[Koyasu Road] Tabiusagi-san

Not too long ago I approached an animated show for children that already aired 9 years ago: Happy Happy Clover. It’s a very straightforward slice of life story about the every day adventures of the bunny girl Chima and her friends in Crescent Moon Forest. Of course, my main motivation to watch Happy Happy Clover was strongly influenced by the fact that Koyasu voices a character in it. It is a bunny called Tabiusagi-san (which literally translates to “traveling bunny”, but I read that his localised English name was in fact Rambler).

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A his name suggests, Tabiusagi-san travels many different places and when he comes by Crescent Moon Forest the animals always ask him to tell them all about his wonderous adventures. He does have a healthy amount of self-confidence on him and appears to be much older than Chima and her friends, but nevertheless he’s still just a bunny and therefore really cute most of the time. Especially his voice is cute, Koyasu did a wonderful job of portraying this character headstrong and charming and at the same time perfectly adorable and calm, regarding his tone. There was a scene when Chima, who has a crush on him, comes to wake him up  in order to challenge him to a race and he’s just so annoyed because he wants to sleep a little longer. That might have been one of my favourite moments because cutesy and pouty Koyasu is something I absolutely adore but don’t get to hear that often compared to other voices he does.

Happy Happy Clover itself isn’t particularly good, nor is it completely bad. It’s leightweight entertainment with a good cast and decent character designs but if not for my bias, I propably wouldn’t have watched all 13 episodes. Interestingly enough there were some pretty sad topics too, e.g. how Tabiusagi-san mentions he doesn’t have a home because his forest was burnt down by humans, together with his parents. That’s rather harsh, is it not? Obviously they didn’t elaborate on this very much because of the audience it’s directed at. Tabiusagi-san must have suffered a lot in the past, although he seems fine in the series. I keep wondering if the directors had something deeper planned for the plot or if they just needed some tragic background story. Another thing that pleasently surprised me was how Tatsuhisa Suzuki was voicing the prankster fox named Charaku. Tatsun was the last person I’d expect to show up in this anime but naturally he, too, did a great job at portraying his character. In general, this show was really interesting in regard of hearing a handful of seiyuu with slightly younger voices and a range different from their usual one.

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[season] Amaama to Inazuma 1

Shin-Ei Animation’s adaptation Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) based on Gido Amagakure’s manga of the same title has started airing and the first episode was absolutely beautiful. The viewer is given a proper introduction of the characters and the setting. It’s been six months since teacher Kouhei Inuzuka’s wife has died. He is now taking care of their daughter Tsumugi by himself, but he’s not very good at cooking. Therefore the two of them have mostly been having boxed lunches for every meal. Despite the loss of his beloved, Kouhei seems to get by alright, Tsumugi apparently doesn’t seem to realize her mother has died. Or rather she is still too young to grasp what has happened. Probably her dad told her that her mother went on a trip to make her absence easier to understand, since near the end of the episode Tsumugi says “when mum comes back home”or “send mum a letter”.

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Kouhei and Tsumugi go to a cherry blossom viewing where they meet a girl crying under a tree. The girl’s name is Kotori Iida, as we find out later, and her mother owns a restaurant of which the girl hands them a card. As the days go by, Tsumugi grows more and more tired of the same boxed lunch every day so Kouhei decides to take his daughter out to have some “good food” for a change. When they arrive at the restaurant of Kotori’s mother, they find out the woman herself isn’t actually there so Kotori tries her best to prepare some rice for them. As they eat the rice together, not only Kotori but also Kouhei become emotional and decide to cook and dine together from now on…

For a slice of life show, it has a perfect pacing, it’s not too fast or too slow, the first characters were established but not too much was given away yet, making the viewer curious for more. At least that’s what I can say for episode 1. The opening is adorable, creative and fits the show really well, and so does the ending. And of course, the cast is full of elite seiyuu. So far we’ve heard Yuuichi Nakamura as Kouhei who aces at portraying a loving and caring father and Saori Hayami as Kotori. Tsumugi is voiced by Rina Endou who is still a child and relatively new in the business but she is doing really well and her voice is adorable.

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I’m eager to find out more about the feelings of loneliness Kotori has in connection with her mother, watch Kouhei trying to master cooking to make Tsumugi happy and meet new characters.. I honestly can’t wait for the next episode!

