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Archive for the 'Anime Music' Category


Bootleg Anime Music

Let’s stir the controversy pot a little. Taro made me annoyed because of a post he wrote about Cowboy Bebop MP3s available on the internet. I’m not going to link to it because I’m still mildly peeved :P Anyway, I’ve decided to write a quick guide on bootleg or otherwise pirated anime soundtrack CDs. Anime CDs tend to be pirated/bootlegged more often in the West than any other type of CD simply because they are not often released in the West, and may already be out of print in Japan.

Kids, you should already know that piracy of music and CDs is morally wrong and illegal to boot. I’m not going to tell you why, you should already know full well. If your small brain cannot comprehend why downloading those MP3s from Napster was wrong then read this Anime Music FAQ. I will say that supporting legal production and sales of anime CDs will encourage the companies to release more of them in more regions of the world. So even if you can’t get what you want now, it will be there in the future.

That applies to all form of music, Japanese and otherwise. But in this post I’ll focus on anime music in particular.

When buying CDs on eBay, or that small shop in Chinatown, or on a trip to Hong Kong, you should be very wary as to whether the product you are buying is legitimate, or just a bootleg. Strictly speaking, a bootleg is not a illegal copy of a CD but the term “bootleg CD” is used often when speaking of pirated music in anime circles, so I’ll stick with the term “bootleg” for the rest of this post. There are some signs you can look for to make sure you aren’t buying an illegal CD.

Firstly, the price. Does it seem insanely cheap? Then it’s probably too good to be true. There’s no way that the artists that made this CD could possibly earn any income when the CD is being sold for US$5.

Secondly, does the printing look cheap? Not very well done? Is it photocopied? Bootleg.

Thirdly, and most importantly – look at the company that’s releasing the CD. Do they have a Yahoo or Hotmail or some other generic email address for their contact information? Bootleg. Does the logo look like it’s been printed cheaply? Below is a list of known bootleg CD publishers:

  • Son May (SM) – GGG, GA, GSM, SM, SS, AnG, SMA, SMB, GAME, CK
  • Smiley Face Records Ltd – KA, HO
  • Ever Anime – A8, TV, CV, NP, GM
  • Hi Fashion
  • Alion – ALCA
  • Miya Records – MICP
  • Archer Records – R
  • Ho Son – B, H
  • Wisdom Records
  • Yuanding
  • Top Circle
  • Golden Diamond

Images from
These are some of the logos you’ll find printed on bootlegged anime CDs but be warned – these logos change often. Catalogue numbers are the best way to check for legitimacy.

There are probably more but these are the most common. These companies have not obtained licenses for any of their anime soundtrack releases, so none of the money made from their sales go to the artists who created the music. The letters in bold next to their names are the letters in CD catalogue numbers that can help you identify them as bootlegs, eg: MICA-0049 is Miya Records’ catalogue number for their bootleg Azumanga Daioh OST.

Catalogue numbers for CDs can be found on the back or spine of CD cases, or if you’re buying online, should be listed in the product description. Amazon used to list the catalogue number of CDs but seem to have stopped recently. I’m not sure why, but they do at least list the record company’s name.

On eBay, this is more difficult to verify, as there is usually sparse information in the product description. But, you can alway look at the first and second points to identify bootlegs, and, failing that, simply ask the seller for the CD’s catalogue number.

Another way to check your anime CD’s legitimacy (or any CD for that matter) is with MusicBrainz. This community-based website is slowly building up more information about bootlegged CDs, particularly anime CDs. They list the Pirate label’s name and relevant catalogue number. You can also contribute if you have found – to your dismay – that you’ve bought bootlegs. Add information to make sure no-one else does the same. You will need to sign up for free account, but MusicBrainz is worth signing up for, for many other reasons.

