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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Kalafina Arena LIVE 2016 ~ Keiko produced

Much as I wanted to, I was unable to go to Kalafina's Budokan lives this year.  BUT that doesn't mean that my love for their lives and their music has diminished.  :)  Since I could not go to the lives, I decided to show support by buying their concert merchandise. =D

I asked some friends for help and they helped me pick up a bunch of stuff. :)  THANK YOU!!!  I bought more than I usually would. :P

As they often do, they had the utahime produced again.  Hikaru's was a pretty useful looking pouch and Wakana's was a very cute neck pillow which sold out really fast.  I really did want to get one of the utahime produced but I didn't really have the budget for all three so I decided to get the cheapest of the three. :) terms of the amount of yen it's the "cheapest" I guess.  But in terms of value for money.... let's just say that I am well aware that no concert merch is ever value for money. :)

Anyway... enough of that. :)  Photos first. :)

This is Keiko's candy box and it cost 900 yen.  And yes, that's certainly a little expensive for a box of candy that's only the size of a postcard. 

But that said, I'm still quite happy to have gotten it.  It's a box you can keep.  It's not the hardiest of boxes but it is made of a thick enough cardboard that you can use to put stuff in like those Kalafina & FictionJunction phone charms for example.


The above are the other photos of the exterior of the box.


And the above are photos of the interior of the box and the number and types of candy you get in the box.  I've eaten one of each already.  The marshmallows have chocolate inside.  And the soft gummy candy is actually a tad sour.  I like marshmallows and gummy candy quite a lot so those are the two I like the most. :)

The thing I like the most in the box is this little card that comes with it.


It says "Keiko's Candies!" And then states what kinds of candies come in the box.  It's chocolate marshmallow, grape flavored gummy and apple flavored hard candy.

I really have no idea if Keiko drew that cute drawing or if that's her handwriting.  I'm just going to assume it is because I like to think it is. :P

Well....I'll hopefully slowly go through the rest of the merch I picked up over the course of the next few days.   Hopefully I will have time for them. :)


The following has nothing to do with the unboxing so you can stop reading here if you like.  :)

AND.... now.... I will just say a little bit about why I was not able to go to the Budokan this year even though I had originally planned on going.  I was thinking of not writing why anymore but then I did say I would earlier... so I guess I should make good on that. :)

Actually, my company announced that it would close the Singapore branch in March this year.  Yup, right before my trip to Japan to attend the Kajiura Yuki SAO live in Osaka and to do other stuff too of course. :)  So yes, that March trip was a bit of a mixed bag for me.  I enjoyed myself a lot but at the same time, I was also worried and had decided to cut the budget for my expenditure too.  And it was at that time that I decided that it was very unlikely that I would be able to go for the Budokan lives.

It took a while for me to find another full time job.  In-between, I did some freelance work which helped to settle my nerves.  Yes.... I've never lost a job in all my working life so it was quite unnerving for me.  I really did like the work I did in my previous job too but for me to continue doing the same kind of work, I would have to leave Singapore and work in another country.  Basically, it also meant that I will have to chase the work to whichever country it goes in the future.  In the end, I chose to stay in Singapore for personal reasons which meant that I had make a career switch of sorts.

So in the last few months, I have been trying to level up as quickly as possible in my new chosen profession.  Luckily, it's not that far removed from my previous job but there is A LOT of software that I'm out of touch with and several that I've never used before.  Hence why I've had to put the blog on the back-burner.  Also, I've decided to try and pass the JLPT N2 exams this year too.  So I have A TON of studying to do. *sweat :P

So yup, I'll still blog because I enjoy it but it'll be slow and probably more sporadic than I like.  But it's cool, I really like messing around with all the software I should learn so I'm pretty happy doing that too. :)  And I quite like my new job now that I'm used to it. :)

Things have really settled down and I am very grateful that I have a new full-time job.  Although, I have a bit of survivor's guilt too because I don't know and am afraid to ask just how many of my ex-colleagues and my friends have yet to find work. :(  Our line is just too specialized and there just aren't enough of our type of work in SG. :(

