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20 Years of m-flo: The Rhyme Brokers In Their Own Words

October 24, 2018 3:00pm
by Eddie Lehecka

20 years ago today the Japanese hip-hop scene was introduced to one of the most extraordinary groups that would ever grace their musical landscape. At the time they were a modest success, but in only a few short years Taku Takahashi, VERBAL, and LISA would take Japan (and the world) by storm with their unique sound and experimental style. Their first single as a trio, "The Rhyme Brokers", was also the US's earliest exposure to the group, having appeared in the first entries of Konami's beatmania IIDX & Dance Dance Revolution franchises. It didn't take long for their follow up, "Been So Long" to come out and blow up in a serious way, leading to a legacy that is still being written by 3 ultra-talented friends who aren't afraid to try different things and love what they do.

Since Taku Takahashi is also one of the founding fathers of OTAQUEST, I asked him if we could get some statements from the 3 of them about those early days. Thankfully all were happy to oblige. Continue reading for some first-hand insight on the early days of m-flo, the recording of "The Rhyme Brokers", and a look at what the future holds.

OTAQUEST: It's been 20 years since your first single, "The Rhyme Brokers" was released. Can you tell us a bit about how you all got together, and what it was like working together in those early days?

VERBAL: Taku and I used to be in a band together in high school, so we go way back. I think about like a high school dance party where Taku would bring out his turntables, and I don't even think they were meant for DJing. But we had records and I remember him there DJing, there was a point where we got together and starting jamming at these high school dance parties. That's how we originally got together and started our band. Fast forward a couple of years when we got together and started m-flo, we recorded our first song and that was called "The Rhyme Brokers".
Just to give you some context on what it was like in the late 90's in Japan, hip-hop and R&B were booming at the time so there were a lot of new acts coming out. It was a very prime-time for us to release our kind of music and do what we had aspired to do. When we made that first song together, it was around that time that we figured "hey, this is going to be a new group, so we should give it a new name." The name we originally came up with was "Mediarite-Flow", which eventually became m-flo.
Anyways, I remember us making a demo cassette and we would drive around banging it in Taku's car. It had an open roof, and we would just be banging it, we thought it was the shit. Soon after that Taku approached me and said: "You know what, we want to add another element to this, so let's ask LISA." LISA was somebody we knew from high school, she was a year above us. She was the queen boss, you know? We knew she was a singer too, so I thought that was great, I was like "Bet, she should sing on it!" That became "The Rhyme Brokers" that everyone has heard today. It gave m-flo a new life, and is safe to say was really the beginning.

Taku: So 20 years ago VERBAL and I were doing a group together when we came up with "The Rhyme Brokers". At the time I knew LISA was singing as a professional, so I asked her to sing on our track. I thought the result was really good and that we should make another tune. That next song was "Been So Long", and after that, we asked LISA to officially join the group as m-flo.

LISA: 20 years ago, oh wow. Taku was always making music. Taku's always doing his thing. He had asked me to come to his house and listen to a bunch of his music. One song he had said "Listen to this rapper, it's like really out there." When I heard it I was like "Woah. Taku. Who's this guy?" and was like "Oh, it's Young-Kee." I was like "Young-Kee!? Like that Young-Kee in our school? Really!? No." So a few weeks went by and Taku said "You know what. Why don't we try to do something, us three together?" so I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me to come up with something like a loop tune, something repetitious, like a killer hook or melody that would latch onto people's ear so they won't forget us. I told him I would do it and he said "Just write something really crazy, like you." crazy like me? You got it! I had done that and then we met up at the studio.
That was the first time I had actually met VERBAL. I had seen him here and there in school and everything, but to really really meet him that was the first time. It was the first day of recording for "The Rhyme Brokers" too, so can you imagine how nervous I was? So then here comes VERBAL and I was shaking because I was kinda nervous, I don't know what he's going to say to me. The first thing he told me, I don't know how to say it in english, but he was like "なんかヤンキーぽいな" so I was like "Yankee? What! Man what!? How could you say that to me?" In English that's probably like "Oh, you're kinda raggedy" or "you're kinda street-ish" like a really street kind of girl. So you know, I did not feel good about it. But you know, brother was very young and you gotta let that go *laughs* because if I didn't let that go then we would have never come up with "The Rhyme Brokers" so there it is. Rhyme Brokers, 20 years ago! Wow.

