Un-Go ED Single – Fantasy – Review

Album Title: Fantasy / Cupid
Anime Title: Un-Go
Artist: LAMA
Catalog Number: KSCL-1874
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: October 26, 2011
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia

Track Title Artist Time
1. Cupid LAMA 3:04
2. Fantasy LAMA 3:30

Review: Although Un-Go’s OP song has received the bulk of the attention in large part because it’s from the increasingly highly-regarded School Food Punishment, who have barely set a foot wrong since getting the opportunity to close out Production IG’s hit anime Eden of the East a couple of years ago, its ED song, by the much less known Lama, isn’t too bad either. Lama, a newly-formed four piece band that consists of one half of the remnants of Supercar, were responsible for No. 6’s OP song “Spell”, and Bones have turned to them again. “Fantasy” is so distinct from “Spell” that I didn’t even realize they were by the same band. The song shows a level of sophistication not evident in “Spell’s” wailing monotony, but the big problem with this single isn’t the music (even if the B-side is forgettable), it’s a lack of content.

The single opens with the B-side, “Cupid” which is the much weaker of the two songs. “Cupid” literally takes half a minute before it does anything, bouncing along with a two-tone rhythmic baseline before vocalist Furukawa Miki takes over. The opening verse is sung with high-pitched long notes to contrast with the bassline, but Furukawa is hardly extending herself and it sounds rather empty and humdrum. It’s once the chorus starts and Nakamura Kouji, the band’s male vocalist, pitches in that the song becomes more interesting. The second half of the song is almost a repeat of the first bar some mild evolutions, and overall the song is subpar.

“Fantasy” is the song that most Un-Go fans will want this single for, and undoubtedly, right from its jazzy, rhythmic piano opening, it’s a more engaging song. Nakamura’s is the first voice you’ll hear, and the second of several layers that are iteratively added until a percussion line dominated by bass drum introduces Furukawa’s lyrics. While the two vocalists work reasonably well as a tandem, it’s really Nakamura who’s doing the most heavy lifting, setting a tone that’s both cool and shrewd – I daresay “Fantasy” would work well as a character song for Un-Go’s lead, Shinjurou. I do like this song, but to say the ending is abrupt is an understatement.

And that goes for the single too, which highlights its biggest problem: there’s only two songs with no extras, TV cuts or instrumental versions, and the entire thing comes in at just over six and a half minutes. The only people who I could see getting this would be hardcore Un-Go fans who are also big collectors. But considering it’s an anime original airing on Noitamina, I’m not convinced there are many hardcore, big-collecting Un-Go fans out there. In the larger context, this is most likely little more than a vehicle to promote Lama’s career, and should probably be seen as much.

Rating: Decent

Un-Go ED – Fantasy

Sorrow-kun

Guest Contributor & Editor-in-Chief of The Nihon Review.

7 thoughts on “Un-Go ED Single – Fantasy – Review

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  • November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm
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    The TV version seems to have much more complex production, but I like Fantasy, both here and the version that was released on LAMA’s debut album (New!). The album version is less relaxed electronica, and more shoe-gaze guitar distortion (in other words, more like SuperCar’s sound).

    As you say, the male and female vocals complement well in Fantasy. Miki Furukawa’s high-pitched vocals give the various tracks a distinctive, somewhat exotic, sound, but she doesn’t seem to be a very ambitious vocalist.

    Regardless, Fantasy is one of my favorite tracks of the season, which actually is surprising in that this season includes several strong entries for OP or ED.

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  • November 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm
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    I guess I might be one of those collectors you allude to, though the real reason I got the CD was because I wanted more of Fantasy than comes in the TV-edit. To tell the truth, I haven’t paid much attention to the Un-Go OP, though….

    Yes, the ending is abrupt, but I think it’s better than fading out, or even deconstructing the layers that are progressively added at the start of the song.

    It isn’t, but I keep wanting to hear a fugue in the instrumental part of the song as the layers are added.

    Reply
  • December 1, 2011 at 6:04 am
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    @Joojoobees
    It’s interesting that the song is different on their album. Makes me wonder if Bones or their record company had a say in how the song was produced for Un-Go.

    @dm00
    In all honesty, I prefer the OP, but they’re both good songs. I’d have given this single a higher rating except for the B-side and lack of content.

    Reply
  • December 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm
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    The album version of the song is calmer than the one on the single. I like both.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3Ab4wMFJrw

    I couldn’t stand Furukawa Miki’s singing in “Spell” at all, but I think she sounds okay in this song. I really like Nakamura’s soft and deep voice, though.

    Reply
  • December 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm
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    Having never heard this before, I was immediately reminded of the Peanuts theme for some reason. They don’t even really sound all that similar. Maybe it’s just the tone of the piano.

    It is a bit strange that they didn’t even include instrumental tracks here, as all it takes to make those is a couple minutes of studio surgery. It’s a nice way to pad out a shortish release like this, and a great addition for those karaoke folks out there (or nerds like me who like to listen to the backgrounds with the vocals out of the way, heh).

    Reply
  • December 13, 2011 at 12:38 am
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    I love LAMA’s ED for Un-Go. The stringed instruments are crisp and harmonious while the little piano refrain is so quaint but addicting; it’s been ear-worming its way through my brain. I like how the two masculine/feminine voices contrast along with the detective duo; Inga fittingly shifts between male/female so there’s an interesting binary there. NoitaminA always comes up with impressive OP/ED sequences like in Tatami Galaxy and Eden of the East, so I’m glad Un-Go got its share of musical goodness.

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