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Chatting With Kors K About the Future of S2TB

September 18, 2017 9:30am
by Lachlan Johnston

You may remember a few months ago we shared details that all activities from the team at S2TB Recordings would be coming to a staggered halt. With Summer Comiket still on the horizon at that time, we had a final lineup of releases to look forward to. It's upsetting to say, but that time has passed, and tomorrow is set to be the final time we can truly enjoy S2TB Recordings before they simply cease to exist in their current form. It's all set to end with a bang, however, solidifying their place in the record books at the grand finale showcase. Standing proudly alongside the team from HARDCORE TANO*C, we have a whole heap to look forward to at the aptly titled S2TB TANO*C FOREVER.

Calling on a global roster of talent, fans are invited one last time to enjoy the label in which Kors K worked so hard to create. Breaking the barriers between a wide variety of electronic genres, S2TB Recordings perfectly carved its own niche within the worldwide music community. Ahead of this final showcase, I spoke with Kors K about the future of S2TB as a label, and where he sees himself in the near future. You can find our discussions below:

Can you please tell us a little bit about who you are as a musician?

My name is Kors K, and I'm equal parts a music producer, DJ and label owner. Back when I was 16 years old, I was fortunate enough to have won a Beatmania IIDX 3rd Style competition, and it was through that my career was kickstarted. 

What is S2TB and why was it started?

For those who aren't familiar, S2TB actually stands for Subsonic Tribe. I started the label with the intent of it being a place for me to freely release music in an enjoyable manner, without the pressure of third-party requests. I had an extensive list of both video game and major releases before starting the label but believed it felt right to take this step. That's pretty much why I started S2TB. 

What lead to you deciding to end S2TB, and what do you plan to do in the future?

When I first started S2TB, I was having a whole heap of fun with it. But Comiket comes twice a year, and the deadlines rapidly became too much for me to handle. It became a matter of pumping music out for the label just because that was the most important thing, and it almost felt pointless at times to continue in such a way. The reason I started S2TB was an outlet for expression, not another chore that would keep me on edge at all times. That's why I decided to bring an end to the label's activities, to which you can find my full statement here.

Right now I'm not sure what I'll be doing in the future, though you can expect to see more of my works in rhythm games. On top of that, look forward to more of my own projects and live shows. I'd also like to live in the United States at some point, if that were possible.

How did the annual S2TB TANO*C event get started, and what are some of your plans for the upcoming grand finale show?

Back in 2013 and 2014, I hosted the original S2TB Gathering shows, for which I handled pretty much everything. From merchandise to booking, and everything in between, there wasn't much I didn't do for those shows. I very quickly realized it would be impossible for me to continue operating like this, which is when I contacted my good friend REDALiCE about hosting a collaborative party. At this point, HARDCORE TANO*C already had a long history. This meant they were already familiar with the correct way to throw a party, which is exactly what I needed. 

From this collaboration, we threw the first ever S2TB TANO*C show. This year, however, we're stepping it up to a whole new level. We'll be running limousines for our backers who chose the VVIP rank, and we'll also have fire launchers on the stage. It's going to be a really good time.

Have you got any messages for your international fans leading up to this final show?

Yeah, I do actually. Over the past year I've had some chances to DJ in a few different countries. Following my announcement that I would be ending activities through S2TB, there was an outpour of support for my decision. It truly feels like so many people understand the pressure that was on me, and I'm eternally grateful for that. My fans are truly good people. 

Through this support, I feel like I've got so much energy ready to deposit into S2TB TANO*C FOREVER. I've even had fans from all across Asia tell me they'll be coming to our final show. I feel like I need to do all of them right, as well as everyone who has ever supported me and S2TB through this final showcase, and that's just what I plan to do. 

There's a whole lot to look forward to leading up to this final label showcase, and we're so excited to be a part of it. This may be the grand finale for S2TB as a label, but the legacy it will leave on the Japanese music community is set to last forever. More so than anything else, I feel as though I speak for everyone when I express my undying appreciation towards Kors K as a musician and wish him all the best in his future ventures. We hope to see some of you at S2TB TANO*C FOREVER tomorrow and wish the best of luck to both the team at S2TB and the HARDCORE TANO*C side.


Kevin Penkin to Return to Anime with ‘The Rising of the Shield Hero’

August 14, 2018 4:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

I've had a keen eye on London-born composer Kevin Penkin for quite some time now, with his work originally coming onto my radar following his incredible work on the Kickstarter-funded Under the Dog, with his later work on the critically acclaimed Made in Abyss only adding to his repertoire. It's only natural then that I'd be excited to see announcements that he's fresh off the press for the upcoming Made in Abyss films, and already getting on Twitter to announce his involvement as a composer on the upcoming The Rising of the Shield Hero animated series.