Remember kids! If you aren’t buying legitimate copies of anime CD soundtracks, then the people who created the music you love aren’t getting paid. They might be less inclined to make more music in the future. Also, bootleg CDs are often of inferior quality and may skip or fail to read in your CD player. They may also be missing tracks that a legitimate CD would have. These days, with the popularity of anime booming in the West, particularly America, it’s very easy to find legitimate copies of the CDs. Many are being manufactured by the same companies that release the DVDs. Here is a list of common legitimate CD distributors:

COCC – Columbia Japan
KICA, KIDA, KICS – King Record (Starchild)
KTCR – Kitty
LACA – Lantis
PICA, PIDA – Pioneer
PCCG – Pony Canyon
TKCA, <2digits>ATC – Tokuma Japan
TYCY – Toshiba-EMI (Futureland)
VICL, VIDL – Victor (also known as JVC)
VPCG – Vap
SVWC – SME Visual Works (also known as Aniplex)

Remember how I mention that Azumanga Daioh soundtrack before? You can buy an official copy from Geneon in America for only US$14.98. Remember this when you think about spending $8 on a copy you found on eBay. Amazon is always a safer bet.

Any more details you can add to my rant above? Comment it!

Anime Music FAQ
Anime Digital – The Pirate Anime FAQ
The Bootleg Guide (Australian focussed)


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ORANGE RANGE are big. BIG! So big that their name must be capitalised! So big that they’ve filled up stadiums with screaming girls then wowed them with fireworks and drop-down balloons and streamers.

Maybe they are just another boy band that has grabbed the mainstream’s attention for a little while coz they’re young, sport goatees and are from Okinawa.

They’re younger than me and I’m 23. Good grief I feel old.

Anyway, despite possibly just being the Japanese answer to the Backstreet Boys, they won a few brownie points with me. The band was formed in Okinawa and were signed up to Sony Records in 2003 and made it big in 2004 when their song ‘Hana‘ (which means ‘Flower’) was used in the Japanese film “Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu” and went on to sell over 1 million copies.

They also appeared in the Kouhaku Uta Gassen of 2004/2005, which is meant to be a mark of an artist’s success in Japan.

I like them, of course, because of the two songs used as anime themes. ‘Viva Rock’ from NARUTO features a boot camp drill sergeant screaming at the marching boys, which is reminiscent of the American military bases in Okinawa. Some have speculated that the large presence of Americans in Okinawa may have influenced this J-Rock/J-Alternative band.

The other song used for an anime, “*~Asterisk” was the first opening theme song for BLEACH and was the highest selling anime song of 2005.

The current members are:
- Hiroyama Naoto – guitar (born May 8, 1983)
- Miyamori Ryo – low vocals (born October 1, 1985)
- Ganeko Yamato – high vocals (born January 14, 1984)
- Miyamori Yoh – bass (born December 11, 1983)
- Hokama Hiroki – mid-range vocals (born June 29, 1983)

The drummer Kitao Kazuhito left in 2005 after some problems, including tendonitis in his left hand.

Anyway, if you like rocky/alternative/poppy/rappy music crooned by fit, tanned and young Okinawans, then check out ORANGE RANGE.

Image from

Wikipedia’s article on ORANGE RANGE
Japan Zone’s article on ORANGE RANGE
ORANGE RANGE’s Official Website (in Japanese only)

Posted by Chidade in Anime Music, J-Rock | 6 Comments »


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the pillows

the pillows (lack of capitalisation is deliberate) have won their way into my top 5 favourite bands of all time. Like so many other fans outside of Japan, I first heard their music on the soundtrack to the Gainax anime FLCL(Furi Kuri). Their happy, boppy melodies and unique guitar sounds, with sogns both in English and Japanese, have been compared to Weezer and The Pixies but personally I think they’re a genre onto their own.

The band formed in 1989 but first achieved mainstream success with their 1997 album Please Mr. Lostman. In 1999, their albums Little Busters, Happy Bivouac and Runners High were licensed by Gainax for the FLCL soundtrack and the pillows even wrote two new tracks for the anime: Ride On Shooting Star (the ending theme song) and I Think I Can.

The current members are Sawao Yamanaka (vocals and guitar), Yoshiaki Manabe (guitar), and Shinichiro Sato (drums). The band have gone through a number of bass players since the original bassist Kenji Ueda left in 1992.

The band has recently celebrated their 15th birthday with the “I like you busters” tour, and have even toured in the U.S. this year in March. Sawao Yamanaka also says that the band will be releasing albums in the U.S. in the near future.