OTAQUEST: Did you have any image at the time of how the future might turn out for m-flo?

Taku Takahashi: I had an image that we would be really successful. I never had a doubt, to be honest. I thought we were bringing out something different to Japan and that was my goal. I knew we would do it in the best way. I never thought we would be doing this for 20 years, but I thought we had a bright future. We were very fortunate that we have been able to do this for so long. 

LISA: What we were thinking back then was not really like "OK! We're going to move on like this and move on like that!" It really wasn't like that. We were such an experimental group, every song is strictly experimental. But we wanted to put our best into every song we make. Whether we had the chance to release it nor not, record company or not, it didn't matter. If we got together we wanted to put together something really hot. So that's how it happened, we were just concentrating on "The Rhyme Brokers" and that went really well. Not as in the charts, but our staff that listened to it all really liked it and hey encouraged us to make another song together. That song was "Been So Long", and a lot of people everywhere really liked that so that brought us out into the world and let people know that m-flo exists. "Been So Long" was our first hit, but "The Rhyme Brokers" was the beginning.

OTAQUEST: Does it feel like it's really been 20 years since it all started to you?

VERBAL: I did not expect 20 years of m-flo because I was thinking about quitting rapping before I hit 30. I thought that was the cool thing, start a new business or do something else. But life takes form in different ways and I'm really thankful that I'm able to be creative to this day. I get to work with Taku & LISA, make tracks, make songs for the fans out there. I would say it was like a quick 20 years, and we really feel blessed to be doing what we love for so many years.

Taku Takahashi: 20 years, I still can't believe it. The best word to describe it is "weird". *laughs* I just couldn't imagine that 20 years have passed. Being a professional musician, although I had mentioned that I had faith in ourselves, it's still very surreal to me. Recording with, and meeting artists, even meeting with new artists I feel like "Oh my god, I'm seeing this popular person!" or "Oh wow, this singer is so famous and I'm talking to her!" It's always surreal and I think it will be that way for me forever.

LISA: Yeah, It's been 20 years. Oh wow, very long but at the same time very fast. You can't imagine how life just goes so fast, oh my goodness, it's just scary sometimes. It does feel like 20 years too sometimes because wow when you sing those songs from 20 years ago over and over and over again you think "This song has taken me places!" And you know, a lot of gratitude to that. I Just appreciate everything, every moment, and what happened even though times were tough sometimes. Even though we didn't agree all the time, or even though we bump heads and all kind of stuff, you know? Good times, and bad times, everything together still equaled up to m-flo and whatever we put out.
Wow, there's so much to look back on, but at the same time so much to look forward to. Yeah, we have 20 years under our belt, but we still have 20 more to go! I'm thinking "Taku! VERBAL! Can you do it! Can you do it with me! Oh, you guys are crazy!" Gotta be crazy to go running with me for another 20 years, my brothers. Stay healthy, please! 

OTAQUEST: Where do you see m-flo heading in the future?

VERBAL: I don't know, I mean I definitely didn't think we would be doing this for 20 years but I'm happy that we have and I feel like looking at the way m-flo has evolved; from Taku & me having a high school band to starting with m-flo, LISA joining and then leaving the group, m-flo starting the "loves" series where we collaborate with a bunch of different artists, to LISA coming back and us doing what we're doing now. I mean who knows what the future holds, I'm just excited and I know that this group is here to stay.

Taku Takahashi: Honestly I don't know what's going to happen for m-flo in the future, but I can tell you about what's coming up next. We're working on an album right now and we've been releasing stuff recently. We have a project called "Prince Project" where we're working with a bunch of different artists and producing covers of songs from the 80s. Really we just always want to be free and do something fun! We just released "Mars Drive" and "Piece of Me", the next single coming up will be available on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and the new album is coming out next year. Hopefully we get to go to more cities in the US and perform soon too!

