Hakuouki Hekketsuroku OP/ED Single – Maikaze – Review

Album Title: Maikaze
Anime Title: Hakuouki Hekketsuroku
Artist: Aika Yoshioka, Yoshio Ueno
Catalog Number: GNCA-7929
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: Oct 6, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. Maikaze Aika Yoshioka 4:10
2. Tatta Hitotsu no Tooi Michi Aika Yoshioka 5:00
3. Maikaze (instrumental) Yoshio Ueno 4:10
4. Tatta Hitotsu no Tooi Michi (instrumental) Yoshio Ueno 4:59

Review: In just over a year, Yoshioka Aika has presented us with 2 albums and 4 singles, something that I am thankful for seeing as how her songs stand out from amongst the crowd by utilizing many traditional Japanese instruments while following the structure of J-pop. Lately however, maybe due to the strain of so many releases in such a short time, the amount of variety between her works has been kept to a bare minimum. She still stands out from other J-pop artists, but her individual works are unable to stand out amongst themselves. It does not help the slightest that her debut song, “Harari,” features heavy use of Japanese instruments, while her more recent works have been pursuing standard J-pop that put in those Japanese instruments for the sake of it, almost like a token effort to keep people like me listening.

However, “Maikaze” provides a relief from that. Its short introduction is enough to tell me that this is the single that finally manages to stand out. The serene atmosphere created by the Japanese flute is gracefully taken over by guitar riffs, while still allowing the Japanese instruments their time to shine before the guitar fully takes over.

Yoshioka, for her part, shows that her singing technique is by no means inferior despite being a new artist. The fast, repetitive notes between 0:55 and 1:01, are handled deftly as she keeps her singing strong and clear, resulting in a performance that displays a controlled delivery and confidence, all of which make the listener feel at ease.

The other characteristic of any Yoshioka single is, regrettably, an unimpressive B-side. This one, like most others, sounds decent enough but is absolutely not memorable. Yoshoika’s performance with ballads has also been barely passable and without the elaborate instruments accompanying her, her voice almost has an annoying drone to it.

It is worth listening to the instrumental tracks, especially for “Maikaze,” the instrumental is really interesting even on its own, with  quite a commendable array of instruments. One really got to admire the amount of effort the composer put into the piece. Oddly enough, the instrumental for the B-side feels better than the track itself, as the plain instruments and Yoshioka’s backing vocals bring across the piece in a much calmer fashion.

“Maikaze” on its own was highly enjoyable and puts me in high hopes that Yoshioka’s future releases will live up to this standard. However, the B-side really dealt quite a blow to the single as a whole, which is a real pity, seeing that “Maikaze” is easily the best A-side that she’s released thus far.

Rating: Decent

Hakuouki Hekketsurokus OP – Maikaze

Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

7 thoughts on “Hakuouki Hekketsuroku OP/ED Single – Maikaze – Review

  • October 12, 2010 at 8:57 am
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    Somehow this singer reminds me of some artist long past whose name I can’t think of. Maybe a more competent version of Minori Chihara or something close that. Regardless, that electronica beat in the openings were pretty attention-grabby and she does pull through with shifting to the high notes with relative ease rather than the messy transitions we’ve seen from other artists.

    Reply
  • October 12, 2010 at 11:00 am
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    Yeah it really isn’t that bad. Although I’m not a J-pop fan, I have to say this song has the right energy for what they’re trying to do with the visuals. Unfortunately it really doesn’t hook me in, the way it would need to for me to want to go out and find it, and put it on my iPod. A decent enough way to open the show, though.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2010 at 12:05 am
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    She’s pretty good, and this op is not bad. J-Pop usually really needs to be exceptional for me to really love it, but this comes close.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2010 at 5:15 am
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    >”Maybe a more competent version of Minori Chihara ”

    I won’t deny it, I laughed.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm
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    Decent enough, I especially like the flute usage though.

    Reply
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  • October 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm
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    Needs more Orchestra Hits. Where are my Orchestra Hits?

    Seriously though, she’s a nice a singer that I want to see blossom. I’m not really sure how I feel about the instrumentation backing… just wasn’t feeling the vibe. zzero, I’m with you on her patter singing at 0:55, she was able to stay concise as well keep that tempo.

    And speaking of patter singing. I want to see more anime ops/eds with patter singing. Gilbert and Sullivan made it happen with their shows. Definitely want to see more of that in the future. Composers reading this, hop on this idea now.

    Reply

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