… Japanese Pop-Culture resource for the Malaysian Community

Music Review

Dreams & Imagination: Final Fantasy Tribute Concert – Malaysia

Suddenly! Yea man that’s how i felt about it hearing the news of such a concert! Who is this organiser doing this kind of event? I’ve been a fan of video game music for a long time in which got me involved with every single production of Video Games Live! in Malaysia – 2010, 2012 & most recently 2016. But other than VGL, there hasn’t been any other acts who were directly involved in the works performed in video games. Yes, our skillful local talents have put on some great shows, but I am aiming higher will the ‘dreams & imagination’ of meeting the folks who have actually worked ON or IN the actual games that we loved so much. From what I remember here some video music hall of fame to have step foot in Malaysia for performances: Mr. Guinness Book of Records Video Games TOMMY TALLARICO aka Mr. Video Games Live, awarded nominated composer Mr. Jack Wall aka Mr. Mass Effect  1 & 2 or aka Mr. COD Black Ops 2 & 3, Mr. Norihiko Hibino aka Mr. Snake Eater from Metal Gear Solid 3 (MGS 2 – 4, Peace Walker, Portable Ops / Zone of Enders 1 & 2 / Bayonetta 1 & 2),  Ms. Eimear Noone aka Ms. Blizzard! (WoW, Starcraft 2 & Diablo 3) aka Ms. Zelda Conductor! Any other video game music celebrity I missed out? Please share with me 🙂

So the folks to thank for organising this event is is none other than the 2nd largest ACG event in Malaysia…. the folks from Animangaki! Trying a hand at something new AMG Chief decided to take a shot at the severe lack in the ACG scene, which is the music arena of Japanese Pop culture or rather pop culture in general aka video game music.

Final Fantasy is a beloved franchise with a heart warming back story of how a last ditch effort by a gaming company, which was schedule to shut down, decided to release their FINAL game ever… rightly titled their FINAL Fantasy. And because of it’s enormous success is now a colossal gaming company in the world! 29 years later to date… we are just a few hours away from the released of the latest chapter – FINAL FANTASY XV in which it’s lead game designer is none other than Malaysia’s proudest Mr. Wan Hazmer!


Now back to the concert! Well if you were hoping for a full orchestra, I’m sorry but this is not the concert you were expecting. Being true to the game, Final Fantasy 1 was created in 1987 & gaming capacity back then was only 8-bits. That was the entire capacity of of what the home console could deliver! You wanna talk about polyphonic… I think poly is too many…maybe the max 4 sounds could be played at one time xD I am just guessing, CITATION needed here hehe. Anyways game music back then couldnt be fully realized or recreated as how the composers envisioned it… but now! It can & has and will continue to be represented. So to have Final Fantasy music presented on a single grand piano is a very unique acoustic experience in itself.

So who are these folks – Nathan is multi-talented artist hailing from the land down under Australia. He is a singer, song writer, composer, photographer who also has a passion for cosplay photography which he calls his Real Time Story Project in which he “stars his friends in a real time story”! Just in this phrase alone I can imagine him being a very warm-buddy stylish lyricist! Being a Aussie musician & a Sydney local… and graduating from Sydney Uni… I can imagine it being a dream come to be able to perform to a sold out crowd at the Sydney Opera house!! Nathan’s FB page has 360,000 likes & has his own website + merchandise. Check out the links below.


His special guest for this very first Malaysian Concert is this lovely Japanese lady name Joelle Strother! She is an American born Japanese singer who is best known for her work on Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. She provided vocals for several Final Fantasy tracks including “Plains of Eterniry”, “Starting Over”, “Ruined Hometown Hometown” and “Yuel’s Theme”.  If you’re a J-Rock fan you also might know her vocals on the Sound Horizon track Bravely Default! Huhu! She is gearing up for her big concert next year in her home town of Akita, Japan!

