misono – Me

July 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM | Posted in misono | 7 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Me is misono’s 3rd studio album and it was released on June 30, 2010. The album reached #20 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 5,944 copies.

Ahhhh! No more scrapbooking!

♦ ♦ ♦

6 double A-side singles, a collaboration with her big sister, and 2 cover albums later, misono FINALLY releases her 3rd original album. Me only features 3 brand new tracks and a bunch of rearranged A-sides. Even after listening to the album a couple of times, I still really can’t comprehend it. Maybe I’m still a little baffled by the tracklisting. XD

I thought her first 2 albums were frontloaded by older material but this is kind of ridiculous. At least most of these songs are rearranged into new “Me versions” and some sound better while others aren’t that much different. For example, the new version of Tales… that starts the album has a heavier rock sound compared to the original and I was glad to hear 0ji Mae no Tsunderella in its full glory (the single only included a piano version). As for the others, “Me” and music letter only have slight tweaks in their arrangements while ? cm‘s “partner version” features additional vocals (by her fans allegedly ;D).

I’ve grown to like the other A-sides but there are still some songs that I can’t stand (Tenbin will always remain god awful). “…Suki×××” is by far my favorite track on the album but end=START (which is combined with 11 eleven from the Pochi single for some strange reason), Watashi Iro, and Shuuten are pretty good, too.

Moving onto the 3 new tracks, I thought Usotsuki Tane was the best one. It’s a standard rock track for misono but it’s executed pretty well. Joker makes interesting use of vocoders during the verses and the final track Last Time ~Romejuli~ is a pure acapella track. There’s no music and all you get is misono singing. Let’s just say that I didn’t really like it. The fanclub edition comes with a different version which I haven’t heard yet. If anyone has, does it have any MUSIC? LOL

In conclusion, I thought Me wasn’t bad. It’s not better or worse than her last album but I wish it had more new material. Sei -say- had great new tracks to balance the lackluster A-sides but in this case it’s kind of half and half. This era had good songs but also TERRIBLE ones as well. The flow of the album is a little clunky because I thought the placement of certain songs was questionable (and some shouldn’t be on here in the first place). Lastly, I wish misono would clean up her vocals a little bit. Remember her vocals in VS? She should go back to that.

Pros: The aggressive rock tracks stand out as the best on the album.
Cons: Not enough new tracks (a common problem with her albums) and Tenbin and music letter need to be DESTROYED.

BASICALLY…stop being so selfish, misono! ME this ME that blah blah blah.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Tales… ~Me Ver.~
2. Kyuukon ~Yaruki Genki Sono Ki no Nekko~ (球魂 ~やる気・元気・その木の根っこ~)
3. “…Suki×××” (「・・・好き×××」)
4. Usotsuki Tane (ウソツキ種)
5. 0ji Mae no Tsunderella (0時前のツンデレラ)
6. Joker
7. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi×Yowagari na Kimi~ (天秤 ~強がりな私×弱がりな君~)
8. 11 eleven end=START
9. Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~ (終点 ~君の腕の中~)
10. Watashi Iro (私色)
11. ? cm ~misono to Ninin Sankyaku! Partner Ver.~
      (?cm ~misonoと二人三脚! パートナーVer.~)
12. music letter ~Me Ver.~
13. Kazoku no Hi (家族の日)
14. “Me” ~Me Ver.~ (「ミィ」)
15. Last Time ~Romejuli~ (ラストタイム ~ロミジュリ~) [CD+DVD & CD only]
      Last Time ~Romejuli~ (Daishi Ver.) (ラストタイム ~ロミジュリ~ (台詞Ver.))
      [Fanclub edition]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

misono – “…Suki×××” / 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~

May 19, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Posted in misono | 7 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

“…Suki×××” / 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~ (「・・・好き×××」/0時前のツンデレラ ~Piano Ver.~) is misono’s 16th single and it was released on May 5, 2010. The single reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 6,661 copies.

Nice wig…*cough*

♦ ♦ ♦

Did you know that this is her 6th double A-side single in a row? That’s OVERKILL. LOL

Don’t mind my rambling because “…Suki×××” is pretty good. This song is ferocious and features a really aggressive arrangement (possibly the strongest I’ve heard from her). The electric guitars and drums are rampant but luckily misono’s vocals aren’t. She isn’t all over the place or assaulting my ears with piercing shrieks and shouting. Even during the loud chorus, her voice remains on-key.

