April Fools - Seventh Heaven

While the Wasurenagusa blog got a header drawn by 35 (who did the artwork for Seventh heaven), the Seventh Heaven blog gets a header drawn by Suou (who does the artwork for Wasurenagusa). This header will also be up only for this day, so go and see the pretty thing!!

Of course they also made a silly blog post for Seventh Heaven, this time Seventh heaven themed snacks. As expected by snacks based on shinigami, most of them kill you xD. translation can be found here.

April Fools - Wasurenagusa

Time to see how many April Fools jokes/pranks/mischief we can find!!

Rejet their Wasurenagusa one is hilarious. They made a blog post with the cast settings for a Wasurenagusa School Drama. This sounds like something that I would actually love to hear. A translation of the entire post can be found here.

They also updated the header of the blog to an image drawn by 35 (who does the art for their Seventh heaven series). The header will only be up for one day, so go and check it out before it disappears!


Weekly News Post

Team You-Tak 
Ono Yuuki and Eguchi Takuya have paired up as a team to make several drama CDs and a radio show a while ago. Their first drama CD was released February last year, but they are releasing new stuff again. Or well, releasing them in stores, because both of them were already sold at events. 

The first one is ゆーたくの囁きCD (yuutaku no sasayaki CD). Apparently they asked the audience at their first event to write down sentences that they would like You-Tak to read, but didn't get the chance to actually do this during the event. And so these have been recorded are are now released on a CD. According to Ono Yuuki his blog the CD contains both the Ono Yuuki versions and Eguchi Takuya version of almost 100 sentences, both sweet ones and pretty mean ones.

The second CD is 恋チョイ!~大学生編~ (koichoi ~daigakusei hen~, Koi Choi (Love Choice) ~University Student Chapter~), which is a situation CD in which you get to choose between 4 characters who have all fallen in love with you. You can choose your own favourite by choosing which tracks to listen. I am guessing there is a general story line, after which you can choose which guy you like most. Of course both Ono Yuuki and Eguchi Takuya voice a character, and they are joined by Kimura Ryouhei and Akabane Kenji.

Both CDs will be released on 2013.04.24.


Jinrou -Chaotic Time-

人狼 -chaotic time-

Company: Koepota
Based on: Werewolf (the game)
Released: 2012.09.26

Official site: http://www.koepota.jp/wearwolf/

Jinrou - chaotic time- is based on the Werewolf party game. In the game, everyone is dealt a card which specifies whether they are human or a wolf. The wolves know each other, but the humans only know the number of wolves. During the night phase the wolves 'kill' on of the humans, and during the day everyone debates who should be eliminated in an attempt to kill the wolves. There are several special roles, such as the hunter (who can protect someone), or the fortune teller (who can determine whether someone is a wolf or a human). The goal of game is for each team to try an 'kill' the other team.

This CD uses the rules of the game, but everything is played out like it is a real scenario. The CD is partly narrated by Yuuki (CV: Ono Yuuki), one of the villagers, who tells what happened during the night and gives some background information. The discussions during the day time are like a normal drama. At the end of each day a narrator voice announces the votes for that day.

Right before a large festival, when most of the villagers have left, the remaining villagers are attacked by 3 werewolves who have found their way into their midst. Due to a heavy rainstorm that lasts several days they can't get any help from outside, and so they eventually decide to choose one person to execute each day by majority vote, in the hope that they manage to kill the wolves that way.

This strategy seems like a good plan, until two characters claim that they are the fortune teller, which means that one of them is an imposter. This causes the villagers to distrust each other more and more, and each day the discussions on who to execute grow more fierce.

To summarize the entire situation:
  • There are 14 people at the start of the story: Yuuki, Morison, Layle, Arona, Mei, Ani, Sofia, Sasha, Stacy, Fan, Makandel, Irene, Eris, and Kurt.
  • The village is attacked by three werewolves, who kill one person each night.
  • To eliminate the wolves the villagers decide to sacrifice the person they think is most suspicious during the day. This is done by voting, and the person chosen is killed with a poison.
  • There are several special roles: two associates (two villagers who know one another and that they are innocent), one maniac (who is human but assists the wolves), one fortune teller (who can tell whether a person is a wolf or human, although only one person each day. If the person chosen is the Youko, he or she dies), one psychic (who can tell whether the person executed the previous day was human or a wolf), and one hunter (who can protect someone from being killed), and one Youko (fox spirit), who wins when still alive at the end of the game)
When I started listening I was surprised that the CD started with the second day; you'll have to read the events of the first day one the official site. This means that you are introduced to a lot of characters at once, and at times it was a bit hard to keep track of all of them. Mainly because 14 people is a lot, and also because some characters hardly speak in the beginning.

The bulk of this drama is mainly the discussions between the different characters. The discussions are understandably emotional at times, and I found myself thinking with everyone on who should be trusted or not.

