God Child - 切り刻まれた食べられたミスプディングの悲劇

God Child - The tragedy of miss Pudding.

The drama is based on the manga by Kaori Yuki. In this volume the stories 'The Tragedy of miss Pudding' and 'A Crooked Fairytale' have been made into a drama. The drama follows the story of the manga closely, almost to the word.

In the first story, the tragedy of miss pudding , Cain investigates two murders in which the victims their belly were cut open, and a plum pudding was found on the scene of the crime. Furthermore, eyewitnesses saw a blond haired girl that was singing the Plum Pudding Rhyme from Mother Goose (speaking of which, the rhyme has been altered for this story). He meets a young woman who despite just being married asks to spend the night at his place. It turns out that she is convinced that she committed the murders in her sleep...

I quite liked this story. Partway through you can guess how it will end, but it is interesting none the less. The drama is clearer on some parts, while the manga explains other details better (for example the plum pudding). It made me want to make plum pudding... (considering what happened to those in the story that isn't really a logical choice, but I still want to make it xD). Also, I forgot that Cain is such a flirt xD

A Crooked Fairytale is a story from when Cain was younger. One of Cain his maids has been smuggling antiques out of the  mansion to sell together with her lover. One night while the two meet they are overheard and kill whoever it was, only to discover that it was the young Count Cain that they killed. They quickly bury the corpse underneath the Juniper tree, however the next day Cain shows up somewhat shaken but alive.

You don't get what is going on in this story until the end (unless you've read the manga, of course). It was a pretty good short story... I really don't know what else to say about it. It is good but not fantastic. Once again the drama is clearer on some points while the manga is clearer on others. In this case it might be somewhat difficult to understand what happened to the maid if you didn't read the manga.

The drama was recorded with a 3D recording technique, making it sound as if the characters move around you. I didn't know that that technique was already used so many years ago, so that was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Of course the effect isn't as clear as with recent drama's, but it is definitely there. Especially Cain suddenly 'appearing' on one side was a rather nice effect <3

One thing that I noticed is that while the music is great, it plays for  too long. This is only the case at the end of each story (when the story it's theme is played again), but the music simply goes on for about 30 seconds too long. Other than that I have don't have any major minor points.

Count Cain/ God Child is a wonderfully dark manga by Kaori Yuki, and if dark fairytale like stories aren't your thing then this drama is not for you. I mostly recommend this to people who already know the manga, otherwise you probably miss a lot background. It is not like it is impossible to understand without prior knowledge, but knowing all kinds of story background and/or character relations probably does make it easier. That and it is simply nice to hear these stories with sound, as the drama is completely loyal to the manga it really feels like the manga with sound.


God Child - Visual CD Book

God Child

This CD was a limited edition that people could order through the Hana to Yume (the magazine in which God Child was published). It has two stories; 'The Crooked Little House', and 'The sound of a boy hatching'. The first story is about a young girl that collects dolls, the second one tells how Cain and Riff met each other.

God Child is a manga by Kaori Yuki, and this is one of the three Drama CDs that were made. God Child shows the -often rather macabre- adventures of the young Count Cain (CV: Ishikawa Hideo) and his butler, Riff (CV: Sugita Tomokazu). A little later in the series Cain his younger (half) sister Merrywheather (CV: Mizuhashi Kaori) also starts living with them.

The first story is about a young girl that collects dolls. Dolls that were once living people. When Merryweather her private teacher ms. Fenning (CV: Hikita Yumi) goes missing she sets of in search for her and meets the young Rebecca (CV: Chiba Chiemi), who sees Merryweather as a nice new addition to her collection.

I vaguely remember this story from the manga, but not well enough to say how closely it follows the original. But because the second story follows the original almost to the word, I assume that this one is accurate as well. The music in this one was very good, the main theme is so spooky it already gives you shivers in the first scene, where it turns out that Merryweather was only doing her reading exercises.

