The Winking Owl have a new mini-album coming out in another two weeks called Into Another World, and the first track here is also the first song on it: Now What?. After that is their 2015 debut EP Open Up My Heart, and we finish with my favorite track from their 2016 first full album This Is How We Riot. Luiza’s voice has range and power as she switches effortlessly between Japanese and English, showing off her European/Asian heritage. The band’s music is tight, focused and very well produced, and with their record deal with Warner Japan they are finally getting the exposure they deserve. I have found CDs released by them going back to 2010, so I am pretty sure the phrases Debut EP and first full album refer to their current record contract, and not their actual musical career.
Sorry, little in the way of genre movies this week as near as I can tell, although I do tend to miss releases every so often. This would be a great weekend to catch a previous release you didn’t quite make it to the theater for, or to binge watch a show you are falling behind on. I particularly recommend checking out Class and Doctor Who Season 10 on VOD or Streaming. Speaking of Streaming, that link to Class will take you directly to the Pilot episode, streaming for free for anyone to watch. Remember that this is the school that the Doctors granddaughter Susan was attending in the very first 1963 episode, and if you keep your eyes open the episode is filled with Easter Eggs, which seems appropriate considering it aired Saturday night.
Everything seems to be animated this week. It is always a treat to get a new title from Studio Ghibli, Ocean Waves is available this week for the first time in the US. It was made in 1993 as a TV anime, but at 152 minutes long rates as a mini-series. In anime, My Hero Academia: Season 1 has a hoard of high school students with superpowers, and a guy who enrolled in the most prestigious school for Heroes with no powers at all. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Complete Collection has mechanical dragons used for aerial combat, with the prince and princess from adjacent kingdoms battling it out to see who gets Top Gun status, at least at first. Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA is another season of those girls with guns getting into more trouble, and in Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid you cannot separate the women from the weapons.
It has been a while since we posted our last OreSka Band, and they have some great new tunes worth sharing. All of these are from their 3rd Full Album Slogan, which was released November 23rd, 2016. The first track is Free Now posted last November, the second is !Fiebre! from last May and pretty much the best example of Japanese Samba Ska I have ever heard, the third is NEXSPOT and includes a slice of Jazz I wasn’t expecting from them. This band has been growing into their talent nicely, with each album better than the one before.
This is an exciting weekend for Whovians; we get both the Season 10 opener for Doctor Who, and the series premier for Class, which I can’t help but think owes an awful lot to Sara Jane Smith. Liz Sladen may not have been the first teacher featured on Doctor Who (that honor goes to Ian and Barbara from the very first 1963 episode), but she persisted over the decades, until she became the teacher the new iteration of the series needed. BBC America is running all the Peter Capaldi episodes back to back, counting down the time to the Season 10 premeir and the fist episode of the new series!
The animated romp Spark: A Space Tail comes out this week, for those of us who consider silly fun an art form. There is also a documentary I am hoping to see, to see if they did the man justice: Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary brings the story of this musical legend to the big screen. He created music the world had only dreamed of until then, and I suspect it will still be played 100 years from now, and longer.
The best movie this time is a true story: Hidden Figures has to be one of the best films of the year, or last year at least. If you haven’t seen it yet, now is your chance! Mars: Season One is a mini-series presented on National Geographic all about the upcoming Mars Colonization project. Monster Trucks is silly fun for the entire family, a very friendly invasion indeed. And then there is Tangled: Before Ever After Volume 1, an animated prequel; the production values on this one are way below the original films (1930s at the most recent, it appears), but they are at least trying to tell a new story.
In Anime, Is the Order a Rabbit?? – Season 2 brings us lots more silly fun, and Toriko: Parts 1-4 contains the first 50 episodes (4 seasons, or one year, depending on how you prefer to count) of the ultimate food porn combat comedy! I think the streaming service is up to episode 148 or so at the moment, to put that in perspective.
The videos of KYARY PAMYU PAMYU’s music have always been some of the most surreal footage coming out of Japan, but her latest seems to be somewhere between the Wizard of Oz and Plan 9 From Outer Space, with a cast of munchkins played by Easter eggs. The track is, appropriately, called Easta, which is Japanese for Good, and I can’t help but feel there is a bit of a second language pun going on there. The new single (which has 5 tracks on it, but tow of them are just instrumental versions of two of the others) is her 14th, and was released this past week on the 5th. At the same time, she also released her KPP 5 Years Monster World Tour 2016 DVD, filmed at the final performance of the tour at Budokan. Here’s the bit I find really interesting; folks picking up the limited edition version of the disc get a VR headset included with it, so they can get the full 360 degree immersive effect of the concert. That’s right, they filmed a VR version of the show, and put it on disc.