The solution is finally revealed during the cast call, where all the seiyuu state their character name and role. This makes the cast call the most important track in the entire CD, and I'm pretty sure I've never listened to one this attentively. It also made me flail in despair when I discovered some characters where something different from what I thought.

The CD comes with a code that can be used to log in to the official site, so that you can listen to the 'night part' in which the three wolves discuss who they will attack that night. It is obviously best to listen to this after you have heard the main drama, otherwise most of the suspense will be gone. While the night part was certainly interesting because it shows that the wolves also value each other, the writing was nowhere near as good as that of the main drama.

I've never played werewolf myself, but at least in drama CD for it was very interesting to listen to. You do need to pay a lot of attention while listening though, or you miss things and with that the understanding of why the characters act in a certain way. I know of at least one other drama CD which uses werewolf as a motif: Doubt (which is based on the manga of the same name). Although that series is a lot more bloody (and creepy thanks to some very disturbing rabbit masks) and I am curious how that CD is.

PS: because trying to fit their names in the review made it completely unreadable, here is the cast list:

Yuuki: Ono Yuuki
Morison: Eguchi Takuya
Layle: Okamoto Nobuhiko
Arona: Kayano Ai
Mei: Mimori Suzuko
Ani: Tamiyasu Tomoe
Sofia: Komatsu Mikako
Sasha: Toyama Nao
Fan: Kobayashi Naoto
Makandel / Kurt: Asashina Junpei
Irene: Sakura Yuki
Eris: Nakamura Asami


Anata ga Ofuro de Noboseru CD Vol.5

Yes it has been a while since I reviewed anything from this series, almost half a year actually. I kept wanting to go back to it but somehow never really got to it. Until now that is.

あなたがお風呂でのぼせるCD 第5弾 「道後編」

Company: em2
Based on: Onsen
Released: 2012.07.25

Anata ga Ofuro de Noboseru CD is a series that has personified various onsen from all over Japan. By using this CD (which stands for "Compact Dream") the personified spirit of an onsen appears in your bathroom, and takes a bath together with you. This fourth CD features Dougo Onsen and is Voiced by Kaji Yuki.

As always the Guide (CV: Fujiwara Keiji) does the introduction and hands you a 'CD' (Compact Dream) and gives you the advice to "pause and take a deep breath in case things become too much".

When you use the 'CD' Dougo makes a super genki entrance, appearing fully clothed in the middle of your bath and splashing water all over the place. He calls you "onee-chan" the entire CD and he has a somewhat childish personality, although he occasionally says some rather...ahum, provocative things.

After his super genki entrance he notices that you are somewhat down and seem to have a headache, so he proposes to take a bath together so that you can relax. You first refuse to enter the bath again because you are embarrassed so he promises to close his eyes (and consequently stumbles over some of the things in the bathroom).

He insist on helping you wash yourself, but because he can't see what he is doing he tells you to "take his hand and guide him". These are exactly the kind of things Dougo at times says with that cute childish voice of his while you can't help but wonder what he actually thinks. Somewhere halfway through he asks you whether he can kiss you, and you splash water in his face (at which point he opens his eyes and discovers that you were still wearing a towel xD).

His counting track is super cute. He starts really genki but gets notably tired the longer he counts. Apparently he wasn't in the bath with you, because at the end of the count he jumps into the bath.

After you've been in the bath he offers to wash your hair, and summons a shampoo hat. Which you -obviously- refuse to wear. Dougo notices that you seem down again and pretends to have shampoo in his eye to lure you close so that he can hug you (sneaky little kid). You end up washing your own hair, but he insists on washing it so he washes it a second time.

While applying conditioner to your hair he once again mentions that you seem down, and that your eyes are red. While he acted somewhat childish before, he shows a more reliable side here. When it is time for him to go you yourself are actually the one to want him to stay and to kiss him first.

After the main part there is a short guide of the onsen they personified in the CD. The Guide and Dougo introduce several things, including that you can apparently warm up mikan (tangerines) in the water and eat them. I honestly never thought of that but it seems interesting. Dougo also tells the Guide not to reveal his age, because otherwise you would get mad at him for pretending to be so young.

Kaji Yuuki his cast talk is, as opposed to his character, pretty calm. He simply answers the usual questions and that's it: Whether there is an item he uses in his daily 'ofuro (bath) life' (Books, or anything to read), Whether he washes his head or body first (Head first, because of gravity xD), Whether he likes his bath hot or more lukewarm (not really lukewarm but after the water has cooled a bit).

Dougo is mainly just cute, but his switch to more being more serious really tugged at my heartstrings. He is never going to be my favourite in the series but it was a nice CD none the less.


