So you’re an hardcore Anime fan… you collect the shows freshly from fansubbers anyway you can. You go out of your way to set your dvdr and tape your favorites, that are released in English dub. Oh! but whats this catchy J-pop song or J-rock song that you find yourself singing uncontrollably. You don’t understand the Japanese words but search for romanjithe lyrics anyway, than on top of that you’ll try your best karaoke pronunciation as perfectly as possible. You find yourself doing this more than once and now you ipod is mostly artists like Koda Kumi, Orange Range, Asian Kung Fu Generation, Tommy Heavenly6, L’arc~en~Ceil and Ayumi Hamasaki. Well! Congratulations you are now officially part of the theme song phenomenon. Don’t worry you are not alone, there are countless others that are just like you and use Animeas a likes to find new music. Just think the whole country of Japan has these infectious Anime themes as beloved radio tunes that top the charts. These opening and ending credit companions have reached the number one spot countless times. Even Europe has taken these Anime themes and have remixed them techno style and rerecorded them in thier own languages. If you ever go to France, Germany, Italy or Spain you will see what I mean.
The notoriety that these singers gain can only be described as Overnight success. These instant idols go from anonymity to celebrity as they perform on variety shows, are the pinups in popmagazines and begin their own merchandising path. In the early 80’s voice actors would not only sing for the character but voice them as well. Take Ohta Takako for example, she is from the Anime Magical Angel Creamy Mami. Her song Delicate Ni SukiShite (We like it delicately) wasn’t a one hit wonder. She went on to sing many other songs from that anime and on her own. Then we have the infamous Mari Iijima who sang Ai Oboete Masuka for Macross went on to have 10 albums released in Japan. With both of these girls they also sang the credit themes and songs within the actual anime. It seemed the 80’s decade laid down the roots for Anime music, creating Idols from voice actors and also vice versa. We see this in HimeChan No Ribbon where the boy band SMAP and this Anime had this semicollective debut. Egao no Genki the opening song lasted the whole series and there were three different SMAP songs for the ending credits. SMAP and their brotherly counterparts over at Johnny’s Entertainment have a long standing with Anime themes. Boybands like V6, and the duo Tacky & Tsubasa also joined up with the Inuyasha series to have opening and ending themes. The TnT actually were also guest voices during the episode the theme song was first used.
Maaya Sakamoto who had her musical and voice acting debut for the The Vision of Escaflowne genre, has gone on to sing and write songs for many popular series like Wolfs Rain, Card Captor Sakura, Tsubasa Chronicle, Record of Lodoss Warm, Rahxephon and most recently Macross Frontier. Triangular is still at #3 on the Oricon chart and is Maaya’s 18th single. The formula from voice actor to Idol is still being used. Look at Macross frontier’s May’n and Megumi Nakajima that had their Anime’s OST debut at number one. The ost Also features Maaya Sakamoto and Yoko Kanno. Megumi plays Ranka Lee and May’n is Sheryl Nome.
I think some of my favorites are Ready Steady Go by L’arc~en~Ciel the song actually sold 365,500 copies. Other favorites are the Themes to Blood Plus. I loved Angela Aki’s song called “This love” and here the melodic tune of Hyde as he sang “Season’s Call”. I know I have more like D-technolife by UVERworld. In fact I love all of Bleach’s theme songs. The Korean Singer Youhna who sings “Houki Boushi” (Shooting Star) took her song back to Korea and made a Korean version which also was a instant it called “HyeSung”. How do we know Anime is a way to find new artists? Well what would Orange Range be to us without Naruto or Bleach? Would we love these singers if we weren’t introduced to them via our Animated addiction? We will even go out of our way to import special singles that have Anime extras and that truly is a win win bonus.