October 22nd, 2013


Are theme songs still relevant to dramas now?


Came across this article by music critic Tomisawa Issei which talks about the relevance of theme songs to dramas now which I found very insightful. I won't translate the whole article word for word but will just highlight the key observations and viewpoints he raised:

In the past especially in the 90s, drama theme songs such as "Love Story wa totsuzen ni" or "SAY YE can be said to be a part of the drama just like the lines spoken by the cast. Most, if not all theme songs were crafted to portray the feelings of the characters and could boost the impact of critical scenes at the right moment. As such, this is why viewers then to remember the drama and its signature scenes whenever they hear the theme songs. Conversely, the reverse holds true i.e. seeing the drama brings back memories of the theme song.

However, in recent years, there are less examples of such theme songs. Even so for top-rating dramas like "Hanzawa Naoki" or "Ama-chan", all they had were BGMs and no theme songs. In this age, is there still a need for drama theme songs if they do not wield the same power as before?

In the old days where drama producers brought the scripts to recording companies and singers to ask them to write a song for the drama, it was no wonder that the songs were a perfect fit and complemented the dramas. When drama theme songs became profitable commercially, the reverse happened i.e. record companies became more active in lobbying for their artistes to sing theme songs. It turned out to be good for the TV stations which no longer needed to spend money on producing the theme songs or BGM. In extreme cases, theme songs were selected not on the basis of their suitability and TV stations just used whatever they were offered. As such, there were many "ready-made" theme songs which fitted the requirements of the TV stations.

As a result of this trend, drama viewers started to wonder why certain songs were used as the themes even though they were obviously incompatible with the dramas' content. It was also becoming more obvious that the use of some of these songs were meant to be for money-making purposes.

And that is precisely why drama theme songs find it hard to make it as hits these days. The opening theme of "Ama-chan" and theme of "Hanzawa Naoki" were made to match the drama's content so even without a theme song with lyrics, they were still memorable and popular with viewers. This sort of lends credibility to the argument that a theme song is not always necessary for a drama if the BGM can convey the same message.

It is probably now that we should think about not attaching irrelevant and unwanted things to the lyrics of drama theme songs and return to the basics of the golden era for theme songs.

I tend to agree with most of this article as in, the theme songs these days just don't have the same amount of influence and reach as before and there have been many mismatches between the dramas and the songs. Even for theme songs coming from artistes I like, I can't help but think that the usage of such songs stems from a commercial reason rather than the songs selected for their quality or compatibility with the dramas.

Back in the days when I was still a very hardcore Johnny's fan (I still support some of the older groups now), I think most people would notice that the theme songs of dramas featuring Johnny's artistes would tend to be that sung by the same person or group which he belongs to. So for example, if a TOKIO member is the lead for a drama, chances are the theme song is also by TOKIO. Same goes for SMAP, V6, KinKi Kids, Arashi etc. This led to some criticism that the tie-up with the drama was merely a way to sell the CDs which I do notice and acknowledge that the singles which had been drama theme songs tend to do better in sales. Commercially, they are not wrong in doing that but to the viewers especially those who aren't fans, the theme songs sometimes do not go down well with the general public. Due to this perceived "unfair advantage" held by the JE groups, it can be a pity at times especially if the song is good but prejudice against the group or this system already rules out the song as a potential favourite right from the start.

Do you have any examples of mismatched theme songs which you feel that do not fit the dramas? Or do you have any examples of theme songs which are perfect matches with the dramas? Do share your thoughts here through the comments section.


Long Vacation title screen is mandatory for this article lol.
As for the more recent dramas, I'll put Namie Amuro's songs for Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu and theme songs for both seasons of Jin.
They are perfect.
Also, as much as I love JE, I kind of agree with the writer's opinion about JE groups' songs in dramas.
What do you think, arama?

Keanu Reeves: Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Not Likely to Happen With Me in It


Actor Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Animatrix, A Scanner Darkly) hosted a Q&A session on the Reddit website on Sunday, and when asked about the live-action Cowboy Bebop film, Reeves replied:

Cowboy Bebop does not look like it is going to happen with me in it. The script that was written was great and amazing, but it would cost like half a billion dollars to make it, and while I wished and hoped I would have done that project, we are working on trying to get Bill & Ted 3. There's a script and we are trying to put it together.

In an interview with the Collider film news site in September 2010, Reeves had given a similar statement:

I haven't heard anything back. They turned in the script and it was very expensive. I don't know if they're going to…it would cost, like, half a billion dollars to make that script. So, I don't know where it's at right now.