Shitsuji no Kare - Kuro Route

執事の彼 黒ルート

Label: StellaWorth
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.09.23

This is StellaWorth their second original drama cd after Osananajimi no Kare. It follows the same pattern as the first one: there are two CDs, a white route and a black route. The white route is essentially the 'happy ending' where you get together with your guy. In the black route however you do something to upset him and things go wrong.

In this CD you are a wealthy young lady. Your parents are always abroad, but your butler (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru) is always by your side. He comes to wake you up in the morning, serves you breakfast, basically takes care of everything that you need.

Both versions of the CD start in exactly the same way, so the beginning where he comes to wake you up and serves you breakfast is exactly the same as in the white CD. In the black route however, you decide to accept to meet the omiai (arranged marriage) partner. Your butler is visibly (audibly?) affected by this but he says it is nothing.

Instead of making a cake together, he says that he will prepare a dress for you to wear to the omiai tomorrow. Later that evening he comes into your room when you are trying on the dress. His compliments on how beautiful you look are bordering on sexual harassment. He starts to reminiscence about how he was mistaken for your father when you were younger, and wonders what people would think when you'd walk together now, whether they would think you are lovers. He kisses you, but immediately apologizes and leaves.

Later that night you speak to him again, and he confesses that he somehow always thought that he would be by your side forever, so he is worried about what will happen if you marry. You seem to be worried about the omiai as well, but when he tells you that he would take you somewhere with just the two of you if he could, you actually have the sense to run away xD

The story skips to the next night after the omiai. Apparently your omiai partner got a bit physical with you and left a kiss mark on your neck. Obviously your butler gets angry and loses his calm, saying that he won't hand you over to anyone. He more or less forces himself onto you, but you do share his feelings so you accept his actions. (You only accepted the omiai so that he might be able to give up on him)

So far this was much less extreme than the black route in the first CD, so I was kind of surprised. Ok, so it was less cutesy than the white route, but at this point I was wondering whether this was going to be it. And exactly that moment things took a rapid turn to the yandere side.

You wake up the next morning when your butler enters your room. You notice that the mansion is very silent this morning, and he says he sent all the other servants away because he "doesn't want them to see how he is scolded by your parents". But he messes up a few sentences later, saying that "your parents even told him to die" but he quickly changes this into "they would probably tell him to die". You notice that he has blood on his sleeves, but he assures you "that it is just from a paper-cut".

And if this hasn't raised enough alarm bells just yet, the final scene shows that he took you to a vacation home to keep you there, and even chained you up...

Like I said in the white route review, I didn't think Midorikawa-san his yandere is very convincing, although I have to admit that the scene were he comes into your room on the morning after was done brilliantly. But I think this is also partly my bias speaking, because sweet characters just seem to fit him better.

This isn't as good as the black route in Osananajimi no Kare, but pretty decent none the less. With Ani to Osananajimi stellaworth switched the formula to have two black routes, but I actually like this whole white route - black route concept, so I hope that they will switch back if they decide to make another one.


Weekly News Post

I think that once I'm done with posting the news I'm going to count how many CDs are actually being released in the next few months, because this is honestly getting ridiculous....

Abunai Koi no Sousashitsu
Looks like the game is still pretty popular, because a third drama CD has been announced. The title is アブナイ★恋の捜査室ドラマCD ~恐怖のキャンプ編~ (abunai koi no sousashitsu drama cd ~kyoufu no kyanpu hen~, Abunai Koi no Sousashitsu ~Camp of Fear Chapter~), so the story will probably have something to do with outdoor camping but the product summary gives no more information besides this being an original story. The full cast (Maeno Tomoaki, Kondo Takashi, Tachibana Shinnosuke, Suganuma Hisayoshi, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Miki Shinichirou, Narita Ken, Miyata Kouki) return for this CD, which will be released on 2013.05.15.


Ima, ai ni yukimasu


Label: Frontier Works
Based on: Novel
Released: 2008.06.25

Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu ("I'll go and meet you right now") is a drama CD based on the novel of the same name. The novel has also been adapted into a movie (known as "be with you" in English) and a television drama. The details differ a bit between the different adaptions, but it tells the story of Aio Takumi, his wife Mio, and their son Yuuji.

The story begins with Aiou Takumi (CV: Ishida Akira) talking with a friend (CV: Naya Rokurou). It seems like he met someone and fell in love again. The man gives him a letter from a girl named 'Mio'.

In the next scene shows Takumi current life with his 6 year old son, Yuuji (CV: Ogata Megumi). It becomes that clear that he was married to someone named Mio and that Yuuji is their son, however Mio died a year ago, and Takumi and Yuuji are having some trouble dealing with all the housework on their own. We also learn that Takumi is not entirely healthy either. Due to some sort of illness he suffered from periods of weakness, and his memory isn't the best either.

