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  • polymetrica 11:20 pm on August 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: iyokan, ,   

    【Singer】 いよかん (iyokan) 


    いよかん (iyokan) is a female singer who started posting songs she sang on niconico since November 2008. Her most favourited/Mylisted work is a cover of mathru’s Dancing Samurai with a (now famous) tegaki PV made by her friend. iyokan’s name comes from a Japanese citrus fruit.

    iyokan’s voice is best described as relatively low, harmonized, and choral-like. She’s also capable of singing in either a female or male voice, and seems to like singing seperate parts in different voices by herself, like in her lone cover of 人柱アリス (Hitobashita Alice / Human Sacrifice Alice), a song with both male and female parts, and also in her “faux chorus” version of 桜ノ雨 (Sakura no Ame / Rain of Sakura). I’m assuming that she has had some experience of some sort singing in a chorus or in an a cappella style (or maybe even in opera), which shows since she sings her songs in that style akin to the level of a professional. iyokan’s style is not common at all among the singers at niconico, and most people probably like the regular pop or rock type of singers the best, but iyokan definitely deserves a lot more recognition for her extremely high quality work. (Her cover of Lilium is less a cover than a near-perfect copy. It’s about 90% close to the original rendition.)

    As usual, you have to really listen to understand what I’m talking about, because it’s impossible for me to put music into words accurately. Please give her works a listen!

    Essential Works:
    1. メルト、来い (MELT, koi / MELT, come) (niconico link) **Highly Recommended**
    2. 紡唄 -つむぎうた- (Tsunagi Uta / Spinning Song) (niconico link)
    3. Lilium (From Elfen Lied) (niconico link)

    iyokan’s Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/9266510
    Article at Niconico singers wiki: http://www41.atwiki.jp/niconico_singer/?page=いよかん (Japanese)

  • polymetrica 9:42 pm on August 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Suzuki Yasushi   

    【Illustrator】鈴木康士 (SUZUKI Yasushi) 


    Isa from Sin & Punishment 2. Click here for full size

    鈴木康士 (SUZUKI Yasushi), sometimes under the pen name of D-SUZUKI or E-SUZUKI, is a professional freelance illustrator best known for his work on videogames Ikaruga and Sin and Punishment. He has also done illustrations for novel covers, most notably the Japanese translation of A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as for trading cards and magazines. He currently resides in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, his blood type is B, and he loves drinking and smoking (Although he is reportedly cutting back quite a bit on the latter).

    Suzuki’s style is best described as grungy realism. He uses a lot of muted and cool colours, which gives a lot of his pictures a serious or even melancholy atmosphere, and all his characters have defined lips and noses. What makes his artwork slightly diverge from true realism, however, is that he is capable of drawing extravagant outfits and hairstyles, and some of the characters he draw are a little on the thin side. He’s also very good at drawing and detailing objects such as ships and mechanical robots or components. His shading is also quite unique, sometimes using a lot of low-contrast shading for a rougher look and sometimes using a little bit of high-contrast shades to give significant depth. Of course, being a professional, he is capable of a lot of other styles as well, from the classic painting, oil painting-like, plain lines and colouring, and even photograph quality buildings.


    Shinra & Kagari from Ikaruga. Click here to enlarge.

    Website: http://www016.upp.so-net.ne.jp/elegant/
    Amazon special feature: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/feature.html?docId=1000251846 (English+Japanese)
    Purgatory Kabuki Interview: http://www.drmasterbooks.com/200701.html
    Interview with Insert Credit: http://www.insertcredit.com/features/yasushisuzuki/
    Interview with GoNext: http://www.the-nextlevel.com/feature/interview-yasushi-suzuki/
    Artbook review: http://manlymanga.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/artbook-the-art-of-yasushi-suzuki-review/
    Ikaruga artwork: http://www.ikaruga.co.uk/downloads/art.php (Low-res)

  • polymetrica 4:38 pm on August 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Noir,   

    【Singer】ノワール (Noir) 


    ノワール (Noir) is a female singer on nicovideo who got her big break singing TokuP’s song SPiCa. She started uploading her songs since February 2009, and has been improving very rapidly. Her birthday is on February 15th, and she likes reporting about the growing process of the Morning Glory that she’s growing in her garden.

    Noir’s voice is very mature and emotional, and she uses vibrato a lot, which makes her good at singing jazz-y songs. The commentors on nicovideo seem to like her a lot because she doesn’t have a common anime seiyuu-like voice. She’s also relatively familiar with English, and has sung a few songs with pronounciation that ranges from accurate to almost native speaker-like. She’s quite good at hitting the high notes and especially at sustaining the notes for a long time. She also seems to have great breath control, and is able to hit all her notes fully.

