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Momoiro Clover Z

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Momoiro Clover Z vs. Kiss' insanely amazing music video has entered the scene

A surprisingly good combination
Jan 20
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, Momoiro Clover Z's YouTube channel finally uploaded the music video for "Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina," which features the colorful group alongside Kiss. To top things off, Sushio's animation was scrumptious...
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A Daily Dose of Music: Momoiro Clover Z

Show your pride!
Jul 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
The ladies of Momoiro Clover Z are back in full swing, and this time it's time to show how proud of the moon you are! That can only mean one thing! It's the video for their new single, MOON PRIDE. As you might guess from the...

Japanator's 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide: Music and Misc.

Dec 02 // Jeff Chuang
For all the Miku haters in your life... [embed]30581:3143:0[/embed] Mitchie M - The Greatest Idol (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) A lot of people think little of Miku because, in the end, she's just a highly mixed, computer-generated set of sounds. Maybe it's more a statement on the heavily edited and tuned pop music of today than anything else, but to my ears, Mitchie M's Miku sounds no different than half of Perfume's library--or most high-energy pop female vocalists out there. While there is still a gap for those with a keen ear for the human voice, I wonder how well songs like "Weekender Girl" can do in a blind A/B test? This is all just to say Mitchie M is one of the best at using Miku as not just another instrument in the mix, but crafting a sound that makes the vocaloid capture some of the warmth of a human vocalist. If you spring the extra 900 yen (~$10) for the deluxe version of this album, it comes in a LP form factor, featuring a bigger version of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's illustration of said greatest idol. Of course, The Greatest Idol is not just good for fooling people about Miku, but it features the best of Mitchie M over the years, including his popular tracks from the Project Diva games. You can check out an abridged sample mix in the video up top, with Miku introducing the tracks herself. For your karaoke friends who like hot blooded, full-metal, screaming encores... [embed]30581:3144:0[/embed] JAM Project - Thumb Rise Again (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) JAM Project does a lot of theme songs, but in recent years they haven't done a normal, solo album. The anime music power group has taken a lot of the time over the years touring, and while that's a great way to forge a new audience all over the world, they've been doing largely the same playlist. Now, with a new album this autumn, I'm glad they'll have an opportunity to sing some brand new stuff. Thumb Rise Again takes all of what JAM Project stands for, mixes it up and distill it back to its true arena rock essence. I think for anyone who had a great time at a JAM Project concert, this is a no-brainer buy. Just listening to the first track sends chills down my spine, it's so good. JAM Project played a set on Youtube back in October and demoed the PV for the titular track, Thumb Rise Again. Check out the video above to get a taste. For the alternative, fun-loving idol fan... [embed]30581:3145:0[/embed] Momoiro Clover Z - 5th Dimension (album)MSRP: 2667 yen (~$28 USD) Momoiro Clover Z is a relatively new idol act--but in this day and age, it sometimes takes no time for a quality idol group to go from zero to sixty in popularity. I think the group's sophomore album demonstrates the kind of chops that propelled them so far and so quickly; having a couple solid anime music tie-ins also helps, like the ending to Joshiraku and Bodacious Space Pirates. The best thing about Momoiro Clover Z is that they are a group focused on unabashed, full-throttle fun. There's the usual pandering-to-the-lowest-common-denominator going on, but they do it with such panache you're more likely to laugh it off than to find it offensive or awkward. Or maybe it's because the whole thing sounds just a little bit on the ludicrous side of "Oh Japan" that you won't mind too much. This is one idol group that has mass appeal without all of the baggage, and these five ladies sing their hearts out. For those who likes rock music and Psycho-Pass... [embed]30581:3146:0[/embed] Ling Tosite Sigure - i’mperfect (album)MSRP: 2913 yen (~$30 USD) Supercell - Zigaexperientia (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Okay, to be honest, for many people who love music, Ling Tosite Sigure may be hit or miss. I think they're definitely a quality alt-rock band who've taken the hard road from indie to major. They have an interesting, if unique, sound, and this album is one way to get a taste of that. What sweetens the deal is all their Psycho-Pass tie-ins. For those who are interested in the always-developing J-rock cycle, i'mperfect is a good start. For those who prefer to stay on the more pop/anime side of things, the