宇多田ヒカル | One Last Kiss

It’s been 14 years!

Crazy to believe that the Evangelion rebuilds are finally coming to an end, but alas, here we are. With this end comes an end to the collaboration efforts between Utada Hikaru and the series, as well. You may be familiar with Hikki’s works with Kingdom Hearts but if you don’t know about her efforts with Eva… where have you been?! Jokes aside, Utada Hikaru’s work with Eva is one filled with lyrics of love, beauty, and her sound is that of an etherealness that is reminiscent of her works in the mid-00s.

Her final release with the project comes in the form of a mini-album, with one new track, a rehash of an old Eva song, and remasters of all her tie-ins. “One Last Kiss” is the title of the new song and is meant to signify one last effort – but will it be worth it in the end? Is this one last kiss one for the books? Let’s check it out!

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NiziU | Take a picture / Poppin’ Shakin’

Let’s take a break from Brave Girls to give NiziU the small artist spotlight for April!

If you haven’t already heard about or even listened to a song from NiziU, where you have you been?! Formed from reality competition program Nizi Project (and no, you’re reading it correctly… there’s no A), crafted by South Korea’s very own *whispers* JYP of JYP Entertainment, NiziU made a huge (and by huge, I mean 300,000 sales worth) dent in the Japanese music industry, effectively turning the group into… well, the nation’s girl group, lol (though that’s up to how you wanna see it; that’s just me).

NiziU makes their return with their second major single, a double A-side with two tracks that has JYP makings written all over it. Titled “Take a picture / Poppin’ Shakin’“, each track is bound to get the Japanese public going, but are these selfies going to turn out just right on the first try? Will they be poppin’ and shakin’ or are they just poppin’ chicken (so stupid, I’m sorry)? Let’s take a look!

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Tommy heavenly6 | Lollipop Candy♥BAD♥girl

Are you ready to say trick or treat?

It’s Halloween! Woo! Spooky day. It’s also the big day for the Tommy series! The third single in the promotion of her second album, Heavy Starry Heavenly, ‘Lollipop Candy♥BAD♥girl’ is the actual Halloween single, with promotional art, its music video, and the track itself being all forms related to Halloween. If you thought she was Halloween from her previous efforts a la ‘I’m Gonna SCREAM+’ and ‘Pray’, you haven’t come across this.

It’s a creepy night, but here’s hoping we’ve got some good music by the lollipop candy bad girl herself to comfort us. Let’s check it out… enter if you dare…

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島みやえい子 | 奈落の花

Next up for the countdown to Halloween, we’ve got the second tie-in for Miss Shimamiya Eiko to the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni anime series. Released as ‘Naraku no Hana’, this single is the opening theme song for the sequel to the mysterious horror/thriller anime Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, based on the game of the same name, which is titled Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (which you should watch, frankly, if you loved the first series and wanted answers to your burning questions).

‘Naraku no Hana’, literally known as Flower of Hell, follows the dark themes of her previous single, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (the fourth time this title has been mentioned here), but is this flower of hell one that blooms beautifully or is it wilted in quality? Read on!

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Tommy heavenly6 | Pray

Second up on the artist spotlight series for Tommy heavenly6 is the second single from her second album, Heavy Starry Heavenly, which Gintama fans may be very familiar with!

Pray is the title of the next single, tied-in with popular anime series Gintama as its very first anime opening in 2006. It continues on the Halloween theme that many of the singles from Heavy Starry Heavenly follow, but this time opting for a more humorous vibe but with some ghostly samurais!

Pray is one of Tommy’s well-known singles, but is this prayer worth chanting with or is it just going to be left unanswered? Click on to read more…

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Tommy heavenly6 | I’m Gonna SCREAM+

Speaking of Halloween… let’s do an artist spotlight, also!

When you think of Halloween and J-pop, you might think of a few artists. Does Tommy heavenly6 cross your mind? She should! Having released many Halloween-related releases as of recent, Tommy (or Kawase Tomoko) started out with an Avril Lavigne aesthetic, but upon prepping for her second album, Tommy tackled on a new style: Halloween aesthetic. The very first of these singles (and eventually album) is ‘I’m Gonna SCREAM+’.

With this single, she set up the standard of being an artist devoted to Halloween and all the spooky things around it, but is this single worthy of a scream or is it just a slight mumble? The doors to the dark side have opened… you may enter…

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島みやえい子 | ひぐらしのなく頃に

I’m back!

To commemorate the return, and just in time for the Halloween season (a short three days), I will be reviewing some fun horror-related tunes, whether they be from a horror anime, or have some concept/affiliation to the horror genre in any way. First up, I’ll be reviewing the opening tracks from a fun, mysterious anime series known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, or When They Cry for Western fans.

An iconic opening track, “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”, titled just like its tie-in, is a single released by I’ve Sound alum Shimamiya Eiko, and it propelled her career by making it her best-selling single. How does this track and its B-side hold up now, with a new Higurashi adaptation airing, and does it still spook to this day?

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島谷ひとみ | ANGELUS -アンジェラス- / Z!Z!Z! -Zip! Zap! Zipangu!-

Ready to head into the Latino vibes of the next InuYasha tie-in single? Or how about the Olympian feel of the second song on this single?

Performed by yet another avex soloist, Shimatani Hitomi, whose music always has some part of the world to them, ‘ANGELUS / Z!Z!Z! -Zip! Zap! Zipangu!’ serves as Hitomi’s first double-A-side single, with InuYasha’s sixth opening being the first and the other as TV Tokyo’s theme for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. With two vastly different styles packed in one release, there’s something here for two extremes! But will each song hold up on their own as zeroes to heroes, or are they just total zeroes?

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タッキー&翼 | One Day, One Dream

Next up is Johnny’s duo Tackey & Tsubasa with their single ‘One Day, One Dream’, tying in to the InuYasha anime series as the fifth opening. Tackey & Tsubasa are the second Johnny’s-associated group to tackle the series, and here, they go for a more pop-rock sound as opposed to V6’s J-pop sound of ‘CHANGE THE WORLD’.

With ‘One Day, One Dream’, they keep up the momentum, but is this single going to be as bright as day, as serene as a dream, or is it going to be a dark nightmare we must get ourselves out of? Read on…

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