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.

Friday, October 16, 2015

ChouCho -- Starlog/kagami

One of the running arcs in my return to watching anime is the "Fate/Stay Night" franchise. From reading the Wikipedia article, "Fate/Stay Night" has been quite the success story since its debut in 2004 as a humble Windows game before it got bumped up to visual novel and then exploded into various anime (including a wild parody known as "Carnival Phantasm") and more games. Of course, I jumped on the bus long after it started its ride into the big time by first watching the somewhat cutesy alternate universe version of the main story known as "Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya" featuring a happier Illyasviel von Einzbern (I am so glad that she kept her eyes here) last year.

Considering the odd mix of wacky moe humour and the fierce sword-and-sorcery from the original series, I was a bit surprised by the choice of opening theme song. I had been expecting something along the lines of a moe aidoru or a triumphant orchestral production. But instead, the opening theme from Season 1 was "Starlog", a mid-tempo relatively easygoing song whose arrangement reminded me of some of the stuff that Misia and bird were singing around the turn of the century.

ChouCho was the singer here. Over the past few years, I have seen her name on the opening and closing credits of various anime almost at the same rate as I've seen lyricist Aki Hata's(畑亜貴)moniker. She took care of the opening theme for the earlier "Girls und Panzer" which frankly got overshadowed by the rest of the amazing soundtrack from that series and then the original ending theme for a far future anime "Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet". "Starlog" was her 7th single from July 2013 and it has been her most successful song on the charts to date, reaching No. 27. Yohei Matsui and Shin Kawamoto松井洋平・川本新...hope I've got that second name right)were the songwriters.

At one point, "Starlog" was the default tune on my hard drive to start up automatically, and at the time, I hadn't remembered it was the theme song for "Prisma Illya". I had just assumed it was merely another anison for a more down-to-earth show. But because I heard it frequently, ChouCho and the song gradually grew on me, and was surprised when my memory returned to let me know it had indeed been the opening theme for the hijinks among Illya, Miyu, Rie and Luvia. In a way, the Osaka-born singer keeps things nicely grounded when the action from the previous episode gets a little too far out.

I have been fortunate to view the series again and I've just started on the 2nd series. But going through that first series, I finally got the chance to really listen to that song by ChouCho that popped up in Episode 9 when things were looking their darkest for Illya and her friends. Titled "Kagami" (Mirror), it was once again written by Yohei Matsui but Tomohisa Ishikawa(石川智久)took care of the music and arrangement which had me thinking 80s love ballad by Rod Temperton or David Foster. That piano opening simply stopped me in my tracks and gave me some goosebumps, honestly speaking.

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