Metallica Live 2017 in Seoul with Babymetal

Today (15th Jan) is our 12th wedding anniversary. A few days ago, I got startled when my daughter said that she was a teenage girl; no, she is not in her teenage yet in US age and she is 8 years old (she is 10 only in Korean age calculation). It made me accept indisputably we had been married more than 10 years. Yes, time flies as arrows. To celebrate our perfect married life (only two quarrels over 12 years. isn’t it?) we have been to a special event: the Metallica World Tour Live 2017 in Seoul last Wednesday. To tell the truth, my wife had no interest in Metallica before. But she agreed to go with me when she heard that “The opening stage will be Babymetal.”

Babymetal is Japanese metal idol (yes, I can hear someone shout What?) band. The band consists of three teenage Japanese girls: Suzuka Nakamoto called as “Su-metal,” Yui Mizuno as “Yuimetal” and Moa Kikuchi as “Moametal.” Someone called the genre of their music as “kawai metal.” Yes, they are kawai(cute), but that is not the all and I think their music is not a joke; no, they are really brilliant. Since their debut in 2010, they have built very successful career as a metal band. The success might be due to many supports from the metal legends. They performed with Metallica, Judas Priest, Chili Peppers and so on; imagine that you are working in a place filled with only 50s (and more) and one day suddenly here came three lovely teenage girls as new recruits…

The event was held in Gocheok Sky Dome.

It is the first (and only) domed baseball stadium in Korea opened in 2015. It was my first time to visit there and was really good stadium than I had expected. But it is located in the outskirts of Seoul so the access is very inconvenient and the parking space is very limited. The live ended around 11:30pm and I had to take a cab.

The opening stage of Babymetal was very impressive to me. But frankly the audience response was not so great. I wish Su/Yui/Moa-Metal were not disappointed too much; It was not your fault! I think there were many issues about it. First, their stage started on time but audience entrance was not completed till then; it was very cluttered. The audio setting of the opening stage was not good (especially for vocals); I can hardly hear Su-Metal’s lead at my seat (the second floor). And she spoke in English… At the first live of Metallica in Seoul (in 1998), It was very famous story that James asked “Are you tired?” and audiences replied “Yeah!” (Sorry Su, it’s not your…) Moreover, I think many fan of Metallica who came to the live didn’t know them and many of them were orthodox metal fans. Although their music is very positively accepted widely, there are someone who adhere to their definition of metal and cannot accept the new at first. I hope Babymetal come to Korea for an one-man live in the near future and be with their royal fans – including me.

The main stage was awesome. Although still the audio condition was not perfect, the most impressive thing was the huge screens. They set 6 (maybe) huge screens (I’m not sure what kind of screen was) and covered whole stage. It was the biggest screen that I had ever seen in my life; It was bigger than the HD score board screen of AT&T Park. And the picture quality was crystal clear.

It was my college days (around 1993-1997) when I listened to Metallica most. To tell the truth, I don’t have much knowledge of Metallica after 2000. I was really happy to listen to the drum and guitar solo of Master of Puppets live. The intro of One with bullets of laser was fantastic. The encore with Enter Sandman and Battery was thrilling.

However, my best moment was with Unforgiven because I believe it is the most suitable song for my country Korea nowadays. I want to close this post with ‘the’ part of Unforgiven that I want to tell ‘them.’

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never be.
Never see.
Won’t see what might have been.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

PS: One more thing I want to mention is the photo/video policy of the event. It was totally photo and video free event (at least no policy was noticed). I think only events in Japan or Japanese artists do not allow photo taking in the event. I guess it might be related with many business issues but I think it is more beneficial to artists to let fans take photos and make it spreading at the live. Because the time has changed and the most lucrative business is the live itself: to make audiences come as many as possible.

Diko’s Anime review – 4C 2016

It is my routine that leave a brief report about animes of the cour (cour – usually pronounced as ‘cool’ in Japan – is a word used to describe a span/unit of TV anime episodes. It usually consists of 12 or 13 episodes and runs for 3 months.) on my Facebook. It was usually very short description of one or two lines per each anime but this time I want to make it a little longer version and put in this blog.

Izetta: The Last Witch (終末のイゼッタ)

This is an alternate history of WW2. The name of every country is changed into the other fictional name: the main stage ‘Eylstadt’ is the changed name of Austria and the capital city ‘Landsbruck’ is Innsbruck, ‘Germania’ is Nazi Germany, ‘Britania’ is UK, ‘Atlanta’ is USA and so on. Wilhelm Donko wrote a great article FEATURE: Anime vs. Real Life – “Izetta: The Last Witch” about the real places of this show.

To tell the truth, this is not my personal best of this cour; It is my runner up. But I want to mention it first because I felt the theme of this anime was very similar to mine – Sid Story animation: the friendship and will of two girls – and I really loved it. I’m always impressed with girls who move forward at their own will.

I couldn’t watch it in a row; I paused once around episode 8 because the story line went too gloomy. But I think the ending was very good although the presentation of the final battle could be better. It would be my great pleasure if I can see Izetta and Fine’s peaceful daily life more in other supplement episodes (please OVA!).

My favorite character: Izetta

Scorching Ping Pong Girls (灼熱の卓球娘)

It is my personal best of this cour although many might not agree with. But I really pleased with this anime so much in this cour. It is a ‘netgetsu(hot-blooded)’ sports themed anime but has an ill-assorted character designs; they are very cute. However, I was really happy to watch these girls who filled with pure passion for the table tennis.

