Just a quick Top 10 today; my top 10 songs from Japan. I’ve listened to a lot of Japanese music over the years, so this list isn’t really inclusive of all my favorites, more just a brief collection of the songs/artist I currently listen to. For instance, had this list been written when I was 18/19, it would have most likely consisted solely of Visual Kei music. That’s not to say I enjoy the genre any less, I just don’t listen to it as often as I used to, as I’m a little more varied these days. Here, in no particular order, is my current top 10 songs from Japan – and one English-language “honorable mention” – hope you enjoy! 🙂

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – PONPONPON

Perfume – Spending All My Time

LM.C – Sentimental Piggy Romance

Gackt – Oasis

Nami Tamaki – Brightdown

Utada Hikaru – Passion

SuG – 39GalaxyZ

An Cafe – Maplegunman

T.M.Revolution – Resonance

Ayumi Hamasaki – Microphone

Honorable Mention
MIYAVI – Real?



A hard title to place, I settled on 5th place simply due to the game’s lack of replayability. Sonic Chronicles was a brilliant merging of Sonic’s unique aspects with RPG elements – something I was wary of right from the start. While it was a little easy for the most part, it was pulled together so well in other places that you could almost forgive the eventual ease of the battles – which only really became an issue near the end of the game, once your characters had reached their full potential. With a wealth of secrets, references, and character development, this could easily be the greatest Sonic spin-off I’ve played.

The first portable Sonic game I ever owned, and one which evolved the ideas of Sonic 3 & Knuckles in the way you would have expected of Sonic 4. An additional character, new abilities for the mainstays, and numerous multi-route levels to explore however you see fit.  My only real disappointment was in the lack of story, although certain moments did still retain a glimpse of the cinematic feel it’s forebearer held – such as the appearance of Mecha Knuckles in Angel Island Zone, and the time-limit inducing launch gimmick in Egg Rocket Zone. The best 2D installment, since the conclusion of the Mega Drive era.

The sequel to Sonic Adventure was, to me, definitely a more polished and streamlined product, with an improved plot, and less “unnecessary” gameplay styles. However, it always felt like it was just missing “something” to me. The lack of adventure fields, for instance, and the inability to explore the same levels with different characters. The new levels did seemingly allow the developers to tailor them much more specifically to the three gameplay styles – making each experience a much more focused one – but it just didn’t feel like it had that sense of “adventure”, ironically enough, that Adventure did.

The epitome of 2D Sonic gameplay, the second/third game in the “Death Egg Trilogy”, when combined, truly felt more-or-less perfect to me, as far as the system’s capabilities were concerned. With each character having different exploratory abilities, and each stage having multiple routes, and hidden areas, the game had a lot to discover – and encouraged the use of different characters to explore the levels in different ways. Also, the cinematic way in which the levels transitioned from one another was minimalist enough not to interrupt the game flow, but still managed to establish a sense of story.

Sonic’s first fully-3D outing will always hold a dear place in my heart. It took the varied playstyles of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and expanded the concept to create 6 characters with completely distinct gameplay styles, while still allowing them to play through the same levels, with minor variations. The adventure field/action stage structure really aided in the sense of immersion, and the addition of collectable emblems, and the Chao Garden, guaranteed the game would have replay value far beyond the initial playthrough. I still go back to this game today, in a futile attempt to earn just one or two more emblems…


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10. Abra
He may not have been the most… useful Pokemon – until you managed to get him to evolve in to Kadabra – but managing to catch an Abra always gave me a little thrill. Probably the first Pokemon we encountered that required a bit more thought to catch than the usual “hit it with your best attack and hope it doesn’t faint” strategy.

09. Dragonite
Due to the fact that Dragonair evolved into Dragonite at the highest level of all evolutions at the time (a somewhat tedious 55), having a Dragonite really was a sign of being a good trainer. It also helped, of course, that Dragonite was a kick-ass Pokemon in it’s own right anyway – so the effort was really rewarded… for those who made it.

08. Meowth
Whilst not the most capable fighter, Meowth made himself useful in battle through his signature move, Pay Day. Once all trainers in the game had been defeated, Pay Day became one of only three ways for the player to make any more money – to buy vitamins with – besides selling items, or going back to defeat the Elite Four again.

07. Gengar
Obtained by trading a Haunter through the link cable, Gengar was a force to be reckoned with – assuming you knew how to exploit the Ghost-type advantage unqiue to his line. I can’t count the times I used, or was abused by, the Hypnosis/Dream Eater combination. And, at a high level, Night Shade was a pretty lethal attack as well.

06. Magikarp
Well, as one of the idiots who actually bought the Magikarp for sale outside Mt. Moon, I was determined to get my money’s worth. Like Abra, Magikarp was useless in combat, albeit even moreso, but once you managed to get him to Level 20 he became a force to be reckoned with – and rewarded players who stuck at it long enough to get him there.

05. Snorlax
With only two chances to catch them, many a Snorlax have tricked a player into wasting their one-and-only Master Ball over the years (myself include). Capable of restoring it’s own health (an ability otherwise exclusive to Chansey), by using Rest, and with a ridiculous amount of HP to begin with, Snorlax was the ultimate “tank” Pokemon.

05. Lapras
Let’s be honest – most of use who played through Pokemon with any starter that wasn’t Squirtle probably ended up using Lapras as our surfing buddy. One of the strongest non-legendary Pokemon (besides Dragonite, and possibly Snorlax), her ability to use Ice and Water moves (such as Surf) made her an incredibly useful ally.

04. Mewtwo
So, you’ve beaten all the gyms and received their badges, you’ve defeated Team Rocket and bested the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau. Assuming you caught the Legendary Birds on your way there – you’re done, right? Well, maybe not quite. Let’s just hope you didn’t go and waste your Master Ball on a dumb Snorlax or something…

03. Ditto
A Pokemon that could literally become any other Pokemon – ’nuff said.

02. Pikachu
Well, obviously Pikachu was going to be pretty high on the list – due to the anime’s influence. Pikachu was given to the player if they purchased the Yellow Version of the game, but otherwise catching him entailed waiting until the Power Plant late in the game, or hoping for a miracle in Viridian Forest (because he was rare there).

01. Eevee
So, Eevee always seemed to me like the perfect Pokemon. Not only was it cute on it’s own, but everyone was able to get one – and only one – meaning that the choice in his evolution became an important decision for every one of us. Sure, if we took Charmander or Squirtle as a Starter Pokemon the choice was a little simpler for us (usually), but otherwise it was a tough decision – and usually required a bit of discussion with friends, to make sure nobody got the same eeveelution. After all, if each of you all had the same one, how would you manage to fill your Pokedexes!?

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