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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Final Symphony - Featuring Music from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X! (If you have £30)

Woops, it's been a while since I've posted - but stumbled upon some news that might excite a few readers.

Music from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X will be played at the 'Final Symphony' in London, May 2013, by the London Symphony Orchestra. It is hoped they will follow the same success as the award winning Symphonic Fantasies events last year and in 2009, covering various Square Enix titles such as Kingdom of Hearts, Chrono Tiger, and Secret of Mana.  Benyamin Nuss will be returning as a soloist to the orchestra, after preforming at the previous events exceptionally.

If you're not in the UK, they'll also be performing in Wuppertal, Germany. If this sounds like your kind of dream event, I would defiantly recommend doing a quick search to see if they'll be coming your way.

Tickets are expensive - from £30 to £65, and are already selling well particularly in Germany. This is an event only for the core fans of Final Fantasy, who are keen on the sound of a well organised orchestra.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

BIGBANG heads to.. Wembley???

Five years ago it'd be completely unheard of - a major Kpop band selling out in London?! But the Hallyu wave is at it's peek, and sure enough, BIGBANG managed to sell out a concert at Wembley stadium within 10 minutes.

In fact, it was so popular, there will be ANOTHER another concert at the same venue the day after! And guess what, that sold out to.

And how much were these tickets?


Yup, fans are crazy enough to fork out for massively overpriced tickets, because the option to miss the opportunity of seeing one of the biggest Korean bands was unacceptable. Is this the start of a happy future of kpop bands visiting the UK, or is this the highest peak the Hallyu wave can ever reach?

Lets consider the moment, when Korean music hit the UK media with the famous 'Gangnam Style'. Love it or loathe it - it reached number #1 in the UK charts, and has been the subject of international attention. Celebrities, politicians, and general media has been keen on associating themselves with the dance. What effect has this on the general public in regards to Kpop music? Well, there are two sides you can take for that question.

The Optimistic View
 Because of Gangnam style, people are more likely to look at other sources of kpop.

The Realist View
 Because of Gangnam style, people will associate ALL kpop with Gangnam style, and still won't break into the Kpop market.

Will Kpop ever be taken seriously? Predictions can only be made on sketchy grounds. Here's another; Do we want Kpop to be taken seriously by the public? Think carefully on this one.


Am I the only one cringing? No?
It's not that I want kpop to not be enjoyed with international success.
But this Hallyu wave is brewing an issue here that is quite unsettling.
Greed. The craving for blood. Total insanity.

Kpop fans are turning into monsters.
Ooo, did I just say that?
Please don't kill me yet and let me finish.

Lets take Britian for example.
Kpop obviously has a lot of fans for two Wembley Big Bang concerts. And that's great! The sheer mass of fangirl and fanboy brings the bands to the UK, bands I never thought I'd ever see.
But a lot of these fans don't really get kpop, and treat this as normal pop.
There is a reason why I don't like normal pop.
Okay, several reasons.
But the sheer idolism and fanbase is a massive turn off.

And while Korean idolism can be crazy, British idolism can be just as insane. Screaming at their idols in public, even hugging them - which is considered completely out of order in South Korea. You do not glomp members of Exo-K, even if they're you're bias. At least ask. These girls didn't.

A lot of people in the western world do not understand or get the culture behind the music, and that's well... Quite embarassing. I'm not Korean, nor have I been to S.Korea. At the end of the day, I don't even know much about the culture. But something doesn't sit right when I hear people talk to kpop as if they know and understand it well.

Am I just being touchy that my hidden gem has been discovered?

I'll leave you with this:
Do we need an understanding of culture to enjoy and appreciate music, and go to concerts? Or is it unfair to ask the public to mould themselves to the rules of other cultures, and that it is the arriving culture that must mould themselves to their audience? What do you think?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

An Cafe Concert - Big Success!

What were YOU doing on the 7th of December? If you weren't in Islington, you missed out on an epic concert!

