Attention please! We are looking for a new writer!

電波の世界 started in December 2007 and while our passion for the genre has only increased over the years, it's been difficult to find time for new articles and features. That's why we (denpanosekai and mandichan) are looking for an enthusiastic new writer! Here are some typical articles and tasks:

※ album previews and reviews
※ event reports (comiket, M3, live, etc.)
※ artist spotlights and interviews
※ denpa watchlist renewal
※ a new theme would be nice!

Do you want to make a difference and contribute to the original and leading source for English denpa news worldwide? Please contact denpanosekai [at] gmail [dot] com today!

Monday, April 28, 2008

電波 250: Hockey is Denpa and vice-versa

Welcome to a special installment in the Denpa Editorial series. This time, we will be casting a philosophical look at the multiple similarities between Hockey and Denpa. You read that right! Only open-minded readers need apply for the rest of this blog entry.


Currently, Canada is in full Hockey mode, despite only one of the six Canadian teams having made the second round of the playoffs. Depending on your language, this is known as "La fièvre des séries" or "Post-season fever". Having played for close to 15 years, I consider myself a lifetime addict. But when the playoffs roll around, hundreds of thousands of new and old fans tune in to Canada's gift to the world. Public places, historical monuments, fire trucks are covered with flags and police cars are ... burned down when riots break out. But I, of course, am a hockey fan 12 months a year and while I do have favorite teams in each conference (Montreal Canadiens for the East and Dallas Stars for the West), I'm a fan of the game first and foremost and I'll gladly sit down to watch two teams fight to the death, no matter who they are.

~~~MooOOooOOooOOooOOnn~~~
The Stars will make it all the way this year!

So where do those similarities come in? Here's a big one right off the bat. Both Hockey and denpa are twisted offerings of sports and music respectively. Hockey, with its over-the-top violence and faster-than-lightning action is shunned by most media outlets and is currently suffering from very low ratings in the US, though those have been looking up recently with the addition of young and skillful players such as Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Similarly, Denpa is the bastard offspring of JPop and fans of Japanese music in general will not necessarily appreciate Denpa artists, sometimes going as far as ridiculing the genre. Denpa is dirty, noisy and draws malign from listeners who can't acquire the taste of something completely different.

Hockey and Denpa fans are equally dedicated to the cause they love. Last week, I went to a HUGE sports memorabilia store in Texas, looking for some Dallas Stars goods that I couldn't score here in Canada. When I asked the clerk where they hid all of their hockey stuff because I couldn't find any, he just replied, visibly disgusted, that they'd never keep it in stock. Even while I was in the city of Dallas itself, I couldn't spot anyone wearing Stars gear or cars rocking mini Stars flags like they do in Montreal. True fans are few and far between and depend on each other for the progression of their sport... or musical genre! Even though JPop is serious business on the internet, Denpa is severely underrepresented (when not misrepresented) and I'm doing my best to raise its profile. This blog right here is currently your only community option, so let's work together to turn it around!

As I've said, Denpa is dirty for most people, but those with classically trained ears will be able to isolate and enjoy each separate layer of sound as they merge into one. Hockey comes together the exact same way. While the "norms" will look at a game and come to the conclusion that it's nothing more than a bunch of coloured dots running after an even smaller black dot on a pure white surface, true Hockey fans will tell you that it's the multiple facets of our sport which make it so appealing. Unlike Baseball, Tennis et j'en passe, Hockey has multiple modes.
  • 5-on-5 is the regular one where all players are on ice. When two skillful teams are playing, this can create a maelstrom of va-et-vient where both clubs take turns attacking the other's zone.
  • 5-on-4 situations happen when a team is afflicted with one of the multiple penalties available to a referee. If you are on the punished side, your players change into penalty killing mode (just the name gives me shivers) or PK as we say. This is an exciting situation where getting the puck out of your zone becomes the top priority. Conversely, the attacking team goes to massive attack where defense men can be swapped with forwards in order to put more pressure on the defending team.
  • 5-on-3 are also possible! This is the same situation as above except with more pressure on both teams! The pressure on the defending team goes without saying, but if the attacking team doesn't manage to score after a 5-on-3, this takes away a lot of their confidence which the other team can then build momentum on.
  • Sudden death overtime. Seriously, what a great name! When three 20-minute periods have passed and both teams have scored an equal number of goals, the game goes into overtime. This amps up the players and the crowd so much that it isn't uncommon to have the game-winning goal scored within the first five minutes.
  • Shootout. When overtime has run its course, teams will move into a shootout, which often provides some of the most memorable moments of the game.