The second story tells how Cain and Riff met each other when Cain was still a child (CV: Tsumura Makoto). This one follows the original manga almost word for word, to the point were at some points it might not be clear what was going on exactly in some scenes if you don't know the manga. One of these scenes is the death of Agusta (CV: Kojima Sachiko) - in the manga this was a beautiful and very dramatic scene, but I can't help but feel that the same scene in the drama lacks of that dramatic feeling.

If you know the series I absolutely recommend this drama CD, it does a great job in recreating the atmosphere of the manga. The cast is good, but don't know whether I like Koyasu Takehito or Sugita Tomokazu better as Riff. I love Koyasu so I'm partial towards him, but on the other hand Sugita sounds a lot more gentle - the way I imagined Riff his voice.


ふしぎ工房症候群 ドラマ CD 女性恐怖症なおします

 Fushigi Koubou Shoukougun Drama CD - Josei Kyoufushou Naoshimasu

This is the drama CD version of the second Fushigi Koubou CD - 女性恐怖症なおします (josei kyoufushou naoshimasu, curing the fear of women). The story is exactly the same as the original, with the difference that it is acted out as an actual drama (as opposed to told by only one person).

The only difference between this and the original is that there is a short scene in the beginning in which the girl visits the fushigi koubou, at that point we don't hear what she orders though. The rest of the story is exactly the same. The main character talks about his fear, and the two scenes that make his fear of women escalate are there as well.

Somehow I had the idea that the original did a better job at portraying the emotions and feelings of the main character, most likely because you were actually inside his head. On the other hand, his fear of women does become more understandable. The way they talk about him makes you understand his feelings a bit better (women can be scary...)

Their date on the other hand becomes much more lively. In the original it was already cute, but this time you can hear both of them talk, and both of their thoughts making it a lot livelier to listen too. This also makes it clear that they think of each other as an expat much earlier in the story, which is a bit of a pity because I liked the way it was revealed only at the end in the original.

On the whole I can't say whether I like the original or the drama CD more. The original portrays the character his feelings a bit better in my opinion, but on the other hand the drama CD also portrays the feelings of the girl making it more interesting. The entire date scene gets a lot more lively just by the fact that you actually hear the two of them talk. Either way it is still a wonderful story that is really recommend listening to.

News: 感応時間 Vol.2

Yes yes, the only reason I wrote the review below is so that I could announce the second volume.

The above announcement has been on the Hituzikumo home page for a while now, but there is still no other news about the second volume. I really wish they would give us more info about the second volume of this interesting somewhat evil series.

What we do know though, is that the character in the image will most likely be our new seducer, and that the seiyuu for this volume will be Midorikawa Hikaru. The planned date of release is 2010.12.15.

Is it just me, or does that character look really evil. I'm scared, seriously. And curious. There must be a hell reserved for people like me somewhere, I'm sure of it...

感応時間 ~甘味処~

Kannou Jikan - Kanmi dokoro

Kannou Jikan is a CD that uses hypnosis to make you feel good. (writing it down makes that desciption sound evil, but it is actually a literal translation from the home page xD). At any rate, it uses hypnotism to induce a sort of trance condition and, well, make you feel good. The seiyuu for this volume is Yusa Kouji.

Before we begin; this was the first CD I ever encountered that comes with a warning before it begins. The first is that this cd should be listened to in a situation where it is OK to fall asleep. (which makes sense, as you will see) And that they are not responsible for any accidents caused by this cd. AND that people who are depressed or have trauma's should only listen to this CD after consulting with their docter. Whoo, scary stuff o.O

After these warnings the experience begins. You (the listener) enter a mysterious shop, the owner (CV: Yusa Kouji) tells you he will make you relax and feel good. First he tells you to relax, this is done by making (ie:asking) you to tense and consecutively relax various body parts and making you do deep breaths. The result is that you are indeed completely relaxed. After that he brings in some sweets (yokan, a type of sweet been paste) and makes you believe you are actually smelling it. By the end though, he'll have you convinced that he is eating you, with all implications that follow.

