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Monday, January 15, 2018

Infinite: Best of Infinite (Type B) Review

Back in November 2016, I had already blogged about the Japanese albums within My Infinite Collection. At that time, I was certain that I'd never get Infinite's Best of Infinite album. There were so many reasons why I was against this release, mainly:
  • Woollim's focus on Japanese releases instead of Korean releases
  • This release only included one completely new song, and one new Japanese version of a Korean song
  • There are 3 (expensive) versions, one of which is Blu-ray, meaning duplicating the video content
Despite all of these rational reasons, at the end of 2016 I somehow gave in when I received an Amazon gift card. I saw this as the perfect chance to get an Infinite item that I wouldn't have normally gotten. I've said this before, but on Amazon it's always hard to buy Infinite albums (and other Kpop goods in general) because the image and description are usually not specific or accurate. I decided to order Type B (Limited + DVD) because that cover is just so deadly. I ordered it for $41.75 USD from a 3rd party seller, marvelio, who is based in Pennsylvania. My package shipped 2 days after I ordered it and took 18 days to arrive since shipment (note that this was during the holidays). My album came in perfect condition, which is rare! The cardboard packaging fit perfectly around my album (no padding so if it were to take a hit, it would've probably gotten damaged). Enough about my tangent, I'll go onto properly introducing the album and to my unboxing review.
On August 31, 2016, Woollim released a compilation of Infinite's Japanese songs in the album Best of Infinite. The new tracks of this compilation album includes the brand new song "D.N.A", and the Japanese version of "Paradise". There are 3 versions of this album. According to CDJapan's descriptions, the normal version includes an 80-page photo booklet, Type A includes a 36-page photo booklet and a Blu-ray, and Type B includes a 36-page photo booklet and a DVD. Additionally, CDJapan states that contents of each photobook are different for each version.
The album itself is the size of Infinite's usual mini albums. Additionally, the packaging has been upgraded as the casing is a very sturdy hard cover. The album cover of this version also looks really gorgeous and is definitely my favorite of the three.
The backside has a gorgeous set of individual photos, along with the CD and DVD tracklists.

Furthermore, the tracklists are slightly different for each version. Please refer to my table for the tracklists for Type B. All versions contain the CD tracks 1 through 17, and Type A and Type B contain the video content tracks 1 through 17. Type A includes bonus CD tracks "Destiny" and "Cover Girl", and bonus MVs of "Destiny" and "Tic Toc [OGS Returns Live]". Type B includes bonus CD tracks "The Chaser" and "Shower", and bonus MVs of "The Chaser" and "Lately". Note that all bonus content are the original Korean versions.

#
CD Tracklist
DVD Tracklist
1
D.N.A (JP)
D.N.A (JP, MV)
2
Dilemma (JP)
Can't Get Over You (JP, MV)
3
Last Romeo (JP)
24 Hours (JP, MV)
4
Come Back Again (JP)
Dilemma (JP, MV)
5
24 Hours (JP)
Last Romeo (JP, MV)
6
Nothing's Over (JP)
Man In Love (JP, MV)
7
She's Back (JP)
Man In Move (JP, Teaser)
8
Man In Love (JP)
She's Back (JP, MV)
9
Paradise (JP)
She's Back (JP, Teaser)
10
Can't Get Over You (JP)
Be Mine (JP, MV)
11
Just Another Lonely Night (JP)
BTD (JP, MV)
12
Bad (JP)
Bad (KR, MV)
13
Be Mine (JP)
Back (KR, MV)
14
BTD (JP)
Paradise (KR, MV)
15
Back (JP)
Nothing's Over (KR, MV)
16
Love of My Life (JP)
Come Back Again (KR, MV)
17
Julia (JP)
D.N.A (Making)
(Bonus) 18
The Chaser (KR)
The Chaser (KR, MV)
(Bonus) 19
Shower (KR)
Lately (KR, MV)

Opening the album, the photobooklet is on the left while the discs are on the right. The pink slip is a promotional event sheet.
Here is a closeup of the sheet for the promotional event on September 30th, 2016.
The disc on top is the CD. As stated previously, "D.N.A" and the Japanese version of "Paradise" are the 2 new tracks from this release. "D.N.A" is more on the darker, harder side of Infinite's songs. Infinite actually performed the Korean version of "D.N.A" in their Rally 3 fan meeting in early 2017, so hopefully they'll release a Korean studio version of "D.N.A" in the future.
In the past when there were 2 discs, they would share one plastic casing. However this album's casing also got an upgrade where the CD is isolated on its own plastic layer. You pull up from the middle of the side (it indicates where) and later you can snap it back in place.
Here is the DVD, which is for all regions. The new contents on this DVD that were not previously released are the music videos for "D.N.A" and "Can't Get Over You", and the Making of D.N.A. Infinite looks especially good in the "D.N.A" music video - they pull off this bad boy concept so well and the choreography looks so sharp. I also really like the "Can't Get Over You" music video. This is a pop ballad that's slower than Infinite's other title tracks, yet they still have a really fitting choreography. I found it interesting that they used the For You album logo at the end of this music video despite being released during the 24 Hours single.