Photo generously shared by "Emma"

Japanese Rock Band An Cafe rocked out in London, Islington on the 7th of December under the happy Oshare-Kei title "NYAPPY GO AROUND THE WORLD Ⅲ ~TADAIMA o(≧∀≦)o OKAERI o(≧∀≦)o~"

This was an absolute brilliant concert for many reasons. Firstly, the fans themselves have a generally wonderful, carefree attitude, and that pushing and shoving you can receive from other concerts just didn't happen, while at the same time fans weren't afraid to cheer, jump and dance along with the band members. I noted that fans were from a spectrum of backgrounds while the age ranged seemed to broaden from 14 to late 30s, and the dress code varied from casual to the familiar Visual Kei hue, and one very brave girl wearing a rabbit onesie.

The band members themselves were energetic, lively, and put so much effort into their music, it gave the atmosphere a fantastic dose of life and excitement. Their broken English was adorable - and the quality of sound was simply fantastic. Lead singer Miku responded generously to the crowd making the experience incredibly 3D. Each time someone shouted something in Japanese, he'd respond back - and, ah, when a male in the audience cried "I love you!" it was pure gold watching Miku's delighted face follow a response of "I wuv you too!"

Photo generously shared by "Emma"

One of the best things about the concert was that it was fairly small, so it was much easier to see the band members, and much more cosy and comfortable.

 An Cafe will defiantly be coming back next year, but dates have not been announced.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

MBC Kpop Concert in London

Competition to dominate the music industry in East Asia has never been more fierce, and now the battle has finally crashed into the Indigo2 arena in London, Greenwich. South Korean bands 4minute, Exo-K and Norazo will be playing to a sold out audience on the 23rd of June, with up to 364 potential fans to attend a gift event for their favourite musicians. Has South Korean music finally settled into Europe?

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Best Kpop Debuts Part One

I can't remember exactly when I began to think this, but it has been on my mind for a while. The big boys of Super Junior has been a fantastic band, but many of their songs are filmed in very similiar conditions, and their producers seem very careful to prevent them from doing anything new. This is the same case for many other well established boy bands, and a lot of girl bands like Girls Generation. Actually, this might be more of an issue with girl bands - how many songs have you come across that are the usual boy meets girl, for some reason they cannot be together, *insert heart felt dramaticness here*. Alright girls and boys, you've done this storyline very well now, lets have a bit of something new, yeah?

And then suddenly, my hopes and dreams were answered.

This has been a fantastic year for kpop male debuts, (last year the spotlight was on some fantastic female kpop groups!) and they have reached beyond my expectations. The bands that where the most successful where the ones that weren't afraid to be different and avoid the overcooked trends. Music companies in South Korea - please let this be a lesson to you and please give our older bands some love and attention too. (While you're at it, perhaps you could cut the whole slave contract thing and pay your performers a bit more too?) I am going to focus on my two most favourite debuts, B.A.P and Exo.



Ahoy, you've arrived to the land of blond boy band B.A.P, with their fantastic debut single, Warrior.
I love this song.
It's wonderfully manly, it has a different storyline, it has a strange looking bunny smashing up a car.... This video has everything! The song is incredibly catchy, and I love the attempt to make these boys look tough. It's quite hard for a Kpop band to look so macho these days - with all the makeup that is rubbed on their faces but B.A.P did a pretty good job of persuading me.
Also, the rapping in song is brilliant. I usually cringe when kpop songs feature rapping because it usually isn't very good,  but B.A.P is an exception - and they're brilliant. Fantastic debut.

Ah yes, I also found quite a cool dance cover which I think deserves a couple more views~


This is one big debut.
Whatever you may think of this, you can't dismiss that they didn't make an effort when it came to production. Exo is basically a band with two version versions, a korean version, and a chinese version. It's a little confusing, both both groups are fantastic. Exo-M is the chinese verson, and Exo-K is the korean version, and the later is the debuting band above. This band has a lot of trailers, and the company they're under made a huge fuss about them. Fans anticipated Exo's debut, but I don't think amyone expected this!
Compare it with their trailer to the right!
(This one is sung by Exo-M, but both versions are very similiar.)
The point is, the prologue single 'Where is the love' is a very different song compared to the 'MAMA'.

