sphere – Now loading…SKY!! PV (Asobi ni Iku yo! OP)

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It seems like all I’ve been talking about in the past while is sphere and its members, so I’ll refer you to the Asobi ni Iku yo OP and Takagaki Ayahi PV posts for a quick rundown on what these four lovely ladies have been up to. I will add that this seiyuu group is an easy sell for me since it’s comprised of four female seiyuu whom I’d be happy to see starring in any series. As music artists, it doesn’t hurt that they’re all pretty attractive and can sing fairly well, which Music Ray’n‘s decision to have them all as solo artists as well seems to reaffirm. Their latest single as a group is titled “Now loading…SKY!!” and is currently featured as the opening theme of the sci-fi romantic comedy Asobi ni Iku yo — a series where all four girls have prominent roles in. While I’m not actively covering the show here, I am following it on a weekly basis and it’s proving to be a nice guilty pleasure of mine. (e.g. I love how the characters keep changing outfits, particularly Kinjou Manami.)

Released a few days ago on July 28th, the limited edition included the full version of the promotional video that’s been featured on their official site for some time now. It isn’t a bad one either, as it features some simple dance choreography and segments with a panorama camera where the girls take turns popping in front to sing their portions of the song. It’s a bit cool to watch since it’s timed to their singing, and if nothing else, gives the girls time to look cute and have some fun. Smiling big seems to be a prominent theme in this music video and the girls look like they’re trying too hard at times, but it does suit the bubbly catchy song itself. Of course, the other thought is that four and a half minutes of these girls looking pretty easily makes it a good PV. At least, that’s what me looping it for the past while seems to indicate.

Takagaki Ayahi – Kimi ga Iru Basho PV (Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin ED)

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Takagaki Ayahi’s solo debut single was released last week (7/21) and bundled with the limited edition is the PV to the title track, “Kimi ga Iru Basho”. As a member of the seiyuu group sphere, Ayahi’s solo precedes Kotobuki Minako’s by a couple of months, but seems to be part of some master plan by their record label, Music Ray’n (a subdivision of Sony Music Entertainment Japan), to milk their four singers for everything they can. Tomatsu Haruka already had her solo debut prior to the formation of sphere, whereas Toyosaki Aki had hers not too long after. The fact that they all have official websites under their own .com domains sort of reiterates how much they’re being promoted separately and together, which is actually nice to see since seiyuu groups don’t tend to last very long. I find sphere to be one of the better groups to come along since all the girls can sing well enough on their own to justify solo debuts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much more of their music is featured in upcoming anime.

As for Ayahi’s debut single that’s featured as the ending theme of Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin this season, I thought it was a really catchy song when I first heard it, which was only overshadowed a bit by the ending sequence featuring real kids. In comparison, I find the full version even better, which is something I tend to say a lot but isn’t always the case. (Lia’s CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ OP and MUCC’s Senkou no Night Raid OP come to mind.) What’s interesting to note about the petite girl with the big voice is that her single also features a third English track titled “You Raise Me Up” (see below), an inspirational New Age song written by Secret Garden and covered by over a hundred artists to date. Ayahi’s English pronunciation isn’t perfect, but her opera singing skills do come through a bit in that song. She did attend and graduate from a music university after all, so it’s nice to see her finally get into the music industry on top of being a seiyuu.

Her singing profession doesn’t take precedence over her acting one however, as she currently plays Kuroki Ami in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin and stars as the lovely Ferris Eris in Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (a.k.a. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes). She also narrates in Asobi ni Iku yo, alongside all the other sphere members’ roles.

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Girls Dead Monster – Day Game PV (Angel Beats!)

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It’s been well over three weeks since the end of Angel Beats, but Key and Maeda Jun don’t seem to want to let us forget that easily. They’ve recently released another Girls Dead Monster song and a PV to go along with it. With a male band this time around, it’s less so Gldemo and more just LiSA with this “Day Game” song though. I’m a bit indifferent about the song after listening to it for the past while and still prefer Little Braver if I had to choose between the two, but it’s always nice to see more Angel Beats related stuff. The baseball bat scene at the end is undoubtedly a reference to Yui’s one in episode ten, whereas the gymnasium is reminiscent of the one in the series as well. LiSA’s school uniform gets my vote of approval, but the circular track that’s used for the camera in the gymnasium portions of the PV just makes me dizzy. In any case, the bonus fourteenth episode on the last DVD/BD volume won’t be coming out until December 22nd of this year, so we’ll just have to take whatever we can get for now.

K-ON! Live Event ~Let’s Go!~ (2009.12.30 in Yokohama Arena)

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As some people are already aware, the K-ON live concert that took place at the end of last year at Yokohama Arena was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 30th. It was near the end of this live event that the surprise announcement for a second season was made. While that came as a pleasant surprise, the concert itself was what I dying to see at the time and here we are six months later. Most of Houkago Tea Time’s songs were performed to a karaoke backtrack with the seiyuu only pretending to play each of their characters’ instruments, but they did learn how to play a couple of songs themselves. The actual live music performances were saved until near the end of the concert, but things started off with a bang and an opening performance of “Cagayake! GIRLS” after a crowd countdown.

Yokohama Arena’s max capacity is 17,000 for those wondering, and by the looks of it, it’s a sold-out crowd they performed in front of. One side of the arena was sectioned off for the stage area, but I’d wager that there are at least 15,000 attendees at this concert. When things are put into that perspective, it’s pretty easy to see why K-ON!! is airing on 28 different stations right now.

*Note: Lots of videos after the jump and not recommended for those without the bandwidth speed to handle it! I was pretty aggressive with encoding, but you’re still looking at 20-30MB per video.

