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Aug 10

Dancemania -20th Anniversary Special Edition-
Release Date: 10/11/17
Price: 2160 yen

Edit (8/25/17): As I feared, the release is now showing up as canceled on CD Japan and other retailers. I’m hoping it’s just a delay at worst.

Edit (8/22/17): Well, this is a worrying sign. Universal have removed any mention of the 20th anniversary release from their website. This could mean that they’ve canceled the release outright. However, it’s also possible that they canceled it in favor of something else (perhaps a 2-disc set?) instead. Right now the original release is still available for pre-order at a number of retailers, so we’ll see if those pre-orders get canceled.

Edit (8/14/17): Early list is out, and so far 4 of the 6 songs already appeared on Sparkle and Party. I had forgotten that EMI/Universal had reacquired the AATW license from Avex at some point, and it looks like they’ll be drawing quite a bit from that catalog. The lack of Smile.dk, Me & MY, or Captain Jack is a bit concerning. On one hand, we’ve heard the same songs dozens of times. But it wouldn’t be a proper celebration of Dancemania without them.

01. Mamma Mia / A*Teens
02. Samba de Janeiro / Bellini
03. Jump / Bus Stop
04. Santa Maria / DJ Milano feat. Samantha Fox
05. Eyes on Me featured in Final Fantasy VIII (Almighty Mix) / Faye Wong
06. I Wanna Dance with Somebody / Flip & Fill

Original Post: Dancemania-EX.com lives!!! Apologies for the complete lack of updates, but I’ve been busy the past year. I also lost a lot of motivation for continuing the site given that Universal didn’t bother releasing anything during it’s 20th anniversary in 2016. It seemed that Dancemania was all but dead…

Then today, out of nowhere, I noticed a listing for a new Dancemania album! That’s right, this October will see the release of Dancemania -20th Anniversary Special Edition-. At first I thought the title didn’t make any sense, since the first release was back in April of 1996. But then I realized that if the 1st anniversary was in 1997, then technically 2017 would indeed be the 20th. Of course, this doesn’t explain why the 10th anniversary was celebrated in 2006.

But I digress, the important thing is Dancemania is back! Presumably Atsushi Sekimoto is still at Universal and spearheaded the effort to commemorate 20+ years of Dancemania. Details are sparse on the release. CD Japan’s description mentions it’ll once again feature the best of ’90s dance music. Unfortunately, it’ll only be a single disc release. Since Universal lost the rights to many EMI artists when they bought out EMI, it’ll be interesting to see exactly what tracks they’ll include.

Meanwhile, Japanese Dancemania fans continue to keep its spirit alive. Earlier this year they held another Dancemania Birthday party and even had the one and only Mitsugu “Red Monster” Matsumoto as a special guest. You can see videos of the event here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/dancemaniabirthday?f=videos&vertical=default&src=hash

Pre-order at CDJapan.

Feb 22

The 20th anniversary of Dancemania 1’s release is just a couple of months away. And while Universal don’t yet have anything planned to celebrate, a bunch of dedicated Dancemania fans will be holding an unofficial event to commemorate the momentous occasion. The event will be held at Stella Asakusa in Tokyo on Sunday, April 10, with an entrance fee of 2,000 yen (or 1,500 if you bring the flyer or a Dancemania CD). More details can be found here: http://tweetvite.com/event/DancemaniaBIRTHDAY

Expect a myriad of styles to be played, including classic eurodance, eurobeat, bubblegum dance, trance and hardcore. DJs include Hyuji, kazpulse, B, Anvil, DJ KIMO, DJ mAsa, Takahiro Aoki, and StackStorm. It seems that the DJs will also bring their personal Dancemania collections, so this is a chance to see all of the Dancemania CDs lined up, and perhaps even some special promotional releases as well. It should be a great time for Dancemania fans!

Nov 11

Dancemania -Let’s Party-
Release Date: 11/11/15
Price: 1000 yen
Total Length: 1:17:03

Dancemania lives! Oh, and so do I 😀 As you may or may not have noticed, the blog hasn’t really been updated for a few months now. In addition to a lack of motivation and being busy, there just hasn’t been all that much to write about. I intended on starting things up again next year with a renewed focus (sorry, no more non-dance Exit Tunes releases), but had to break my hiatus to bring news of a new Dancemania release!

That’s right, after a break of its own, Dancemania comes back with a new digital release. The last release in the series was Zipmania All Best Mix almost two years ago exactly. And while a digital release isn’t exactly ideal, it’s nice to know that Universal still think that the Dancemania brand still has value. The album art even has the squiggly mascot! Here’s hoping this means that there’ll be a proper anniversary release next year, which will mark 20 years since the release of Dancemania 1 back in 1996.