Losing that job so suddenly, the downturn in the global economy and the SG economy has made me a little wary and less willing to YOLO.  So no more travelling for the rest of the year. :(  I need to beef up my savings first.  I'll still be saving up for a future trip though.  Kajiura Yuki and Kalafina lives are my drug. :)  And since they don't come to Singapore, I have to go to Japan (or maybe Hong Kong) to see them.  I don't mind travelling to see them to be honest.  I like Japan and Hong Kong anyway. :)  Of course it would be nice if they come to SG and throw us a live too and I will, of course, keep hoping that someday they will. :)

Anyway... time for bed.  I have to go to work early later today. :)

Good night. :)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Kalafina ~ blaze - FULL MV on VEVO (amend)

OH!!! Joy joy joy!! The full MV for #Kalafina 's "blaze" can now be found on their official VEVO channel which means..... yup!! It's legally online and available for international fans.  We don't need to jump through hoops for this one. :)

Maybe they really have been listening to international fans voicing their hopes that they would make more promotional material available to us so we can help them spread the joy!! :D

So here I am helping them spread the joy.  Although, this isn't my favourite Kalafina song, it is still a nice song and it is their newest song and it showcases their harmony BEAUTIFULLY.  Please enjoy!! :)

Amend: Looks like I have to temper my joy a little.  Someone just left a comment saying that this video isn't available in the US. :(  I really think Japan needs to learn a little bit from the way the Koreans are marketing their music and dramas etc to the world.  :(

Kalafina - blaze (Arslan Senki S2 ED) - unboxing

Here it is, the unboxing of #Kalafina 's "blaze". :)

It's been a while since I've done one of these so I kept forgetting to shoot certain photos.  Ah well, this is a pretty simple release, so there's enough here to give you a very good idea of what all of it looks like. :)

First up, photos.

Regular Edition


As usual, we have Keiko's solo photo in the Regular Edition. :)
I also included photos with the shrink wrap on and off like I usually do.
ALSO!!! Since the lyrics page is the same in ALL the versions, except for the LP version, I only took one photo of it and you'll need to scroll down to the Limited Edition Type B (with BD) photos to take a look at it.

Limited Edition Type A (with DVD)


I forgot to take a photo of the this version with the shrink wrap on. :P  It has been too long since I've done the unboxings. :D

Also, as usual, we get Wakana's solo photo with the Type A (DVD) version.

This time, I took out the backing sheet out from the casing and shot a photo of it.  Since this is a two disc jewel case, it was not hard to take that out and shoot a photo of it.  And anyway, they look sooooooooooooooooo cool in that photo, it was begging for me to take it out and shoot it with less reflections from the plastic casing. :D

I actually did this one after I shot photos of Type B so I didn't do the same with Type B because by that time I had already slotted the single back into the plastic shrink wrap.  Since it is a bit of a pain to slot the jewel cases into the shrink wrap again, I didn't feel like pulling Type B out of the shrink wrap to do it. :P

Limited Edition Type B (with BD)


We get Hikaru's solo photo with this release, like usual. :)  I actually like this cover photo the most.  I tend to like the Type B release cover photo the best.  But since my favourite of the three is Keiko, I get the RE for her solo photo. :D

Also, the lyrics page is the same for all versions, including the Anime version, so I only included one photo of it here.

LP (analog) version


I love the LP versions of their singles and albums.  The cover art just looks much nicer bigger. Hahaha!!!

I shot a closer photo of the picture of the trio on the lyrics page so that you can take a closer look.

Someday I will buy a turntable so that I can finally listen to these LPs.  Maybe if they one day do release those Kara no Kyoukai theme songs on LP, maybe that will be the time I make a slightly extravagant purchase. :)

Anime Version


I love that the anime version comes with the storyboard.  LOVE IT!!!! I'm not sure if this is a regular feature with other anime releases for other artists in Japan because I don't buy any other releases except Kalafina, Kajiura Yuki  / FictionJunction, most of Ieiri Leo, some angela and some Suiyoubi no Campenella and various random CDs.

If this is indeed something that's unique to Kalafina's releases, then PLEASE keep them coming. :)  If it isn't and it is something they include in most anime song releases, then yay!!! Please keep them coming too. :)

The booklet that is included in the anime version has the full storyboard for the ending animation for Arslan Senki S2 anime series.  The included DVD includes the clean version of that animation.  So you can literally watch the video and match them / compare them with the storyboad in the booklet.  I love doing that. :)

Also.... I reserved these few photos for last because it's something that is in ALL the releases.

