I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Masami Okui -- Energy

(cover version)

Masami Okui (奥井雅美) is a contemporary singer and friend of Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ). So, as they collaborated some times in the past, I also enjoyed a couple of songs released by her.

Masami Okui, considered a technically better singer if compared to Megumi Hayashibara, worked as a backing vocalist for artists like Yuki Saito (斉藤由貴), Wink and Tomoyo Harada (原田知世) before starting her own career as a recording artist in the anime business.

After debuting in 1993, Okui became one of the main anime song singers of its time, but different from Hayashibara and other friends in the business, Masami Okui was not a voice-actress. In this case, she specialized herself as a singer-songwriter in the anime business.

“Energy”, an album track from Okui’s debut album “Gyuu”, which was released in April 1995, is a typical 90s anime song with its upbeat sound and heavy synths. Well, in reality, "Energy" was not used in any anime series, but the sound was the same. According to generasia, Masami Okui and Toshiro Yabuki (矢吹俊郎), the guy responsible for the arrangement of “Energy” and a good portion of Okui's songs at the time, “are known to be the pioneers in the introduction of dance sound in the anison musics”. I don’t quite agree with this, basically because a bunch of other anime singers, like Megumi Hayashibara, Yoko Takahashi (高橋洋子) and Kasumi Matsumura (松村香澄), to name a few, were doing similar works at the time. Besides that, I can see where they’re coming from with this sentence. Yabuki probably had an eye on the Komuro (小室 哲哉) dance craze of the mid-90s, and that’s why he tried to, somehow, emulate this specific trendy sound in the anime songs niche. It was a good move, and his arrangements were exciting.

The “Gyuu” album reached #47 on the Oricon charts, selling 11,450 copies. While Okui herself was responsible for lyrics and music, the arrangement, like I said earlier, was done by Toshiro Yabuki. A fun fact is that Yabuki has also worked with Wink as a guitarist a couple of years before Okui worked with the lovely duo.


  1. Okui was someone I've heard from time to time whenever my anime buddy pulls out the music at his place. Considering the time that it was released, "Energy" reminds me somewhat of Tetsuya Komuro's arrangement of "Boy Meets Girl" for soon as I heard the opening notes, I immediately thought 90s.

    1. Masami Okui is a very famous singer in the anime industry. She came to Brazil a couple of times, but, unfortunately, Megumi didn't come along to sing a duet with her. I'd love to see them together.

      About "Energy", it surely had this euro/dance-pop feel that was starting to really take off at the time. If we think closer, in 1995, trf was really big, Namie Amuro was being launched into stardom and Ryoko Shinohara's "Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoro Zuyosa to" was a monster hit. Based on that, it's not a surprise that the anime related musicians were also trying out the trend. I liked the result, especially as 90s anime songs were what made me a J-Pop fan in the first place.


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