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.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara, Yuko Goto, Natsuko Kuwatani & Yuki Matsuoka -- Fure Fure Mirai (フレ降レミライ)

Bear with me here for some several lines while I set tonight's article up. For years, I used to watch the American sitcom "MASH" which featured the comedy and drama surrounding the doctors and nurses of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital 4077 during the Korean War. The show lasted 3 times longer than the actual Korean War and made household names out of the entire cast.

Then, sometime after the tearjerking finale in 1984, I was shocked when I saw most of the cast come back in a series of TV ads for good ol' Big Blue, aka IBM. To see folks like Major Frank Burns, Father Mulcahy and Radar O'Reilly pop up as modern working folk in a trendy looking startup was really quite fascinating.

That's how I kinda look at the situation with the 2006 "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" and the currently-running (for a few more weeks, anyways) 2015 "The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan". In the former show, there were all of these high school characters of whom most were actually aliens investigating a Miss Haruhi Suzumiya(涼宮ハルヒ)who may be the most powerful being in the universe. It made quite the splash in its first season but then apparently almost sank under the notorious story of "The Endless Eight" in its second season (my anime buddy is a huge fan of the franchise and even he won't let me get anywhere near that one).

Cue ahead almost a decade. Well, mind you, in my case, it would only be a few years since I played a lot of catch-up where the franchise was concerned since I only started seeing it from around 2012. We all find out that "Haruhi" is coming back but it would be an alternate universe version focusing on the character of Yuki Nagato(長門有希). The characters and their accompanying seiyuu are the same, along with the setting, but everyone is absolutely 100% human and the plot has been focused for the most part on down-to-earth relationships among the kids with a mix of comedy and drama. More importantly, Nagato is not a superhuman artificial humanoid who could possibly give a certain Kryptonian a run for his money but a timid high school girl with the hots for good guy Kyon(キョン). It's kinda like taking Mr. Spock and making him a Bostonian librarian by the name of Lenny.

The opening theme, "Fure Fure Mirai" (Rainy Rainy Future), also has that feeling of familiarity and something new. Sung by all of the female cast known collectively as the Kitakou Bungeibu Joshikai (北高文芸部女子会...North High Literary Club Girls' Association), I decided to identify everyone by name up above. There is that very big echo back to the ending theme from "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", "Hare Hare Yukai"(ハレ晴レユカイ)although it's not quite as catchy as that latter theme (perhaps it will grow on me in time) and the only dancing involved in the opening credits is a very brief second of Miley Cyrus moves. But I figure that's probably the way it should be since Haruhi would definitely be the type to drag everybody for a dance-a-thon whereas Yuki is more demure about such exploits.

Aki Hata(畑亜貴)was responsible for the lyrics for "Fure Fure Mirai" as she was also for "Hare Hare Yukai", but this time the composer was Yugo Sasakura(佐々倉有吾). Actually, maybe it is growing on me much more since I've been enjoying the full version of the song; it certainly sounds as if the cast was enjoying themselves in the recording booth. There are just a few more episodes left in this series but unlike the seemingly dour tone of the title, I'm hoping that there is a happy resolution of sorts between Yuki and Kyon.

Although I've already done so for the first three seiyuu due to "Hare Hare Yukai", allow me to provide the singers' names in kanji:

Aya Hirano (平野綾)as Haruhi
Minori Chihara(茅原実里)as Yuki
Yuko Goto(後藤邑子)as Mikuru
Natsuko Kuwatani(桑谷夏子)as Ryoko
Yuki Matsuoka (松岡由貴)as Tsuruya-san

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