Brief Thoughts – Anime Music Article in the Japan Times and the Lack of Quality in Seiyuu Land

I do need a bit of a break from all this album reviewing and from getting my bases covered for the 2009 music post, such that the anime music article on the Japan Times, filled with plenty of material for commentary, was timely.

Anyway, here’s the article in question. Based on the article’s approach, I’m inclined to say that the author hasn’t really been immersed in anime music beyond skimming the Oricon charts and noticing some anime albums placing in the top ten. Some of the points it makes are contentious, especially in light of the “talented” claim, which I’ll dig into later on. In any case, I’ll give the article a blow by blow account.

So the first thing they noted was:

Theme songs and soundtracks from Japanese anime are making inroads into the mainstream J-pop music genre, drawing popularity particularly from female consumers as talented voice actresses sing the songs.

More than 60 anime songs hit the top 10 singles chart this year, according to entertainment information provider Oricon Co. Sales of CDs in the anime and soundtrack genre totaled 29.3 billion yen in 2009, up from 24.9 billion yen in 2005, according to Oricon.

I’m doubtful as to whether the soundtracks themselves has really made any particular inroads, especially into the realm of J-pop since soundtracks tend towards non-pop instrumentals, but seeing that I don’t bother looking up whether Oricon has any sort of instrumental Top Ten page, I guess I can’t really confirm whether my suspicions are true or not. If they consider insert songs scattered in some albums (think Macross Frontier’s soundtrack) I suppose they have some ground to work with.

But their noting that anime intro/outro singles tend to sell well is correct since anime music threads on forums like ASuki and news sites like ANN have documented how well the OP/ED singles for popular shows or contain popular artists (Nana Mizuki) tend to do on the Oricon charts. Now, the question of why they place so high is debatable. For instance, have these albums really succeeded in penetrating the mainstream or are anime fans buying multiple copies as a means of showing their dedication and love to the show? And if it’s the latter case, is that indicative of how well album sales can be perpetuated regardless of the singer’s vocal abilities and the album’s overall quality? I guess this reveals where I stand on the whole “talented voice actresses” bit.

The article continues:

The songs have ‘‘good melody lines and the voice actresses singing are talented,’’ Majima says. He believes customers including women, who are not necessarily ardent anime fans, can easily connect with songs sung by popular anime voice actresses.

And here we have more contentious lines. I don’t think the melodies have been all that great since each season has offered two or three OP/ED themes that have caught my fancy, which is close enough to what Sturgeon’s Law predicts. Etsuko Yakushimaru’s performances for Arakawa Under the Bridge’s OP and Tatami Galaxy’s ED theme have been enjoyable as have Lia and Aoi Tada’s work on Angel Beats!, granted, neither of the ones listed above are performed by seiyuu (a point the article emphasizes). Of the ones that are, Sphere has done decent work, but aside from “Now loading… SKY!!,” I don’t really find their other songs to be as memorable since they’re more of a zeitgeist thing than songs that’ll stand the test of time.

As for the songs resonating with the audience, that’s somewhat understandable. I suppose dealing with themes as universal as love (pretty much 90% of all the J-pop out there) or fond recollections of school life means a greater ease in striking the right chord with the listener. It makes me wonder why the connection to these pop songs’ subject material is stronger now (something I infer from Majima’s words) versus then. Has the zeitgeist really shaped how these newer works are treated compared to the older stuff? Are the Japanese still searching for their own sense of identity akin to teenagers and tweens figuring out their place in life? Maybe stuff like K-ON!’s music offers that sort of respite by using good old rose-colored nostalgia while love songs emphasize a more heartful love that is perceived to be generally missing.

‘‘This is a big boom that we’ve never seen before,’’ says Katsuragi. ‘‘The talents are going into the anime songs genre and I believe the popularity will last,’’ she added.

It’s a big boom all right, but only because music sales as a whole have gone down (see Sony’s Annual Report describing their music division) to the point that any increase in sales of albums in a particular sector will garner attention. Because of this, it’s no surprise that talents (including the not-so-talented) are going into the anisong genre for their own sake and not so much for a love of the medium but as an avenue for them to get the extra attention and ergo, sales from rabid consumers. I’ve already talked a bit about the intertwining tendencies between the music business and anime OP/EDs, and so, the marketing engine moves on.

