Hi again and my apologies one more time for the delay in updating the blog. This time I won't bore you with whatever's been going in my life that is *slightly* more important than this place, but be sure that I still enjoy blogging, posting music, exposing some amazing Japanese artists to the world and get your comments, messages and emails. Yeah, the two of them that I get each 15 days... To make up for the lack of updates, I thought about doing part two to the 2006 anime music brilliantine... you know, some songs that have really caught my attention throughout season 2006 in anime. With the second part of the season starting this month, there'll surely be at least a Part III some time in the future.
So let's start with the best of the bunch, IMO. This has to be the latest OLIVIA single, a double A side with the second OP & ED of the TV adaptation of "Nana". In part 1 of the Brilliantine I posted the first OP (courtesy of Anna Tsuchiya) and ED (also sung by OLIVIA) and I wrongly reported that Anna would sing the second OP as well.
Well, it turns out that Anna is quite busy promoting her fantastic album "strip me?" and couldn't be on board for recording a track for "Nana". At the same time,"Nana"'s author Ai Yazawa was so pleased with OLIVIA being the singing voice of the character of Reira that now we have the new OP & ED sung by the latter. Enjoy (courtesy of @ YouTube) the new intro clip of "Nana" featuring the song "Wish" and sporting awesome animation and direction:
Since I previously talked a bit about "Nana" and what it is about, let's focus on OLIVIA
instead. OLIVIA is amazing. That is what you have to know first. If you are one of the 430+ people that downloaded "A little pain" and left no comment whatsoever, you know what I'm talking about. Think Amy Lee of Evanescence, only cooler and more talented. Her music can be sometimes weird, but never ceases to catch your attention. And then there's the voice ! Oddly, she has never been a popular act in Japan, and why she is not an international star is beyond me. She's the daughter of an American man and a Japanese woman, so she is bilingual and shouldn't have a problem with language barriers. The fact of increasingly composing in English has raised her popularity overseas, yet only thanks to her involvement in "Nana" are the Japanese (re)discovering her talent. For now, enjoy the next two songs. In a loud volume. And if you don't love them, don't even bother coming back... :-P
ED2: "Starless night"
Secondly, we have OP and ED of "Ouran High School Host Club", a comedy set in the world of the insanely rich high school students of Ouran Private Academy. In that school, a guy has the idea of creating an all-male Host Club, with the guys entertaining the girls with easy talk over cups of tea and cake, and seducing them with ludicrously corny lines... all for a price. In this team, the accidental entry of Haruhi will turn things upside down from the start. Initially mistaken for a boy by the rest, the girl will become a resounding success in the Host Club cross-dressing as a male student. But there will also be complications when several Host Club members start having feelings for her... A great comedy, full of likeable characters. Enjoy the opening here, thanks to orenxso @ YouTube:
That addictive song is "Sakura Kiss", by Chieko Kawabe
, a girl that started her music career in the role of Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury in the first musical they did on "Sailor Moon". Since then, she has collaborated in other TV projects, most notably contributing the ED "Be your girl" to "Elfen Lied" TV series. The ED to "Ouran..." is performed by a rock band called LAST ALLIANCE. The use they make out of this song in the final episode was very wise and moving.
It's a series I recommend, even if the ending (with the manga still ongoing) feels a bit rushed and you think they could have developed a bit more such great characters. When you reach episode 24, you'll see what I mean ^_^. Enjoy the songs:
Ouran High School Host Club
OP: "Sakura Kiss"
by Chieko Kawabe
by LAST ALLIANCE
Now it's the turn of "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" intro and outro songs. Actually, these are the OP & ED for season 2 of the series, which is ongoing with great success. Tsubasa is a manga that the CLAMP ladies started simultaneously to their other current big hit: XXXholic. The crossovers between both series abound, a resource that CLAMP loves to use in their mangas. Still, this particular story didn't catch my attention at all, so I'd feel awkward recommending it. But hey, the soundtrack is penned by the amazing Yuki Kajiura (Noir, .hack) and the songs are great.
Check the OP2 clip here, courtesy of DCo @ YouTube:
Rather boring, I must say, like the series itself, IMO, but the songs are quite good. For OP2 and ED2 both KINYA and lovely Maaya Sakamoto
were around for reprising their duties and singing in season 2. Now... Maaya had her own post not long ago, so let me tell you something about Kotani Kinya: if his voice sounds familiar to you, it might be because he became a household name by being the singing voice to the character of upcoming rock star Shuichi Shindou in the TV series of "Gravitation". He's also an actor, having participated in the Jdrama "Love Story" in 2001. Take a listen to the full version of "It's" and then to peppy Maaya singing "Kazemachi Jet".
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles
ED2: "Kazemachi Jet"
by Maaya Sakamoto
Next are the OP & EDs to Honey and Clover II, the 12 episode sequel to last year's Honey and Clover ("Hachimitsu to Kuroubaa"). H&C is a nice series. If you are into "slice of life" stories like me, sprinkled with romance, drama and comedy, you'd enjoy this one a lot and warm up to the characters immediately. It tells the story of three male students at an art college and the love triangles they are caught in with different women in their life. The soundtrack features A LOT of insert songs by Spitz (one of my favorite bands) and Suga Shikao, since Chika Umino's (the author of the manga) favorite albums are precisely "Hachimitsu"
by Spitz and "Clover" by Suga Shikao. But the songs I picked for this post are performed by Yuki, Suneohair, and a band that goes under the name of "The band has no name" (?!).
God bless Yuki
... ^_^ Her voice can be quite unnerving. I should know because I absolutely detested her when I heard for the first time the song she did as OP for the first season of H&C... And yet I love this one below, don't ask me why. Suneohair ... well, I don't really have much information on him other than he became famous thanks to this series and that he sounds A LOT like a younger version of Masamune Kusano from Spitz. To make up for this lack of info, enjoy here the PV for the song you'll find below ^_^, courtesy of wickedrigel07 @ YouTube:
And about "The band has no name", well, all you need to know is that the song below is amazing, so download it and stop asking questions, ok ? :-P
Honey and Clover II
by "The band has no name"
And finally, let's finish this wrap up with some shonen anime. "Gintama" premiered last April with the first notes of Tommy Heavenly6
's latest single "Pray" (Well, actually she has a Halloween single hitting the airwaves right now that I think is being released this week). Gintama tells the story of a samurai living in a fictional Japan invaded by an alien race that has forbidden samurais to carry swords...
Well, I haven't seen the series and I don't plan to, though I've read a couple of the manga chapters and I must say that the absurd humour in them is very appealing ^_^. But as far as the music goes, the Tommy OP is a winner, and the ED by newcomers Captain Strydom (who also did an ED for "Naruto") will have you humming for a while... Enjoy them
by Tommy Heavenly6
ED1: "Fuusen gam"
by Captain Strydom
So that makes it for today's update. I noticed that each time I post individual songs, the post (in number of downloads) is more popular than if I post a full album... can somebody actually explain to me that ? Is there a reason I'm missing ? I welcome your feedback, so if you feel it's better to have this kind of updates, let me know.