new Supercell album is probably what you want. Or both! They both are really good rock music! Supercell's third full album probably doesn't need much of an introduction, but I think the two new vocalists really knocked it out of the park. Just also note that besides the rocking opening number embedded above, Zigaexperientia also features the theme songs to Magi, BRS TV, Nerawareta Gakuen, and Psycho-Pass. For that one disgusting seiyuu otaku in your life... [embed]30581:3147:0[/embed] Kana Hanazawa - claire (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Confession: I check out a lot of seiyuu music. Over the years, one constant I found out is that most of it just isn't very good. It's not even because the seiyuu can't sing; quite the contrary (and more and more in recent years), many of them can hold a tune. Rather, more often than not they're just not well-produced. It's not unusual to find a song that doesn't fit the vocal range of the singer, or with poor delivery, or a song that would've sounded much better if it wasn't sung in character. So when I ran into Kana Hanazawa's solo debut, I was definitely surprised by how effective all of those elements came together in order to produce a very listenable product. Granted, this is still all about Kana Hanazawa. Do you like her voice? I think most of us do, given how many popular character she has voiced--although some may be getting a little tired of her, to be honest. But from the addictive vocals of Renai Circulation, there are few better ways sweet nothings can be whispered into one's ears (and not just because it takes a special kind of kimoi otaku to play this with a boombox, in public). If someone forces you with fire and/or poison to pick out a seiyuu album, choose this one. For your friend who never gets tired of "One Winged Angel"... Theatrhythm Compilation AlbumMSRP: 3800 yen (~$40 USD) Some people just cannot get tired of Final Fantasy music. Square-Enix knows this, which is why they came out with Theatrhythm and packaged it with DLC, making a shiny dime on rearranged music from ages ago. Of course, for people who love the music, this means a soundtrack for said Theatrhythm game is now a thing. I've long lost count the number of Final Fantasy compilation-type releases out there (including at least a couple this year), but the Theatrhythm Compilation Album is pretty neat in that it's both a compilation and it has music from a totally new game, as Theatrhythm has its own original compositions. This 5-disc set is also a good value at just a little more than the price of a normal CD album. That's good, because you might be gifting some things a Final Fantasy music nut may already have...not that any of them will mind, from my experience. For those who love bombastic music and Attack on Titan... Attack on Titan SoundtrackMSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) We already know that Linked Horizon is going to perform on Kohaku, so this is a sure way to get a piece of that hot Jaeger popularity and familiar yourself with that catchy line in German before the Dec. 31st TV show. To me, the Attack on Titan soundtrack celebrates not just a popular anime this year, but the body of work of Hiroyuki Sawano. This young composer (only 33 years old!) burst onto the scene and created some really great scores for shows like Blue Exorcist, Psycho Pass, Guilty Crown, Gundam Unicorn, Sengoku Basara, and probably his latest hit, Kill la Kill. I think that alone justifies this gift for anyone who appreciates soundtrack music, even if they don't care too much about that anime with tall walls and giant man-eating monsters. Attack on Titan might be the "biggest" sound that Sawano has produced for an anime, so it's at least sure to amuse. Hopefully it'll be a gateway for people to explore Sawano's other scores, so they'll discover the diversity of his work. Keep in mind, if you know your giftee doesn't love Attack on Titan, the Kill La Kill soundtrack-- also out just in time for Christmas-- makes a great alternative. For the master-grade figure collector... Max Factory 15th Anniversary - Belldandy with Holy Bell (fixed-pose PVC figure)MSRP: 19800 yen (~$200 USD) To celebrate its 25th year, Max Factory decided to release one of their resin kits as a prepainted PVC figure. What you get in the box is a towering 1/10 scale of Belldandy of Ah My Goddess, with Holy Bell coming out of her back. Yeah, Ah My Goddess is not as popular in 2013-2014 as it was back in the day, but for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship, you can't go wrong with Bell. This is simply one of the most amazing fixed-pose PVC figure that you can buy off the shelf, without touch-up, painting and assembly (well, very minor assembly is still required). As of this writing you can actually buy this thing from the usual importers like HLJ, Hobby Search, Amiami, and the like. Each figure of this limited edition release is individually numbered, so when it's gone it is most definitely gone. Sure, it probably won't fit in a Detolf, because it deserves better than that. This is a figure that can anchor or be the centerpiece of a collection, the kind that comes by once every few years, and even among those, few