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March 21, 2012

Piko (ピコ) to release a new single in April 2012

Piko (ピコ) is a Japanese male singer who first came to fame through the Japanese equivalent of Youtube, NicoNicoDouga by posting cover songs. Piko also provided his voice for the Vocaloid Utatane Piko. Piko has a rare talent of being able to sing in both masculine and feminine vocal tones, see for example Piko - Nisoku Hokou and Piko & Sekihan - Cendrillon (the female-like voice is Piko, yes, the high notes at the beginning too! :3). 


Piko has released so far two albums and four singles. He will add to his collection of singles on April 25, 2012 when he will release his 5th single called「咲色リフレイン」(エミイロリフレイン)(Emiiro Refrain). 


This single was produced by L'arc en Ciel's bassist TETSUYA. This is TETSUYA's first time producing music for another artist. This single is a bonus for Piko because he is a huge fan of the Japanese rock band L'arc en Ciel.


TETSUYA expressed his hopes that everyone will enjoy the new song by Piko. He commented that Piko's wide vocal range allowed him to produce a beautiful song, and that he is happy with the final product.


Piko said that he never imagined to be able to work with TETSUYA, let alone sing a song he wrote. It has been reported that Piko has given this song his very best effort.


"Emiiro Refrain" will be sold in three versions, a limited edition, regular edition, and a limited time offer edition.


Anime Review: Welcome to the NHK!

Welcome to the NHK! is basically a story about a young man that is a NEET, lives by himself and thinks everything is a conspiracy. Getting out there is the world is a big challenge for him, until he gets selected for a "project"; it is a plan to help hikikomori like him in facing the reality of this world.

Welcome to the NHK!Synopsis:
Satou Tatsuhiro, 22 years old, thinks that everything that happens around him is a conspiracy. He even figured out who is behind it all: The NHK, an evil secret company. 

"When you think anime, you think otaku. When you think otaku, you think people that dislike other people. Those people become hikikomori (people who shut themselves in)". So Satou manages to uncover the plot of The NHK (stands for Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai), after three years of shutting himself in (and rapidly approaching the fourth). 

In reality, he is nothing more than a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), desperately in need of a cure from that "disease". He wants to break out from the curse, but going out and getting a job is frightening enough for him. That is until he gets selected for a "project"; it is a plan to help hikikomori like him in facing the reality of this world.

Review:
The story is simple a life of a NEET. Sounds boring? No it doesn't. Sounds like me though. The story of a young man, Satou and his phobia of the world around him. He holes himself in his apartment all day, doing nothing and just sleeping. One day, he meets a mysterious girl called 'Misaki' which offers to help him with his problem. And so, the funny, emotional, embarrassing, weird and sad moments start rolling from there. In my opinion, I found the story quite compelling, because the main character was similar to me (to a lesser degree), so I could understand the feelings portrayed by Satou. In a broad sense, the story was quite humorous is many sequences of the story. The ending was great and emotions were high.

The art was above average with some nice changes in seasons, scenery and background decorations throughout the anime. Even the RPG-game featured in the anime had its own unique style and appearance. I felt that it was really well illustrated and was appropriate to the overall theme of the anime. Characters were smoothly transitioned and facial expressions were imaginative.

The voice acting of the characters were highly appropriate, I thought. The voices really suited the characters and especially the main character. The sound tracks were decent enough to be considered worth watching all the way through.

I particularly felt for Satou and his condition. Being a NEET is not easy and confronting the problems of everyday life is a challenge for many like him. It was good that the anime correctly portrayed how Satou thought and moved. Misaki was a total mystery till the very end and it will keep you guessing. The characters were nice, and I felt a string connection between them.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this anime. The length was appropriate, the everyday life problems were appropriately placed and the jokes were actually funny. The characters were memorable and the story kept you going. It is not easy being a NEET and the anime touches on real-life society and social interactions with people a lot in this anime.

STORY: 7
A life of a NEET. Not much to talk about, but with added funny moments and randomness, it makes it that interesting to watch.

ART: 6
Good artwork and use of visual styles. Above average like your average anime. Not bad at all.

SOUND: 6
Voice acting was highly appropriate for this type of anime. The sound tracks were decent too.

CHARACTER: 6
Its pretty emotional watching a NEET try to break out of his shell. The end was emotional though.

ENJOYMENT: 7
I enjoyed it since it indirectly touched on aspects of everyday normal life.

OVERALL: 6
It was enjoyable to watch how Satou tries to break away from being "socially withdrawn" and how he finds love in an uncaring world.

Website Update News

Hey guys,

Just a quick note here regarding some changes that have occurred on the website. You may have noticed that the 'footer' of the website now has a 'Mail' and 'Privacy Policy' links. The 'Mail' link is only for the My Bubbletea Time team members to access. The 'Privacy Policy' link was set up to let everyone know our stand is for your privacy and our protection when posting information online. Anyway, by request from pumpkin_so77, I have set-up a new topic called 'Music' that will contain posts regarding all types of music from all different genres and styles. This will not strictly limited to Japanese, but is open to English, Chinese and Korean. We will be looking forward in providing the interesting news in the music industry.

Apart from the blog, I have been busy at uni and been busy coding up KatarinaBot. Many of you probably already know what the bot is and what it does. Right now, I have released v0.2.4 of KatarinaBot to the public. It is still in 'Pre-Alpha' stage, meaning that it is still incomplete and lack many features. Also, there can be many bugs in the application, so it it is not recommended for everyday use. You can however, download KatarinaBot and play around with it and if possible, send me some bug reports and code suggestions. Since I am quite busy with uni work, I might not have enough time to efficiently fix and release new versions of the bot. So please be patient! I hope you will like my work!

MegaBubbletea signing off.