|Album Title:||Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi iro!|
|Anime Title:||Hayate no Gotoku!!|
|Artist:||Shizuka Itou; Sayuri Yahagi; Eri Nakao; Masumi Asano|
|Release Type:||OP/ED Single|
|Release Date:||Jun 10, 2009|
|1. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi iro!||Shizuka Itou; Sayuri Yahagi; Eri Nakao;
|2. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi-iro! -Ai no Te ver.- with Katsura Yukiji starring Hitomi Nabatame||Shizuka Itou; Hitomi Nabatame||3:45|
|3. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi-iro! -Ai no Te ver.- with Nishizawa Ayumu starring Mikako Takahashi||Shizuka Itou; Mikako Takahashi||3:45|
|4. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi iro! (instrumental)||3:45|
|5. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi-iro! -Ai no Te ver.- with Katsura Yukiji starring Hitomi Nabatame (Instrumental)||3:45|
|6. Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi-iro! -Ai no Te ver.- with Nishizawa Ayumu starring Mikako Takahashi (Instrumental)||3:45|
Review: Every once in a while, a music reviewer will be hard-pressed to give an album a rating simply based upon the amount of enjoyment he has derived over the course of listening to it. “Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi iro!” serves as possibly the best example of a guilty pleasure. I’ll say this now before the review ends on a bitter note: I like this album very much, and find myself listening to it constantly despite knowing better. If you’re a fan of Hayate no Gotoku this album is a must-listen. If you are a fan of Katsura Hinagiku, owning this album is more of a rite of passage than anything else. Her name is paraded throughout and the composer and lyricist feel no shame in taking full advantage of using her well-established popularity to reel in unsuspecting fans of the show, hook, line, and sinker. But every once in awhile, fan service benefits the overall quality of the album greatly, and in this case, allowing Shizuka Itou to actually sing is probably the wisest choice that the composers made. On the whole, the album has great energy, and an air of fun that is sometimes quite difficult to capture in general.
The album showcases three versions of the same song. The first track on the album is the original version of the song that airs on TV and is arguably the best of the three even if it is not my personal favorite. The song begins with a catchy bass-drum-centric beat that is reminiscent of the cheerleader chants that caught on in the 80’s. The song shines best during the chorus section, where we have an unbelievably catchy guitar riff that is accentuated in a manner that embellishes the backing synth rather than drown it, leading to one of the best combinations of rock and electronica that I’ve heard in quite some time. Sayuri Yahagi, Eri Nakao, and Masumi Asano interjections which are riddled throughout the song would normally act as a deterrent to my enjoyment of it, but in the context of the show and the song, it works well, and I find myself being drawn to their cute background antics just as much as the way I’m drawn to the main vocals. The bridge, or lack thereof, is perhaps my biggest qualm with the song. There is something severely missing from the bridge because it ends far too quickly as it tosses out a short piano piece and an uninspired guitar solo. Furthermore, the interaction between Sayuri Yahagi, Eri Nakao, and Masumi Asano during this section made for a cute, quirky, side bit, but not using Shizuka Itou’s vocal abilities during the bridge was a mistake. I will say though, that the bridge does its job well in the end by leading us into the final chorus which provides a good amount of fan service that comes across as being cheesy, corny, and amazingly enjoyable.
The second track is more or less the same and features Shizuka Itou reprising her role as the lead vocalist though this time, they put Hitomi Nabatame as the background singer. The main background track itself is identical to the first track, so in a musical sense there is nothing new here, but the inclusion of Hitomi Nabatame as its principal backing vocalist is possibly the biggest weakness of the album. Her interjections are nowhere near as fluid or harmonious as the previous song, resulting in a backup vocalist who comes across as abrupt and often distracting to the main melody, which, come to think of it, suits Yukiji’s obnoxious personality rather well.
The third track is possibly my favorite, simply because it has a very unique acoustic guitar backing the main riff which feels like a very nice touch that was missing in the other two songs. The acoustic guitar adds a very authentic feeling to the sound and while much of the electronic vibe has been downsized, the song is a nice spin on the original. Mikako Takahashi provides backing vocals this time around and harmonizes with the main vocals the best out of the entire album. This version of the song is the only one on the album that offers anything new, and with the addition of a new instrument, it succeeds in sounding different without coming off as a segment that was tacked on at the last minute.
When it comes down to it, this album isn’t amazing or groundbreaking, but that doesn’t make it any less fun or detract from the overall quality. Although the album offers little variety, it is already geared toward a very set fan-base. The album knows what it’s doing and does well by playing on Hinagiku Katsura’s popularity as much as possible. It’s old-fashioned fan service done right, and the album’s cutesy atmosphere is a strong indication that rock pop can still be well-composed and well-written. If you weren’t a fan of Hayate no Gotoku before, this album certainly isn’t going to be the one that will convert you, but with catchy guitar licks and a great hook in the chorus, give it a listen anyway. You might like what you hear.
Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi iro!