Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayabie Fiasco

Originally, I was going to rant about how upset I was with the disbandment and the members excluding Aoi formed a new band and decided to name it AYABIE. But lovely Ayabie fans translated Intestu's blog and summarized everyone's input to shed some light to the fans. Hopefully, everyone has calmed down from finding out this shocking information.

I'm still surprised the band broke up as I've liked them nearly as long as I have Dir en grey (which is roughly 6 years). Ayabie and Vidoll were the indies bands that I clung to the hardest too when I got into the jrock fandom, so the announcement crushed my heart. Then I learned all of this extra information that became overwhelming and angered me; which I'm sure many other Ayabie fans felt the same. I am no longer angry. I feel a bit ashamed, but I'm back on board with supporting both parties.

For all of those who don't know the whole story, I'll be happy to clue you in. If you saw in one of my post, I was excited for the first release of Aoi's solo work and the new band the remaining members were forming. In the beginning of the year, the band was discussing leaving the label they were on. The management wanted them to do other things outside of music like acting. They didn't handle their fanclub the same as their previous indies label and were a bit controlling. In other words, Ayabie shall become a Johnny. [lol] Aoi supported the other members' decision to depart and they wanted to keep the legacy alive by keeping the name. They would be performing brand new songs and such due to legal conflicts of song ownership.

As for a finale live, they were disappointed that it couldn't happen due to their former management keeping Aoi busy with solo performances. Maybe one day they can regroup. Sadly, poor Aoi is staying with evil label, because he's just that grateful they've put up with everything, so I hope everything works well for him and AYABIE produces the true sound we've been waiting for. I'm just curious who's going to be singing for them, but this new information explains a whole lot [like music direction].

made by moroboshist@LJ

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comparison: Audition - book vs. movie

Last month, I discovered a book at work by the name of Audition. I was surprised to see it sitting on our new book shelf because 1. we don't really carry many books like this and 2. I didn't know a book existed. I only knew of the spine tingling movie created by the great Takashi Miike. So, I was immediately interested to read it.

The story is about a widower by the name of Shigeharu Aoyama who recently lost his wife to a serious illness. Day in and day out he thinks of the great memories she shared with him and characteristics he admired about her. We learn that he's a simple man and cared for his wife and their son, Shigehiko Aoyama, a lot. In the book, they go further into detail with his grieving stage and fairly close relationship with Shigehiko.

Shige grows up and seven years have past. Aoyama is soon hit with a surprising proposal of getting remarried by Shige. Aoyama later brings this thought to his producer friend and they discuss the details of what he's looking for and how to go about searching for his future wife. The producer friend, Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, reminds Aoyama of a story he submitted and gives an idea to use it to find his wife. Hold an audition for the leading lady. He uses his connection to a radio station to promote the event and Aoyama can look at the participants' profiles beforehand.

Aoyama accepts the idea, after being assured no legal issues will come of it. He later receives all the applicants' submissions and is advised not to base his decision from photos alone as some women have their photos retouched. So, he goes home, turns his late wife's picture away on his desk, and begins going through the applications. After going through several and feeling a bit restless with the process, he finally finds a submission that catches his eye. This one submission stands out to him so much that the other women don't matter to him anymore.

Soon the audition is held and Yoshikawa asks each woman impersonal and personal questions. He encourages Aoyama to participate as well, but his focus is all on his dream woman. He immediately changes his posture and begins speaking more when this amazing woman by the name of Asami Yamazaki enters the room. once her time is over, Yoshikawa requests a break for the two to talk alone. He immediately picks up that Aoyama had already decided on Asami. He voices his opinion that something didn't feel right about her, but Aoyama goes on and on about how he understands her and has a feeling they would have a good connection. We assume they wrap up the remaining applicants and Aoyama heads home with fantasies of Asami being a part of his family and how happy things would be.

Aoyama soon asks for Asami's contact information and meets with her. He continues playing along with this audition idea until the time is right to reveal the truth or at least part of the truth. Everything seems normal and Asami gradually feels more and more comfortable with him to the point she encourages him to contact her whenever he has free time. After their first meeting, Aoyama calls Yoshikawa and tells him about their "date". Yoshikawa feels uncomfortable with Aoyama's happiness and expresses his concern of moving too fast in addition to some invalid information Asami gave at her audition. Aoyama inputs the information she gave him from their meeting, but agrees to back off a little and suffers for about a week with no contact. This causes concern among his coworkers and Shige. Eventually, he contacts Asami and they meet again. His energy changes immediately and all future thoughts of her being in his and Shige's life dance around his head again. He soon reveals that she didn't get the part of the movie, develop their relationship a little further than business, and tells her about Shige, after hearing about her background and agreeing to love her and only her.

As described above, this is how both stories go. It is a bit slow paced but eerily intriguing. You hear bits and pieces of Asami's tragic past which you can understand even further after reading the book. Takashi does a wonderful job keeping true to Ryu Murakami's original vision and keeps you on edge of what twisted thing is waiting to be fully exposed at the end. Every detail has a purpose and the book fills in any gaps you might have in your mind when you approach the high rising action.

