Shiki OP Single – Calendula Requiem – Review

Album Title: Calendula Requiem
Anime Title: Shiki
Artist: kanon x kanon
Catalog Number: DFCL-1704
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: November 17, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. Calendula Requiem kanon x kanon 5:18
2. The Doll House! kanon x kanon 3:28
3. Umigame Soup kanon x kanon 2:20
4. Calendula Requiem (Less Vocal) kanon x kanon 5:16

Review: When one speaks of Gothic music, one would definitely mention the likes of ALI PROJECT, Yousei Teikoku and, for just a short period around 2008, Wakeshima Kanon. Wakeshima awed listeners with her debut single: Still Doll, but melted back into the shadows almost immediately afterwards. After her unbelievably bland second album, her comeback single Calendula Requiem was a surprisingly strong one, consisting of a collaboration with Antic Cafe’s Bassist to bring in an element of rock rivaling that of Yousei Teikoku’s while maintaining Wakeshima’s defining feature: the cello.

The first thing listeners may notice is the change in Wakeshima’s delivery. Instead of the cutesy quality heard in her second album, ”Calendula Requiem” opens forcefully, with a fusion of the strings characteristic to Wakeshima and strong bass beats defining Antic Cafe’s rock music. The compelling and almost hysterical lyrics mirror the somewhat careless way this track is put together, with abrupt transitions and rapid progression which bring out the many fleeting emotions just before death. The various instrumental solos of the cello, guitar and piano carry forth many desires, from the cello’s desperation to find its bearings, to the guitar’s anguish, to the piano’s sense of atonement.

The “Doll House” also proves to be a very memorable B-side, with its consistent beat that Wakeshima’s voice virtually dances around in its whimsical playfulness, while carrying with it an undertone of yearning for one’s freedom. The only piece which was not really to my taste was the second B-side, “Umigame Soup.” Though waltz is definitely something new from Wakeshima, the creepy factor from her dangerously innocent voice was a little over the top for me.

Nonetheless, this single is easily the best of all her releases thus far. The lyrics for the A-side may have been what swayed me a considerable amount, which is why the translation is attached below. But even without the lyrical factor, this single still adds a whole new dimension to Wakeshima’s works, giving other Gothic Rock artists something to watch out for as Wakeshima now proceeds to play on their home grounds.

Rating: Very Good

Lyrics

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I released the flower into the morning sunlight
I waited for the rain that will never fall
As I drifted into a sleep from which I cannot awaken

I hear someone’s voice calling me
Is this dark utopia,
A delusion? A dream?
With my body which is already lost
I tell myself inside my heart
That I want to make an atonement

What can I possibly gain?
With these tears, I’m will take back the remaining
Of my frail and fleeting life
Everything will appear
At this end
Will I fear or lament it?

The calendula is singing for the end of the performance
It blooms proudly in silence
All my hatred
All my sorrow
Roots themselves ever deeper
The calendula is singing for the finale
Embellishing my loneliness
I kept waiting for the rain that will never fall
As I drifted into a sleep from which I cannot awaken

The wails of my memories being torn apart
This evening’s love and hate
The past and the present
Is scattered by the tide of vain
My hesitant soul worries
When I arrive at the edge
What will I get to see?

I will protect myself with these hands
From these endless words of betrayal
I believe in the love that I’ve only seen once
And survive this moment

The calendula is singing for the end of the performance
It blooms proudly in silence
All my love
All my yearning
Envelop me with their words
The calendula is singing for the finale
Embellishing my loneliness
I kept waiting for the rain that will never fall
As I drifted into a sleep from which I cannot awaken

If I ever lose the sense of hope and despair
Will I come to realize where truth lies?

I can hardly breathe
Nevertheless, I still want to be here
Because the creaking of my heart
Proves that I’m still alive

Even if I find only loneliness here

The calendula is singing for the end of the show
It blooms proudly in silence
All my hatred
All my sorrow
Roots themselves ever deeper
The calendula is singing for the finale
Embellishing my loneliness
I kept waiting for the rain that will never fall
As I drifted into a sleep from which I cannot awaken

This flowers which looks like it’s not going to wilt
Smells food of the realm against which it battles
When the requiem for the funeral sounds
It disappears with the dry wind

About the author

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.

5 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. I just sat and listened to all of the tracks. I already knew and loved Calendula Requiem from watching the anime (though I loved the series music more than the OPs/EDs when it came to Shiki). The other two, I really enjoyed just now. I guess I differ a bit from you in that I loved Umigame Soup, haha.

    • I remember the first encounter with this OP was that its shrillness got on my nerves, but after taking a look at the lyrics, it kind of makes sense why things went the way they did. The lyrics, which delve so much into the subject of death, lies at the core of Shiki’s main plot, so it’s good to see an OP that actually is related to the show instead of some mindless J-pop display.

  2. Yi says:

    The OP is pretty nice, but what really caught my attention is actually that sexy album art.

  3. Lily says:

    oh my :) what a great review! the description of calendula requiem has given the song new meaning and suddenly the entire song and music video all make sense to me, and yes it is great to see an anime song that captures the true meaning of the anime… this is one of my favorite songs of all time because of how dramatic it is and saddening… why calendulas, who knows.. maybe if i ever got the chance to interview kanon (not wakeshima xD) id ask her, but it is Definitely a requiem… ah la la la laaaa… :)

  4. Lily says:

    i hate to double post :S but also am starting to love kanon wakeshimas lyrical style..all of her songs have such deep double meanings and word/symbol choice.. like the kanji for end of the performance, and finale, demise etc etc..why it was written as 2 forms in japanese…

    she likes to write lyrics that sometimes dont make much sense at all to the mind unless closely examined.. calendula requiem and lolitawork libretto~storytelling by Solita~ would be her greatest lyrical works to me in that sense.

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