    Because of how overwhelmingly great I think her songs are, I am unable to give a fair description of what she’s capable of, so please listen to her songs.

    Essential Works:
    1. Fly Me to the Moon (From her blog) Highly recommended
    2. SPiCa (nicovideo) *Representative Work*
    3. ヒカリノカケラ (Fragment of Light) (nicovideo)

    Blog: http://noiretmusique.blog47.fc2.com/
    Nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/11540996
    Playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=11057C0F7B97E7CB

    • Temmy 4:50 pm on August 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      To be honest, I like her cover of Hikari no Kakera more than SPiCa. I think that and her Fly Me to the Moon are both perfect examples of how powerful her voice is.

      • lelangir 5:48 pm on August 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I never really liked Fragment of Light as a song anyway, but SPiCa is fffffffffffucking awesome

    • anon 4:57 pm on April 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Noir is actually a native English speaker :3

    • Carmela 6:42 pm on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I looove Noir’s voice, and I desperately want to hear that Fly me to the Moon, but the link isn’t working anymore…?

  • polymetrica 4:14 pm on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   



    Kurot is an amateur artist from Canada who has forayed into the doujin scene, and has participated in a few Japanese conventions and doujinshi anthologies. She is very well-known in the international scene and also quite popular at Pixiv. She started drawing in 1995, does most of her art in Photoshop, and her sister is kl. Her birthday is May 4th.

    Kurot’s style has changed throughout the years, but one thing that has stayed consistent is that everything looks completely finished and official art-like (a trait that she shares with kl). She uses a few different colouring styles, which include the solid anime look (usually seen in her fanart of Reborn!), softly brushed shading and pastel-like colours (usually in Touhou), and low contrast shading with coloured or faded lines (from her older pictures). She uses different eye styles too, depending on the picture, so in short, kurot is really versatile and can draw in different styles, but they all seem to have her own flair in composition, facial expressions, and atmosphere. Kurot is also quite talented in character design, and won a mascot contest for a Canadian anime convention. She has also started an original RPG project of her own called Altona Braver, which is still in its concept stage and have no programming or game mechanics done yet, but the characters and their profiles are for the most part completed.

    In addition to drawing static pictures, she’s also made parody videos like this one.

    Website: http://moecon.net/area27/
    Deviantart: http://kurot.deviantart.com/
    Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=42675
    drawr: http://drawr.net/kurot
    Tegaki: http://www.unowen.net/tegaki/uentries.php?u=7359
    Livejournal: http://kurot.livejournal.com/
    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/aschxluke

    • Aznkeo 5:02 pm on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Uwa Kurot~! I love her, she’s very popular among us Reborn fans xD
      I was pretty exicted when she was at Fanime for her first US con, and she’s very nice and sweet. ^^

    • ETERNAL 6:16 pm on August 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting, I didn’t know non-Japanese artists could make it at least relatively big in Japan. I’m in the opposite side of the country so I haven’t seen her, but I’ll keep at eye out if she ever comes to Anime North.

  • polymetrica 10:00 pm on August 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    【Vocaloid Composer】supercell (ryo) 

    Long overdue post spotlighting this popular group. supercell is probably the most well-known Vocaloid-based group out there, and also the most successful in turning from amateur to professional. When ryo used 119’s illustration in his video for MELT in 2008, he borrowed it without asking, but when he later got permission to use the image, supercell was formed as a group. The group consists of ryo doing the lyric writing and song composing, and the other members, ranging from pros to amateurs, doing illustrations, website design, and package design. ryo is the creator and leader of the group.


    The current members are:
    ryo (music)
    三輪士郎 (MIWA Shirow) (illustration, logo – professional)
    huke (illustration – professional)
    redjuice (illustration, website design)
    SUGA (illustration)
    mac (illustration and videos)
    宇佐義大 (USA Yoshiki) at wooserdesign (package design, binding, printing)
    丙8郎 (hei8ro, support in illustration and photography)
    guitar (support in illustration)
    crow (support in ???)
    golv (support in ???)

    supercell’s first and most popular song is メルト (MELT), posted on nicovideo on December 7th in 2007, and has had more than 4 million hits and 144,000+ mylists since. It is 3rd in nicovideo’s all-time mylist rankings. supercell’s other songs, 恋は戦争 (Love is War), World is Mine, Black★Rock Shooter, and 初めての恋が終わる時 (The Time My First Love Ended) almost all have more than 1 million hits as well (the only exclusion being The Time My First Love Ended). As well, almost all these songs have remained on every iteration of the Weekly Vocaloid Rankings since they were posted on nicovideo.


    supercell 1st album cover. (Illust: 三輪士郎)