LISA: Our future is bright. I always try to take everything positive. *laughs* I dunno, I just want my brothers to be healthy. And they need a lot of energy to bear with me too, so I don't know how my brothers are going to keep on moving with me and everything but they gotta drag me along with them! I don't know, I just love them very much and m-flo, we're such a fun group. We're always experimental like I said, and we're just going to keep doing that. We're not gonna be like "This is m-flo style, so this is how you're gonna listen to it!" No, we don't work like that. We always try to put a whole of challenges in it, and we're always challenging ourselves. Who knows where we're gonna go, we're still beginning and still moving forward, running too! Hey, please come along with us for another 20 years. Big up m-flo! Whatcha talking about!

OTAQUEST: Do you have any words for your fans in America?

VERBAL: First and foremost, when we performed in Los Angeles at Anime Expo's OTAQUEST LIVE this past July, it was a very enlightening experience for us because it was the first time m-flo every performed in the states, and honestly it was an away game you know? We thought the crowd would be super quiet in the seated arena, but much to our surprise a lot of the people knew our lyrics, and most of the people there were an actual American audience, not like Japanese people who had come to the states. I would say over 90% of the crowd was non-Japanese, so for them to know the songs and the hooks to songs, to be rocking with us, I mean it was a blessing and really encouraging to see. That got us really juiced up to want to go perform more oversease, especially in the US. So to the American fans, we're making new music and we're gonna bring back some of the old music to perform for the people who have been listening to us since day one. Be on the lookout, that's probably going to start as early as the beginning of 2019. Stay tuned.

Taku Takahashi: I really appreciate your support! Some of you know us from beatmania or Dance Dance Revolution, some might know us from YouTube, or even OTAQUEST. Wherever you found us and listen to our music, it really means a lot and I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. I would love to meet you all as soon as possible!

LISA: Mad love to all our fans, mad love from me. You know me, I'm all crazy and everything but crazy love, I have that too. From the bottom of my heart. Yes, we've been around 20 years, but another 20 years coming your way! Oh, be careful! I love you guys so much and I hope to see you soon! Be well and take care.

After the comments from the group I wanted to ask Taku a little bit about their first indie release, "The Way We Were", a cover of a Barbara Streisand song that was released alongside "The Rhyme Brokers" back in 1998. The original version of the release featured vocals from Ceybil Jefferies, with a version featuring LISA coming out a few months later. There isn't a lot of information about this particular song online and it's generally an unknown track to m-flo fans in the US so I was hoping he could shed a little bit of light on this mysterious song.

OTAQUEST: m-flo isn't a group known for performing covers, so how did you end up recording "The Way We Were", originally a Barabara Streisand song?

Taku Takahashi: So "The Way We Were", that's our first single. We had "The Rhyme Brokers" and "The Way We Were" together. Originally it was a GTS project, and GTS was recording it. What I was doing was almost like doing a remix for them. Our producer back then, Masaji Asakawa (G from GTS), liked the remix and said it should be an m-flo tune. While I was doing the remix, VERBAL was in town from Boston, I was already back in Tokyo, and I asked him to rap on it. G (Masaji Asakawa) loved our synergy, so we played him "The Rhyme Brokers" and he liked that too.

OTAQUEST: You recorded 2 versions of the song that were released at slightly different times, one with Ceybil Jefferies and one with LISA. What's the story behind that?

Taku Takahashi: After "Been So Long" we thought we needed a version for LISA. So that's why there are 2 versions, one with Ms. Ceybil Jefferies and we have the one with LISA. The original recording with Ceybil Jefferies was already there for the remix, so we just added VERBAL's rap. That was the first song played on Japanese radio & TV, but soon after "The Rhyme Brokers" hit and that led to "Been So Long".

As someone who counts himself amongst m-flo's earliest fans in the US, it's really amazing to see how far they've come and comforting to know that there's more planned. If you're one of the many out there who also enjoy their music & work, regardless of the era, be sure to look forward for more from this mega-talented group and as always we'll be here supporting and reporting any new developments they might be working on!

Thank you to Taku Takahashi, VERBAL, and LISA for their participation in this interview!

