On the Cover of Rolling Stone: SCANDAL

Left to right: Tomomi Ogawa (Bass / lead vocals) Haruna Ono (Lead Vocal / rhythm guitarist) Rina Suzuki (Drummer, Keyboardist, Guitarist, secondary vocals) Mami Sasazaki (Lead Guitar / secondary vocals)

Left to right: Tomomi Ogawa (Bass / lead vocals) Haruna Ono (Lead Vocal / rhythm guitarist) Rina Suzuki (Drummer, Keyboardist, Guitarist, secondary vocals) Mami Sasazaki (Lead Guitar / secondary vocals)

A few years ago, I posted an article about the band Scandal. This is a follow up to that piece.

That last five years have seen aggressive yearly tour schedules playing every major arena in Japan–including BUDOKAN in 2012 and OSAKA-JO HALL in 2013–and then capping it off with the ‘HELLO WORLD Tour’ in 2015.

Congratulations SCANDAL, you’ve made it, and you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. Granted it’s the Japanese Edition but in my book Rolling Stone is all that matters.

SCANDAL has taken advantage of modern technology, social media and YouTube, using self promotion that was not available when I was their age. I have to admit I’m quite amazed how all this self promotion works. And comparing today to the last post they were pretty much the only ‘all female band’. Today the number of bands has exploded. SCANDAL was the trail blazer for this generation of bands. A point of order here is the difference between a band and a group: in a band you play instruments, in a group you don’t. SCANDAL is a band. 9nine, AKB48, and Momoiro Clover Z are groups. Going back to my last post, the only semi popular female band that I found, believe it or not, was the live action K-ON band. A lot has changed in the past 5 years.

As most of you are aware, I enjoy many things in this life, and music is one of them. Music is also universal; you need not know the language to like what you hear. I’ve followed SCANDAL since 2008 and their first US appearance. So what do I like about this band? The simple answer would be the music, but there is more to it than that.

What makes SCANDAL stand out? You get a performance from the entire group, not one person monopolizing it. Granted, Haruna is lead vocal. She has the natural gift of leadership, and has learned how to best utilize the group as a whole.

A bit of history: SCANDAL was officially formed in 2006 on Rina’s 15th birthday. Mami and Tomomi were 16, and Haruna had just turned 18. Face it, keeping independent souls in that age bracket together and learning the ropes was a daunting task, I’m sure. Then–two years later–they’re here, in the states, performing. Yeah, there is some chemistry between the four of them I would say, with Haruna being the lead chemist.

That aside, the performances–live and studio–are first rate. They play their own music quite well, I might add, and are genuinely enjoying what they are doing. Take Haruna’s powerful vocals teamed with Tomomi’s hauntingly beautiful voice, then add in Mami’s and Rina’s background vocals and there’s the formula for listening pleasure. With all of this balance in instrumentals and vocals SCANDAL has hit the right note. (I should mention here that Tomomi was the lead vocalist on their first releases. Whoever is leading, the members follow with an excellent result.)

Congratulations on entering your tenth year together and here’s hoping for many more to follow…

And whatever course fate takes you on enjoy it to the fullest…

A belated Happy Birthday to Mami and Tomomi and a early Happy Birthday to Haruna and Rina…

Oh Rina, if you ever run out of arenas, let me know, I’ve got such a list.


I just finished watching the P/V for Stamp. Besides being a great number, I might suggest that, in future, American cars need to have the door firmly pulled to you. Haruna made the effort but the Mustang only hit on the ‘safety’ latch. Just for future reference and while I’m at it, I’m waiting for ‘Sisters’ to be released. I’m hoping it follows the idea I have in my head.

Scandal: Their Fifth Anniversary

In August 2006 four young ladies: Haruna Ono, Tomomi Ogawa, Mami Sasazaki and Rina Suzuki met in an Osakan vocal and dance school.  As they became friends, they decided to form a band. On the 21st of that month they formed Scandal, and they started performing at Osaka Castle Park.  The rest is becoming history, as they say.