Sadly the Making is just under 9 minutes long. The first few minutes showed the behind-the-scenes of the 2 photoshoots while the remaining time was for the behind-the-scenes of the "D.N.A" music video. The members mainly spoke directly to the camera in Korean, like mini impromptu interviews, with automatic Japanese subtitles. In the foreground were the instrumental version of "D.N.A", then the regular version. Despite the short duration of this making, it was so beautiful seeing Infinite truly own this bad boy concept!
The photobooklet may include 36 pages, however only the first 10 pages are dedicated to Infinite. There is 1 photo per member, with Woohyun, Sungyeol, and Myungsoo each getting a 2-page spread.
The remaining 4 members have their individual photos on 1 page each. These photos are all different from those on the back cover. I can't get over how good Sungjong looks pulling off this concept!
The remaining pages are for the lyrics. As for the 2 Korean songs "The Chaser" and "Shower", the lyrics are in Korean with Japanese on top of each line in a smaller font.
The last 2 pages contain the album credits, DVD info, and Infinite's social media information.

I still have mixed reactions about this release, but I am happy to have this in my collection. As for Inspirits who don't have any of Infinite's Japanese releases, I would definitely recommend this album (or any of its versions) as it has almost all of Infinite's Japanese-only songs.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Infinite: 24 Hours Single (Limited) Review

I have blogged in length about Infinite's Japanese single 24 Hours in previous posts:  the first press normal edition, here, and the seven member versions, here. In this post, I will do an unboxing of the limited version.
The front cover shows Infinite looking princely in Tom Brown attire. The dimensions of this album are similar to those of Infinite's other releases, 7.375" by 5.5" by 0.4375". The photos from this version are all from the Tom Brown photoshoot.
There is also a sticker on the wrapping indicating the contents of this version.
The back cover shows an individual picture per member, along with the CD and DVD tracklists. This version, like the first press normal edition, contains the original Japanese songs "24 Hours" and "Just Another Lonely Night", along with the Japanese version of "Together". I absolutely love "24 Hours" and "Just Another Lonely Night" and am still hoping that Infinite will releases these songs in Korean.
Opening the flap reveals the double disc holder, with the CD on top and the DVD on the bottom.
Underneath the DVD there is more info about the disc. The DVD is for all regions and contains the "24 Hours" music video and the making of this release. The making is just over 21 minutes long and is all spoken in Korean with automatic Japanese subtitles. The first 5.5 minutes shows the behind-the-scenes from the 3 photoshoots for this release. The remaining time is for the behind-the-scenes of the "24 Hours" music video. Throughout the making, the instrumental version of "24 Hours" as well as the regular version alternate in the foreground. There are also mini impromptu individual interviews of each member talking to the camera. It's also adorable seeing Infinite playing around in between filming. Lastly, I loved seeing Woohyun singing the chorus live, as well as Dongwoo singing his parts live and even singing a bit from Infinite H's Fly Again album!
The limited editions of Infinite's Japanese albums had always been lacking, because they're usually made of thin cardboard and like an open book with a loose photobooklet that just slips out of the album. However this time, Woollim has improved a lot with its packaging. The front cover of the album actually has a flap securely storing the photobooklet, along with the event card and photocard.
Here is the event card, meant for May 31st, 2015. There is also a QR code that takes you to Infinite's homepage on Universal Music's Japanese site.
Both the first press normal edition and this limited version come with 1 of 8 different types of photocards, 1 per member and a group one. All 8 cards are photos from the Tom Brown photoshoot not included in any of the albums. The photocard is the same size as Infinite's smallest photocards, like from Paradise and Season 2. Most albums come with the group photocard, like my normal album. But this time, I got Sungyeol! At first I was laughing because I usually get Sungyeol, but then I realized I'm lucky just not to have pulled another group card.
The backside has information about listening to Sungyeol's hidden message online. Each member photocard comes with a link and QR code for the message, however there was an expiration date of 2015.
The photobooklet has 14 pages, excluding the front and back cover.
The back cover has the album credits.
Each member has their own page.
There are also 3 pages for the song lyrics and song credits. "24 Hours" and "Just Another Lonely Night" were originally written in Japanese.
There are also 2 2-page group photos. The last page also includes Infinite's social media information.