Now for the bad news: the tracklist. It’s mostly EDM, which is fine since that’s what dance music sounds like today. What’s not okay is including tracks like “Beauty and a Beat” or “Hangover” from 2012. Thankfully, there are some more recent tracks that actually debuted in 2015, but they’re too few and far between. I wouldn’t mind if Dancemania returned as an EDM mix series, but put some effort into it, Universal!

The album is available on iTunes Japan as well as other Japanese digital stores.

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Nov 3

Let’s Go! Champagne-Man – EP
Release Date: 8/11/14
Price: 500 yen

Another new Funkot EP from DJ Jet Baron. Includes a new 2014 remix of “Summer Rising.” Visit Universal’s official website for more info

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Nov 2

Enaker’s High – EP
Release Date: 7/11/14
Price: 500 yen

New EP from DJ Jet Baron, known for bringing the Funkot (Indonesian happy hardcore) sound to Japan. Also features a track from KazuyaP. Visit Universal’s official website for more info

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Sep 19

Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

Well, here we are at the end of an era. After the release of Anime*Mix in January of ’09, all was quiet on the Hime Trance front until EMI’s surprise decision to finally release Hime Trance 4 in 2010. Keep in mind that Hime Trance 3 had been released in 2007. Was the wait worth it?

In a word, hell yeah. Okay, that was two words, but one wouldn’t have been able to describe my love for the album. Most of it came down to Delaction, who produced 4 new incredible songs for the album, but there’s a lot of awesomeness to be found overall, which you can read about in my review.

This marked the end of Trance Paradise, unfortunately, but at least it went out with a bang. I hope you guys had a fun time going down memory lane. If there’s any interest in a similar series on Mega Trance or Super Best Trance, let me know.

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Sep 18

Hime Trance Anime*Mix
Release Date: 1/21/09
Price: 2171 yen

After three relatively disappointing releases in a row, the Hime Trance series finally got back on track with Anime*Mix. EMI finally stopped being cheap and commissioned a lot of new songs, and it made all the difference. The album was fresh, fun, and varied, with nary a bad track in sight. I did a full review a few years ago, and I still consider it a favorite. Sadly, as with Hime Trance Speed, it would never end up getting a sequel.

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Sep 17

Hime Trance Tsukasa Mix
Release Date: 11/12/08
Price: 1886 yen

After a Best release and a Speed off-shoot, it was certainly time for a proper Hime Trance 4, right? Whelp, we got another spinoff instead. Tsukasa was often labeled as the “queen of Hime Trance,” so she got a mixed album featuring pretty much all of her songs up to that point. It’s not a bad selection, but the nonstop mix is only 40 minutes, and there are only 3 or so new tracks. That said, it was worth it for an epic rendition of “Eternal Blaze,” which would end up shaping Delaction’s sound for the next few albums.

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Sep 16

Hime Trance Speed
Release Date: 7/30/08
Price: 1886 yen

I was so excited when this was first announced, thinking that it would bring about a resurgence of the Dancemania Speed series. Well, it brought back repeats from the series, at least. Most of the songs still held up well, but “Butterfly” was in desperate need of an updated remix and “Willy…” still has the outro from “Smile” for some reason. The only new Dancemania remix was “Girlfriend,” which I thought was fantastic. It’s a shame they never identified the remixer, though it sounds almost as if Saifam remixed the DJ Ten remix.

The album also includes a few new J-core remixes of Hime Trance tracks. “Paya Paya” and “Doubt” ended up great, but the DJ 92 tracks sound oddly hollow.

Unfortunately, EMI never moved forward with more Hime Trance Speed releases. The album just serves as a painful reminder that we never got a Jenny Rom trance remix.

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Sep 15

Hime Trance Best
Release Date: 5/14/08
Price: 2171 yen

Okay, so after Trance Paradise Best, EMI were surely out of repeats, right? Nope, instead of giving us the long-awaited Hime Trance 4, they decided to do a best-of album for Hime Trance instead. And, since they had already used the best tracks (the EMI remixes) on Trance Paradise Best, they went with another angle and collected only the Japanese-language tracks.

It’s a decent collection of songs, with about 7-8 new tracks thrown in, but the reliance on repeats was getting ridiculously tiresome. I will say, however, that it has my favorite “Zankoku” trance remix ever.