Today we celebrate their fifth anniversary and take a brief look at this self proclaimed “Most Powerful Japanese Girlie Pop Rock Band.”

First let’s introduce the band.

Haruna Ono–guitar and lead vocals, born August 10, 1988–is the leader and oldest member of the group. Her philosophy is to spotlight each member of the group in every song or performance. This way, no one person gets the all the attention. In my opinion it’s worked quite well.

Tomomi Ogawa–bass and vocals, born May 31, 1990–does quite a bit of the song writing for the group and adds her playing expertise along with her stunning vocals to each song.

Mami Sasazaki–vocals and lead guitar, born May 21, 1990–shows extraordinary guitar playing and an intensity on stage that I’ve not seen in ages. Her solos are something to behold.

Rina Suzuki–drums, keyboard and vocals, born August 21, 1991–is the youngest member of the group and the most outspoken in interviews on and off the stage, besides being quite a drummer in her own right.

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God’s Memo Pad and the Joys of Licensed Theme Tunes

For these last few months, some people asked me what had happened to Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend. To that surprisingly large part of the anime fandom, I have one message: you are reading it right now. The name Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend has lived its best days. My anime watching and blogging is not limited to the weekend anymore, nor do I want to waste my time making more flashy logos and title cards. I’ve chosen to focus on my writing instead. Besides, I’ve grown tired of the admittedly arrogant practice of sticking my own name into the name of my blog. I’d much rather go with something original. If even Liam Gallagher does have a big enough ego to name his new band Liam Gallagher and the Inspiral Nuns, neither should I. Now do not act as if you don’t know who Liam Gallagher is. He sang the best anime OP of all time.

Of all time!

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Chronicles of an Anime Audiophile: Those Damn FLACs

Any excuse to post Mio fanart.

I’ve always been a bit of a videophile. That’s why I’m unable to abide the terrible video quality on Crunchyroll. However, I recently discovered my anal-retentive pickiness also extends to music. I recently became dissatisfied with the audio quality of my cheap, $10 Walmart earbuds and decided to spring for a fairly inexpensive but high-quality pair of Sennheiser around-ear headphones.

Almost immediately, I began to notice problems with my music collection. A lot of my anime soundtracks, particularly the ones with lower bitrate encoding, now sounded vaguely flat and lifeless. My iPod sounded cheap and tinny. The problem wasn’t in the headphones themselves, since high-bitrate music and videos with FLAC audio sounded absolutely amazing through them. No, the problem lay elsewhere.

Without even realizing it, I was becoming an audiophile.

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Old vs. New: Dragon Ball

During my recent re-watching of Lucky Star, I couldn’t help but smile when Konata sang the classic Dragon Ball Z OP “Cha-La Head-Cha-La.” But then I remembered the new Dragon Ball Kai OP “Dragon Soul,” which is sung by one of my favorite GAR artists of all time, Takayoshi Tanimoto. Now I can’t decide which song is better. Help me decide, friend reader, and I’ll stick the winning song in the next episode of Bakacast!

Which song is better?

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Irony by ClariS

Irony, the opening to Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, is a song recorded by the singing duo known as ClariS. This group consists of two high school students named Kurara and Arisu. Uploading their own songs to anime websites led to their debut and signing by Sony Music Entertainment.

Very little is known about the history of these two artists. Any photos are actually anime portraits from a “well-known illustrator.” The mystery surrounding these two–along with the haunting tune shown above–has generated quite a bit of speculation. What I know is that, besides Irony, they have also recorded a song called Connect. It’s the opening theme to Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magica, which starts showing on Japanese TV on January 6, 2011.

There is also a website dedicated to the group: the ClariS Official Website.

Wherever their paths lead them, it is this authors hope that they have an enjoyable and fulfilling career.

Bakacast – Panty & Stocking with Top Gun

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Well, another episode of Bakacast is complete, but now is not a time for celebration. Jon is missing, and the only clue I have is a ransom note left under one of his Rei figurines. I’ll transcribe the whole thing here, so maybe you listeners can help us get him back.

