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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

REIRA starring YUNA ITO -- Endless Story

Back a decade ago, there was some buzz about this manga-turned-movie "NANA" which featured a couple of very different women with the same name of Nana. The two main characters were played by actress Aoi Miyazaki(宮崎あおい)and singer Mika Nakashima(中島美嘉), and although the story was about how these two met and grew to become good friends despite their differences, I couldn't help but feel that there was a bit of Prince's "Purple Rain". I think the reason was that Nakashima's Nana Osaki(大崎ナナ)was aiming to become a singer and I'd assumed (never saw the movie so I`m probably wrong) that there was a competition of sorts on the stage between her and one other artist.

So my musical era-spanning analogy has Prince vs. Morris Day and The Time with Nana Osaki going up against Reira Serizawa(芹澤レイラ)of the band Trapnest. Incidentally, that name Reira was actually meant to be Layla since the character of the Japanese-American singer had been named after the famous Eric Clapton song (amazing what you can find out on Wiki).

Anyways, Reira was played by American singer-songwriter Yuna Ito(伊藤由奈)who was born in Los Angeles but was raised in Hawaii. And along with Nakashima's big hit "Glamorous Sky", Ito hit it big as well with "Endless Story" which was also performed in the movie. In fact, I remember "Endless Story" much better than I do "Glamorous Sky" since I was more attracted to the pop ballad. There was something very 80s about it, and once I admitted that to myself, it didn't take long for me to purchase my own copy.

"Endless Story" was released in September 2005 after which it went Double Platinum and earned a special prize at the Japan Record Awards for that year. It went all the way up to No. 2 on Oricon and quickly became the 19th-ranked single of 2005. Ito also performed her hit on that year's Kohaku Utagassen. The single was also on Ito's debut album "Heart" from January 2007 which hit No. 1 and was the 14th-ranked album of the year.

Now comes the surprise for me. I found out just earlier that the song was basically a cover of Dawn Ann Thomas' "If I'm Not In Love" which was included in the soundtrack for the 1993 movie "Indecent Proposal" starring Demi Moore and Robert Redford. Thomas is listed in the credits for Ito's song with musician ats- providing the Japanese lyrics.

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