Kingdom Hearts III: The Theme Song Dilemma and the Utada Hikaru Controversy

23 Jun

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Kingdom Hearts 3 has already been high in anticipation, but it has really been the talk of fans lately since the E3 gameplay trailer was released several days ago. Many speculations, rumors, and desires have been spreading around fiercer than before.

One of those speculations and desires involve the theme song vocalist Utada Hikaru…

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If most of you haven’t heard, Utada Hikaru has been on hiatus since 2011, four years now. Utada Hikaru also stated in a 2009 interview that she wasn’t “paid enough” by the developers of Kingdom Hearts, considering the fact she created the melodies and wrote the songs in both Japanese and English. This was why she never sang new songs for the other Kingdom Hearts versions.

This leaves many to question whether the iconic Japanese pop singer would return as the main theme songstress for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Okay, I know some of you might think that it’s pretty petty for some fans to whine and complain about Utada not being able to sing for the game. Some of you may feel bitter-sweet about her demanding more money to sing for Kingdom Hearts. It does sound kind of selfish, and some of you may wish to move on because of this news.

However, we all know that Utada Hikaru has come to be the staple singer for the series. Without her, it seems that the series isn’t complete. It’s almost like a character is missing. It’s like Kingdom Hearts without Dearly Beloved, the song that introduces Kingdom Hearts.

And sure, let’s not take it as far as to say the game will be awful without her because I’m certain the game will be awesome with or without Utada Hikaru. Whatever new singer, the game may still deliver.

But music has its purpose in any movie or game: It tells a story all its own. A good song and story add to the appeal of a game. This is why game developers work hard to choose the right music for each game. Without the right song, it is hard to advertise the game to appeal to the right demographic. It is hard to grasp the feelings of the characters without the music. The opening theme shapes the tone of the story. It is hard to remind “lost fans” of the games through commercials that remind them of the old days. And let’s face it people: the longevity of the series depends on the sales of the games out now and games coming out. If anyone expects this series to continue, Square-Enix needs to know that the game series isn’t disappointing. And they will know that through sales from hard-core fans, new consumers, and consumers who fell from the series but may want to return. New consumers need to be appealed to.

I remember, if you want the honest truth, that Utada Hikaru’s Simple and Clean was the exact song that really got me into the series. Yes, I would listen to that song on the commercials so much back in 2002, it got stuck in my head. I wanted to buy it. It was also the visuals, the Disney worlds we would fight in, and the foreign appeal. But the song sealed the deal. I mean, why do commercials have songs? To make the product more effective, right? When I bought it, I was fascinated to find the song to be the actual opening theme song! And there were lyrics in the back of the booklet that came with the game. The music drew me into the series. Who knows how many other people were drawn into the series because of the song! What a turn-off it could be for those fans! Some of you may think those fans are immature, but everyone is entitled to their preferences in a game. Is it immature to ask for anything in a game you are paying for? That’s like saying it’s immature to ask for worlds, keyblades, or expect the game to have excellent gameplay. They are all demands. There is no demand that is too immature if you are expected to buy the product. If someone complains, it’s because that’s what they expect from the product. And sure, they can just not buy the series. But think about the bigger picture. If that person doesn’t buy it, that’s one consumer who will not purchase the series. That’s one loss for Square-enix. There could be others who follow suit.

When Kingdom Hears II first came out, I had been waiting for the trailer. I was busy doing chores when I heard a familiar wistful voice on the t.v. I knew it was the same singer from Kingdom Hearts. It reminded me of the game. It was familiar to me. Therefore, I was able to notice Kingdom Hearts II had come out. Had the song been completely different, it would never have caught my ears the same way. So, it is not far-removed for fans to be concerned about the theme song.

The music has always been one of the most iconic things about Kingdom Hearts, and whatever songs they choose will set the mood.

So, this leaves us with two questions: what will be done and what could be done?

If fans want a new song from Utada and no one or nothing else, this could prove to be a challenge, even a legal one. Though Kingdom Hearts 3 is still in development, the release of a game-play trailer shows that development may be winding down. If we want Utada as the theme songstress, with a brand new song, we are going to have to act fast.

A petition will NOT work. The only way Utada will sing for the series is if she is paid to do so. This means Square-Enix has to pay her more than what they have been paying if they expect her to sing in Japanese and English. As fans, there are several things we can do to maneuver this situation in our favor if we really want this.