Kevin Penkin’s contributions to the Made in Abyss anime adaptation were instrumental in elevating the most poignant scenes and filling the world with a mystical wonder that wasn’t present in the original manga, and his soundtrack for Under the Dog was easily the best part of the project, so no matter the source material, I’d always be excited to hear new music from him.

But even more than that, Penkin’s rare position as a foreigner working in anime makes him worth keeping an eye on. After all, limiting anime staff to only those living and working in Japan denies future anime of talented individuals that would greatly improve the project. Another name that springs to mind is Austrian animator Bahi JD, who’s animation cuts have always stood out and improved the overall project, whether it be his first job on Kids on the Slope or his latest work on FLCL: Progressive. In this sense, Penkin and others’ efforts are helping to improve anime in the long term, so I couldn’t be happier that he is continuing to work in the industry.

Only adding to this, Penkin’s genius towards dark and somber soundtracks seems like a perfect fit when it comes to the dark tone of the Shield Hero series, which is often praised as a dark isekai story in the same vein as Re;Zero. While I can’t say that that particular subgenre is my cup of tea, if it allows Penkin to continue to do what he does best, then I can’t complain. I’ll just be waiting to see what kind of magic he can work this time.

Penkin joins director Takao Abo and others at Kinema Citrus for The Rising of the Shield Hero, which is set to premiere it’s first episode at Crunchyroll Expo this September.


Puniden Shares Powerful New Single 'Kimi wa Queen'

August 14, 2018 3:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Whether its the charming allure of a slow jazz jam or the high-paced burst of energy that is funkot, there's no denying that Tokyo-based vocalist Punipunidenki, otherwise known as Puniden, is a master of all genres. With a dynamic range capable of blowing me away every single time, it comes as no surprise that her latest single "Kimi wa Queen" strikes hot as a powerful masterpiece; a release that deserves every bit of attention it receives and an extra layer on top of that.

Featuring production, lyrics, and vocals entirely handled by Puniden, "Kimi wa Queen" is a self-described rooftop grove capable of redefining the mood of any moment. There's no denying the track's undeniable charm, with Puniden's signature flare shining in every corner of the song. It's simple, but the complimentary music video does a lot to build upon the atmosphere created by the song through its simple themes and city skyline.

Available now for streaming via Puniden's official SoundCloud and YouTube channel, further information on the latest release can be found here.


lulu & Mikeneko Homeless Announce 'Umi ni Ikitai' Vinyl Release

August 14, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Tokyo-based electronic duo Mikeneko Homeless have long been praised as masters of their genre, flawlessly crafting hit single after hit single that always seems to find their way into my yearly favorites. That's why when announcements were made regarding the release of an all-new joint 10-inch vinyl alongside vocalist lulu for their upcoming summer single "Umi ni Ikitai", I jumped onto it immediately. It's not often you see physical releases from Mikeneko Homeless, so it's important to cherish it when there are some -- and "Umi ni Ikitai" is jam-packed with incredible sounds that have long defined the summertime vibe.

Spread out across four tracks, including summertime anthems "Asagao" and "Watermelon", Mikeneko Homeless and lulu are going all out on the latest release, and I couldn't be gladder. Set to release during October 2018, the upcoming release is currently priced around 2,300 yen, though it's unknown just how much inventory is being produced. The tracklist for "Umi ni Ikitai" can be found below:

lulu + Mikeneko Homeless - Umi ni Ikitai


1. 海に行きたい (lulu + Mikeniko Homeless + Shin Sakiura)
2. Asagao
1. Watermelon
2. ここ

Those interested in checking out further information about the upcoming release, or those who are interested in picking up a copy for themselves, the official store can be found here.


Anime NYC to Host 'Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] Special Event featuring Aimer'

August 14, 2018 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

With the much-anticipated Anime NYC inching closer and closer, we've been seeing announcements made left and right to drum up excitement for New York's premiere anime convention. Announced over the weekend, the anime convention is working alongside Aniplex of America and Sony Music Entertainment Japan to bring a slice of worldwide phenomenon Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] to New York in the "Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] Special Event featuring Aimer" event on November 17.

Taking place over two hours, the upcoming event will see numerous members of the English-language voice cast take to the stage, including Kari Wahlgren (Voice of Saber), Cristina Vee (Voice of Sakura Matou), Bryce Papenbrook (Voice of Shirou Emiya), and Tony Oliver (English ADR Director and Voice of Lancer); followed up by unseen previews of the upcoming Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] II.lost butterfly film ahead of its theatrical release. Finally, the event will conclude with a massive performance from musician Aimer live at Anime NYC. 