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Sep 14

Trance Paradise – The Best 1999~2008
Release Date: 2/14/08
Price: 2838 yen

The beginning of 2008 should have seen the release of Hime Trance 4 or Trance Paradise 6, so naturally EMI just released another excuse for repeats instead. The title is a bit misleading as well, since the Trance Paradise series at that point was less than 4 years old. Instead, the title refers to the beginning of the trance boom in 1999. As such, the first disc spans a decade of trance, with songs from the Trancemania days all the way to Trance Paradise 5. The final 3 tracks on disc 1 are also brand new.

Disc 2 focuses almost exclusively on the various EMI remixes that had appeared over the course of the series. It also has 3 new tracks, the best of which being Delaction’s remix of “Neraiuchi,” though I was hoping they’d add the vocals.

TP Best wasn’t a bad release overall, but at this point I was getting really tired of the endless repeats…

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Sep 13

Hime Trance 3
Release Date: 8/22/07
Price: 1886 yen

Had EMI stuck to the original schedule, Hime Trance 3 should have been released in January of 2007. Instead, it was 7 months late thanks to Hostrance distractions. And unfortunately, the repeats that so heavily dominated Hostrance started to infect Hime Trance as well. There was only one new EMI remix here, a Shohei Matsumoto remix of “Natsu Monogatari.” All of the other EMI songs were just repeats from Trance Paradise 5. But what really pissed me off was the inclusion of the original version of “Dam Dariram.” I couldn’t believe the balls they had to pretend it was anywhere close to trance.

And that’s the big problem with Hime Trance 3: it wasn’t all trance. For some bizarre reason there’s a whole section of non-trance songs that just sound weirdly out of place. The worst offender (aside from the aforementioned “Dam Dariram”) was the DJ Kaya dance remix of “Wake Up,” which was really odd since there as already and incredible DJ Kaya trance remix of the song.

The album wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. The new tracks from Japanese producers were fantastic, including the Middle-Eastern flavored “MAGICA” and the DJ Kousuke-produced “Friends.” Sadly, “Friends” would be the last track he produced for Trance Paradise, and I think it was one of the last tracks he produced, period.

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Sep 12

Hostrance 2
Release Date: 6/27/07
Price: 2381 yen

I didn’t think it could get any worse than the first Hostrance, but its sequel proved me wrong. Hostrance 2 is pretty much all repeats, and once again the few new tracks were ruined by hosts talking over them. The first Hostrance at least had “That’s the Way” as a saving grace, but there’s not a single new EMI remix here.

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Sep 11

Trance Paradise 5
Release Date: 5/23/07
Price: 1886 yen

Now this is more like it! Trance Paradise 5 was about 8 months late, but it was a return to form after two awful releases (Cover Trance and Hostrance). EMI commissioned a lot of new songs for the release, including no less than 6 Dancemania remixes. My personal favorites were the Delaction remix of “Dub-I-Dub” (which made up for the ho-hum Dank-One remix on Hime Trance) and the amazingly epic Nasca Joker remix of “Beautiful Man.” The resurgence of “Beautiful Man” was a truly perplexing thing. It had appeared once on Dancemania in 1999, and I remember always loving the song, so I was ecstatic when it reappeared on Dancemania Treasure, and even more excited when it got a brand new trance remix.

“Up,” “Hung Up,” “You Raise Me Up,” (notice a trend?) and “Sky High” round out the new remixes. “Up” suffered from a lack of verses, but DJ Kaya and DJ Joker managed to infuse “Sky High” with more energy than the original DJ Kaya mix.

There were also 5 new Japanese originals from various DJs like Oriental Space and Heavens Wire. “Day Break” is the best of the bunch, somehow being both mellow and high-energy at the same time.

I do think that overall Trance Paradise 4 ended up being a more solid album, if only because TP5 had some unfortunate song choices when it came to licensed tracks. I was never a huge Handz Up fan, so the Cascada song was useless to me. And “Carlito (Cannon Cracker Remix)” is pretty lousy compared to Delaction’s superior version.

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Sep 10

Release Date: 1/31/07
Price: 2381 yen

Imagine you’re EMI and you’ve just come off a year with two hit albums in the form of Hime Trance 1 and 2. On the 1-year anniversary of the release of Hime Trance you’d obviously release Hime Trance 3 in order to capitalize on the success of the series, right? If you said, “yes,” then you’re not stupid enough to be EMI.

Theoretically, Hostrance should have been a companion series to Hime Trance featuring songs with male vocals (Captain Jack, anyone?). Instead, we got repeats from Hime Trance and random talking. Technically, there was one new remix in the form of “That’s the Way,” which ended up really good. There were also 4 new tracks from Heavens Wire, DJ Kaya, and Oriental Space, but they were mostly ruined by “host calls.” This was truly an awful release that really showed how cheap and lazy EMI could get.

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