Short obligatory disclaimer: Even though the Spring 2021 anime season has started, I haven’t watched or listened to anything other than MHA.
So yeah, it’s that time again. The new anime season has started. And tbh, I’m not terribly excited. How could you possibly follow up “Boku no Sensou” by Shinsei Kamattechan, “Rakuen” by Fujifabric, “Kaibutsu” by YOASOBI and “Tabibito no Uta” by Oohara Yuiko? Spring 2021 posters didn’t really catch my eye either, apart from a couple of exceptions. And don’t get me started with the stories and the settings. Is it just me or is this season weak compared to winter 2021? Weak? Ha, I wish. I don’t seem to find the titles interesting enough. And the music? Not very promising…
Yes, I started strong but I have no intention to belittle any of the artists or seiyuu who either have released or will soon release their spring 2021 anime songs. I implore you to persuade me that I’m wrong in believing that spring 2021 is not a good follow up for winter 2021. The most popular anime series are My Hero Academia season whatever it is now, that Negatoro lassie who shows how much she digs senpai by teasing him nonstop, the babyface dude who brought a high-schooler back home because he shaved (bravo *claps slowly*), some isekai trash and some other titles that don’t intrigue me much. Guess this season I’ll be watching older anime that I’ve missed… and Iruma-kun!
As is tradition, anisong linked to this kind of anime usually feature the leading seiyuu. And since we’re not talking about slice of life or social dramas, we should probably be expecting J-core and idol music. So that leaves us with the fast tempo tracks performed by kawaii girls, sung in the upper register -that’s actually solely audible by dogs and weebs- almost out of tune to be even cuter. And musically speaking, I don’t find it very encouraging. If you’re wondering why, I’ll give you a couple of seconds to contemplate. If you still don’t get it, it’s because the seiyuu-type anisong may be fun to listen to while watching an anime or when remembering an anime you’ve enjoyed watching. It’s not really the best quality music material; it’s just a fun anisong. Don’t get me wrong, two songs of this sort I enjoy listening to are the OP from Gabriel Dropout and the OP of Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!. I find the first really comedic, especially its lyrics and the latter catchy and humorous. When I listen to them I go “ahh” and then I start smiling. However, that’s about it.
The thing is that even though this season’s artists’ discographies may be ‘thick’, they haven’t done many anime tie-ups. Obviously, this is merely a generalization and there are exceptions. After browsing a bit, I came across a plethora of familiar names and a person who made me think “well, that could be interesting”. But first, let’s get the couple of big names out of the way and leave the name that interested me the most for the end. Don’t succumb and read ahead. It’ll only take a little while.
We’ve seen CHiCO with Honeyworks a number of times already and I’d say that all their anime tie-ups have kept the bar high (if not high, they have at least kept the bar level). We didn’t plunge into songs of lesser quality nor did the production value drop. Another highlight is voice actress Yuuki Aoi. Her name appeared in MHA, Fire Force, Gosick, Rent-a-Girlfriend, Nanatsu no Taizai, Owari no Seraph, Oregairu, Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? and Youjo Senki among others. As she is a seiyuu who sings, rather than a singer who does voice acting as a side gig, I am expecting something from the usual seiyuu anisong repertoire. Although there are other names worth mentioning here, I won’t be going into detail either because the anime aren’t popular enough, because the artist isn’t popular enough or because the seiyuu are better known for the voice acting roles rather than the anime tie-ups.
What I do want to go into detail though, is this. I have my hopes up for an artist called mabanua. He hasn’t been involved in many anime. He was a part of only four to be exact. He has composed the OSTs for BNA, Megalo Box and Sakamichi no Apollon. Both the OP, the ED and the OST of Nomad: Megalo Box 2 have been composed by him. And although his anime-related discography isn’t a long one, something clicked with me.
It was probably his name and his photo on MAL. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that a person’s facial characteristics make him a good musician. Think of it as something more abstract. Let’s go with aura or vibe. The vibe he emits made my musician bell ring. I have the feeling that I should keep an eye on him and expect something good.
Long story short, my conclusion is this: my expectations aren’t very high but I am looking forward to being pleasantly surprised by something unexpectedly good.