Tamako Market OP Single – Dramatic Market Ride – Review

Dramatic Market

Album Title: Dramatic Market Ride
Anime Title: Tamako Market
Artist: Tamako Kitashirakawa (Aya Suzaki)
Catalog Number: PCCG-70172
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
01. Dramatic Market Ride Tamako Kitashirakawa (Aya Suzaki) 4:20
02. Tomorou Tamako Kitashirakawa (Aya Suzaki) 2:44
03. Dramatic Market Ride (Instrumental) Tamako Kitashirakawa (Aya Suzaki) 4:19
04. Tomorou (Instrumental) Tamako Kitashirakawa (Aya Suzaki) 2:41

Review: Let’s be upfront with something. Seiyuu are awful singers. They usually manage to barely hobble along, but their limited vocal ranges and iffy pitch accuracy palpably put constraints on the scope of music productions. It’s just a bit of a gamble, really – putting green voice actors in front of the mic has pinched off more than a few stinkers (see this season’s GJ-bu OP, either of YuruYuri‘s themes), but occasionally produces surprisingly good results (Haruhi’s “Bouken Desho Desho?” or either of Asami Seto’s Chihayafuru ED’s).

Regardless, I approach seiyuu-staffed tracks with the same skepticism I have for payday loans from the mafia. Tamako Market’s OP was no exception; it had all the makings of a disaster. A newcomer to the scene? A slice of life anime? Singing in character? My apathy for this track was rivaled only by that of Korean ladies for other drivers on the road.

But much like when a Korean woman uses a turn signal or makes a full stop at a stop sign, my assumptions were rocked to the core. When I heard “Dramatic Market Ride,” everything I had come to know was challenged. I was forced to come to a startling, earth-shaking conclusion:

This song is pretty all right, I guess.

That may come off as a bit extreme, I know, but it warrants the praise. The Broadway-esque showtune-style execution of the piece ranks solidly somewhere between “decent” and “not bad.” The tune’s arrangement and orchestration falls in the midst of “permissible” to “satisfactory.” Aya Suzaki’s singing stacks up in the stellar range from “good enough” to “fine.”

In all seriousness, there is nothing wrong with “Dramatic Market Ride.” It’s wholly competent. Satisfactory. Sufficiently pleasant. I’m not damning with faint praise; I’m trying to make a broader point. Why is adequacy the admirable exception? Aya Suzaki’s vocals are dead-on pitch-accurate, but sound plain, almost dry, and go without a hint of vibrato or emotional impact. Her vocal range is impressive, but at a price.  Though her execution is effortless and unstrained even at higher octaves, she often sounds rough, untrained, and almost harsh as she reaches for the upper limits of her tessitura. Not to disrespect Suzaki, but I lament that merely being “good at singing” warrants praise in this industry. Tamako Market’s OP illustrates how low the bar is set in the world of seiyuu musical performances.

That’s not a good thing or a bad thing for this single, only a litmus test. “Dramatic Market Ride,” on its own merits, is still very enjoyable. Well, enjoyable enough.

Rating: Good

(The B-side? I assure you, the B-side exists. Only listen to it if you’re the kind of person that finds nail-clipping exciting.)

Tamako Market OP – Dramatic Market Ride


A huge jazz nerd and unabashed fan of alternative rock, I joined Anime Instrumentality in December 2010. I tend to get very passionate when it comes to music and try my best to understand how it works. An enormous fan of The Pillows, among my favorite anime composers include Ko Otani and Yoko Kanno. My tastes in anime vary wildly, but I try to be as thoughtful about my viewing as I am about my listening. I play the saxophone.

13 thoughts on “Tamako Market OP Single – Dramatic Market Ride – Review

  • April 1, 2013 at 2:23 am

    The powers of post-production also go a long way towards making untrained (and even trained) voices “acceptable” these days 😛 “Dead-on pitch-accurate” is but a few mouse clicks away!

    • April 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Pointblanket? More like wetblanket! That’s the most depressing thing I’ve read all day today. Autotune’s a go.

    • April 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      You’re certainly right, but I like to give artists the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these things. Suzaki’s voice doesn’t sound TOO much like it was pitch-corrected, so I’ll go with that unless there’s substantial evidence to the contrary.