Follow her on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joellevoice

Honestly, Bentley Auditorium is a very posh & high end location for a concert! Very nice! I have not been here in a long time but the last time I was… it was for a very nostalgic. Back in 2011, Bentley Auditorium was the venue for the return of the Malaysian made JROCK event – JROCK no Tamashii! Anyways, so this is a beautiful & apt venue for a rock concert or an up-close & personal Piano concerto!

There were 2 show, one at 3:30pm and the other at 8pm. I was fortunate to get an early look for the concert by attending the 3:30pm show. The concerts song list was very FF driven and Nathan actually divided them into Disc 1 – Disc 4 segments 😀 He also added his own flair to a piano concerto by having some fun & game stops like the “CHOICE MOMENTS” in the RPG haha Blue or Red Ball! On and off Joelle would come on stage in a radiant emerald green dress to provide the soulful vocals! All the world famous Final Fantasy themes were covered in this 2 hour concert! From the Prelude to Final Fantasy to Aerith’s Theme, Liberi Fatali, One Winged Angel… the first segment ended with Joelle serenating us with Suteki Da Ne (FFX).

The matinee was great but I heard the evening show was even better with a sold out crowd! I think it is a great effort by the folks behind Animangaki. A big thanks to you all who bought tickets, bought merchandise to support these artiste & the organisers. As I mentioned at the Iori Nomizu Voice Actor event, the fate of such future events weights on the success of this current one. This has so far been the motto of the Japanese organisers & ‘big boss’ whom I’ve met. I hope to see more exciting expansion from them in the future! Thank you for the invite & gambateh in 2017!!

#FinalFantasy #DreamsAndImagination #Nathankct #Joelle #JoelleVoice #JoellesingerJoelle #Malaysia #Jrock #JrocknoTamashii #TommyTallarico #JackWall #NorihikoHibino #EimearNoone



by The Captain @Cosplay-Fun Malaysia 2012.

Courtesy of Sony Music Malaysia


SCANDAL is an ALL-GIRL Rock band from Japan. I first caught them live in 2010 at the Anime Festival Asia – I Love ANISONG Concert. They really ROCKED the stage & the crowd though I do believe they have a little PUNK-Rock style within. Now when I say they rock, it is due to the point where they are a 4 piece band that is very tight & all 4 musicians try to sing parts during the songs.

Album track listing – Malaysia release.

SCANDAL SHOW is a compilation album consisting of hit songs & also popular B-sides. I found this out a bit later after I got which is good if you’re a new SCANDAL fan. I noticed that they like to release a lot of E.P.s & singles in the Japanese music industry. And I also heard that CD albums are really expensive compared to the price selection we have here in Malaysia.


Now this album, priced at RM59.90, comes with a DVD of SCANDAL’s travels during their first ever tour outside of Japan, which took place in 2011. They went to Taiwan, Hong Kong & ended in Singapore. It runs for about 30mins but I think it is a MUST-GET for all SCANDAL fans because it is a behind-the-scene kind of video, in which you can get to see their real personalities apart from their stage rocking presence.

CD + DVD & a look inside the CD sleeve

The other disc is the SCANDAL SHOW audio tracks & here is a brief review of it.

1. HARUKAZE lyrics by SCANDAL & Noriyasu Isshiki

HARUKAZE is the 12th major single (15th overall). It is also the 15th opening theme for the anime Bleach. It is best recognized by its beautiful guitar intro harmonies. This hit track shows a lot of maturity for a all-girl rock band with a flare for belting out punk like attitude as they rock the stage. It starts slow & quickly picks up the pace from the 1st verse to the pre-chorus… then it takes-off at the chorus. Tomomi’s vocal fits in lovely to back up Haruna in the second part of the 1st verse & when all get involved in the chorus the song is lifted to heavenly places with angelic harmony of voices. Then to change the feel around Tomomi takes the 2nd verse & later backed by Haruna. HARUKAZE is truly a beautiful song. The music arrangement & pace keeps building to a crescendo that doesn’t lose its musical momentum despite returning the intro. I think this song should be the SCANDAL theme in their 2nd Wave. It has all the great elements of a Western ‘Alternative” hit in the glorious days of the mid 90s. I do believe it’s the most beautiful way to beginning a concert.

