万葉恋歌 ~藤の章~

Manyourenka - Fuji no Shou

Company: Honey Bee
Based on: Manyoushuu
Released: 2009.02.14
Official Site: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/manyou_top.html

万葉恋歌 (Manyou Renka, "Manyou Love Poem") is a series by Honey Bee that is based on the Manyoushuu. Written in ancient Japanese most of these poems are hard to understand, but this series explains the poems and turns them into a comprehensible story.

This is the second volume (released simultaneously with the first though) and is voiced by Yusa Kouji. The story this time starts while our characters are in their last year of college. Yusa plays the role of a bit of a ladies man, who plays around with several girlfriends. He also shows an interest in you, the listener, though this seems to be a bit more serious. However due to a misunderstanding he assumes that you have someone else you like.

Like the first volume each track is an interpretation of a classic poem. At the end of each scene the poem it is based on is read and its explanation is given. However it might me the atmosphere of the work, but I felt like the poems were less fitting this time. Still I'm impressed how they make a single story out of all these unrelated poems.

Again, track 21 to 39 are all of the poems used in this work.

While I enjoyed the first one more this is still a nice story. One thing that bothered me however is that Yusa his voice acting somehow sounds unnatural to me at times (heaven knows why, because his acting is usually superb).


お仕事男子 Vol.5 職業 アイドル

Oshigoto Danshi vol.5 - Idol

Company: Broccoli
Based on: Original
Released: 2010.01.27
Official Site: http://www.broccoli.co.jp/cd/sp/oshigoto/

Oshigoto Danshi is a series that centers on the development of the relationship between yourself and a guy with a specific profession. This time the main character is Tachibana Yuu, an idol and Aizawa Ryuunosuke (from vol.4) his younger brother.

Because Yuu is a selfish brat, he tends to switch managers a lot. Between two of them you're assigned as a temporary manager. And thus you have to listen to Yuu his every demand and whim. In the beginning he keeps complaining that you can't do a thing, but slowly he gets used to you.

If you've read more of my reviews you might know that brats and overly genki types are not my type. Still I enjoyed this volume. Especially listening to all of the silly things that you do for Yuu. When he says on a whim that he wants Cream Soda you somehow go and get it, etc. However Yuu also has his own problems, he is convinced that people only like him because of his face and his (fake) genki personality.

Like the first four volumes this one is couples with another CD, in this case vol.6. Kaga Kazuomi, the character for vol.6, has a kimono store and provides the kimono's for one of Yuu his photo-shoots. Where Yuu is the one ordering everyone around usually, Kaga-san is the only one who gets to boss Yuu around the place.

What I loved most about the free talk is the sound of Namikawa-san his voice dropping immensely (≧▽≦) and the comment that he thanks the staff for giving him a character that is 20 (while he was 33 at the time).

Despite being my least favorite type of character (and Namikawa-san is with me on that, just listen to the free talk (≧▽≦) this was a very enjoyable story. I can't take Yuu seriously as a potential boyfriend, but the story is very entertaining.


万葉恋歌 ~桜の章~

Manyourenka ~Sakura no Shou~

Company: Honey Bee
Based on: Manyoushuu
Released: 2009.02.14
Official Site: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/manyou_top.html

万葉恋歌 (Manyou Renka, "Manyou Love Poem") is a series by Honey Bee that is based on the Manyoushuu. Written in ancient Japanese most of these poems are hard to understand, but this series explains the poems and turns them into a comprehensible story.

This is the first volume and is voiced by Kamiya Hiroshi. Story-wise, our main character accidentally bumps into a girl on his way home. The encounter ends with each of them apologizing to the other, but he can't get her out of his mind. After a long while of simply being happy sometimes seeing her on the way home he finally finds the courage to ask her out.

What is interesting in this case is not the story, which is sweet and enjoyable on it's own, but how they managed to link different poems from the Manyoushuu to it. Each track ends with a poem and it's explanation. So each track is effectively a modern situation interpretation of a poem.