MAMA has a bit of everything in it - a catchy song, chanting, crazy video effects, an interesting but a little weird storytelling (in English) at the beginning... There is a crazy, crazy storyline in this music video that I can honestly say I don't really get, but not that it matters. The power looks cool and the song is very catchy.  I really like Exo's effort with this, and I'm really looking forward to see what they do next.

For further reviews, Eat Your Kimichi has an excellent review below:

The only negative thing about this review is that I personally disagree with the sudden 'screaming' from Kai, one of the members with his face covered in 'tattoos.' That is actually one of my favourite things about the song! Other than that, I enjoyed the review! What do you think readers?

An Cafe is coming back!

Oshare Kei band An Cafe has stolen the hearts of many fans with their energetic music videos and funky tunes, and then shattered them when members annouced a haitus. This haitus has been rolling on for quite some time now, with leader Miku joining a more serious group called LC5, and Kanon joining a project called Kanon x Kanon.

Oshare Kei band "An Cafe"
Miku's new and much darker band, LC5
But to the happiness of a great deal of fans, they have recently confirmed that they indeed will be back! But with such a long pause, what exactly does this mean for An Cafe?

Well, it means they are most likely to be changed somewhat from their earlier themes. If they follow Miku's tastes they may be floating to a slightly more darker style, perhaps more serious than before. An Cafe fans brace yourselves, but don't worry. Your trust in An Cafe should not be mislaid as they always bring out something new and some kind of interesting message. Look forward to their new single but don't expect it to be exactly the same An Cafe you know.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Good music you should listen to: Part 1

Being a fan of kpop and jrock for quite a long time, new band arrivals such as B.A.P, and EXO are quite exciting for me, because they're new and their music supplies the whole genre an added 'boost' of awesome, and fandom. In particular the Hallyu wave has been pumping out quite a strong year of debuts, and sometimes these can block out other, alternative genres that don't get so much a listen to. With the exception of the success of Epik High and Visual Kei, I think it can be the case in both South Korea and Japan, when equally talented artists don't get so much exposure as those who are involved in the pop or rock sphere.
So here's the beginning of a series of posts to try and tempt you to listen to more alternative sound.

And what better way to start of, with the sound of FREETEMPO.
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this music is good for generating a positive, casual mood.

 Even if there are some sadder sounds/themes, Takeshi Hanzawa always includes some kind of reassurance in his music that things'll be fine in the end.
 I had never discovered FREETEMPO until I stumbled it from Youtube, but as far as I can tell most music he makes has English lyrics rather than Japanese lyrics. More information and more tracks can be found at his page on

Next is DJ Okawari who I've only just recently discovered. His music is deeply varied, from composing a beautiful melody on the piano, to making more technical rthymns.

DJ Okawari is a great composer for the piano.
I find it easy to listen to this artist because the sounds are so varied, he doesn't get boring, which I think makes him a very good, original artist.

Another thing with DJ Okawari is that he likes to use sampling in his music, and I think he does this brilliantly. Check out his page here.

Now for a few more alternative sounds you may have missed out on:

I have to especially mention Mutyumu as being particually amazing ^

Hope this was interesting to you.
Part 2 coming soon...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Amazing Comics March Edition!

How have you been dear readers?

Recently I have been reading less and less manga, but more and more online comics. As regulation becomes far more stricter against uploading manga, I have had a great need for a new free alternative, and it turns out more western style comics isn't something to be feared or disregarded. Infact, some can be very, very good! These 'rogue' comic artists usually have another job on the side, and are very generous when uploading their comic in very good quality. This quality beats scanlations tenfold. In regards to my personal buying habits, I like to read at least the first chapter of a manga or comic before buying it, and because of more limited access to manga - and less manga being published in my country now Tokyopops UK has died out, I feel I'm far more likely (and quite happy to) support these online comic artists and buy their unique works. Oh, it's also worth mentioning that the storylines and characters are far less generic than a lot of manga that's available to buy in Europe. So don't turn your back against comics dear manga fans! I feel that comics are also a good platform for any kind of reader - so even if manga isn't your thing, comics might just steal your heart.