are as classic as this. You can find more pictures and more places to order from via Tomopop. To those well-versed in Tankery... Girls und Panzer StuG III (Team Hippo colors)MSRP: 4775 yen (~$50 USD) You can buy Girls und Panzer on DVD and Blu-ray this Christmas. Great. Now get a tank to go with it. Our own Josh Tolentino recommended it, probably because Team Hippo is great, and frankly a tank with this look is simply the best. By best I mean it will bring your friends and family a lot of laughs, strange stares, and general hysteria (in a good way, surely). That said, this well-modeled StuG III has optional parts you can swap in for a more, shall we say, conventional look. There is even a third option to change the paint job to mirror its later evolution within the anime, once the tankery practitioners realized that tall flags and wild bright colors do poorly in combat. So, yes, the option is there to disguise this very eye-catching conversation piece. On a separate note, if the gift can wait until after Christmas, I would also recommend the ending version of the Team Anglerfish Panzer IV which ships in January. To those who have mastered the digital... Japanese Playstation Network cards, Japanese iTunes cardsMSRP: Varies To some people gifting gift cards may be cold and impersonal, but to some otaku it's a great favor, assuming you give the right cards. Some things are only available as a digital purchase, and some of us prefer to do things the futuristic way-- because the future is, like, now. Last year I recommended the Playstation Store point cards. Confession: I probably spent more than 30,000 yen on Idolm@ster-related digital purchases, just on the Playstation Store. And that is just Idolm@ster. This year we're adding Japanese iTunes gift cards to the list, because regardless of what's happening in the industry, iTunes Japan is simply the best one-stop shop for your Japanese music needs. In fact, probably all of the music recommendations on this list will end up on iTunes, if they are not already there. As usual, the issue of setting up a Japanese account is going to be a barrier to entry, either for the Playstation Store or the iTunes store, but there are a lot of guides online to help you with it. Helping someone set up an account can also be a great gift you can give to your friends or family, on top of obtaining these cards for them. Speaking of which, J-List and Play-Asia are just two of many sites that offer these for the holidays. With that new-found purchasing power, you can buy, say, most of Square-Enix's music library. Most major label (and many smaller label) music publishers also go to iTunes as Japan's biggest digital music shop. You can access the growing number of games on the iOS app store as well, if language is not an issue. On both iTunes and Playstation Store, a ton of raw anime (available to rent or purchase), plus the Playstation Store's game library, is just a few button presses away.  For the stationary otaku with the best handwriting... [embed]30581:3148:0[/embed] Hobonichi Planner 2014MSRP: Starting at 2500 yen (~$26 USD) The concept is simple--combine a planner with a journal, and here you have it. The Hobonichi Planner is a planner that opens up with a page a day, with monthly views and a day-by-day view. You're encouraged to doodle or otherwise be creative with the planner and use it every day. Draw in it, use it as a scrapbook, use it as a diary, whatever you want. The first English-language version of the Hobonichi Planner is now available for 2014, so it makes a natural present. Kristina has reviewed the Hobonichi Planner for us. What's kind of neat are the special covers you can buy and customize your planner with--including two very sweet North Face covers. For those interested, you can order the planner (also called a techo) directly from Hobonichi. More importantly, there's a community of stationary-oriented people around the Hobonichi Techo, which may be helpful to get you (or the giftee) up to speed in terms of what you can do with it. Well, there you have it-- that's all of our holiday shopping guides for this year here at Japanator. We hope you have something special picked out for every otaku on your list, and maybe even some non-otaku. If you're currently scratching your head over what to get the remainder of the folks on your list (should any remain), when in doubt, go with chocolate. 
Shopping: Music photo
Jam some bombastic tunes in your stocking
You've already seen our holiday recommendations for anime, manga, and video games; what could possibly be left? Quite a lot, actually. Not only do we have recommendations for music lovers (and we hope that group includes pret...


The girls from Momoiro Clover Z have tough butts

Even I think this is a bit mean
Jan 30
// Hiroko Yamamura
Think what you will about pop idol sensation Momoiro Clover Z, but you can't say the ladies aren't good sports. They appeared recently on a gag show, where they literally had the chairs pulled from beneath them. They must be packing some good padding. The whole thing is a bit mean spirited if you ask me, but when are Japanese variety shows not? These gals have spunk!

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