Check out the pillows if you can. These guys will rock your socks and then some. A good place to start is the FLCL soundtrack or with their greatest hits album Fool On The Planet.

the pillows

The official website
The official website in English

Posted by Chidade in Anime Music, Japanese R n'B | 11 Comments »


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Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kanno (菅野 よう子 Kanno Yōko) is a famous composer and keyboardist known for her performances and musical scores in anime titles.

She has created game music for Koei. Some of her most famous music pieces are "Tank!" (Cowboy Bebop), "Voices" (Macross Plus), "Dance of Curse" (Escaflowne), "Gravity" (Wolf’s Rain), and "Rush" (Cowboy Bebop). She was the lead member of a band called The Seatbelts, which was formed for the sole purpose of making the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack.

Apart from anime and games, Kanno also composes for films and CMs (television advertisements or commercials) for all sorts of brands. Grand Funk Inc. is her recording studio of choice in producing for those media.

There is some speculation that one of her frequently hired vocalists, Gabriela Robin, is Kanno herself under a pseudonym.

She is currently married to fellow composer Hajime Mizoguchi, with whom she collaborated on the soundtracks for Please Save My Earth and Escaflowne.

She has attended Otakon and Anime Expo in 1999, as well as Anime Expo New York in 2002.

Anime works

  • Brain Powerd
  • Cardcaptor Sakura (TV opening theme)
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  • Dai-Guard (Ending theme; "Rocking Horse Stars")
  • Earth Girl Arjuna
  • Escaflowne: The Movie (in collaboration with Hajime Mizoguchi)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • Ghost in the Shell: Tachikoma Days
  • Jin-Roh (Piano)
  • Macross 7 (some of the music)
  • Macross 7 Encore (some of the music)
  • Macross Dynamite 7 (some of the music)
  • Macross Plus
  • Macross Zero (some of the music)
  • Magnetic Rose
  • Mindgame
  • Noiseman Sound Insect
  • Please Save My Earth (in collaboration with Hajime Mizoguchi)
  • RahXephon (opening theme for TV & OVA)
  • RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentino (ending theme)
  • Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (opening theme)
  • Sousei no Aquarion
  • Turn-A Gundam
  • Turn-A Gundam: Earth Light
  • Turn-A Gundam: Moonlight Butterfly
  • The Vision of Escaflowne (in collaboration with Hajime Mizoguchi)
  • Wolf’s Rain (TV & OVA)

Film works

  • Beautiful Sunday
  • Boku wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (I Can’t Study)
  • Mizu no Onna (Woman of Water)
  • Natsujikan no Otonatachi (Adults of Summertime)
  • Onkyou Seimeitai Noiseman (Noiseman Sound Insect)
  • tokyo.sora
  • Shimotsuma Monogatari (Kamikaze Girls)

Video Games

  • Dai Koukai Jidai (Era of Great Voyage / Uncharted Waters)
  • Napple Tale
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition

Hired vocalists

  • AFRA
  • Akino Arai
  • Pierre Bensusan
  • Emily Bindiger
  • Donna Burke
  • Steve Conte
  • Cosmic Voices from Bulgaria
  • Crystal Kay
  • Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch
  • Emily Curtis
  • Ilaria Graziano
  • Reynada Hill
  • Seika Iwashita
  • Tokiko Kato
  • Kyoko Katsunuma
  • Joyce (singer)
  • Scott Matthew
  • M (singer)
  • Maryanne Murray
  • Kaoru Nishino
  • Origa
  • Aki Okui
  • Soichiro Otsuka
  • Raiché Coutev Sisters
  • Raju Ramayya (The Beautiful Losers)
  • Jadwiga Rappé
  • Gabriela Robin
  • Maaya Sakamoto
  • Franco Sansalone
  • Shanti Snyder
  • Artur Stefanowicz
  • Sydney Thiam
  • Carla Vallet
  • Wuyontana
  • Chinatsu Yamamoto
  • Mai Yamane

External links

(Source: Wikipedia)

Posted by Yves in Anime Music, Composers | 10 Comments »


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