A few things were executed a bit differently in the movie, but these differences don't show up until the end. Most times this distorts the overall feeling of the audience, but Audition leaves the same impression whether you watch it or read it. Murakami also goes into further detail of Yoshikawa and one of Aoyama's female co-worker's background compared to the movie as well.

I'm glad American entertainers acknowledged this great piece of art in 100 Scariest Movie Moments. They give away the ending some, but it's to be expected as "crazy mates" have been an element in media for a while. The reason this was praised was because it was different from the typical secret axe murderer or whatever. This delved deeper and tied it with the common emotion of security and love...or rather being blinded by love.

I highly suggest checking out both kinds of medium. Both of them keep your interest whether you know what's going to happen or not. You still feel this shock factor clenching your heart and your perceptions change a little when you switch to the next medium. You notice how easily it is to be caught up and advance forward too quickly with that perfect person, but I assure you that not everyone is crazy like Asami Yamazaki.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


credit to final_hello@LJ

Greetings fellow Cult followers & readers!

I bring you yet another update (and a nifty KaoDie gif). The latest poll has closed and it looks like you demand more music reviews and rantings. I will try my hardest to fulfill your wishes. I have a bunch of drafts saved up and I'll try to put my time to good use to provide informative and possibly entertaining service. There's a new poll up, so feel free to vote on it.

Also, I have fixed the comment link, so now you can comment on my posts (past, present, & future). I'm keeping the chatbox up if you feel like messing with it or whatever until I find it unnecessary. For those who follow my YouTube, I'm planning on working on a new promo vid for my cosplay documentary. Feel free to participate and tell other fellow cosplayers about it as well. Another thing I want to experiment with is podcasting. It'll be replacing The Duckie and Miko show for the moment. I'll make a post when I get it up and running.

Lastly, thank you guys for your support and keep spreading the word!

Your Cult Leader,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rant: "World Tours"

As I grew a little older, I learned that musicians go out and perform lives for their fans. If they're popular enough, they tour all over the nation and sometimes overseas. I've noticed groups like No Doubt, Backstreet Boys, and the late King of Pop Michael Jackson would put the effort (and money) to spread passion to foreigners whether it be in Japan, Germany, or Korea. They called this massive travel a world tour.

Now that I have gotten into jrock and kpop I look out for lives nearby. When I see announcements of musicians taking on a world tour, I expect a various range of a few European and Asian cities, their usual sprinkle around their home country, a city or two in good old Canada, and a spot in the popular areas of the U.S.. Unfortunately, I think some jrock bands mainly that I've noticed haven't gotten the memo.

I understand that the music industry works a little differently in Japan compared to the U.S. CD and DVD sells still matter, but the real money maker is band merchandise they sell at lives and online. Have you noticed jrockers don't have glamorous lives like rock stars here? There's no fancy sportscars lined up in the driveway, big billion dollar mansions sitting on a hilltop, or a maid and butler waiting on them hand and foot. The point I'm making is that I understand that travelling to North America is an investment. There's lots of paperwork and preparations to consider. I understand the hesitation of taking on a full on tour without completely knowing what the reception would be.

Most people take the safe route and stick to anime convention performances. Test the waters and note the response. Some tag along with popular American rock acts and either open for them or join popular tours like Taste of Chaos. Both strategies are smart. You aim for a reliable audience that is familiar with the music genre and/or Japanese culture.

When jrock bands feel confident in their work and/or journey, they want to venture to other parts of the country. Now don't get upset for leaving Europe out of this rant. Europe is a lot closer and gets more exposure to this growing genre. North America is a bigger challenge. Anyway, some bands announce doing a world tour. Fans get excited, but mostly this excitement is immediately killed when the only North American date is in California.

I understand that the Asian population is highest in California, Canada, and New York, but jrock exposure is high in a few other places. We've had success in southern states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Even Canada and sometimes New York get left out in the love.

Jrock fans are smart! A good amount of them understand the obstacles bands have to go through, but I wonder if the staff knows about our own obstacles trying to see our favorite bands. When we see "world tour" we expect more than one or two places in California and/or New York. It feels like false advertisement. VAMPS is the biggest offender of this. Maybe they lack the confidence to jump out of their comfort zone, but I've completely given up any hopes of them coming any where near me. Even though X Japan and Ayabie didn't claim a spot in Texas, I give them some credit for being adventurous and stepping out of California. Even more credit to Ayabie for it being their first time here.

All I'm saying is stop lying to us, giving us this false hope. Not all of us can migrate to Califronia for a one night show. Transportation isn't as easy as Europe and California is an expensive flight. Mostly don't distort the true definition of "world tour"!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rant: "I Want to Leave the Band"

I'm sure we're all used to bands breaking up or even one or two members leaving, but lately nearly all the members are departing and leaving one member behind. What's going on?

First example is Ayabie. Everything seemed fine and dandy. The band went major, released some tracks, toured,did some side projects, and even made an appearance in the U.S.. Kenzo joined Karasu, then participated with a little duo project with bandmate Yumehito. Aoi also announced a little solo project that no body really thought nothing of as a lot of jrockers take on a solo project while in a successful band. Out of no where, we hear that Takehito, Yumehito, Intetsu, and Kenzo decided to depart from Ayabie and form a new band DNL. Wtf, srsly!?

