Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rant: An Café Suspends Activities

[from left to right] Teruki (drums), Miku (vocal), Yuuki (keyboard), Takuya (guitar), and Kanon (bass)

It's amusing how fans freak out when their favorite band decides to "suspend activities". Most of them immediately jump to the conclusion that the members are considering disbanding, but that usually isn't the case. I think a band like An Café deserves a little break from popping out new singles and touring all over Japan and a little overseas, especially from their sudden lost of their former guitarist Bou. I know it's been a while since Takuya and Yuuki joined, so people figure things are settled. I wouldn't be surprised if they're still not by now.

The band had to adjust quickly to the new members while rushing to their first U.S. appearance without their blonde fourth member by their side. I'd like to believe that this suspension is to clear each members' minds of the stress of touring, recording, losses, and jetlag. I believe by the time they come back from this pause that An Café will hit harder than ever. With the new line-up, the band has more room to grow and gain an even bigger fanbase. I'd like to wish all the members luck and to all the Cafekkos (or people like me who enjoy the band more casually) to keep your spirits high and welcome the band back with warm hearts.

Promo: 2NE1

[from left to right] BOM, DARA, CL, and MINZY
|Official Site|

They have been called the female Big Bang and everyone was waiting for their musical debut. Originally planned as a female trio, CL, DARA, BOM, and MINZY teamed up with the infamous Korean pop boy group Big Bang to make a catchy, colorful video called "Lollipop". It was not only did it show off the girls' talents, but another version was filmed to promote CYON, a cell phone brand. The song spread like a wildfire and the public waited for more.

The girls busted out with another hot, catchy track called "Fire". They decided to make two different versions of the music video to showcase their creativity, uniqueness, individual personalities, and various talents. The space version gave us a clue to each girls personality and the street version focused more on the dance aspect that most KPop fans expect from Korean pop talent.

The girls kept themselves busy between each single release, leading up to the debut of their first mini album. They did interviews, various lives, cover songs of popular U.S. artists like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, and taking part of dance showcases with other female KPop artists.

Soon, they released "I Don't Care", a more mellow song that empowers girls in bad relationships to let things go and move on to something better. Once the single dropped, self titled mini album followed that featured the songs that brought the girls into the spotlight along with 4 newly released tracks.

Looking at the path they've created for themselves, 2NE1 has a very promising future. These girls have attitude and their sound and image are quite the opposite of other popular KPop girl groups like Wonder Girls and Girls' Generation. They're not afraid to get down and dirty and show that girls don't always have to display excessive innocent cuteness or sexiness. They follow along the hard hitting style of BoA and keep the fans wanting more. I hope the girls never change their image to something doesn't suit their original concept and continue to bring amazing and addicting tracks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Review: Nerima Daikon Brothers

Title: Nerima Daikon Brothers
Language: English & Japanese
Genre: Musical comedy
Episodes: 12

I've never heard of this series before and I don't think any of my friends have either. While at work, I came across some colorful DVD boxes on the shelf, read the back of the case, and decided to check it out. I ended up watching it with an online friend. She watched it in English on YouTube and I watched it on DVD in Japanese and we discussed and commented on it together.

Hideki is a daikon farmer that built a stage with his cousins in hopes of becoming famous performers. Mako is a former pop idol and a dreamer of debuting again and becoming rich, while informing Hideki that she can't marry him because of their relation. Although, it's not illegal to marry your cousin. Ichiro is supporting the others by working as a host and becomes fixated on a certain panda he comes across on their daikon field. Together they are the Nerima Daikon Brothers! They all share the dream of becoming performers and spreading their love of music to Japan, but end up plotting on stealing money from unique "villians" to get themselves known. Although, their constant plots always seem to fail and they end up more in debt.

Upon watching this comedic musical series, I didn't know what to expect. The more I watched it, the more I fell in love with it. My online buddy and I particularly became attached to the dancing money girls, the strange but amusing affection for the panda, the creative, catchy musical numbers, and our favorite animated host Ichiro's mellow personality.

This is a series you can't get enough of, if you don't mind a few perverse memonts, lots of singing, and an odd panda fetish. It's a little random, but not too out there like FLCL. Everything has a straight storyline and every challenge the main characters face are unique and entertaining; there's even a Michael Jackson-like character.

Nerima Daikon Brothers is a very colorful anime. I personally liked watching it in Japanese, because Mako's accent in the English bothered me a little and the dialogue seemed better overall. Either way there's perversion, but it appeared a little more forced in English and the panda song sounds better in Japanese. Sorry, Chris Patton.

If you're looking for a good comedy anime that guarantees to keep your attention and makes you constantly laugh, you should check this out. The character relationships pull you in and the songs will probably be burned into your mind after watching all 12 episodes. Power to the Daikon!

Rating: 4/5