Kalafina’s Latest Single, Moonfesta, Sees July 18 Release

Although it won’t be for an anime series, Kalafina, the group founded by anime composer Yuki Kajiura, will be releasing their latest single tomorrow on July 18.  The single, titled Moonfesta, is for a music program on the NHK channel called Minna no Uta and will be targeted towards kids.

For Kalafina, this will be their second single released in 2012, following in the footsteps of To the beginning, the opening theme to Fate/Zero.  This already makes it twice as many singles as they released back in 2011.  Kalafina, currently made up of singers Keiko, Wakana, and Hikaru, had their beginnings in singing the hauntingly beautiful theme songs to Kara no Kyoukai and have gone on to perform at live concerts in the United States at venues such as Anime Expo.

Preorders for Moonfesta can be had on CDJapan.

Yui Ogura’s J-Pop Ending Theme for Campione, Titled “Raise,” Released July 18

Singer and voice actress Yui Ogura’s song, “Raise,” serves as the ending theme song for the Campione anime series, a harem romance anime that is airing during the summer 2012 season and is based off of a series of light novels.  The song itself features heavy rhythm and synth which mix well with Yui Ogura’s pop vocals to propel the song along.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Yui Ogura would sing for anime.  Some of her better-known works include the ending theme for the basketball anime Ro-Kyu-Bu as well as the second ending theme to Aquarion Evol.  Her voice roles also extend to Campione, where she voices Athena, and her past experiences date back all the way to Yumeiro Patisserie’s character, Mint.

The single itself can be pre-ordered from CDJapan where it will be released on July 18.

Otakon 2012 Guest Announcement: Yuuka Nanri of FictionJunction Yuuka

As the date for Otakon 2012 comes closer, there are still a few guests coming down the pipeline.  Yuuka Nanri, the voice-actress and singer is the latest guest announced for Otakon though there is no indication that she will be performing a live concert like her other FictionJunction cohorts did at Anime Expo.

Yuuka Nanri is particularly well-known for her voice roles on quite a few anime, ranging from Henrietta in the critically-acclaimed Gunslinger Girl, Saori Chiba in Hourou Musuko, and more recently, Ritsuko Mukae in Sakamichi no Apollon where she also gave her own rendition of “My Favorite Things.”  In addition to her job as a voice actress, Yuuka Nanri has also worked with Yuki Kajiura, performing such works as “Akatsuki no Kuruma,” the opening to Gundam SEED as part of Yuki Kajiura’s FictionJunction unit.  Lately, she’s also embarked as a solo artist, and has sung songs like “Shizuku,” the theme song to .hack//QUANTUM.

Otakon 2012 will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland from July 27 – July 29 for those who want to see her at the convention.

Macross Musicalture Musical Kicks Off On Stage in October

The Macross franchise, so well known for combining mecha, music, and romance into compelling anime, will be celebrating its 30-year anniversary with a live, on-stage musical.  Titled Macross the Musicalture, the performance dates for this musical will run from October 3 to October 10 at the Tokyo Dome City Hall with tickets priced at 6800 yen.

Currently there have been some details as to what the musical will focus upon as well as a preliminary character and staff list released which features Takuya Kikuchi as Vigo Walgria and Tsuchiya Zion as Ash Anderson, the Macross Musical’s male characters.  Female characters will include Sakura Crawford, played by Kana Megumi, and Daryl Walgria, played by Risa Uesugi.

Macross the Musicalture is probably a long time coming given that a major component for the Macross franchise is its music, with the most recent entry, Macross Frontier, getting strong reviews for its soundtrack.  Whether the music will shine remains to be seen, but here’s hoping for a strong showing!

More details can be found on the main website at Macross the Musicalture.

Anime Expo Concert Reports – Yuki Kajiura and FictionJunction and LiSA

This past Anime Expo 2012 saw the arrival of such stars as LiSA, the J-pop artist who performed songs from Angel Beats! and Fate/Zero as well as Yuki Kajiura, who composed music for Fate/Zero’s soundtrack as well as Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s soundtrack.  Both groups graced the Anime Expo fans with excellent concerts.  LiSA was able to showcase her energy and enthusiasm which made the performance lively and enjoyable.  Yuki Kajiura’s concert, in comparison, was more toned down in terms of its energy, but the setlist was truly amazing and allowed the audience to see just how well the members of FictionJunction could harmonize.

