Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lovelyz: Fall in Lovelyz 3rd Mini Album Review

Lovelyz released their third album of 2017, and third mini album overall, entitled Fall in Lovelyz, on November 14th. The concept and style are more mature rather than bubbly compared to previous comebacks, but it still has that Lovelyz charm and matches well with the changing fall-to-winter season.
I pre-ordered this album with a folded poster from Ktown4u and it arrived on November 27th, in 4 layers of bubblewrap inside a cardboard box. The album came in almost perfect condition except for one corner that arrived bent in.
Sadly the damaged album corner also damaged my poster, puncturing through Jin's arm...this is the first time I received a damaged poster from Ktown4u.
This is how the poster looks after I tried straightening out the ripped area. Despite receiving the poster damaged, I will still continue ordering from Ktown4u as I see this as a one-off instance. 
The packaging of this album is closest to Infinite's albums due to its book style. This album is a bit larger than Infinite's albums, with dimensions 8.75" x 6.9375" x 0.6875".
The front cover is glossy, so be careful of fingerprints.
The spine and back cover are matte. The backside is very elegant with its ornate, embossed gloss overlay.
The album opens like a book, with the CD held in place by a foam circle on the left and the photobook on the right.

The photobook contains photos from 3 different photoshoots. I'll refer to the first photoshoot with the lacy red outfits as the album cover photoshoot. The second photoshoot, as pictured below, is what I'll call the pink photoshoot. The last photoshoot, like in the photobook cover, I'll label as the black photoshoot.
Tucked inside page 6 of the photobook is a random sheet of 4 stickers. On a side note, the layout of the photobook is really nice, with headers (for the album name) and footers (for page numbers) on pages where the picture doesn't cover the entire page.
There are 8 versions of these sticker sheets, 1 per each member. I got Yein's~ The sheet is 4.125" x 4.5625". Each sticker is 1.875" x 1.875". The backside of the sticker sheet is all white. These stickers are really fun and show a very different feel than the photobook. The outfits worn in the sticker photoshoot is different from the photobook as well.
Tucked deeper into the photobook is the photocard.
There are 8 versions of the photocard, 1 per each member. I received Jiae's~ The photocard is just under 4" x 6". The photocard is a translucent matte card, as you can see my fingers holding onto the backside of the card. There is also a printed autograph on the card.
The photobook contains 93 pages from the 3 photoshoots. The first 31 pages are from the pink photoshoot. Majority of the photos are individual member shots, with only 3 total group shots and no subgroup shots.
There is 1 group photo within the pink photoshoot section. Sorry Jisoo who was pictured too into the spine of the spread...
The lyrics and song credits are spread throughout the photobook as well. I love the pink bubbles in this photoshoot - it's like those kids' play pens, but in a girly and classy setting.
Pages 32 to 61 are photos from the cover photoshoot, with this section starting with 1 group photo. Sorry Baby Soul...
Pages 62 to 87 are from the black photoshoot and contain only individual member shots. I personally really like the look from this photoshoot and wish they had emphasized this more - the girls look so elegant and classy here!
After the photos are 4 pages of special thanks to messages from the members.
The final 2 pages are another group photo from the pink photoshoot and the album credits.

This album contains 7 tracks:
  1. Spotlight (intro track)
  2. 종소리 / Twinkle (title track)
  3. 삼각형 / Triangle
  4. 그냥 / Just
  5. Fallin'
  6. 비밀공원 / Secret Garden
  7. 졸린 꿈 / Sleepy Dreams
I'm really happy that Lovelyz obtained their second win of all time with "Twinkle" on The Show! It is a really beautiful song though I was taken aback hearing Jiae, Jisoo, and Yein's overly girly line in the title track. (I'm referring to similar lines of Jiae like in "비밀여행 / Secret Journey" and "놀이공원 / Amusement Park"). My favorite tracks are definitely "Triangle", "Just", and "Sleepy Dreams".
There are 2 types of posters that come with first press. They are the same dimensions as Lovelyz' usual posters, 77cm by 53cm, or 2.53' by 1.74'. The one I received is the same exact image as the album cover. The other poster is the same image as the group photo from the pink photoshoot. This poster also has a blurry quality to it, like Golden Child's posters. This poster also has a glossy finish. Because both poster images are already on the album cover or in the photobook and because of the blurry quality of this poster, I'm indifferent on the poster for this comeback.

I'm so happy that Lovelyz was able to come back in the latter half of 2017 and with another win. I only wish the best for these girls and hope they'll have an even better 2018!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics Official Goods Review

Pyeongchang, South Korea, is the host city for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics. In preparation, they have released official goods, with many featuring the event's mascots Soohorang the white tiger (수호랑) and Bandabi the Asiatic black bear. (반다비). Soohorang is the main mascot for the Olympics while Bandabi is the main mascot for the Paralympics. You can find the official online store here in both Korean and English, and many stores selling the merchandise around South Korea. My friend in Korea graciously gifted me with several of these official items will I'll show below.