Each weekend they go to the forest together, and one day suddenly find Mio at an abandoned factory lot in the forest. However, Mio has lost her memory and doesn't remember who she is or who Takumi and Yuuji are. Takumi lies to her that she came here with them and convinces her to go home with them. The reason for this is that shortly before she died Mio told him that "she would come and visit them when the rain comes".

Takumi always told Yuuji that people who die go to the "archive star", so Yuuji simply believes that she came back from that star. Takumi convinces him to pretend that Mio was still alive all this time.

Mio starts living with them again, and in order for Mio to remember who she is Takumi tells her how they met, how they started dating, and how they lived together. Especially the story of how they started to date is just so sweet. Both of them were very shy, and it is possibly one of the cutest relationship stories ever.

The entire story is both beautiful and sad. The scene at the hospital is one of the most heartbreaking scenes I've ever listened to, and the beautiful piano music that is used for most of the CD perfectly matches (and sets) the atmosphere.

The revelation was of why Mio was able to return to them really surprised me. Mio finds out the truth by reading a letter that she addressed at herself, and Takumi (and the listener) eventually also discover the truth by reading this letter as well. All I can say is that it made me love Mio even more.

The drama CD has two discs and is long, very long. The entire story is more than two hours. But I loved every moment of it. The cheerful parts, the sweet parts, and the heartbreaking scenes, and the bittersweet feeling it leaves you with.

I'm usually not really a fan of Ishida Akira his voice, but his Takumi really touched me. His acting is partly why I love this CD so much. The writing is beautiful, but his acting gave so much life and emotions to Takumi. Yuuji is the cutest kid I ever heard, which made his confession to Mio about he always felt guilty because he thought she died because of him all the more heartbreaking.

Another CD that left me with tears in my eyes. I've had this on my 'to listen' list for ages and I'm glad I finally listened to it. I would love to read the novel but looking at the amount of yet-to-be-read books on my shelf, I'd better work my way through those first.


Pasta Mafia


Label: Frontier Works
Based on: Original
Released: 2011.10.26
Official site: http://www.fwinc.co.jp/pasta/pasta.php

Pasta Mafia is a mix of between pasta gijinka (personification) and a mafia story. Although, they didn’t get to be very mafia-ish in this CD. All of the characters are personifications of pasta dishes. Our main hero is Pomodore, who runs his own mafia and uses Amatrice as his base.

One day a young boy named Corzetti (CV: Yonaga Tsubasa) asks him to help him find the lost treasure of his family. Corzetti says his family is very eager when it comes to money, so he wants to find the treasure and get rid of it to prevent them fighting over it. Pomodore (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa) doesn’t immediately agree but takes Corzetti back to his hideout to consult with the rest of his mafia gang.

Back at the hideout we are introduced to the rest: Pomodore his younger brother Cream (CV: Hino Satoshi), the okama and very feminine Capellini (CV: Terashima Takuma), who is always arguing with Macaroni (CV: Sugita Tomokazu), Paperdelle (CV: Kaji Yuuki) who is the youngest and always eating something, and the calm and silent Penne (CV: Sakurai Takahiro). Also there is Nero - another younger brother of Pomodore- who came to visit, much to the dismay of Pomodore.

All of them agree to help out with finding the treasure, but before they can actually begin Nero secretly replaces the treasure map that they got with a different map because he is jealous of Pomodore giving attention to someone other than himself (he as a bit of a brother complex).

To make things even more complex Bolognese (CV: Okiayu Ryoutarou) steals the -already switched out- map from them before they can start to search for the treasure, so they end up chasing after him first in order to even be able to go and search for the treasure.

The colourful cast makes the CD fun to listen to, although it does feel like there is something lacking. When it comes to hilarious conversations between characters there are other series that are much better. Not everyone gets enough screen time to fully show their personality either, although this might be understandable considering that this was planned as a series. Unfortunately it seems to have sort of died out.

Pomodore and Bolognese get to show off most of their quirks, but the rest of the characters don’t. Which is too bad, because I would have loved to see Macaroni snap and go on an endless rage for example. The same goes for everyone’s weapons; the official character descriptions list a weapon for each character but we never get to hear them use it (Penne fights with a pen for example, I would have loved to hear how that works out).

Still, I like most of the characters. Yonoga his Corzetti sounds incredibly cute, and Okiayu Ryoutarou doing a crack quirky personality is always fun, I really love it when he does roles like that. There is a little bit of dialect in the way Hosoya his Pomodore speaks, which also made me happy. I find Nero annoying, but he is supposed to be so I guess Ishida Akira did a good job with that as well. Terashima Takuma voicing an okama was a first for me, and I loved it.

