Brief Thoughts About Anisong Covers on Music Services

Every once in a while, I come across an anime song cover album while browsing albums on Spotify. I’ve found there are a bunch of these albums from various artists and most of them also are listed on Amazon MP3 and other services. Something about them being on legitimate music services bothers me a bit because I get the feeling they are gaining from other artist’s lyrics.

Most of the groups listed on these music services are published through Cyber Chord Records & Anime Records and the name Eddy Hoefler comes up when doing a search for those labels. The latter operates out of Berlin, Germany, according to that label’s website.

One artist who stands out from the lot is Shiroku, whose catalog is mostly covers but also features some original songs. She performs concerts at conventions and had attempted a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year for a fourth CD album of anime favorites but it seemed to have not reached its goal.

I suppose another way of looking at Western-produced anime song cover albums is to think of them as similar to doujin music releases that are often sold at Japanese fan events like Comiket since both are produced by fans of particular series or genres. I’m more interested in original doujin albums rather than the ones that mainly remix or reinterpret game soundtracks (Touhou has a popular subject for years). I was glad to learn last night that some artists like Buta-Otome have branched out into producing some original albums after getting their start through Touhou vocal and instrumental albums.

After thinking about the matter that way, I guess I don’t feel as irritated as I once was, especially if I consider it a way for some budding artists to express themselves and potentially get noticed. I remain curious about the legal issues surrounding cover and tribute bands in general. There are many rock tribute bands across the US – and presumably around the world – and I’ve never really felt comfortable about them either as I’d rather hear the originals and maybe some creative remixes.

Fall 2014 Watching Update After About A Month


For the first real post on this blog’s current iteration, here’s an overall “what I’ve been watching from the new anime season” update similar to what I’ve done a couple times in the past.

Currently Watching

Gugure! Kokkuri-san (3 episodes): I didn’t know much of the show when it started but it made me laugh with its first episode and continues to have good moments as the Japanese kami characters fight over Kohina.

Hi-sCool! SeHa Girls (3 episodes): I liked both seasons of gdgd Fairies so I’m not surprised I’m watching this week-to-week, though I feel like the main attraction for many viewers – the console girls’ interactions inside Sega video games – has so far been delayed to the latter halves of two-parters with the first halves mainly being occupied with gdgd-style conversations among the three Hard Girls. Those conversational parts do have some funny moments in them so they’re not a total hindrance to the show.

I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying (4 episodes): There always seems to be at least one 3-to-5-minute series per season that I end up following and this one about a ordinary wife and her otaku husband goes by quickly. There are some sweet parts sprinkled in with the typical otaku-skewering jokes.

Parasyte (3 episodes): If you can get past the screaming OP each week, there’s a pretty good action show that doesn’t hold back much in terms of showing blood and has its protagonist (slowly) becoming more assertive.

Shirobako (2 episodes): This animation about animation production was one I hoped would be good and so far, I like the behind-the-scenes work and conflicts that it’s laying out. It’s got a bunch of terminology but that comes with the focus of the show – just like if I were watching a medical drama, I’d expect there to be some jargon to make the dialogue sound more natural.

Tribe Cool Crew (4 episodes): This Sunrise show about dancing is goofy enough for me to keep with it. Haneru’s straightforwardness has gotten a bit tiresome but the rest of the main cast keeps it fresh and Haneru in check. I don’t know how long this series will last but I’m hoping the climax doesn’t end up being the crew performing at a Jay-El concert or something easily predictable at this point.

Dropped

Denki-Gai no Honya-san (1 1/2 episodes): Soon after seeing the above frame at the start of the staff’s shopping district competition in episode 2, I stopped watching the show. I liked some of the characters and from what I heard on Twitter, episode 3 isn’t as bad as 2 was. However, I feel like I’m already watching a good amount for the amount of time I have so if I were to revisit it, it’d probably have to be after it’s finished airing.

Haven’t Tried Yet

Magic Kaito 1412: As someone somewhat familiar with Detective Conan, I figured I would give this prequel spinoff a shot but had technicial issue while playing the first episode (which I had to download since it’s not being simulcast by anyone) so I gave up for the time being.

Any of the FUNimation simulcasts: Nothing has really attracted me from their lot this season based on their premises, whether it’s the twintails one, the sequel to a series I barely started (Psycho-Pass), fantasy-action stuff (Garo & Rage of Bahamut), or the rest. I’ve heard good things about the last two I mentioned so I may try both later on.

Starting Over

Earlier this week, an anonymous person, presumably a hacker, got in and erased all the previous content on this blog. Sigh.

I hadn’t been making regular backups of the blog’s content (let this be a lesson to the rest of you out there!) so I basically have to start fresh. You may see the theme and other visual aspects change over the weekend as I try to figure out how I want the blog to look in its latest iteration.

I was working on some posts recently and still an idea of how I planned to structure those so they might be the first ones that get published once I get done writing them.

As for the posts from the last seven years or so, I’ll see if I have an older backup that might contain most of the ones from past years but anything 2014 is probably gone. Sorry for the broken links that might crop up on other sites.

[Archived Post] Bonus Endings

This blog post was recovered using The Internet Archive and has been backdated as part of its republication.


Remember FedEx’s 2005 Super Bowl commercial? You know, the one that gave a list of the ten things a great Super Bowl ad has? Well, after watching that ad last year, I’ve been on the lookout of bonus endings and I get excited whenever I find one. I’ve seen them in anime but also movies like X-Men 3 and even TV shows, like My Name Is Earl (though Earl’s happens while the credits roll on the bottom half of the screen).