Classical Japanese never has and never will be my forte, but I don't think I would ever manage to grasp the meaning of these poems without someone explaining them to me. Interesting enough, they've managed to combine these poems that are not related at all into a single story. Writing a scenario to one poem must be tricky enough, but combining several poems into one story is truly an achievement if you ask me.

As a bonus (I suppose?) all of the poems are included as separate tracks after the main drama.

Maybe partly because it is based on classical poems, or maybe it is the soundtrack that uses classical Japanese instruments, but the entire atmosphere is very calm. The story is really sweet and it interesting to hear the interpretations that they've made to these poems. Recommended for a day on which you feel like listening to something calm and a bit heartwarming.


ふしぎ工房症候群 EPISODE.3 「ひとりぼっちの誕生日」

Fushigi Koubou Shoukougun Episode.3 - Hitoribocchi no Tanjoubi

Company: Cosmic Ray
Based on: Original
Released: 2005.06.24
Official Site: http://www.cosmicray.co.jp/fks/

ふしぎ工房症候群 (fushigi koubou shoukougun) translates into something like 'mysterious workshop syndrome'. The mysterious workshop in the title is what binds all of the stories in this series together. The shop can only be found by someone who is lost and really needs it, and is run by an old man, who 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 centers on that person his thoughts. In each story the main character is going through a troubled period or trauma, and the mysterious workshop becomes a turning point in their lives.

The seiyuu for the third volume is Sakurai Takahiro, and he portraits a man who is a workaholic. Or maybe it is better to say someone who only wants to get higher up, as this means not only doing his work perfectly, but also doing his best at social relations withing his work. The story starts at the morning of his birthday, when his girlfriend calls. However because there will be an important business deal later that day he quickly hangs up. However after dealing with her again around lunch, it turns out that his superiors have chosen someone else to complete the deal, and his world is turned upside down. While still angry and utterly destroyed he stumbles upon the fushigi koubou...

Sakurai does a brilliant job of portraying a snobbish "my-work-is-my-life and everyone else is just a tool to accomplish what I want" kind of character. You're guaranteed to dislike him within minutes. On the other side, in the scene where he realizes he was wrong I was nearly crying. Like I sad before while reviewing episode 1 & 2, the series is constructed in such a way that it feels like you are inside the characters head, meaning that the emotional impact is very strong. That and the soundtrack is beautiful.

Just like how the character from episode 1 is mentioned in episode 2, the character from episode 2 makes a cameo in this episode. Just before finding the fushigi koubou himself Sakurai his character bumps into him on the street. The two were in the same year at university.

This series will forever be my favorite, and this episode is voiced by my favorite seiyuu so it was a given that I would love this. Not only do I love listening to how versatile the voices of these seiyuu are, but the story in constructed so good that you really feel like you are going through all of the emotions of the main character. You almost feel like you've become a better person yourself.


ボクたちオトコの娘 ~アイドルデビュー編~

Bokutachi Otoko no Ko

Company: Frontierworks
Based on: Original
Release date: 2011.04.27
Official Site: http://www.fwinc.co.jp/otokonoko/

Last month I mentioned that this drama CD caught my eye, and I found it so that means review time!!

But first, a short recap on the story: Sakurai Seri (CV: Shimono Hiro), Mitsuya Ren (CV: Ishida Akira) and Aoyagi Tama (CV: Yonaga Tsubasa) are three boys that debut as a female idol group. And thus their days of listening to the impossible demands of the company president (CV: Konishi Katsuyuki ) or being chased around by their manager (CV: Maeno Tomoaki ) begin.

The story begins with Seri being scouted by the company president after failing an audition somewhere. Dreaming of becoming an idol one day Seri happily agrees to come to his company (which, btw, is a wordplay on Johhny's production).  A few days later he is calls to the presidents office together with Ren and Tama, and it is announced that they are going to be a female idol group.

Because they are boys this naturally isn't going to be easy, so the three of them receive daily training and start living together to get used to each other. This is basically what the drama is about, their training to become an idol and Seri his doubts about becoming a female idol at that.