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Nintendo Celebrates Over 1,000 Games on Switch

November 15, 2018 6:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Only two years into its lifecycle and Nintendo is already celebrating the release of over 1,000 games on the Nintendo Switch. That's no small feat, especially given the Wii U failed to even reach the four-digit mark within its entire lifespan. But with that being said, what are all these games, and just how did Nintendo come to the conclusion that they had achieved that milestone? While it certainly doesn't answer that overarching question, Nintendo UK did release a celebratory video to highlight just a portion of the games that made it possible.
 


Opening to the tune of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the trailer quickly directs viewers attention towards a slew of other in-house and AAA titles for the Nintendo Switch. All in all, however, we only see a total of 12 games showcased in this trailer -- 11 if you don't count Pokémon: Let's Go! as two games -- so that only further begs to ask, just what are the other 9,988 titles? Well, it would turn out its a lot of different titles, including over eight games that feature the word "Mario" in their title. 

It's a lot of indie titles, it's a lot of AAA action, and it's probably a sizeable amount of fun overall. Whatever it is, the Nintendo Switch actually has a decently sized library -- though I'm not gonna go and vouch for all of the games in that library. While the number of titles on the console sits around the 1,200 mark, it's quite quickly catching up to the likes of Sony's PlayStation 4 which holds around 1,800 titles, as well as Microsoft's Xbox One at 1,700 titles. 

I probably couldn't name more than 30 titles on the Nintendo Switch, but them keeping track of over 1,000 is definitely an impressive feat, and one that the company should probably give themselves a pat on the back for. We're sure we'll be seeing that number increase over these next couple of years too, so until then, we'll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all (maybe not all) the latest releases, as they happen.

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David Productions to Helm Adaptation of ‘Soul Eater’ Creator’s ‘Fire Force’

November 15, 2018 4:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

Is it me, or is it getting a bit hot in here? Perhaps it’s something do with the recent announcement of an anime adaptation of Atsushi Ohkubo’s Fire Force manga, which has left me a little more than hot under the collar in anticipation.

Launched in 2015 not long after Ohkubo’s long-running and incredibly popular series Soul Eater came to end, Fire Force takes place in alternate Tokyo which is terrorized by “Infernals” - fire-based destructive beings that threaten the very existence of the human race. To counter this threat, special firefighting squadrons comprised of people with special abilities are formed, and it is into one such squadron that our protagonist, Shinra Kusakabe, enters with the intention of helping people as well as solving the mystery behind his family’s death in a fire some years ago.

Despite the changes that Ohkubo has had to endure as a creator - not only a stark departure in subject matter from Soul Eater but also changing magazine from Monthly Gangan to Weekly Shonen Magazine - these have not had an adverse effect on the series. Rather, it has continued to entertain since it’s inception, both due to the author’s own creativity as well as his decision to slowly open up the story and it’s world over time. It’s also been a solid success for Magazine, in which the series shares pages with such heavy hitters as Hajime no Ippo and The Seven Deadly Sins.

With that in mind, it’s very exciting for me to be able to say that after nearly three years of publication - which is a pretty long time considering Ohkubo’s previous successes - the manga has finally been picked up for an anime adaptation. And helming the project will be none other than the now legendary David Productions, who aside from being almost single-handedly responsible for the recent Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure boom, have also seen considerable success with their recent adaptation of Cells at Work.

Given David Productions’ incredible track record, I have no doubt that the Fire Force adaptation will be a very good adaptation, if not even better than the original manga - after all, there’s plenty of things for the talented staffers at David Productions to work with, from the inventive character designs to the multitude of fire-based abilities that can only benefit from full animation. They’ve also demonstrated in recent times that they’re not afraid to change elements of the original for the sake of a good adaptation - something that far too many studios are far too afraid of doing.

As a result, even though details on the adaptation are very scarce - with no staff or even a release date being shared - I can’t help but be incredibly stoked for what should be an excellent adaptation of a great manga. If you’d like to check out the manga in the meantime, then Kodansha Comics are translating the volumes into English, here.

