Credits

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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Megumi Hayashibara -- Give a reason



If someone asked me what song represents Megumi Hayashibara’s (林原めぐみ) career in terms of success and popularity, I would easily answer “Give a reason”.


The first time I listened to it I was fourteen years old (2004) and, although it wasn’t the first song by Megumi I’ve listened to, it was THE song that made me turn into a fan of her music work. Now you ask: Is it my favorite nowadays? No, it isn’t my favorite since 2005 or 2006, but it’s impossible to dislike the song, even if I’ve listened to it a thousands times in the last thirteen years.

Released in April 1996, “Give a reason” was the opening theme to the second season of one of the most popular anime series Megumi has been involved with: “Slayers” (スレイヤーズ). Also, by the time “Give a reason” was released, the “Slayers” franchise was already big, with a popular first season aired in 1995, manga, radio dramas, movies and, of course, many singles and OST albums associated with it. Megumi, of course, was featured in all of them as she was the voice actress (seiyuu) responsible for the series’ main character, a red-haired, short-tempered and powerful sorceress specialized in black magic called Lina Inverse (リナ=インバース).

“Slayers” is not complex at all, being just that type of carefree comedy series with Medieval thematic and various recurring light sexual gags. It has a special spot on my heart, since Megumi is a main part of it, and also because I like silly comedies, but I wouldn’t recomment it to someone who’s in need of a great series with a good story and character development. It’s perfect to watch with a couple of friends on a sunday afternoon.

As for the songs associated with “Slayers”, they’re famous for being upbeat and catchy high energy electronic pop music that pushes you forward and makes you feel like in a sort of adventure (well, “Slayers” is the embodiment of a Medieval RPG game, so it makes sense). In some way, the music can be described as typical stuff from 90s shounen anime, but I personally think of it as a highlight from its era. And “Give a reason” – with Megumi’s girly voice, the powerful and full of encouragement chorus, but also an arrangement with various layers of electronic sounds combined with guitars – is probably the epitome of it.

To finish, here’s Megumi performing a short version of “Give a reason” in one of her rare concerts (this concert was recorded in 2000).


“Give a reason” reached #9 on the Oricon chart, selling 232,850 copies. The song was then included in Megumi’s seventh album, “bertemu” (released in November 1996), and in many compilations later on. Lyrics were written by Satomi Arimori (有森聡美), while music was composed by Hidetoshi Sato (佐藤英敏). As for the arrangement, Tsutomu Ohira (大平勉) was the responsible.


"bertemu's" front and back covers, respectively

3 comments:

  1. Hi again.

    Like yourself, I don't need to watch a supremely well-crafted anime all the time. I will be just as happy to watch something carefree and frankly brainless on a regular Sunday as a happy diversion. Currently that would be "Love Lab", but even that has surprised me by providing a bit more depth than I had been expecting.

    So, Hayashibara was the famous Lina Inverse? That character's name has been flitting about in my memory for years but I never really got into "Slayers". "Giving A Reason" definitely fulfills that observation of some anison sounding a decade or so older than expected. From the arrangement, I would have pegged it as something produced in the 1990s during the Tetsuya Komuro boom days.

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    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      "Give a reason" is truly a great example of the outdated sound some anime songs had at the time. Like you said, it somwhow resembled Komuro's electronic pop music, but in a more outdated way.

      Megumi's Lina Inverse role was so important, and she released so many songs for the Slayers franchise, that she even released a compilation album called "Slayers Megumix" in 2008. The compilation contains all, or almost all, of the songs she recorded for the anime over the years, and I think it's a great showcase of the 90s anime sound we're talking about.

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  2. This is a classic! I love all the themes from Slayers, and I think they're a great example of 90s anison at their best.

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