Next on the list is LIX.. They're not as well known as Ayabie, because they're fairly new and still catergorized as indies. They're part of the Darkest Labyrinth/Starwave family. It was put together by former guitarist of Suicide Ali, Yuu. I loved their sound and was hoping their careers would keep building up like their labelmates. They ventured off to Europe and soon announced that everyone was leaving except their leader Yuu after their live on September 25th.

Recently, Quaff has joined the list as a message was posted on their MySpace and Facebook. Everyone decided to part from the band except band leader Makito. In their announcement, they added that there were no musical differences or anything, so I'm curious what happened to make them all leave. Even more curious on how the band will turn out once Makito recuits new members.

Nonetheless, to all the bands where the situation has occurred, I wish them the best!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Top 10 Things I'm Excited About in the Music Industry

10. lynch.'s first major release
It was announced in July that the band was finally going major. I was so excited and I'm looking forward to them advancing in their work. I'm hoping they'll get more exposure and possibly make an appearance in North America.

9. D=OUT's first PS Company release
Along with BORN, this band has joined the ranks of PS Company, a jrock label noted for bands such as the GazettE, Alice Nine., and former guitarist of the label Miyavi. Some people thought it was an understandable label change for them to go under as their sound and appearance would blend in with their future labelmates. I just hope their sound will continue to progress and they are able to do bigger and better things in the future.

8. vistlip updates
At the end of July, the band was involved in a car accident and their manager Ms. Asako Sakakibara (31) was unfortunately killed. The members and two other passengers had a few minor injuries. So, I'm hoping that the band can push forward through this tough time and continue creating music for their fans. Although, it was long ago, I wish Ms. Sakakibara's family and friends the best.

7. Sizna (ex-Sugar) joining Moran
I was surprised when I found out Sugar was disbanding last year, especially after I saw them live at Oni-Con. I was even more shocked when Zill, bassist of Moran, passed away recently this year. Moran has managed to keep it together and continue spreading their love through music and Sizna occupied himself with his solo work, TIME SECTION #. The two bands were pretty close, so it was refreshing to see the talented Sizna join the remaining members of Moran. I'm very anxious to see how things work out and commend them with their future memorial live.

6. Aoi's (ex-Ayabie) solo single release & DNL's debut
Along with the passing of a couple great musicians in the jrock world, Ayabie's disbandment was a huge surprise. I wasn't worried about Aoi's solo release, since a lot of artists do it when they're in a band like Hyde, Yasu, and Kirito. When I read the news, it appeared that the other members "abandoned" poor Aoi and created a new band, DNL. I'm interested in how this band will pan out and who will be taking over the vocalist role. On the other hand, I've always admired Aoi and his vocals, so I'm looking forward to his solo work and other future projects he has planned.

5. Mikaru's (ex-Dio - distraught overlord) new band DIGRAS
Erina, former guitarist of DiO and current guitarist of VII-Sense, left the band and then the members ended up turning things around with their words and broke up earlier this year. I was disappointed, but there was an announcement of a session band with Mikaru and two other former DiO members, Ivy and Denka. Now, DIGRAS has been introduced to the public, but the only members revealed is the great demon Mikaru. I'm excited to hear his deep, erotic vocals and see who fills in the remaining positions. I hope Ivy and Denka are part of it. Definitely gonna miss Kei.

4. Nega's 5th anniversary live DVD
Recently, they have released a new album compilation of various releases and a PV collection DVD. Now they're going to share their 5th anniversary live with the world, before going on a little hiatus to recharge. Nega has jumped the charts in my heart as my favorite Under Code band, since Vidoll and 12012 graduated, Dali has been in and out of the scene, and Phantasmagoria disbanded. They've always had a solid place in my heart, but they just keep getting better and better. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

3. 2NE1's first album & overseas debut
It's been pretty quiet for the girls of 2NE1, but it was announced that they've been working on an album. It will contain their previous releases and six new songs. Along with the album announcement, they're working on debuting overseas, like Japan and the U.S. I'm really hoping they can spread their wings a little further than California so I can check them out myself.

2. Miyavi's new album release
My love for Miyavi has been a long and rough one like my relationship with Dir en grey. I haven't been purchasing most of his stuff and I wasn't too fond of the Kabuki Boiz era. After listening to his latest releases of "Survive", "Gravity", and "SuperHero", I think I'm liking this new graduated Miyavi style. Hearing the new material live, made me anticipate new releases even more. In short, I'm very excited about the album and I haven't been this excited about his releases in a long time!

1. ALSDEAD live in Texas
I believe it was last year, LM.C was suppose to be the musical guest at A-Kon 20, but due to the "outbreak" of the swine flu, they had to decline the invitation. So, Cure brought ALSDEAD on the scene with Camino on their side to perform. Unfortunately, I had to miss out on the wild performance. Now, Cure is bringing them back to Texas for a performance at SoniCon. I know a lot of people complained and went "wtf" at the announcement of the band being at a hedgehog convention, but hey! it's something.