character songs · goods · mini review

[Character Songs] Enstars Unit CDs Review – UNDEAD & Akatsuki

team bae unit


 

I said a while ago that I would do a review for UNDEAD but was a bit busy to do it and then BAM, my Akatsuki CD arrived just the other day and I thought ‘Hey, nows a good time to write up a review while I’m still active and not lazing around’. So here I am, writing a review and I’m not sure how to go about it lol.

First off, I’d like to say that I’m an UNDEADP as well as AkatsukiP because both units have most of my baes and they suit my aesthetic tastes, which would explain why I bought these out of the four released CDs so far. Tho its kinda sad to find out that Akatsuki and UNDEAD are on bad terms with each other. I love them both and don’t wanna see them fight😂

For this review I’ve tagged it under ‘quick look at’, because this is more or less a quick look at what the Enstars Unit CDs have to offer by looking at two of their CDs. I’ll tell my opinion on whether I’ll continuing buying it or not at the end.

Before starting the review, I’d like to point out for those who are not familiar with the Unit CDs or haven’t been keeping up with news that for each Unit CD there is about 5 tracks that go on for 30min+. First two tracks are the unit songs, third track is a 14~15 minute original drama and the last two tracks are karaoke/instrumental versions of the first two tracks.

Jacket cover is drawn by official Enstar artist(s) [?], lyrics to the unit songs can be found inside the jacket. You’ll also get a serial code for a 4 Star card of the leader of the unit. If you preordered at certain online stores you can get bonuses, animate for example gives out unit badges designed from the jacket cover.

Also, on the same piece of paper that has your serial code, there is a lottery ticket/application for seats at a live event on May 1st 2016 with guests of about more than a half of the voice actors of Enstars including the two teachers/faculty members. Tho this is a lottery ticket so it doesn’t mean it guarantees you a seat, plus you’ll have to be in Japan at the time. Where you can lodge these application tickets are unknown to me. Entry Tickets are normally priced at 7,500 yen.

Now that that’s out of the way I can start with this review.

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Vol.1 UNDEAD

 Melody in the Dark & ハニーミルクはお好みで

When you think of UNDEAD you think of a rockish vibe, and thats what Melody in the Dark is. Solo rifts, electric guitars and also some interesting elements such as a really old sounding piano which im not sure how to classify it seeing its been years since I was in music class, tho I guess its a touch of Rei in the song, like how the electric guitar is Koga’s thing. At the end of the song I thought they were going “We are voice!” etc. but its actually “We loud voice!” but I can hardly hear that.

Honey milk wa okonomi de is prolly my fav song out of all of them. I remember reading in an issue of B’s Log that the composer was aiming for a romantic french feel to it with the accordion & violin and they really hit it out of the park with that. I think the second track is usually the track based off a previous event and this one is based off the UNDEAD butler cafe event. More or less, here you can hear the sweeter and softer side of UNDEAD and it just brightens my day whenever I hear it.

In terms of the unit’s dynamics with their performances, I think Kaoru’s VA and Rei’s VA have the same sweet/soft vocal range while Adonis’ VA and Koga’s VA are the deeper/rougher vocals. Sometimes I’d get Kaoru’s and Rei’s parts confused because they almost sound a bit similar. Rei seems to be the leader for most of these songs, which is not surprising because he is the unit’s leader. Tho I prolly sound like an asshole trying to analyse vocals and stuff when I’m not that experienced in music stuff.

All in all, so far these songs are my #01’s for character/unit songs so far, then again I haven’t listened to many. The enstars unit songs are my first character/unit songs I ever owned and listened to, actually they’re the only songs I’m willing to buy lol.

Original Drama

The original drama usually goes for 14 minutes and have all your fav guys talking in full sentences instead of short phrases. Yay! So far it seems like they don’t mention Anzu/Transfer Student-chan at all, so don’t expect it to be one of those situation CDs, its just a short drama with the dudes being guys. A thing about these original dramas is that there are some background music & sound effects which is surprising to me because I’d think they’d be cheap and have no BGM like Makura Danshi.

