Tomohiko Kira, Zabadak and Yoko Ueno

It’s always a pleasure when you come across fantastic music that sparks up your spirit. I just wish it would be under better circumstances.

If you’re an Idolm@ster fan you may remember Chihaya (Asami Imai) singing a cover of Tooi Ongaku in the Master Special album series. It was a fan request that matches with her voice perfectly – although, I wonder if it’s also because there’s a line in the song that mentions “small chest.”

Tomohiko’s life was sadly cut short on July 3 at the age of 56 from an undisclosed illness. It was mentioned on Zabadak’s (the band Tomohiko lead) official website that he was ill at the time of Zabadak’s 30th anniversary concert in March of this year, and took a month to recuperate.

While it is unfortunate to lose a cherished musician (2016 seems to want to take them all), Tomohiko’s leaves behind a long career to look back on. In fact, while looking at a few of his accomplishments, I was surprised to find I had actually heard his music years ago. One notable song being Time’s Scar that was used for the opening of the RPG Chrono Cross. Tomohiko plays the guitar on this tune that sets up the forlorn melody:

Looking further back on his career, Tomohiko also composed for the soundtrack of the 1988 horror film Evil Dead Trap. What makes this trap evil and/or dead, I don’t know, but the film sounds grotesquely awesome (as a veteran horror fan, yeah, it’s really damn grotesque, so viewer discretion is advised!). Of course, the sound as far as music is concerned is also cherished by horror fans. Have a listen to the film’s tense and moody theme. Film critic, The Horror Guru, even notes that the theme is used cleverly in the film for any moment ranging from suspense to “exciting.” It sounds a bit Goblin inspired too, which is awesome in of itself:

I wish I could dive deeper into Tomohiko’s career with his band Zabadak. I’m particularly interested in when Yoko Ueno was part of the group. On top of having a delicate, yet, restrained singing voice, she can be seen playing instruments like the accordion, a recorder, and an Irish whistle.

With such an eclectic interest in instruments, I can see why she would be interested in forming the duo group Oranges & Lemons with Masumi Ito for the anime series Azumanga Daioh. Not to get off on too much of a tangent, but AzuDai is my top favorite anime series and the music is icing on the Soramimi Cake. Perhaps I can dive into each of their solo projects another time — preferably before they pass…

About all else I can mention is that they got the name from a song by the band mentioned in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. I have to say, while it’s tragic that we lost Tomohiko Kira, it was nice to go down the pleasant rabbit hole of music (and fucked up Japanese horror films!).

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I have a lot of listening to do, and if you want to hear more of the music of Tomohiko Kira, there are a few Zabadak albums available on Spotify, so give ’em a listen and maybe become a fan:

Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Running Man (Liquid Television)

Have you seen Running Man? Not The Running Man, the action film starring ARRGHNOLD Schwarzenegger. Although, the piece I’m referring to also made its theatrical debut in 1987. This anime short appears as one of three animated shorts in the film Neo Tokyo – or at least that was one way to watch this piece.

I’ll expand on that later, but for now you can watch Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s short anime film, Running Man:

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Miku Expo 2016 – Los Angeles

It’s the third time Hatsune Miku has stepped on the stage in Downtown L.A., singing and swinging her teal twin-tails for fans. Yet, I still can’t shake off the feeling that this will be the last time in a long time I’ll get to experience the performance of a hologram shaking her booty.

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Anime Open Season: Fall 2015

It’s the last roundup of the year. Will it go out in a whimper or a bang? Personally, I think it’s a fairly standard season with a few notable series. Also, you’re probably wondering, “Matty, what’s with the list being a season and a half late this time?” That’s a good point.

…Onward, forward! Continue reading “Anime Open Season: Fall 2015”

Electric word life

When a hero dies everyone feels it. Even NASA!

One of my heroes died yesterday; Prince. There are now countless of articles reflecting back on the pop music superstar, but I can’t imagine them being more than understatements. Not that I have much insight myself, but that’s just how amazingly talented and pleasing to watch Prince was.

So, my small tribute will bring the focus to the music of Prince – which I would do if Prince didn’t have so much disdain for the internet and scrubbed off any trace of all of his work on it. I admire the hell out of that, actually. Instead, I’ll just pull oddities of clips relating to The Artist, starting with one that I immediately had to watch once I heard the tragic news to put a smile back on my face.

Having the Godfather of Soul, the King of Pop and the Prince of Funk all on one stage together sounds like a clash of music acts and Dark Souls bosses, but guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience. Sure enough, Prince had a lot to do with that, from riding on top of a big dude towards the stage to nearly crushing the audience with a lamppost that wasn’t secured to the floor. Oh, and you can’t forget the Prince mating call he resorted to when the guitar wasn’t sounding provocative enough.

This performance is something I only came across about a month ago. Purple Rain is an emotional classic, David Gilmour’s touch on guitar solos is enough to make you pause in awe, and Tom Jones was in Mars Attacks. They’re all legends in their own right, but putting them together… I don’t know. Maybe it’s the unblinking gaze off into the distance Jones does, or the amount of bending the guitar strings that matches Gilmour’s contorting face. I like it as a novelty piece. As a centerpiece of a Prince tribute? Maybe not.

This pairing should better gel with people, because who doesn’t love sexual innuendos in cartoons? For those who are a bit too young to remember, Animaniacs is one of the highlights of after school programs during the mid 1990s. And Prince was still active enough then that even kids were familiar with man – probably thanks to the Batdance. Just over a week ago, Tom Ruegger, creator of Animaniacs, went to Reddit to do an ask-me-anything session with fans to commemorate the show’s Netflix release. You get the joke in the video (Don’t feel bad if you don’t. When I saw this as a kid, I thought Dot figured Yakko wanted her to tickle Prince!), now here’s the background from Tom Ruegger:

Yes…it looked innocent on paper. It was funny in the board so we let it go to animation, then when it came back, the footage made us laugh so hard that we kept it in, and then when no one objected, it went on the air. Yikes!

And just for the hell of it, here’s the Batdance!

So long, Purple One. Yesterday, we mourn in losing you, but today we will get crazy in your honor – and possibly nasty.