[ Song of the Week ] Steven Wilson – “Belle De Jour”

from the album Grace for Drowning (2011)

I don’t usually feature the same artist two weeks in a row, but I heard this again last week (though from the Last Day of June soundtrack, with the alternate title “Some Things Cannot Be Changed”) and was so taken by it again that I wanted to share it. It is a simple yet beautiful song, but also has a bit of a mysterious atmosphere to it.

Melancholy Makoto

official series art

Many moons ago (if you’ll pardon the pun), and I mean many moons, back when I was a fledgling anime fan and the internet was a very different place full of excited fans and character shrines and no commercialism, one of my favorite pastimes was looking for image gallery sites to find as much Sailor Moon artwork as I could. And maybe even some 1024×768 wallpapers, too! I still have them all saved, too, having migrated to each new computer of mine since those early days.

Anyway, enough reminiscing… though I still often long for those days when the internet was a much more innocent place. Back in the early days of my Sailor Moon fandom, Makoto/Sailor Jupiter was my favorite character. A small, cropped version of this image still lives in that old Sailor Moon image folder of mine, but now here is the full piece of artwork, which has always been one of my favorites of Makoto. Her expression always got to me, since she seems a bit sad and in need of some cheering up.

[ Song of the Week ] Steven Wilson – “Significant Other”

from the album Insurgentes (2009)

It’s been a decade since Steven Wilson set out on his own, free from the expectations that went along with releasing music with his longtime band Porcupine Tree. With a new group of musicians and no expectations attached to a name, he has gone on to release new and different exciting music which went in directions that Porcupine Tree never could have.

Insurgentes was the first record released under his own name, around the same time as the final Porcupine Tree album, The Incident, and the two sound nothing alike. Insurgentes found Wilson exploring sounds from the ’90s, with shoegaze and drone influences aplenty. One of the many highlights for me from that album is this song, “Significant Other”. It harkens back to the ’90s sound with the highly reverbed clean electric guitar line throughout the song (which reminds me of The Sugarcubes, oddly enough), as it eventually builds to a shoegazey finale.

The Pale Glimmer of a Firefly

official series art

The reason Sailor Moon S is my favorite season of the series can be summed up in two words: Hotaru Tomoe. This frail and sickly girl first appears in the second half of the season and becomes the focus of the story. She has more than a few secrets, some of which she’s not even aware of herself, and eventually awakens as Sailor Saturn, the most powerful and fearsome Sailor Soldier, perhaps only surpassed by Sailor Moon’s most advanced transformation. With her ultimate attack, she can destroy an entire planet. Hotaru’s story arc is a major factor in why Sailor Moon S is the darkest season of the series.

But as Hotaru, she is a quiet and gentle girl who only wishes to live a normal life.

[ Song of the Week ] Priscilla Ahn – “Fine on the Outside”

from the album Just Know That I Love You. (2014)

I just finished up a great film challenge that I gave myself: to watch every Ghibli film within a year. I started in January, and now twenty-two films later, the first full weekend of September is when I finally watched the final (for now) Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There, for the first time. I don’t know why I waited so long! It is now easily one of my overall favorites from the studio. But more on that another time…

This is the ending theme to the film, written and performed by Priscilla Ahn. It’s actually quite a melancholy song, and is sort of an image song for Anna, the main character of the story.