Overall, I really love this album! The songs are really beautiful, as expected since Infinite continues releasing top quality songs only in Japanese (that I'm forever waiting for a Korean version), the photoshoot for this album is really dashing, and the making DVD is fun as always.

Line Friends Official Goods Review

Line Friends are the characters created by Line Corporation for use in the Line messaging app. These unique characters are so popular, there are over 40 Line Friends stores around the world and an online store (here) where you can buy these characters! My brother was kind enough to visit the New York City location and get me a few goodies, which I'll unbox below.
First off, the shopping bag is really adorable. For this medium size, one side has Choco.
The other side has Cony.

Sally and Cony Mini Coin Purses (official product pages of Sally here and Cony here)
These mini coin purses were regular price $8.50 USD each and in store these goods had a 10% off sale. The Cony one is for a friend, so I won't be opening it.
Here is how the back of the packaging looks like.
The product tag is really adorable, with Brown, Cony, Sally, Leonard, and Edward in a group hug.
Here is the backside of the Sally Mini Coin Purse tag.
Here is the front of Sally. She is about 4" in diameter, though a bit wider than tall. The tag was attached to a loop on the side - you can use it to attach on to a key chain. The size is just a tad too small to fit a credit card.
Here is the back of Sally. Sadly the plastic tie from the tag made a small indent in the back, but hopefully within time it'll regain its shape.
Inside Sally are the moisture-absorbing pack and a foam cutout for Sally to keep her shape.
The green Line Friends tag is sewn to the back. There is also a net against the back to create a divider.
I really like Sally as a coin purse. The size is quite large and spacious for coins and the color is really bright, so it's easy to find in my bag.

Brown Face Doll Massage Stick (official product page here)
The concept of having a plush on a wooden stick may seem foreign, but it's definitely no stranger to the Line Friends merchandise! There are a variety of these massage sticks, with the character's head or full body on the stick. At first I wasn't sure how to use these, but I've seen photos of models tapping the plush on their shoulders and tried that out. This thing works wonders - the head is a firm plush that does feel relaxing when used on my shoulders and upper back.
The back of the head has the green Line Friends tag, along with the product tag attached to that.
This massage stick is $12.50 USD. The full body ones are a bit more expensive, about $16.00. The inside of the tag has product information in Korean.
The backside of the product tag has information in Chinese.
The head is about 4.5" wide and 3.75" tall. The stick is about 9.5" long.
I'll be completely transparent, the only reason I bought this massage stick is because of Golden Child's product placement throughout their vlives. They are always holding the Brown Face Doll Massage Stick and Cony Face Doll Massage Stick. Here is a rare selca of how happy I am with Brown^^
Overall, I'm very happy with my mini collection of Line Friends goods. I do hope one day to visit a Line Friends store in person and have the full experience of seeing the characters in larger-than-life size and of eating at the cafe.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Golden Child: 2018 Season's Greetings Review