1) We can urge Square-Enix to loosen their demands and just ask Utada for a Japanese song, just one song, and put it on both games. In this case, they can pay her for less work. Lately, localized ( Dubbed) animes have been adapting the Japanese theme songs straight from the original Japanese animes. Why can’t this be done for Kingdom Hearts? We could still get Utada as the theme songstress and the game could even feel more authentic.

It may sound weird to other regions and it may have a hard time relating to new consumers….But at least the feeling of Kingdom Hearts will not have changed.

We can equally urge them to just ask Utada to make just one song in English, considering it’s a global language. But Nomura is Japanese and his main demographic is Japanese. It just wouldn’t be right.

So perhaps they can have Utada sing the Japanese version and get another artist to sing the English version… But just like with the Final Mixes, you’ll have people who will feel cheated because we weren’t “treated fairly”. And People, it’s very important that everyone feels satisfied with the series. This will increase the game’s popularity and sales.

The only overall conclusion to this solution is for Square to ask Utada to sing one Japanese song and apply it to both games, risking the judgment of those overseas who do not understand the language. There are more pros. Old-time fans will get to hear Utada and the Japanese will be happy. And who knows what new fans may like it better because of the authenticity…It may be an effective risk.

2) We can raise money towards the Utada Project. I’ve thought of this little idea where I could donate some money every month towards the project of Kingdom Hearts III to speed up development. Considering Utada is looking for money, (And who can blame her! Think about how much work it is to make two songs) we, as fans, could donate money towards the theme song. We could organize a plan between Square-Enix and Utada. We could talk to both parties. Somehow, we could pitch in to keep Utada as the theme songstress, at least for one last game in this saga.

If you are not willing to put time and energy into getting anything, then it is not worth fighting for. How many of you would like to organize this sort of project? Leave me a comment and select an option in my poll below if you do. Then we can discuss further.

But if you are not willing to do all of this… Then there’s always option number 1….If you really want Utada back….And you really want a new song from Utada….

If you want Utada but don’t mind using an old song, this would probably be the easiest option for Square, but not the most creative. I mean, come on, this is our LAST GAME for this saga. We need to reminisce on the series through the music. We have to feel this series is coming to an end. We have to feel completely whole by the end of this series. We have to feel we have gone through this journey. Kingdom Hearts II managed to feel like Kingdom Hearts but it also felt like a major leap forward in the story because the song was so different. And let’s face it, using the same song over and over can get boring. We want KHIII to be epic, right? Maybe you don’t care. But we do want this game to appeal to everyone. This will decide sales. Music can influence sales, believe it or not.

I think in order to appeal to everyone the best idea would be to use an orchestrated version of Utada’s songs. That could make it feel new but also give an old feeling. The orchestrated version could be re-mastered in some way.

If you want a completely new song, with Utada or not, there are several things to consider here.

1) If they choose a completely new artist, the artist would have to “feel” like the game. Choosing any random anime Jpop/Jrock artist could completely take away the story-telling tone of the music. It would sound unfamiliar in commercials. Some people learn of the game’s arrival through commercials if they haven’t been following the series closely. Music really connects others to advertisements. Would they really take notice if the song had a completely different feeling? Some may, some may not. It may not feel like the final KH game, but more like we’ve already started on a new game entirely. It wouldn’t feel like a “wrap-up”. The game could lose its identity. Theme songs, characters, worlds, game-play-they all cater to a game’s identity. We want a game that has everything well-presented, especially if we are the ones spending money, correct?

They would really have to choose an artist that can match Utada’s melancholy, yet wistful, voice. She had a distinct voice. She also spoke excellent English and Japanese. Keep this in mind. Choosing the right artist is very important.

2) They don’t have to actually have a singer. Perhaps they can have an epic orchestrated song as the opening to show that this is the finale. It doesn’t have to be a Utada song, but they don’t have to screw up the “feeling of nostalgia” signing some other singer into the series at the very end of one of its most anticipated sagas. When we anticipate a saga, we anticipate how everything will fit, including the music. This solution might be the best one.