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Fans Stranded in Saitama After ‘iDOLM@STER’ Concert

November 15, 2018 3:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

When you’ve just spent four hours sweating buckets at a concert, just about the only thing you want to do is have a bath and go to sleep - not get stranded in the middle of nowhere. But that’s exactly what happened to many fans of the iDOLM@STER series who went to one of the franchise’s concerts last weekend.

Saitama prefecture’s MetLife Dome played host to the sixth annual iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls (or Deremas) concert, and while this may have been one of the biggest venues for the franchise yet - with an overall capacity of around 36,000 people - it certainly seems as though the public transport system was not prepared at all for the mass of people that were to descend upon it.

That being said, arrival at the venue went very smoothly for fans, as people tend to arrive at different times depending on if they want to purchase goods before the live or not, but it was after the live that true chaos descended on the station, as the whole stadium poured out at the same time towards Seibu Kyujou-mae station, all tired and all wanting to head home after a fun, yet no doubt exhausting live event.

The sheer mass of people quickly overwhelmed the station, and far from the crowd thinning once the trains started departing, it only grew - leading to some truly “hellish” scenes being posted on social media.



It’s unclear what the problem was, as the station staff had clearly done what preparation they could beforehand, having put out fences to funnel the crowd towards the entrance gates, but the sheer mass of people quickly shut down the entire station. This also lead to two of the lines that pass through the station, the Seibu Yamaguchi and Sayama lines, to have to cease operations entirely, which led to trains further back along the line to be delayed considerably. According to some fans who were waiting towards the back of crowd, it took nearly an hour and a half for them to get home from the end of the live - and that’s to say nothing of those who were further along the line than them who simply wanted to get home from work on that Friday night!

Regardless of why this abject failure on the Seibu railway company’s part happened, it’s clear that the organizing staff for iDOLM@STER concerts, and concert staff, in general, will have to seriously consider whether or not to use the MetLife Dome again for their events. It’s simply something that shouldn’t be happening, especially when downtown Tokyo can function so well despite far more people being concentrated in the stations during rush hour. As one Twitter user put it, “iM@S may be the best, but Seibu Kyujou-mae is the worst!”.

Source: Matomame

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Daichi Miura’s Theme Song for 'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' Embraces Hypebeast Goku

November 15, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

With the theatrical release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly drawing near, we're starting to see more and more content from the film revealed to drum up hype -- one of which includes the release of Daichi Miura's theme song for the film, "Blizzard". If you haven't had a chance to check out the theme song, I'd definitely recommend it. Despite its ice-cold name, the track is a total heater, and I'm sure the sequences in which it appears during the film will be equally intense. But that's not the most important part of the track; instead, I'm going to direct your attention to Super Saiyan Blue Goku on the cover.


 


Released as one of two alternative covers for the single release of "Blizzard", Goku's looking fresh in his 19 A/W blizzard fit from hair to toe. Honestly, it looks like the sort of cover I'd expect to see anywhere but an official Dragon Ball release, but I'm completely for it -- especially if we get some new streetwear pieces out of it too. On the flip-side, we see vocalist Daichi Miura rocking a similar fit for the standard digital edition of the single release.

With the street fashion industry pulling numerous cues from both anime and manga over recent years, it's exciting to see a reverse inception of such styles. Screening in theaters across Japan as of this week, and set to begin screening in North America from January 16, 2019, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is shaping up to be on a whole other level, and I can't wait to check it out. Those interested in checking out even more on the upcoming film, be sure to take a look at its official website.

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[Review] Everything Falls Into Place in Tetris Effect

November 15, 2018 1:00pm
by Matt Mirkovich

At the intersection of music and video games, there are two names that immediately come to my mind. The first is Naoki Maeda, credited with birthing arcade games like Beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution, Maeda and his team successfully married the gameplay elements to the music, making addicting arcade games that you still see regularly played in Japan and America a full twenty years after their inception. The second, is Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the creator of games like Rez, its successor, Child of Eden, Lumines, and Meteos, who wove the visual elements together with the music in an attempt to convey the sense of Synesthesia, a phenomenon that people describe as being able to ‘see’ music.

