There’s a Johnny at the top of the Oricon! That is, er, a soloist from male-idol factory Johnny and Associates, whose stars are affectionately referred to by that name. This weeks chart is considerably more varied than last week’s (yay!), with yet more successful K-pop crossovers, a disappointing week for a well-known female artist, and a song made famous by an asadora. But what’s an asadora, I hear you ask? Read on to find out!
- SUMMER NUDE ’13- Yamashita Tomohisa
- Shiosai no Memory- Amano Haruko (Koizumi Kyoko)
- Vitalization- Mizuki Nana
- Lady- CNBLUE
- I LOVE YOU- D-lite (from BIGBANG) ft. Hakase Tarou
- Summer Trip (LALALALALA/IS THIS TRAP?/TOUCH DOWN)- Koda Kumi
- Utsukushii Inazuma- SKE48
- Itsumo Dakishimete/Mugen∞REBIRTH- Daigo
- APOLLON/starting over- v [NEU]
- Horse riding EP- the HIATUS
You could be forgiven for thinking that Yamashita Tomohisa (aka “Yamapi”) just really loves being naked. Having left Johnny’s group NEWS back in 2011 to focus on his solo career, I can’t help but wonder if he thought to himself “you know…there’s just not enough nakedness in this group”, and decided to go it alone. Fair enough. His
relatively pleasant and relaxing number one this week, “Summer Nude”, features him in various states of undress in the PV- not only that, but his 2011 number one was titled “Hadakanbou” (“Naked Body”) and its PV featured Yamapi dancing around in a bizarre burlesque style venue, also sometimes lacking clothes. On a more serious note, it’s not hard to see why Yamapi saw a solo career as more viable; his last single before leaving the group managed just under 180,000 copies, whereas Daite Senorita, his first solo, managed over 600,000 (YOU WHAAA?).
You’ll probably already be familiar with the anime-character song, but what about an actor from a Japanese drama singing in character? Koizumi Kyoko, a well established actress, plays the mother of the main character in NHK asadora (morning drama) “Amachan”- her character Amano Haruko was a Japanese idol who missed her chance at success. The most part of the drama is set on the coast, and “Shiosai no Memory” (“Memory of the Roaring Ocean”) is sung in character. It’s undeniably a very pretty song, but a part of the success of the single must be attributed to the popularity of the “asadora” format, in which an unknown actress is auditioned for the title role and traditionally plays the role of a woman striving to achieve her goals- the drama is of course aired in the morning, and airs for months at a time. NO MUSIC VIDEO THOUGH. NOOO.
Mizuki Nana turned up recently in the Oricon, albeit in a different form. Unfortunately, the voice actress and singer is not a magical shapeshifter (…or is she?), but was instead singing in a character song from the anime “Senki Zesshou Symphogear G”. After singing the opening theme to the first series “Synchrogazer”, Mizuki Nana is also the artist behind the second series’ opening “Vitalization”. Any anime fan will tell you that Mizuki Nana is one of the best when it comes to anime music AND voice acting, being one of the most prolific in her field. It’s impossible not to listen to Vitalization and not be wowed by her vocal ability. Did you know that she voices Katniss Everdeen in the Japanese dub of the Hunger Games? She couldn’t be more awesome. But no doubt she’ll continue to push known reaches of awesome with her future releases until she’s reached a completely different dimension where she is the star of her own anime. Probably.
Pretty K-rockers CNBLUE are at number 4. Lead singer Yonghwa has one of the most impressive commands of Japanese amongst the Korean singers I’ve heard, and Lady is an incredibly fun song. Sorry, I mean…funky. Because it most certainly is. And really danceable at that. The group are set to release their second Japanese album, titled “What Turns You On?” and will follow up with a Japan-wide tour. “Lady” is rightly being used to promote the album and the tour, even if with around 42,000 copies sold in the first week, it hasn’t been their most popular Japanese single. But it’s getting there. See what you think!
At number 6 we find BIGBANG’s Daesung under his Japanese-market moniker D-lite. With his own TV show and a firm command of the language (and of course his natural charm), D-lite is a favourite amongst Japanese fans. Seungri (sorry, V.I!) could have taken this title, but Daesung’s admirable efforts to connect with his Japanese fans, include a recently concluded solo tour which had to be extended because of high demand. Pretty impressive! “I LOVE YOU” sees him collaborate with accomplished violinist Hakase Tarou. At number 7 is someone who might be a little disappointed with her recent chart performance, but nonetheless wins this week’s award for best PV. And also probably the most expensive! Koda Kumi’s inescapably sunshiny EP “Summer Trip” features a song titled “LALALALALA”, and with a title like that, you know you’re in for a track that will lodge itself in your brain like a melodic parasite. The music video is immense fun too, and was filmed in California!
In other news, SKE48 won’t stop bringing storms at number 7, BREAKERZ and permanent Japanese TV fixture Daigo continues his solo career at number 8, a double A-side for Visual Kei rockers at number 9, and the HIATUS’s release at 10 sadly doesn’t appear to be the chart debut of Horse-ebooks.
This post ends on a slightly unrelated note. I’ve been counting down these posts every week as they get closer to A-level results day (A-levels being the exams I and many others need to do well in to get into university in the UK), and now it’s 4 DAYS AWAY. Fingers crossed that in a month or two I’ll be typing these having started a Japanese course, and good luck to everyone else getting results, especially those on the Asia Crunch team!