Boom Boom Satellites Ends Their Career with Kiznaiver opening

Boom Boom Satellites
The Boom Boom Satellites burst on the anime music scene with “Shut Up and Explode”, a song that packed the kind of energy that would help the song stay true to its title. The song, used as the opening theme to Xam’d: Lost Memories, basically put them on the map, and they’d go on to do other anime works including “Broken Mirror”, used in Gundam Unicorn.

So there’s a measure of regret when they announced that their song, “Lay Your Hands On Me”, used as the opening to the anime Kiznaiver, would prove to be their last. The reason for that is that vocalist/guitarist Michiyuki Kawashima experienced a brain tumor relapse. As a result, he’s suffering from partial paralysis and can no longer perform. This development had forced Boom Boom Satellites to cancel their concerts in Osaka and Tokyo last November.

Still, they’ve had a rich, 20-year career, as they’ve entertained fans in both Japan and the US where they made appearances at major US conventions like the NY Anime Festival back in 2010. Their compositional credits in the anime realm includes “Back In Black”, which serves as the main theme for the upcoming anime adaptation of Ninja Slayer.

So even though their performances will fade into the waves of time, there’s never a better moment to relive their best-known work, even now, “Shut Up and Explode” where the refrains of “Run Away” will forever burn into my memories:

Anison Singer Aimer Collaborates with Taka from ONE OK ROCK and Ling Tosite Sigure’s TK

Aimer
Since her debut on NO.6’s opening theme, it’s safe to say that Aimer’s stock has been soaring pretty high. Her music career has propelled her forward, giving her opportunities to work with composer Hiroyuki Sawano on Gundam Unicorn’s signature song, “RE:IAM” and then Yoko Kanno herself on the emotional “Dare ka, Umi Wo” from Terror in Resonance where she earned high praise for her ability to convey the desperation and glass-like fragility.

And the collaboration offers don’t seem to stop coming either. One of her next projects has her working with vocalist Taka from ONE OK ROCK. This particular project will be pretty meaningful for her because she has expressed an interest in collaborating with ONE OK ROCK in the past. Together, the two will perform on the song titled “insane dream”, featuring Aimer’s thick voice alongside Taka’s vocals.

If you’re curious about how that collaboration will go, here’s a sneak peek of the song on Youtube:

But Taka’s not the only artist that will work with Aimer on this single. There’s also TK from the prog. rock band Ling Tosite Sigure who helped Aimer produce the song titled “us”. Although this has been announced, there’s really no preview of the song to be had anywhere. But given Ling Tosite Sigure’s oeuvre, it should prove to be a unique track.

Finally, later this year, Aimer will be working with Yojirou Noda from the pretty popular band RADWIMPS! I hadn’t heard of this particular group until about a month ago, but when I sampled their music, it was pleasant and easygoing. RADWIMPS’s music packs quite a bit of atmosphere in their music and I figure that meshes well with Makoto Shinkai’s works. Whether Aimer will also see time on a Makoto Shinkai anime is anyone’s guess though.

Anisong Matsuri at Anime Expo 2016 Features Concerts by Sphere, JAM Project, and T.M. Revolution

Anison Matsuri Anime Expo
A couple weeks ago, we announced that the J-pop artist MICHI would be at Anime Expo. Based on the YouTube videos featuring her vocals, I concluded that she was competent, but not the kind of singer that would draw crowds to Anime Expo.

All of that changed when Anime Expo announced that they’d be hosting the Anisong World Matsuri in conjunction with the convention. And boy did they get some big names to commit into showing up.

The collection of singers feels a lot like a who’s who of Anison. You’ve got acts like JAM Project who’ve seemingly been around forever. New fans know them for their One Punch Man opening theme, but these guys go all the way back to 2000 when they debuted with “Kaze ni Nare” for Éx-Driver. Their better-known body of work includes Scrapped Princess’s, Gravion, and Mazinkaiser opening themes.

But that’s not all. There’s Sphere, whose singers might as well be the K-ON girls (with the addition of Haruka Tomatsu and Ayahi Takagaki thrown in for good measure), FLOW, whose work on Code Geass is pretty damned legendary, and T.M. Revolution whose work really needs no introduction since he’s collaborated with Nana Mizuki on Valvrave’s opening theme but whose work on stuff like Gundam SEED’s “Invoke” is far better known (and far better sounding). There’s more artists that you can peek at above, but that’s a pretty formidable lineup to say the least.

Unlike many of the other conventions, this one’s practically in my backyard. If you check on Daisuki’s website, tickets are still not yet available for purchase. But for an event of this caliber, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out. So watch this space for updates and hope you’ll look forward to my concert reports like the ones I do pretty much every year!