I expected more slapstick situations, considering the setting, but the story keeps a good balance between funny situations and Seri his doubts and the obligatory we're-in-this-together moments. Altogether funny and lighthearted but just a sprinkle of being serious.The three main boys of course have very different personalities, with Seri being the 'normal' one, Tama acting incredibly cute, and Ren being more of a cold tsundere personality.

The free talk and bonus track on the other hand are incredibly funny. Apparently the recording was a lot of fun, because everyone is very genki while doing the free-talk. Yonaga-san remarks that those hearing him for the first time might think that he is a woman but that he really is a guy (>▽<). The bonus track is called "the toilet issues of being an otoko no ko" which speaks for itself.

 I expected more slapstick but it was funny enough, and I hope that they will continue this with how things go after their debut. Also, am I the only one who expected the roles of Maeno and Konishi to be reversed?


お仕事男子 vol.4 職業 警官

Oshigoto Danshi - Keikan

Company: Broccoli
Based on: Original
Released: 2009.12.29
Official Site: http://www.broccoli.co.jp/cd/sp/oshigoto/

Oshigoto Danshi is a series that centers on the development of the relationship between yourself and a guy with a specific profession. This time the main character is Aizawa Ryuunosuke, who is a police officer. It starts brilliantly, with Aizawa mistaking you for a cross-dresser and arresting you. Understandably you are rather upset, and he he in turn gets incredibly flustered when he finds out you really are a woman.

Other than mistaking you for a cross-dresser he seems to be doing his job pretty well. He has a very kind personality, but he is a bit clumsy with words.

You first meet during your unfortunate arrest, but Aizawa turns out to be Tachibana Yuu's (the idol you are managing and your target for vol.5) older brother, and thus you meet again. As if that isn't enough you meet again when your bag gets stolen (how many chance meetings do you want?
(゚-^ ) . Aizawa gets himself knocked out but manages to gt your bag back. In order to catch the culprit however you offer to help out as bait.

As a diversion tactic for the operation you decide to act as if the two of you are on a date, where Saeki comes to butt in for the usual conversation scene. Aizawa still gets to show his skills in the end when you find your culprit.

The free-talk is cute, Konishi-san remarks that this might just be turned into a game if we support them enough, and gets laughed at by the staff. Still he hopes we will support the series.

I'm seriously doubting between vol.2 and this one, Aizawa his clumsiness is to adoring, you can't help but to smile. (come to think of it, I also liked  Ninomiya because of his becoming flustered, hmmm). Other than that, this is a really cute story to listen to, even though Broccoli was going overboard with the culprit being your personal stalker. That was a bit too much the-world-revolves-around-me for my tastes.


お仕事男子 vol.3 職業 美容師

Oshigoto Danshi - Biyoushi

Company: Broccoli
Based on: Original
Released: 2009.12.29
Official Site: http://www.broccoli.co.jp/cd/sp/oshigoto/

Oshigoto Danshi is a series that centers on the development of a relation between yourself and a guy with a certain profession. This is the third vol. and centers on Saeki Miku (CV: Sugita Tomokazu), a hairdresser.
In the first track you are walking somewhere on the street ans Saeki suddenly approaches you to ask whether you want to be a model for a cut show. Not surprisingly you find it rather suspicious and walk off.
As fate will have it however you visit the salon where he works a few days later. Turns out one of the idols you manage (Tachibana Yuu - your target for vol.5) recommended this very salon to you. After Saeki cuts your hair he once again asks whether you want to be his model, eventually you accept.
Saeki is pretty lighthearted and fun, however he works hard for the upcoming competition. He also tries his best to comfort you when you are nervous before the show,  although he also gets nervous just before you go on stage. He takes you out for dinner after the show, and you get to see a more serious side.
Like the first two CDs this one is coupled with second CD. The main character for vol.4, a police officer, visits the salon while you are there, and you get to hear the two of them bickering, which is fun ('-'*)♪
In the free-talk Sugita-san first starts to talk about how he is a guy even though his name is Miku (>∇<). Other than that he talks about his own experience at a salon and how he consulted his own hairdresser on how he should act his role.
I'm still on the Ninomiya side, but this was interesting two. However when coupled with vol.4 Saeki is completely outshined by Aizawa (or maybe I am just too partial to Konishi Katsuyuki (゚∇^*)