Instances I’ve seen from the world of anime include Detective Conan, Tenshi na Konamaiki, Bleach, GitS: SAC and most recently Pani Poni Dash. Detective Conan usually has a light comedy bit similar to the “everybody laughing freeze frame” from cop shows like CHiPs. Tenshi na Konamaiki does the same except it’s shorter (30 secs-1 min). Pani Poni’s bonus ending is really short, only 10-15 seconds, but still time enough for a good visual parody.

Bleach (since episode 54) has had a mini-series called Shinigami Zukan Golden, which consists of 30-second humorous shorts that relate to the main storyline. Finally, both seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex had the Tachikoma Days shorts, which had a continuing storyline following those sentient four-legged tank robots from the not so distant fictional future.

The common thread that ties these together is that they all intend to leave the audience laughing and having a good experience. They also give Japanese viewers something for sitting through the credits and not changing the channel. But, of course, the show’s fans would wait for the preview since they anxiously want to know what might happen next week.

In conclusion, omake is always good.

[Archived Post] “Original” Series

This blog post was recovered using The Internet Archive and has been backdated as part of its republication.


“While [Satoshi] Kon has built a career out of pushing beyond the boundaries of anime, he worries about the industry overall, suggesting that anime is currently caught in a vicious circle. One limiting factor is the fact that many creators are anime fans themselves, so they tend to make new works along the lines of something they’ve seen and liked. ‘That’s part of the problem,’ Kon says. ‘The other half of it is the fans. It’s probably an overstatement to say that all they want is stuff they’ve seen before, but it certainly seems to be the case. I don’t necessarily think they’re to blame for feeling that way, but I also don’t think it’s asking too much for people on the production side to start working toward getting the fans to watch other things. There are other stories out there to tell.’ Kon also believes that the tradition of adapting popular manga into anime is unhealthy for the industry; he feels that animation ultimately ends up as less of a creative force than manga. ‘We need to start demanding shows that were conceived as animation from the start. It sounds kind of overblown to say it like this, but this needs to start with the animation industry.’” [from Newtype USA interview, November 2004] Continue reading

[Archived Post] My Road to Otakudom

This blog post was recovered using The Internet Archive and has been backdated as part of its republication.


When Pokemon debuted on American television, I started watching it and eventually got the Game Boy games. At the same time, I got hooked on Digimon. I followed both series for probably about a year or two and then quit Pokemon after the Ruby/Sapphire characters and May were introduced. I kept with Digimon until the fourth season, you know, the one where the kids transformed into monster forms. That was also when the show stopped airing on Fox Kids and went to syndication on my local UPN station.

Soon after Digimon began, I also started occasionally watching CardcaptorsYu-Gi-Oh!, and Shaman King. I also remember that Moncolle Knights and Escaflowne were on Fox Kids at one time but I didn’t really watch them because they didn’t seem that interesting to me, a middle-school student.

My real push toward true otakudom began with Toonami and flipping through channels at night. On Cartoon Network, there was a late Saturday evening programming block called the Video Entertainment System or something like that. I started to watch some shows on there like Rurouni KenshinYu Yu Hakusho.hack//SIGN and kept watching because I liked them.

In (I think) the year 2002, I started to watch Adult Swim, for which I suppose I was a few years “underage”. However, most of the Comedy shows on there like Home Movies and Futurama I had already seen on primetime network television so I felt that I was mature enough. After the Toonami/VES block ended, the Adult Swim block started and included shows like Big OInuyashaFuri Kuri, and Kikaider. Soon after that, I followed Wolf’s Rain and I’ve continued to tape anime on Adult Swim, most recently EvangelionGhost in the Shell, and s-CRY-ed.

The third step was acquiring a thirst for fansubs. I had previously downloaded single, subbed episodes of various shows off eDonkey as well as some of the Digimon movies. It really wasn’t until an issue of Newtype USA (December 2002), which had a cover story on .hack, caught my eye in a Borders (or was it Barnes & Noble) bookstore. The pack-in DVD was alright; it had the first episode of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi on it as well as some trailers for other ADV Films offerings. In the magazine itself, though, were articles on the first three series I saw from start to finish on fansubs: Full Metal AlchemistScrapped Princess, and Chrno Crusade.

My DVD collection, in terms of anime, started when I saw a used copy of Noir volume 1 at Blockbuster one day. I had gone in there for a 2 for $20 previewed sale and ended up also buying American Splendorand Kill Bill Vol. 1. I came home and watched my purchased discs in the standalone DVD player I got that summer for my birthday. My desktop computer already had a DVD-ROM drive in it so I’d previously watched DVDs in my bedroom, but this standalone player connected to the TV. This convenience allowed me to lay on my bed and watch movies. After finishing the first Noir disc, I wanted to see the rest of the series. So I started to buy used copies of the other 6 volumes as well as those of other series.

There was an Anime Club at my high school but I had already entwined myself in many extracurricular activities like Yearbook and German Club. When I joined the collegiate, I joined the club here and also signed up for the newsletter of a couple of student organizations (College Dems & ACLU). I probably should go to one of their meetings one of these days. Oh, yeah, and the high-speed campus ethernet has very much helped me quench my thirst for fansubs. ^L^