I always approach misono’s ballads with caution. The piano version of 0ji Mae no Tsunderella starts off decently but becomes messy when the chorus arrives. She does not sound good when she sings those high notes. I’ve heard better from her so I wasn’t very pleased (Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~ and “Me” were the best examples of slower ballad-like songs from this era). Maybe a new version of this song will be on her new album?

Since the fanclub version of the single has never surfaced, I won’t be able to talk about the 2 extra tracks exclusive to it. Sorry. =(

Pros: After some more listens, I have concluded that “…Suki×××” is awesome.
Cons: I’m on the fence with 0ji Mae no Tsunderella.

BASICALLY…this wasn’t as good as the last single but misono’s still doing quite well.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Tracklisting

CD+DVD and CD only editions
1. “…Suki×××” (「・・・好き×××」)
2. 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~ (0時前のツンデレラ)
3. “…Suki×××” [Instrumental]
4. 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~ [Instrumental]

Fanclub edition
1. “…Suki×××”
2. 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~
3. “Kimi to Watashi no Uta” ~misono to Ninin Sankyaku! Partner Ver.~
    (「君と私のうた」 ~misonoと二人三脚! パートナーVer.~)
4. music letter ~misono to Ninin Sankyaku! Partner Ver.~
   (music letter ~misonoと二人三脚! パートナーVer.~)
5. “…Suki×××” [Instrumental]
6. 0ji Mae no Tsunderella ~Piano Ver.~ [Instrumental]

misono – Watashi Iro / Bokura Style

December 2, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Posted in misono | 2 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Watashi Iro / Bokura Style (私色/僕らスタイル) is misono’s 16th single and it was released on November 25, 2009. The single reached #34 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 2,859 copies.

*is shocked* She looks good. =O

♦ ♦ ♦

Following in the footsteps of her big sis, Watashi Iro and Bokura Style are indeed the same song…with different arrangements and lyrics, of course! Watashi Iro is the more mellow of the two tracks and is acoustic based. I thought the song was good but it definitely gets trumped by its counterpart Bokura Style. It pumps up the electric guitars and is much faster paced. I was loving the energy the track presented and I personally prefer it over Watashi Iro.

It really depends though. If you like calm and collected then Watashi Iro is for you. On the other hand, if you want something more exciting then check out Bokura Style.

The single includes a B-side too. Gerende ga Tokeruhodo Koishitai is kind of plain compared to the A-sides. However, I will say that it is better than most of the songs of this new era. A steady rock sound combined with equally steady vocals is always a good thing for misono. She’s been getting better ever since her Lum no Love Song cover.

Pros: Bokura Style is great! Have a listen.
Cons: Hmm…I don’t really have anything to say here. misono hasn’t been sucking lately.

BASICALLY…this was a solid single but enough of the “same song” gimmick, avex!

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Watashi Iro (私色)
2. Bokura Style (僕らスタイル)
3. Gerende ga Tokeruhodo Koishitai (ゲレンデがとけるほど恋したい)
4. Watashi Iro (instrumental)
5. Bokura Style (instrumental)
6. Gerende ga Tokeruhodo Koishitai (instrumental)

misono – Urusei Yatsura no Theme ~Lum no Love Song~ / “Me”

October 1, 2009 at 4:28 PM | Posted in misono | 3 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Urusei Yatsura no Theme ~Lum no Love Song~ / “Me” (うる星やつらのテーマ ~ラムのラブソング~/「ミィ」) is misono’s 15th single and it was released on September 23, 2009. The single reached #18 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,162 copies.

misono is giving me the evil eye on the cover! LOL @ the eyelashes too. WHYYYYYY?

♦ ♦ ♦

I looooove misono’s version of Lum no Love Song, a popular anime theme song from the 80s. It’s very upbeat, has an awesome rock sound, and misono’s vocals are actually good and consistent. I always have to comment on her vocals because they can either make or break her songs and this time, we have a winner. Depsite being only 3 minutes long, it’s a very fun-filled 3 minutes.

The other track is…uh oh…a slow acoustic based song! Fortunately, “Me” isn’t that bad. It’s a lot better than those previous songs as well. She does sound a little choppy at times, like when she sings the high notes, but I thought she did a good job. I am surprised because she is actually IMPROVING! *head implodes*

Pros: This is her best single in a looooong time.
Cons: “Me” could have been better but oh well.

BASICALLY…when was the last time I gave a misono release the following rating?

