Hey there, and welcome to another infrequent J-music roundup!
Basically, this segment consists of me compiling a bunch of Japanese songs that I have been listening to recently and talking about them to the best of my abilities. Despite me not doing it as often as I’d like to, I still have a ton of fun with this segment and I hope you enjoy it as well.
That being said, let’s jump right in!
“What a Pastaful World / なんてスパゲティ世界” – Takeshi Washizaki
When I was first getting into the Japanese seiyuu fandom, watching random subbed videos of different events or live-streams, I kept seeing this one dude appear in them over and over again. I had no clue who he was and I always wanted to know what he was doing in all these seiyuu-related events.
Well, this guy’s name is Takeshi Washizaki, and the reason why he appears in many things with voice actors and actresses is because he usually hosts or “MCs” said anime-related events and live-streams, as well as hosting his own radio show that has featured many seiyuu.
Other than being an entertaining event MC, he is also a musician and a fantastic guitarist, actually. “What a Pastaful World” is one example of the music Takeshi-san has done, and it certainly is joyful and comedic, just like his personality. I mean, it is literally a song about pasta. But I definitely did not expect him to sing pretty damn well; his vocals are actually really nice and I can tell he does have a real career in music.
And regarding the music video, other than it being a bit… gross, it actually features a seiyuu! The woman who accompanies him in the video is Kubo Yurika, who is mainly known for playing Koizumi Hanayo in the original Love Live series.
“Can now, Can now” – Study
Man, I needed more Bokuben in my life 😀
As you may know, the harem anime series Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai was graced with a second season and premiered earlier this month. And if you know me, I love me some Bokuben. I usually don’t watch or enjoy harem anime, simply because the typical fan service can quickly get annoying for me personally. However I have seen some really enjoyable ones in the past few years such as The World God Only Knows, and of course, Amagami SS. Bokuben was also added to that list when I watched the first season a few months ago. I just enjoyed everything about it, from its comedy and even the fact that every character was lovable to me. And while there is a ton of fan service, at least it’s mostly for comedic purposes rather than trying appeal to the audience in an overtly sexual way. That being said, second season so far has been a fun experience and I can’t wait to see what spicy developments we’ll see with Nariyuki and these five girls.
The opening theme of Bokuben’s second season is pretty fun to listen to! And if you really followed this series, you may have known that the three main voice actresses (Shirashi Haruka, Tomita Miyu, Suzushiro Sayumi) were put into a seiyuu-idol unit named Study, and performed the first season’s opening theme. Well for the second season of this show and its opening song, they decided to expand the idol unit to include the other characters in this harem and their VAs, Lynn (plays Kirisu Mafuyu) and Asahina Madoka (Kominami Asumi).
I personally loved this change since you might as well bring them in. And it also made me wonder: did they make this change in order to rival the Quintessential Quintuplets seiyuu group? (i’m just joking lol)
“Natural ni Koishite / ナチュラルに恋して” by Perfume (Cover) – Sukima Switch
Extremely popular J-pop group Perfume recently released their third best album, in honor of their 15th anniversary as a group, and I have had a great time listening to their older stuff such as “Perfect Star Perfect Style”, “Voice”, “Spending All My Time”, and this song, “Natural ni Koishite”.
I randomly found this cover of “Natural ni Koishite” by musical duo Sukima Switch (famously known for their songs being featured in anime such as Isshukan Friends’ “Kanade” and “Ah Yeah!!” from Haikyuu!!) while browsing YouTube, and I was surprised at how good it was! Rather than the fully electronic-pop version by Perfume, Sukima Switch performed this track with traditional instruments and I gotta say, they killed it. I also was thrown off by the vocals at first, since I’m definitely not used to a guy singing a Perfume song (lol), but he has a really nice voice and did a great job covering this song. I just wanted to include this solid cover of a great track.
“Shiawase / シアワセ” – aiko
A lot of people who listen to Japanese music frequently probably know who aiko is, as she has been one of the more popular pop artists in Japan for a while now. While she is mostly known for her upbeat and cheerful music, I think a lot of us modern anime fans were introduced to her in a much different way.
If you watched the 2016 hit anime film Koe no Katachi, aiko was the one who wrote and performed the ending theme of that movie, “Koi wo Shita no wa”. A very emotional and sad-sounding song that certainly reflected the mood of that movie, when I first heard it during the credits, I just got chills all over cause of aiko’s incredible voice.