Thanks to everyone being named after a food I got so incredibly hungry while listening to this. All of the Spaghetti brothers (Bolognese, Pomodore, Cream, Nero) are named after different spaghetti dishes, and the rest of the characters (Penne, Macaroni, Paperdelle, Capellini, Corzetti) are all different types of pastas. I had never heard of the last two by the way. Capellini is a very thin type of pasta, which is no doubt why he is so femine. The name also means ‘fine hair’ – and Capellini is a hairdresser and very proud of his own long hair. Corzetti is a flat, circular type of pasta often embossed with a decoration by stamping them.

In the cast talk everyone talks about what kind of food they would want a girl to make for them. Some of the best answers: Sugita Tomokazu would prefer making something together, Sakurai is fine with anything as long as it is warm, Ishizuka Unshou (who voiced a restaurant owner in the drama) is fine with anything as long as it can be made fast because he hates waiting, and Hosoya thinks the atmosphere is more important.

While this was fun to listen to there are much better series out there. Still, I’m somewhat sad that the series seems to have died off. The characters showed promise and there is still a lot we never got to hear. And I want more Hosoya as Pomodore.


Shitsuji no Kare - Shiro Route

 執事の彼 白ルート

Label: StellaWorth
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.09.23

This is StellaWorth their second original drama CD after Osananajimi no Kare. It follows the same pattern as the first one: there are two CDs, a white route and a black route. The white route is essentially the 'happy ending' where you get together with your guy. In the black route however you do something to upset him and things go wrong.

In this CD you are a wealthy young lady. Your parents are always abroad, but your butler (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru) is always by your side. He comes to wake you up in the morning, serves you breakfast, basically takes care of everything that you need.

Same thing today, after finally getting you out of bed by teasing you a little he serves you breakfast and tells you that your parents sent word that they won't be able to be there for your birthday this year either. He also tells you that your father asked whether you will agree to meet the omiai (arranged marriage) partner that they asked you about.

This is where the story splits into the white and black routes. As this is the white route, you decline the omiai. Your butler comments that it might be a wise decision, you are still young after all. After that he quickly changes the subject, and comes with the idea to make a birthday cake for when you will be celebrating your birthday together with all the servants.

And so it is time for some kitchen magic! Although he seems to be doing most of the work. During the baking you get interested in whether there is anyone whom he has special feeling for, and he tells you there is someone but refuses to tell you who.

We sort of skip the birthday party itself and continue straight to that night, when you are drinking some tea before you go to bed. Your butler says he wants to give you a gift as well and tells you that he will grant any wish you make. And out of all things you ask him to tell you who the girl he loves really is. He tries to dodge the question at first, but eventually gives in and tells you that he loves you.

This comes with quite a long explanation actually. How he has always been at your side and watched you grow up, and realized somewhere along the way that he had fallen in love with you. Of course you love him as well and allow him to kiss you, after which he simply lifts you up and carries you to your bed. The fade out comes a lot earlier than in the previous CD - while I started wondering when the fade out would come in that one you were still only kissing this time.

The morning after is kind of cute, he wakes you up and apparently you are both still naked because you are to embarrassed to look at him. He tells you that he will report about the two of you loving each other to your parents and he hopes that they will accept your relationship.

Being the white route this story was mainly just incredibly sweet and cute. Midorikawa-san using an appropriately soft and sweet voice for this really helps with that as well. I started with listening to this one before I listened to the black route, and I actually liked this one better. It may have something to do with the fact that I didn't find his yandere performance very convincing, while these sweet characters do suit his voice very much.

I was sort of puzzled by how old your butler is supposed to be. In the cover illustration he looks quite young, but he mentions that he has been by your side ever since you were little. But for convenience sake, lets just assume that he also started young and is about 10 years older than you are.

Just like the 'white route' with the first CD, this was very sweet. You don't have to listen to the other one, so if you like sweet stories just listen to this one, and leave the 'black route' for what it is.


Special: Navikare + Yurikamome

While planning my last trip to Japan there was one thing that I absolutely wanted to do while I was in Tokyo: ride the Yurikamome line while listening to Navikare.

A senpai who works in Japan was kind enough to let me stay over for a few days, and as luck would have it he actually lives near odaiba - you could see the yurikamome line from his living room. So one morning I first walked to odaiba by crossing Rainbow Bridge. This sounds all nice and romantic, but you are walking right next to the trafic so there is a lot of noise and fumes, but the view is great:

After walking along the beach and doing some window shopping at the various malls I walked over to Kokusai-tenjijō-seimon station (the station in front of Tokyo Big Sight, and also where you get on the train in the CD) to get on the train. I chose to listen to the first boyfriend, mostly because I was unsure whether I would be able to keep a straight face while listening to the second xD

Before getting on the train I checked to see how I could get the timing of departing right. This wasn't to difficult: the second track begins when the doors of the train close, so it was easy to get the timing right.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures while on the train, sorry.

