The Best Japanese Songs You (Probably) Don’t Remember
Anime openings and endings are sometimes the only way to promote Japanese music outside of Japan. I mean, how many Japanese songs do you remember that do not come from an anime? Undoubtedly, Japanese music owes a lot to the anime industry, but sometimes, even anime isn’t enough to promote the Japanese music overseas. Hence, good Japanese songs that are good, sometimes even better than conventional anime songs are left out due to the lack of exposure. So, here today, I bring you the best Japanese songs you (probably) never heard of!
欲望を叫べ – OKAMOTO’S
Best known for performing the opening song of the second season of Durarara!!: Headhunt, OKAMOTO’S was already in the industry for quite some time. Known for its monotonal, coarse and heavy rhythm-based sound, OKAMOTO’S was your conventional rock band trying to make it big. Before Durarara!!, OKAMOTO’S performed the 18th Naruto Shippuden ED. Starting things off with an explosive looping chorus, the song already had an edge over the long line of Naruto Shippuden EDs. EDs of long running anime, such as Fairytail, Bleach etc tend to be left out as viewers tend to skip the EDs in favour of catching up with the story as fast as possible. However, with that explosive opening to the ED, viewers were entranced by it and tend to continue to listen instead of just skipping it. Immediately after such a high, it proceeds to introduce its trademark sound throughout the verse before racing off to the explosive chorus once again and ending with a bang, literally. Too bad nobody takes notice and tend to forget about the song after they finished listening to it. OKAMOTO’S was considerably catchier and enjoyable than the multidutes of EDs out there. In fact, it was so good that the 19th ED, place to try by TOTALFAT which was quite good, seems mild in comparison!
エガオノマホウ – MAGICPARTY
When one thinks of Fairy Tail openings, one thinks of the fan favourites, such as OP 1, Snow Fairy by Funkist, OP 6, Fiesta by +plus, OP 8, The Rock City Boy by JAMIL and last but not least, strike back by back on.
Fairy Tail openings are known to be more pop-infused compared to other openings of long running anime series. For example, Bleach uses rock music more frequently whereas, Naruto adheres to its own choice of music in each of its openings and even endings.
However, there is a gem of a song among these Fairy Tail openings. Strictly speaking, almost all Fairy Tail openings are spectacular specimens of J-pop at its best but if we talk about the most pop-infused song of all those openings, I’ll say it’s OP 5, Egao no Mahou by MAGICPARTY. The vocals, the melody, the background music, all of it screams “POP!!!” throughout the song. The style of music in the song adheres rather strictly to the boundaries of pop yet is soothing to the ear. The music reminds me of American pop bands such as Maroon 5 etc. and the song is finely tuned to register with pop-lovers. The sad thing is Egao no Mahou is directed at the wrong place. J-pop is significantly different from conventional pop songs in the West, as the style of composition are way too distinct. However, if this song were to on American radio, I daresay that this song could very well be a hit in the USA. Hmm…isn’t this a song title?
Dream of Life – 伊藤祥平
One of the most uplifting songs and the first ever anime song I downloaded, Dream of Life is one heck of an inspiring song. Dream of Life is the 2nd opening song for Bakuman. For a show that is based on comic drawing and manga, Dream of Life truly manages to draw out the intense pressure and atmosphere between the manga artists. Too bad nobody took much notice of this song that it simply disappeared from sight instead of being given the attention it deserves. In the beginning phrase of music, the song starts off with acoustic plucking that immediately transforms into an electric guitar riff with clear vibrato. The melody wasn’t exactly very challenging but when the chorus drops, the vocals begin to soar and hit the sweet spots pretty nicely. Inspiring and a hard-hitter, Dream of Life can very much be the best underrated anime song ever.
ツナガルオモイ – 蓝井エイル
If you’re wondering whether or not you’ve heard this in the popular anime series, Sword Art Online, well, you have not. Unlike the songs before this, this song is not from any anime whatsoever, however if this would be an anime song, this would suit SAO the best. As you probably already know, the artists singing for SAO openings, aside from Asuna’s voice actress, are only LiSA and Eir Aoi. While Innocence by Eir Aoi is pretty good, Ignite, the 1st opening for the second season can be dismissed as a normal offering by Eir Aoi. Most of the songs in the second season are pretty lacklustre as well, with the exception of Shirushi by LiSA but Tsunagaru Omoi, although not used, is quite good and combines the much needed explosiveness yet natural melody that was lacking in Ignite. In a nutshell, I think that they should have used Tsunagaru Omoi as a opening instead of Ignite. But no point crying over spilt milk, is there?
For Fruits Basket – 岡崎律子
I am never a fan of shoujo manga. My first attempt at shoujo was Kaichou wa Maid-sama and I couldn’t make it past the first episode, in spite of constant prodding by my friend. I’m not saying that shoujo is bad but somehow, everytime I see a bishounen speaking in a princely manner, I tend to get air-headed and not concentrate on the show. In the end, I wouldn’t have watched anything and end up daydreaming throughout the show. Not about the prince, mind you. I hate skimpy bishounens, not that I’m one to talk. I’m quite skinny.
Anyway, this song is close to convincing me to watch Fruits Basket. For Fruits Basket by Ritsuko Okazaki, the opening song for the shoujo anime, Fruits Basket. The song is a standard shoujo anime opening songs, soft, loving and yet powerful. I loved it from the very beginning I heard it, and yet, for some reason, this OP isn’t talked about very much. So, I take it that it’s not well-known. Well, I don’t care what people say but I love the song. That’s that.
So, there you have it. What’s your take on this topic? What do you think is the most underrated anime song on Earth? Let me know through your comments and of course, all are greatly appreciated. If you like this or any other post of mine, do feel free to support me on my blog, https://seeanimeondaniel.wordpress.com
Thank you for your time and have a great weekend!