I frequently reference my “all roads lead to H!P” post. For better or for worse, Hello!Project has and largely remains my primary gateway to Japanese pop-culture. If it weren’t for H!P I would have missed out on so many other Jpop acts. This also applies to my two most recent purchases from CDJapan.
One of the miriad ways H!P has led me to other artists is via something I like to call “follow the producer”. I am an unabashed fan of Tsunku, as much for his producing skills as his time as lead singer and lyricist for Sharan Q. As such I’ve been trying to track down any and all releases he’s had a hand in both in and outside the Hello!Project idol collective. Hirano Aya’s Namida NAMIDA Namida (pictured above), much like Afilia Saga East’s Knee High Egoist is a perfect example of this. (Note: all videos in this blogpost are unofficial and could be taken down at any time. I’ll modify the post accordingly if that were to happen)
The song is solid, a nice blend of her usual style (based on a quick perusal of her discography) mixed with whatever was on Tsunku’s mind around the time of the release of this single (2008). I actually found myself enjoying the coupling song WIN just as much. In any case Hirano Aya (already somewhat familiar to me via the Lucky Star anime series) is certainly on my radar from now on.
Gackt is yet another artist I never would have gotten to know if it wasn’t for Hello!Project. The unbelievably hilarious clip of him and former Morning Musume member Kago Ai “dating” is what prompted me to search out his music and aided by the fact that he was apparently the first Japanese musician to release his music on iTunes I’ve been able to enjoy much of his discography. When Episode 0 failed to make it on iTunes (perhaps due to legal issues stemming from it being a tie-in with Vocaloid) I finally decided to purchase myself a physical Gackt single.
Gackt still stands for quality in my book and the same goes for this release. Both the main song and the coupling are just awesome. While I’m less of a fan of his YFC side-project I still think his own releases are top notch.