Anime, Japanese, Reviews

Abingdon Boys School Single Not Exactly Earthshaking – Kimi No Uta (Review)

October 15, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Abingdon Boys School Single Not Exactly Earthshaking – Kimi No Uta (Review)on Twitter


As someone who’s been a lifetime California resident, earthquakes are one of Nature’s forces that must be reckoned with. And when one strikes a major city, it causes hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. No less significant is the human cost, measured in lives lost as well as the emotional trauma wreaked upon the populace. Needless to say, it’s a pretty grim picture.

That makes the choice for Tokyo Magnitude 8.0’s opening all the more puzzling. The music is performed by the Japanese pop-rock group Abingdon Boys School, which has impressed with “JAP,” the opening to the anime adaptation of Capcom’s Sengoku Basara. But here, I’m not sure their music fits in with the theme. If you’re curious to find out why Kimi no Uta is such a strange choice, read on after the jump.

You can probably figure out from the title of the anime that Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is about a huge earthquake that devastates Tokyo and the story focuses upon the two siblings, Mirai and her brother Yuuki, as they try to make their way home. The anime makes an effort to convey the scope of the suffering and the moments of sheer frustration where nothing seems to be working as communication lines are down, making contact with loved ones virtually impossible.

The prelude to each episode starts with Abingdon Boy’s School’s “Kimi no Uta,” a song that is just a bit too happy for its own good. The introduction offers a surge of energy, as the lead singer, Takanori Nishikawa (better known in some circles as T.M. Revolution), belts out an enthusiastic line that sets an emphatic, optimistic tone for the rest of the song.

But looking at it from the context of the anime, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, while hopeful, never reaches the exuberance that Nishikawa puts into the song. Rather than bring in the softer vocals that might befit a rock ballad, I think a song that utilizes the rock instruments’ ability to convey the imagery of destruction would have been more suitable. At least the lyrics are appropriate to the situation.

Altogether, this song is decent in the way it builds up to the effusive chorus that fits in with the typical J-rock formula. There’s nothing low key about the presentation and though it doesn’t blaze any new trails, it does everything by the book that’s needed to make it listenable.

The B-side should be familiar to fans of Sengoku Basara since it’s nothing more than an arrangement of “JAP” set to different lyrics. “Stealth -Rei Gou Shiki Jap-” has the energy that you might expect from the original along with its rebellious tones that emphatically urge people to break free from the chains holding them down. I’m not sure why they decided another version of “JAP” was necessary, but I guess popular songs will be milked for all they’re worth, and “JAP” isn’t a bad song to be milking since it’s an enjoyable listen.

In sum, all signs point to a listenable single. There’s nothing really groundbreaking to be had, but if you dig what the Abingdon Boys School have served up and are looking for more or less the same sound, this album is probably up your alley.

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