This drama opens up with Koga tied up and gagged while Rei sleeps in his coffin. Weird image, I know, afterwards Koga is no longer gagged but still tied up. Koga tries to pin this on Rei as his doing but Rei’s like “I don’t remember letting this happen lol”, turns out Rei ordered Adonis to round up the UNDEAD members for a meeting by any means possible prolly so Adonis tied up Koga and dragged Kaoru along later. They’re all gathered up for idol work, tho Rei almost forgot about it because he’s an old grandpa. Their assigned work for the day, a band performance and a release of their unit song.

Here we find out the member’s secret instrument skills. Rei apparently plays the violin as well as the piano and Kaoru is all like ‘You can get all the ladies if you know how to play the violin, maybe I’ll learn too’, making everyone roll their eyes at once. Adonis can only play the ocarina and Koga kind of shits on the ocarina but both Adonis & Rei are like “Respect the Ocarina”. Apparently the ocarina Adonis has right now is something handed down to him by his father. As we all know, Koga plays the electric guitar ’nuff said, it was in a CG & mentioned in the main story early on too, so who wouldn’t know?

Rei decides to start the band practice but turns out, being the piece of shit he is, Kaoru doesn’t have a instrument to play with because he doesn’t have a speciality with intruments. Tbh me and Kaoru are kind of alike, useless & only speciality is chasing girls/(2D)boys. Kaoru’s like “how about an instrument that suits me, like a drum(? i think thats what he says)” and Rei is like “ok but that means you’ll have to practice with us each day until you git gud”, with Kaoru protesting that it’ll take away his precious time dating girls. After much thought, Kaoru gets the tambourine because its easier and kinda like a drum. By 10 minutes into the drama, Koga is finally released from the ropes the bounded him. Seriously tho wtf.

Koga then challenges Adonis to prove to him how great an ocarina is and Adonis responds along the lines of “If its gonna shut you up then yea, listen up well”, tho less harsher. For me it’s the first time I ever heard someone play an ocarina and its weirdly calming. Its so calming that it makes Koga cry like a babby, tho he blames that dust got into his eye.

Eventually they start their band practice with a violin, electric guitar, ocarina and a tambourine… thats an interesting band you got there guys……… And at first it seems like they’re really bad at it but then it becomes more harmonious. Turns out they’re playing Honey Milk wa okonomi de and its not half bad, even with their weird mixture of instruments. And so the disjointed band played into the sunset and was never heard from again… jk.

For those who are wondering, here’s what 4* Rei card looks like:

Like I said above, I was expecting them to be cheap about this but they really did put some effort into making a mini drama for the CD and I should really cut them some slack because almost every time I was expecting low quality but it turns out so good I ain’t complaining. Which is why I went onto buying Vol.4 Akatsuki’s Unit CD

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Vol.4 Akatsuki

百花繚乱、紅月夜 & 花燈の恋文

As a contrast to UNDEAD, we have here something more japanese centric in the style of the unit songs.  百花繚乱、紅月夜 is Akatsuki’s main unit song, think of the first tracks as the main songs for the units, and is pretty much traditional Japanese style with a rockish twist. Electric guitar, bass & drums along with traditional japanese instruments are what plays a big part with the song, along with a lot of ‘せいや!’ & ‘それそれそれそれ!'(not sure if they’re saying it but it sounds like it) in the chorus. More or less this song gives off the feel that Akatsuki is very powerful & loud, performance wise, after all aren’t they like the second best in the school? The song kind of gives a matsuri feel overall.

Next up, their event song 花燈の恋文. If I were to guess which event this song is for I’d think its for the Tanabata Event, and like UNDEAD’s second track this one is also a romantic song and more softer than their first song. Actually once I think about it, both unit songs compared to UNDEAD are quite similar where both have a powerful rock song as well as a softer romantic song. Maybe thats what make them rivals. However this song doesn’t seem so different in music style with their first song compared to UNDEAD’s contrast of songs, maybe its because both Akatsuki songs have similar instruments. The lyrics to this song kind of alludes to the story of the two lovers fated to only meet once a year on Tanabata day, which would explain why its a romantic song.

With the dynamics of the Akatsuki unit, aka gap moe unit, Kuro seems to be the strong vocal range, Souma is a more softer and enka-ish vocal range, while Keito is in the middle of being a bit strong and a bit soft. All in all its a well balanced unit. I’m surprised Souma’s VA & Kurou’s VA singing came out well considering they’re not quite experienced/kinda new to this. That aside, I enjoyed it but not as much as I enjoyed UNDEAD’s unit CD.

