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.

Monday, May 23, 2022

ROUND TABLE featuring Nino -- Groovin' Magic


Happy Victoria Day! Hope my fellow Canadians have been able to get some relaxation over the long weekend. 

With all of the myriad genres of music out there, it's inevitable that some of them have merged into something often new and fascinating...just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (which I love, by the way). Jazz and rock joined into fusion, Caribbean genres met jazz/R&B to create ska, and even ska encountered New Wave and punk to make Two-tone. Even within Japan, Hawaiian and Latin got together with kayo kyoku to form Mood Kayo. It's kinda like seeing soap suds on the surface of water and having bubbles join up to form newer bubbles.

All this merging and evolution have continued up to the present day, and recently, I discovered that anison and Shibuya-kei had a mind meld of sorts as early as the late 1990s to give birth to Akishibu-kei(アキシブ系), a portmanteau of Akiba-kei (after the Tokyo anime/electronics district of Akihabara) and Shibuya-kei. To me, this particular hybridized genre sounds like a new breed of Japanese dog but I've realized that sample songs are really bouncy disco-like anime themes. If this is indeed the case then perhaps I already have representatives of Akishibu-kei here on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" such as "Egao ni Naru"(笑顔になる)by Rina Sato & Asuka Ohgame (佐藤利奈・大亀あすか)for the anime "Koufuku Graffiti"(幸腹グラフィティ), seiyuu Kana Hanazawa's(花澤香菜)"Moonlight Magic" and Kohmi Hirose's(広瀬香美)"Groovy!" from "Card Captor Sakura"(カードキャプターさくら).

My realization that there was a genre known as Akishibu-kei came about because I found this song called "Groovin' Magic" by this musical unit called ROUND TABLE which delves into J-Pop, Neo-Shibuya-kei, guitar pop, soft rock, anison...and Akishibu-kei. The group formed in 1997 with vocalist and keyboardist Rieko Ito(伊藤利恵子)and vocalist and guitarist Katsutoshi Kitagawa(北川勝利); not surprisingly, Kitagawa was behind two of the songs that I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Between 2002 and 2012, there was also a guest vocalist by the name of Nino who helped with ROUND TABLE to provide songs, and so in those cases, the group was logically known as ROUND TABLE featuring Nino. One single from February 2005 under this name was "Groovin' Magic" which was the opening song for the 2004-2006 mecha anime OVA "Top wo Nerae 2!"(トップをねらえ2!)or "Diebuster". The aforementioned "Egao ni Naru" for "Koufuku Graffiti" had its Burt Bacharach and Sunshine Pop influences but "Groovin' Magic" tends more toward the disco/R&B side of things a la Bird and Misia of the early 2000s. Vocalist Ito was responsible for both words and music.


  1. I have a few of their albums from the pre-Nino era. They're pretty good. I think Nino had something of a solo career after she left the band. I believe I saw a greatest hits compilation for her, although I don't know if some of it is post-Round Table, or if it's just a collection of her stuff with them.

    1. Hi, Scott. By chance, would you happen to know some additional information on Nino? I could see some photos of her and ROUND TABLE, but it seems that anything of her biography is pretty sparse.

  2. It looks like the greatest hits CD I found a while back was listed incorrectly. It was just the singles from Round Table & Nino. I found a Reddit thread that said she hasn't been heard from since the group went on hiatus back in 2012.

    1. Sounds like she may have taken the same route as Takako Mamiya and Meiko Nakahara, and completely disappear from the music scene.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.