2.少女S (Shōjo S)lyrics by TOMOMI

This track is famously known as the tenth opening theme for the anime BLEACH. Put your PUNK attitude on!! It’s SHOJO ! or in English = Girl S!


3. DOLL lyrics by TOMOMI

Punk style style girl power song! 😀 Not a surprise when the song title is DOLL. Everyone sings on this one.


4. BEAUTeen!! Lyrics by TOMOMI & Kyon

I do feel some ‘bubble-gum’ pop style in this song. But the melodic fast pace chorus is set to send the crowds of fans into a chanting frenzy. The 2nd verse reminds me of the signature style of No Doubt which made me a fan of theirs in the first place.



5. 太陽とキミが描くSTORY (Taiyō to Kimi ga Egaku Story) – ‘The Story Drawn by You and the Sun’. lyrics by TOMOMI, Hidenori Tanaka

This song has some great movements & transitions. I like how the solo comes in as a sort of prelude to the end that keeps the



7. PRIDE lyrics by TOMOMI & Hidenori Tanaka

Pride is the second ending theme for the anime Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto


8. スイッチ (Switch) lyrics by TOMOMI, Yuichi Tajika



9. 瞬間センチメンタル (Shunkan Sentimental) lyrics by Scandal, Natsumi Kobayashi

More commonly known as the end song for Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (4th Ending theme). The song starts of with another strong a memorable guitar riff which becomes the hook for this song. Then the first line of the chorus brings in another hook but this time it is the vocals pulling of a catchy hook with the back-up that continues to lift the song, definitely fitting of the end theme of a anime theme because it starts strong & slowly hooks you with the hook.


10. ハルカ (Haruka) lyrics by HARUNA & Hidenori Tanaka

This is my most favourite song from this album. It really caught my interest in both the mood & music feel in which it communicates.  They say music is a universal language & I agree! I also believe it transcends language too. Anyways, this is song had a hook which locked in to my subconscious & it also brought to remembrance the ‘melancholy sweet love’ theme. That’s the best I can describe it with words. You have to listen to it to know what I’m trying to get at. This song was used as the theme song for the animated film Tofu Kozō.


11. スキャンダルなんかブッ飛ばせ (Scandal Nanka Buttobase)


This is one of the fan favourite songs that has even become an anthem phrase for the fans. Usually K-pop group have what they call ‘fan-chants’ but with SCANDAL Fans aka Scandalous, this gets them psyched up before the concert as I found out at the recent SCANDAL Special Live in Malaysia concert 1 Dec 2012. It’s almost compulsory for the fans to reply when you chant “Everybody Say Yeah?”, they will all reply “YEA!”.  Now that makes a bonafied anthem phrase! 


 13. カゲロウ (Kagerō) lyrics by TOMOMI & Masterworks


14. SAKURAグッバイ (Sakura Goodbye) lyrics by Tomomi & Masterworks

This is the track most know as the song to commemorate Mami and Tomomi’s high school graduation. I can just imagine this song being apart of the K-ON repertoire… or even role-play… to say if I was a musician when I was in school, I would written a song like this. This uplifting track just oozes their youth that wishes a sort of ‘last kiss goodbye’ to that fun filled period of our lives we called High School – “HELLO GOODBYE!



This track is very typical of the Punk element that the girls bring on aboard. Heavier power chords are used to form the foundation of the song & Mami’s guitar brings the raw & aggressive tone to the hook. All & all it’s part of the charm & talent that is SCANDAL.


16. SCANDALのテーマ (Scandal no Theme)

This is their THEME!! It reminds me so much of Suede’s ‘Introducing the Band’. Not that it sounds similar but more for the purpose that your band has an introduction song or theme song. “We love music”, “We love singing” – that’s all true to the core for these girls. In just 1:36mins, this song gives a preview of what character SCANDAL have in their music – Bubble Gum Pop, Punk, Rock. Watch out for this one live.