Saturday, November 26, 2016

WTPT-Pokemon Christmas Bash Review-Part 1

Way back in 2007, I appeared on the WTPT Pokemon Podcast to discuss the "Pokemon Christmas Bash" album. In the first part, KC and Jowy do a brief news segment, then bring me in to introduce the album:


Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Review: Pocket Monsters XYZ Character Song Collection Volume 2

Steven Reich
Earlier this year, Pokémon put out an EP of character songs featuring the Japanese voice actors from the sixth generation of the anime. Predictably (given that the EP had “Vol. 1” in its title), this has led to a second volume that was released in late October. Despite its name, this second volume also includes the songs from the first volume (though not their instrumental counterparts), and as such, the question becomes whether the new songs add enough value for consumers who already picked up the first volume. Here’s a run-down of the new tracks on this album:

DreamDream

“DreamDream” is one of several rearrangements of songs from earlier in this generation in this collection. Unlike when this was done in generation four for Hikari (Dawn), however, this version is fairly close to the earlier release of the track. As a result (and perhaps also due to my unfamiliarity with Serena’s Japanese voice actor, Mayuki Makiguchi), I’m not particularly attached to this rendition of the ending theme. It’s hardly bad, but doesn’t offer much beyond the original version.

Brilliantly (a.k.a. Glitter)

Performed by Citron’s (Clemont’s) voice actor Yūki Kaji, this remake of a song from the “Getter Ban Ban” single was more appealing to me, but perhaps that’s just an indication of my fondness for his engineering work (similar to how my love of art elevates my opinion of Tracey), or that the underlying song appeals to me more due to its “fun” quality. In any case, it ends up being one of the standout tracks on this collection for me.

Pikachu’s Song

A call-and-response track between a group of children and Ikue Ohtani, this is clearly a song designed for a different audience. There’s a fair amount of variation, and I appreciate the challenge writing this song must have presented, but it’s definitely not something I would listen to more than once in a while.

Meowth’s Ballad

Another in a line of Meowth-related tunes, this song (as the name implies) goes for a lighter mood akin to “Meowth’s Song” from generation one. Like the older track, I enjoy listening to this, and it’s impressive that Inuko Inuyama can deliver such a low-key performance. Definitely comes across as one of the better entries on this CD.

XY & Z (Movie Version)

As one might expect, this is the earlier TV version with some new instruments (Side Note: I really miss instances like the first few English movies and “High Touch” where they would re-do or otherwise majorly change the theme for the movies-it doesn’t have to happen for each one, but it would be nice to see more often). My feelings on this version are pretty much the same as the original-it’s good overall, but the ending doesn’t seem to be quite what I wanted tonally.

Overall

If I didn’t own either, I’d probably pick up just this second volume (especially since I’m not running a station anymore), as there’s not a great need to own the instrumental versions present on the first volume. If you already have that first EP, I would still say this is worth purchasing as long as you’re interested in enough of the new tracks. I would have preferred to have a few more fully original songs, but in general it’s still a good package.

Want to see an unboxing of this CD?


Sunday, October 30, 2016

New Poll + More Pokemon Music Discussion

As a follow-up to our recently posted discussion of ending themes of Pokemon: The First Movie, I've added a poll where you can voice your opinion as to whether "Together With The Wind" or "We're A Miracle" is the better song. Additionally, I recently posted some bonus audio from that discussion:


If that's still not enough for you, here's a preview of our discussion of the second movie's ending themes:


The full version will be posted later, but you can hear it now as a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pokemon: The First Movie Ending Theme Comparison

Anne of Pikapi Podcast joins in to compare the Japanese and English ending themes of Pokemon: The First Movie. What do "Together With The Wind" and "We're A Miracle" have to offer, and which one will come out on top?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Unboxing a "We're A Miracle" Mastering CD

Christina Aguilera's "We're A Miracle" wasn't written or recorded for Pokemon: The First Movie, but it did take some work to make it ready for the film. Here, we go over a mastering CD that I picked up off of eBay that fills in some details about how that song ended up where it did:



This was an interesting opportunity for me, as I'm always looking for ways to find out more about the production process behind Pokemon music. It's difficult to say if or when I'll have another chance like this, but I'll certainly keep looking.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 4 (Listener Mail) + First Movie Ending Theme Discussion

In the last part of the episode, we go over some of the mail Jowy and KC received:


Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

If you missed some of the earlier parts (or want to restart from the beginning), all four parts are available in a playlist:


If you still need more discussion of Pokemon music, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I recently recorded a comparison of the Japanese and English ending themes for the first Pokemon movie ("Together With the Wind" and "We're a Miracle"). It will appear here eventually, but for now it's a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed. Here's a sample:



Monday, September 19, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 3

We continue our discussion of the Pokemon 2.B.A. Master album by giving our overall thoughts:


Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Geek.Kon 2016: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Winner

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Jesus Solis, winner of a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament. We talk about how he got  into competitive Smash, his choice of characters, and his strategy for the finals:



Transcript:

Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at Geek.Kon 2016. I’m here with Jesus [pronounced hey-suess] Solis, who is the winner of the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament for this year. Jesus, we just have a few questions. First of all, how did you get into competitive Smash Bros.?

