Wednesday, 30 March 2011

GUMism more-of-a-brief-overview-than-a-review post

My packages finally arrived! I got the GUMism CD as well as the Tony ver. Miku. However, since I don't have any space in my room to put Miku, she's going to have to stay in her box until I clean up this mess. Hopefully this translates into hours/days instead of weeks.

Most of the tracks on GUMism had already been released on Nico Nico Douga, so it's more of a best-of CD than anything, but I preordered it quite a while ago and have intentionally been avoiding hearing any of the tracks I hadn't already heard, so a lot of it was new to me. It's a bit early for me to be calling any top tracks but after a couple of listens I think it's a pretty solid compilation. Rosetta and For my soul are two tracks that are particularly sticking in my head so far though.

EDIT: after listening more, my favourite song would have to be 恋はきっと急上昇. I'm not real keen on any songs earlier in the album (ロゼッタ is good, 十面相 is overrated), mainly because the tuning on Gumi's voice sounds pretty amateurish. The latter half starts out heavier, which isn't usually my thing, but the songs are well done and I've found myself listening to them over and over. It winds down a bit for the last few tracks to end the album on a softer note, although I'm not a big fan of cosMo@暴走P's song. It's not bad, I just don't like his sound much in general.

I wish they didn't include her original character art. Seriously, it's horrible.

(totally stole this idea from MixedNuts/HHH)

It's got more of a rock feel than I thought it would, which isn't a bad thing at all; I think Gumi has quite a well-suited voice for that sort of music. I'm a bit surprised that there aren't any DECO*27 songs on there, especially since 弱虫モンブラン and モザイクロール are almost certainly the most well-known Gumi songs. Perhaps he just wasn't interested.

If you want to listen to it or see the romaji tracklist it's up on MikuDB.

As you can see from the photo above, the CD came with some extras: a sticker, two keychains/dangly things, and a faux bank card. It's not the first CD I've bought to come with a credit card thing, although I'm still not sure what the idea behind them is. Still, it looks cool enough.

I really like the little extras that get thrown in with a lot of Japanese CDs (well, the ones aimed at the 'otaku' market anyway, I don't know about commercial ones). It's a neat idea, they must cost next to nothing to make, and it's an added incentive to buy the CD. I wonder if major record companies have ever considered trying the same sort of thing with western bands? It's something that you can't download and it's got a certain collector's appeal to it that the CD on its own doesn't always have. Given the way they always whinge about piracy, you'd think they'd be trying anything and everything to increase sales.

Blog stuff:
It's looking like I'm finally getting back into my Japanese study after a good couple of months of basically nothing. The only reason for my extended hiatus was laziness (and it's so true that stopping at all makes it that much harder to get back into it), which is subsiding for now at least. I'm back into vocab grinding, although I'm yet to start on kanji again. It's a shame that (the site I was using for vocab) is transitioning into a paid service. I'm not sure whether I'll give up on it or not; I have to decide if paying would give me any motivation boost or not, and if I decide not then I'll find some other service or just move over to Anki for vocab too.

Speaking of getting back into things, with the Starcraft 2 ladder reset I might just get back into 1v1 games again. Expect this to last a maximum of one week, when I will probably ragequit from being constantly cheesed.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Ye olde medieval shitpost

I haven't posted anything in almost a week, mainly because I'd been up visiting my parents and their internet connection is flaky enough that even checking emails is an arduous task that can take up to 15 minutes. The highlight of the visit for me tends to be the two hour trip each way. I quite like driving, sure, but the good part is being able to blast my shitty animu/vocaloid/j-pop music for an extended period while isolated from everyone else. This trip I went with a Gumi playlist on my way there and the Panty and Stocking soundtrack on the way home, with some SZS songs after the P&S CD finished.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Autumn Break

...doesn't sound as catchy as spring break, I've got to admit. I'm on my mid-semester break this week, but it's a bit of a non-event. My course at uni, presumably to be special and unique, has its break a good few weeks before the rest of the uni. Considering that most of the people I get along with at uni aren't actually doing my course, this means I'll be spending my week off doing exactly nothing. Which, to be honest, is probably what would've happened regardless. Not that that'll stop me from complaining; a little self-righteous indignation is a nice thing to express now and then.

I'm not great at planning ahead, so I decided to figure out some 'goals' for the rest of the year. I didn't really come up with much, namely:

  • Keep passing my course at uni
  • Go to C81
One needs time, the other money. I've got all the time in the world, but it's the process of actually applying it properly that I struggle with. Having said that, I'm not terribly worried by this one. I've managed to get through four and a bit years of uni so far, so I know I tend to get through it somehow.

The second goal is a lot more appealing though. I went to C79 over my summer holidays and loved it - I got some great loot and even managed to get it all through Australian Customs without incident. The only other convention I'd ever been to was the local one (I foolishly thought the dealer's area might have some good stuff, turns out there are people in this world who can look you straight in the eye and tell you that a Miku plushie will be $90 thank you very much), so C79 was quite the experience in comparison.

My only funding source is the student welfare payments I get (which are pretty damn generous, but not quite enough to cover another overseas holiday) so I looked into getting some work. The result of that is that I'm now spending a couple of hours a week adjudicating high-school debates. It's easy money - I watch them argue for an hour then tell them who argued better. And it's $25 a debate. If I keep this up as well as eating pretty cheaply a few more nights a week then I think I'm in with a shot at making it to C81, which would be :awesome:. Incidentally, kangaroo sausages are really cheap, so I think I'll be eating more of them from now on.

Since that's all pretty boring shit, I'll at least leave you with a terrible cameraphone photo of the Touhou cards I got last week. I bought them after seeing someone else put photos of them on jaypee. 

