiura Yuki unboxing soon.  And blog a little of Anisong Fantasy Live.... hopefully. :P  I hate promising too much. :P

Okay... don't forget to contact me if you're interested. :)
And even if you come across this post way after Anisong Festival Live 2017, you are still welcome to contact me with regards to this. :)

cheers. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#Kalafina ~ Arena Live 2016 BD - unboxing



It's really been a while since I last blogged.  Been very busy and there were some issues in the office that I had to deal with which were a little emotionally draining.  Office politics really suck. :( But it's cool. I stood my ground and it's mostly resolved for now.   And to make things even better, Kalafina's latest BD release arrived at my doorstep today. :)

I know there are three copies in that photo above.  I could pretend that I am a crazy rabid fan but, hahahahaha, I'm not that crazy. :P  The other copies belong to two other friends.  We shared shipping on this so it'll save us some money. :)

I'm not going to do an extensive unboxing today.  I'm really quite tired and have quite a lot of sleep debt that's really catching up on me now. *sweat  So, I really need to try and sleep before midnight... so here goes....

All the photos:

           

As usual, I shot photos of the BD with the shrink wrap on and off.  This time I also took the cover sheet out of the pocket to shoot the front and back because they did print an image on the back this time.  They don't always do this.  Quite often the back is just left blank.

It's a relatively simple release but they did include a small insert booklet which makes this more than a simple bare bones release.  If I counted it correctly, it should be 24 pages including the cover and the back.

It's quite a nice booklet because there are quite a lot of images.  In fact, there is a photo of them at the lives on all pages including lyric pages and credit pages.  And they included two two-page spreads where there are no lyrics.  That's quite nice, in my opinion, because often in a very basic release, the lyric pages have no photos at all.

This comes with a poster tokuten which I don't intend to take out of the tube to shoot a photo of.  I kinda want to keep it in a pristine condition in the poster tube. :P

Sadly..... I can't watch this BD in all it's glory.  The tv in my room is dying and the screen is really washed out and streaky now. :(  I also don't have a BD drive in any of my comps. :(  I'm considering if I should attempt watching it on my dying tv or try and go to a friend's house to do it.  I haven't decided yet.... but it won't be tonight.  I need to sleep soon. :P

Okay... that's it.  I am really looking forward to watching this release.  I had to miss the live in the Budokan, life got in the way. :(  But luckily, they did decide to release this BD so it really does make up some for a pretty bumpy 2016.

Finally!!! Please do support all who worked on this release by buying this release. I have included the link to the CDJapan product page.

Kalafina Arena Live 2016 At Nippon Budokan (Blu-ray)
Kalafina Arena Live 2016 At Nippon Budokan (DVD)

Many other online stores also sell this so go to whichever one you prefer. :)

That's all!! Good night... over and out! :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

#Kalafina in Singapore 2017 - Anisong Fantasy Live

#Kalafina will be back in Singapore in March 2017!!!  Well, according to one of my friends who attended the I Love Anisong lives at Anime Festival Asia tonight, they just announced the lineup for the Anisong Fantasy lives.




The AFA FB page posted a tease about it on the 18th Nov but I paid very little attention to it.  To be honest, I've been pretty bored of the I Love Anisong lives and AFA in general because my taste is generally not very mainstream and I don't like idol style music very much.  And since it seemed like there was no signs of Kalafina returning to our sunny shores, I kind of stopped caring about AFA and their related events.

SOOOOOOOOOO..... when my friend texted me and said that they announced that Kalafina will return to SG for the Anisong Fantasy live....  I was SUPER HAPPY!!!!

But at the same time, I have to admit that I'm also a little sad that it isn't a one-man.  Which means that I will have to pay for a full price ticket and sit through tons of acts I don't care about just to listen to maybe 7 songs from them.

And MORE IMPORTANTLY it's unlikely that the FBM will be there.  Most likely they'll sing to a minus-one tape.  If we get lucky maybe they'll do an acoustic song or two.  But since it's an Anisong event, I think it's likely they'll not do too many acoustics.  Once cannot get the full FEEL of what it is like to be at a Kalafina live if it's to a minus-one tape where they maybe hurried off the stage if they aren't the ones who end the live.  YEAH!!! I remember the first time in SG, they were hurried off the stage because the ILA live was running late and the last act, May'n, still needed to come on.  I was extremely sad about that.

OH my feelings are sooooo MXIED right now.  On one hand I am really overjoyed that they will be back but on the other hand.... oh the depths of my despair!!!!  I want them to come for a one-man sooooooo bad. 

I will go... I have to go.  It's Kalafina.... I have to support them!!!

AMEND:

Looks like the official announce is out.  :)  Confirmed for SG and Hong Kong.




Amend again:

Here's the website address with details.
http://anisongfantasy.com/

VIP tix are SGD188.