This leads back to a major major gripe, one that’s started with a comment to my Anime Expo Macross Concert on OSV. Since I can’t link to the actual comment, I’ll write it out here, typos and all:

Nakajime on the otherhand is playing the role of an idol (Mamegu) who, depending on the performance, is also playing Ranka on top of that. She makes a lot of mistakes in her regular concerts because its expected, its cute, its what idols do. And the fans eat it up.

While I wouldnt disagree that May’n has some awesomely powerful vocal chords, from experience Megumi has a much broader range (which is why she normally covers the past Macross stuff from Macross to Macross Plus) and, more importantly, is really good at interacting with the audience. Of course, this is something you arent going to get at a concert outside of Japan though. Certainly you could argue that she should tailor her performance (and cut what I daresay were some of the mistakes she made on purpose at the beginning of the concert)to the audience she is performing for, but to that I’d reply that, since there is (legally & officially at least) no release of the albums in the US and therefore no market to speak of, that she isnt obligated to change her style to fit US tastes.

Have consumers de-evolved to the point where deliberate mistakes are an acceptable practice and must be done for the sake of keeping up appearances? Whatever happened to valuing competence?

Assuming that the comment is spot-on in capturing the expectations placed upon seiyuu and having them deliberately suck so as to pander to fans, it might explain a lot about why J1m0ne’s has been experiencing what she’s been experiencing and why I’ve been generally unmotivated in reviewing anime OP/EDs. The increasing emphasis on having seiyuu look good so as to work within the soulless idol-creation process is taking a toll on the quality of the vocalists out there as well as the quality of the voice acting work. Unfortunately, there’s no end in sight.

There’s been a lot of negativity thrown about here, so let’s end on a positive note. The music will keep me going because the quality of the BGM is going to be consistent. To crib day’s words, “I think its harder to make legitimately awful BGM; its easy to make pretty forgettable BGM, but there are honestly so many shortcuts to making wholly inoffensive BGM that to make it truly terrible is a bit of a challenge, it seems.” I’ve found it to be the case as I’ve explored what BGM has to offer. Unlike vocalists and seiyuu, composers are under no compunction to look as impeccable as a pretty picture, and so, can do their own thing without needing to answer to the fan’s beck and call. And for that, I’m thankful for this one area that rabid fans can’t despoil.


Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

21 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts – Anime Music Article in the Japan Times and the Lack of Quality in Seiyuu Land

  • October 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, it is a bit difficult to take the author of the JT article seriously. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of deep thought, and worse, the general tone is more like uncritical praise of the established music industry.

    Good point on distinction with BGM, by the way. Even if the money guys destroy OPs and EDs, true music fans hopefully will continue to have BGM.

  • October 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    My hope is that in the future OPs and EDs will continue its role to excellently establish the set-up of an anime, but it doesn’t seem like it will be that way. Anime producers and record labels, especially in this post-K-On! age seems to have realised they could make more money marketing anime music as pop music to be consumed by people outside the Otaku fan base, and so we have an influx of more generic poppy OPs and EDs more than ever before sung by pop idols rather than decent vocalists, especially for moe anime.

    I also hope that with Angel Beats! and K-On!’s insert songs selling well, it doesn’t translate to anime producers start inserting pop music into insert songs as well. It ruined American television, don’t let it ruin anime. E.g. the insert songs for Clannad were excellent and should be an industry standard.

  • October 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I found the article pretty interesting and needless to say, I prefer listening to JPop over Pop since the recent Pop songs are crap mostly involves talentless singers like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry… ARGH!

    Back to the Seiyuu Singing Quality, I have listen to a lot of songs done by Seiyuus, and besides Tomatsu Haruka, Kotobuki Minako, and the K-ON songs, the rest are either decent to outright horrible. Things like MM!’s opening theme, “Help!” begs to differ since Taketatsu Ayana singing is absolutely unbearable… and yes, she is an idol in some way.

    I feel that the only songs I really enjoy is the ones that focus mainly on singing and not on voice acting and idol industry. Singers like Sakamoto Maaya (mostly a singer), Lia, Tada Aoi, Yuuki Aria and others. I think that some to most of the idols just make music without any effort just to please its fans or the agency raking in the big bucks. As they say, you have to “milk the Cash Cow.”

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Oh man, I hope they aren’t deliberately making the voice actresses sing horribly. I want to believe they are just awful singers. But enough of my muttering.