Like I mentioned in the review of the CD: The tracks are divided by station, but the story continues seamlessly. A lot of famous landmarks are mentioned, and for the most part those came into view when mentioned or just a little later. I suppose the timing differs depending on where you sit in the train (I was sitting somewhere near the middle) and it was only a few seconds off.

There were just two moments that were off in my opinion. When Oedo Onsen was mentioned I couldn't see it anywhere. Then again maybe I just missed it because we were just going around a corner, and I couldn't exactly run from one side of the train to the other to see whether I might be able to see it from there (well, I could have, but I didn't want to bother anyone). The other moment is when your boyfriend mentions that the Ferris Wheel looks very different from different angles, but by that time you are on the Rainbow Bridge and you can't see the actual Ferris Wheel at all. You did see it from every possible angle during the ride though.

The next moment more then makes up for it though. During track 6 there is a part where the background sounds fade out and you hear a bgm instead. This is actually while you are in the 'loop' part of Rainbow Bridge, and it really makes a great atmosphere~ I must have been grinning like an idiot at that point, but I couldn't really care.

The sound effects on the train (such as the sound before the opening and closing of the doors)  are different from the actual yurikamome line. I suppose this is logical, I doubt they would be allowed to use the official ones, and re-creating them would probably be a hell of a job. Also, this CD was released in 2009 so it is entirely possible that the sounds have changed.

There is one thing that truly amazed me while listening: the timing. Most of the time it was accurate on the second, especially the timing of the closing of the doors and departure. In the beginning it was entirely in sync with the actual train, at some point it started to have a slight delay, but only by a second or so and considering the fact that a one way trip is about 25min, that is quite an achievement. (It is also sort of amazing that the timing is still the same after 4 years).

For most of the CD the content of the CD and what you are actually seeing match, and the timing of the CD was way more accurate than I expected. It was a lot of fun to listen to this while actually riding the train. I managed to keep a straight face during most of the ride, but failed near the end. Not that I really cared, I was enjoying it way too much.

So if you feel like doing this: I can recommend it.
Odaiba is a nice for sightseeing anyways (the beach is nice too!) and the Yurikamome line is one of the easiest ways to get there (and leave) so you don't really need to go out of your way for it either.

I had a lot of fun doing this, and if I get the chance I definitely want to try and do something like this again.

Bonus remark: The cover of the CD is a simplistic rendition of the area around the Tokyo Big Sight station. The real thing is prettier, but this gets the image across (^-^)


Hitorijime Series 01 - Byouin no Isshitsu de... Suo Kazutomo Hen

独り占めシリーズVol.1 『病院の一室で……‐医師 周防一朋編‐』

Company: Animedia / Gakken
Based on: Original
Released: 2013.01.26

Hitorijime series is a series that features characters that love you so much that they feel the need to have you for themselves (hitorijime). This first CD features the doctor Suo Kazutomo (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke).

The CD starts with you visiting the hospital because you have sprained your ankle. Apparently you are a bit of a klutz, because regularly visit the hospital for some sort of a minor injury. Kazutomo worries about you injuring yourself even more, and decides that you need a "special medicine" and asks you to wait in the waiting room.

In the next scene you seem to have been moved to a special hospital room (or maybe this was the room Kazutomo brought you to in the first place?). He asks you how the room is. You are obviously confused, and he explains that this is the "special medicine" he was talking about: he has decided that you should stay here so that you don't hurt yourself any further. This way he will be able to "watch over you all the time".

The next few scenes are exactly that. Kazutomo makes you dinner (and attempts to feed you instead of letting you eat it yourself). He also wants to help you bathing, but because you refuse with all your might he agrees to letting you bathe by yourself. For this time.

(ps: Kazutomo sums up the different scents that you can put in the bathwater including some of famous onsen: Hakone, Kusatsu, Misasa. I laughed out loud when I heard that. That was my final laughter though, after that it turned even scarier).

When you try to escape at night you run into Kazutomo in the hallway and he brings you back to your room. He acts as if you just can't sleep and makes you warm milk and stays by your side until you fall asleep. Which seems nice, but he also brought restraints to tie you to bed "just in case they would be needed". You get away without being tied to the bed but it is heavily implied that if you try to get away again you will be tied up.

The next morning he wakes you up and checks your temperature and pulse (as well as your weight, by lifting you up). He also brought you new slippers and a new pyjama, along with new underwear. He says he had a shop assistant choose them for him because he doesn't know anything about these things, but that he will bring a laptop next time so that you can order underwear that you like online. By now every single alarm bell should be ringing as loud as it can...

To make things worse he tells you that he contacted your work, saying that you will be resigning because you need to be hospitalized. He also mentions that he did not contact your family, so that they don't need to worry and won't try to visit. He continues with saying that if anyone will try to find you here he will hide you somewhere else....