In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, the Korean men’s team won gold medals and the table tennis came in fads. I (in my 5th grade) learnt the table tennis for a while and this anime brought back my memories of those days. The ping pong skills in this anime are a little exaggerated in its presentation but they are not a total bluff. No, I think it is very well accorded.

I love the OP which gradually goes up-tempo. It always makes me high. You can watch the opening here:

My favorite character: Hokuto

Gi(a)rlish Number (ガーリッシュ ナンバー)

When I watched the first episode, I thought it could be the grand best over ‘SHIROBAKO’. However, soon I really disappointed (more fed up with).

It is an anime about the nowadays anime industry itself. But unlike SHIROBAKO, it is about the dark side of it. Some friend of mine in the industry said that it was too painful to watch these gloomy facts in this way, but the reason why I was really disappointed was different (it might be because I’m not totally in the industry yet); in subsequent episodes, almost all the absurdities came from just one heroine. Chitose Karasuma, the heroine of this show, was the source of all evil. Although it is painful to face the facts we don’t want to confront, it is too cruel to make it a problem of an individual. Chitose almost got to become my worst character ever (worse than Kirino) but she was well grown up and turned into a really better (yes… better.. ) character in the last three episodes. However, I think the problem remains; the personal development concealed the industry problems.

Anyway, Chitose has been reborn as a better character (sorry Kirino, you are still my worst;;; ) and I really want to see the next stories. I’m going to check the original novel… but I don’t expect Wataru-sensei provides usual bright and pleasant stories.

My favorite character: Momoka

Sound! Euphonium 2 (響け! ユーフォニアム 2)

I expected the title would be ‘Sound!! Euphonium” but it just used simple numbering of 2. I think there would be no need of explanations for whom loved the first season. I’m always happy when I see these well crafted and beautiful animes from Kyoto Animations.

The whole story of this season can be summarized simply: The yorozuya (よろず屋/knows everthing) Kumiko-san and her colleagues. Kumiko settled all conflicts in the circle. The theme was about the various human relationships and all stories were very touching; the final competition – the outward theme – seemed to be trivial. I really love the acting of Kurosawa-san (acting as Kumiko). Listening her voice (always-crying-like but) carrying various emotions makes me always happy.

My best scene of this cour was the performance at the Kyoto station. Haruka’s sax solo was really great. You can watch that here (Haruka’s solo starts from around 2:10):

And you can also watch the real-world performance which was performed by Heian high school here:

I think the second season will also make other sacred places. Although I went to Uji once before, I want to go there again; this time would be for The dam. My friend Yun visited there recently and took a lot of great photos; Yes, it is really great!!! You can check them out here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seoul-music/albums/72157673352724383

My favorite character: Kumiko

Long Riders! (ろんぐらいだぁす! )

It is very relaxing and fun anime show and the theme is about the road cycling. In this cour, there were many sports-themed animes and I think this one was the most ‘nichijoukei (日常系/everyday life)’ one. Although sometimes it seemed like a huge PPL (product placement advertisement), it was more an character focused anime like the studio’s big success of last year: Girls und Panzer.

It could be really better but seemed like suffering from the delay of Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars which was the studio’s work of previous cour. I wish I can watch more stories of these girls someday.

My favorite character: Alpaca-san

Keijo!!!!!!!! (競女!!!!!!!!)

I cannot complete this show yet but I cannot help mentioning about this show before I close this post. It was the weirdest and really out-of-mind anime show of this cour in my point of view. What the hell are those 8 exclamation marks at the title? I couldn’t hear almost any mention of this and I think it is because people don’t want to let others know they watched this show.

However, I have to say that I could feel creators’ great passion about this show. I could sense thier great pleasure and enjoyment from this work and it was relatively very rare experience in these days; feeling emotions of creators in the anime show so strongly. I will complete this show someday although it is very hard to watch this in public palces…

My favorite character: None yet. Sorry I cannot remember anyone…

My Resolution 2017

It was more than a month ago (Nov 10th exactly). I got an e-mail from wordpress.com that said my annual WordPress premium membership was just renewed with the $99 transaction. What a … pity.. I hadn’t touched my WordPress blog since Jan. 2015. Which means that the useless transaction happened one year before as well. It was a really stormy experience and I felt shame on it.

The credit card used for the transaction was expired this month, so my premium membership won’t be renewed next year. But when I look back this year – the year full of absurdity – in its last week, I made up my mind and rise up against resurrecting my blog (again).

Moreover, I’m going to raise the bar. Today – the first day of 2017 – I decided my resolution of this year; Publish more than one article at this blog every week and in English. Since I came back from SF (2009), I think my pronunciation and listening skills are somewhat improved but I still find difficult to express my thought immediately. I want to improve my English expression skills and I believe writing my articles in English would be a very effective way. I’m not sure about the topics but it would be mainly about animes and games (and sometimes about engineering) because I’ve set up my objective of this year as the success of the Sid Story Animation and SB (my new game). I want to improve myself to better producer and director and I also believe writing down a lot of ideas into organized articles is very useful for the objective.

I’m not sure whether I can really achieve this resolution. For now, I just want to share this one clip of my favorite scenes of Euphonium – I want to improve! (seriously)