The first two times I listened I never got passed the relaxation exercises, I simply fell asleep and completely missed the, for lack of a better description let us call it the main part. Or maybe I should call it the climax, pun intended. I've done these kind of relaxation exercises before, and I know they are indeed incredibly effective.

The third time though I managed to stay awake and make it further into the CD. Haha... oh my o.O  Like I said Yusa is eating you by the end of the CD. Whether the hypnotism really works or not, his voice becomes sexy enough to make it work anyway. Make no mistake, this CD gets incredibly eroi near the end.

The second track is a freetalk track. Haha, Yusa begins with saying that he thinks that it might be better not to listen to this track right after main part, and that he is sorry for 'breaking down your dream world' xD He talks a bit about that this CD is made to relax, but that he couldn't relax at all while recording this. I can imagine, it must be very weird to record a track like this.

Because they both have the word 'Kannou' in their title I feel that a comparison between this and Kannou Mukashi Banashi is unavoidable (review to follow, no worries). Both CDs are very different, but I can't help but feel that CD would have greatly benefited from Kannou Mukashi Banashi it's 3D recording technique. If Yusa's already sexy whispering would have actually sounded that close to my ear... I can only imagine the effects.

So yes, go and listen at your own risk. If you do please make sure to listen to it before you go to sleep, or indeed in a situation where you can fall asleep (on the couch or something). Chances that you will fall asleep are rather high. Also, earphones or headphones are an absolute must.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward too volume two...




Little Red Riding Hood (CV:Noto Mamiko) was eaten by the Bad Wolf, it is a story that everyone knows. In the same town that Little Red Riding Hood lived in lives a boy (CV: Hoshi Souichirou). He lost parents and older brother (CV: Ishida Akira) when he was still younger. A few years later, in order to find the truth about how this happened he travels into the forest at the edge of town. In his basket he carries blood red wine and a gun to shoot the bad wolf. But when he meets the wolf (CV: Hirata Hiroaki), he is different from how the stories portrayed him...

AZ is written by Ninomiya Ai (Are you Alice? Teidenmushi), and is a distorted version of Little Red Riding Hood or Akazukin in Japanese, which probably explains the title. I didn't think it could be darker than a story about Alice? trying to kill the white rabbit and discovering the warped relations between all of the characters and the first Alice, but this is definitely darker. Possibly because it doesn't have the humorous dialogue that the Alice series has, and definitely because of one specific theme.

AZ tell two intertwined stories, the one of little red riding hood and that of a boy that lives in the same town, and whose's parents have been killed by his older brother. Both stories follow the same pattern; there is a force at work that changed their story in history.

We all know the story of red riding hood; little girl goes into the forest and gets tricked and 'eaten' by the bad wolf. The most obvious interpretation of this is probably clear to anyone. Now we go and change a few things; Red Riding Hood kills her mother and the wolf is her father. Get the theme? It made me feel unwell at least.

Different but likewise for the boy. Throughout the story he likens himself with red riding hood and his brother with the wolf. Following the same pattern, it is not the wolf that killed anyone but red riding hood, meaning he himself killed his parents. How I love the memory loss plot device...

Ninomiya Ai delivers a dark and twisted fairytale with this. What still seems to be alright in the beginning becomes more and more warped near the end. I like the way both stories parallel each other, it makes certain realizations all the more chilling. This really makes me hope that she will re-write other fairy tales some day as well.

Oh and 'red wine' will probably look different to you for a while.


方言恋愛 Vol.2

Hougen Renai Vol.3 is already on sale, so I'm loosing no time with reviewing this one so that I can move on to that one next!

方言恋愛 Vol.2

This volume has two new prefectures; Kyoto and Yamagata. The second one worried me a bit because I had heard that the dialect there is really incomprahensible, but it wasn't that bad.

In the first story the heroine comes to Kyoto for unknown reasons and meets Sawaragi Rento (CV: Yusa Kouji) who takes her in as a house maid. While Sawaragi is kind to everyone he meets, he also keeps people at a distance. During the story we learn why the heroine was in Kyoto in the first place, and what caused Sawaragi to be so distant.

