Monday, April 27, 2009

Card Captor Sakura: The New Trials Anime Ending Theme

ストロボの空 - Sutorobo no Sora - A Sky of Strobes
Singer: Maaya Sakamoto
Album: Lucy
菅野よう子 - Yoko Kanno
Lyrics: 坂本真綾 - Maaya Sakamoto

It’s like the brightness that hits you right after coming through a long and narrow tunnel
For a while it’s nothing but a world of pure white
No one’ll wait for you to prepare yourself emotionally
When I noticed it had already begun, a tale with no end

I know
I know, the weakness I crushed in my hands
What was that sound that I heard at such a time?

Where is it coming from?
Who is calling me to stop?
That’s the sound of life that spilled out from the body, pulsating with certainty

Those who make dreams come true
Those who are loved
are fighting while accepting with all their being
Joys and equal pains

It’s like the brightness that hits you right after coming through a long and narrow tunnel
From between the clouds, the path of a new wind

What was that sound that unexpectedly knocked at my heart?

It’s okay to rely on someone
It’s okay to have more faith
The sound of life that continuously rings out as if to so whisper in my ear

The fact that rainbows disappear
The fact that there is moist ground
The miracles that I had always overlooked
were shining more beautifully than anything else

I felt like I had been forgiven for being born

Those who make dreams come true
Those who are loved
Are fighting while accepting with all their being
Joys and equal pains

It’s like the brightness that hits you right after coming through a long and narrow tunnel
For a while it’s nothing but a world of pure white

Lyrics from translation by Miyuki Mouse and Korean translation.

Over the years, I have received so many emails stating "I wish New Trials really is an anime or the Fourth Season of Card Captor Sakura," which made me very happy. I've always mentioned that if New Trials was an anime, I would use Utada Hikaru's "Sakura Drops" as the opening and Maaya Sakamoto's "Strobe no Sora" as the ending theme.

The first time I ever heard "Sutorobo no Sora" I immediately knew it was perfect for Card Captor Sakura because the song gives such an uplifting, refreshing feeling. First off, we already have the Maaya Sakamoto and Yoko Kanno tie-in, since the pair also did the CCS third season ending "Platinum." The song is from their collaboration album, "Lucy," which is one of my favorite albums. I mentioned before that "Koucha" from that album would be perfect as the New Trials Fourth Arc ending (if it were an anime). The album is beautiful because if you listen to the lyrics (or read the translations in my case), the songs unfold like a story of a girl's process of falling in love and heartbreak. Secondly, the lyrics of this song are truly beautiful, and I think everything about it simply embodies "Kinomoto Sakura," as you can read below.

I made this video because I got distracted while I was making the ending for Arc Four ending "Koucha," which is a bit bittersweet. I drew a ton of artwork for that video, but I had more fun making this video because it's sort a flashback to all of my favorite S+S moments. I am rather pleased with how the flashback sequence turned out. The video itself is inspired from Second Season ending "Honey" by Chihiro with Sakura watching the rain out the window. And the last frame from "Fruits Candy." Lol... This actually took longer to make than I anticipated because my computer is so slow. But it's my first time using Sony Vegas 9.0, a big improvement from the always crashing Windows Media Player. The scene itself probably happens in Arc 2 when you-know-who lives with you-know-who. Yes, it's Syaoran's house if you can't tell by the green curtains. keke... I also recreated a typical CCS preview using voice clips from Irino Miyu and Makino Yui which were very annoying to extract. I love Irino Miyu as a teenage Syaoran in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. ^_^ hanyaan... Next will be Arc Four ending theme "Koucha." Anyhow, making this video was a trip down the memory lane for me and just proves the durability and longevity of our beloved Card Captor Sakura even after a decade (with a comeback in BluRay).

Full version of song:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sakura and Syaoran Fanart

An old S+S fanart I drew back in high school, years ago. But it still remains a favorite because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking of the carefree days of New Trials. It was difficult coloring because the original scan quality was so poor.

