|Artist:||Yuu Kobayashi; Tatsuya Nishiwaki|
|Release Type:||OP/ED Single|
|Release Date:||Feb 11, 2009|
|1. HANAJI||Yuu Kobayashi; Tatsuya Nishiwaki||4:37|
|2. HANAJI BLOOD EXPLOSION-MIX||Yuu Kobayashi; Tatsuya Nishiwaki||4:26|
|3. HANAJI (Original Karaoke)||Tatsuya Nishiwaki||4:37|
|4. HANAJI BLOOD EXPLOSION-MIX (Original Karaoke)||Tatsuya Nishiwaki||4:23|
Review: Akiyuki Shinbo’s brilliance with the camera along with the wackiness of his shows’ premises tends to yield some crazy, but artistically interesting opening sequences with music that fits it well. “HANAJI” is no exception to this generalization and ETERNAL’s post at Memories of Eternity does a thorough job of delving into the artistic side of the opening. However, the artistry of Maria†Holic’s opening is incomplete without having the music to back it up because “HANAJI’s” frenetic pacing and tone contributes to making the entire package enjoyable to watch and listen to.
Before we actually delve into the meat of the song, there is one oddity worth mentioning: this song is a miscast since the credits list Yuu Kobayashi as the singer. To be exact, the problem that crops up has nothing to do with her performance, but rather the fact that she voices Mariya in the anime and the despairing tone with which she performs this song is at odds with Mariya’s evil, sadistic attitude. Why Asami Sanada, who voices the hapless Kanako, wasn’t called up to sing it is strange given the relevance the song has to her situation. However, it’s not something I’ll dwell on too heavily since it does not stop the song from being enjoyable.
“HANAJI” starts off with a solid electric guitar rhythm and the mood of the song becomes readily apparent once Yuu Kobayashi makes her entrance. Kobayashi’s inflections convey the feeling that’s she’s teetering on the brink of despair and total insanity which, if you take this to be a description of Kanako’s situation, is all too fitting with the series. For example, the way the “yamete” section leading up to the “ahh~” is sung sounds like she’s at wits end and is pleading for someone to free her from this personal hell before she becomes completely unhinged by Mariya’s malicious antics. Through the dissonance, the song creates a sort of chaos which accurately summarizes Kanako’s tortured state in Maria†Holic as she becomes victimized by those around her.
Though I enjoyed this track, one cannot derive the same amount of enjoyment without being familiar with the series because Kobayashi’s tone can be whiny and irritating to people who don’t have the context to understand what’s going on. Without it, there’s little reason to listen to this album unless the listener wants to give the instrumentals a shot. The solo sections like the interlude between 1:22-1:29 and the riff between 2:27-2:41 are vibrant in the way they pump a strong dose of energy into the track. Even if the solos won’t push this track from being above average to enjoyable for those not familiar with the series, they do provide the song with an interesting section that makes for a good listen.
“HANAJI BLOOD EXPLOSION-MIX” is an altogether different sort of beast in the way it adopts a harsher, more violent tone compared to the original. The flurry of electric guitars make for an entrance I can only describe as being fairly rough and coarse before it yields to Kobayashi, who is accompanied by a piano that’s played softly, yet dissonantly so as to keep the listener on edge. After each line, the explosion that the title refers to comes through in the form of a barrage of instruments, making the hellacious situation become even more so by creating a sense of uncertainty. That is, an attack could come anytime, anywhere, making those who are already paranoid and neurotic even more on edge. The background parts, like Kobayashi’s repetitive “yametes” and the section where an outworldly chorus sings “hanaji,” bring out the grim, ominous atmosphere and for that, I like this version much more than the original because it has a certain flair and intensity that the original lacks.
“HANAJI” and its explosive remix together carry the tone of Maria†Holic quite well. On its own, “HANAJI” is an above average rock track that has excellent electric guitar work, but Kobayashi’s performance can be a hit or miss depending on one’s familiarity with the series. Context once again raises its head, and to fully enjoy the experience, one should definitely listen to this song in conjunction with the opening sequence because the two complement each other really well.
Opening – HANAJI