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Lady Shinigami

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  1. STORY TIME! It's a slightly unusual story, but as we're all creative types here I figure you all will understand. So we all know that when katethegreat19 submitted this amazing song, it came with a "translation" crafted by KaelWolfCry that makes it more or less Aveh's national anthem. At the time I found this (which I believe was in late 2011 or early 2012) I was—technically still am, but it's on hold for the time being—rewriting an old, old Xenogears fic (from the early 2000s, and you can tell), and it heavily features Bart and the Aveh pirates. As you might expect, I listened to this song a lot (also "The Last Fatima" and a number of other related and nonrelated arrangements from Humans + Gears, alongside the OST) for inspiration and mood-setting and everything else. The truth is that I am a dragon fanatic and generally dislike the dragons-are-always-your-enemy shtick. I get that this perception goes back at least to the Bible and for that reason isn't without merit and so on and so on, but that all dragons are evil all the time (apparently) seems to be a primarily Western concept I happen to disagree with. That being the case, with dragons being canonical beasts for the Xenogears world it was safe for me to introduce a dragon as a minor supporting character who had been around since before the founding of Aveh. Obviously—for those of you familiar with the game—being a minimum of five hundred years old, her role in the country's history is involved, and she's pretty much worshiped by everyone in Bledavik as a symbol of Aveh and the royal family. Having spent way too much time studying both katethegreat19’s original lyrics as well as KaelWolfCry’s translation, I found myself agreeing that the original lyrics reference a dragon, either metaphorically or physically. And that was when it occurred to me—considering how highly this dragon character of mine is viewed by the people of Bledavik, it's likely Aveh's national anthem would include her if it wasn't outright about her. That being the case, why not write my own "translation" that better fits my fic? So I did. And while I'm not a poet at all, I'm quite pleased with the results. Thus I'm posting to express my gratitude to katethegreat19 for her inspiring arrangement, as well as to express my gratitude to KaelWolfCry for inspiring me to put more thought into one of my fics than I normally do. As a writer I am always aiming to improve myself, so going so deep into the Xenogears world as to craft a national anthem for Aveh can only mean good things for my other fics and, more, for my original works. So thank you very much, etc. And if you all still think that's weird, oh well—too late now. But this is for a fic that's 263 pages and counting, written almost exclusively in size 10 Times New Roman. And that's not including the four related fics in the series. So this isn't a simple one-shot or novella—it's a long-term project with a lot of effort in it and a lot of effort left to be put in it. I just figured someone would be interested in knowing that yes, this is a fantastic song—but it's done more than please appreciative ears. ~LS
  2. I agree with the rain—the whole song gave that vibe; it presented the image of someone looking out a window or standing outside, staring solemnly into the distance.A good quiet piece.
  3. 1. Amaterasu (Okami) 2. Q*bert 3. Tanooki Mario (SMB3)
  4. Okay! So I'm not a huge metal fan, normally, but I'm a sucker for DKC music so I try to give all mixes a chance. Good thing! This is a stellar beginning and I look forward to your future work. ~LS
  5. I wasn't too thrilled with this for about the first minute. I'm very much a person geared toward music that makes me want to move, so even though I do like ambient/atmospheric stuff as a genre, it doesn't always keep my interest for long. Around 1:05 or so, however, I just suddenly got slammed by a sense of premeditated violence and malice, and that carried on to the end. The explosions really punctuated things, to the point where I experienced a brief but very intriguing sense of disorientation, perhaps as one might expect from an inhabitant of the village in question, who has abruptly found his/her world engulfed in flames—a sort of "Wait, what's going on?" So mission accomplished, I'd say. ~LS
  6. Read the description about dear old Betty as the track started. Thought, "Oh, how cute, with the radio thing!" Then came the transition. Literally got the chills. It was awesome. I've always found the very beginning of the source material to be suitably mysterious and potentially frightening, but felt it was a bit too fast to be properly discomfiting. This piece didn't slow it down but still fixed that issue, and made it absolutely creepy. I'm not a huge jazz fan, either; it has to be pretty light for me to not notice/not care/actually like it. But what was here really worked, and the swing bits were a good inclusion. I guess what I'm saying is that nothing overwhelmed anything else except where it was needed to give the sense of someone who's a little disconnected and whose memory isn't as reliable as one would hope. Very well done. ~LS
  7. You can slow it down if you want, or you don't have to – I assure you that it sounds quite fine the way it is. I just brought it up because that was the one part of the entire song that sounded exactly right in my mind. You're welcome to it – it was just a thought I had. ("Among the Stars" is very nice.) No worries. Just don't be surprised if it gets rejected, and (obviously) consider everything the judges say. You're probably never going to please all of them, but they'll undoubtedly provide you with plenty of ideas for further improvement. ~LS