Hirakawa-san used a higher voice for Kazutomo than I expected. Seeing his character design I expected it to be more in the lower ranges of his voice, but instead it was fairly high. The kind of voice you'd expect for a soft spoken kind and caring doctor maybe, except that this one has some serious issues.

Judging by the title I expected this to be full on yandere but felt strangely... not yandere? Extremely overprotective seems to be more fitting. Kazutomo seems to be honestly convinced that he is helping you, and I can't tell whether he is really just being cynical with you at times or not. The fact that for the most part he remains polite and professional makes this all the more scary. All I could think while listening was "I need to get out of hereeeeee".

Hirakawa-san starts the free talk in almost the same tone as the final (exceptionally scary) sentence of the story. Luckily he changes to his usual cute self after that. He says that despite having been in a lot of different CDs, he was surprised that there was still a genre like this xD He is also playing around with the dummy head mic during the talk, which just adds to the cuteness.

This was a little different from what I expected, less sweet and far more scary. After all of the cuter things released by Gakken I thought this series wouldn't be as extreme, but this definitely proved me wrong. And Hirakawa-san once again proves that he is good at voicing extremely scary characters. The CD was very good in it's own way, but don't listen to this if you want to listen to something sweet.


Heart Supplement Vol.1 - Namida Jikan

ハートサプリメントシリーズ vol.1 涙時間

Label: Honey Bee
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.09.28
Official site: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/hs

The Heart Supplement series is a series for when you need someone at your side, like when you feel down or like in this case; when you've been crying. In Namida Jikan ("Tearful Times") Yuuya and Shuu try too cheer you up after you've been crying.

The CD begins with both of them explaining how to use the CD. Basically they tell you listen to the CD when you feel like crying, and that you shouldn't hold back but just cry as much as you like. Both of them tell you that you should come see them if you ever feel like crying, after which Shuu teases Yuuya by saying that he might end up crying with you.

Just the two of them slightly joking around and telling you that they will cheer you up if you are down in the first track is enough to cheer me up. You can already feel the kindness and the actual CD hasn't even started yet. And it only gets sweeter in the rest of the CD.

Shuu (CV: Yusa Kouji) is the first one to cheer you up. There are three tracks where Shuu cheers you up / stays by your side. Each track is a different situation. In each one you've been crying, but the way Shuu cheers you up is different. You can listen to all of the tracks in one go, but they don't make a story or anything.

I liked the first two. Shuu tells you it is OK to cry and just sort of stays by your side. The third one is a bit strange though. He tells you that he won't leave you alone, and that you should just ignore him being there and cry all you want... and starts reading a book while sitting beside you. If it were me there is no way I'd be able to cry all I want with someone happily reading a book beside me...

There is also a track for when you've stopped crying. As a reward he hugs you and is just being super sweet.

After this we get Yuuya (CV: Shimono Hiro) his part, which follows the same pattern: three tracks in which he tries to cheer you up and one for after you've stopped crying. While Shuu just silently stays by your side, Yuuya tries to cheer you up more actively. In the first track he tries to cheer you up by doing a magic trick (and failing).

Yuuya isn't being entirely honest with his own feelings, he obviously likes you but everytime he says something that shows his feelings he covers it up. The final track where you've stopped crying and fallen asleep and he is still sitting beside you is super cute though.

The last two tracks are for when you've stopped crying. Shuu makes you hot milk, while yuuya makes you omuraisu (with onions in it, so now he is crying because he is chopping the onions).

Because the CD is meant to cheer you up whenever you feel like crying it is never mentioned why you are crying, the characters just stay by your side and let you cry or try to cheer you up.

Personally I liked Shuu his calm manner better than Yuuya his more active personality. On the other hand, Yuuya is such a cute idiot that you can't help but smile at his actions. But no matter which one you like better; they'll be sure to cheer you up.

I didn't really have high expectations but... this seems like it could really cheer you up when you are down. Both characters are super sweet (in a kind, cheering you up manner). This really made me wish for someone at my side whenever I feel down, although I guess I'll be fine now that I have this CD xD

PS: Yes I know Honey Bee has romanized Shuu his name as 'Syu', but it hurts my eyes to see it written like that so I'm sticking with Shuu xD


iPhone App: 3D Sound Horror ~Meijou~


Maker: Visualworks / Studio Mausu
Released: 2012.10.05
For: iPhone / iPod Touch

Reviewing something slightly different this time. 3D Sound Horror Meijou is an iPhone app that is probably best described as a mix between and audio drama and a visual novel. It uses some visuals so it is not pure audio, but it isn't as elaborate as a visual novel either (to begin with there are no visuals for the characters). Just as the title implies, it is a horror story that uses the dummy head mic to create 3D sound effects. I guess it is mostly aimed at women, although this only becomes clear near the end of the story and I think you can enjoy the story no matter your gender.

