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, October 24, 2015

ZAQ -- Sparkling Daydream/Black Raison d'etre -- Inside Identity

Ever have these memories from your younger and more foolish days that you just want excised from your cranium forever? Ever cringe at those "What the heck was I thinking of?!" acts from your adolescence? Yuta Togashi and Shinka Nibutani share your pain. For me, it wasn't just Eighth-Grader Syndrome...the condition was pretty much my entire educational history until university.

I've just been going through the first season of "Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!"(中二病でも恋がしたい!...Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions)from 2012 up to the episode where things got pretty darn serious all of a sudden with viewers finding out about Yuta's to-be girlfriend, kooky Rikka Takanashi's reason behind her syndrome. Up until then, things had been hilarious as the two other main characters of Yuta and Shinka tried to exorcise memories of their past embarrassing acts with mixed results.

One of the things I've enjoyed about "Chūnibyō " is the opening theme song by ZAQ, "Sparkling Daydream". Words, music and singing were all done by her, and it is a thoroughly soaring piece meshed well with the opening credits, especially with the left and right sides of the screen alternately flashing (not sure if that had been inspired by the fact that Rikka has that eyepatch). I just hope there have been no YouTubers uploading a loop of the credits with viewers watching them in a darkened room. Although "Sparkling Daydream" provides fine and fun background to the characters horsing around (Sanae Dekomori and her weaponized ponytails for example), I think the soaring aspect of the song can also be applied to the freedom in the characters' delusions whether through flight or power.

"Sparkling Daydream" was released in October 2012 as ZAQ's debut single (I've already written about her 2nd single) and broke through the Oricon Top 10 to reach No. 8. It is also a part of her 2014 album, "Noisy LAB." which also hit the No. 8 mark.

ZAQ was also responsible for words and music to the ending theme for the first season of "Chūnibyō ", "Inside Identity". However, instead of her singing it, she left it to the four main female seiyuu of the series as the show-specific unit Black Raison d'etre. The song has also gotten a lot of airplay on my hard drive just for the rock arrangement and the cute voices doing that near-rap. Once again, it worked well with the ending credits which kinda come off as one of those 80s music videos featuring dream states.

Just to inform you of those seiyuu, they are Maaya Uchida(内田真礼), Chinatsu Akasaki(赤﨑千夏), Azumi Asakura(浅倉杏美)and Sumire Uesaka(上坂すみれ).

"Inside Identity" peaked at No. 12 on the Oricon weeklies after its release in November 2012. Tap into that inner Dark Flame Master while you listen to it...and make sure no one sees you.

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