  8. The source being as good as it is all on its own, you really put a lot on your plate. I applaud you making this effort, because it really is a travesty that there are no Spyro remixes – The Legend of Spyro in particular, regardless of what one thinks of those games, really makes remixes possible. That said, if you're intending to submit this for judging then I'd recommend working on it some more. Ultimately, what this sounds like is the entire source tune broken down into vocals and melody and then tied together again, almost exactly as it originally was, with a series of prefabricated samples; there doesn't seem to be anything reflective of you the artist. And while the mix isn't ruined because of that, it's still not a particularly expressive piece. If I had to pick a word for it, I'd say it was "nice". Not great, not amazing, but certainly not horrible, either; it's just not that evocative. You say you got this together in a few days, and I believe you – it sounds like a few days was all the effort you put into it. My biggest issue is that it takes nearly two full minutes for the melody to actually come out, and in a six-minute song that's a long stretch of little more than samples to sit through. Probably my favorite part is from 5:40 to the end. It's a pleasant, gentle conclusion to the song and reminds me almost of a wind-up music box helping someone go to sleep by reminding that person of good memories, and then it cuts off in the middle of the tune as its winding runs down. Very peaceful. In all, I think this is a good start; there's a lot of potential here and I look forward to hearing more from you. (Also, as a sort of aside, this strikes me as less of a "Dragon Dance" than it does a "Starlit Flight".) ~LS
  9. Personally, I generally prefer Japanese voice-acting compared to English dub, but I have certainly heard some good English dub; FullMetal Alchemist (Brotherhood) stands out primarily—it was a pleasant surprise when my sister and I watched FMA in Japanese and then gave the dub a test viewing. Similarly, I've encountered some Japanese voices that I absolutely could not stand and in my mind didn't represent the character at all. I think it mostly has to do with interpretation as opposed to vocal talent; if the voice isn't convincing for some reason (be it the director's choice or the actor's), the music and visuals can't always rescue it. With Japanese anime and games it's easy for the Japanese to consult the person who originally came up with the character/situation, while those who dub have to do the best they can with a character whose expressions and emotions are frequently ambiguous at best. And sometimes it just isn't that great. That said, I've seen clips of an American show (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and a British show (Doctor Who) dubbed in Japanese, and those weren't so great. They were amusing to hear and a suitable replacement, sure, but just didn't capture the original actor's emotion. It just can't be helped. ~LS
  10. Pretty awesome mix. And though I will credit Gran Turismo for some of my real-life driving skill, I don't care what anyone says—the car noises sound like stuff from Speed Racer. Not that I consider that a bad thing, but that's what I thought as soon as I heard the first effect. ~LS
  11. I am a writer, and I have found it both easier and harder to write a story that is based around a universe already created by someone else. It's easier in that I don't necessarily have to create new characters, new clothes, or a new setting; it's harder in that I have to stick to the personalities, politics, and geography already created, and if I don't then I have to give a reasonable explanation as to why I'm deviating. Similarly, I imagine that it may be both easier and harder to create a mix based around a song that already exists. I also wouldn't advise comparing yourself to other remixers – who likely have considerably more experience than you – except as far as qualities you wish to acquire rather than those you lack. Returning to your original creations for some practice is a fine idea, and while this WIP may be something you aren't impressed with right now, I see – or hear, rather – good stuff and am certainly looking forward to your return. Whatever method you choose to improve your skills, definitely don't give up! ~LS
  12. The new arrangement is much better than the older one. Like I said before, the older one is good but doesn't reach far for originality; the new one, by contrast, takes that extra step. Something of particular interest that I noticed was that the older version runs to 1:32 while the newer version goes only to 1:26, but the newer version actually sounded longer to me – presumably because there was so much going on that it didn't come across as tedious, so I didn't tune it out. Also, I think the soundbyte was quite well-placed. Unfortunately, I can't offer anything in the way of technical concepts you have included or may need to include, but I can safely say that I'm confident you're going in the right direction. ~LS
  13. No no, it's plenty catchy – I did like listening to it as it was. I suppose what I meant by 'fresh' and 'safe' was that it didn't seem particularly original, and extending it would give you more room for experimentation. Of course, that's understandable if you don't have many samples or are just feeling things out, but I thought it worth mentioning. ~LS
  14. I originally found it

    , on YouTube, and the mp3 link should be in the information. If not, or if you want to get straight to the goodies (and get better audio quality as well as avoid the game sound effects), this will take you where you want to go ("here" and "this" being the links, if they aren't showing themselves clearly).


