All posts by beyondsenpai

Beyond Senpai. The music and culture fanzine. Made by fans for fans. For features and content contributions contact:

On Dawn’s Day, the bubbles of the sea turn red.

The graduation of Risaki Kakizaki, Rei Imaizumi and Michelle

A guest article gladly recieved from Rosy Baltussen

After a long wait on the 28th of June, the graduation of Risaki, Rei and Michelle was finally there. Thankfully for international fans who couldn’t be there in person M-SMILE decided to livestream the 3 shows. Two of them were available for people who bought a ticket, the 3rd show was free to watch for everybody.

For me the first live show started very early (6 in the morning). I was totally ready and actually had no idea what to expect because for me it was my first graduation show ever. The show started with Skulls in the Stars performed by the three girls. I must say that I was very surprised that this was the first song to perfom, usually they would do this as the very last one. After two songs the girls introduced themself and told the public a little about the setting of the show. Rei got emotional from the beginning and for me it was hard to watch, I felt so sorry for the three of them. It must have been hard for them to play the NECRONOMIDOL songs for the very last time, also wearing their uniforms for the last time (background music and the uniforms were kindly lended by Ricky for this special occasion).

The show went on and at the 6th song came a big surprise for me! A few spotlights were on and I saw the shadow of 4 girls instead of 3! When the lights turned on it was Kunogi who had entered the stage! It was truly amazing to see her back, I’ve always wanted to see her perfom again and now it happened. But the BIGGEST surprise of the whole show came after two songs with Kunogi. Sari and Hina entered the stage to perform together with Risaki, Rei and Michelle, and for one song also Utena Yuki (NAMELESS) entered the stage to perform one song.

I truly couldn’t be more happier, it was such a long time ago that I had seen Sari and Hina perform, and back at their graduation I was so sad because I probably would never see them again. I almost stopped breathing when I saw them entering the stage, I was just so shocked, happy and surprised. All of the girls, Kunogi, Sari and Hina performed the Necroma songs like they never left. It gave me such a wonderful feeling to see the whole group almost complete.

The show went on and there were songs performed by just the three girls and some songs with their quest performers. Another surprise was that the final song of this first show was alo Skulls in the Stars, but this time performed with everybody. Every song was performed was incredible, they truly sang and danced like their life depended on it. I’m still impressed by the amount of energy they had for all three shows!

I was still flabbergasted by what happened at the first show, I just didn’t see that coming. I actually don’t think anyone did because the TwitCast chat went crazy when the former members came on stage. But knowing what happened at the first show I knew what was coming at the second. Still it was incredible to see them all, so very emotional, the girls had a hard time talking but they still kept smiling. I felt so proud of them, they accomplished so much these last years and I’m still so happy I got to meet them all at least once,  some even twice.

When the 3rd show started, this was a special one for me because this truly would be the ending. Secretly I didn’t want it to end because the shows were SO GOOD! I could watch them do this like… forever. But the girls are going to start a new journey after this one which also makes me very excited. I’d love to see what they are going to do!

The songs of the 3rd show were perfromed perfectly as well. Every show had some songs that they didn’t play in the one before which made it great to see all three. Next to the surprise of the former members joining the three girls, the other big surprise that day was that Hina is going to join the new group formed by Risaki and Rei. More information will be made known in August this year.

I’m looking forward to that because to me it is great to see these three girls work together again. Also, in  August there will be more known about Michelle’s solo-project. Knowing what she is capable of as an alt idol her project will be amazing and interesting aswell.

It was a heavy, emotional but precious day for me, a true rollercoaster so to speak. It’s also a day I will never forget. I’ve sang, danced, cried and laughed during these shows, there were way too many emotions at once. It was just unbelieveble but totally amazing!

As the last thing in this article, I want to wish the girls good luck with their new journey and I definately will keep supporting them as much as I can and hopefully I’ll meet them again!

To support Necronomidol :

To support Risaki, Rei and Michelle:

Senpai Feature GET YOUR GENKI

A personal insight into creating an independent music label by Christian Preiss.

I started this project in October 2018 .

Originally I wanted to start it about 10 years earlier but somehow the idea got lost during the years.

I was always interested in music from Japan in all its varieties, Pop, Rock, Funk, Punk, Psych, Folk…whatever. Mostly some not so well known bands, more or less independent ones.

