I’m very late, but here we are, with the usual review corner! This time we’ll talk about three albums and a book, even though the picture shows only two albums. Let’s go!
BUTAOTOME ends their 2019 with an album that probably surprised a lot of people in a couple of ways. I think we were all expecting at least an arrangement of a post-demo theme from Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, the latest Touhou game. But instead, we didn’t get any track from it. So this album is not Vegeta. Also when I saw the cover for the first time, I was excited. Sumireko is there!! It was time for the long-awaited Violet Detector song!!! Then I read the tracklist. Her track is an arrangement of ULiL credits. Like… SERIOUSLY?! Not even a Futatsu no Cinema/Garigari Miracle rearrangement, this is some galaxy brain stuff when you think about making a song about Sumireko.
The album’s concept is “the colors of the sky”, so we have quite a lot of celestial elements through the lyrics. We also have a bit of Undefined Fantastic Object-theme milking here, with a couple of themes that never had a BUTAOTOME vocal before. A possible way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the game, but this time we are safe from the completely random full album. The cover art and the overall design are pretty! Sumireko and Yukari are dancing in the cityscape, with some ropes from the sky. Buuut… is that Satori’s eye?😱 🙀
1. Nou Blend
“A brain blend is a culmination
it’s undefined, but the answer
is within you”
We kick off with a swingy and rockish song that is a contender for my favorite Comp track here and it might be one of the best opening tracks since a while. Ranko’s rrrr is always a selling point for me. It kind of reminds me of Munmun Manman, one of the better compilation tracks.
2. Tsuki no Utagoe
“I sleep while listening to the song of the moon
and I will fall into a world I haven’t seen yet
where someone is waiting”
This is yet another album where Comp and Paprika alternate their tracks, so here is our first cat number, a fairly standard one from her recent vocal production. I like how the original theme has been adapted through the piano! Also, what was that outro…?
3. Kajiru Kabe
“The colors of the flowers will eventually fade as I’m staring at them
the ending is still not in sight”
Not a big fan of this one, I think the trumpet and its awfully short length ruin it. It’s one of those tracks I will only mention as “here is a BUTAOTOME vocal arrangement of that theme they never arranged before”. I also don’t particularly care about At the End of Spring, so I’m not disappointed and I don’t trash on it like a certain PCB song. If you are a fan of the original theme you might enjoy it, though!
4. Sora no aru Basho (Magic ver.)
“A born life is definitely there
I see everything with my little eyes”
A rearrangement of an old song from one of older favorite albums. The original was a typical early Comp song, but now it became Paprilicious! It’s reminiscent of early experimental Pap stuff, and it works so well.
5. Psycho Teenager
“I wanna see a little bit of it, don’t miss even a bit of that
I’m a psycho teenager full of excitement”
Okay, this track deserves the prize for the worst sample ever for a BUTAOTOME song. They took literally the only part of the song that made it sound like a Jiko Uchuu clone. There is even a lyric line ripped straight out of it! But outside of the XFD parts, Psycho Teenager becomes its own thing. Ranko said it’s one of the best tracks, but honestly, I’m not a big fan of it, mostly because of its melody/original theme and it’s the mandatory “generic BUTAOTOME track” in the album. It’s still good, tho.
6. Nakimushi na Kimi
“It might take a while, but dreams surely come true
one day I’ll walk with you on the moon”
My favorite track in the album! I think this is probably one of the happiest-sounding Paprika vocal songs ever. Though the lyrics are mostly generic RenMerry relationship that wouldn’t sound out of place in a TUMENECO release (there is even the “boku” pronoun, which is not used in canon by Renko at all, and it only appears in a lot of fan lyrics). But this doesn’t stop me from enjoying it, being happy while listening to it. I need some cheesy Hifuu once in a while!
7. Souten no Kajitsu
“The servants of the fruits of the azure sky, they sing, dance and they’ll eventually rot”
The sequel for Shitataru Shiru from CHILD HOOD’S END? Is Tenshi all about peaches?