Halfway through listening to this I thought 'they are not speaking in dialect at all!' forgetting that I lived in Kyoto for a year and completely got used to the intonation. Sawaragi his accent isn't too strong, his childhood friend Kaori (CV: Shindou Naomi) on the other hand had a 'high class' accent (the kind of speach Geisha's also still use).

In the second story the heroine is a photographer with very bad luck. She meets Kurashige Kouhei (CV: Taniyama Kisho), who is also cursed with bad luck where ever he goes. Kurashige his co-workers fear that the two of them together will unleash a storm of bad luck on the people around them, but when they are together the bad luck finally goes away. (minus x minus = plus, the opening words of the story).

I really liked this story! Kurashige his constant bad luck creates some funny moments, and his co-workers like commenting on that don't really help much it. It was a perfect lighthearted story to follow the somewhat heavier first one. Like I said, I heard that Yamagata dialect is really hard to understand, but not at all; it was very easy actually.

Comparing this one with the first volume... I can't really decide which one I like most. The stories is this one were more interesting, but I like the Seiyuu from the first one most (yes, I am biased :P). Preference of Seiyuu aside, I think this one was a bit more interesting.


Full Score 02 -side Classic-

While we are at it, another review. I had so much fun with the first Full Score that I decided to do the second one as well.

Full Score 02 side Classic

 Starts of with Tsutomu trying to introduce who he is, but the focus is drawn to an interview with the half French blond haired narcissistic violinist Shindou (because French people are always blond -FAIL). Against all odds he is not rich, but in fact actually comes from a poor family. On the other hand the plain Tsutomu is the one that is the heir to a massive multi-billion company.

Shindou has an outspoken personality that would have fitted the 'rich prince' image but as said before, comes from a poor family. Somehow he managed to hide that up to now. The only one who knows is his childhood friend Tsutomu. Opposite to Shindou he has a soft and rather indecisive attitude.

Once again the story is about a music club at Freedom University. This time it is about the Classic Music Club, who also somehow ended up with only two members (actually all the girls quit because Shindou said he would be absent for a while, and all the guys quit because all the girls quit). Thus they start to think of ideas to recruit new members, resulting in a hilarious scene with Shindou and Tsutomu singing recruitment songs to famous classical tunes xD

The story is once once again not that memorable, but the conversations are. Shindou his dramatic fits and Tsutomu his 100% pure personality are just as much of a mis-match as those of the last CD. Speaking of volume one, it is referenced a couple of times. I somehow liked the first one more though, maybe because Baba was better at creating trouble xD

The last three tracks are random again. The first tells how Shindou and Tsutomu met each other in full fairytale fashion. After that they switch introducing who the characters were based on in a variety show fashion. Hyoudou Tsutomu was somehow derived from Beethoven (yes, they don't sound similar to me either). Shindou (神藤) was based in the wonderchild (神童, shindou) Mozart.

Aaaaand Miyano once again portrays a blond haired violinist xD I already guessed from the cover (one day I have to research exactly what percentage of the characters he portrayed have blond or bleached hair xD). I have to admit that I wasn't really listening to him though, all my attention went to Hirakawa-san~

*edit* only later I realized the similarities between Shindou and Tamaki (Ouran High). Both blond, half French, same personality and same voice actor. The only difference is that Tamaki is super rich while Shindou is incredibly poor.

Sadly there were no references to the Jazz volume. I'm still looking forward to it though! Compared with the first volume this one doesn't stand out that much. Hirakawa-san makes up for most of that, but I kept hoping he would suddenly show a whole different side xD



Kurobara Alice

Is it obvious that I am attracted to anything that has 'Alice' in the title? If not let me warn you now; if somewhere in a title the words 'Alice' or "Wonderland' can be found you can be sure that it has my attention.

