Saturday, February 1, 2014

13 Japanese Songs That Should Be Available in the West

So, lately I've been really into Japanese anime. And I mean, really. I just finished Shingeki no Kyojin, Free!, and Kyoukai no Kanata. I plan on watching Bleach and Sailor Moon this year, and I already read the mangas.

Now, Japanese people just make the best music, and I will take whatever measures to prove it. From score to pop to rock to theme songs, Japanese music is... well, kinda amazing. The problem here? Most of it is not available in the United States, where I happen to live. My goal is to infuriate you as well. Unless you live in Japan, you lucky one.

1. "Eye Water" from the Shingeki no Kyojin soundtrack.

1:47 gets me every time. Every time. The original song from the scene with Mikasa holding Eren is "To Sacrifice One's Humanity," but are we not gonna talk about this one? Just admire the video, at least.

2. "Future Star" from Kyoukai no Kanata.

Okay, first I need to get this across. This anime was probably my favorite one I've seen so far. Actually, I really liked all three. But if you want to watch an anime that will not only make you laugh a lot, but cry a little as well, this is for you. Now, you won't cry nearly as much as you will with Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan), but you will have moments when you just can't even. Don't worry, though. It is totally worth every cliffhanger. And no, they don't normally sing. This song is from a filler episode. This is one of the few shows that will make an amazing filler episode. I really hope it gets a second season. Now, you should totally see the scene this song is in (it's embedded)-- decide what you think for yourself. But Mitsuki's (blue with black hair) singing voice-- perfect.

3. "To Sacrifice One's Humanity" from Shingeki no Kyojin.

I'm sorry you have to watch the actual scene. In fact, if you plan on watching the anime, DO NOT WATCH THE VIDEO. IT CONTAINS SPOILERS. I couldn't embed the video without... noises. However, here it is, and I can't even discuss it without spoiling the anime.

4. "Army Go" from Shingeki no Kyojin.

I can't get over my love for this score. If I were still in gymnastics (if my knees were in better shape and I was shorter, you know I'd still be), I would pick this as my floor music (my last routine was from X-Men: Wolverine). It's just so... I can't really describe it. Action-y? The strings that come in at 0:21 are just really... I can just hear the time the anime is set in (equivalent to medieval times). Just go on and watch the anime, okay?

5. "This Beautiful and Cruel World" from Shingeki no Kyojin.

This song is so calming and perfect for the anime itself. The last line of the chorus in English is: "Someone tell me what I'm fighting for. I don't really know the reason anymore." Believe me, if you've seen Mikasa's story arc (the girl with the short hair), you understand why that line is sung as she sees Eren. This song makes me feel like I'm falling into a deep, deep sleep. There is an instrumental cover of this song on iTunes that I settled for, but it would be nice if this song was available in my country.

6. "Splash Free" from Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club.

If this song doesn't play during the men's swimming segment at the 2020 Olympics, I will have lost all hope for humanity. Honestly, the people who know me in real life probably think this is my favorite anime. I mean, maybe it is, but I don't know. I guess I talk about it a lot, since I have a friend on a swim team who "only swims free" and I've been bullying her into watching the show. She stopped after the second episode, but I guess some people just don't understand my love. You know, I once listened to a four-hour version of this song, and I have absolutely no regrets.

7. "Guren no Yumiya" from Shingeki no Kyojin.

Even the voice actors can't resist singing the choir parts of the opening (and they didn't even get the German part right in the recording of Mikasa, Eren, and Connie's actors singing). I only have one thing to say. Sie sind das Essen, wir sind die J├Ąger!

8. "Taste the Satisfaction" from Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club.

I think 4:14 is my absolute favorite part of the song. Is it not the cutest little score ever? The whole album is really poppy... except for the opening theme song. Like, it's as adorable as the characters themselves.

9. "Daisy" by Stereo Dive Foundation from Kyoukai no Kanata.

Introducing... my favorite song (at the moment)! I did manage to get this one on iTunes. Legally, for your information. However, it was played at the end of an hour-long podcast and it starts after 0:58. So, basically I miss the entire intro. But hey, it's better than not having the song at all. I really miss this anime so much and how they would slowly fade into the same theme song. Again, I really ope it's renewed. But until then, "I never say goodbye." And I never will.

10. "K2G" by Puffy AmiYumi (as heard on the Teen Titans season one episode "Mad Mod").

Now, before anyone says anything, the lyrics are from a man's perspective. I don't remember how I know this, but trust me. If this isn't the ultimate workout song, then nothing is. Now, I did manage to get this song. However, I had to get the entire album (Nice) imported from Japan. Yes, it takes some serious dedication for me to buy entire American albums, but getting it from Japan? I think I deserve a medal. Especially for not resorting to illegal methods.

11. "Shiawase (Happiness)" by Puffy AmiYumi.

I bought the Nice album (which lives up to its name, by the way) so I could put "K2G" on my iPod, but ended up coming across this jewel as well. It's one of my new year's resolutions to learn how to play it on guitar. It's just perfect-- I love how when using headphones, I can hear their vocal solos in two different ears, and then they come together right when the bass drops at 0:39. I also love 0:39 because that's when the guitar switches from chords to arpeggio. I love the "Ooh" at 2:24... it has this home-y feel to it. I love how they chose to end it that way, and how they incorporated keys and electric bass in there with the guitar. It's just the perfect balance of acoustic and non-acoustic. Let's be honest. PUFFY is probably my favorite band.

12. "Kyoukai no Kanata" from the anime of the same name.

I managed to get a cover of this song in America, but that's because I was desperate. It was decent, but nothing compares to the original. This is also a fun song to dance or workout to! It's at least on my workout playlist... not saying I enjoy working out, because I don't, but you know what I mean.

13. "Rage On" from Free!

I don't have much to say about this song. I'm getting a little lazy with these now.

Well, I hope I inspired you to start watching anime and listening to Japanese music and are now as frustrated as I am that without pulling strings, these songs aren't available in the United States. If you aren't satisfied with that, I recommend you go to Amazon or check out the covers-- don't lose hope!