The American film studio Twentieth Century Fox, the production company 3 Arts Entertainment, and the original anime studio Sunrise announced in January 2009 that they would be co-producing the proposed adaptation of the 1998 anime series. The original series follows the motley crew of the spaceship Bebop as it travels throughout the solar system in search of the next job.

Reeves was originally slated to star in the film. Joshua Long had acted as a production supervisor, and Erwin Stoff, a film producer who worked closely with Reeves on The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly, was also attached. The associate producers for the film were Sunrise President Kenji Uchida, the original Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, and the original series script supervisor Keiko Nobumoto. The Sunrise studio itself and Masahiko Minami (former Sunrise producer and BONES studio co-founder) were both acting as production consultants. Peter Craig was writing the film's screenplay. Stoff had said in 2009 that the film would not be an origin story.


Becky in a relationship with EXILE's MAKIDAI!? (Shukan Post)


News about the making of a mega couple has just broken out. Becky (29), touted as the most likable talent with over 10 regular programs under her belt, has apparently had some changes in her lifestyle as of late.

"We've been receiving a lot of eyewitness reports lately, all claiming that Becky has been going out on dates with EXILE's MAKIDAI (37).  They were rumored to be an item for quite some time now, and Becky apparently wants everyone around her to find out about this and make it official. She doesn't make any more efforts to hide it." - (showbiz agency representative)

This is a rarity for Becky, as she has been a "scandal virgin", even if she's already been in the industry for 14 years. She has declared that her work is her lover and that she doesn't want to have a relationship because she doesn't want to disappoint her fans. So what made her change her perception? It was apparently the marriage of her best friend Aya Ueto to EXILE's leader HIRO.

"Becky was the one who acted like the cupid between Ueto and HIRO. And when she's with Ueto and her husband, MAKIDAI, who's very close to HIRO, would also be there. The two just got to spend more time together, which has apparently blossomed into a romantic relationship." - (showbiz agency representative)

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Tamori announces end of 'Waratte Iitomo' after 32 years


Television comedian Tamori (real name Kazuyoshi Morita) confirmed on his midday variety program “Waratte Iitomo” (It’s Okay to Laugh) Tuesday that the long-running show will come to end next March after 32 years on the air on Fuji TV.

The popular variety program started in October 1982. Tamori, 68, is known for his trademark sunglasses (very few people have ever seen him without sunglasses).

On Tuesday, comedian Shofukute Tsurube—who is a Thursday regular—made an appearance and asked Tamori if it was true about the show coming to an end. Tamori replied that the final program will air next March. SMAP singer Masahiro Nakai asked if it was official, to which Tamori replied affirmative.

Tamori has long been considered one of Japan’s most famous three television comedians, along with Beat Takeshi and Akashiya Sanma.


love you

Fangophilia – Interview & Behind the Scenes Video

Fangophilia Custom Molded Jewelry, Tokyo (1)

To say that Japanese accessory brand Fangophilia makes “custom” or “one of a kind” body jewelry is an understatement. In the words of the brand’s founder Taro Hanabusa, “Fangophilia creates body extension accessories through careful molding to the individual parts of the human body.” Melding Hanabusa’s personal interest in body modification with his self-taught silversmithing skills, each of Fangophilia’s signature pieces is handcrafted to fit the wearer – and only the wearer. To celebrate the release of Fangophilia’s debut lookbook, TokyoFashion.com is proud to present an exclusive making-of video and interview with founder/designer Taro Hanabusa.

Source: TokyoFashion (More photos at source)
MEG 07

Curumi Chronicle - The "Social Network" Technopop Idol


Curumi Chronicle is a 16-year-old girl from Osaka, Japan. She may seem like your typical Japanese high school girl, but behind her “girl next door” look and shy personality, we have a technopop rising star. Curumi is under independent label PAV Records and produced by USAGI DISCO, who uses a production technique very similar to that of Terukado (producer of Aira Mitsuki and Saori@destiny) and Nakata Yasutaka (producer of Perfume, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and CAPSULE). You could say she’s mainly influenced by Saori@destiny and Aira Mitsuki, as she shares a very similar style in music, also for following their footsteps, like performing on the streets. Not only that, but she’s actually a fangirl herself! (Here's an image of Curumi with Saori@destiny, and one of her attending one of Aira Mitsuki's recent live shows.)

Performing “Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo” and “Susume! Susume!”

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Source: Sora to Kujira, YouTube


YASSS. I am SO ready for this! Already pre-ordered her album!