These are the usual insert sheets that you find in all their releases.  This one has one sheet for the Christmas Strings Live tour which I am unlikely to be able to go for.  It also includes the application for for the lucky draws which are pretty much useless for those of us who don't reside in Japan.

The above is the postcard tokuten that you will receive will ALL participating shops.  It is exactly the same for all shops. :)

And this is the postcard you'll get if you get the single from the "support shops" which means that if you get it from places like CDJapan or HMV etc, you'll get this postcard. :)

NOW.... finally about the songs. :)

I've now finally hear the full version of "blaze" and the B-side single "natsu no asa".  :)

Now about "blaze".  Although it's so typical of Kalafina to include an all out "classical" style harmony section in their songs.  I LIKE that. Their harmony is the reason why I fell in love with them and still are in love with them.  No harmony...then it's not Kalafina to me.  While they were still harmonizing nicely in the TV-size version of "blaze", the full on "classical" styled section wasn't apparent till you hear the full song.

On first listen, "blaze" did sound very popish to me and they didn't seem to be harmonizing that much. But on further listen, the harmony, even in the TV-size version is very apparent in certain sections. But since most of it was Wakana and Keiko just singing in support of Hikaru, it wasn't enough harmony for me.

The full version of "blaze" is, IMO, nicer that the TV-size because there is just more Keiko centric lines for me. Hahahaha!!! Kidding kidding....

Well, the full version has the full on "classical" harmony bits that I like so much set to a pretty fast rock beat.  I don't know... I just like that kind of juxtaposition. :)  Half the time, that saves the songs for me. :P

That said. This new more pop-rock direction isn't really my favourite.  And I hope that Kajiura Yuki will move away from it and go explore something else.  "blaze" is a nice enough song and does show case Kalafina's talents very nicely but we've had quite a few of these pop-rock type anisong theme songs from them now.  I am a fan from the Kara no Kyoukai era hence, I actually would not mind Kajiura-sensei and Kalafina going back a little more to that ethereal sound.   Either that or go ALL OUT and maybe explore punk, reggae, industrial, techno etc... something really edgy or indie or maybe some pop / rock -folk which is actually one of my favourite genres... anyway something like that.  Just please don't do rap because it's not easy to rap and I really don't think they will be able to do it.  And also because rap and hip-hop really aren't my favourite genres. :P

Now, the B-side song, I actually rather like.  This has shades of some of the past songs in it, in particular songs like Sorairo no Isu etc.  BUT... that said, it's still a really pretty song and can hold it's own because right after the opening flute intro and Wakana's lines, the song breaks out into lots and lots of harmony.  All nicely layered.  It has a really classical feel to it, in my opinion.  And I really like the parts when the trios' distinct voices interweave with each other.  The flute is a real star in this song too, very pretty.  While not everyone will agree with me I'm sure, this song feels simultaneously sooooo Kalafina yet not quite typical Kalafina.  It's a little hard to explain.  But I think the harmony, the melancholy, the flute... that's soooo Kalafina and I like that because that's why I'm such a devoted fan.  That is what I want.  If I wanted something else, I would be a fan of someone else.  But the bits where their voices can be heard so distinctly and these distinct lines interweave so beautifully... it's THESE BITS that are, IMO, NOT something that is so clear and in-your-face in most of their songs.  Those bits sealed this song for me. :)

"Natsu no Asa" will probably not become my favourite b-side song.  That honour is currently held by "Samidare ga Sugita Koro ni".  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that song and I was overjoyed to have heard it twice at at the two different 8th Anniversary Lives in Jan this year.  I feel soooooo fortunate to have heard Samidare and "progressive" live. :)

I know I did say in a previous post that I would touch lightly on why I was unable to blog and unable to go to the Budokan in September in this post.  BUT that got kind of long because I am quite verbose.... so I decided not to spoil the mood of happiness of getting this realease. :P  I'll write that up in another post... maybe the next one. :P

Okay... time to go, I have some stuff I would like to do before I go to bed.

I know that there will probably be quite a few grammatical errors and spelling errors etc.  Please forgive those.  I don't have time to proof read and I am slightly dyslexic so am terrible at proof reading anyway.  :P

Last but not least, please do buy this single if you are able to afford it. :)  I do believe in supporting the industry in tangible ways. :)

Here are my CDJapan affliiate links which you are free to use if you wish to or you can use whatever other links or webstores you prefer. :)