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Urusei Yatsura no Theme ~Lum no Love Song~ (うる星やつらのテーマ ~ラムのラブソング~)
2. “Me” (「ミィ」)
3. Urusei Yatsura no Theme ~Lum no Love Song~ (instrumental)
4. “Me” (instrumental)

misono – end=START / Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~

July 3, 2009 at 5:43 PM | Posted in misono | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. end=START
2. Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~
    (終点~君の腕の中~)
3. end=START [instrumental]
4. Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~
    [instrumental]

This is misono’s 14th single and it was released on June 10, 2009. The single reached #19 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 6,072 copies. The 2nd track was used as the theme song for the movie The Harimaya Bridge.

After a series of duds, misono finally rebounds with a good song! I can honestly say that end=START is a big improvement over her last couple of singles. It’s a hard-hitting and aggressive track that represents a darker side of misono, something we don’t see that often. The electric guitars are furious and don’t let up, giving the music a lot of energy. The vocals are somewhat better as well but I would still like more control in her voice.

We all know that misono’s ballads haven’t been all that great, but she’s working on that too! Shuuten ~Kimi no Ude no Naka~ isn’t that bad. Throwing out that bland acoustic guitar, this song utilizes flowing piano and strings with light percussion to keep up the pace. To me, it was a nice change from those awful acoustic based songs.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Koda Kumi × misono – It’s all Love!

April 24, 2009 at 7:32 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi, misono | 4 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition 

It’s all Love! is a special collaboration single between sisters Koda Kumi and misono and it was released on March 31, 2009. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 97,577 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

You know, I’ve always wanted Koda Kumi and misono to collaborate even though they are complete opposites when it comes to musical styles. It looks like that wish came true with It’s all Love!, a strange, funky, hybrid of a song. Koda Kumi does pop and R&B while misono does rock and what do you get when you mix them together? Musically, the song is a cluttered, hot mess but oddly enough, I thought the sisters sounded great together. The arrangement is very chaotic and filled with frantic electric guitar riffs, drums, and synth. Add that random R&B-ish segment that appears during the bridge and you got yourself a song! Surprisingly, I liked the vocals and the sisters do make a great pair. Kumi sounds good as usual but I noticed a vast improvement in misono. Honestly, she has never sounded better vocally.

The B-sides on the single are solo songs from each sister, starting with faraway. This is Koda Kumi’s solo song and it’s your typical J-pop ballad. *yawn* There’s nothing new here and the song is incredibly unremarkable. It’s too much on the safe side. NEXT~

Unfortunately, misono’s solo song is a lot worse. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi×Yowagari na Kimi~ is absolutely cringe worthy. It’s soooooo bad. I never liked her “raw” acoustic based songs but this one takes the cake. All I have to say about her vocals is “TONE IT DOWN, GIRL”. The yelling near the end makes me want to die.

Overall Rating

3 stars

Tracklisting

1. It’s all Love!
2. faraway / Koda Kumi
3. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi×Yowagari na Kimi~ (天秤~強がりな私×弱がりな君~)
    / misono
4. It’s all Love! (Instrumental)
5. faraway (Instrumental) / Koda Kumi
6. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi×Yowagari na Kimi~ (Instrumental) / misono

misono – Kyuukon / ?cm

March 23, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Posted in misono | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Kyuukon ~Yaruki Genki Sono Ki no Nekko~
    (球魂~やる気・元気・その木の根っこ~)
2. ?cm
3. Kyuukon ~Yaruki Genki Sono Ki no Nekko~
    (instrumental)
4. ?cm (instrumental)

This is misono’s 12th single and it was released on February 25, 2009. The single reached #40 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,303 copies.

The first track of this double A-side single is Kyuukon ~Yaruki Genki Sono Ki no Nekko~, a light-hearted pop rock song. Compared to the material misono released during her “rock project”, this song is definitely more on the campy side. The music still maintains that upbeat rock sound but the electric guitars seem less aggressive next to those thumping drums. However, that’s not a problem since it is a pretty catchy song  but I wish that misono would soften up her vocals a little bit. She would sound a lot better if she did.

I thought the other A-side, ?cm, wasn’t as good. It starts off nice enough but the chorus is pretty irritating, mainly due to misono’s strained vocals when she sings the English parts (fighting girl, fighting boy, etc). It just gets progressively worse towards the end as well. The verses are pretty good though since she actually displays some control in her voice.

Overall Rating

3 stars

misono – Kazoku no Hi / Aburazemi♀(Osaka Version) -Piano Version-

November 10, 2008 at 6:49 PM | Posted in misono | 4 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Kazoku no Hi (家族の日)
2. Aburazemi♀ (Osaka Version) -Piano Version-
 (アブラゼミ♀ (大阪バージョン) -ピアノ・バージョン-)
3. music letter
4. Aburazemi♀ (Osaka Version) -TV Size-
    (アブラゼミ♀ (大阪バージョン) -TVサイズ-)
5. Kazoku no Hi -instrumental-

This is misono’s 11th single and it was released on October 29, 2008. The single reached #23 on the Oricon Charts and sold 5,588 copies.