Mizuno Saaya – My Secret PV (Kaichou wa Maid-sama! OP)

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Rikkyo University history major Mizuno Saaya makes her major music debut with the opening theme to Kaichou wa Maid-sama, “My Secret”. She actually qualified in a vocal audition held by Smile Company back in 2004 and has appeared in magazines as a “reader model” (a normal reader who gets featured in issues for being exceptionally pretty), but only now is she really taking center stage with a record label from Geneon Universal Entertainment. While simple, the PV for this song pretty much speaks for itself on why 20-year-old Saaya has graced the pages of various magazines. However, I’m just as impressed by her singing ever since I first heard this song as the opening theme of the anime. Admittedly, I had absolutely no idea who she was then, which given how this is her major debut explains why that is. As a member of Smile Company, she’s in the same agency as ELISA, whom is equally dazzling with her angelic-like voice. Having listened to Saaya’s first single for a while now, I find her voice really pleasant on the ears and am quite fond of the second track “Good Day”. Anyway, be sure to check out her official site for a really adorable picture of her. The single “My Secret” was released back on May 26th and like most limited editions, included the PV above with it.

heidi. – Yokan PV (Kaichou wa Maid-sama! ED)

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I wouldn’t have known that the ending theme to Kaichou wa Maid-sama was performed by a visual kei rock band had I not seen this PV, so that sort of goes to show how much an artist’s appearance really matters to me. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not into the visual kei look whatsoever despite how the flamboyant fad caught on since the 1980s, but that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying heidi‘s seventh single and major debut release “Yokan” either. When I first heard this song three months ago with the badass Usui Takumi-centered ending sequence, the lead in to the first verse immediately caught my attention. (Well that, and the shirtless Usui that came with it.) I still didn’t think much of the song after that, but it gradually grew on me more and more over the weeks. What I found most impressive was their vocalist Yoshihiko’s range, which you can sort of get a feel for in this song before he starts singing his lungs out. One of the other two songs on this single, “Kodama”, gives off a better impression of his singing ability when he’s not doing that, which to me sounds a lot better in comparison. In any case, this single was released back on May 26th and along with the limited edition is the PV you see above. Enjoy.

Asou Natsuko – Everyday sunshine line! PV (Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou ED)

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With Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou concluded, I figured I’d better post about the PV of its ending theme now if I’m going to do it at all. So without further ado, here’s actress/singer Asou Natsuko‘s latest single, “Everyday sunshine line!”, which was been available ever since May 12th. For this bubbly song that Daimaou viewers are surely familiar with now, the music video with Natsuko riding through the city with a bunch of balloons is befitting, though not all that interesting either. Regardless, Natsuko is a fairly new and young 19-year-old artist whose singing career only really started around this time last year. This is only her fourth single, but she’s sort of made a mark on the anime scene by having her second one, “Programming for non-fiction”, featured as the opening theme to Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou and third one, “Perfect-area complete!”, as the same for Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. Those familiar with either of those two series should recognize her voice fairly easily, but I was actually surprised to find out that I knew of her well before her major music debut.

… More after the jump, including a second Negima-related video.

ON/OFF – Butterfly PV (Durarara!! ED2)

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If you’re unfamiliar with ON/OFF, you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually a duo comprised of identical twin brothers, Sakamoto Kazuya and Naoya (left-to-right in the video preview picture). Being identical twins, their voices naturally sound the same, making it somewhat difficult to discern that there are actually two vocalists rather than a backtrack sung by the same person. Admittedly, I was quite oblivious about that fact when I first heard their second single “Futatsu no Kodou to Akai Tsumi” as the opening theme of Vampire Knight back in 2008. In any case, their third single “Rinne -Rondo-” was subsequently featured as the opening theme of the Vampire Knight Guilty sequel the same year. I took an almost immediate liking to both songs when I first heard them, which made it pretty easy for me to get into the second Durarara ending sequence we have here.

As for the duo itself, they’re still a fairly new group having only debuted back in 2007 with the song “Eien no Setsuna”, which became the ending theme of the television drama of Fuuma no Kojirou. What’s notable about that though is that they both had recurring roles in the show itself as well. For those wondering, Naoya is the slightly older one of the two and while they don’t quite look identical in this PV (Kazuya’s eyes look bigger), they do a lot more in the profile shots on their official website. The single for Butterfly was released today (6/9) and featured this PV in the limited edition.

ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D – Complication PV (Durarara!! OP2)

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With the full version of the second Durarara opening theme having been leaked over a week in advance, I’ve been listening to a it fair bit like I mentioned back when episode 19 aired. I even threw it up on the sidebar for a while for those who were interested. Well today is the official release of the single and along with the limited edition is the PV for it you see above. It’s not a bad one either, but the best part of it is still the song itself. As good as the TV size version is already, the full version has a longer lead in and rap portions which together make the song sound so much better. I just don’t seem to get sick of it regardless of how much I’ve listened to it. It’s likely because the song switches the tempo up at various parts, offering a bit of everything, before coming on strong every time it gets back to the chorus. If you haven’t listened to it already and watch the series, then I really recommend doing so!

Tamura Yukari – Oshiete A to Z PV (B Gata H Kei OP)

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It’s not quite Yamada bobbing up and down and trying to seduce Kosuda like there’s no tomorrow, but we have Tamura Yukari doing laundry, watering the lawn, and just looking pretty. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand what Japanese promo/music video directors are thinking, but they can’t be thinking that hard if this is what they come up with more often than not. On the plus side, Yukarin’s legs are pretty well accented in those anime-length skirts/dresses she’s wearing (i.e. super short ones), which isn’t an easy thing to do considering how she’s only 157cm tall (~5’2″).

More after the jump, including some old school Yamato Nadeshiko…