Anime, Japanese, Reviews

Hitomi Takahashi And Beat Crusaders Team Up On Gin Tama: Wo Ai Ni Single (Review)

March 28, 2010 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Hitomi Takahashi And Beat Crusaders Team Up On Gin Tama: Wo Ai Ni Single (Review)on Twitter

There are apparently a lot of Gin Tama fans out there, although I admit I’d never heard of it before looking into this single. Between 32 volumes in the ongoing manga series and over 190 episodes in the animated series, it’s not all that surprising that “Wo Ai Ni” acts as the 14th ending theme for the animated series.

This is certainly an interesting collaboration, pairing J-pop artist Hitomi Takahashi with J-rock group Beat Crusaders, who I’ve always meant to look more into. I guess this single gives me an excuse to check them out! With Hitomi Takahashi’s playful vocals (“Wo Ai Ni” means “I love you” in Mandarin) and a funky rock backing from the Beat Crusaders, you’ll definitely want to check this single out.

Read our review of the 14th ending theme from Gin Tama after the jump!

The single, “Wo Ai Ni,” is simply spectacular. It opens with synths, electric guitar, and a funky bass line that is quickly joined by a powerful brass section that borders on ska territory if just for a moment. When Hitomi Takahashi joins in, her voice is brought to the front of the mix, making it loud and clear despite the complex synth rock backing. The Beat Crusaders handle backup vocals in the chorus section in a sort of call-and-response fashion, answering Takahashi’s phrases with “Oh baby, trust in me. Oh baby, let me be. Oh baby, trust in me. Oh baby, love me do.” Yeah, that last one doesn’t make much sense, but that’s okay: it sounds great. It’s catchy, it’s rockin’, it’s funky, and it’s fun all at the same time. I’m certainly impressed.

The B-side is a little mellower, opening with finger-snapping percussion and more traditional jazz percussion. Takahashi once again handles the main vocals with the Beat Crusaders backing her up. This one plods along at a walking pace, featuring mainly acoustic guitars rather than harsh electric guitar. It’s not nearly as catchy or powerful as the previous track, but it’s still a fun listen.

The last track on the single is the TV version of “Wo Ai Ni,” which is in a minute and a half long compared to the original’s 4+ minutes. It encapsulates the most catchy portions of the track, although the full version is much more preferable for outside listening.

If anything, this one is fascinating as a collaboration between a rock group and a J-pop singer as well for its Mandarin song title. Even when you get past these “fascinating” aspects of “Wo Ai Ni,” there’s still a great song behind it, and I recommend checking it out if you think it sounds at all interesting! And as far as the packaging is concerned, there’s a neat plastic obi featuring some amazing looking artwork that actually reminds me a bit of the Suikoden series.  The Wo Ai Ni single is currently available at CD Japan and Play-Asia.

Are you a fan of the Gin Tama series? Do you find this collaboration to be interesting?

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