 

[DRRR] Izaya’s second character song

The DuRaRaRa!!x2 Ketsu Bonus CD Vol.5 features Izaya and his brand-new character song and I cannot believe he is the one that gets to cover 勝手にしやがれ (Do as you please) by Kenji Sawada!! The DRRR team is a clever bunch, they knew exactly what they were doing when they were assigning this song to Izaya. It’s about breaking up, about being left behind and loneliness. And the cover just adds up perfectly. :’)

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To be fair, the whole song could strongly match Shizuo and Izaya regarding how we may or may not look at their relationship, but one thing becomes obvious either way: the hinting at their last battle especially with the lines

さよならというのもなぜか、しらけた感じだし
あばよとサラリと送ってみるか

Saying “goodbye” may be somewhat of a killjoy
so maybe I’ll just send you off with a “later

which clearly point out the parallel to the /sayounara-abayo/ moment in the series when Shizuo officially bids Izaya goodbye in order to finish him off for good. Izaya can’t properly deal with how even Shizuo is evolving and abandoning him, the one archenemy he always had is now lost to him too. The paradox “Shizuo-complex” , to quote Simon again, like so many times before.

/愛というのに照れてただけだよ/ “it was just that I was a little embarrassed of this thing called love” Simply put, this is exactly what Izaya might feel like and what his main problem is, as Shinra once pointed out. He’s afraid and unable to overtly and genuinely show affection towards someone so that he can protect his heart from getting hurt in any way. But ironically that is what hurts him the most in the end.

Do as you please becomes twice as sad when you apply the song lyrics to Izaya because he’s that sad individual who can’t break out of his vicious circle of loneliness. Sawada might have referred to being left by a beloved, for the information broker it gets so many more meanings… “looks like you’re leaving me after all” Does he mean Shizuo who he has become attached to against his will? Does he refer to his family? Or the life in Ikebukuro he must leave behind? Celty’s head and what is connected to it?

I’m not going into detail about all the lyrics even though they give a lot of insight and are beautiful but I just wanted to point out how glad I am that they chose this song for Izaya but I’m also upset because please, just let me rest from the pain (jk never stop the angst)! Maybe I’ll find some time to talk about the complete lyrics and my Izaya related interpretations some time soon…

 

[Koyasu Road] Kapaeru

Takehito Koyasu, the seiyuu ruling over my heart. Come rain, come shine, come snow, come sleet, for Koyasu the show must go on and I’m willing dig into all of his work. Here I will list my impressions.

This time I’ll comment on Kapaeru from Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera.

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Kapaeru, like his name and appearance suggest, is a Kappa youkai who works as an informant. Like most of the male characters in the most recent adaptation of Dororon Enma-kun, Kapaeru is a rather lecherous individual that happily joins in when it’s about chasing skirts. In the 2011 anime he is reduced to the role of the team’s mascot character and comedic relief, but when he does appear he does his job well. As much as I adore Koyasu’s deep voice, his comedic voice acting is fantastic as well and just stresses his amazing range. And although he is matching the pitch according to the humour of the situation, for Kapaeru he mostly uses his high cutesy voice with a Kansai dialect. Recently he hasn’t taken too many roles with higher, more child-like voices, so in Dororon Enma-kun it’s always a comedic delight to listen to him. In episode 7 there is a scene where Yukihime and Kapaeru are ice skating but then he gets slapped away by a youkai. He flies away shouting “Triple axel~!” in a graceful, defeated voice but in the next scene he suddenly comes back, completely pissed off, asking who kicked him in the face and the sudden shift from his cute to his angry voice à la Bobobo made me laugh so hard-I will be forever grateful for that moment.

With the rest of the cast he also produced the hilarious character song album “Showa Hit Studio” that partly served as the anime’s background music. In the trio song “Enma’s real, real hard work” with Kappei Yamaguchi and Minoru Inaba he sings in his Kapaeru voice while in his solo song “Affair” he switches back to his deeper voice he often used when performing songs like “Sora no Soko” (Weiß Kreuz). The contrast is hilarious and especially when regarding the fact that Kapaeru is supposed to sing the song, the whole situation becomes twice as overdramatic. If Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera is a good anime or not is another question I won’t get invested in today but the Koyasu audio material we got from the series was definitely something I’m not complaining about.