Sakura Syaoran Hug by ~wishluv on deviantART

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tsubasa Shunraiki 1 and Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Brotherhood 1

"I want to be together, forever, with the person I love. Before this simple wish can be granted, we go our separate ways."
- "Sonic Boom" - Maaya Sakamoto, Tsubasa Chronicle Shunraiki Opening

I finally got to watch the Tsubasa Shunraiki OAD/OVA. As I thought, I definitely like the new opening, "Sonic Boom," sung by our Tomoyo-hime's seiyuu Maaya Sakamoto after another listen. The lyrics are quite beautiful, as expected from Maaya. I have mixed feelings about the actual episode itself. Overall, I was more awed by the production quality of Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations. It annoys me that the whole Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles franchise has gotten suc
h a shoddy animation treatment. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic about the possibility of getting even these OVAs, but I would have preferred a solid third season without missing arcs, without having to wait months for a single episode. Lol. I don't mind that we skipped several arcs straight to the Nippon arc because we get to see our darling Tomoyo-hime again!

The best part about this first episode is Tomoyo-hime. Some of the character designs were unstable throughout the episode, but Tomoyo-hime was very lovely as usual. And it was so nostalgic to hear Maaya Sakamoto using a princess-voice again after her run of boyish-sounding characters, ie. Haruhi, Ciel and Crona. Nippon Arc is all about Kurogane, so we see little of Sakura-hime and Syaoran. But next episode will be exciting with Syaoran vs. Clone!Syaoran. Kurogane is a character that has really grown on me through the course of TRC.

On a side note, I have grown very desensitized to limbs chopped off here and there and eyeballs gouged out and whatnot. Sighs... I'm so squeamish with gore, too. Watching the scene where Kurogane chops off his arm in color made me wince a bit. But it segues very nicely into my next review.... The return of Fullmetal Kurogane!... Oops, I meant, Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric.

Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Brotherhood is awesomeness! I was a little wary at first, as I mentioned earlier, but the first episode brought me straight back into nostalgic mode for good old Edward, Al, Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes! It's taking me time to get adjusted to Roy's new seiyuu (who is King Touya in Tsubasa), but then again, Roy is one of the characters who diverges a lot from the manga to the first Bones anime adaptation. I actually like the first Bones character designs better because they're more suited for fluid animation, whereas this adaptation sticks closer to the original Hiromu Arakawa manga designs. But as can be expected from a Studio Bones project, the action, the production quality, the music, everything is executed superbly. I noticed a bit more manga elements in this first episode though, which was just an action-packed, character-slammed, never still for a moment introduction episode. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to the upcoming episodes which return back to the beginning.

I think I'm going to get very addicted to the new opening and ending soon. I originally thought Sid's "Uso" would be a better Opening Theme and Yui's "Again" a better Ending Theme, because I heard it first and was addicted immediately. But both songs are so catchy, I bet they'll wind up on my playlist. I've always liked Yui, and I wasn't sure if I would like the new opening for FMA 2, but it's grown on me really fast. The chibi ending animation for Sid's "Uso" is cute, but I would have preferred a more serious animation to match such a beautiful song (but Bones seems to have used up their budget on the Opening sequence.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Trials of CCS Chapter 61 Posted!

Belated Happy Birthday Sakura-chan!!! (4/1/2009)

Chapter 61: Fantasia in Memoriam is posted. This is a chapter I've been wanting to write for years, and it makes me sad because it feels sort of like a graduation ceremony for me because it took me so long to get to this point in the plot. It find the tone very different from other chapters because it is set in the Fantasy. :)

But the Fantasy is a very befitting dark force for April Fool's Day. Lol. I think this chapter was a bit lighter than the rest of Arc 4. So, I really didn't want to include the second to last scene. Sighs, but in the end, it was necessary. This is a chapter that makes your realize just how many characters there are in New Trials and subsequent specials. I wonder if anybody will be able to place all the characters and where they're from. Lol... It'll probably be impossible since some of them didn't even appear yet.

On a side note, I have a fanart of Clow Reed and spoiler character almost finished.

Happy Spring!