3) They could use one of Utada’s other songs even if it isn’t specifically written for KHIII. They could buy a song from her. Perhaps they could use a song she never got to release or something…

Even though Utada has showed disinterest when it comes to being involved with Kingdom Hearts, she doesn’t seem to be on bad terms with Tetsuya Nomura. Last year, Tetsuya Nomura made a beautiful design of Utada in Kingdom Hearts style for her 15th Anniversary album. It seems to be a sign that the two are on good terms…

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Overall, this theme song mess really tells me that KHIII still has a lot of kinks to iron out before anything is released. Tell me, readers, Which solution appeals to you? Leave me a comment in the comments’ section and tell me what you think!

Kingdom Hearts 3 and Kingdom Hearts Unchained @ E3 2015!!!!

17 Jun

Yes, Kingdom Hearts fans and potential fans, KH3’s gameplay trailer has officially been released! Even in my adult years, this big kid has been waiting patiently for this game for 9 YEARS.

I’ve been waiting for this game for too long. We all have. And now, finally, Tetsuya Nomura has caved and teased us with an official, mouth-watering trailer.

It has been a while since the developers at Square-Enix gave us some footage or updates on the development. Finally, they have showed us what they have sharpened up on at E3 2015. I also hear there will be more gameplay trailers November 2015. So excited!

I just want to go over the things I noticed in this trailer with fellow readers and Kingdom Hearts fans.

1) The visuals-Despite doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, it has translated extremely well to Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts’s visuals have obviously improved over the years (I mean, 2002’s game and console had the best programming and technology for its time, but come on…). Most modern games that are based off of old-time games have a hard time appearing like an upgrade. But Kingdom Hearts managed to appear like an upgrade, and get this, without taking away the feeling of Kingdom Hearts.

Doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, including Nomura himself (one of the lead developers of the series), didn’t think that Kingdom Hearts could work with the new software. They were afraid it wouldn’t keep its feeling. Surprise! It did.

And that command list, though! It’s so not in the way like previous command lists.

The developers wanted the game to feel like a Disney movie, and it really shows. It really carries the same Disney magic and imagination. Yet, this looks like a game even a macho person would want to play.

2) Characters Present-We obviously know that Sora is returning as the lead character, along with Donald and Goofy. But we also see a younger Master Eraqus and a young Master Xehanort before they were masters themselves. They obviously know something about the future and it has to do with the darkness taking over. If you have played Kingdom Hearts X Chi, you might understand what they are talking about. If you haven’t, you may be in for a surprise or rude awakening, however you may see it.

We see that Eraqus wants to change the future predicted by the Foretellers. If you don’t know who they are, you might want to play KHX….

3) Worlds Present-So far, it’s already pretty confirmed that Hercules’s world is going to be in the game. This time, we’re visiting Mount Olympus.

Tangled’s world has been confirmed to be one of the worlds that will also be in Kingdom Hearts 3.

We are also returning to Twilight Town…

I just want to point out that the landscape and free playing field has always been the gem of the Kingdom Hearts series. That gem was highlighted in this trailer.

4) Gameplay-Now here comes the juicy part. The gameplay definitely looks interesting. Flowmotion (from KH Dream Drop Distance) looks like it has made a comeback. Bravo! But there are also some interesting commands and surprises that have improved the gaming experience in small, yet tremendous ways.

For starters, we have many moves that activate Disney World theme park rides. While fighting Rock Titan from Hercules, Sora activates some roller coaster. In Twilight Town, he’s seen fighting in what resembles the Tea Cup ride. And they didn’t make it look boring and cheesy. Just like they did with Mickey Mouse for Kingdom Hearts II, they made it look pretty darn epic.

In the world that seems to resemble Tangled, a boat ride is activated from the water, so perhaps many of these moves are activated according to the environment. Then again, a chariot was activated in Twilight Town…so…maybe we can use them anywhere. It’s pretty epic, I have to say.

Sora has come out as a true blue master in this trailer. He’s not holding back. He’s gotten good with his fighting techniques and he’s not afraid to flaunt it.

And since they never could improve on their crappy camera angles, it appears they found a better use for it: dizzying us with epic fighting techniques!

One thing I can say about this trailer is that the series has actually shown evolution through this one game. Through this one game, Kingdom Hearts has shown tremendous improvement and has reflected the hard work of all designers and developers. Despite the length of time it took, I have no doubts that the game won’t disappoint.

Of course, this is the hype of the trailer. I can’t wait to see the real thing.

