Apollo Smile: Love, Kisses and Grenades

First of all, we at Protoculture Addicts would like to thank Ms. Apollo Smile for sending us this CD along with other goodies -- like posters and other articles --autographed by her! We all met her originally at the Anime East '95 Convention in New Jersey where we saw her live-action performance. [We met her again at the Canadian National Anime Expo in August 1999; see report in PA#58: 44 and the interview in PA#58: 50-51] We were quite impressed by her competent dancing and singing -- and now we can enjoy her music at home!

On this CD there are 14 tracks [16 on the final release], which were all written and performed by Apollo Smile! Starting with "Battle Cry" [this song was on an ealier version of the CD, but not on the final release -- CJP], her cute American accented Japanese makes you really feel like she's a live-action anime girl! There are also two songs entitled "Hikigane", which means trigger. The whole CD is a nice piece of girl-discotheque, so most of the songs are happy, upbeat dancing tunes geared for live performance.

Actually, I've seen that the face of anime fandom has changed in recent years. When I visited Anime Expo '98 in Los Angeles, there were many girl fans enjoying costume playing. In the past, fandom was more like a boys-only club, but things have really changed! Comics, science fiction shows and TV cartoons have also changed dramatically in recent years (look at King of the Hill by Mike Judge; Peggy Hill shows up as if she's alive in Ladies Journal magazine). So a lot of fans today are no longer just boys and oftentimes at some SF conventions the places are overrun with women. Why? I think that lots of Japanese manga/anime stories don't have the same kind of morality (very flexible in a way) as in the West, with the Japanese "group" mentality infusing a lot of characters with the attitude to try their best, work together as a team and achieve a goal. There will hopefully be more sensible stories and people like Apollo Smile are definitely changing entertainment culture here as well. She's the world's first (and probably only) American Live-action Anime girl to attract even Japanese otakus! Even AX magazine in Japan gave her a plug!

When we meet her, she's always smiling, just like her name says! She's very petite (only about 5'3"), but when she dances, she captivates the audience for sure. Her songs on this CD are simple fun discotheque style dance music that will make you smile. "Feeling Groovy" is quite typical and reminds me of the 70s disco scene ("be my baby/making me feel groovy"). By the way, as a person with English as a second language, the word "groovy" really sound American to me (like "boogie" and "bubble gum"). My personal favourite is "Rainbow Rider" with its simple guitar and her vocals (very feminine and cute too!), which reminds me of the 1960s TV shows. "T.S.T" is Apollo's own song about herself. Her live performances are quite sexual actually (and maybe arousing to some people) and she certainly doesn't shy away from this.

Overall, this would be a nice addition to your CD collection and when you have a party you could play this and dance! The fact that she wrote all the songs herself really impressed me! She's what we call a "singer/song-writer". For those of you who live on the East Coast, she appears in clubs periodically as well as visiting SF and Anime cons, so please go see her!

Apollo Smile: Love, Kisses and Grenades. 58:26 min., 16 tracks: R.U. Ready? (00:41), Rainbow Rider - Trippin' (05:18), Feelin' Groovy (03:48), Friends (02:51), Purrr... (04:06), Last Stand In Disco Land (04:27), Hikigane (03:39), Love Me (03:41), Call Me (04:28), *Live Wire (03:40), T.S.T. (02:40), Going Back (04:34), Rainbow Rider (04:33), Trigger Finger (03:08), Tite Pants (03:44), Hikigane - Accapella (03:00). 1999 TSI Records / Venus With Arms / ASCAP. All songs written, performed & produced by Apollo Smile, except *Live Wire.

Web Page: www.angelfire.com/pe/apollosmile/ (not updated recently) and www.apollosmile.com/ (official site -- contains nothing but an email address: info@ApolloSmile.com)...

Her first CD is still available

Reviewed by Miyako Matsuda

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