amazarashi for “Tokyo Ghoul √A” – afterthoughts

EP cover
EP cover

So the day finally arrived. Season 2 of Tokyo Ghoul (aka Tokyo Ghoul √A) aired on January 8, and I finally got to hear my favorite band as part of a hit anime series.

I don’t follow many artistes, but when I do, I stick with them for years. RADWIMPS and amazarashi are probably the only two that I’ve followed, and it’s no secret how much I love these guys. Their creative energy is infectious.

I don’t have much to say about the anime itself – it feels a little too early to say anything about it. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t expect much from the ending theme.

UPDATE (25 Jan): Finding a video has become a real pain in the ass when Youtube keeps taking it down. Wait till February!

I’ll say this right out: this song did not disappoint. The rhythm is catchy, the lyrics are beautiful, and the arrangement is flawless. And yet, immediately after hearing it, I couldn’t help but feel what a sell-out it seemed.

Let me clarify. Amazarashi is the sort of band that does not sell itself out. It’s a relatively young name – it just passed its seventh year in the music industry. If their music didn’t grab your attention, their music videos probably did:

My favorite music videos are still Karappo no Sora ni Tsubusareru (空っぽの空に潰される; The empty sky is crushed) and Anta e (あんたへ;  To You). They’re not available everywhere, but when you do come across them, give them a listen. Anta e is especially helpful when you’re having a very rough day.

Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku (季節は次々死んでいく; The seasons keep dying one after another) feels like going back to the band’s earlier years, circa 2010-2011. They were very easy to catch on, and very easy to like. This is unlike the songs in the latest album Yuuhi Shinkou Higashizumu (夕日信仰ヒガシズム), with a slower, more meditative pace.

To a certain extent, I felt remorseful. Up to this point, I always felt amazarashi was “exclusive” to those who appreciate that form of Japanese alternative rock. It’s not boppy, but it’s also not hardcore either. Akita Hiromu-san (amazarashi’s front man) is a creative artist himself, carefully giving his records a unique theme of their own, writing poetic lyrics and giving his music videos plenty of wild imagery to go around. He is also surprisingly keenly aware of local social issues – like the alarming number of suicidal Japanese tweets (Ana o Hotteiru – 「穴を掘っている」Digging Holes) and depression (Anta e). It’s also interesting to note that whenever he has concerts, the band doesn’t even reveal their faces. They’re hidden behind a curtain of special effects and shadows.

At first, I wondered why no one else knew about him. But as the years went by, I realized I wanted to keep him a secret treasure, if not in Japan, then overseas. But I guess you can’t keep treasures secret forever.

With this song for Tokyo Ghoul, I have no doubt he’s just going to get more popular. And while that’s extremely biased of me to think so (he’s not everyone’s musical taste after all), I truly believe more people are going to like him because of what he brings to the table. It’s still my wish to see him in concert someday – but now it seems that I have to compete with more people.

You can read the band’s interview in English here on MTV81.com. The full EP for Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku will be released on February 18.

UPDATE (Jan 13): Somone uploaded the full song on YouTube. Hear it while it’s still there, it probably won’t last for long. If the link’s broken by the time you see this, then let’s just say this just made the wait for the official release worse for me.

To the jerk who uploaded this, thanks for the treat, and spoiling the wait for the rest of us.

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