    After Black★Rock Shooter, they released an album with new, unposted songs at Comiket 74 in 2008 along with an included artbook that had many new and old illustrations based on the songs. They were also able to release the same album commercially on March 4th 2009 under Sony Music. This album reached 2nd on the Oricon daily charts and 4th on the weekly charts, and in June 2009 supercell’s album was awarded the monthly Gold Disc by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The limited edition of the album came with the same artbook from their C74 release. The last song that supercell posted on nicovideo was The Time My First Love Ended, on December 12th 2008.

    supercell released their first major single on August 12th 2009, featuring the ending theme song from Bakemonogatari named 君の知らない物語 (The Story You Don’t Know), and got 5th place in the daily Oricon single rankings. This single also marked the first time that supercell did not use Hatsune Miku for vocals, and instead used a (human) vocalist named nagi, who was famous for her singing on nicovideo under the name of Gazelle. The single also included two songs done for the (upcoming) anime movie CENCOROLL.

    supercell’s music style is usually pop or rock with vocals done by Hatsune Miku (they haven’t used the other vocaloids for their songs yet), with the occasional techno. Piano solos a la MELT have become a characterstic of ryo’s compositions, and the main melody is usually repeated throughout. What makes supercell stand out the most, though, is that the personality and character design they create for Miku (or their songs’ protagonists) are always different, which makes it very easy to tell the songs apart and makes it much more memorable. In terms of lyrics, ryo says that he likes to write them according to his initial instincts and without hesitation, and doesn’t like to “add decorations” to make them less “embarassing” to sing. (This is from a section of the Japanese wikipedia entry, quoted from supercell’s interview with Oricon. Translated wiki excerpt is below this entry.)

    As of now, supercell can probably be classified as a professional group, as they have had increasingly more mainstream releases in not only music, but also figures and other anime-related things, the newest being the Black★Rock Shooter anime pilot DVD release (which may develop into a full series) being animated by Ordet and directed by YAMAMOTO Yutaka (aka Yamakan of Lucky☆Star fame).

    Official site: http://www.supercell.jp/
    supercell member blog: http://www.supercell.sc/index.html
    supercell interview at Oricon: http://rn.oricon.co.jp/special/20080805_02.html (Japanese)
    ryo’s nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/3291521
    ryo playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FF5DC29263C4C9C3
    ryo at Twitter: http://twitter.com/ryo_9987

    Wiki excerpt translation: On writing lyrics, ryo says that he “doesn’t edit” and “writes according to the first immediate ideas that float into his mind”, and when told that some people find this manner of writing odd, he says that because “when people sing, they usually think something like “Oh, these lyrics are too embarassing to sing, let’s go with some different ones instead” and end up putting in excess decorations in”, “and because a robot is singing my lyrics, I don’t think that it’s necessary to change my lyrics to make them less embarassing, and so I write them without a second thought.” (Original JPN Wiki entry)

    • lelangir 6:01 am on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      One thing I’m wondering is, do Ryo’s compositions get performed by real people or is it all through samples? I’d think Bakemonogatari’s ED is performed by real people, but I wouldn’t know for his other vocaloid songs. Composing drum music for a drum machine seems awfully difficult if you’re not a drummer. Is he a drummer? O_o

      • polymetrica 3:02 pm on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        This is an extremely good question, thanks for asking! From what I’ve looked up, the drums (and probably other intruments) in most of his songs are synthesized by a software instrument called Omnisphere that he uses. ryo is a pianist, so all the piano parts were performed by him. The bass and guitar in his songs on supercell’s first album were performed by real people, as are all the instruments used in Bakemonogatari’s ED.

        Composing music for an instrument you don’t play is probably pretty difficult indeed, so I’m thinking that he got help in some way with writing the parts for live players, especially since supercell is releasing a book of sheet music for bands to perform to. I’m not very familiar with how music is produced or composed, so this is all I can tell you.

  • polymetrica 7:16 pm on August 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    【CD】君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) by supercell 

    As if I don’t already have enough posts about this CD’s title song. Anyways, I finally received my copy of the CD today after preordering it last month.


    Album cover (illust: 三輪士郎)

    The version I got was the first press edition with an extra DVD and a sticker that you can put on your cap. The CD comes with 5 tracks, three of which have vocals and two are instrumentals.

    CD Track List:
    01. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari)
    02. LOVE & ROLL
    03. theme of “CENCOROLL” instrumental track
    04. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) -TV Edit-
    05. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) -Instrumental-

    All the songs are composed by ryo of supercell, and the vocals are done by nagi. nagi is basically the reason I bought this CD at all because her voice is too great. My favourite track is probably the title track even though it sounded kind of generic to me at first, but the lyrics are great. LOVE & ROLL, the main vocal theme for CENCOROLL, is a very welcome change from ryo’s usual style, and I love the main melody, but it seems to repeat a lot and makes the song sound a little long. Nevertheless, still a good song that I like, and it has interesting lyrics as well.