Recommended online comics

Out there in the online comic world... It can be pretty crazy! There are a LOT of comics out there with easy access, but quality and consistency can be quite hard to find amongst the piles!

So I will be including my favourites that I am currently reading below. Also, if you happen to use DeviantART, I find a lot of good quality artists use this website to advertise their comic, which leads nicely onto my first recommendation.

1) Knite
This is an online flash comic hosted on DeviantART. It is a very beautiful series, and it's a major highlight to the week when a new chapter is uploaded. The artist, Yuumei, also makes other comics, and I defiantly recommend you check her work out.

Knite is partically special because although the art is incredibly magical, the story is very touching, and quite political. It highlights the problem of pollution in China, and corrupt politicians.

In short, I recommend Knite for everybody. Give this comic a try!

2) Spindrift
In the online comic world, Spindrift is quite a young project, and the story is only at chapter one right now. Yet there is already quite a lot of drama in this fantasy story, and I'm excited to see where this goes. The art is beautiful, and the characters are very interesting. It involves two races called the Alar and Iidra, and a quite a well made setting!

I recommend this story for the fantasy and adventure fans out there.

3) Strays
This is a pretty awesome comic that started in 2007, and is still ongoing five years later! I think in this comic in particular you appreciate how much effort goes into making a brilliant comic. You can catch up to the latest page in one or two days... And that's five years of hard work!

Strays is about the story of an orphaned child called Meela who is very lonely, in a world where her lupian race can be quite detrimental to her safety. She meets a character called Feral who is a very unique character with a major quirk/limit that I won't spoil to you, but it makes this comic a gem!

I highly recommend this comic for those who like manga, those who like wolves/foxes, and just generally those who want a pretty cool story.

4) Off-White
I'll be honest, I wasn't actually expecting to like this comic. Although the storyline involves humans, all the main characters are wolves. Sometimes the story can get a little lost, but when it gets dramatic - my goodness it pulls the strings on your heart. It's quite hard to describe this story without spoiling it, but I do recommend this for those who love wolves/pack animals.

5) Spinnerette
One of my favourite comics!
This is the perfect comic for any comic and superhero fan! If you're into Marvel or DC, you'll absoloutely LOVE Spinerette.
You see... Spinnerette is a parody of these comics, set in a world where superheroes obtain cool powers and have to wear disguises while doing their duty - that's kicking supervillian's butt. Yet... This comic isn't just a parody, it stands out with a unqiue storyline of it's own. It's characters are very likeable, there is drama, there is romance, there is an ongoing line of ACTION!

The one downside to this comic is that it can get a tad pervy, particularly during the latest chapters. However the romance is sweet and I recommend this comic 100 times over.

6) The Meek
This is quite an unusual comic, where the female character is naked throughout.
Yes, you heard that right.
But it's done in quite an artistic non-pervy way, and it's quite a good comic. It hasn't updated for a while, but I hope it will continue from haitus again soon.

I would recommend it to those who appreciate art, great story telling, and don't mind nudity.

7) EarthSong
This comic has been the artists' project for quite a while now, and for this comic I'll be honest and say that the art isn't the main draw for me as a reader. It's not as complex as Spinerette, or as beautiful as Knite. But the characters have a lot of depth - and the world is so interesting! This is a world where the planets themselves are people... I recommend reading it for yourselves to find out. It's not a good comic for everyone - those who are looking for great art should go somewhere else. But it is an interesting comic nevertheless, and I recommend this for those who are interested in a very interesting 'world'.

8) Pheonix Requiem
And finally, my all time favourite online comic.
This is a fantastic comic set in an alternative Victorian/Edwardian style era, in a small town/village. The main female character is a training doctor, and is so into her job that her friends find her hard to talk to. When a male character who happens to need medical attention comes into her life - she finds him fascinating, and begins to open up. Then come the haunting shades...

This is quite a spooky yet brilliant comic! Each panel is of a high standard, and the artist limited the number of characters to the great benefit of the comic!

I recommend this completely to anyone! I think those who are into manga and comics in general will like this, as well as those who are into ghost stories. It might be a little bit scary for the younger reader.