Now all I need is someone to play cards with ;_;

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Yui and her Gitah

So, there's some mixed reactions about K-ON!. Many say it's some sort of moeshit or cancer, others seem to think it's the second coming. Me? I just like cute girls doing cute things, such as drinking tea. There hasn't been a figure of a K-ON! girl drinking tea as far as I know, so I had to settle for a muscially-themed figure (I know, nothing to do with the show at all). I went with the Volks Yui, as Yui and Ritsu are the best girls and I don't think Volks have a Ritsu figure.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Mikupa thoughts

It's a good week late but I thought I may as well write some of my thoughts on Miku's concert. My overall impression was that last year's was better, but I didn't dislike this one as much as most seemed to. I had to grab the torrent since my experience on the night was the ad break and a single freeze frame:

Friday, 11 March 2011

Filler ahoy

I was planning on writing some sort of review of Mikupa, but considering my experience on the night consisted of some 3D singer, 30 minutes of ads, then a single freeze frame of Len from a distance with about 1 second of audio for every 4 seconds of stuttering, I don't think it'd be very productive to write about that any further. I downloaded the Nico Nico rip though, and hope to watch it tonight.

In the meantime, take a look at this picture that I took the other day at uni:

And tell me I'm not the only one who read that as "onahole bakery". Clearly I need to spend less time on the internet.

I've also been listening to this one Yuki song pretty much solidly for the last 4 hours. I was sent it during an /a/ trackswap thread and it got stuck in my head pretty quickly. I don't know why since the voice isn't even manipulated particularly well, but I'm probably better off not second-guessing my own brain too much.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Upcoming figures: Taiga and Cirno

Isn't it sad, Ami?
AmiAmi just put a new Toradora figure up on their site yesterday, and I think it's the best figure from the series that I've seen so far. The character - to nobody's surprise - is Taiga, but the pose and clothing is quite different from all the school uniform and swimsuit figures of her. No, this version emphasises her namesake over her portrayal in the series, and shows her lying down in a playful pose with tiger ears, paws, stockings, a tail and some stripes on her face.  It looks like she'll be coming with two faces as well, allowing some fairly coarse control over the tsun:dere ratio.

She's being done by Ques Q, who are the guys behind the China Meiling figure I recently blogged about. I wasn't familiar with them before but I can already spot some familiar characteristics in the preview photos, namely the distinct shading used for creases and folds on the skin (see the knee in the third picture).

Monday, 7 March 2011


I swear it hasn't been a year already since the last big Miku concert - although maybe that's just because the blu-ray took ages to be released and hasn't actually been out for that long. Either way, this'll be Miku's third dedicated concert that I'm aware of and I've got high hopes for it. A brief timeline:

  • 2009/08/22 - first 'live' appearance at Animelo Summer Live, only performed two songs
  • 2009/08/31 - MikuFES, her first dedicated concert marking her 2nd anniversary
  • 2009/11/21 - apparently her first overseas concert in Singapore but I don't know if it was 'live' or just old footage
  • 2010/03/09 - 39's Giving Day concert. Almost 2 hours long with performances by Miku, Luka, Rin and Len
And exactly year later it will be time to see a 2.5D Miku take to the stage again. It should be interesting to see what sort of advancements in the projection technology will be seen over the year since the last concert.

Left: MikuFES (2009), right: 39's Giving Day (2010)

Ok so the comparison images I used aren't great, and a still image can't convey the huge improvements in motion, but anyone who's seen the two concerts will appreciate how much of an improvement the second one was.

The guest performers that have been announced are: 164, 40mP, buzzG, DECO*27, doriko and OSTER project. The same names keep popping up for these big Vocaloid events but since I like most of them it's really nothing to complain about. As far as I'm aware there hasn't been any mention of what songs or Vocaloids will be playing, although songs by each of the guest performers is pretty much guaranteed. I'm expecting the Vocaloids to be the same as last time: mainly Miku with appearances by Luka, Rin and Len. As much as I'd love to see Gumi (Miki, Yuki or Teto would be fine too) appear and prove me wrong, Crypton is a sponsor and I can't see them being too eager to feature competitors' products.

As far as watching it goes, you can either pay 2000 yen for a ticket to see it live on NND or, like me, you can scour the web on the night desperately looking for someone that's restreaming it. Apparently NND will be showing 'some parts' for free but what that includes is anyone's guess. Fuck, I'm just reading further down the page that NND is encouraging people to report any restreams. Oh well, I'll just have to hope I get lucky on the night.

At least the times work well for me - one of the perks of living in Australia. It starts in Japan at 7pm on the 9th of March, which is 8pm for me. Convenient! Now back to playing Project Diva (as opposed to doing my damn assignments already) in preparation.

Friday, 4 March 2011

On fridges and rice

I'm still not quite used to this whole blog thing. I've been on jaypee long enough to be pretty negatively conditioned against "blog shit" and I'm still coming to terms with the fact that it's alright to do that sort of thing here. I'll get there.

There are remarkably few electrical devices I consider essential to my lifestyle. In fact, I could probably put them into a pretty short list:

  • My computer (+ internet)
  • A fridge
  • A ceiling/desk fan
  • My mp3 player
Anything else I could cope without (albeit with some inconvenience). If I tossed in my bed, desk and chair I might be able to expand the scope of the list to all physical objects. There's a lot of stuff I'd be devastated about losing (figures, CDs, the dishwasher), but I'd still be pretty functional. But onto the topic at hand.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Some upcoming Vocaloid music

There hasn't been a whole lot in the way of Vocaloid music that I've really been anticipating in the last couple of months, but there's some good stuff coming up soon that I'm quite eager to listen to.