Original Drama

The drama starts off with Souma practicing his sword skills and almost (prolly) slashes Keito. Way to go, Souma. Apparently he was too focused on practicing that he didn’t notice Keito walking in. Kurou comes in late for the meeting because he was on the phone with his lil sister talking about school and other stuff, they end up talking for about an hour. His lil sis was prolly feeling lonely because Kurou was too busy with idol stuff to hang out with her. Souma is moved by this, to the brink of tears actually, tho Keito is like “you’re spoiling your sis too much wtf”. After their mother passed away Kurou became the only person to shower his lil sister with adoration because their dad is too busy with work. Such a sweet & nice guy he is.

Turns out Keito gathered them all for a meeting about their upcoming idol work, going on a variety show/program & a unit song. Neither Keito nor Souma have watched a variety show before, maybe because they’ve been raised in very traditional families, but Kurou has some idea of what a variety show is, apparently because he and his sister watch it together. Some reason the conversation turns into a different direction about sleeping and waking up for school, where Kurou talks about how his biker friends drop him off at school even though he doesn’t like bikes/vehicles & Keito runs his mouth on how it’ll ruin the image of the school and Akatsuki if Kurou keeps showing up with his biker friends.

Getting back on track with the previous conversation, they talk about what to do with the Variety Show and Souma gets so excited about seeing a variety show that he pulls out his sword in excitement. Souma pls. Turns out Kurou was coincidentally carrying a set of DVDs on various variety shows and insists on watching it before they do the real thing to get some ideas on how to conduct themselves on the show. Souma attempts to setup the dvd but gets the wires all tangled up because he’s not used to this kind of stuff so Kurou’s like, “Um, let me handle this…” and warns him not get so excited that he’ll pull out his sword while watching.

Keito doesn’t seem to get what variety show humor is and is like ‘srsly tho this is tasteless’ or something like that but Kurou & Souma seems somewhat amused. Pretty much everything in the variety show seems to go over Keito’s head and he keeps questioning whats the point for all those segments. Keito is srsly one boring man. Tho he seems to change his tune when Kurou points out that doing something would be out of Keito’s character and something about Akatsuki’s image/future… I’m not sure what he was talking about but he managed to coax Keito into becoming a bit more enthusiastic about doing the variety show to the point he asks for all the dvds Kurou has so he can study them. Kurou is then like “I’m looking forward to how Akatsuki will change from here on out.” and the drama ends there.

Keito’s 4* card:


Final Thoughts

Despite my initial thoughts when they were announced, these CDs turned out to be of good quality and not something that was spewed out to get some moneys out of the fans. The music arrangements are fitting to the units and the vocal direction is nicely done too you’d think they’re a real idol group… tho they’re just 2D idols. The original drama portions are a nice treat for fans of the idol units to hear them actually speak full sentences instead of the occasional “Um” and “Ah” in the game. It was nice hearing Kurou’s voice especially because its deep yet comforting. For those who want to do covers of the song you can prolly use the karaoke tracks to practice on.

For 1,800 yen, I think its money well spent and it helps contributes future CDs happening and prolly give money to the staff to improve the game a bit. Plus you get a 4* card as well, even tho they don’t seem that strong… I’m guessing if you want to have a MAX card you’d have to buy about 4 more CDs for the serial codes lol. Its kinda a downer that its only the leader and everybody else doesn’t get one, tho that’d be too much charity from Happy Elements if they gave away a bunch of cards for free.

For anyone who’s interested in getting I’d say yeah, go ahead, tho if you want it for a cheaper price you could always shop for a second hand CD with a used serial code. I’d prolly buy some more myself but that would mean I’m spending maybe 100 bucks on 2 unit songs per CD. *Apparently, I just found out, that CDJapan offers the serial code for the card to first press CDs only aka for preorders or those who buy it on the first few days after release, so if anyone’s interested heres a link to the unit songs.

I may buy the 2wink Unit CD, who knows. Anyway, thanks for reading and as always, I’ll see y’all next time  _(:3 」∠ )_

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