Working’!! OP/ED Single – Coolish Walk – Review

Album Title: Special CD Vol. 1
Anime Title: Working’!!
Artist: Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita, Eri Kitamura, Jun Fukuyama, Daisuke Ono, Hiroshi Kamiya
Catalog Number: ANZX-9961 (packaged with DVD)
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: Nov 2, 2011
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. COOLISH WALK Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita, Eri Kitamura 4:11
2. Itsumo no You ni LOVE & PEACE!! Jun Fukuyama, Daisuke Ono, Hiroshi Kamiya 4:36
3. COOLISH WALK -off vocal version- Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita, Eri Kitamura 4:11
4. Itsumo no You ni LOVE & PEACE!! -off vocal version- Jun Fukuyama, Daisuke Ono, Hiroshi Kamiya 4:33

Review: One of the (many) things that made the first season of Working! so much fun was its incredibly infectious OP song, a melodic, poppy J-ska (which is remarkable of itself) tune lead by the seiyuu talent of Asumi Kana, Fujita Saki and Kitamura Eri, who play the three main female characters. “Someone Else” worked so well because it was catchy, without being predictable. Even the ED song was a mild curveball, taking advantage of Working!’s vast and impressive seiyuu cast and the fact that it had multiple male characters of varying importance (another rarity of the genre), and using the vocals of the three main male seiyuu, Fukuyama Jun, Ono Daisuke and Kamiya Hiroshi, who just happen to be three of the best male seiyuu in the business right now. “Coolish Walk” just can’t compare with the instantly memorable pop hit that was “Someone Else”, but is it a good song in its own right? Not really.

Not that “Coolish Walk” is terrible, but it’s way too cutesy, even for J-pop standards. Its opening vignette is filled with onomatopoeia which sets the tone for the track, and the first verse that follows uses combinations of “pan pan pan”, “mon mon mon” and “wow wow” as key components of its structure. While I can see people going for this because it is well sung and fairly sensibly arranged, its inherent tackiness is a significant barrier. The pre-chorus is the the highlight of the song for its breezy feel and the way it lets the harmonies of the vocalists take over, but it leads into a chorus which is fairly predictable and standard fare.

The issue with “Coolish Walk” is that, other than its cutesiness and the repeated onomatopoeia, there’s nothing about it that makes it distinct. Fortunately this is an issue that “Itsumo no Youni LOVE & PEACE!!” manages to avoid, if barely. Somehow managing to exist as both a tongue-in-cheek parody of and homage to 70s disco music, Working’!’s ED song carries itself fairly well during the verses, seemingly aware that it shouldn’t take itself too seriously. The problem is that the chorus is a whole heap of nothing, particularly the vocal line which just meanders and gives way to the rather unremarkable music underneath. When you have access to vocal talent as good as Fukuyama, Ono and Kamiya, you should make the most of it and give them something a little more challenging to work with. Kamiya in particular almost sounds like he’s trying too hard to make something interesting of his contribution to the chorus. And while this is an aside to the song itself, I’m still trying to figure out what Yamada Aoi is doing with that tambourine during the ED sequence.

Working’! as an anime has been just as good, and in some ways even better than its predecessor, but the theme songs have not been one of those ways. Working! has a seiyuu cast that I rate very highly, so it makes a lot of sense to utilize them for this OP ED Single. And while they’ve tried their best with the material they’ve been given, honestly it’s not very inspiring stuff.

Rating: So-so

Sorrow-kun

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

6 thoughts on “Working’!! OP/ED Single – Coolish Walk – Review

  • November 22, 2011 at 3:48 am
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    When I saw this release, I was getting all excited. For nothing apparently. Heard both and honestly didn’t enjoy them the slightest. For Someone Else, the A-side just had a contagious energy to it, while I totally enjoyed the Rock&Roll style of the B-side. Coolish Walk just didn’t have any of the hook that Someone Else did.

    But I can hardly concur that Ono, Fukuyama and Kamiya are among the best singers out there. Listening to some of their other works, most are just plain bad. Not that there are many good male seiyuu singers to compare them to, but to say that they’re at the top of their league is way too generous.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm
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    I really do wonder how people would react to this OP if this were released 3-4 years ago because I feel that time and experience together have inoculated us against these kinds of opening themes. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that “Sketch Switch” from Hidamari Sketch enthralled me with its energy, but now, even that feels a bit old hat, buoyed mostly by nostalgia more than anything else.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2011 at 1:24 am
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    @Jen
    I rate them highly as seiyuu and make the (admittedly) tenuous logical leap that if they’re good actors, they’re also good singers. Maybe they aren’t, but I thought their work in the first season’s ED song was decent. But it’s hard to make comparisons, because male seiyuu don’t exactly get gigs very often to sing theme songs. As with most things in the industry, that stuff tends to go to female seiyuu.

    @zzeroparticle
    Well, “Sketch Switch” was pretty revolutionary, seeing as how it invented clapping, so that’s an unfair comparison. In all seriousness, I’m not sure the timing of this song makes a huge difference, if we’re just talking about 3-4 years. Maybe the fact that “Someone Else” is a recent memory might have a bigger influence on people’s reception of this song.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm
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    I never thought Someone Else was that amazing. It’s interesting because I feel that the songs are fairly structural similar. They both start with an opening motif, (sum wan or pan pan) transition to simply structured verses, have a short bridge leading up the chorus, energetic unison chorus, end with opening motif. Now plenty of songs follow this structure which wouldn’t be too surprising but in the middle of both songs, directly after the 2nd chorus, there is a short breakdown followed by an electric guitar solo, returning to the mini bridge and finishing with the chorus. Each one have slight twists to the syncopation and rhythm of each bridge or chorus but as far as I can tell structurally the only difference between the two is that Coolish Walk’s 2nd verse is syncopated while Someone Else plays the 2nd verse straight, and that Someone Else 2nd chorus has the drums playing double time.

    So ignoring structure it comes down to which type of music you favor. I personally got over the novelty of ska in Someone Else fairly quickly. However I think it is unfair to call Coolish Walk straight J-Pop. Most J-Pop does not have the kind of brass section or jazz piano that Coolish Walk has. It’s much more swing than pop.

    In my opinion Coolish Walk has more flourishes and bells and whistles than Someone Else. Which makes for a more energetic and dynamic listening experience.

    As for Zzero’s comments. I think you are probably right. Listening to Sketch Switch does make it feel a bit “old hat”. A lot of people have complained against what they call “standard j-pop” but I ask them as opposed to what? Pop is always going to be catchy choruses and simple structures, the more recent trend may be increased seiyuu vocalists which I think is probably more budgetary than anything. Anyway I will never understand the love for Someone Else likewise I will never understand the not-love for Coolish Walk, besides having a stupid title.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2011 at 4:32 am
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    I actually like Coolish Walk quite a bit, as much as the first season’s opening actually. The verse isn’t that good, but as it builds u to the chorus (it starts when Yamada, Sato and Souma all turn one after another then sing) that I really love it, the chorus gets stuck in my head regularly.

    Besides, the only thing better that a cute song is a cute song where the characters make cute braking sounds.

    Reply
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