Same with this one. I didn't read the original manga, so little did I know that it has very little to do with anything 'Alice' and is actually... a vampire story. A bit of a surprise there, but it was still a very good listen.

The original manga is by Mizushiro Setona, and the Drama CD is the same as volume one of the original manga. Because there are more volumes this also means that it is only the beginning of the story, in fact it feels much more like a prologue.

The story begins on the 16th birthday of Anieska (CV: Yukana), who is thrilled to find out that her childhood friend -and now famous opera singer- Dimitri (CV: Nakamura Yuuichi) visits her birthday party, as he had told her he would be in Vienna. Even though Anieska has a fiancee, Theodore (CV: Terashima Takuma), Dimitri truly loves her. A fight between Theodore and Dimitri causes him to rush out of the place and he gets hit by a horse carriage due to not watching where he walks.

Everyone thinks Dimitri died, but he suddenly wakes up as if nothing is wrong. As he has, contrary to earlier reports, only minor injuries he is immediately released again to start rehearsing for his next performance. However, strange things start happening at the rehearsals; most of the people involved commit suicide or die of accidents. Not much later a mysterious figure suddenly tells Dimitri that he is now a vampire...

A few dramatic turns of events later (I'm not telling you, go and listen :P) the story suddenly switches to the present time, Japan. Where we meet the English teacher Kikukawa Asuka who has a secret relationship with Ikujima Kouya, one of her students. Their relationship however takes a turn for more drama as they become involved in a car crash. Asuka survives but Kouya sustains life threatening injuries. Just as everything seems lost a mysterious figure appears that promises Asuka to Save Kouya if she helps him with something.

As most of the story takes place in the past, and only the last minutes in the present this really feels like some sort of a prologue. Not to mention the drama ends with a cliffhanger. The cast themselves also comment on this in the cast talk, saying (or hoping) that there might be a second drama someday.

The story starts quite cheery, and that takes a rapid turn for dark drama and twisted feelings. Despite this I laughed out load at one of Dimitri his lines, simply because I never expected to hear it (if you really want to know, somewhere in a discussion where he is accused of 'doing all kinds of things to get higher up' he suddenly boldly responds with something along the lines of 'I don't do fellatio, it's not good for my throat'. I didn't see that one coming, and I was baking cake at the time so it was a really weird combination xD)

In my opinion there is a liiiitle bit too much drama overall, but it was still a very good story. I really hope that there will be a second volume someday, because this way you are literally suddenly left in the dark.

New Layout, and other things

Well the layout is still mainly green, very green actually, but it now also features Alice? and Alice from Are you Alice?.

I wanted to make a top image, and what better than someone listening to music? Plus the images actually come from the covers of Drama Cds (and bonus points for the fact that it is Alice 8D)

The side menu has also been revamped, with several new additions; links to audiowiki (a wiki page that lists Drama CDs), several Drama CD companies and series, a search function and a new and better list of labels.

I will probably tweak the layout a bit more, but for now it won't see any other major changes. Please let me know what you think,  or if you know something I could add~


News: 方言恋愛 Vol.3 + 4 announced

Hougen Renai 3 was already anounced, but now a special page for volume 4 has also been created! More dialect goodness is coming our way~

Volume 3 has Fukuoka and Niigata. The character from Fukuoka, Kunitake Yoshito (CV: Ueda Yuuji) is a priest. The story seems to be about a high school student who comes to Fukuoka to see the university before her entrance exams. Kunitake decides to relieve her of her exam stress by (forcefully) dragging her around the place.

The Niigata character, Oumi Keigo(CV: Hirakawa Daisuke) is an actor. He meets the heroine on the shinkansen where she helps him with something, and to thank her he takes her to a museum and shows her around. According to the staff it is a 'story as pure as white snow".

Two reasons to look forward to this volume: Kyuushuu-ben, which I've found to be utterly incomprehensible at times (just listen to the voice samples, you'll understand what I mean), and Hirakawa Daisuke!! The staff remark about Hirakawa-san his story being so pure made me smile, His voice samples also sound very cute!

