Their number one suggestion was something called Disney: Koe no Dream Duet. It was just different enough from Koe no Ouji-sama to be suspicious, but just similar enough to require looking into. So we clicked on the link for more details. Sure enough, it seemed to be a spin-off of the Koe no Ouji-sama series, only this time with female singers, too! Also, it came out a week before out birthday, so we were like, "Why are you telling us now? Our birthday was last week, and we just paid rent so we don't have any money!"
The lack of money thing, along with the fact that Tomokazu Seki and Takahiro Sakurai were conspicuously absent from the last Koe no Ouji-sama CD, almost had me going, "Whatever, I don't even care anymore." Still, there are a bunch of voice actors out there that we like a lot, so we had to check the track list.
The first thing I noticed was that not only were the aforementioned Seki-san and Sakurai-san still gone on this one, but Hiroshi Kamiya wasn't on it either. What the heck? We thought those guys were, like, the founding members of Koe no Ouji-sama (a theory based on pretty much nothing).
The second thing we noticed was that there was a song from Frozen on it, a fact which made us go Blaaaaaahhh. We mentioned yesterday that we didn't care much for the music, but our apathy toward it turned into downright loathing based on society's inexplicable love of of it. It sparks a reaction much like our reaction to country music, which isn't really fair to the Frozen soundtrack, but we all know that human beings aren't entirely rational. Add to that the fact that there is still a recitation on this one, and it's of guess what our favorite movie Frozen! And we were like, "This is the stupidest CD ever." The story is told by Hikaru Midorikawa, who remains the sole Koe no Ouji-sama to have been on all four of these CDs, and now we shake our fists at him and yell "Fie!" (The male singer in the Frozen song is Ryotaro Okiayu, who joined the Koe no Ouji-samas in the second CD, and who sang a Pixar song with Midorikawa on the last one, so now they're both on notice.)
Despite our irrational anger over Frozen, we managed to calm down long enough to look at the rest of the track list more carefully, and that's when we found out why we had to buy the stupid thing anyway. Masakazu Morita is on it, singing "Something There" from Beauty and the Beast. Doesn't that sound adorable!? (Morita-san is the voice of Barnaby Brooks Jr. in Tiger & Bunny, and the motion model for like a million of our favorite Square-Enix characters, including Zidane♥, Tidus, and...I don't even know, but he's like Square-Enix motion capture guy. And oh my goodness, in the extras for Tiger & Bunny the Live, and oh wow, on Twitter! He's so amazing! Like, when the big earthquake hit Japan three years ago, he had plans to go to a fan event in China (he was like on his way to the airport when it hit), but he decided to cancel his plans because he felt like he was needed more in Japan. And he claims he can read the Tale of Genji in the original Classical Japanese without any help. The guy is amazing.) (We chose our icon for this post, and Athena said, "I bet he's the motion model for Kuja, too." He totally probably is.)
There were some really cute pairings on it, too, but I'll get into those a little later. The point is, Gaston and Alice came and said, "Sure, we can take you to the bank to deposit the check you've been hanging onto because it's too big for a mobile deposit and you're too lazy to walk to the bank!" (They may not have said it exactly like that.) And we thought, "This is our chance!" So we ordered the stupid CD. And to make the shipping more worth our while, we added a Final Fantasy piano opera CD with the matching sheet music book. We haven't done anything with either one of those yet, because we got Theatrhythm Curtain Call yesterday. We shouldn't even be doing this right now--we should be playing our game. Or preparing a lesson for church. You know. (We're fully planning on doing the responsible thing first.)
So anyway. The CD arrived yesterday, because as we all know Amazon Japan is ridiculously fast with shipping, even though they're going with a non-overnight option these days. And we have a mixed feeling about it. (I meant to type "mixed feelings," but I missed the S, and we thought this version was better.)
The first track is "See the Light" from Rapunzel (or Tangled; whatever). We were happy to see that Houko Kuwashima (we know her best from Gundam Seed and Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne) would be singing Rapunzel's part, but while we like Junichi Suwabe a lot as a voice actor, he's really not our favorite singer. Besides, we're used to hearing Takahiro Sakurai sing Flynn Rider's part, and he is SO dreamy at it. Like, ♥♥♥. We discussed it before we even ordered the CD. I was like, "But Suwabe-san? I don't know... He's really no Sakurai-san." And Athena was like, "Yeah, but do you really think they could have gotten anyone better than Sakurai-san?" And I went through a bunch of options in my head, and I was like, "...Not really, no." He's just so good with the crooning.
Anyway, the arrangement of the song is really pretty, and as expected, Kuwashima-san sounded lovely, and Suwabe-san sounded okay for someone who's not Sakurai-san. (We're not nice people. I'm sorry, Suwabe-san! You know we love you as Cuticle Detective Inaba! If we weren't obsessed with Theatrhythm, we might start playing our Japanese copy of Final Fantasy X so we can hear a pretty voice for Seymour.)