Persona Artists Lotus Juice and Shihoko Hirata Perform at Otakon’s Pre-Con Festival

otakon-banner
The convention guest list continues to add on Japanese singers to their roles and this time, it’s Otakon that’s putting out their announcements. This year, rapper Lotus Juice and singer Shihoko Hirata will be making their appearances at the Otakon pre-convention festival, the Otakon Matsuri. Lotus Juice and Shihoko Hirata will be performing at the street festival on August 11 that takes place before the convention actually begins.

lotus juice rapperWhether you fall into the category of Persona fan or, like me, simply enjoy hearing from artists who’ve collaborated with composer Taku Iwasaki, this is a treat! Although my first exposure to Lotus Juice came with the battle theme from Persona 3, which he did with Shoji Meguro, my favorite performance of his was when he collaborated with Taku Iwasaki, rapping in Katanagatari‘s almighty “Bahasa Palus”, a piece that shines in its pure, unadulterated epicness! Videos of those works below if you haven’t heard him:

I doubt he’ll be able to perform “Bahasa Palus” at Otakon though. The Persona stuff is probably fair game.

Shihoko HirataAs for Shihoko Hirata, I’m not familiar with her works on the whole. The only time I’ve her vocals have been when they’ve featured prominently on Persona 4‘s game introduction and the anime’s opening theme. Compared to Lotus Juice, I don’t have strong opinions of her work in that I think her voice is suitable when it comes to matching Persona 4‘s overall atmosphere. She’s not someone who’s capable of blowing me away though. Serviceable and well… at least it’s not squealy J-pop. Examples of her work below:

As is the case with East Coast conventions, I won’t be able to make it, so it’ll be interesting to hear second-hand reports.

Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) Film Features Soundtrack by RADWIMPS

Kimi no Na Wa Your Name
If there’s any certainty in the anime industry, it’s that any work by Makoto Shinkai will have dazzling visuals accompanied by a solid soundtrack. Ever since I first listened to Voices of a Distant Star, I enjoyed Tenmon’s short, sweet music. That appreciation reached a high point with 5 cm/sec, which featured the famous “One More Time, One More Chance” melody and insert song that captured love over long gaps of time and space really nicely. His subsequent work for Garden of Words did not feature Tenmon, but KASHIWA Daisuke did a stellar job on the score as well.

So after Garden of Words, Makoto Shinkai’s next work is titled Kimi no Na wa (Your Name). Unlike a tale of two long-distance lovers, this film’s premise revolves around a body swap, where a city boy finds himself in a country girl’s body, and vice versa. But while this premise isn’t exactly something to look forward to (not like it’s a premise that hasn’t been done before), what I did enjoy was RADWIMPS’ work on the soundtrack. You can hear one of their songs, “Zen Zen Zense” in the trailer below:

Talk about an energetic soft rock track! With the guitars going off in the background, the whole tone of RADWIMPS’ music reminds me of something you’d get out of all the soft rock groups they used in Honey and Clover, which makes me wonder if this anime will also turn into a coming-of-age anime. RADWIMPS do pretty much all of the music for Kimi no Na wa. Based on the trailer, I can say that Shinkai’s got a lot of solid collaborators in the music department and this work will be no exception. The band’s leader, Yojiro Noda, had met Shinkai two years ago and subsequently became involved with this film early on.

That said, RADWIMPS has made quite a name for themselves. Two of their singles, “Order Made” and “Dada” managed to hit number one on Oricon’s single charts. They are pretty popular in Japan, and even if I’ve not heard of them, their stuff is pretty eclectic. At least, if this video is of any indication because the Kimi na wa trailer was much more conservative. It’s pleasant though!

Fans of RADWIMPS should totally link me to your favorite works via YouTube. Mostly as a way for me to get up to speed on who they are and what they do.

ZAQ Comes to AnimeNEXT 2016

ZAQ Singer
I’ve got a soft spot for solid singers, I’ve got an even softer spot for solid singers who can actually compose music. That’s kind of why I enjoy ZAQ as an artist. When she got a chance to perform her first single, “Sparkling Daydream” for Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, she went out of her way to compose the song and write the lyrics. Mad props! Since then, she’s gone on to do other works like “Alteration” from Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, and, lately, performing Wareru “Doukoku” for Concrete Revolutio ~ Superhuman Phantasmagoria and penning a song for Luna Haruna titled “Ripple Effect” for High School Fleet. Needless to say, ZAQ is pretty talented.

With all that anime work she’s gotten lately, it was a matter of time before she’d be making appearances at anime conventions. And so, in June, ZAQ will be making an appearance at AnimeNEXT in Atlantic City, New Jersey as the convention’s first musical guest. On top of that, it’ll be her first North American appearance, giving her an opportunity to show US anime fans what she’s capable of on the performance, but hopefully the compositional aspects of anime pop music as well.

Unfortunately, East Coast conventions are still a thing I haven’t been able to make time for. But I’d be interested to hear what comes out of her concert and panel. Especially because I don’t really know a lot about her beyond the fact that she’s gotten a lot of anime work as of late, which means she’s gotta be doing something right. Or maybe that’s just with Kyoto Animation?

J-pop Singer MICHI the First Anime Expo Music Guest

Michi J-pop
As the summer anime convention season gets under way, it’s inevitable that many J-pop singers for those anime OP/EDs will get a chance to strut their stuff around the world. For Anime Expo, the first artist they’ve announced for the 2016 Expo is MICHI, a relatively new anison artist who got her career started on the theme song to Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers-.