Volume 4 has Ibaraki and Nagano. The character from Ibaraki, Shibamori Yoshiyuki (CV: Maeno Tomoaki) is a station attendant. The heroine meets him when she forgot something is the train. Shibamori seems to rather timid and his hobby is gardening.

The Nagano character, Hodaka Souji(?) (CV: Hatano Wataru) is a mailman xD The heroine meets him on a vacation in Nagano. In the beginning there seem to be some misunderstandings but they grow closer as time passes.

The first thing I thought when I saw this volume was uniforms!! (>w<) *cough* Haha, as you can see both characters are in uniform, making me interested already. (am I easy to catch or what?). While I have heard Maeno-san his voice before I can't really recall Hatano-san his voice. I knew his name so I'm certain I must have heard hime before but... either way neither seiyuu can be used to catch me, but the dialect love must be spread (and they have uniforms) so I shall "sacrifice" myself and review it when it comes out.

I need to hurry and review volume 2 first...


Captain HOOK love's lock.

An older series again. It took me a while to track this one down, but I finally found it. Written by Ninomiya Ai (IM Label) this is once again a very twisted story. However except for the title and a few names it has little to do with the story of peter pan.

The series has two entries: Get off track and Genetic Aberration, as well as a third image song album called Stay a Fake. It tells the story of several characters that reside inside the city "GIALOCK". Mostly the story tells about Shibako and Ichi, who are both searching for a girl called Wendy.

Captain HOOK love's lock is by no means an easy story. To begin with it is advised to read the story introduction to get an idea of the setting on the official website, otherwise chances are you'll be majorly confused throughout the story. But rest assured, even with said knowledge you're guaranteed to get confused.

The story takes place inside GIALOCK, which is basically a prison for a certain kind of prisoners that have been sentenced to death. The concept is that they can live freely, but execute each other. At some point though, someone discovered that a person can be (re)born from the strong memories and will of another...

Get of track begins with a recording of an interview with Wendy, who has just killed her parents. Or her younger brothers (she changes what she says every few sentences). She says that she did it to protect her younger brothers from the abuse of her parents, or that said abuse was the only gesture of love that they had. At the end of the fragment however, it turns out that while Wendy constantly talks about her 'brothers' she only had one younger brother.

As is often the case with Ninomiya Ai her works the story is told fragmented, in this case through recordings of interviews with the prisoners on the one hand and the current actions of Shibako and Ichi on the other hand. In between there is a story about Ichi raising a dog with puppies which is partly metaphorical for the rest of the story. Because not everything is told you have to put together the various fragments to understand what is going on, which is puzzling at best.
Genetic Aberration continues in the same fragmented style. And in my opinion adds more questions that that it solves. While it does explain Ichi his backstory, it also adds more questions on other points, especially on whether Wendy is still alive or not. On the whole I liked the story, even though it is very vague and left me with a whole bunch of questions. I suppose it was simply the atmosphere that was so great.

The voice acting was good, although Wendy (CV: Mitsuishi Kotono) her performance in particular got stuck in my head. Wendy sounds incredibly innocent, and either doesn't feel that she did something wrong, or is so insane by now that she no longer understands the implications of killing someone. Either way, how she talks about things is chilling.

The only real flaw for me is that the story is so fragmented that it is really hard to understand. What is going on in specific scenes isn't to hard to understand, but how everything is connected or the bigger picture is bloody different to figure out. This is definitely a story that you might want to listen and re-listen, just in order to make a little more sense out of it.


Full Score 01 -side Rock-

 Full Score 01 -side Rock-

This is the first part of three CDs that have music as their main theme (the others are Classic and Jazz). It seems like the CDs will not be directly related, except for making vague, or less vague,  references to each other.

I somewhat expected the standard talk cd where a guy/boyfriend talks to you but with a musical theme. Turns out I was completely wrong . Both Characters interact with each other while Oki (the left one) also explains what is going on and Baba (the right one) generally creates more and more trouble.