Meijou tells the story of four friends who travel around looking for haunted spots. Chika (CV: Hayami Saori), the only girl in the group, has found an old letter that talks about a haunted cave. Enclosed with the letter was a small charm with a bell on it. The group decides to investigate this.

The story starts with the four of them arriving at the cave. It is raining outside, and while all of them find the atmosphere rather creepy they came here to investigate the cave so they enter it anyway. The cave seems to be made by human hands, and they discover something like a living room inside. But before they get chance to properly investigate an earthquake happens and the entrance collapses. To make things worse, their flashlight also stops working.

Chika  her phone
While they are still panicking Chika her phone suddenly starts ringing. At first they think it is a mistake, but it starts ringing again a few seconds later. Chika answers the call but all she hears is noise. A few seconds after that she gets a text message which reads "go deeper", followed by a lot of gibberish.

As they venture further into the cave the calls continue and you can start to hear voices in them, and to make things worse the group ends up separated from each other and they have to try and find each other as well as the way out again. As you proceed it slowly starts to become clear what happened in the cave.

When the group finally manages to get together and find something like an exit near the end another earthquake happens, and a large rock falls down and all three guys reach out to you to save you. At this point you are presented with a choice: grab the hand of one the guys (you can pick who) or escape on your own. The ending differs depending on what you choose.

The story is split up into two apps, so to get the entire story you'll have to buy both. I think it is worth it though. Also: the app is compatible with both iPhones and iPods (and iPads) but because of the calls you receive I think listening to it on your phone has the best effect. Whenever you get a call the image on the screen switches to the standard call screen so it really looks like you are receiving a call, which adds to the creepiness .

Unfortunately the rest of the visuals are not that effective. Most of them are either to blurry or to dark to properly see what is pictured. Although I admit that the one where the ghosts try to grab Chika really freaked me out (especially because it moves). Still, the concept is interesting and I think the end result is pretty good.

The effect of the dummy head mic can't always be heard. When you are normally talking with everyone it isn't really noticeable, but you obviously do hear it when you are close to someone (like when they try to cheer Chika up or in some of the endings) and it was used pretty effectively during the calls and for some of the scare effects. Personally I like this balance, this way it feels special when it is used.

For those who are not that good with bad endings: rest assured, there is no real bad end. The main difference for the endings is who saves Chika and gets to be her main love interest. None of the endings show you getting together though, it is more like hinted at that there might be something there. There is only one ending where you unravel the entire story though.

When I listened to it I got the idea that there might be something between Yuuma and Chika, which was backed up by the fact that he is the one that stays with you when you pick the "escape on your own" option, but to my surprise it was not his ending that tells the entire story.

I don't really see why they split this thing into two apps though. It is not like it is that big as a whole either, so it feels sort of cheap to have us buy two apps to hear the entire story. Both apps together are still much cheaper than your average drama CD though, so in the end I was fine with the price. Something random that I noticed: when you first start the second app the music playing at the start screen is ominous. After you finished one of the endings however it switches to a more serene music.

This was a good story, it becomes less scary towards the end but I guess that is natural as you start to understand what is going on. While most of the visuals were not that special, they way they used the call- and message screens was super effective. After hearing more horror stories that make use of the dummy head mic I can only say that the dummy head almost seems to be made for this; there is nothing as scary as ghosts talking right next to your ear.


Making a little change

As you might I've noticed I've been so busy lately that I've been having some trouble keeping up with the review schedule, to not even mention the news posts. I still want to write reviews, but with this busy schedule I noticed something.

I've been so busy reviewing new releases that other things I still want to listen to keep getting pushed back. Likewise, I've started to feel like I 'have' to review certain things. And like all things that I 'have' to do I keep postponing them. Listening to drama CDs is my hobby, so I don't want to feel like I have to do this or that.

Which is why I'm going back to just randomly reviewing whatever I feel like listening. That probably means I will review less new releases and more older CDs/ series. Less situation CDs and more normal drama CDs. Of course I will still review new things, after all there is a lot that I'm really interested in. But I also want to give myself the opportunity to listen to other things again.

And occasionally, listening to something and not reviewing it without feeling guilty.

Reviewing takes time. Just listening to a drama CD only takes about an hour. But to write a review I need to listen to it more than once, or re-listen certain parts. Writing a proper review also takes at least 1 to 1.5hrs (if not more). Writing the news easily takes 3hrs or more, lately it has been far more. I don't have much free time at the moment, and I want to spend that doing something that I like.

So if you are wondering why certain new releases haven't been reviewed yet, this is why. Same goes for why I've stopped reviewing certain series halfway through.

That said: I've programmed the blog to automatically publish the few reviews I've written lately over the next two weeks. Hopefully that will give me time to get a regular schedule running again.