5) Kingdom Hearts X Chi-Yes, everyone. KHX Chi is coming to mobile phone devices. So, if you haven’t played this game yet, I advise you do. Sure, you may have heard Nomura say that it’s not important to play if you want to progress to the next game. But ya’ll should know by now that Nomura is on some bull crap. Remember how Chain of Memories was not supposed to be so “important”? Or Kingdom Hearts Coded? Or Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days? Remember how Birth By Sleep was only supposed to be a side story? All of you unfortunate people who didn’t get those games were lost when the next major console game was released and will be lost when KH III is released. I realized early on how important each Kingdom Hearts game is to the entire story. X Chi is no exception.

Though you’re only playing a made-up keyblade wielder, there is information throughout the game that tells us more about KH3 and the keyblade wars. So don’t you think for a second that you can just skip out on this game. You will be missing out on something.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you gathered from the Kingdom Hearts trailer and the confirmation of KH Chi!

Want to understand more about the Kingdom Hearts stories? Want to see how fans reacted to the news? Want to see a rank of favorites and worsts? Click below!

Venus Signs: Music and Venus-Generation Next M and V

3 Jun Venus and music

Venus and music

There is a new section above for all of you astrology lovers! Want to learn more about “Venus” signs? Click that section!

There will be other information about all the planets in signs. Most of you may know about zodiac signs, or better called “Sun signs”. But there is more to our chart than Sun signs. Click that link to learn more about Venus!

I know. I used to have plenty of articles on the subject. But a mishap happened in January where I lost all of my information.

All astrology articles–Click me to learn what happened

But, as a start, you can click the section above to learn the relation music has with Venus signs!!!!

Or you can explore this link—>http://venussigns.wix.com/musicandvenus

Two New American Girl Beforever dolls for 2015 and 2016? Beforever line Cut Down 80%? *Rumors and Leaks*

22 May

generationnext:

TWO NEW AMERICAN GIRLS FOR THE BEFOREVER LINE! One is confirmed to be Maryellen Larkin, an enthusiastic and imaginative girl from circa 1954!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

Rumors always spread like wildfire in the American Girl fan community. This is partially because American Girl fans often do their homework and find new leaks that start rumors. We have a lot of excited and eager fans. American Girl keeps us all on our toes. We can’t help it. We love this 18″ doll franchise with the historical dolls and contemporary lines that actually reflect real girlhood (rather than Monster High and Barbie dolls). Since the Digital Revolution, fans have been finding information about future dolls easily. Nowadays, the “surprise” American Girls are not really so surprising to most fans anymore.

Either the fans are excellent sleuths, or American Girl, LLC sucks at keeping their product ideas under their hats. If they had competition, they would really be in trouble because it is so easy to find out what they are releasing. But since they don’t have competition, I guess…

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BoA, Korea’s Princess of Pop: The Pop Conqueror

13 May

generationnext:

Don’t know who BoA is? YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE! BoA is K-Pop’s PIONEER Princess! But still so humble and modest! Check her out!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

I’ve been having a terrible week, so please forgive me if everything seems a little foggy…

Throughout this terrible week, only one woman has been able to ease my mind and take the stress away. After getting a whiff of her performances, I just couldn’t help but be in awe. She put a smile on this heart-broken face of mine. Her name is BoA Kwon.

BoA is known as Korea’s Princess of Pop. She debuted at the tender age of 13, way back in 2000. She is one of the biggest Korean stars in the world. She’s a veteran by now. As mentioned before, she has a long, fabulous resume, and she is only 28 years old!

BoA is a Pop Conqueror of sorts. BoA, in her lifetime, has managed to not only grab the Korean market, but has also conquered Japanese charts. She has also been one of the…

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BoA’s Japanese and Korean Comeback: BoA “Double” Challenge

13 May

generationnext:

BoA has finally released her Korean comeback in years! The QUEEN is BACK! But to me, she is still the BoA I’ve always known and loved. XD We were both kids when she debuted and when I was introduced to her. Now we’re both adults! In honor of BoA’s return, I decided to share the Double challenge! What is the double challenge? click to find out!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

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In case you couldn’t tell, this month is BoA month in honor of BoA’s first Japanese comeback in FOUR years! So, this article is to spread the word!

Her album was released September 3, 2014 titled, Who’s Back?.