Somehow the music was always a bit better, the band a bit more authentic, the love for what they do a bit deeper.

So I bought even more music from Japan and started contacting bands in order to find out how I could acquire their music; and I noticed soon enough that lots of bands made just one e.p. with 1-3 songs they sell after a concert and then you never hear them again.

Fortunately some bands sent me their songs and one day I was asking myself :

“Wouldn’t it be cool to have all these wonderful songs on one sampler? Most compilations from Japan are very expensive and full with idol bands. It would be awesome if someone would release a beautiful cassette with these songs …. mmmmhhh….. Maybe it’s me who should do this!?”

And thats how GET YOUR GENKI was born.

This all sounds much easier than it really was. I had to think about a duplication service, someone had to do the art, I had to think about advertising the compilations etc.

The most important thing for me was to work closely together with the bands. There are countless jpop and jrock compilations but during my work with so many different artists I have noticed that most bands that appear on these compilations have no idea about it. So I absolutely didn’t want to do this, it’s easy to steal music from bands and download the songs from the internet and duplicate them.

So I did it “the hard” way and contacted every single band to get their OK for releasing their music on my label. Now all the bands are involved in the creative process of the making of the cassette, the design, colours, song order.

As my project is a nonprofit label and all the costs and prices just cover my expenses I am not able to pay the bands. So I am trying to treat them and their music with all due respect and even more and as it seems my decision was correct. I have high moral and ethical standards 🙂

This feature is gladly accepted from GET YOUR GENKI. @Getyourgenki 🐦

A special thanks for all original illustrations and artwork to Ash Loydon @AshtonLamont 🐦

To support the label and the artists they work with please go to:

Ankimo are far from UNFINISHED.

An album review by Just Panda ~ Beyond Senpai

Technical melodic speed metal titans Unlucky Morpheus returned to the world music platform this month with the highly anticipated album ‘Unfinished’. 

It has been two years since the last full album release, the mammoth Change of Generation. A follow up to this beast was surely to be expected, and our wait has not been in vain. 

Lead single Unending Sorceress premiered with an incredible gothic style MV in the latter days of July, gearing the fan base up for the imminent release of Unfinished. 

Vocalist Fuki has matured in her abilities, mesmerising the listener with her operatic vibrato and incredible range. These clean and impressive vocals are backed up by screamer Shiren, creating a balance of light and dark. Shirens screamer style cuts through the heavy guitar and machine-gun drumming, with moments of brightness coming from Jill and her intricate fiddle work. That is well heard in the opening to Near the End where Shirens vocal abilities are brought to the front of the mix. 

The playful to-and-fro guitar solos of Shiren and Jinya, are both pleasing to the ear and hypnotic in their skill. This is clear in Kago No Tori, where Fukis falsetto work showcases that incredible range we all know she is capable of. The intricate scale work between the heavy, dark chord progressions and purposeful bass work from Hiroyuki Ogawa create the atmosphere that Ankimo are well known for in their field. 

Make Your Choice is a stand out track as it has a vibe like no other on the album. Fumiya on drums powers through with a groove that does this song justice. The hope of this making it onto the live set list is high, sure to be a crowd-pleaser this has ticked all the boxes. 

Gothic chorale track Dogura Magura is an onslaught of chorister vocals and pounding drums. The vocal switching between Fuki and Shiren has been a main feature on this album, with both vocalists working together in harmony. The chord progressions and early key change take this track to another level, with the layering of sound a main focus in the mix. 

Surprise entry has to be Carry On Singing to the Sky, the only song in English. No easy feat but Fukis professionalism to her craft carries her through. Classical musings are called on through Jills superb string work with a shout to Paganini’s 24thCaprice, sure to make any audience take notice. 

In short, Unfinished is undoubtedly some of the best work Unlucky Morpheus has delivered. The musicianship and talent is showcased throughout. This is no thrown-together record. This is months of composing and writing as a unit. And the dedication shows. 

Unfinished is a delight to behold. Both light and heavy, it is on course to being one of the top releases of the year.

01. Unfinished
02. Unending Sorceress
03. Near The End
04. 籠の鳥
05. Salome
06. Make your choice
07. Top of the “M”
08. Dogura Magura
09. Carry on singing to the sky