Kazoku no Hi is one of those “thank you mom and dad” kind of songs but set to a pretty good pop rock sound. It starts off with just acoustics but it transitions into catchy electric guitars for the 1st chorus. The instrumental sections are nice since they feature stronger riffs too. While I do like the overall melody, it tends to drag on and start getting repetitive, which is the only real flaw of the song. For being over 5 minutes in length, it’s too long.

For those who don’t know, misono is a regular on the popular game show Quiz! Hexagon II. It’s so popular in that it has its own special music units who perform songs for the show (even a compilation album was released and it hit #1 on Oricon). Aburazemi♀ (Osaka Version) is one of them and the original version is a duet between misono and comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa.
The piano version, which is exclusive to this single, is performed by just misono. The piano chords have a nice, playful vibe to them and are the best thing about the song. misono’s vocals are controlled most of time, but there are times when she strains her voice. I also have to note that this song is 8 freaking minutes long and gets boring about halfway through.

The next track is a song that only features simple music box chimes. music letter COULD have been good, but misono’s overly emotional vocals kind of ruin it. I guess she was crying throughout the entire thing but it seriously hinders her singing. She’s done this before with Last Song and I didn’t like that song either.

The original version of Aburazemi♀ (Osaka Version) appears as track 4 but in a shortened, TV Size format. I like it more than the piano version because it sounds better as a duet and more suited with its acoustic arrangement. Surprisingly, misono and Hiroshi Shinagawa sound good together.

Overall Rating

3 stars

misono – Sei -say-

August 28, 2008 at 8:13 PM | Posted in misono | 5 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Sei -say- (生 -say-) is misono’s 2nd album and it was released on July 16, 2008. The album reached #20 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,770 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The perfect way to start things off for this album was the quirky yet intuitive Misono Aji. This short intro track is less than two minutes long but I loved the overall sound it presented. misono’s playful vocals next to the upbeat electric guitar chords were quite catchy especially during the middle sequence. This could have been an excellent full-length song in my opinion.

Now we move onto the furious guitar riffs that begin Zasetsu Chiten, the first of misono’s Rock Project singles. Like I said before, this is a very solid rock song with a great arrangement that’s very upbeat. I also think misono gives one of her better vocal performances in it as well.

For me, the best of the Rock Project singles was definitely Ninin Sankyaku. I enjoyed the consistency of the music but also the darker rock sound that it had. It also helped that the chorus is very catchy and misono’s performs it very well.

Just like her debut album, there are also some B-sides included. The first one is Gizagiza LIFE and it’s from the Juunin Toiro single. The music is more on the medium tempo side but it still provides some progressive riffs and nice percussion sections. It’s an okay song even though it tends to drag a little bit near the end.

Up next is another B-side and it’s from the Zasetsu Chiten single. black & white ~Kuroi Sunglasses Kaketa Hi Kara~ is a dark and sinister sounding track that consists of muffled verses followed by a loud chorus. Accompanied by penetrating riffs, misono sings the chorus with elongated notes. This song has grown on me a little because it has a nice alternative sound, but it’s still pretty average.

A new song finally appears and much to my surprise, almost all of the new songs on this album are pretty good. Triangle opens with intimidating single note riffs but it blossoms into this gorgeous mix of percussion and light strings when the chorus arrives. I really liked how all of the instruments intertwined for the bridge too.

Heeeeey, what’s Hot Time doing on THIS album? The song is pretty old considering it was originally released during the never+land era but it didn’t make the cut in the end (the other A-side it was released with, A.  ~answer~, did though). Anyways, I still really like this song and I have gotten over misono’s screechy vocals that appear during the chorus. For being her first A-side to be a ballad, it also seems to flow quite nicely on this album since it follows Triangle.

Her 3rd Rock Project single, Mugen Kigen, is next and when it comes to the overall arrangement, this is one of her better songs because it sounds more unique compared to her other singles. It has grown on me a good amount and I do like sweeping riffs in the music as well as misono’s strong vocals.

The title of the next track is really weird but the song itself is pretty good. Oiji-chankko Obaa-chankko Hinatabokko translates to “grandpa and grandma sunbathing” so I didn’t know what to think at first. Strange title aside, I liked how dynamic the music was and how it changed from the verses to the chorus. The verses feature a calm piano with light guitar chords but that transitions into an aggressive chorus.

