Monthly Archives: March 2015

My Favorite U-KISS Music Videos

U-KISS recently released a new Japanese album “Action”, which reached #1 on the Oricon!  It may be one of my favorite U-KISS songs and Promotional Videos ever.  The song is like an upbeat version of “Someday”, which is also one of my favorite songs.  Both songs are about doing your best and looking forward to a positive future no matter how tough things get — a theme very appropriate to U-KISS, who just recently won their first Korean music show award since their debut seven years ago.   Big congrats to my favorite group!  They’ve come a long way.

The song is so catchy!  I can’t get over the cutesy dance and Easter egg colored suits.  Really, guys aren’t supposed to be this cute.  I’d like to take this moment to point out that besides the youngest, these guys are all in their mid-20s.  Much respect to them for doing a song like this.  It’s so happy~!  I also like that the rappers get to sing in this song.  It’s a shame Avex only post short versions of PVs, because the ending features cheesy English rapping by Eli, super-derpy dancing by Kiseop, and a ridiculously cute ending pose. ♥

Let’s face it… U-KISS has had some not-so-great songs in the past, but they’ve worked hard and really polished their skills and image.  With their fun personalities, they put on a great show, and perhaps because of their struggles they’re always very appreciative of their fans.  For us English-speaking fans, it also helps that two of their members are American, and three are fluent in English. I’ve always been a very visual person, and U-KISS has a lot of great dance routines as well as catchy songs. Here are my favorite U-KISS music videos:

NEVERLAND

NEVERLAND is my #1 favorite U-KISS song AND video.  Perhaps because I grew up as a gamer, I’ve always liked music with techno and other electronica influences.  I love the dance routine, and I think everyone looks good in this video.  That’s a lot of eyeliner (not complaining). Also I have a thing for water stages.  I want to dance in one someday~

Inside of Me

Inside of Me is such a romantic song, and I think the style perfectly complements Shining Idol Kevin’s sweet image.  Maybe I’m biased, but to me this is totally a Kevin song.  I would have liked the video better if they’d shown the dance routine (yes, there is one!), but the visuals work well with the song and it’s still one of my favorites.  The song itself is definitely in my top five for U-KISS. P.S. Don’t let Eli wear trench coats.

Tick Tack

Tick Tack (Tick Tock… think Japanese pronunciation) was U-KISS’s first Japanese single, thus the first U-KISS video I ever saw.  I became an instant fan.  The music style and the cool dance and visuals are right up my alley.  Also features a lot of eyeliner (it came out right after NEVERLAND).  I liked this and U-KISS’s other Japanese songs so much, it inspired me to look up their Korean songs, which was my first step into the world of K-pop.  I’d been a huge fan of TVXQ, but I still only listened to them in Japanese.  This song bugs me a little because I don’t believe there is ever a good reason to lie.  The song is about lying to a lover because they can’t be together and he’s trying to make the breakup easier for her.  I understand the sentiment, but I can’t think of any situation in real life where this would be applicable.  Still, the song is very catchy and has an addictive beat.

ALONE (Dance Shot)

The refrain of ALONE has the kind of Avex J-Euro sound that I love.  This is my favorite U-KISS dance, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the styling in the video.  Thank goodness for Dance Versions!  “Is it Ace of Spades or the only Joker?”

Standing Still

Like ALONE, Standing Still is a dark song with a good beat and awesome dance choreography… but I’m not a fan of the styling (it’s similar to ALONE, and was released soon after).  Unfortunately, there’s no Dance Version for this one.  There’s a fair amount of English lyrics.  A few people have told me this is their favorite U-KISS song.

Fall in Love

When I first watched Fall in Love, I didn’t think much of it.  “That was a nice song.  The video was well done.”  But it didn’t blow me away — it’s not that kind of song.  As I listened to it more and more though, it grew on me and I started thinking WOW, this is actually a really good song.  U-KISS’s rapper AJ wrote this song (I’m impressed because it’s in Japanese!), and he really did a great job showcasing each of the member’s strong points.  This is the kind of song that pulls at your heartstrings.  Don’t be fooled — this song is actually pining over lost love, as illustrated with the bursting bubbles.

I could go on forever about U-KISS music videos, but those are my favorites!

Throwback Thursday – Zelda and Meeting Japanese Cosplayers at Anime Expo 2001

The Legend of Zelda has always been one of my favorite series of games, and Princess Zelda has always been one of my favorite characters.  Even back in the Zelda I and II days, I loved the images of Zelda and wanted to cosplay her before I even knew what cosplay was.  It’s still my dream to cosplay those old versions of Zelda.

My first Zelda cosplay was the Ocarina of Time version, which I first wore at Anime Expo 2001.  My family and I spent a long time working on it, and it was my first experience making armor with thermoplastic and casting ears out of latex.  Back in those days, no one cosplayed Zelda, and it was probably because of the lack of reference.  This was before Smash Bros. Melee was released, and the only reference I had of adult Zelda from Ocarina of Time was footage from the game, which my friend had taped for me on VHS, and a tiny drawing on the cover of a CD soundtrack.  Unfortunately, despite the amount of work we put into the costume, the details were pretty inaccurate.  When Smash Bros. Melee came out with Ocarina Zelda as a playable character and all kinds of reference for her costume, it was both a blessing and a curse.  I could finally see all the details, but I realized that in order to make my costume accurate, I would have to completely remake a significant portion of it.  Maybe someday I’ll get around to it, as this is still one of my absolute favorite costumes.

My Ocarina of Time Zelda Cosplay from Anime Expo 2001 and Japanese cosplayers Kaie, Barbie, and Nomi.

My Ocarina of Time Zelda Cosplay from Anime Expo 2001, and Japanese cosplayers Kaie, Barbie, and Nomi.

The memory that stands out in my mind with this costume was running into Japanese cosplayers BK Moon (Barbie Tsukino and Kaie Tada) and Nomi backstage before the masquerade — or rather, having them run after me.  My friend said, “Hey, the Japanese cosplayers are calling you, but I can’t understand what they’re saying.”  Their interpreter then came up to me and said, “They really like your costume and would like to take a closer look if that’s ok.”  Those three had been my cosplay idols ever since I saw them at my first anime convention, Anime Expo 1999, so it was kind of surreal to have them gushing over my own costume.  My friend later realized that they were calling “Piichi-hime!  Piichi-hime!” — they had mistakenly called me Princess Peach instead of Zelda. ^^; I guess even in Japan Zelda wasn’t well recognized.

This is a memory I’ll always treasure, because even now these cosplayers are my idols.  I found out only recently that BABI and KAIE now have their own Gothic Lolita brand, Triple Fortune.  Back then I never could have imagined them in J-rock or Gothic Lolita style!  They were probably best known for their Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus costumes.  It’s really inspiring to see how far they’ve come, and it helped give me the courage to continue working toward my own transformation from cosplayer to designer.