MM! OP Single – Help!! – Review

Album Title: Help!!
Anime Title: MM!
Artist: Taketatsu Ayana, Hayami Saori
Catalog Number: LASM-4082
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: October 27, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. Help!! –Hell side- Taketatsu Ayana 3:43
2. Help!! –Heaven Side- Taketatsu Ayana, Hayami Saori 3:40
3. Hallelujah Study Taketatsu Ayana, Hayami Saori 4:04
4. Help!! –Hell side- (Instrumental) 4:14
5. Help!! –Heaven Side- (Instrumental) 3:40
6. Hallelujah Study (Instrumental) 4:04

Review: For a show like MM!, I expected that the opening “Help!!” would deliver a masochistic listening experience to fall in line with its focus on its masochistic male lead. It succeeds, doing so through an ear-bleeding opener, courtesy of Taketsu Ayana’s awful singing. The addition of Hayami Saori’s voice into this disc balances out Ayana’s horribleness, but it can only do so much. This wouldn’t be the first time I was burned by Ayana’s singing either. Her work on K-ON! Character Single Nakano Azusa did not jibe well with me and the only song that was remotely listenable was “Let’s Go.” So with this release, I did not expect much and for better or for worse, I got what I expected.

“Help!! (Hell Side)” is the rock version of the song used as the opening song in the show. It starts off with a good and catchy intro, but falls apart shortly after Ayana starts singing 20 seconds in. Her vocal talents can render any song a big mess because her singing lacks of expression and polish, making it a dull listening experience, especially from 0:21 to 0:58 and 1:16 to 1:38 where she sounds really flat. If you don’t understand the lyrics, the song is supposed to be about Taro and the others needing help to solve their personal problems ranging from masochism and androphobia, but the irony is that I am going to need “help” myself after having to deal with Ayana’s sub-par singing.

“Help! (Heaven Side)” is a more energetic version of the opening song, this time, featuring Hayami Saori. From listening to her singing, she was pretty good. Unlike Ayana’s singing of Hell Side version, Saori’s voice has a calm smooth feeling and it did not annoy me. That’s not to say her inclusion automatically makes this song salvageable; it’s still messy in account of the electronica in some spots. For instance, at 1:06 to 1:15 and 2:04 to 2:22, the instrumentals either did not fit well with the vocals or felt awkward. Towards the end, the song feels like a mess around 2:50 to 3:01 where it becomes difficult to tell what they are saying. Nevertheless, the song was at least listenable compared to the “Hell Side” version despite its mediocrity.

“Hallelujah Study” on the other hand was a bit better than the first two songs, but it still suffered some of the problems of the previous songs. The first few seconds in sounded like a chaotic mess though thankfully, it turns into a calm and catchy song. Hayami Saori’s singing talent that she demonstrates with her performance of “Heaven Side of Help!!” is on display once more. As for Ayana, she does have a small part in this song and her singing did not affect its enjoyability overall since it was not rough.

After everyone listens to this single, I think they are going to need “help” since the majority of the single did not sound good. As much as I enjoy Ayana’s voice acting, her singing leaves much to be desired. More vocal training is required lest she continue to tread upon the path of horribleness that so many other seiyuu seem to have found themselves in.

Rating: Not Good

Help!! (Hell Side)


Guest Contributor for Anime Instrumentality Blog... I have a strong preference for Japanese, Classical and Video Game Music. I am the author and owner of Chikorita157's Anime Blog.

12 thoughts on “MM! OP Single – Help!! – Review

  • October 31, 2010 at 3:12 am

    >>I am going to need “help” myself after having to deal with Ayana’s sub-par singing.
    lol, is Ayana Taketatsu’s singing ever on-par?

    I have to agree, the singing is all over the place, as if Ayana’s voice is struggling to match the tempo of the music. The singing goes off-key in many instances, and the intro is nothing to rave about either…

    …but I kind of liked this song? Yes the whole thing’s a mess, Ayana’s singing isn’t good, but for me everything kind of goes well together, in an twisted way. It had a Country music vibe which I kind of dig. Singing aside, Ayana’s voice had that attitude, like Miley Cyrus thinking she’s bad-ass because she doesn’t have a wig on anymore. The only thing that kind of annoyed me is the bad Engrish. Its very easy to hate on this song, but for me this goes in my ‘so bad its good’ collection, along with ‘Party in the USA’.

  • October 31, 2010 at 5:42 am

    I actually enjoyed this single a decent amount. I have learnt to not expect much from seiyuu works nowadays. Granted, it does not pack much music value, but the energy level is still there, and that alone makes it worth listening once or twice, though it definitely would fall apart under closer scrutiny.

  • October 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    It seems the newer crop of seiyuus’s singing is left to be desired… For Ayana, she isn’t suitable for singing… but she still sings. I don’t think I will listen to her future works again, unless she improves drastically.

    She is the worst out of the K-ON! Singers. Toyosaki Aki on the other hand was good, but not when she tried singing like a 8 year old.

    I enjoyed it too even though it was so bad. I guess it could be considered in the “So Bad It’s Good” category… but hey, at least its not extremely annoying like Sae’s ending in Amagami.

  • October 31, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    If there’s any takeaway from that despairing semi-rant on the J-pop/seiyuu fusion, it’s that albums like this one are going to be more commonplace, mostly out of a desire to cash in on seiyuu popularity before their reputation goes under (see Aya Hirano’s slow, steady decline). Unfortunately, it means we’ll just have to suck it up as music fans. Or vent. That works sometimes too :p

    So yeah, to draw this back to this single, it’s a despairing trend even if it’s wholly expected in this day and age.

  • October 31, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Capitalism Ho!

    Anyways, I think there are many who are becoming like that. It’s pretty sad really. Also, only like 10% of the music is good anyway, so its better to listen to that 10% rather than 90% of the mediocre, bad or awful music from them…

  • November 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    See this why I stopped listening to Anime ops/eds.

    You’re on the money chik. Once 20 seconds strolled by I forgot I was going to listen to “Mediocre-@-Best”. Yes, M@B.

    Good post! Blah single. 🙂

  • November 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    It depends on what opening/ending themes since 10% of them are good… Just avoid the artists that sound like crap and you will be fine…

    (unless its Taketatsu Ayana or Hirano Aya of course… no offense for those who like their singing.)

  • November 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    The same percent when it comes to touhou albums! Yeah there are openings/endings I really like, and then some that I love, but for the most part it’s nothing worth howling about.

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  • November 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    This song isn’t ear-bleedingly bad, but it’s enough to make me skip the opening whenever I watch MM! (and it’s actually a decent show once you look past the masochism jokes).

    As for the songs she has sung, I’d say check out her version of TWGOK’s ED, Koi no Shirushi (Ayumi Ver.). Her voice is actually decent there.

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