My favorite single from this album was by far Pochi and I still adore the song to this day. This was the first single that misono released for the album so it wasn’t a part of the Rock Project. The music is a lot more on the pop side and it’s overall atmosphere is cheery and cute anyway. I loved how the verses exploded into the extremely loud chorus and then into a really charming piano sequence.

The next track is similar to Pochi but a little more rock influenced. I thought that Hankouki was fantastic but too short for it’s own good (it’s less than 3 minutes long!). That’s okay because the song is really fun and catchy. It just might be my favorite new track on the album.

I have a love and hate relationship with Juunin Toiro, the 2nd Rock Project single. The song is a good example of great instrumentation that sounds awkward because of the vocals. Upon further inspection, it’s only the chorus that sounds funky. Everything else is fine so let’s leave it at that.

What I liked the most about Tamago were the brazen drums and jazzy guitar chords. There is a nice buildup into the chorus where it features pleasant vocals and stronger riffs but the bridge has awesome ‘break off” parts too. This was another high quality song from misono.

A somewhat new version of the acoustic based Last Song is next. It was originally the B-side on the Mugen Kigen single. It’s still the same dreary and strained song as before and the only new thing about it is the extending ending. You hear misono talking a little and then she introduces the title of album’s final track…

“Kimi to Watashi no Uta” is also an acoustic based song but it sounds too similar to the previous track. Her vocals are a little strained here as well and I thought that this was a really weak way to close the album. As the final track, it could have been better executed because it is very plain.

Sei -say- was a pretty good sophomore effort from misono. As evident from the singles of her Rock Project, the album as a whole is a lot more rock oriented. Even though it is structurally similar to her debut album never+land, it’s not quite on the same level because I wasn’t too fond on some of the previous released tracks. Junnin Toiro and the B-sides instantly come into mind. However, the new tracks are great and they were done very well. I just wish there were more of them because just like her debut album, the tracklisting is very dependent on older A-sides and B-sides.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Misono Aji (美苑味)
2. Zasetsu Chiten (挫折地点)
3. Ninin Sankyaku (二人三脚)
4. Gizagiza LIFE (ギザギザLIFE)
5. black & white ~Kuroi Sunglasses Kaketa Hi Kara~ 
      (black & white ~黒いサングラスかけた日から~)
6. Triangle (トライアングル)
7. Hot Time (ホットタイム)
8. Mugen Kigen (夢幻期限)
9. Oiji-chankko Obaa-chankko Hinatabokko (おじぃちゃんっこ おばぁちゃんっこ ひなたぼっ子)
10. Pochi (ポチ)
11. Hankouki (反抗期)
12. Juunin Toiro (十人十色)
13. Tamago (たまご)
14. Last Song ~Sei ver.~ (ラストソング ~生 ver.~)
15. “Kimi to Watashi no Uta” (「君と私のうた」)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

misono – Ninin Sankyaku

July 14, 2008 at 11:59 AM | Posted in misono | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Ninin Sankyaku (二人三脚)
2. Rock Project Medley
3. Ninin Sankyaku (Instrumental)

This is misono’s 10th single and it was released on June 25, 2008. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 27,595 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the video game Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

I thought misono’s “Rock Project” was over with her previous single Mugen Kigen, but then a 4th single was slated for release as the theme song for the new Tales of Symphonia sequel. Much to my relief, Ninin Sankyaku is actually the best song she has made for this entire project. It’s a consistent and steady song but it still maintains a nice, edgy rock sound thanks to the aggressive riffs. misono’s vocals are neat as well and I liked how she stayed controlled during the energetic chorus.

The B-side is a 9 minute medley of all the A-sides featured in the Rock Project (in the order they were released in). It’s not bad and makes for a good recap, but it’s very unoriginal compared to the amazing Finger 5 Medley she did on her debut album. The songs are basically cut in half and smoothly transition into one another. Here’s how it goes:

  • It starts off with Zasetsu Chiten, a pretty solid song. It has grown on me since then and it’s pretty energetic.
  • Juunin Toiro is just plain weird. The way the song flows is weird and the same goes for the vocals, melody, and consistency of the music too. It’s still my least favorite of the Rock Project singles.
  • Up next is Mugen Kigen, the slowest of the 4 songs. I really liked the elongated notes performed by the electric guitars and they give the song a somewhat epic feeling.
  • The medley concludes with the ending sequence of Ninin Sankyaku, simple as that.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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