.hack//Quantum Main Theme – Shizuku – Review

Album Title: Shizuku
Anime Title: .hack//Quantum
Artist: Yuuka Nanri
Catalog Number: VTCL-35097
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: November 24, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia

Track Title Artist Time
1. Shizuku Yuuka Nanri 5:10
2. Heart Bible Yuuka Nanri 3:51
3. Shizuku (Instrumental) Takumi Ozawa 5:09
4. Heart Bible (Instrumental) Hideyuki ‘Daichi’ Suzuki 3:50

Review: As FictionJunction YUUKA, Nanri Yuuka has built up an excellent portfolio, being the first seiyuu to land a single at #1 on the Oricon Dailies. Her progress into a solo career, however, has not been as impressive. The first single, Tsukishirube, only showed off how hopelessly thin her voice and how limited her expression is. However, that may be attributed to “Tsukishirube’s” rather jagged melody.

Because of that, I was hoping that this single, with an instrumental part more in line with what Kajiura Yuki produces, will restore her reputation. Apparently, even that is a tad impossible. When performing under Kajiura as FJ YUUKA, Nanri generally utilises a much rounder and gentler voice for most of her works. Such a voice would have been excellent for Shizuku and its corresponding B-side, but that’s not what we get. Here, her voice gives listeners the idea that she is walking on a tightrope because her tones are very tense and unexpressive.

Just for fun, I decided to make a mental checklist of singers who I feel would do a better job on this single. By the time the songs ended, my list contained half a dozen singers. Not a positive sign.

The B-side saw Nanri with a slightly more carefree expression, though not by a wide margin. Perhaps it is because of “Heart Bible’s” more pop-ish feel that Nanri’s thinner voice did not jut out as much. Nevertheless, the track still borders on being shrill and can hardly be considered enjoyable.

“Heart Bible” instrumental’s opening somehow made me think of SID. And what do you know? This adds yet another singer to my list of artists who’d have done better, making it a waste of potential. From the instrumentals, I would have expected something light, cheerful, even playful. Unfortunately, I never got such feelings from Nanri’s vocals.

The highlight of this single is the instrumentals. “Shizuku” is absolutely amazing with its highly-effective attention-grabbing opening. But it gets better as the song progresses with a chorus section that feels almost complete on its own. This feature sets it apart from regular J-pop, whose instrumental tracks provide a backing for the vocals, but beyond that, don’t carry their own melody. The many layers of the instrumentation also enhance the overall effect of creating a highly complete and whole piece of work, making me grieve for the vocals version which wastes its potential by being unable to match the instruments.

I do not know whether it is really because Nanri’s voice fits such songs poorly or that her skills as a solo artist simply do not meet the cut, but I cannot dispel the notion that this single falls short. While I take my hat off to the composers, and highly recommend the instrumentals to all readers, neither the A-side nor B-side are really worth anyone’s time.

Rating: So-so

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.

4 thoughts on “.hack//Quantum Main Theme – Shizuku – Review

  • December 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm
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    On your advice, I concentrated on the instrumentals and wow! It’s definitely an eye-opener in terms of how well it proceeds. I do think Yuuka Nanri did OK. Nothing that really strikes me beyond the sorta-feels-generic singing that gets me bored real quick. And with the vibratos she was pulling off, Nana Mizuki comes to mind? Maybe? :p

    And good grief, they still find time to keep on churning out .hack OVAs? I thought that series died years upon years ago.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2010 at 11:54 am
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    .Hack// releases seem to come and go under my radar with quiet mediocrity. Vocals not quite living up to the instrumental background? Aya Hirano on the String Concert of Suzumiya Haruhi comes to mind. I agree “Shizuku” is very nicely orchestrated, if a tad repetetive. Nice review.

    Reply
  • January 1, 2011 at 4:34 am
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    @ zzeroparticle
    The backing vocalist (not sure whether it is Nanri herself) seem much more relaxed for Nanri, especially for the second track. Suit the instrumentals more, in my opinion.

    @ Aftershok
    Thanks! Actually, the thing about vocals not living up to instrumentals happen quite often I think. Though yea, Hirano probably ranks near the top in throwing nearly every decent composition down the drain.

    Reply
  • January 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm
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    I liked Shizuku a lot actually. The instrumentals are definitely a highlight!

    Reply

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