Oki is a fourth year student at a music university and member of the K-on (music) club, his everyday life is mainly being ordered around by whims of his senpai, Baba Youhei (who was is actually a few years older but still hasn't graduated). Oki seems rather calm for someone who was in a rock band, Baba on the other hand has the outgoing personality you;d expect. Or rather, a completely impossible personality xD Throughout the story Baba keeps causing trouble that Oki tries to solve, or at least he is the one that has to clean up afterwards.

The story was simple and mostly consists of the conversations between the two, but it was hilarious to listen too. The amount of references (especially to music station music shows and Weekend Millionair quiz shows or various anime make everything even funnier. They also make references to the next volume of FULL SCORE, both in the story and in the -appropriately named- rather strange preview. I'm glad that they didn't (ab)use Oki his backstory (he was in a band before but quit) to create too much drama, this way the drama stayed light and funny without any mood whiplashes.

The last three tracks have nothing to do with the rest of the story and are a mix of randomness and music knowledge. And it turns out that Baba was based on Bach... I'm missing the link between a famous classical composer and the half delinquent drummer but hey xD (well, their names do sound similar). Oki was based on a Japanese composer who's name I've forgotten xD.

Looking at the cast names (Yusa Kouji and Yoshino Hiroyuki) I would have expected the roles to be reversed. Probably because I've mainly heared Yoshino act out delinquent and/or snobbish characters. So I was pleasently surprised by Yoshino his sweet kouhai voice. Yusa's 'rockstar imitation' that he does somewhere in the drama on the other hand is incredibly annoying and hilarious at the same time.

I'm looking forward to the next volume, but most off all I want to hear the Jazz one (I love Jazz :3  )


ふしぎ工房症候群 EPISODE 1 & 2

More by coincidence ans luck than skill I recently discovered a Drama series that was releasd a couple of years ago. I randomly came across the cover and was somehow attracted to it. Only later I researched what it was actually about, and it is one of the greatest treasures I've found.


The series in question is ふしぎ工房症候群 (fushigi koubou shoukougun) which translates into 'mysterious workshop syndrome'. The mysterious workshop in the title is what binds all these stories together. The shop can only be found by someone who is lost and really needs it, and is run by an old man, and sells 'happiness'

Each story is told by a (high profile) voice actor who both tells the story and acts out certain characters. The story is told from the perspective of the main character, and mostly centres on that person his thoughts. In each story the main character is going through a troubled period or trauma, and the mysterious workshop becomes the turning point in their lives.

As the characters visit the workshop in despair or depression, many of the topics are quite heavy. However because the workshop does sell happiness (almost) all stories have a warm ending. I wouldn't really say happy end, but in a way they do find their happiness.

The first story is told by Suwabe Junichi, and is about a man who lost his girlfriend in a car accident. After that he is so broken by the loss that he loses the will to live and quits his job. In the complete despair over her loss he at some points stumbles upon the 'fushigi koubou'. Inside an old man asks him what his order is, and tells him that the workshop sells 'happiness'. The man eventually orders 'his dead girlfriend'. To his surprise he actually finds her when gets back home...

The second story is about an entirely different man, who has a fear of women. While he somehow managed to get through university, his life turns into a living hell in the first week he starts working. After an especially horrible evening he also stumbles upon workshop, and asks to 'cure his fear'. The old man tells him to meet a certain girl, and gives him a list with instructions as to which places to go. What ensues is probably one of the most awkward dates in history.

While both stories may seem somewhat simple, the ending has a slight twist, and because you are actually inside the character's head the emotional impact is very high. The voice acting is -as expected from such high profile voice actors- excellent, and it is interesting to hear the different kind of voices they use. Especially their 'old man voice' can lead to amusing moments.

Especially the first story was very emotional, Suwabe-san does a great job at portraying the loneliness and despair the main character feels over losing his girlfriend. In the second volume the despair and panic of the second man are also well portrayed, to the point where I started feeling uncomfortable as well. On the other hand the awkward situations during their 'date' also made me smile a little. In both cases the end however is very sweet.