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[Koyasu Road] Koumei

Takehito Koyasu , the seiyuu that has gradually become my favourite seiyuu. I can be lured into watching anything with him in it just so that I may be able to hear one line of his beautiful voice, ranging from hentai to shoujo genre and whatever else is out there. Here I will list my impressions.

This time I will talk about Koumei Shoukatsuryou from Koutetsu Sangokushi.

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He is the protagonist’s master and from the first second you see him you know, he’s either the bad guy or at least has some evil intentions. But the only one who doesn’t seem to notice that is his disciple Rikuson who greatly looks up to him. And if Koumei isn’t the target of jealousy or loathing from the enemy empire he is like the almighty item in this anime. Everybody wants to gain his respect, serve him or belong to him. He is also so powerful that most characters make him out to be untouchable/invincible. With his graceful appearance he easily fools the people around him, hiding his scheming nature. He just really enjoys toying with people apparently. Everybody wants Koumei, but he doesn’t accept anyone (except his disciple in the end for whom he becomes “the darkness” but Rikuson still decides to sacrifice his life for his master; that’s true love for you). The voice pitch Koyasu chose for Koumei is the one I usually call his “calm bishounen voice“, it stays deep and in control, doesn’t really range much, maybe gets a little flirtatious every now and then and is usually used by him when voicing beautiful, androgynous men. It fit Koumei a lot because his character was truly always in control of the situation and seemed to know what the outcome would be like at all times. I liked Koumei because of his sly nature and was glad that he didn’t die at the end. The way he makes everyone gay for him is outstanding and yes, that Koyasu voice was music to my ears…!

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Spring Anime 2016

Anime spring came with a lot of easy-going shows, additional seasons and a few surprises mixed in. The shows I was anticipating did not let me down so far but the anime I’m enjoying the most at this point are somewhat unexpected choices. I’m going to talk a little about those series that have caught my interest the most so far.

Favourite Anime of Spring Season 2016

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Agetarou at his first gig

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou (とんかつDJアゲ太郎)

Agetarou works at his family’s tonkatsu restaurant to succeed it one day, but the routine bores him. One day, a delivery leads him to a club where he eventually gets hooked on DJing and now he is determined to master both being a chef and a DJ…

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The development of the DRRR OST

Now that, after 5 years of waiting, the Durarara!! animation has been blessed with a continuation and therefore the conclusion of the complete story, naturally Makoto Yoshimori, the composer of the first Durarara!! score, has done himself the honour and contributed more atmospheric tunes for the second and final season.

What struck me as most impressive about the evolution of the score is how Yoshimori has managed to maintain the atmosphere from the very first track in 2010 to the very last in 2015. And yet it has undergone a lot of change befitting the characters. In the first season of Durarara!! we were confronted with Ikebukuro and its inhabitants getting entangled in all kinds of unbelievable plots. It’s an introduction – a prelude to later, even crazier events –  and therefore the show feels a lot more high-spirited. The music adds a lot to that. It’s lively and nonchalant and psychedelically crazy. In comparison the soundtrack of the second season feels a lot darker in many aspects. The three parts of the Durarara!! x2  anime are the climax of the series all the way down to the conclusion: those are the moments when all the truly shocking and menacing twists and turns happen, when the characters we got to know grow up or crumble and become something else entirely. Thus, on the second and third score we find considerably fewer tracks with an easy-going atmosphere to it and it only makes sense. The fast-paced tracks have a different feeling to them and though they might still be upbeat, they lack the touch of ease and nonchalance that we experienced on the first season’s OST. Only with the fitting music the atmosphere can truly be brought across to the viewers. Yoshimori has managed to create a perfect symbiosis between music and anime but despite that, his style still remains distinctive to the very last note. This is why the Durarara!! score is one of my favourite works out there: in my opinion it perfectly captured the mood that Ryougo Narita described in his novels, it is what supports the animation the most (right after the voice acting) and simply by listening to the soundtracks you can experience the adventurous, bizarre story of Durarara!!.

Continue reading “The development of the DRRR OST”