The next track is a very interesting pairing: Toru Furuya and Keiko Han. Our first reaction was, "That's so cute! It's Tuxedo Mask and Luna!" Then I was thinking about it later, and I was like, "Wait a minute...it's Tuxedo Mask and Queen Beryl!" So then the reaction is more like, "Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha!" They sang "Beauty and the Beast" from the movie of the same name. The arrangement was kind of weird, like a little doo-wop? Maybe 50's folk rock? We know nothing about musical genres.
Next was Yuuji Mitsuya and Noriko Hidaka singing "A Whole New World." That was the one that made me act like a real brat: "Those people are old. Why do I want to listen to them sing?" Seriously, that is not nice of me. It was an okay arrangement. Mitsuya-san is kind of a Disney voice in Japan--he's the Japanese dub voice of Timon and...some...other characters? Dr. Finkelstein...and...someone...else... I'm pretty sure he was one more character, but neither of us can remember who. He also wrote scripts or something for musicals based on anime, such as Prince of Tennis and Utena. (We didn't know any of this until after we looked it all up later.) We only really remember Hidaka-san from Inuyasha (Kikyo) and Tenshi ni Narumon!, but she was Akane in Ranma, I think. This song had the same problem about half the songs on the CD have, which is that it's just a teeny bit too slow.
Then it was time for the dreaded Frozen song, sung by Okiayu and Aya Hirano (Haruhi Suzumiya). I admit, when it first started, it had a nice fast beat, and I was like, "I gotta admit, I'm enjoying the intro." But you know how we mentioned yesterday that the songs in Frozen are really repetitive? Athena didn't even realize when she was dictating to me the "I get it. Love is an open door." thing I wrote yesterday, but that's exactly the song that was on this CD. And they didn't translate that line into Japanese for the Japanese version, so we saw that line printed in the lyrics in all caps, sixteen times. Sixteen! The song isn't even that long. For crying out loud. They both have really nice voices, so it sounds good and all, but seriously. We get it.
We were eager for the next song to start and hopefully dislodge the earworm. (We have told ourselves that we need to get used to the idea of having Frozen songs stuck in our heads and not let ourselves be bitter about it, and I think we're succeeding...) But here's the thing about the next song. It was sung by Kouichi Yamadera and Rie Tanaka, which is the cutest thing ever because they're married in real life! (Oh right, I guess I forgot that Kouichi Yamadera has also been on every single one of these CDs, but he doesn't count, because his fate is so inextricably intertwined with Japanese Disney that of course he's on the CDs.) They sang "The Second Star to the Right," and they both have such beautiful voices that it was very very lovely...if a little slow.
Next was Hakuna Matata, as performed by Katsuyuki Konishi (known for a lot of roles, but most notably to us right now, Ren Tsuruga in Skip Beat!) and Mitsuki Saiga (she played Rei Akiyoshi...and a lot of other characters; she's like super famous, but I can never remember who's seen what). We weren't sure who would be who, since this wasn't a love duet, but it turned out that Saiga-san was Timon and Konishi-san was Pumbaa, which is only a little funny because Saiga-san has a lower voice. Amazing singing voice, just low. It was pretty fun, but we like Lion King songs about as much as we like Frozen songs (if you factor out the irrational hatred; with the irrational hatred, there's more of a difference).
And then! then! we finally got to hear the long-awaited "Something There," between Masakazu Morita and Fumiko Orikasa (I don't even know what to tell people she's in; our favorite role of hers is Miu in Strawberry Marshmallow). And we were not disappointed! It was a beautiful arrangement, and so so so cute! When they got to the part where it was supposed to be the enchanted objects singing, we were like, "How are they going to do it?" Well, of course, they did it the way we did it when we'd sing along with the soundtrack as kids--they took turns. And then, because the song is so short, they repeated the "Neeew, and a bit alarming♪" part, only she started singing it, and we were like, "Does he get to join in?" and then he did! and we were like "♥♥♥♥♥!!!" And he harmonized, and it was so beautiful! ...But the tempo was a teensy bit slow. Sigh. Oh well, at least that means we're hearing Morita-san's voice longer.
Finally, it was Shinichiro Miki and Romi Park singing "We're All in This Together" from High School Musical. It's funny because they're Roy Mustang and Ed Elric. And she played the younger version of his character in Haruka thing with the really long name. That was fun, but a little repetitive, prompting Athena to remind me of a former comment she made about Frozen, "Are we watching a Disney animated feature, or a Disney Channel movie?" An interesting this about this song is that they did not list a translator for the lyrics. We think that 2005 was when Disney was going through their, "We don't need 'translators'--all our products magically exist in all languages all over the world." And we know that they were doing that, because we weren't allowed to be listed as translators for the Kingdom Hearts II manga that we did for TokyoPop.
After that was the recitation, and we were like, "Wow, everything happens so much faster now!" because it was only a ten-minute summary of the whole movie.
Today I'm thankful for already unlocking our favorite Final Fantasy character in Theatrhythm, getting to listen to a bunch of pretty duets, having shiny new Final Fantasy sheet music, Gaston and Alice taking us to the bank, and Anubis's cameo in this week's episode of Kamigami no Asobi.