Oricon Singles Overview- 4/8/13

They’ve done it again! For anyone in the UK, this week’s number one will be strangely appropriate considering the recent weather (hint hint…). Two K-pop groups with loyal Japanese fanbases have unsurprising success in this week’s chart, and a best-selling J-rock ensemble make it a triple A-side party (BRING ON THE NABE!). Also: much kawaii. Do you like kawaii? Do you like K-Pop? Do you like…nabe? Then read on:

  1. Utsukushii Inazuma- SKE48
  2. Thank You Summer Love- KARA
  3. A Song From Two Hearts/Diamond- Kobukuro
  4. DARK RIVER/Eternally/Tokei- GLAY
  5. Shiawaseorii (Shiawase Theory)- FTISLAND
  6. Hikari no Hate ni- Fairies
  7. Summer Lover- SID
  8. Cutie Panther- BiBi ~Ayase Eri (CV:Nanjou Yoshino), Nishikino Maki (CV:Pile), Yazawa Niko (CV:Tokui Sora)~
  9. Hoshikage- DEEP
  10. Jiyuu e no Jingeki (Guren no Yumiya/Jiyuu no Tsubasa/Moshi Kono Kabe no Naka ga Ikken no Ie Dato Shitara)- Linked Horizon

To add to their 500,000 copies sold last week, SKE48 can boast another 95,000. Wait, ONLY 95,000? Can they do no better than that? What has to be remembered though, is that in a week when there is no idol group with a nutcase dedicated group of fans to push up their sales, much less than that is enough to earn you a place at number one in the Oricon Weekly Singles Ranking. So SKE48 deserve a pat on the back, and also a reminder that inazuma (lightning) isn’t always utsukushii (beautiful) ESPECIALLY when it causes power cuts causing you to lose a limb (or internet connection, close enough…).

K-pop sirens Kara are once again in full-on YEAH SUPER FUN HAPPY SUMMER mode with “Thank You Summer Love!” an energetic and undeniably cute ode to a summer fling. With- don’t worry- plenty of the requisite booty shaking (Mister was perhaps even a bigger hit in Japan than it was in Korea!). Although they may have been absent from Korean TV screens for a while, Japanese fans will thank them for all the time they’ve put in this year, having released another single back in March, and having even debuted…an anime. Although “Thank You Summer Love” doesn’t beat “Go Go Summer!” in my book for catchiness, KARA’s sales are on the up again, having peaked with the number 1 “Jetcoaster Love” back in 2011. The video is as fun as you’d expect, so take a look at the short version from their official Japanese YouTube channel:

Pop-folk duo Kobukuro’s latest double A-side release is most definitely a celebration of their 2013 national tour which is titled, as one half of the single “One Song From Two Hearts” (the song which is, incidentally, the theme or “tie-up” to a sportswear commercial. okay). Their rousing balladry is definitely suited to big crowds- both parts of the single can almost be heard echoing around the walls of a stadium. Although this solid release doesn’t come anywhere near to matching the phenomenal success of 2007′s “Tsubomi”, the 63,000 or so sales of “One Song From Two Hearts/Diamond” at least shows that Kobukuro’s popularity is enduring for now. The sad part is that no official music videos have been released. Boo, hiss!

Pop-rockers GLAY on the other hand, with their triple A-side at number 4, have spoiled us with content (although I had a bit of a dilemma deciding which video to post here- #jmusicproblems). Legend tells that GLAY (who have been around since before I was born, but that’s not saying much) once worshipped at the altar of Visual-kei, but the production of soaring tear-jerker of a ballad, “Eternally” is anything but.  Although the PV for “DARK RIVER” is intriguing and a little sinister (the song itself being well worth a listen and also the theme song to summer drama  “Gekiryu – Watashi wo Oboeteimasuka?”), the video for “Eternally”, weighing in at just over 12 minutes is a drama, starring Kurashina Kana, who you might recognise from Dinner (panic not, there is no cannibalism on this blog- it’s a J-drama). “Eternally”‘s PV follows Kurashima’s blind character through a romance that lasts a lifetime *wipes tears from eyes*. Have a watch:

I once told a K-pop loving friend how well FTISLAND are doing in the Japanese market, and she looked bewildered.  BUT IT’S TRUE- “Five Treasure Island” at number 5 are now on their 11th Japanese single “Shiawaseorii” (That’s a portmanteau of “shhiawase”/”happiness” and “seorii/theory”- don’t worry, it took me a while too…). They’re a regular fixture on Japanese TV and are now on their fourth album, pretty remarkable for a group who debuted only back in 2009, even if they’ve not quite reached the heights of KARA.  Stylish dance-focused AVEX girl group Fairies are at number 6 (for anyone that needs an introduction check out last year’s “Beat Generation”, it’s full of great Engrish) with the theme to cookie cutter shoujo franchise “Jewelpet Happiness” titled “Hikari no Hate ni” (“Beyond the light”), and guess what- it sounds exactly like a shoujo opening. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book!

Th “most genki” award would probably go to Visual-kei stalwarts SID, with the incredibly cheerful and infectious “Summer Lover”, which probably deserves a much higher place in the charts, although I have a strong bias towards any song which makes me think I’m on a bouncy-castle. “Love Live! School Idol Project” (another example of last week’s lucrative song-based fourth-wall-breaking anime)’s voice-actor powered unit BiBi is at number 8, and at number 9is EXILE’s ATSUSHI-produced vocal quarted DEEP.

Check back next week for another fun game of “when will Linked Horizon ever leave the damn Oricon Weekly Singles Ranking?” (answer: they’ll be here for the zombie apocalypse).

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