News: 調律葬交 Zyklus;CODE

Last week the site for Zyklus; CODE officially opened, still without information on the seiyuu but with more information on the story and characters. However the seiyuu have been announced during Comic City the same day the site opened, so their names are floating around on the web.

Story-wise the description on the site is still rather vague. The story page doesn't mention much that makes sense:

科学, 魔導, 繁栄共に,
生物兵器 AX(アクス)」まれた


"Along with the prospering of science, magic, and civilization
the biological weapon known as "AX" was born.
The melody that is born from it's body that is exactly like that of a human,
becomes a beautiful death agony that humans can not play,
and it sets a lost history in motion"

"This is a genetic music piece that interweaves humans and AX,
and sneers at death and rebirth."

Don't worry if it doesn't make sense yet, it makes little sense to me as well. lets just assume that music and death and rebirth are important themes, and that there is a biologic (or 'living' if you take it a bit more literally) weapon (゚∇^*)

Where the biological weapon comes in is not hard to guess, only two characters have been announced so far, and Petrouchka (CV: Saitou Chiwa) her character bio states that it has been "98 days since she was manufactured". Apparently she has lost her ability to sense beautiful music and due to a turn of event was taken in by our second character;

Shiryuu Rentarou (CV: Terashima Takuma). Who builds the worst music organs in town, and needless to say doesn't manage to sell them either. Other than that his character bio states that he isn't used to dealing with woman, nor tries to understand them. And that he is a heavy smoker.

I am now trying to imagine Terashima doing a heavy smoker voice, and failing. The cast really surprised me. No Sakurai yet, and if we are talking about a heavy smoker character I would have bet my money on Hirata Hiroaki (because Ninomiya Ai loves using the same seiyuu in many of her works). Still, I'm confident that both of them will still show up somewhere in the castlist.


Sougiya Riddle

Company: Square Enix x Frontierworks
Based on: Manga
Release date: 2011.04.27

Based on the manga of the same name, we're quite literally dropped in the middle of the story in this drama CD. Introduction of the story and characters takes place a little later when Sakura Hayato (CV: Sakurai Takahiro) explains -part of- the situation.

As it turns out he is loved by all things spiritual and ghosts frequently pesters him. One day while he is dealing with two female ghosts (CV:  Murata Tomosa and Takamoto Megumi) the 'undertaker' Riddle (CV: Yusa Kouji) suddenly appears before him. Riddle frees Hayato from the ghosts and offers him a contract but Hayato refuses. Only later when Hayato has been attacked by a vengeful spirit and is on the verge of death he reluctantly agrees. Thus Hayato now has to work as Riddle his assistant. This introduction of the story is very faithfull to the first chapter of the manga, almost word for word. The only difference is that Hayato tells it in a flashback here.

Continueing the story the two of them travel to the palace of the King of the afterworld, Faust (CV: Itou Mika) for a meeting. While there we meet the rest of the rather quirky cast. the accountant Blood (CV: Okiayu Ryoutarou) fellow undertakers Ruka and Ansem (CV: Paku Romi and Hirakawa Daisuke) Sharu and Jullian (CV: Fukuen Misato and Saiga Mitsuki) and Dante and Hiren (CV: Toriumi Kousuke and Konishi Katsuyuki). While everyone is going about being their quirky self Hayato accidentaly unleashes a chamber full of spirits that were waiting for their trial (whether to go to heaven or to hell) and thus everyone needs to find and capture them.

