When I hear the term ‘Japanese idol pop‘, two names that first come to mind are Momoe Yamaguchi and Akina Nakamori. That’s my opinion though, as both were quite different artistically than most of their peers – Yamaguchi and Nakamori stood as sort of femme-fatale figures, capable of powerful delivery, whose music was often dark and/or provocative. They were certainly huge back in the day, but even then, the bubbly sugar pop dominated the scene, and it continues to do so to this day. I’m definitely not trying to make it sound as if it was a bad thing – the 80s produced a great deal of amazing idol-singers, and there are some newer artists I’m also fond of.
Music-wise I particularly love the 80s, and my previous great discovery from that time was Yukiko Okada – her catchy music and the tragic story gripped my heart. My most recent unearthed 80s gem is Yuki Saito. I did hear about her before, but only in the context of the timeless 80s anime Maison Ikkoku and the superb song used for that show – 悲しみよこんにちは (Kanashimi yo Konnichi wa – ‘Hello Sadness’). It was composed by Tamaki Koji of 安全地帯 (Anzen Chitai) fame.
However, I soon found out, that there’s much more to her career than an anime opening theme. Continue reading →
I’m not sure if it’s anime overdose, me getting old or anime getting worse, but I must say I watched very few series last year – the number is even lower if I only count the shows which actually aired over the last 12 months. So, there was the always solid Natsume Yuujinchou with its 6th season, the wrap-up to my beloved Monogatari series – Owarimonogatari 2nd Season (which did bring some closure to the franchise, but it was missing the sparks that captivated me almost 10 years ago, when all this started); Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e, aka Welcome to the Classroom of the Elite – that intrigued me for a while, but ended up being half-assed about everything; as always hilarious Shokugeki no Souma S3, and light Masamune-kun no Revenge. So when I suddenly felt an urge to watch a decent anime, I approached Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) very cautiously, without huge expectations. I was positively surprised. Intended and non-intended spoilers ahead! →
BABYMETAL managed to combine idol culture with metal. Halcali or Rhymeberry mix it with hip-hop. Seiko Omoori, just like the legendary Jun Togawa back in the day goes for the anti-idol gimmick. My newest jam, Dance for Philosophy, is a cool 4-piece Japanese girl group, which puts their own, refreshing and bouncy spin on the genre. Continue reading →