Her debut single, titled “Cry for the Truth” showcases her vocals, which are huskier than what I’m used to hearing from many other artists who tend to squeal with glee. MICHI’s performance, in this instance, is actually measured, if just a bit safe and boring. It’s not enough to make me want to look at her subsequent works, but there might just be something there.

In case you want to take a peek at her performance chops, here’s a short version of “Cry for the Truth” from Rokka:

As I sorta hinted at above, she’s not limited to just her performance for Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers- theme song. Subsequent works include the theme song “Checkmate!?”, used in Dagashi Kashi’s opening. That’s followed by her next single, “Realistic!” which will be the ending theme to the upcoming series, Kuromukuro.

MICHI’s appearance at Anime Expo will be her first appearance in North America. Other fun facts include her being the first Anison artist to come out of Okinawa. It makes me wonder whether there’s not a whole lot of music talent scouting done in that region, else it’d be hard to imagine why anyone would take notice of that fact.

Anyway, it’d be nice if anyone who enjoys her works can comment. I don’t care about her too much either way and her appearance at Anime Expo isn’t the kind of appearance that can pull in crowds and get people excited like a FictionJunction. I’m interested in seeing what other artists start coming out of the woodworks to headline an Anime Convention Concert for this summer though.

Momoiro Clover Z American Concert Tour Includes New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii

Momoclo_Koko_Natsu_Promo
Momoiro Clover Z, the wonderful gaggle of idol pop stars that includes Kanako Momota, Shiori Tamai, Ayaka Sasaki, Momoka Ariyasu, and Reni Takagi, have announced that they will tour North America this year. The tour, dubbed the Crossing America Ultra Live, will consist of 4 performances total and will take place in New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii. This announcement came at the tail end of their Japanese concert tour that’s quickly coming to a close.

This concert tour won’t mark Momoiro Clover Z’s first appearance in North America. Last year, they performed in concert at Anime Expo alongside Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons who represented the glam rock band KISS. The two made for an oddball performance as they sang “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina”, a collaboration worth of a 2015 MTV Video Music Award.

But anime fans will want to seek them out for their theme song performances, many of which are pretty memorable. “Mugen no Ai” from Bodacious Space Pirates proved to be pretty popular and it was hard to find people who didn’t like the deliciously obnoxious blend of traditional Japanese fare mixed with high-speed shoujo rap in “Nippon Egao Hyakkei” from Joshiraku. In addition to those songs, they’ll also perform a version of the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal: Season III opening theme.

Eir Aoi Performs Solo Concert in New York

Aldnoah Zero ED Theme Eir Aoi
Eir Aoi, the artist behind such hits as MEMORIA from Fate/Zero and more recently, Lapis Lazuli from The Heroic Legend of Arslan will be performing her first solo concert in New York at New York City’s Gramercy Theater on May 25. Tickets for the event can be obtained through Livenation though Crunchyroll Premium subscribers are eligible for special access including a talk session with Eir Aoi and a post-concert “meet & greet”.

Eir Aoi’s musical portfolio should be readily recognizable among anime fans. In addition to the titles mentioned above, she’s also worked on anime like Kill la Kill and Sword Art Online. Her career as a singer has also gone over well; her latest album, D’Azur, debuted at #3 on Oricon’s weekly album chart for the week of June 22-28. I’m not a big fan of hers since I don’t think she controls her volume very well, but I’m probably in the minority on that front.

This won’t necessarily be her first concert in the US. In 2014, Eir Aoi came to Anime Expo for a special Kill la Kill event, one that was pretty well-received by those in attendance.

Koji Wada, Singer for Digimon’s Butter-fly Dies at 42

Koji Wada
Koji Wada’s “Butter-fly”, used as the theme song to many a Digimon anime has become an iconic part of the franchise. Starting with the song’s debut of the original Digimon Adventure way back in 1999. Since then, “Butter-fly” has featured prominently in such Digimon franchise productions as Digimon Adventure 02, Digimon Tamers, Digimon Frontier, Digimon: Data Squad, Digimon Xros Wars and the Digimon Adventure tri movies. Because of his work on the Digimon franchise, Koji Wada was able to perform for fans in as faraway places as Brazil and Chile.

Unfortunately, all that came to an end last week when Koji Wada died of cancer in his upper pharynx. He had been battling with cancer continuously since 2003, which caused him to take time off in 2011 when chemotherapy and surgery could not banish the cancer for good. He was still young, just 42 years old.

To celebrate his work, his agency, Solid Vox will hold a Koji Wada Farewell Event for his fans in Tokyo later this month. In addition to his work on Digimon Adventure, he performed “Honoo no Overdrive” for Transformers: Robots in Disguise in 2000 and also released 2 albums: All of My Mind and Kazakami no Oka Kara.

For those who want to listen to the clarity and passion of his performance of Digimon Adventure’s “Butter-fly” can listen to it here:

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