I am so happy that Golden Child is releasing a calendar set for 2018 despite only debuting on August 28th. Golden Child even held a V Live entitled Golden Child's Golden Shopping, where they acted as a home shopping channel to model and perform their own unboxing of their calendar set. Sadly with the sudden news of Jaeseok leaving Golden Child and the entertainment industry as of January 6th, this is the last official merchandise with Jaeseok included as OT11.
Golden Child's 2018 Season's Greetings set was released on December 18th. I ordered this item from Kpoptown for just under $63 USD on December 21st and it was shipped on the 28th. My package arrived on January 10th. It came in a makeshift box created by 2 cardboard boxes with packaging tape on every inch of the box to make it waterproof. There was 1 layer of bubblewrap inside. Kpoptown labelled this package as a gift rather than merchandise. I discussed more of my experience ordering this item originally from Ktown4u and why I switched to Kpoptown here
The packaging of Golden Child's season's greetings is nothing like I have seen before. They call this a coin bank packaging, where the top has a slit for you to drop in loose change. It is a cardboard cylinder with a matte green paper label to decorate the exterior. The playful white designs are embossed with a glossy finish. This tube is 6.25 inches in diameter and 18.875 inches in height.
The back has Woollim's holographic sticker.
This is the underside of the top lid. There is a clear tape to cover of the coin slit. There is also a 1 inch dent, which you can see on the top left area.
There is a similar dent on the bottom lid, on the bottom left. Other than these 2 dents, the coin bank packaging is pretty sturdy and protected the goods well.
Here is the inside packaging. Each item is packaged in a clear wrap and there are 2 pieces of bubblewrap inside.
This season's greetings set comes with a wall calendar, a desk calendar, a set of photocards, and a slogan towel.
Here are the contents inside the coin bank packaging. The left is the wall calendar, the top right is the slogan towel, and the bottom right is the desk calendar. I only saw these and freaked out that I was jipped of the photocards, however they're combined inside the desk calendar.
The wall calendar is spiral-bound at the top with a wire for you to hang it. It is so huge! It is 16.625" by 23.5". I was worried that the wall calendar would be curled up, but it is actually pretty straight coming out of the tube. It is a bit curled especially at the bottom, but it isn't too noticeable once you hang it on the wall. However if you choose to hang the calendar facing the backside, then the curled end becomes more noticeable, which you can see in my photos below.
Here is the back of the wall calendar. There is an outer translucent cover with the dark red outlines in both the front and the back. The following green pages have the white text and white outlines; these 2 pages are made of higher quality waterproof paper.
Including the green pages, there are a total of 14 pages double-sided, or 28 pages total. Above is the first page after the green page. There are 2 photoshoots used for this season's greetings. I call the above the colorful photoshoot, and the other one the neutral photoshoot.
There is 1 member per month for January through November, and each month fits on 1 double-sided page. The first page for each month uses a photo from the colorful photoshoot, while the backside uses a photo from the neutral photoshoot. Seungmin looks so adorable!
Here is the backside of May.
I love the details they put into this photoshoot. Jaehyun's socks are labelled "left" and "right"!
The days of each month are spewed in a line at the bottom of each page. The calendar highlights Korea's national holidays. Sundays are circled in green. Special Golden Child holidays, such as birthdays and the group's first anniversary, are filled in pink.
December contains OT11. While this photo looks similar to the first one, it's not. I verify that all photos in this entire season's greetings are used only once.
This is the backside of December. Donghyun is so cute sitting on that toy car! I wish they had used a larger photo for this page, as there's so much white space wasted.
This is the backside of the last page of the calendar. It displays national holidays for China, the US, Japan, and Thailand.
There is also a disclaimer at the bottom in both Korean and English, claiming that these holidays may not be completely accurate. I only point this out because of the typo^^
The desk calendar comes with a matching paper holder, with dimensions 3" by 4.25" by 0.5".
Here are the contents of this paper holder. From left to right, there is a green title card, 12 monthly calendar cards, and 11 photocards.
The contents can be taken out and interchanged from the top of the paper holder. It's the perfect width for the 24 cards to fit.
The backside of the paper holder comes with a foldable stand.
It took me awhile to figure out the stand...but the key is to first fold the 2 vertical flaps, then fold down the 1 horizontal flap so that it locks into the 2 vertical flaps.
This is how the desk calendar looks like after completing the foldable stand. It creates a nice angle to view the calendar.
Here are the 13 desk calendar cards. The green card has a glossy, waterproof finish while the 12 monthly calendar cards have a matte finish. These calendar cards have circles and color codes for various dates, just like the wall calendar. The individual member photos are from the colorful photoshoot while the group photo is from the neutral photoshoot. I like that the designated member for each month for the wall calendar is different than the member for the desk calendar, except for Daeyeol who has November for both calendars.
Here is the backside of the desk calendar cards. The individual member photos are from the neutral photoshoot while the group photo is from the colorful photoshoot.
January is Jibeom's month^^ Here you can see the desk calendar is a much more practical design for the calendar functionality. Of course, who actually buys a Season's Greetings set for the actual calendar functionality anyways...
This set also includes a set of 11 festive photocards, one per member. The front side has a photo of each member dressed in Santa attire for the holiday season. The cards are the same dimensions as the desk calendar cards. The cards came in this order, left to right and top to bottom from Y to Donghyun.
The backside of the photocards has a printed autograph and message. These cards have a smooth, glossy finish that makes the cards waterproof, which you can see with the light reflecting off of the cards.
Lastly, there is also a slogan towel made of microfiber with dimensions 2' 7" by 7.75". One side has "Golden Child" printed on it using their signature font. The background has the playful designs matching the exterior packaging.
The other side of the slogan towel has a cute group image of OT11 from the neutral photoshoot.

Overall, I love this season's greetings. Though I am much more a fan of desk calendars than wall calendars, I love the youthful and playful concept of this season's greetings that matches so well with Golden Child.