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  • April 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I like to think that seiyuu singing hits were more likely in the old days. In fact, many seiyuus have made a healthy living singing in character even after the series has ended. Case in point, the Sakura Taisen series.


    Granted, some are quite… pitchy… but the overall effect isn’t bad 🙂

    • April 4, 2013 at 11:41 am

      It still happens nowadays, but I can’t speak on how often it occurs relative to the “old days.”

  • April 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Dead-on pitch-accurate review. I learned a lot more about the song from the review and I must say that I’ve grown complacent with songs that are enjoyable enough. There was a time when I used to frown if an anime didn’t have an opening that would make me want to sing along with, but lately I’m just okay with the OP and ED songs being just good enough.

    • April 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      It’s this crass commercialization of things that dulls the soul and deadens the senses. Standards drop as profits rise.

  • April 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    This review is okay, I just wished you focused on the music more, though there’s really not that much to say about it (I love the upbeat drums at least).

    I do agree that the bar is set pretty low… no, actually very, very low for seiyuu tracks and what passes as singing. These people are voice actors; they know it, everybody knows it, so they have to get in character and try to ham up the performance. Recipe for disaster, I agree, but it’s during these times I think that the actual singing should not be brought into attention.

    But you were dead-on with her pitch range problems. That last line in the chorus is so horribly done, I think it was intentional. I beg to differ with the emotional part, since I personally think her delivery throughout the song is amazing, especially during the pre-chorus:

    Pyon tto tatteta yo
    Zutto matteta no?
    Surechigau sono egao
    Dakishimetai, gyutto! <- This, right here is my favorite part. I never skip this song because of this line 🙂

    • April 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      This comment is okay, I just wish you focused on the review more, though there’s really not that much to say about it.

      It’s just my personal style to review things more through their context and relative technical merit. Other reviewers are great at explaining to you what you heard in the song in order to make a point about their quality. You know what’s better than words to describe music? Actually listening to it. I don’t excessively talk readers through tracks in my reviews because I believe it’s redundant and sometimes a tad indulgent. We’ve both heard the track (or you’re going to soon), now allow me to provide perspective on it.

      Aaanyway, if you ask me, her delivery is rather flat and boring. Even “gyutto” is sung in the most generic way possible; it’s not even emphasized or delivered differently, she just changes pitch.

  • April 4, 2013 at 5:47 am

    I don’t understand why you would expect all seiyuu to be excellent singers. They are voice actresses. Singing is a secondary consideration.

    • April 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

      I don’t expect them all to be stellar vocalists; I just don’t like how low the bar is set. There was a such an inflated buzz about this song and Suzaki’s vocals, and it was just a bit disheartening that such fundamental competencies were so celebrated, however “secondary” singing talent may be in their industry.

  • April 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    It took me some time to warm up to this track. I had been following Tamako Market from the day it was announced (even going as far as to write Aya Suzaki’s article on Wiki that is linked on this review), and knowing that Suzaki is pretty much a newcomer (or at least a newcomer to major roles, as she’s already 27), I had low expectations of the song. Sure enough, when I watched episode 1 (while playing Minecraft no less), I thought her was pretty weak, although given that this is her first major role, it’s sort of understandable. I disliked the song at first, and even now that I listen to it frequently (even now while writing this comment), I still don’t think it’s that special, just catchy and cute. but then again, Suzaki is a newbie, and newbies aren’t always great off the bat (except maybe Aya Hirano when Haruhi came out).

    Honestly, I don’t really think that this song is intended to be taken seriously. It’s a character song after all, and when Suzaki’s singing in character, the song has to be appreciated for what it is. It expresses the personality of the character. Character songs are rarely ever good (although for some reason I love the Haruhi character songs), but they usually aren’t really intended to be good. After all, it would be unrealistic if a character who doesn’t even sing in the anime sings superbly in a character song, right? It’s all about capturing the personality of the character, not to prove his/her vocal prowess.

    Still, seeing in this review that reception for the song was quite positive, possibly even overrating, was surprising for me knowing that Tamako Market bombed quite badly by KyoAni standards (although not as bad as Nichijou). Suzaki will next appear in the second season of Ro-Kyu-Bu!, so it means her career is just starting. And who knows? She could go big someday.

    Just a side comment: Aya Hirano and Aya Suzaki? Nice coincidence…


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