Jesus: Well honestly, I’ve always loved Smash Bros., but I just recently got into it when the game came out. I hung out with some friends around Geekplastiq, which is a local store around Madison. And they held these tournaments. I just figured I’d go, and I got to meet some friends who really got competitive with it. So, I kind of just hung around the crowd and kind of got into it.

Steven: That’s neat. So, what were the basic rules for this tournament? How many stock did you have, and what were some of the other things about it?

Jesus: The tournament rules were you had 2 stocks. It was timed for 6 minutes. The stages were a little bit weird, but they were tournament stages. And otherwise than that, it was just basic standard tourney rules.

Steven: So you are allowed in certain cases to switch characters. Basically, if you lose a round, you’re allowed to switch your character for the next round. So you actually used several different characters for this. What were the characters you used for this tournament?

Jesus: I only used 2, which were Mario and Kirby.

Steven: Why those 2 particular characters? Let’s start off, first of all, why Mario?

Jesus: Well, I love Mario’s move set. The mechanics just feel good. He always has a good reflector going on. And the FLUDD is kind of underestimated, because it can be used in very good moments, especially in gimping. And he just worked out pretty well.

Steven: And Kirby is your alternate character there. What do you like about Kirby?

Jesus: To be honest, he’s just a big ball of pinkness. But just his move set as well. There’s a lot you can do with Kirby that people don’t really quite notice. For example, if you’re trying to gimp a Little Mac off a stage here, they can just rush into you and you can swallow them up and poof them back out. But it’s kind of risky, because Little Mac is just this brute of superarmor.

Steven: Yeah, that did kind of come up in the finals as well. So, in the finals, you were paired against a guy-he used Cloud, which is of course one of the new DLC characters, relatively new, and Little Mac. So what was your strategy, first of all, against Cloud?

Jesus: Well, against Cloud- Cloud is definitely strong. And he definitely is fearful when he is charged of his move. So the only thing that’s unfortunate is his recovery. So my strategy was to try to gimp him off a stage here and make him fall off stage.

Steven: Yep, that was the basic strategy there. Eventually though, your opponent did switch to Little Mac. By that point, you had switched to Kirby, so what’s that matchup kind of like?

Jesus: Well, it was completely-it was a wait game, to be honest. Because if I had approached him in the middle of the stage, he would have definitely gotten me. Little Mac here, he’s easy to get in the corner of stages here, just because his recovery’s also really bad, his Up+B, and his side+B. From there on, it’s just a patience game with him. Because, you really need to just try your best to avoid his smash moves, because they’re all just strong. It worked out pretty good. It was just very, very intense.

Steven: It’s an interesting match up there. Well, this is the fourth, if you count the 3DS and Wii U versions together, fourth entry in the series. It’s almost certain, although nothing’s officially announced, that there will be a 5th generation Smash. What would you like to see in a new iteration?

Jesus: First of all, a good controller. Continue to have the GameCube controller as the controller for the mechanics, because the WiiPad is not the greatest, the Wiimote is not the greatest. The 3DS isn’t so bad as a controller, but it’s just a bit strange, just because people are used to this mechanic going on with Smash and so on.

Steven: It is interesting how that controller that was originally designed for games like Luigi’s Mansion and Pikmin and stuff like that has sort of lived on as the default Smash controller, especially for competitive players. Alright, well thank you very much, Jesus. This has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

Transcript by GetTranscribed.com

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Preview: Geek.Kon 2016

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Adam Pulver, public relations representative for Madison-area convention Geek.Kon.  He was able to fill me in on some of the details of this year’s event, which runs from Friday the 26th to Sunday the 28th.

How did Geek.Kon get started?
Geek.Kon was started ten years ago by some University of Wisconsin students. After two free two-day conventions on campus, we moved off-site to a hotel, expanded to three days, and promptly outgrew the space in one year. We've been at the Marriott ever since.

Who are some of this year's guests?
This year's featured guest is Jason Carter, best known as Ranger Marcus Cole on Babylon 5. We also have voice actors Jerry Jewell, Christina Kelly, and Ryan Reynolds, author John Jackson Miller, and a number of great local guests including writers, game designers and other industry professionals.

This year there's a Pokémon Go panel, and a Pokkén Tournament competition. When are those?
The Pokémon Go panel is Saturday at noon, and the Pokkén Tournament event is Sunday at noon.

If someone came in a Pokémon-related costume, is there a meetup for that as well?
Yes, we're dedicating a special room for people to take cosplay photos and have suggested a number of photoshoot times. Pokémon’s shoot is Friday night at 8:00.

Where can people find more information about the convention?
We encourage people to visit our website  and download our online schedule

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master-Part 2 (Double Trouble + PokeRap)

In the second part of our review of the 2.B.A. Master album, we focus on the Team Rocket "Double Trouble" song, and the original PokeRap:


Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.