Finally, Hockey players, much like Denpa musicians, are insane people. You have to be! Think about goalers, for instance. On any given game, they will face an average of forty shots of vulcanized rubber pucks traveling at speeds between 80 and 100 MPH. The pressure is on them the whole time as well, either they come out of the game as heroes or total zeros. Players themselves face all kind of injuries, considering the robust way the game is meant to be played. Put in one word, hockey is violent. Denpa is violent too, you know? Like trance music, Denpa frequently uses extremely high BPM, sometimes in disorganized and erratic ways. The high pitched vocals can be enough to make a normal person go crazy. Lay these elements on top of some completely unpredictable patterns and you have yourself a recipe for madness.


Which brings me to a question: why haven't the Japanese picked up on Hockey more than they have? In all honesty, this is a discipline in which they should excel. Europeans have proved that brawl & brawn isn't everything, as their agility and sharp reflexes brought a whole new dimension to the game. The most successful competitors need two particular qualities to make it far: discipline and ambition. Don't tell me the Japanese don't reek of these traits. (Un)suprisingly, the biggest hockey sensation in Japan right now are the Tokyo Canadians, a bunch of Canadian ex-pats who crush Asian teams wherever they are asked to play. However, Japanese, Chinese and Korean hockey enthusiasts have united their efforts in creating the "Asia League Ice Hockey" [sic] which goes to show that hockey, not soccer, will help resolve the ongoing Asian conflict. Look at this cute page where Hokkaido's Oji Paper teaches its fans how to behave at a hockey game.


I'm personally hoping for Hockey to pick up in Japan and become one of the most played sports there. Can you imagine a hockey-based anime series? I sure as hell can, and it would be fantastic... players would learn new skills as they level up, gallons of blood would be shed, we'd somehow have tons of upskirt scenes & fan service and the last three episodes would feature a best-of-seven (played on the MoooOOOOoooon) which would determine the fate of humanity. MOSAIC.WAV would sing the opening track and KOTOKO would rock the ED while Haruko Momoi would voice the hero's damsel-in-distress. This would also spark centuries of fraternity between Canada and Japan and bring world hunger to an end. Oh, the possibilities.

After reading this article, there's no doubt in my mind that you're craving for a hockey game right now. If you're in Canada, you've got it good as the tax-funded CBC shows playoff games every night, and you can tune into TSN, RDS and RIS for the rest of the season. For the USA, Mexico and the rest of the world really, I have a great deal for you! Hockeywebcasts.com has links to live feeds of ALL games (no matter what league) along with an exhaustive archive of past games.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MOSAIC.WAV's 6th single 「超妻賢母宣言」 and more!



Some huge news from the MOSAIC.WAV camp today! First of all, it was officially announced that the sixth single would hit stores... tomorrow! That's April 23rd if you can't be bothered to do the math. It features the opening theme of 「狂乱家族日記」 (roughly Frenzy Family Diary), a new anime series from Enterbrain which started airing this month. To sweeten the deal, the band and the anime studio are holding a conference event on May 2nd 2008 at Akihabara's UDX. Contents of the event include a talk show, radio recording and a live. My guess is that MOSAIC.WAV will perform the OP. Note that the event is free and that anyone in attendance deserve to be called "lucky bastards" by me. Yeah, that's a bonus you get. If the anime is anything like the theme song, then this could be one for the ages. It's probably out there and subbed, but I haven't had time for anime lately (make that the past 4 months). I am also looking forward to hearing the B-side, 「ねるがよい」 because as we all know, MOSAIC.WAV don't F around with B-sides.



Speaking of the F-word, another thing at which they excel proficiently is eroge theme songs. The most recent hit in their young career comes in the form of an OP for 「リリカルDS」 (Lyrical Dramatic Stories, nothing to do with the Nintendo money-printing device) This is a visual novel/erotic game that will hit Japanese PCs on June 27 2008 (May 30th for the Premium edition) While I just linked to the youtube video, the OP is also available in lo and hi-fi flavours. Obviously the Marmalade site is very NSFW (pr0n or not, that pink background would be suspicious either way) but otherwise, head to the download section and pick up the demo file (theater does not feature the OP) Now while the song won't make my top 5, the animation is extremely well made, and tha'ts just from watching the lo-fi version. The video itself doesn't contain b00bs or anything like that, so go ahead, grab it and show it to your mom.


Third big news, as you could guess from the previous picture, is that full information concerning the 2nd live has been revealed. The process of obtaining a ticket looks particularly energy-draining, but their management has gone to great lengths to detail the whole procedure. I quickly googled "Club Citta" and it does indeed sound like the rather large hall they promised their fans, with a standing capacity of 1300. This can only mean one thing in my mind: MOSAIC.WAV RAIBU DVD. You read it here first!

And get ready for some real exclusive content... not just hopeful wishing...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

MOSAIC.WAV 1st Major ALBUM 発売記念 Live


Sham Studio sent word that MOSAIC.WAV will be holding a "live & sale commemoration" event on Saturday, May 31st 2008. This is actually the first of two announcements, as the specific details regarding ticket availability, event location and pricing won't be made public until April 23rd. What they did mention is that the location will be "considerably larger" than what they used for previous events. They also made sure to remind fans that this is not the launch event, and that copies of Amusement Pack are out there in the wild, ready to be bought and consumed.

