A few posts ago I jokingly suggested that when it comes to J-Pop, all roads lead to H!P. While the suggestion was made in jest, upon further observation and a considerably amount of pondering I have to confess that, at least for me, this suggestion completely applies.
I’s not like I didn’t know anything about J-Pop (or J-Rock) before H!P. As a lifelong anime enthusiast I was bound to encounter some of it on my way to idol paradise. Anime like Rurouni Kenshin, The Vision of Escaflowne, Code Geass, Darker than Black, Gundam Seed and Gundam Wing exposed me to groups like AN CAFE, abingdon boys school, FLOW not to mention stellar musical acts like JUDY AND MARY, T.M.Revolution and hitomi. But I never went beyond the songs they made for specific anime. In fact the only group I can remember myself going beyond their anime work was TWO-MIX who did an amazing job on the Gundam Wing series way back in 1995. In many ways TWO-MIX was my first love when it comes to J-Pop and formed my expectation for the future (sinthy, upbeat, fast and female vocals).
I’m mentioning all of this because recently I’ve become quite a fan of GACKT. Now, that would never have happened had I not stumbled upon a random Youtube clip of a young Kago Ai (circa The Peace days) going on a fictional and utterly hilarious date with the immortal vampire himself. (Embedded below, not an official video so it could get taken down.)
I had never heard of him until I saw this clip. Everything about it is awesome. Not only is Kago adorable and wonderfully mischievous, but GACKT actually goes along with it. At first he doesn’t seem to be able to understand what exactly is happening to him but he quickly adapts. The bit at the end was like the cherry on top of the most wonderful cake ever. (Embedded below is a “monomane” Kago Ai did of GACKT on Hello!Morning)
Since then I’ve become a big fan of GACKT, both of his fascinating appearances on TV shows but also his music (not to mention his charity work). Like I did with Morning Musume at the beginning I started with his recent work and am working my way back. Luckily iTunes has a lot of his music (unlike some other Asian musicians I could mention). I really like EVER and Jesus (the song, not the quasi-mystical religious figure) and really enjoyed his Gundam tribute album.
So in conclusion, thank you H!P for opening my eyes, thanks to you I now know who SMAP is, who B’z is, who the various Johnny’s groups are, I’ve gotten to know Koda Kumi, Sharam Q and Ayumi Hamasaki as well as a miriad of other idol groups none of which would be here today if you hadn’t led the way at the turn the last century. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.