    Unfortunately I don’t really have any other input on Op/ed from animes because I don’t really focus on them, but let me at least fix this quote….

    “The songs have ‘‘melody lines and some of the voice actresses singing are talented,’’”


  • October 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I can’t believe that those were deliberate mistakes Mamegu made.

    I’m personally with Rhythmroo that most of the voice actresses just suck at singing or are barely passable singers. It is a interesting way to look at the wealth of seiyuu’s singing their themes this season though. Instead of being under-budget they are trying to catch onto that fame wave. Also since the number of talents is never mentioned it could be reasonable to assume it could solely be talking about K-On and Sphere.

    Also, I get the fascination with the visuals with Tatami Galaxy’s ED but I never found the song itself to be melodic. That’s the subjectivity of music though I mean I enjoyed the OP of Tatami Gal far more than the ED. Also while we are talking about singers who are bad. Etsuko fits her song but she’s not a good singer by any scope. When I think of her voice (which is the primary instrument in the ED) it’s not particularly melodic. (Compare to something like Kaiba OP) Then again the Japanese have never been tremendously huge on melody. That’s why we get songs like Aoi Haru by Angela that was the ED from Seitokai yakuindomo that have long phrases that sound practically like tongue twisters.

    Sorry went on a bit of rant there.

    Regardless, I’ve enjoyed quite a number of songs. Even some that have good “melodies”, which to me seems like a really broad term the article was just adopting to make a blanket statement that the songs were enjoyable. Musically it’s not just the melodies that make the song enjoyable. Also I’m curious how many OP/ED’s do you actually listen to each season and how many times? I personally can’t decide if I like a song or not right away. I can sometimes tell if the song is good or not. A lot of songs grow on me though.

    As for BGM, eh I haven’t enjoyed all that much. Sora no Woto, Letter Bee, are Fairy Tail are the only ones I’ve paid attention to in recent memory. I like some of what I’m hearing this season though.

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    The definition of “soundtrack” isn’t very clear-cut really, since Japan uses “BGM” to define mostly instrumental stuff that, well, goes on in the background. I don’t know really, but maybe even character songs are being included under that article’s umbrella definition?

    While seiyuu talent is an issue, I think composer ability and the affinity to make the partnership work as a song are also things that are coming up more frequently, as seiyuu OPs/EDs/INs/other random songs get churned out by the dozen, and collectors become more discerning. I’d cite FictionJunction YUUKA’s and the Macross Frontier soundtracks’ sales successes and Kousaki Satoru’s recent rise to prolific-ness post-Haruhi.

    Gotta say that though the BGM arena has been relatively unspoiled by marketing and economics, the generally unspectacular sales lead to stuff being totally neglected for release sometimes. Case in point, I guess we’re still pretty much griping about Cross Game. I’m not a happy camper when even Giant Killing got an OST release!

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I think your post is needlessly negative, but just a couple other points:

    1. Aoi Tada is a seiyuu, in the sense that she has done voice work before. Most notably as Ed from Bebop.

    2. I think you suffer from out-of-contextedness. Unless by “but only because music sales as a whole have gone down” you include the myriad number of anison events. Let’s be clear here, what makes money is what makes money, and I think the article you pointed to talks about just that. More precisely, it cites that some guy in some store sees an increase in female customers and attributes it to anison sales. I don’t think you can seriously argue against that.

    3. LOL all the BGM fags in this comment thread.

    4. More importantly, I don’t really know why you think anison is bad. I think it’s no better or worse than most mainstream jpop. I mean, take a look at AKB48, it’s really the same kind of crap. But it’s freaking a money printing machine. I guess I should say “no wonder music sales on the whole is decline.” But citing j1m0nes here is probably overdoing it, since I thought she just decided to give up long-form blogging since she’s over that.

    5. I guess I really should say “[your favorite band/composer/soundtrack] sucks.”

    6. The real question you should focus on is the word “talented” because:
    6a. The article was citing somebody when that word was used, and
    6b. My own feelings and observations is, yes, 10 years ago they were generally less multi-talented than they are today. But some other perspectives on this would be cool.

    >> I can’t believe that those were deliberate mistakes Mamegu made.

    I agree.

  • October 17, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Something tells me I ought to have slept on this one a wee bit more.

