Juushin – review

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And welcome back to the usual review corner!

My copy is in America, I will get it in October. At this point, Zergling and Grumpy Seal are honorary TC Crew members…

Everything revolves around greed and economy, even if it is not human. A Touhou vocal arrangement album covered in the obsession of the powerful ones who rule the place.

Concept

Juushin is about greed. We have characters who are greed incarnate, those who are related to things like money and economy, or lyrics about other shades of this deadly sin, such as knowledge or fame. As said in the pre-release post, it’s a nice way to focus on some of the newly introduced characters from Gouyoku Ibun and Unconnected Marketeers!

This album has half of its lyrics by Ranko, and the other one by Comp (4/4). Ranko’s lyrics are good as usual, while the polar bear’s ones are surprisingly great, definitely his best lyrics since 2017/2018. I had fun translating Monosashi and Kawaita Nodo, they have some pretty cool imagery!

Design

I think this is an album that shines more for its general aesthetic and color palette rather than the illustrations of the featured Touhou characters. The cover art, with its dark color palette, gives me the image of Touhou’s hell, of the animal realm. This is not a hell-based album, but it’s still the extra chapter of what I call “BUTAOTOME’s Kikeijuu trilogy” (Goku, Ese Souretsu Shinan, and Shoujo Rengoku 5), and since Yuuma is essentially a WBaWC character, I guess it fits. I also like the handwritten font used for the romanized titles in the booklet.

I’ve already praised Yuuma’s artwork in the pre-release post, so let me add that I’m very happy that Ane eventually made an acrylic stand of it! This is a type of merch I wanted to buy at some point, and I’m glad we finally have a Buta-branded one, hopefully, it will still be in stock during C100. It will look good in my renewed collection corner in September/October…

Out of all the illustrations Ane posted in this Fanbox post, only Mike and Shou got used in the booklet (they aren’t colored, they only have a gradient applied). Aya and Hatate are behind Yuuma in the inlay, and Chimata got completely scrapped.

Music

Juushin is a pretty vanilla album, full of standard BUTAOTOME tunes. It shows their core essence in 2022. It lacks more experimental tracks, but it does its job in being a release full of energy and tracks that could be easily played live. The songs are also overall short, and while this is not a rare thing for most of Comp’s recent works, Juushin manages to be the shortest BUTAOTOME vocal album (at least among those with the standard 8-tracks format), clocking at 24:14. Trauma Recorder (6 tracks) is longer!

1. Street Journal
“I color the lies I’ve photographed with text
Yay! The end result is excellent
No one will read it all the way through anyway”
A good intro track with some irresistible blip bleep​ sounds! I like how the lyrics are so cynical and brutally honest. These lines in particular remind me of how people usually read the headlines of an article and base their entire perception of an event solely on that. Or also how a picture can have a completely distorted meaning if taken out of context. Ranko also namedrops “Yellow or Red“, a poem about individuality and perceptions of self and conflict.

2. Neko ga Kitarite
“I’m different though, so don’t lump me together with you.
Live however you want.”
The song our dear manekineko deserved! From the XSD [sic], I didn’t expect it to be this good, definitely the surprise of this album. It also seems to be a popular track! You can also hear some Pap-style piano, maybe played by her ghost?

3. KUROSAKI
“Our boiling emotions will eventually crumble to sand.
We embrace the love our broken hearts left behind.”
Nice to get a newer stage theme once in a while! This song is a bit ruined by its length, but the effects on Ranko’s voice in the verses are pretty cool, and along with that intro, they give that dark feeling as if the world is slowly dying in black…

4. Shinjitsu no Mitsu
“What is long past and what is yet to come
Is what I desire to know.”
…not bad, but I can’t listen to this while thinking how much Ichimai no Touei is better, this kind of feels like a song that it’s here just because they needed an Aya track (I think they could have picked another Shoot the Bullet theme).

5. Honjitsu no Makugire ni
“I’m going to do my best as long as I can
Please come see me again anytime”
rankojoonsongrankojoonsongrankojoonsong
My favorite track from this album. Partially because I was waiting for a Joon song with lyrics written by Ranko ever since the pestolence goddess stole my heart, but it’s a really really good ballad, on par with the original ones. I also love how it sounds so different from our other two Egoistic Flowers arrangements!
I can’t help but feel this is a Ranko song disguised as a Joon one. Joon here is a sort of avatar of Ranko, where I think she expresses her feelings from a post-live and how music is important to our lives.

6. Monosashi
“Today we are confused, lost, sad, reflect, tomorrow we hope, love, cheer”
I especially really love this line, and the overall energy of this song. I think it will be a great live track! Comp has this trend of making fast-paced arrangements of new final boss themes that barely resemble the original themes (see Inzen and Guuzou Utopia), and I appreciate it (inb4 Touhou 19’s final boss will get a slow ballad).

7. Tora no Kase
“You wail, you despair,
Yet somehow covering up everything.
That’s how you survive.”
A rock song that still somehow manages to have a somewhat sombre atmosphere thanks to Ranko’s tones and lyrics (which also have pretty cool word choices, never read “shiawase” written that way). Not my favorite take on Toragara no Bishamonten, but it’s still great and unique!

8. Kawaita Nodo
“What you took away will one day be taken away due to cause and effect
I leave my bounded knowledge behind and leap onto a new wind”
Yuuma Toutetsu, the incarnation of greed itself and the star of this album puts an end to it. It’s a typical Buta track, but with a unique spin on Memory of Fossil Energy that I really enjoy!

End Notes

Juushin is a pretty good album, although it’s not among my favorites. I recommend it to those who don’t mind a less experimental album and want just some pure, lively BUTAOTOME. Sometimes we just need that. I also think this might be a good release even for fans of their original material!

All the relevant buy links are listed on the album’s page. Digital distribution will arrive (maybe) on June 25.

No post-review trivia corner because literally everything the three members said about this album is “here is our Reitaisai release yoroshiku onegaishimasu!! Toutetsu-chan 🥄🐑🍥”.

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