My Top-5 J-Rock Artists

My Top-5 J-Rock Artists

This text was initially posted on the RJM Discord server.

5. BAND-MAID®

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BAND-MAID® are a peculiar group. I first discovered them through someone’s YouTube reaction video (don’t ask). They don’t really look the part and judging by their visual you would really think that they ought to sound like this. Imagine my surprise when I heard a very solid rock music coupled with not a cheesy anime vocal that I pretty much expected to hear. They really did rock. At first I found it just amusing, five girls dressed as cute maids making the most contrasting with their image music possible. But as I listened more and more I just forgot about this weird gimmick and came to appreciate them for what they did. I love how they sound: hard rock and power metal elements in their music are well-combined with Saiki’s and Miku’s vocals and the end product is something very distinct.

4. Yousei Teikoku

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Yousei Teikoku is the closest Japanese band I know of that creates the type of music I enjoy from the western musicians — gothic metal. If you disregard Yui Itsuki’s vocals their music sounds like something Epica or Delain would produce. What sets them apart is the way they incorporate other elements into their music. Many of their songs feature heavy electronic distortions, and you shouldn’t be surprised by the dark ambient ring to their sound. The other thing that makes them notable is Yui’s vocal. She uses her range extremely well: high notes give way to low whispers, sweet and cheery expression can be replaced with haunting and cold when needed. All in all their music is very melodic and extremely satisfying to listen to if this is your cup of tea.

3. Kishida Kyoudan & THE Akeboshi Rockets

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I don’t know if it’s only me, but I feel like Kishida Kyoudan & THE Akeboshi Rockets have a very distinct sound to them. It’s funny, but some of their songs somehow remind me of Russian rock of 80’s and 90’s. I may be out of my mind but that’s how I feel. Their music aside, I just low how sharp and clear ichigo’s vocals are. Her voice is very distinct to a point where you won’t mistake her for anyone else if you listen to her even once. Many people know this band through their many anisong appearances, but I found them when I had my annual ‘I must find some good-sounding doujin artists’ tic. By the time this occurred they have already had their memorable anime debut with Highschool of the Dead, but I was just not aware. I think they are quite known to people who are into Touhou stuff.

2. Ling Tosite Sigure

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I don’t think there is anyone quite like Ling Tosite Sigure. They qualify as progressive rock, alternative rock, post hardcore and a shitload more genres but they may as well be considered their own genre. Shit TK does is out of this world, really. His music is distinct, his voice is distinct, and you can’t ever possibly forget his creations. Even in his collaborations he leaves an enormous stamp of his music. Take his collaboration with Aimer for example. The song ‘us’ is unlike anything Aimer has done before; TK managed to make Aimer use her voice almost to its limit.
Ling Tosite Sigure’s own music is a glorious mess of seemingly disjointed guitar riffs, metallic-sounding drums and interconnected vocals of TK and 345. Yet somehow it works and it works amazingly. Their music manages to make me listen to them more and more and more and more.

1. Haruka to Miyuki

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Haruka to Miyuki to me is a duo that not just creates music, it’s a duo that tells me a story (mind that I don’t know Japanese, it’s just the way their music makes me feel). By definition they are a folk-rock duo, but it goes far beyond that. The way their lyrics are constructed makes it seem like Haruka and Miyuki are haveing a conversation during singing, or are telling a story together. Their sound is dominated by amazing drum and guitar work, and they are one of the few artists whose live performance videos I enjoy more than their studio albums or music videos.

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My Top-5 J-Pop Artists

My Top-5 J-Pop Artists

This text was initially posted on the RJM Discord server.

5. Leo Ieiri

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I discovered Leo Ieiri when I was lurking in the Interwebs searching for my favorite Japanese artists’ subbed interviews. One of the random interviews was that of a cute girl from a singing competition of some kind. I found out that her name was Leo Ieiri and that she was singing the song called “Shine”. Her emotional vocals and clear and melodic voice instantly gripped me and I started to frantically Google her name in hopes of finding more of her songs. Search results told me that her debut album was scheduled to be released in a month from that date. So yes, I discovered Leo even before she released her first studio album. What I like the most about her is how funky her songs sound, and how happy she looks while singing. Her songs are not the pinnacle of J-pop’s evolution, in fact they are very much in line with the industry, but I still love her for her voice and for the feeling that I get from witnessing someone’s career unfold before me from the very beginning. She’s also mad pretty.

4. Sayuri

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Sanketsu Shoujo Sayuri — this name popped up in my YouTube recommendations when I was looking for some street performance videos. Immediately interested (as I have a good history of stumbling upon good shit), I clicked on the video and got instantly smitten. A petite raincoat-wearing girl, standing at a Shibuya crossroad, holding yellow guitar and singing… She was not singing, she was pouring her soul into that microphone before the dumbfounded crowd that gathered to watch a street performance on a rainy evening in Tokyo. To say that Sayuri is emotional is to say nothing. Each and every song, each and every performance, each and every music video or a live show is electrified with her energy, her emotions overflowing and flooding space, time and senses. She takes you on a journey of her expressions. You don’t just listen to Sayuri, you experience her.

3. YUI

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Oh YUI, my first true love in the J-Pop world. Most people came to know about her through her various anisong performances, but it was different for me. More… trivial. It was my birthday and people were sending me their best wishes through various ways, and one of my friends decided to congratulate me with a song. That song was YUI – Happy birthday to you you. It was a love at first listen. And it was an all-encompassing love: I loved her voice, I absolutely adored her music and guitar play, I liked how she looked. Her music quickly became a mainstay in my playlist, and she was the first singer whose songs I never skipped — I loved them all. I even watched the movie she starred in — Midnight Sun — even though my opinion on Japanese cinema industry is quite low. It’s hard to say if I liked the movie on its own merits or if I liked it because of YUI, but yeah, I did like it. And even though she ended her music career, she still has a place in my heart.