    And for the record: I don’t think Mamegu was deliberately making mistakes because she comes off as being more professional than that. I do however bristle at the notion that deliberate mistakes be done for the sake of the whole idol cuteness thing.


    This is a problem when reporters paint the broadest strokes possible without really digging deep into the subject matter in an attempt to live and breathe it. Without taking that first step, they do come across as clueless to those more seasoned, and that’s why they accumulate the flak they do. See CNN’s reporting of the Touhou Bad Apple video for a good example.

    Also, the day that Kanno or Ooshima become a gravure idol is the day I hang up my hat and call it quits.

    If I could run the world the way I wanted to, that’s how OP/EDs will roll. Doesn’t look like it’ll happen though, and it does make me ponder as to whether K-ON! was a watershed moment in terms of creating the bigger wave of seiyuu idols who sing and perform but in the process, resulting in jacks (jills) of all trades but mastering none of them.

    And while we disagree on Angel Beats (though I do like how Iwasawa’s farewell song was incorporated), Clannad is a sterling example of how to pull it off though arguably that’s because all of the tracks were derived from the VN.

    Honestly, I don’t think the J-pop spectrum is all that better since Sturgeon’s Law is alive and well within this space. Like I mentioned before, the reason it gets a pass from me is that I don’t understand the lyrics, and so, focus more on the music than the singing at times. Which might yield some horribly bad singing when it doesn’t mesh well with the instrumentals, but what can you do.

    And the steady beat of moneymaking continues on…

    That would be almost as big a travesty as having singers lip sync during live performances. Oh how I remember when a few Western artists were caught doing so and the ensuing fanrage.

    Something tells me the focus of my err… rant I guess? was a bit off here since now the article is so general that you can’t figure out what they’re talking about. This general tendency plays into a lot of omo’s criticism since nothing is really defined to the point that a conversation and discussion can be meaningfully had. How many talents and what constitutes good melodies, we’ll never know, and I do wish they were more specific with their language.

    For all we know, it might just be a K-ON/Sphere-centric article where it vaguely details how that show/idol group serves as the impetus to launch the wave that seiyuu seem to be caught under.

    As for Etsuko, I’m thinking her voice has a mesmeric quality to it, especially in the way she performs that ED though it’s not quite as powerful as Arakawa’s OP. Arakawa II’s OP is crap though, so I’ll be downgrading her after listening to that.

    I listen to at least half of the OP/EDs from every season. The percentage was much higher in 2009, and whether that decline is because of my discontent with OP/EDs in general or my attention has been shuttled elsewhere is debatable. I can say with certainty though that I’ll usually be wowed by only 2-3. It’s definitely the case this season.

    Finally, I’m fairly optimistic about how 2010’s music is turning out. I’d probably add Tatami Galaxy to that list as well as Angel Beats!’s OST.

    I’m pretty sure that with the way things are worded, character songs fall under the soundtrack domain, as much as I might try to separate them out otherwise. Again, an issue with the specificity of language. Semantics are fun (not really).

    Yes, I do agree that composers play a role and we’ve seen how Kalafina seem to do a competent job most of the time with Kajiura behind the composer’s chair for their works. Ditto goes to Kousaki’s ability to mesh the characters into the Bakemonogatari’s OPs. If only more shows were able to incorporate that kind of thing…

    As for the lack of a Cross Game OST… united we stand and fly our flags on that one =P

    Probably, and the grounding to reality is much appreciated.

    1. Oops, completely forgot to do research on that.
    2. The numbers that I used was whatever Sony put in their “Other” category which includes music sales. I’m not sure whether this includes concerts, but I have the feeling is that since they’re a record label, they do not. I also do not have concert numbers (know where I can look these up?) but they would be useful data to have indeed.
    3. wwwwwwwww
    4. You’re right in that anison is no better or worse than J-pop without that anime context. But I’ll also say that I’m not impressed by non-anison J-pop either aside from their ability to make money.
    5. No dissing on Ludwig Van though.
    6. I’ve sorta addressed the issue of verbiage and how the meaning of “talent” is unclear. I do agree that the number of people who seek to be multi-talented in the skills sense has gone up, but whether they’re actually talented in being able to sing, voice act, and whatever else it is they do, and do it well… that’s something I disagree with. The concept of “tarento” wasn’t something I really brought into once they started trying to push a lot of seiyuu to fit that mold.

