Anime, Japanese

“Velonica” Decides To Die (Aqua Timez / Bleach Single Review)

July 12, 2010 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook “Velonica” Decides To Die (Aqua Timez / Bleach Single Review)on Twitter

I cannot believe Bleach is still running as a TV anime series. Currently in its 15th season, this show is well on its way to trumping all of Dragon Ball (including the original, Z, and GT) in terms of number of episodes. The show actually runs multiple “seasons” per year. In its 10th season, the opening theme song was “Velonica” by the J-rock band Aqua Timez. Aqua Timez has recorded more than one piece for the Bleach franchise, but this piece has a strange and special history.

Want to know about it? Take the jump to find out more!

Aqua Timez wrote the song “Velonica” (surely an intentional use of Engrish) based on the book, and titular character of the book, Veronika Decides To Die. Apparently this strange, dark story from a Brazilian author has caught on many places. A Hollywood-generated movie is in the works, and the story has already been turned to screenplays in a variety of countries (including Japan). For such a dark and introspective tale, however, “Velonica” is anything but. At least as far as the music goes. I cannot speak for the lyrics, though I understand they vaguely describe Veronika’s take on life before and after her suicide attempt.

The music, however, is about as upbeat and comfortably happy as possible. This is one of the least-dark opening themes in the Bleach TV series, at least as far as I can tell. The verses come out as a monotone rap (in the literal sense, he’s singing the same note over and over), but the chorus has some actual pitch changes. The style may be appealing to some people, but I can’t award any points for compositional prowess. In my opinion, the piece is boring despite its tempo and the energy behind the studio-friendly band. Veronika, or should I say “Velonica,” deserves better.

Sadly, my opinion doesn’t match that of the Japanese population. Velonica reached #2 on the Oricon charts after its January 2009 release. That’s the highest any of their *eleven* radio hit singles have reached. Wow.

If you buy this single as a CD (catalog number ESCL-3147 from CD Japan or Play-Asia), you’ll get two B-Sides as well: Kanade Ai (Playing Together) and Kaori (Fragrance). More melodic J-rock. Half-decent. But clearly worthy of their “B-Side” status.

Final thoughts: it sucks when the best thing about the single is the cover art. I was really hoping for more from this single. I read about it before I heard it (backwards from most listeners, I’m sure). And with the backstory of the song being connected to what sounds like a great novel, I thought “heck, this could be a really great song!” Its being a Bleach single gave me even more hope that the song wouldn’t be terrible. Is it too much to ask that I get something closer to “Abingdon Boys School” than “Aqua Timez” in the future? Or am I way off base here (either that I just claimed ABS to be better, or that I would have hope for either band at all)?

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