Japanese, Reviews

Anime Voice Actress Turned Pop Singer: Aki Toyosaki's "Love Your Life" (Review)

Anime Voice Actress Turned Pop Singer: Aki Toyosaki’s “Love Your Life” (Review)

May 15, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Anime Voice Actress Turned Pop Singer: Aki Toyosaki’s “Love Your Life” (Review)on Twitter

We really enjoyed Japanese actresses’ Nao Matsushita’s foray into the world of live piano last year, but what we have here is an anime voice actress making her way into J-pop, which I suppose isn’t much of a stretch. Aki Toyosaki has voiced a number of characters since 2007, including the main characters for both Kenkō Zenrakei Suieibu Umishō and the music-themed K-On! where she has apparently annoyed our primary anime writer, Chris Nguyen (which is part of the reason why I’m covering this one).

While I can’t say I’m familiar with Toyosaki’s voice acting career, “Love your life” is actually her first solo single after having recorded opening and ending themes for the anime titles she’s worked on, and I have to say it’s quite good.

Find out why we think so in our review of Aki Toyosaki’s first solo single after the jump!

This is a playful one, but it’s not as sticky sweet as you may initially expect based on the swinging piano, joyous bells, and mischievous brass that act as the opening to “Love your life.” Toyosaki’s voice is quick to join the mix, and while her voice is very child-like, it somehow fits into the playful blend of instruments to come off as simply silly instead of annoying. It’s a fine line for sure, but Toyosaki treads it well, and avoids crossing it even once throughout the 5-minute track. The chorus section doubles up on the bassy end of the piano and explodes into a tornado of positive energy that will have you bopping your head. I’ve actually been struggling with myself as to whether or not I wanted to make this comparison, but since it was the first reaction I had to the track, I will say that it reminds me of The Beatles in many ways with its approach and organic instrumentation.

The B-side, “From the Sky” is much more subdued. The upbeat piano is still here, but the addition of belltones with lots of reverb lend the piece a dreamy atmosphere. Even Toyosaki’s voice is more relaxed as her voice skips along with the music. The music itself reminds me a bit of soundTeMP’s work, especially when listening to the instrumental version without the vocals. Now, I don’t use a comparison to soundTeMP lightly, as they’re one of my favorite sound studios of all time, but this is reminiscent of their style. It’s really well produced, and there are a lot of detailed sound effects and effects on the instruments that are easily missed with the vocals. I particularly enjoy the brass instruments that pop in from time to time.

What we’re reviewing here is the standard edition, but if you happen to pick up the limited edition version of the single, it comes with an additional DVD with the “Love your life” music video and two commercials. My advice to you: avoid watching the video, as that unbearable sweetness I mentioned Toyosaki was able to avoid in the song seeps through in the video. I guess this cut-out picture book style is all the rage in Japan right now, as we also saw a similar approach in the “Tane” video from no3b from last year. There is a cool jellybean equalizer thing in the video… but again, be warned!

The regular edition is currently available at Play-Asia and CD Japan, and I recommend picking it up if it sounds interesting to you!

What do you think of voice actors turned vocalists? Do you have any favorite singers who have taken this route?

[Track title translation by Shota Nakama]

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