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November 13, 2011

Anison and J-Pop at Amazon in 2011

Amazon MP3 is the greatest thing since baked bread, since it's DRM-free, but its indexing is just useless for anison and J-pop. It plainly has no clue that such a category even exists. At first, I searched by name, but that was like searching needle in the haystack. No Ayumi Hamasaki, no nuthin. Only the blasted Utada as far as eye can see. Then, it was mostly trawling carefuly through lists and "customer who view this, also..."

One of the most annoying pests is "I Love You! Project", which floods search results with ear-rending instrumental remixes. Their production is the worst... except Anime no Magic. The Kimi To Yakusoku Shita is particularly rad. Typically, there's no artist credit. Who sings? Who plays? Mystery!

Miku Hatsune floods too, thanks to mediocre creators seeking opportunity. Still, genuine hits are represented, such as Sososo's Next Stage, which once reached the top of Oricon in CD single form (true story!). After buying all of Sososo's Miku stuff, it begins to sound about the same, so for the sake of difference, check Biruru's Dou Demo Ii. It may not necesserily be Sososo's fault, Miku's range is not that great. However, creators have a lot of trouble breaking away from her. The best Luka track I found so far is Stay by my side.

KOTOKO: Actually, She Is At Amazon. There's one album, where she only took a part: Disintegration. It's an early one, so I hope for more, in the years ahead.

AKB48: They sound surprisingly amateurish to me (Sorry, J!). However, I gave them a good try after reading this review:

This is a really creepy and sexist phenomenon. Nevermind the typical soulless music, this industry does everything to make these girls seem as generic as possible so they can easily be replaced, like homogeneous puppets pumped out by some machine. [...] Congrats, Japanese teen idol industry: I'm not politically correct by any means, but you managed to ruin my day. I wish people wouldn't tolerate these kinds of dehumanizing messages in popular media.

My favourite AKB48 track is probably Kimi to Niji to Tayou to. I can just see jamming on the synth for them (even though with the way multi-tracks are recorded in reality, it's a pure illusion).

Stereopony is some kind of real-life ENOZ that found financial backing. They look like they broke out with a couple of singles, Hanbunko and Smilife, to be followed by generic stuff.

Another one-album wonder is Megumi Oukutsu, with Asu Heno Tobira. The poor thing did not even get the lifespan of Stereopony. Frankly, she beats the pants off the collection of singles that Yoko Ishida recorded in the twilight of her career.

I did not find Scandal's work to my liking, with a possible exception of Yumemiru Tsubasa. Also, I suggest sampling Maihime's Hiryu, just for the heck of it. And the final oddball is Go, by Flow: the token anison in the album, and yet sounds more entertaining than the rest. If you want to get depressed, try to find Haruka Kanata. There is even a vocal imitation (and a bad one at that).

UPDATE: J. commented that AKB48's music is "pretty bad". Well, that settles that. Although, he should try that one track that I linked.

Omo reminded to mention a Miku author Supercell (not the other Supercell, a band). As far as critical acclaim and royalties, Sososo is pretty much unbeatable.

J. also added:

Oh, and if you didn't know, AKB48's producer has been in the idol game a long time, having been responsible for the original giant girl group, Onyanko Club, and after inspiring Tsunku to create Morning Musume, he returned to crush them.

UPDATE 2012/02/04: Found Minami Kaze by one Mikuni Shimokawa. Unfortunately her renditions of classic anison are rather odd, so I prefer Yoko Ishida's, even if they're remixed into Para-Para.

Tags: anime

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at 03:33 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 651 words, total size 6 kb.

1 No need to apologize to me for not liking AKB48; a lot of the girls are cute, and I hear their multiple television shows are amusing, but their music is pretty bad. I don't think I've ever made it through an entire song. I have an affection for earlier generations of Hello!Project, but since they purged the grownups and started hiring girls who weren't ready for training bras, I've pretty much given up on them, too.

The pop singer whose Japanese music I like the best these days is Younha, and she 's Korean. And not part of the idol scene, so they actually promote her music, not trading cards, bikini photobooks, and "hug events". Not in the Amazon MP3 store, sadly, even the Japanese one; there are a few tracks available in the iTunes store, but only off of her Korean releases.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at November 13, 2011 06:49 PM (2XtN5)

2 Your link returns a 404; apparently the usual URL-shortening for Amazon doesn't work with individual tracks. They recommend http://amzn.com/B003WA59E2.

The preview on Amazon wasn't very interesting, so I watched one of the Youtube performances, which was (fortunately) lip-synced. It's a well-polished piece of generic j-pop that I could listen to without being annoyed by; faint praise, perhaps, but that still makes it the only song of theirs that I've finished.

Oh, and if you didn't know, AKB48's producer has been in the idol game a long time, having been responsible for the original giant girl group, Onyanko Club, and after inspiring Tsunku to create Morning Musume, he returned to crush them. (links go to videos, of course...)

-j

Posted by: J Greely at November 14, 2011 09:43 AM (2XtN5)

3 I investigated and the problem turned out to be a corruption of the ID, in just one digit ('5' instead of '3'). No idea how that happened.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at November 14, 2011 10:42 AM (G2mwb)

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