  15. A guy I knew let me borrow Brave Fencer Musashi and I loved it, but I didn't have enough money to buy it then. Not long after, the guy accidentally dropped the game, stepped on it, and broke the disc. I wept abjectly. The guy later gave me for my birthday a copy of Samurai Legend Musashi, which is an okay game but one I'm just not sure matches up. One day I will acquire this particular beast, and then I will hug it and squeeze it and call it Mu. Anyway . . . Being an untechnical person, I'm not sure how helpful I'll be, but I'll try. I do think the samples sound good, clean, and they all seem to be pretty evenly balanced. However, I'm not sure the mix as a whole is all that . . . fresh? If you're going to make the mix longer that would be great, but if not then what you have doesn't seem to change itself much – it's a very safe sort of mix – and I'm having trouble picking out the source material (although I believe you've slown things down, so that may just be me having auditory adaptation issues). So yes, I think you have a good start here, but I feel it does need more work. ~LS
  16. Hm. Well, I can't offer anything technical, but if it's finished anyway I guess it doesn't matter. The concept of phone-on-hold music is original, and the automated voice certainly has fun little . . . "in-jokes"? . . . or whatever. I don't often listen to ambient music, but this is definitely nice. My biggest complaint would have to do with the ending, as it simply fades out suddenly and the phone is replaced in its cradle. Since it seems the whole idea of the song is that it's based around a phone, it makes more sense to me to – as the music begins to fade – have the automated voice make an apology about a lack of connection and then either have the music finish the fade-out followed by the phone being returned to the cradle or have the phone hang up so that the music is cut off abruptly. I recognize that this does lend to a counterpoint of the "easy-going" feeling, but the phone being put down at the end with no apparent connection isn't much better. Or, conversely, when the music begins to fade the automated voice could thank the caller for his/her patience and confirm a connection, at which point a low-volume telephone ring – or possibly some other song, such as the very short "Good Night" theme or an excerpt from "The Splendid Performance" or "Traveling Company" – could be used to a complete fade-out. That would provide better support for the previous ambience. I'm not going to say it's not good enough to be approved, because I think it could be, but I do also think you could do more with it. ~LS
  17. Though I can definitely appreciate the idea behind live music and would go see a full orchestra live in a heartbeat, I have three reasons for preferring studio music: 1.) Like zircon said, volume is important. When I can hear just a guitar or just the drums or my ears feel like they're about to blow out, that's no good. Similarly, when my pleural cavity feels like it's on the verge of collapse because the amplifier(s) and subwoofer(s) are turned up too far, that's a problem. If I'm paying money for a seat somewhere then I want to be able to concentrate on the music, not whether or not my lungs are about to cave in. 2.) Like Fishy said, shoving is not cool. I'm 5'1" (that's 155 cm for the metric people), so it's bad enough that I often can't see over other people's heads sometimes in the older style of movie theaters. Having to try to fight taller people – not for position, just to not get knocked down and trampled – who naturally have better leverage in that situation makes for a horrible musical experience. I'm sure there are plenty of short(er) people who don't have that issue or otherwise don't care, but it can ruin my enjoyment very easily. 3.) Lastly, and probably least importantly, it simply flat-out annoys me to hear people cheering in the middle of a song. Admittedly, when they're doing so in time with the beat it isn't so bad, and I realize they're expressing love for the song and/or the artist(s) – which certainly helps convey the good energy – but being a somewhat anal-retentive person, the random cheering and whistling just throws everything off for me. So as much as I occasionally like the tweaks and nuances live music can bring, studio music is the music for me. ~LS
  18. Animal Style's take? No. All I ever seem to come across are the first and second themes, which always sounded virtually the same to me beyond their arrangement. When I found OCR, that theme was one of the first things I looked for and IT WASN'T HERE. I nearly cried—it felt like a betrayal. XP If I'd had any decent practice at remixing I'd try it, since it's so short and simple, but I haven't put much effort into such an attempt. But hey, I have come across two versions of it—a MIDI and an MP3. If you don't have it/them I can send or direct you to them.