Unfortunately, I don't know any MOSAIC.WAV fans from Japan, so it's impossible for me to get a feel of just how "big" the release of Amusement Pack was. In fact, none of my Japanese friends even like JPop that much, much less Denpa. I know we get a lot of 日本人 visitors here at Denpa no Sekai, so if you want to share your story, or better yet your impressions of the live event, please drop an email at denpanosekai@gmail.com. Thanks, ありがとう!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

桃井はるこ to perform in Toronto, Canada [updated]


[update] Her presence is confirmed through this rather dubious bio. "Suicide Girls"? Seems like someone had tragic-scene-girl-pr0n on their mind. Hopefully they'll get around to fixing that typo/freudian slip, or they might end up drawing the wrong crowd.

[original story] Word around teh intarwebz is that the Queen of Akihabara will be gracing us lowly Canadians with her presence at this year's Animenorth. The event takes place May 23-25 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is all rumors and murmurs at this point, but considering the recent release of her first major album, it makes a lot of sense that she would want to hit as many cons and festivals as possible this year. According to reader Mandi, the word is out among Japanese fans to start booking flights and hotel rooms. So take it with a grain of salt, but stay tuned and I will report back once this rumor materializes. If she does indeed plan a gig in Toronto, you can expect yours truly to cover the event. Question to her hardcore fans: is she known to perform her Famison tracks? That would be a major bonus for me.

I will be out of the country until the end of the month, but I have some articles in the pipeline for you to look forward to, namely an "Amusement Pack" review and the next installment of my Denpa editorial series. In the meantime, why not enjoy the following Haruko Momoi videos? Live performances of Japanese artists always stun me, their enthusiasm and stage mannerisms are exhilarating and unmatched, to say the least.

桃井はるこ・遠藤正明「Romantic summer -momo-i version-」

桃井はるこ「Sunday early morning」

See that guitar player on the left of the stage? That's me. Yeah... I wish ;) Both songs are killer and having played & performed for over 15 years now, I could easily fill in. By the way, that dude singing "Romantic Summer" in duet with her is none other than 遠藤正明 (Endou Masaaki) from the all-star JAM Project band. If performing side-by-side Haruko Momoi isn't proof enough to convince you of his utter badass status, the following video will. That's him performing "Pegasus Fantasy" (aka Saint Seiya OP, aka one of the best anime OP ever written) alongside the fucking man himself, 山田信夫 (Yamada Nobuo)



Saturday, April 5, 2008

「ドルアーガの塔 〜the Aegis of URUK〜」 online and FREE


Despite a few nods to die hard oversea fans, the Japanese anime industry has never been in support of fansubs, not to mention its worldwide distribution counterparts. Some studios have even gone as far as serving cease and desists to bittorrent trackers, a clear case of swatting a fly with a machine gun.

Enter Gonzo Studios and their most recent work, "The Tower of Druaga - the Aegis of URUK". I have been anxiously awaiting this new series since it was first announced in 2007. Not only did the initial trailers feature high quality animation, but it just happens that I am a huge fan of the video game series of the same name as well. I have spent countless hours on the most recent iteration, 2004's "Nightmare of Druaga", which was Arika/Chunsoft's way of reviving a classic game with their proven "不思議のダンジョン" formula. The older arcade and PC-Engine versions were absolutely brutal and I actually don't recommend anyone try these, if only to get your butt handed back to you on an 8-bit platter.

Gonzo dropped an absolute bombshell when it was announced that the first episode would hit the internet at the same time as the broadcast - for FREE. Not only for FREE, but with FULL ENGLISH SUBS. I am absolutely, positively flabbergasted. Is there a precedent for such thing? I believe not but hopefully one of my better-informed readers will pop in with some related information. Anyway, I'm still under shock. First, the Montreal Canadiens made it to the playoffs, now this?



Now of course this doesn't entail that the whole series will be posted in such fashion, but given the structure of their youtube channel, all signs point to more episodes to be posted online. Could this be the start of a new era, where anime studios assimilate fansub groups by beating them at their own game? According to AnimeNewsNetwork, Gonzo are giving another new series of theirs, Blassreiter (sounds evil/German) the same treatment.

About the show itself, I haven't even watched half of it as I am not currently home and I prefer watching anime on something larger than a 15.4" laptop monitor. What little I did see greatly pleased me however, as the show seems to poke fun at many stereotypes and clichés that surround adventure and RPG games in general. I didn't expect this sort of approach, I figured this would be a lot more straight-forward fantasy anime, i.e. no green roper alarm clocks and ska-themed OP. Kind of like how the Ar Tonelico, Tales of Phantasia and Ys animes were true to their respective games. Regarding the opening theme, Murasama's "Swinging", at first I was completely all like OMG WTF, but given the satirical nature of the show, I guess it's a good fit. Not unlike Yousei Teikoku's MagiPoka OP, which at first was a studio mistake (they ordered a denpa song and got goth metal), but worked out just fine in the end.