That said, the only hiccup in the entire concert is the fact that the venue churned out sound issues like reverb and the instrumental balance was out of whack, which intruded upon the audience’s ability to hear FictionJunction and LiSA sing their songs.  Despite these issues, it was a memorable night and one definitely worth experiencing.  Do check out the concert reports we have posted!

Yoko Kanno/Shinichiro Watanabe’s Jazzy Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope Begins + Soundtrack Info

For those of you who have been eagerly waiting, the first episode of Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope has been released. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe with music taken from classic jazz albums, along with works by composer Yoko Kanno, Sakamichi no Apollon follows the story of a transfer student, Kaoru, a chance meeting with the school delinquent Sentaro, and how that eventually draws him into the world of jazz.

In our coverage of the anime, we will not only go over the plot points, but will also go into detail regarding the jazz pieces featured in the anime as well as put the pieces within the historical context of jazz as a whole. So for those who want to follow our episodic posts, you can use the episodic category.

Also, the soundtrack for Sakamichi no Apollon will be released on April 25, 2012 and can be pre-ordered through CDJapan. There’s also a collection of jazz pieces that have been compiled together. That disc was released in 2009 and can also be ordered through CDJapan.

Macross Frontier Singer May’n to go on Rock Your Beats World Tour

For people who enjoyed May’n’s work as the singing voice for Sheryl Nome on Macross Frontier’s soundtrack, loved her Anime Expo concert performance, or enjoyed the work she did for Phi Brain’s OP theme, “Brain Diver,” you’re in luck as May’n is setting forth upon a world tour titled Rock Your Beats!

The tour itself is set to begin in late June with a visit to the Key Club in Los Angeles on June 21 where she’ll perform with a live band and sign autographs for VIP ticket holders. From there, she’ll proceed to go to Yoshi’s in San Francisco on June 23 before departing to Germany, France, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

Further information about ticket sales and concert venues outside the United States can be found on the Resonance website.

LiSA of Angel Beats and Fate/Zero Fame to Debut at Anime Expo 2012

This summer, LiSA, the J-pop artist who performed the Girls Dead Monster segments for Angel Beats will be making her debut in the United States at Anime Expo, which will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012.

LiSA’s debut in anisong came with Angel Beats’ “Thousand Enemies” single where she shows off her generic rock sound while giving us a feel for her ability to sing at lower registers. She would go on to sing the opening theme to Fate/Zero, titled “Oath Sign,” which managed to enter the Japanese Oricon weekly charts at #5, and went on to capture the #2 spot on the daily charts.

No information on the exact day of the concert has been announced yet, but do stay tuned on the Anime Expo website for further news.

PES: Peace Eco Smile – Toyota-Sponsored Anime Short with Pleasant Synth & Electronica

Last year saw a curious 4-episode anime titled Houkago no Pleiades, a joint work between Gainax (Evangelion, Gurren Lagaan) and the carmaker Subaru. The plot consists of Subaru, a young girl, and four other girls who become magical girls and are tasked with finding engine fragments. Its execution was a bit silly all in all, with a bit of product placement in the sound effects and the logo.

Well, it looks like Toyota is also getting into the action, partnering up with Studio 4°C to create an anime short titled PES: Peace Eco Smile. The plot centers around PES, a humanoid alien accompanied by beings called NaSuBi. Both have found Earth to be pleasant and seek to learn more about people. To find out more, the trailer has already been released and you can see it after the jump. [Read more…]

Anime Song Compilation Album Titled J-Anison Shinkyoku Matsuri Released Earlier This Month

42 songs are a lot for an anime song compilation to have, but Sony Music (with help from DJ Kazu, who has worked on events such as Animax Musix 2011) was able to compile those songs onto 1 disc and release it on February 8 of 2012.

The album, as one might expect, covers a lot of artists (Nana Mizuki, Minori Chihara, and Yukari Tamura are but a few of the artists featured) and many prominent anime series (included are themes to Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Toradora and even Hyadain no Kakakata☆Kataomoi-C from Nichijou and “Magia” from the recent Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime).

Those who are interested can order the album over at CDJapan. If you just want to find out more about this collection, you can check it at the source at the main J-Anison Shinkyoku Matsuri website.

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