【Singer】 いよかん (iyokan)

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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)

【Illustrator】鈴木康士 (SUZUKI Yasushi)

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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.

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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)

【Singer】ノワール (Noir)

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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