His first attempt at that, Rez, was a cult title from the Dreamcast era, and ever since its release I have followed each and every title that Mizuguchi has worked on, from Every Extra Extend to Ninety-Nine Nights, and I thought that the Lumines games released on the PSP would be the end all be all of Tetris rivals. But what happens when Mizuguchi gets to put his hands directly on Tetris? Well, you get Tetris Effect.
 

I don’t think I really need to explain Tetris, but let’s just get this out of the way. It’s the same gameplay it has always been, blocks are falling, create lines of blocks to eliminate them from the field, and if they reach the top, it’s game over. Okay, that’s done. But what is it that makes this version so special? The original is still a classic and is regularly played at a competitive level amongst seasoned pros, along with all variations of Tetris: The Grand Master. Tetris is a game that has endured. But it is with the touch of Mizuguchi, bringing the element of Synesthesia blending the visual and audio elements to create an experience that is very much different from anything that came before it, but still maintains that intense satisfaction that one can experience by playing Tetris.

If there’s a ‘preferred’ way to experience Tetris Effect, I would have to recommend it be played with a PSVR headset, if only for the immersion factor alone. Tetris Effect is a beautiful game from both a visual and audio perspective, and as a fan of Rez VR, I knew what I was getting in to; but at the same time, I still wasn't prepared for what I was about the see and hear. Even from the initial trailer for Tetris Effect, I knew this was going to be something special, and across the game’s ‘Journey’ and ‘Effect’ modes, the experience is nothing short of phenomenal. Even without the immersion of VR, the teams at Monstars and Resonair have outdone themselves. But let’s get into the how and why.

The ‘Journey’ mode is the base game for Tetris Effect -- spread across 27 different stages, broken up into three to five song blocks, each grouping boasts a wide variety of visuals and sounds. The first course starts with what could be considered the game’s theme song, ‘Connected,’ an uplifting pop song with undersea visuals set to the backdrop of the earth, and after clearing the requisite number of lines, the song in the block comes up, ‘Pharaoh’s Code,’ with its own set of unique visuals and sounds, and this continues through to the final stage, ‘Metamorphosis.’ The gameplay for Journey mode is best described as Tetris meets Lumines. One thing Lumines loved to do was alter the speed of the blocks to keep gamers on their toes, and they’ve brought that over to Tetris Effect with what I consider to be a pretty good success. It keeps things interesting and doesn’t just smother the player in faster and faster speeds like a normal round of Tetris would. If I’m looking for that classic flavor of Tetris gameplay, then it’s over to the ‘Effect’ modes.

In Effect mode, players can find a number of different game modes, like Infection, that requires players to clear the ‘infected’ blocks in order to keep things from spreading out of control, or the classic Marathon mode, where 150 lines need to be cleared as quickly as possible. Effect mode also features weekly community events that allow players to contribute to a weekly goal by playing the requisite modes, participating in these events will unlock new avatars that can be used to represent your player on the global leaderboards. In addition to this there is a personal leveling system, and clearing different stages will award experience points toward your level, and while there is the chance for duplicate avatars to get picked up, those duplicates result in bonus experience, which is a nice addition, since it’s very likely that some of these avatars are going to be ‘rare.’
 

So, to say Mizuguchi has some experience with combining visual and music elements to great effect is something of an understatement, and this is especially true with Tetris Effect. Every stage in this game has visuals to match the audio component, and they intersect in interesting ways. Playing the stage, ‘Da Vinci,’ players are sent flying through the air with the tetrominoes displayed as gears that turn with each line clear, and the sounds of tetrominoes falling compliments the music track. Each level does this to varying levels of success, and to say there is a ‘bad’ track in the bunch is nearly impossible. The different styles may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is certain to be one track out there at the very least every person can latch on to. The discordant piano of Downtown Jazz, or the EDM festival sound of Celebration, the work put down by composer Noboru Mutoh, and the Hydelic group is a master class in video game soundtracks that to me, only compares with Keiichi Okabe’s NieR: Automata soundtrack in terms of ‘near-perfection.’