    The cover illustration is done by MIWA Shirow and the sticker illustrations were done by redjuice. I was kind of disappointed with the sticker because I actually thought that there would be 8 stickers, one for each illustration. But alas, it was only one sticker with 8 cropped pictures on it.

    The package design was done by wooserdesign, which is good and clean. I’m not used to buying singles, but I was a tiny bit disappointed that there weren’t any liner notes from the staff/vocalist. (Or are liner notes for albums only?) The paper insert (not a booklet) is only one piece of folded glossy paper with the cover illustration, credits, lyrics, and back cover, with a two-sided advertisement insert inside promoting Bakemonogatari DVD vol.1 and CENCOROLL. The CD case is pretty high quality, though, and isn’t exactly the ultra-fragile jewel cases I’m used to seeing.

    The DVD I haven’t watched yet since it’s Region 2, but I watched the videos from it on the web.

    DVD Track List:

    • 「君の知らない物語」 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) MUSIC VIDEO
    • 「君の知らない物語」 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) CM SPOT

    The LIVE ACTION PV is a terrible disappointment since I was really hoping for something animated or at least related to Bakemonogatari in some way. It’s basically a juvenile story about a high school love triangle. The CM spot video is really short and reuses footage from episode 1 of Bakemonogatari.

    All in all, I’m not exactly regretting that I got the first press edition, but since the DVD bonus was mediocre, I recommend getting the regular edition, even though the one (big) sticker is pretty cool. I’m happy that I got the CD at all since CDs with nagi’s vocals are so hard to find, so jumping on this mass-produced single is a good opportunity if you are either a supercell or nagi fan. I don’t really think that there’s much here for Bakemonogatari fans unless they really like the song or really want to collect the sticker.

    Picspam under the cut. Click to enlarge.

    (More …)

  • polymetrica 3:09 pm on August 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   



    kl is an amateur artist from Canada. She has become extremely popular with both Japanese and international audiences. Her birthday is on June 17th, she started art in 2001 at age 11, she just graduated from high school, and her sister is kurot, another very popular artist. She is fluent in English and knows a bit of Japanese.

    Her style is unique in that it has a very high level of completion and looks like official art almost all of the time. She uses vibrant colours, clean, fine lines, solid shading, and sharp shadows. However, she also tries out different styles sometimes, and becomes extremely successful in executing techniques she doesn’t often use. Her output rate is also incredibly high. At Pixiv she sometimes posts a few pictures at once and they all end up on the daily rankings, which is incredible. Despite how fast she draws, all of her pictures look high quality, even if it’s done with limited tools like on Tegaki or drawr. She also has a moe-fied version of herself named kl-chan, with pink hair and pigtails.

    Other things she has done besides art is make tegaki videos, most notably one called Regret Message about Nunally from Code Geass, and if you check out her Livejournal, you’ll find some amusing .gif animations as well.

    Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=145719
    Deviantart: http://kl-chan.deviantart.com/
    MangaBullet: http://www.mangabullet.com/kl-chan/profile
    Tegaki: http://www.unowen.net/tegaki/uentries.php?u=7332
    drawr: http://drawr.net/reign
    Old Code Geass art blog: http://tofubox.blog124.fc2.com/
    Livejournal: http://milk-of-lime.livejournal.com/
    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Zerogoki00

    • dokimasu 3:49 pm on August 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      kl is a guy lol

      • polymetrica 4:13 pm on August 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        lol That’s what she said on April Fool’s day on DA, but she later said she was joking, and on Youtube kl’s songs are all done in a female voice. I am QUITE sure she is female.

  • polymetrica 10:33 pm on August 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kanae, ,   



    カナエ (KANAE) is a not-so-prolific Nicovideo singer I discovered a few weeks ago. She is seriously underrated because her songs are very good, but the most Mylists she’s gotten is 50. She lives in China and is currently studying Japanese.

    Her voice is very clear with the extremely natural mixing, which ends up sounding like there wasn’t much editing done to make it sound better than it is, like with usual singers, probably. Since she didn’t credit anyone for mixing/encoding/mastering, I’m assuming that she did everything herself. She uses her stable natural voice a lot, and there isn’t much strain on the high notes in her newer songs. Also, her English pronounciation is extremely spot on, as is very apparent in her rendition of blue bird. If you listen to her older songs, you can see how much she’s improved, so she is only getting better and better as she sings more. I really look forward to hearing more from her.

    Please give her songs a listen! I believe her best work are “blue bird” (composed by TokuP) and “アリスにさよなら” (A Farewell to Alice).

    Blog: http://29kanae.blog83.fc2.com
    Nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/13404958
    Playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=06070D41CF4D1E02

    • Carmela 10:56 pm on February 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks!

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