2. Polkadot Stingray

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One of my more recent discoveries, this band managed to capture my heart like no one did before or since aside from a certain girl I’m sure none of you can guess the name of. They are funky, they are fun, they fill me up with sunshine whenever I listen to their songs. It’s hard for me to pinpoint the main cause of my infatuation with them, so I’ll blame it equally on Shizuku’s quirky voice and their upbeat and spirit-lifting music. Every time they perform they look like they enjoy all this shithousery so much I can’t help but smile. Their good vibes are contagious and I can’t help but feel better after I receive the healthy dose of Polkadot Stingray.

1. Aimer

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Pretend that you’re surprised. Yes, I love Aimer. Yes, my love for Aimer is borderline obsessive. It’s actually quite hard to put into words just how much does she mean to me. Her music is not just music. Her songs are not just songs. Her voice is not just a voice. They are special. She’s my escapism, my drug, my sedative. Listening to her is one of the few ways I can relax and calm down. She never failed to calm me down. Whenever I listen to her I feel bewitched, taken, enchanted. When I listen to her, nothing matters. I cried when I watched her Budokan live. She’s just so gorgeous and cute and amazing and happy there, I just couldn’t help but cry. I listen to her daily, I feel really uncomfortable if I haven’t heard anything Aimer for a day. I’m addicted, and I love it. Yes I’m aware that this part makes no coherent sense, I don’t care, just bear with me.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am her biggest fan. Doesn’t matter if someone has listened to her more than I did, or if someone knows all her lyrics word by word. I just simply know that no one feels the way I do. There is a person that understands me and supports me, and I’m happy that this person also likes Aimer.
I am the biggest fan of Aimer because she has become the part of my life.

Top-10 Anime Endings Spring 2018

Top-10 Anime Endings Spring 2018
  1. BiSH — HiDE the BLUE [3D Kanojo: Real Girl]
  2. NakamuraEmi — Kakatte Koi yo [Megalo Box]
  3. Yu Takahashi — Pride [Major 2nd]
  4. EMPiRE — Black to the dreamlight [Black Clover]
  5. Kanako Itou — Amadeus [Steins;Gate 0]
  6. Coalamode. — Hana Tori Kaze Tsuki [Boruto: Naruto Next Generations]
  7. Miyuki Sawashiro — Seine no Kaze ni… (Adieu) [Lupin III: Part 5]
  8. XX:me — Hitori [Darling in the FranXX]
  9. Tamaru Yamada — yes [Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory]
  10. Toki Asako — Shadow Monster [Gurazeni]

Top-10 Anime Openings Spring 2018

Top-10 Anime Openings Spring 2018
  1. Kanako Itou — Fatima [Steins;Gate 0]
  2. Vickeblanka — Black Rover [Black Clover]
  3. MAN WITH A MISSION — Winding Road [Golden Kamuy]
  4. UVERworld — ODD FUTURE [Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season]
  5. SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Uru — Binary Star [Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou]
  6. Luck Life — Symbol [Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – Toutsuki Ressha-hen]
  7. Nao Touyama — Touka no Manimani [Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi]
  8. Lyn — BREAK IN TO BREAK OUT [Persona 5 the Animation]
  9. Tamaru Yamada — Even…if [Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory]
  10. fripSide — divine criminal [Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru]

Top-20 Japanese Songs of 2017

Top-20 Japanese Songs of 2017

To limit the presence of some artists I decided to limit each to 2 songs max.

20. NakamuraEmi — Don’t
19. REOL — ChiruChiru
18. (K)NoW_NAME:Ayaka Tachibana — Freesia
17. fhána — Moon River
16. Sayuri — Heikousen
15. ONE III NOTES — Shadow and Truth
14. HARUHI — Sora no Parade
13. Mio Yamazaki — Noise
12. tricot — Yosoiki
11. DADARAY — Ikitsukushi
10. BiSH — My landscape
9. BAND-MAID — Don’t you tell ME
8. Polkadot Stingray — Electric Public
7. MAN WITH A MISSION — Dead End in Tokyo
6. JUNNA — Here
5. vivid undress — Sayonara Dilemma
4. Haruka to Miyuki — WILL (Ending Note)
3. Aimer — zero
2. Polkadot Stingray — Benikurage
1. Aimer — Kogoesouna Kisetsu Kara

Top-15 Anime Insert Songs

Top-15 Anime Insert Songs

15. Mika Kobayashi — Bios [Guilty Crown]
14. Girls Dead Monster — Shine Days [Angel Beats!]
13. Akino Arai — Torikago no Yume [Aria the Origination]
12. the pillows — Hybrid Rainbow [FLCL]
11. Sanae Kobayashi — Tsunaida Te ni Kiss wo [D.Gray-man]
10. Mika Kobayashi — BRE@TH//LESS [Aldnoah.Zero]
9. Mika Kobayashi & mpi — Perfect Time [Nanatsu no Taizai]
8. TeddyLoid feat. Debra Zeer — D City Rock [Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt]
7. Tommy heavenly6 — Unlimited Sky [Mobile Suit Gundam 00]
6. Mika Kobayashi — Bauklötze [Shingeki no Kyojin]
5. Olivia inspi’ Reira ~Trapnest~ — Recorded Butterflies [Nana]
4. Mika Kobayashi — Before My Body is Dry [Kill la Kill]
3. Aya Hirano — God Knows [Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu]
2. Cyua — Blumenkranz [Kill la Kill]
1. Aimer — Last Stardust [Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season]