Monday, 6 February 2012

So I herd u liek Miyavi?

So I was lookng at common phrases people were using to get to my blog, and one of them was "A lot of miyavi".  I thought that was cute so reader... If you happen to be following my blog...

Le Miyavi.

Dedicated Miyavi Tumblrs....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A few notes

It's been a while since I've updated this blog, mainly because I've not had time to be in sync with the Kpop/Jrock community for a while. However, there's a couple of things I'd like to mention in this post:

Otaku House

I'm really starting to like I've never actually brought anything from their stores, but I really prefer the community much better to Tokyo Toys. If, and more likely when I buy something from Otaku House I'll be sure to review it - but I guess the main reason is that they are firmly against SOPA. It's quite obvious why - they'd lose a heck of a lot of business - I guess I just liked their vocal detest against it. Even if they stole someone elses' meme. If you're fine with frequent FB posts and a heck of a lot of cosplay competitions, you might wish to check out their FB Page.

Concerts and Conventions

In London at least, there's a lot of jrock/anime action coming to town!

Starting with the closer events.... Two interesting conventions will be held in London in February.

With their tagline as "London's Anime and Gaming Convention" London Anime Con will be taking place next weekend. With an 18+ requirement and an interesting 'clan system' does this look to be the new alternative to 'London Expo'?


The London Anime Con is part of the AnimeLeague, which is run by the famous "Mr Towers", who is infamous among the anime community. Their general miscommuication and drama usually seed events to fail before they bloom, so I wouldn't count on this convention to compete at all with the famous London Expo.

Is it worth attending?
Maybe - If you are happy to part with £10. If not, you might want to check out Hyper Japan instead.

For an extra £2 on the ticket price you get professional quality and a real alternative to London Expo. If you're fed up of walking up and down the crowded Excel Centre for an empty seat that does not exist and staring at overpriced merchandise you can't afford - Hyper Japan may be able to rekindle your love for conventions. What makes its stand out is that it is a Culture Convention. That means delicious cuisine, traditional and modern art, films and various other aspects of Japanese culture will have their own stalls. So this time you'll be able to walk down the event looking at overpriced objects you can't afford and won't ever see again =)

Hyper Japan does have a few stars visiting that some readers may find interesting, such as Natsuko Aso. I am not a fan of j-pop but I've heard she's quite popular, which might be enough to persuade you to go.

But because I like Jrock so much, I can detect an awesome presence coming to the UK... Yes, I am certain that L'Arc~En~Ciel will be in London on the 11th April, £56.50 for a ticket.
You heard me right. According to Dada-san from Versailles, (Seriously he's awesome, go add his FB and understand what I'm referring to) Jrock isn't doing too well overseas, and to cover up the costs? Scary ticket prices. The band is amazing though, so is it worth it?

Out of London, there is also Cam Con which some people are quite excited about, as it means finally a local convention in Cambridge. I'm not too sure about it, and as it's so close to London Expo - So I won't be attending, but I'll be looking forward to see how it goes. I hope it goes well, simply because Cambridge isn't too far away from me back at home - it'd be nice to meet some local anime fans.

Not to mention Music Bank in Paris on Tuesday! May not be in London or the UK (well duh) but I know a lot of you UK folks are coming.

Hope the snow doesn't cause any problems...~! And be safe fellow k-pop fans v_v;


One last thing to mention, how on Earth did I get so many views?? 873 hits all time is something pretty cool, even if they were google image searches for visual kei pictures.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Shinichi Osawa

Now for something a little different on Yellow Kokoro. Japan doesn't just have an amazing rock music scene, but also has brilliant electronic artists such as Shinichi Osawa, who has really helped create a new genre of music.

If you've not heard of Shinichi Osawa, it's about time you did! Shinichi Osawa is an amazing musician from Japan that is incredibly talented at remixing songs and producing his own tracks. His genres range immensely, and after finding him via a Clazziquai remix, I'm completely addicted. Here's some of my favourite tracks of his.

If you are a BoA fan, I particularly recommend Everything Needs Love - the last video on this post!

(Contains some swearing)