She recently released a best album that I’ve been enjoying and “Shiawase” is definitely one of my favorites out of the stuff I’ve listened to. It’s pure joy to hear the happier side of aiko and her music, and I think this song is a great example of that. You can hear her distinct style of music that can make you warm inside, with her wonderful voice, piano, and just the general pop vibe. If you liked aiko’s song in Koe no Katachi, I think you’d enjoy her other stuff a lot.
“Pretender” – Official HIGE DANdism
I know I’m very late on the “Pretender” popularity train (I feel like I was more into the older, fun-sounding stuff from Official HIGE DANdism) but holy hell, this track is actually really good. No wonder this was one of the most popular songs of 2019.
The way this song starts off does a good job setting up the kinds of emotions this track conveys throughout, and the transition from a calm vibe to a powerful-sounding chorus was fantastic to listen to. The memorable solos, both from the electric guitar and piano at the beginning and end of the song, were also really nice. And obviously, Fujiwara Satoshi’s vocal performance was amazing as always. As I said, at first, I was more used to Official HIGE DANdism’s older music (songs like “SWEET TWEET” and even their Man in the Mirror EP) but their newer stuff has definitely rubbed off on me.
“Kimi no Daiji ni Shiteru Mono / 君の大事にしてるもの” – SHISHAMO
While the main track on SHISHAMO’s latest single is a really nice song with its joyous vibe, I gotta say that the other songs (“Matane” and this one) were significantly better in my opinion. As a SHISHAMO fan that is so used to their more somber songs about the unfortunate aspects of love and relationships, this is another great example of classic SHISHAMO.
Asako’s vocals are still superb; she always does a really nice job conveying the particular feelings of their songs through her vocal performance. It seems like because this song is about needing attention from a significant other, Asako just sounds hella annoyed and fed up to me, which was amazing to hear (lol). And as I said earlier, while SHISHAMO has definitely started incorporating more instruments in their music in recent years, you can’t go wrong with the traditional guitar, bass and drum setup.
Also, I can already sense that a new album is coming soon…
“My Bright…” – Wakai Yuuki
I have talked about the popular seiyuu idol group i✩Ris a lot on this blog, and for good reason. They’re a fun, talented group of idols and voice actresses that have a distinct personality compared to other units… plus it has Kubota Miyu so it was a given that I was gonna get into this group lol
But rather than featuring a song that includes all six members, there have been some solid solo tracks, a lot of them being character songs from the idol franchise PriPara, that I’ve listened to. Yamakita Saki’s “Heart Crash!”, Miyutan’s “Red Flash Revolution”… but this one by Wakai Yuuki, hands down, has to be my favorite.
Yuuki-chan is known to be the shortest, most energetic and childish member of i✩Ris, and let’s just say that I absolutely did not expect her to perform a song like “My Bright…”. As you can hear, it’s a more of a metal/rock song and she absolutely killed it with her vocal performance. Hearing Yuuki sing in a significantly lower voice, as well as putting a lot of emotion into her singing, was an eye-opening and great experience. To be honest, I didn’t even know that was Yuuki singing until I looked it up; I thought that was Akaneya Himika or Saki performing that track (lol).
Regardless… this song is so hype.
“Saisaki / サイサキ” – Reol
Usually when it comes to Japanese music, I stay towards the pop and rock side of everything but surprisingly I can enjoy some EDM here and there.
Never heard of Reol before someone on Instagram recommended her music to me, but just from this one song, I really like her stuff. The beats in this are really sick and her powerful voice accompanies them nicely. But I think what grabs people’s attention is the music video of this song. Obviously very flashy and definitely reflects the rebel vibe of this song and Reol herself. I think a lot of people are reminded of the likeness of Lady Gaga when it comes to Reol, but for some reason, I immediately was reminded of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu instead (probably cause of the similar MV production lol).
Aaaand that’s all I got for you today!
Hope you thought this roundup was an interesting one, I think this list had a great amount of variety so hopefully you found a song or two that you enjoyed a lot.
In regards to future blog posts that aren’t music-related, December is coming real soon and I may do something Christmas-themed throughout that month (which will probably include stuff about Amagami SS, don’t you worry) but I’ll have to think about it. I haven’t done much on the blog this year so hopefully I can make it up to all of you next month.
Other than that, feel free to leave any thoughts about today’s music roundup, as well as recommendations of your own, in the comments section. I’d be happy to read them!
Thanks for reading!! 😀