To the pitiful human degenerates calling themselves Project Haruhi,

My dear sister, Kneesocks, and I have taken your leader hostage. Seeing as your minds are likely too clogged with filth to process why this has happened–a trait you share with certain angels I’m unfortunately acquainted with–I’ll explain in the simplest terms possible.

You are liars. You’ve repeatedly called me and my sister “villains” with no evidence to back up such claims. In fact, there’s far more evidence to suggest Panty and Stocking, the two “heroes” that so many brain-dead humans like yourselves slobber over, are the ones in the wrong. Wherever they go, they leave chaos and sewage in their wake. Their vulgar habits and language obliterate what little beauty was mercifully granted to them. And, worst of all, they flagrantly disregard the rrrrrrules of elegant society.

This is not the first time you’ve proven yourselves incapable of intelligent thought. First, we only lost our beach volleyball battle because the referee was biased toward the blonde bimbo, which was such a gross violation of the rrrrrrules that any sensible person would say we won by default. Second the characters in Iron Man shouldn’t be mocked for their idiocy, since they’re accurately mimicking how all humans behave. The fact that Squid Girl so easily entertained you with a story about a child playing with an umbrella proves it. Third, you created the word “bro-bath” out of wholecloth simply to describe the perceived homosexual undertones of Star Driver; our more refined minds, however, can tell you such things only exist within the confines of your perverted imaginations.

In fact, as Kneesocks and I thought about the podcast you just recorded (your communications were laughably easy to bug, by the way), we realized the only thing any of you got right was calling our theme song the best one on the upcoming Panty & Stocking soundtrack.

If you want your friend back, you will retract your false statements about me and my sister and publicly apologize for your insolence. Don’t worry, he’ll be kept safe until you inevitably accede to our request. Unlike those fallen angels, we care about our reputation.


While we figure out a way to save Jon, maybe you’d like to find out first-hand what we said about:

  • OreImo #9
  • Panty & Stocking #9
  • Otome Youkai Zakuro #9
  • Iron Man #9
  • Squid Girl #8
  • Star Driver #9

You can find our written reviews of these shows here.

    Also, I should thank MLPnox (who was not, as I suggest in the episode, a Twitter account made up by Jon in the spur of the moment) for the My Little Pony question. Because of you, I managed to convince Glen and Larry to review the pilot episode with me on the next Bakacast.

    You’ve done well, my friend.

    Panty & Stocking OST Sneak Peek

    There is no doubt that Panty & Stocking has a great soundtrack. In my opinion, we have not been graced with such epic anime music since the halcyon days of Macross Frontier. Fans of the show have been so desperate to get their hands on this music that they’ve resorted to using Audacity to remove the voice tracks from the show’s transformation scenes, just to get their “Fly Away Now” fix.

    I guess Gainax likes seeing us suffer, as they’ve decided to tantalize us with this little preview of the upcoming OST release.

    Much to the chagrin of everyone, the actual soundtrack does not come out until December 29th. You can preorder it from CDJapan here.

    So, any guesses as to who this mysterious Corset character is?

    Happy Birthday Minori Chihara

    A very happy birthday to my voice.

    The staff of Project Haruhi wishes Ms. Minori Chihara a very happy birthday and many more to come.

    Although primarily known as Yuki’s voice, Minori has have a very prolific musical career as well. I’ve posted several of her songs, but this is one that I haven’t shared with you yet. This selection is called “Shijin no Tabi” (“Travels of the Poet”). Listen for yourself below the break!

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    Need More K-ON! Music? Try These Seiyuu Solos!

    With the second season of K-ON!! in the can, many of us are already starved for more peppy after-school music.  Aki Toyosaki, who is the voice artist of the character Yui Hirasawa, has released two singles over the past year, which is old news. However, Minako Kotobuki who plays Tsumugi is releasing a solo of her own. This I find rather surprising. Since I don’t think Minako’s done a solo, in the series that is, it will be interesting to hear what she sounds like without the other four members of H.T.T.  The links listed below the photos will take you to CD Japan where you can hear forty-five second previews of the songs that Aki and Minako are releasing.

    More after the break.

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