  19. Thank you for serving the US this way. And if/when you're deployed, take care of your "brothers" so you can all come back safe. We'll be happy to welcome you back, whenever that is. ~LS
  20. It sounds amazing. At first I wasn't quite sure I would like it enough to listen all the way through if it had cheesy lyrics and an easy beat, but I took a look at the lyrics and . . . wow. That's all. This is an awesome piece. ~LS
  21. I wasn't around to meet him myself, but I have some of his mixes and they've always been full of emotion and just generally gorgeous beyond explanation. Lots of love and birthday wishes to him, wherever he is. ~LS
  22. Thank you! Finally! It's like nobody outside my family knew that existed. All five of us played Tetris, and none of us ever listened to anything else – it was either that or complete silence. It took me ages to find it online, like everyone had forgotten about it or something. I preferred the cave music. It gripped me and wouldn't let go, which was good because I had a hellacious amount of trouble with those cave bats. As for entire soundtracks, probably the earliest one I noticed I liked was Super Mario Brothers 3. The first one I recall that I loved was that of the first Spyro the Dragon game. I think it was with that game that I finally started realizing how important the music was to the enjoyment of a game. ~LS
  23. Very interesting. I'm absolutely picking up the Hisaishi vibe (though it's not exactly subtle to begin with). Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with the source tune, but your arrangement certainly seems to fit its title. The orchestration sounds good and even, and to me the general lack of percussion makes what is included stand out that much more, which to me is awesome. It seems like it might start off a tad slow, but it's nothing that seriously bothered me because it picked up pretty well twenty seconds in. Overall, it reminds me of a dark, creepy forest that used to be a really nice, majestic place. For whatever that's worth. ~LS
  24. I'm not a fan of blues, really, but this is still obviously quality stuff and I did enjoy it. The lyrics are very cute and I'm definitely getting the Toy Story vibe, whether or not it had been intended. Great work! ~LS
  25. I'm sorry, but nothing in that link conclusively says that Kaguya-hime didn't know where she came from. All it said was that when everyone asked her why she was acting strangely she couldn't tell them what was wrong. That doesn't have to mean amnesia – it more likely means she knew but simply wasn't allowed to reveal herself. She even tells the Emperor of Japan that she is "not of his country", which implies that she's aware of her heritage even before she starts acting "increasingly erratic". Claiming in the game that it's amnesia doesn't mean that's what it actually was; amnesia simply appears to be the easy out that was used so that the developers didn't have to give her too much attention. Not that I blame them considering everything else they included, but I'm just saying it didn't improve her character any to make her amnestic, because that made it impossible to learn anything else about her. She was just one more hot chick Issun had a crush on. And yes, I realize that the story is very old and the medical terminology would not be up-to-date, but if she had actually forgotten then the writers of the original story probably would have gone ahead and said that she had no memory of it. I say this because it's noted later in the story that a feather robe makes her forget about her family and friends on Earth. Why, then, would they not say she also had no memory of her Moon heritage? I actually do have a list, presumably complete, that summarizes the story of each piece of mythology as well as a lot of the cultural references – like the daruma and the little teru-teru boozu – included in the game. Which I love, because when I played the game the first time around I had no clue about any of it, yet it didn't detract from my enjoyment. Playing it the second (and third and fourth and fifth and maybe sixth) time around, with that knowledge, only made it that much more entertaining. I wouldn't necessarily say "properly", because like everything else games are entertainment and therefore subject to interpretation as opposed to reality and/or history, but they can certainly offer a springboard for the curious. ~LS
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