Taking place on November 17 at the Javits Center in Manhattan, Anime NYC is truly shaping up to be an event not to be missed for those both on the East Coast and beyond. Further information can be found via the anime convention's official website.


Weekly Shonen Jump Begins Streaming Classic Anime for Free in Japan

August 13, 2018 6:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

While the manga of Weekly Shonen Jump is plenty legendary by itself, it’s the anime adaptations of that manga that ha always fared best in the West and have introduced many to the magazine itself as a result. With that being said, no 50th-anniversary celebration of Weekly Shonen Jump would be complete without a celebration of the anime it has spawned - many of which are now available to watch, for free and legally, on YouTube if you live in Japan.

Weekly Shonen Jump launched their official 50th-anniversary channel on August 10 with the intent of allowing fans to watch classic anime of their properties for free. By navigating to the “playlists” tab, you can see that, as of the time of writing, episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho, Slam Dunk, Fist of the North Star, and Kinnikuman are available for streaming - provided you access it from a Japanese IP address. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Weekly Shonen Jump also plans to add new episodes every weekday, not only allowing fans to watch the above four series in full, for free, but also many other amazing Jump shows, including One Piece, Naruto, Dr. Slump, to name but a few. When certain shows will be added will be conveyed using the channel’s official Twitter account, so keep your eye on that for more.

You’ll be able to watch these shows on the channel until March 31 next year, so you’ll have plenty of time to sit back, relax, and take in some good old Jump anime goodness - whether it’s for reveling in nostalgia or discovering something new. I’d definitely recommend checking out Yu Yu Hakusho if you haven’t had a chance to see it already.


Production I.G. to Helm Original Anime Based on the Infamous ‘Kabukicho’

August 13, 2018 5:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

Production I.G., the studio behind numerous anime such as Psycho-Pass, Haikyuu!, and a number of other titles, have announced a new, original anime project titled Shinjuku-ku Kabukicho. The original project has been in development since 2014, As the title suggests, the story will take place in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku-ward, which is known for its vibrant nightlife as well as for it’s more unsavory elements. If you played any of the Yakuza games, then it is Kabukicho upon which Kamurocho is based, which should help you understand what kind of place it is if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit it yet.

Using this setting, the original anime series will tell the story of a “bizarre murder case,” and from the looks of the Sherlock Holmes-esque character in the key visual released alongside the announcement, it seems that the characters will be trying to solve that case: 

Other than the above key visual, we don’t have much more information as to the story or characters, but what we do know is that a lot of the key staff positions have already been filled - suggesting that it may air sooner than we think. Directing the series is Ai Yoshimura (Cheer Boys, Dance With Devils), handling the series composition is Kishimoto Taku (91 Days, Usagi Drop), and penning the character designs will be Yabaki Toshiyuki (Persona 5, Joker Game)

Production I.G. has had a good history with producing original anime, with Psycho-Pass being a keen critical favorite to this day. Combine this with the already interesting setting of Kabukicho, and it’s safe to say that I’m keen to see how this project will turn out.


Classic ‘Dragon Ball’ Movies to Receive HD Blu-ray Releases

August 13, 2018 4:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

We haven’t got long to wait for the next installment in the beloved Dragon Ball franchise in this December’s movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but I wouldn’t blame you if you’re already desperate for some more Super Saiyan goodness. Many of you will have seen the original series, so how about checking the theatrical entries for some new ground? 

Luckily for us, Toei Animatiohasve recently unveiled their plans to release previous Dragon Ball movies on Blu-ray for the first time ever. While not all of the movies will be getting a Blu-ray release, the most important (and best) will be - from the first Dragon Ball Z movie, Dead Zone, all the way up to the first movie featuring Broly, Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. Even some classic movies from the pre-Z days will be seeing the light of day with Curse of the Blood Rubies, Sleeping Princess in the Devil’s Castle and Mystical Adventure all getting a Blu-ray release.

These new Blu-ray's will be based on a rescan of the original cels, allowing the movies to be upscaled to 1080p HD without affecting the quality of the picture. The technology allowing this to be performed has advanced considerably in recent years, and I can confirm for myself that these new rescans look absolutely incredibly from my experience watching the 4K-remaster of Ashita no Joe 2.

Toei plans to release eight Blu-ray's collecting 17 movies from 1986 to 1996 as of the time of writing, but they may decide to do more if sales are good. The first wave is available from November 2, so if you’re hankering for more Dragon Ball, definitely consider picking them up.