The VR functionality of Tetris Effect is what really separates this game from its peers and elevates it to ‘Game of the Year’ contention. When you combine the immersion of playing Tetris with the visual and auditory elements, it left me in a state of something short of ecstacy. And to try to describe that feeling is complicated. I feel like this effect is going to vary from person to person, but for me, it’s about a sense of control. To play Tetris Effect is to take control of a very chaotic situation, and when I’m clicking, and the game is going my way, the game responds in kind with explosions of color and sound. It’s incredibly easy for me to find a rhythm while playing this game, I’m tapping my foot, I’m bobbing my head, the tetrominoes are falling in time with the music. It all melts together into this sensation that is both calming and euphoric, which is something I haven’t experienced since, maybe the first Lumines game.

The medical term ‘Tetris Effect’ is described as the result of intense focus and repetition, as studied with the use of the game Tetris, people who played the game could remember seeing the tetrominoes, even after playing the game, out of the corner of their eyes, or as part of their dreams. Playing Tetris Effect is like experiencing one of those dreams, as Mizuguchi and his teams at Monstars and Resonair have woven music and impressive visuals wrapped in the Unreal Engine into one of the most visually arresting games released in this current generation of hardware. It’s not enough that I tell you that you need to play Tetris Effect, you need to experience it -- there really is nothing else like it.

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'Alita: Battle Angel' Live-Action Movie Receives New Trailer

November 15, 2018 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

If the neon-tinged stylings of the upcoming ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL live-action Hollywood adaptation are your kind of thing, then you're in luck, with an all-new trailer for the film releasing earlier this week. Scheduled to hit theaters across North America on February 14, 2019, the upcoming film adapts Yukito Kishiro's 1990 manga series Battle Angel Alita and brings its cyberpunk setting and dystopian world to life in a blend of live-action and CG content that's sure to be a spectacle. 
 


Focusing on the fast-paced sport of the future, Motorball, the latest trailer highlights Alita's struggles with her past, as well as the threat it presents to her present. The film looks visually incredible, with director Robert Rodriguez seemingly doing an excellent job of representing the source material onscreen. The film is described by 20th Century Fox below:

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

Set to release in theaters across North America on February 14, 2019, this might just be the film to keep an eye on at the beginning of next year. Those interested in checking out even more information on the film, including staff listings and theaters, be sure to check out the film's official website.

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‘Evangelion Pub’ Set to Serve Themed Food and Drinks in Ikebukuro

November 14, 2018 5:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

With Neon Genesis Evangelion being such an integral part of modern Japanese culture (at least in the pop culture sense), perhaps it was only a matter of time before it was combined with another age-old Japanese tradition - that of the ‘izakaya.’

Loosely translating to ‘pub,’ izakaya are a mainstay in Japanese nightlife as not only do they serve alcoholic drinks at very reasonable prices but also a wide array of special food designed especially to accompany a cool beer or highball. So you can bet we were excited to hear that the legendary Evangelion series will be opening an izakaya of its own - but not without a distinctly Evangelion flavor, of course.

Set to open November 16 in Ikebukuro, the ‘Evangelion Pub’ will be serving up more than 30 different Evangelion-themed food and drink items for fans of the series to enjoy. The menu will draw inspiration from scenes and famous lines from the series for its offerings, such as the “I Mustn't Run Away! Super Spicy Mapo Tofu Bowl” and the “Anta Bataaa? Asuka’s Corn Butter” dish. 


Furthermore, the various drinks on offer - many of which are themed after the Evangelion units themselves - are all only 390 yen, which makes the pub very competitive with the cheap prices of other, regular izakayas. What’s more is that ordering a drink will enter you into a prize draw, from which you can receive a special calendar for the year ahead.

And speaking of the year ahead, this year is a rather special one as it will mark the last year of the ‘Heisei’ era, with Japan’s current Emperor abdicating at the end of the year, thus bringing in a new, as of yet unnamed era presided over by his son, Naruhito. To ring in the end of this historic period, the pub will also be hosting an event with none other than Yoko Takahashi on December 26, who lent her voice to the series’ original opening song, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis. 

Other events are set to be announced (including a ‘rock-paper-scissors grand tournament’) so keep your eye on the official Evangelion website for more details, here. The full menu for the pub can also be found here. You’ll have until January 6, 2019, to check it out.

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