Own it, it’s awesome!

For today, I have a challenge for BoA fans and readers.

BoA has debuted in THREE countries: Korea (2000), Japan (2001), and the USA (2008). She has around 94 music videos and still counting!

Between her Korean music videos and her Japanese videos, BoA has brought over some of her Korean stuff into the Japanese nation. Many times, she has done music videos TWICE for both countries. She translated many of her Korean songs in Japanese.

She did the same thing in America (She translated Girls on Top, her Korean hit, in English).

The music videos between Korea and Japan may look like identical twins, but just…

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Got7 Greets Dallas, TX; GN Introduces “Girls Girls Girls”

10 May

Got7 7-Question Quiz!

9 May

In honor of K-pop boy band Got7’s first U.S. tour, GN has dedicated the WHOLE week to Got7!

Got7 has made their way to California and Illinois. Next, they will be hitting Texas!

Got7’s first U.S. Tour

If you don’t know who Got7 is, mosey on over to this link —->Got7, the Korean “New Kids on the Block”

For Got7 fans still anxiously waiting to see their idols in Dallas, Texas, this quiz is sure to pump you up!

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So let’s begin, shall we?

The quiz should be relatively easy for Got7 fans! But for those new to the group, perhaps you’ll learn a bit about them.

Question 1: Can you name all seven members by their full REAL names and stage names?

*Bonus* How did each member get their stage names?

Question 2: How many siblings does each member have?

Question 3: True or False: Every member is from Korean.

Question 4: What K-drama series did all Got7 members star in?

*Bonus* What was the name of the boy group in the series?

Question 5: List the members from oldest to youngest.

Question 6: What was the EXACT date that Got7’s first EP dropped?

Question 7: When did each member first make their appearance as idols?

Was it hard? I think some of the questions may be challenging. But give it your best!

ANSWERS BELOW: To reveal the answers, you have to highlight the white space below! Or click the link below the white space!

Question 1: Im Jae-bum (JB), Mark Yien Tuan (Mark), Jackson Wang (Jackson), Park Jin-young (Jr.), Choi Youngjae (Youngjae), Kunpimook Bhuwakul (Bam Bam), Kim Yugyeom

*Bonus* JB’s stage name is an abbreviation of his real name; Mark’s name is his birth name, as well as Jackson, Youngjae, and Yugyeom; Park Jin-Young has the same name as his producer, so he is thus called “Jr.” since he is the younger version; Bam Bam’s name comes from his mother who wanted him to be strong like the young baby in the cartoon “The Flintstones”.

Question 2: Mark (3), JB (0), Jackson (1), Youngjae (2), Yugyeom (1), Jr. (2), Bam Bam (3)

Question 3: False. Jackson is from British Hong Kong, China; Mark has lived in Paraguay, Brazil, San Francisco, California, USA; Bam Bam is from Thailand

Question 4: Dream Knight

*Bonus* Got

Question 5: Mark, JB, Jackson, Jr., Youngjae, Bam Bam, Yugyeom

Question 6: January 20, 2014

Question 7: Jr. and JB first made appearances on the K-drama series Dream High 2. Yugyeom, Bam Bam, Mark, and Jackson first made their appearances on the 4th episode of the YG survival reality show Who is Next: WIN.

Click me to find results too!

Hope you enjoyed the quiz! And I hope IGot7s are having a blast in the U.S. watching Got7 meet with fans AND showcase their talents!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you got all the answers right! If you did, you are true blue Got7 fan!

Got7 Greets Chicago, IL; GN Introduces “Stop Stop It”

9 May

Got7 TV!

8 May

As you probably have guessed from my background and all of the Got7 articles, it is Got7 week on GN to honor Got7’s first tour in the U.S. Yesterday, San Fran enjoyed the presence of their favorite K-pop idols, Got7! In honor of San Fran’s visit, I created a fun read about Got7 as boyfriend idols.

Got7’s first U.S. tour

Which Got7 member is Boyfriend Material?

Got7 “A” for San Fran

Today, I am preparing for Chicago’s visit!

Today’s article we will be enjoying Got7 TV! Got7 is known as a lively bunch of young men. JYP has made these qualities more pronounced through online videos called Got7 TV. It has had TWO seasons. So, today, we’re just going to enjoy our favorite K-pop idols act like lovable dorks. :P

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