Anyway, I was looking forward to a new Wonderful Heaven vocal for a while, and I’m very satisfied with this. It goes on that swingy rock feel we got on the first track, but it’s completely different. Too bad is so short…
8. An’ya Kouro (Magic ver.)
“I’m alone in the darkness, on a journey without a destination
I can’t even be saved, I’m in this sea forever”
Another version of a song from one of my older favorite albums. Just my wild conspiracy theory here, but I think a Captain Murasa was originally planned for this album, but in the end, it was swapped with a rearrangement of the only Minamitsu vocal song in the whole track catalog because of reasons. I’m not very keen on having a rearrangement as album closer, but this piano and vocals-only one is so good, and it greatly improves the song!
I don’t know if I can call this the best 2019 release from BUTAOTOME, because I think Goku was more solid and consistent overall. Magic Lantern still features a good variety of styles, and it’s an album I highly recommend!
This time the cat is giving us a calendar-themed album. Each track represents a month. I don’t feel the “month characterization” in each track, except for December (Christmas-sounding). I’m a non-Japanese, so I may associate each month and each event of the year to different things and feels. So I don’t associate the beginning of the year to the sounds of the koto, for example. However, when it comes to the seasonal feel, I can get it through this album. My personal favorite tracks are the September and November ones. The accordion is an easy selling point for me. Anyway, once again Paprika wrote a more interesting review than what could I write, so I leave the word to her!
Next Nekokenban is number 20, and it should be released in May. I think Paprika will do something special, I’m looking forward to it!
Remember last year’s review about Guerrilla? Quoting myself: “I would love a Guerrilla 2.” Well, we got a Guerrilla 2. But why am I not happy with it, at the point that I decided to hold off its purchase? Well, the simple answer is that while the XFD had a couple of tracks I’m really looking forward (Paprilicious Mirai and a new version of Jigoku Kakurenbo), everything else made me raise my eyebrow more than one time and didn’t sound good (Anata ni wa Miete, Panorama Girl and Hakanaki Mono Ningen were especially bad). In addition, the chosen music styles are the same exact ones of the first Guerrilla (I was hoping for something different for a possible second album). And the design is a copypaste from the first album (at least the two Acoustic Gakkyokushuu albums had different colors). It fitted Seija since arrows are her signature pattern, but not Flandre with her ugly-ass face.
But wait… Remember the C96 review? I was hoping for the original compilation, with original tracks from compilation albums and rhythm game contributions (Akubi, Akarui Mirai, etc.). So Flandre fits here. Because she destroyed all my hopes for an album I genuinely wanted. Hopefully one day…
Also… Kyoai. Kyoai, Kyoai, Kyoai. A song that, during the past year, got the spotlight in the wrong ways, and was played at most of the lives. Okay, it’s the first song they ever made, but let’s face it: it’s basically a generic U.N. Owen rock arrange with nothing unique or noteworthy. Over the years, BUTAOTOME made much better songs than that, they evolved. It also feels redundant to have a Groovy remix of it in this album, since we already got Groovy Tsumi to Batsu in the previous Guerrilla.
Basically, this album made me dislike Flandre even more. Also, I know this review is based on the preview alone (and XFDs are bad most of the time), but I will buy the album in April, with the Reitaisai stuff. If, and IF Guerrilla 2 manages to surprise me, I’ll talk about it.
This is another release I decided to hold off until April. I was very disappointed by BUTAOTOME’s 10th anniversary celebration since there have been lots of filler stuff that didn’t feel celebratory at all. While I really like Ane’s manga style, having a book with stuff you can read online on the official website as the final part of the 10th anniversary was quite underwhelming.
But while this is disappointing for me, as a hardcore fan who just wanted truly exciting stuff for the 10th anniversary of her favorite band, this is actually a big achievement for BUTAOTOME. In the fanbook symposium, Ranko no Ane admitted that she felt very insecure about releasing a book with her stuff, so this is a huge step for her.
There is not a lot to say about the book itself. The manga looks into the daily life of BUTAOTOME members, with some funny anecdotes. Also, I’m planning to translate some of these, and team up with mr.deagle to release English versions, so stay tuned!
And the review is done! I apologize again for the late! At least I’ve managed to post it before the Reitaisai album, works have started!