A little detail that I liked was that the second album refers to the first one, the two characters were working at the same company. While it is never explicitly said that they were, the main character in the second volume mentions 'a co-worker that quit his job because he had lost his lover'.

The original series spans a total of 12 volumes, and a second season has another 7 volumes. Finally 5 of the original stories were remade into actual dramas. I've listened to all of the original stories, and am now halfway through the second season. Not only are all of the voice actors well known and fantastic, but the stories are well made and do a great job of making you go through all of the feelings the main character feels. One of the best series if you feel like listening to a more serious drama :)


方言恋愛 Vol.1

I am slacking, as always. That doesn't mean that I haven't been listening to any drama's lately. On the contrary, I've listened to a whole bunch of them, but that I'm not writing about it. But I bring new Reviews! :'D

After wondering for ages about which drama I should write I finally settled down on *drumroll*

方言恋愛 Vol.1

Hougen Renai! Which translates into something as 'Dialect Love', which is exactly what it is. There are two reasons why I chose this drama 1: everything is spoken in dialect, 2. 'you' actually have a voice.

But lets start at the beginning. Hougen Renai tells two stories, each one takes place in a different part of Japan. The whole charm of the series is that the dialect of the location where the story supposedly takes placed is used. Most drama are in standard Japanese, and hearing characters talk to each other in dialect feel quite refreshing really. (other than hearing someone talk kansai for the humor effect every once in a while).

The first story is about a young OL that moves from Tokyo to Aichi for her work, and meets Mase Akihito (CV: Sakurai Takahiro), who happens to be working 6 part time jobs at once.  She's having some problems with adjusting to the dialect so he offers to teach her words and expressions. 

In the second story a girl comes back to Kouchi to get her drivers licence. Exactly why she'd go all the way to a prefecture where she only lived for one year in the past just to get her drivers licence is a little beyond me, but let's not question that. There she meets her childhood friend Hirose Yuuichi (CV: Ono Daisuke) who now happens to be an instructor at the driving school she visits. Convenient plot indeed.

The first thing that surprised me is that 'you', the listener, are actually given a voice. I've become completely used to a character talking on his own and little pauses in which you apparently say something, but here you actually talk. And you sound very cute :3
Other than that, it has Sakurai Takahiro and Ono Daisuke, who I both love~  Sakurai his dialect sounds very natural to me, I still overlap his voice with Alice though. Ono Daisuke sounds... very different when talking in dialect? Or maybe this is just one of the first times that I've heard him where he is not acting out the 'perfect boyfriend' (well technically he still is, but to a lesser degree). Either way I liked his performance :3

I liked Sakurai his story most, but I may be biased :P
Really recommended if you'd like to hear something else than standard Japanese every once in a while. The stories on there own were not really that special, but entertaining none the less.

New Series: 週刊添い寝CD

Black Butterfly (the Company that also did Brother Android and Dolly) is starting a new CD series: 週刊添い寝CD (shuukan soine CD). In other words, the weekly sleeping together CD. No I am not kidding you.

The concept is that every week they release a new CD in which a boyfriend stays by your side until you fall asleep. They advise you to listen to it with a headphone or earphones. Meaning that the characters will probably really whisper into your ear.

Due to previous experiences with dramas that also advise that due to the characters talking into your ear or really close by (I am looking at you, Kannou Mukashi Banashi), I doubt I'll be sleeping much~ None the less, the first CD starts of with Hirakawa Daisuke, so I am interested (haha).

For now there are four volumes planned,. Even though all four voice actors are already known, the artwork for the last two hasn't been released yet. Hmmm.

- Vol.1: Hirakawa Daisuke
- Vol.2: Yasumoto Hiroki
- Vol.3: Tachibana Shinnosuke
- Vol.4: Terashima Takuma

The first CD releases on 2010.11.19, with the next one being released one weak later and so on. More info can be found on the official site.