Soohorang Skiing Plush Doll
There are several Soohorang plush dolls in this series, including one that snowboards and another one that figure skates. The one pictured here is the Soohorang that skis! I was actually unable to find this model online at all, which makes this one even more special to me~

Here is the backside of the trapezoidal packaging.
This plush doll is really adorable! Though it's top heavy, it balances really well on its own. The ski poles even have the metal spikes at the end, but they're made of felt - there is no hard material at all. Here you can also see the positioning of the skis is very accurate, how they're facing inward toward the front.
The ski goggles can easily be adjusted with the velco back and can also be removed entirely.

Cup Edge Figure Style B (official product page here)
Here is the packaging.
Here is the backside. They recommend to use these figurines only on cups with thickness less than 3mm and warn that heat can disfigure them.
Here is a closeup of the figurines. They seem more on the fragile side.
Here is the back of the figurines.
This is my first time seeing a "cup edge figure" and the concept seems really impractical, trapping bacteria on your cup...but it is a really cute idea that's growing on me! It'll be especially nice to display if I already have cups on display rather than using them on cups that I actually drink from.

Bandabi Badge (official product page here)
This metal badge is of Bandabi with a cute winter beanie. I really like how this mascot has the white moon on the chest, mimicking the actual Asiatic black bear.
Here is the backside.

The official goods released by the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics are really adorable and span a variety of products, from souvenirs to home goods to apparel and accessories. I'm so happy to have these goods and can't wait for the upcoming Olympics to begin!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lovelyz: R U Ready? 2nd Full Album Review

Lovelyz' first comeback of 2017 was on February 26th, with their second full length album titled R U Ready?. The concept and title track "WoW!" are quite different from their previous releases, but it shows the group's diverse talent and variety in their genres.

I pre-ordered this album on Ktown4u for just under $25USD including shipping. It shipped on February 27th and delivered on March 14th, taking 15 days. My album arrived in an orange waterproof bag lined with bubblewrap, and inside it was wrapped in an additional 4 layers of bubblewrap.
The album cover is very bright and poppy, matching the vibrant tone of the concept and title song.
The backside is simple and includes the tracklist at the bottom. The stripes, lettering, and toothpaste are all embossed.

Here is the tracklist:
1. R U Ready?
2. WoW!
3. Cameo
4. Emotion
5. 새벽별 (Morning Star) - Baby Soul, Kei, Jin
6. 첫눈 (First Snow)
7. 똑똑 (Knock Knock)
8. The - Mijoo, Sujeong, Yein
9. Night and Day
10. 숨바꼭질 (Hide and Seek)
11. 나의 연인 (My Little Lover) - Jiae, Jisoo
12 - 26. (blank)
27. Hidden Track

Tracks 12 to 26 are all 5-second blank tracks, leading up to the 27th hidden track. There is one hidden track per member, which is an audio message. I received Jisoo's! Hers is 1 minute 18 seconds long. Note that there are some CDs without the hidden track - I'm not sure if only first press has random member hidden track, or if it's simply random if you receive a hidden track or not.
The album is packaged like a gift box (similar to Lovelyz' first repackaged album Hi~). Contents include (from top to bottom in the box) 10 postcards, the photobook, and then the CD.
There are 10 postcards, including a group card, 1 for each member, and then 1 random member postcard out of 8. None of the member postcard photos are included in the photobook. Here is the order of the 9 postcards that come with every album (left to right, top to bottom).

This album contains photos from 3 different photoshoots. The first photoshoot is used in the album cover and in the first postcard; I'll refer to this as the album cover photoshoot. I'll refer to the second photoshoot, which is used for the standard individual member postcards, as the plaid photoshoot. I'll refer to the last photoshoot, which is used in the random member postcards (like below), as the professional photoshoot.
The random member postcard is placed below the 9 normal postcards. I received Yein for my random member postcard. The postcards are glossy on the front, matte on the back.
The backside of the postcard is either hot pink or bright orange.
The album also includes 2 random matte photocards out of 16, slipped inside the photobook.
The images are like fun behind-the-scenes photos, hence none of the photocard images are included in the photobook. Each member has 1 pink photocard and 1 yellow photocard.
The backside of the pink photocard has Sujeong's printed autograph while the backside of the yellow photocard has Jisoo's message. I'm not sure if this is the pattern for the rest of the photocards.
The photobook is 86 pages long and contains photos from all 3 different photoshoots. The photo and text are embossed with a gloss finish while the yellow is matte.
The backside of the photobook is cute with the toothpaste design, which also has a glossy embossed finish while the rest is matte.
There are 2 group photos from the album cover photoshoot.
There are also 2 group photos from the professional photoshoot. There are no group photos from the plaid photoshoot.
The remaining pages contain individual photos from all 3 photoshoots. Above are photos from the album cover photoshoot.
Here are some photos from the plaid photoshoot.
Above are a couple of photos from the professional photoshoot.
The lyrics and song credits are spread out throughout the photobook.
2 pages are dedicated to the members' special thanks.
The last 2 pages includes the other group photo from the professional photoshoot and the album credits.
First press also includes 1 of 2 random posters. The poster has the same dimensions as Lovelyz' usual posters, 77cm by 53cm, or 2.53' by 1.74'. None of the photos from this poster is included in the photobook. The other poster is vertical and is the same as the album cover.

"WoW!" and the overall concept are definitely different from Lovelyz' previous title songs and concepts, however it fits so well for them! I'm happy to see them broadening their genres.