Despite having the word 'undertaker' in the title this is a very lighthearted and like I said quirky drama CD. Especially the characters with their weird habits and traits make this fun to listen to. No real knowledge of the manga is necessary, although a lot of characters are introduced in a rapid pace, and though there is little danger of not being able to tell them apart you can't help but to wonder what background stories you are missing.

The cast free talk is funny as well, everyone (even Murata-san who only did 'girl 1' xD) introduces themselves and says a few things. Apparently many people kept calling Riddle 'doriru' xD  Toriumi introduces himself as 'Dante Toriumi', Majima gets told off for not pronouncing his name clearly, Yonaga is accused of stripping, and Sakurai mixes his own name with that of his character. He also mentions that you an hear Yonaga-san his footsteps, I missed them but it is a nice listening challenge. If anyone hears them please tell me :)

I really liked this one. I've never read the manga but this sparked an interest. There are a lot of famous seiyuu in this CD (Itou Miki even mentioned being nervous because of that, even though she has been in the field the longest of them all xD) so that should have enough people interested. I'm just here to tell you that it won't disappoint. Also, this is completely unrelated, but I liked the background music.


お仕事男子 vol.2 職業 医者

Oshigoto Danshi Vol.2 - Shokugyou Isha

Company: Broccoli
Based on: Original
Released: 2009.11.25
Official Site: http://www.broccoli.co.jp/cd/sp/oshigoto/

Oshigoto Danshi is a series of drama CDs in which you meet various guys through your work (as an OL for Green Entertainment Productions, a company that manages idols and actors).
This volume centers on Njnomiya Masato (CV: Yusa Kouji), the docter we already glimpsed in vol.1. You start off with a bit of a brilliant cliche. You first meet when you are assigned to help him  with a health check at your company, but bump into him again that evening when he finds a kitten that you've been taken care of near your home. The poor thing is malnourished but you're not allowed to have pets where you live so you ask him to take care of it. Of course you also visit a few times and that is how your relationship develops.

Masato is your typical calm and collected intelligent type. However when he gets flustered because the kitten is in bad shape or, in the end, because you get hurt he is just to lovable.

In many of these series there is a different heroine for every entry in the series, but for oshigoto danshi the girl in question is the same girl every time, so all the characters are interrelated. Masato and Kanou (CV: Kishio Daisuke) from vol.1 are cousins, so when Masato comes to visit you near your work and Kannou sees you he comes to interrupt and in the following conversation you get to see a whole different side of Masato. Kannou sounds a lot younger than in his own CD btw.

I had the free talk for this one and Yusa amuses me. He is complaining about the heroine is the same person and that that makes him jealous, so he tries to convince you to come to the 'Ninomiya side' xD

Yusa has me convinced to come to the Ninomiya side. Kannou his all round lovableness is nice, but I like the intelligent type more. Masato is more mature as well (which shoudn't be surprising, considering that he is 4 years older). I suppose it is just a matter of personal taste, but Masato is one of my favorites in the series.

Review page updated + news

All reviews from April have been added to the review page. Didn't manage to post a review every day, but I got close so on the the next month!! There is a lot of new stuff that I want to listen to, so expect new stuff mixed in!

In other news:

The Oujisama (warai) page has been updated with the announcement of an event in july. Although you have to be in Japan to be able to go of course, but if you can't just go and take a look at the new image on top of the page, it is adorable.

The homepage for Zyklus Code will officially open tomorrow, so don't forget to check, although I'm bound to post about it to remember you again ;)

Kannou Jikan 4 has been confirmed for release. The only description that the homepage gives us for now is that "even though his hair is red, his theme color is yellow" and "the setting is more mysterious this time". Messesanoh is proving useful again, as it already shows us the cover, full title and seiyuu. The title is 感応時間4 ~ねじ巻き 帽子屋の観劇ショー~ (Kannou Jikan 4 ~nejimaki boushiya no kangekishoo~ Kannou Jikan 4 ~The show of the clock winding hatter) and the seiyuu this time is Morikawa Toshiyuki, the recordings will start next week right after Golden Week.. I'm just hoping they are improving again, or this will be the second negative review on the site.