  • October 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I want to address just this:

    I listen to at least half of the OP/EDs from every season. The percentage was much higher in 2009, and whether that decline is because of my discontent with OP/EDs in general or my attention has been shuttled elsewhere is debatable. I can say with certainty though that I’ll usually be wowed by only 2-3. It’s definitely the case this season.

    You do realize a general interest site like JT can care less about micro changes in 2009 versus 2010 anison op/ed trends? For what it is worth, the growth in anison sales we see today is because of 2009 and we’re seeing a down trend just right now. I don’t think it’s reasonable to get upset over that.

  • October 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Do I really sound that upset? Because I’m not. Apathetic, yes, maybe (most likely) slightly sneering towards the article’s author, but not upset.

  • October 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    “Also, the day that Kanno or Ooshima become a gravure idol is the day I hang up my hat and call it quits.”

    -chuckle- I would hope the emotions they impart in their music suggest they possess much more love for their craft than, say, desire to show off their bodies for others to admire.

    I do not think making mistakes to seem like a cute klutz is acceptable for a performance. The true character of a performer is shown through the emotions in their singing. If I wanted to see someone characterized by “mistakes”, I would go to the circus and watch the clowns. If these seiyuu have to act a certain way both on AND off screen, what happens to the individuality that sets them apart from all the other seiyuu? What happens to their own love of their trade when they have to hide who they actually are? It just turns into blatant pandering to the fans. I don’t want to be pandered to. I want to like the performer for what they can do and who they actually are. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has to make itself appeal to as many people as possible, and so most artists are forced to sell themselves.

    I listen to Jmusic mostly because the cheesiness has not quite disgusted me yet as compared to American pop, (Where every song seems to have some rhyme involving fly, sky, or try). I don’t doubt the Japanese overuse rhymes and concepts in a similar fashion, but it’s so much easier to ignore.

    However, I will always love instrumental music more than vocal. There’s no one literally telling you what to feel 😛

  • October 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Jumping into this as a totally uninitiated person in terms of writing about the music industry (I pretty much listen to whatever OP/ED of whichever anime I am currently watching, with the exception of those that don’t suit my taste, which I skip over), but here are some of my observations:
    – Some anime could be considered mainstream in Japan already. Why not their songs?
    – The “depressing” trend of remaking seiyuu into idols could be contributing to the increased market share on anisong. Like it or not, idols sell in Japan (see AKB48 and the foray of K-pop idol groups groups like KARA and SNSD into the market — obviously the Koreans see a lot of money-making potential there in the above-schoolgirl pop market). Consumers buy not just for the music (important as it is) but for the whole package, including TV show appearances, live performances (shitty though most of them are), gravure, etc. Marketers understand this. I see the current trend as seiyuus getting a slice of the idol pie.
    – Talent is important but not the be-all-and-end-all in terms of what gets sold the most. It is the unfortunate reality in our world that marketing is the king. Also, fandom transcends everything else. Once a seiyuu/model has established themselves in the heart of an adoring fan, the money is just going to keep coming in even if they release one or two dodgy singles.
    – The AKB48 thing is interesting because they are now one of the top female pop groups in Japan, but from what I have observed they started off in Akihabara and were catering largely to otaku. The whole thing has blown up from there. With proper marketing, there is not that much of a barrier between stuff liked by otaku and stuff liked by mainstream society.
    – Most mainstream consumers are not really that discerning in their taste. I see music bloggers writing about rhythms and voice tones/emotions and other such things, and while I have had a bit of early education in music analysis and get most of what you guys mean, and can definitely identify epic pieces of music, when I’m just casually listening to music, anything goes. If it’s catchy, I’ll listen to it. If it’s Shikata Akiko, I’ll listen to it. While serious analysis of the music is warranted and needed, one has to beware the ivory tower.

  • October 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Yeah, if composing beautiful music becomes secondary to being beautiful themselves, then it’s a sign that the good times are long gone and I’ll have to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

    As Bill Watterson said, selling out is more about buying in. Buying into another value system in the hopes of fame or fortune. The incentive structure tilts in that direction and it’s kind of a sad way to go. I’d prefer to see the complete artist, warts and all rather than view them through some kind of mask that they’ve sculpted for themselves. In fighting this tendency, you really gotta admire Joaquin Phoenix for the stunt he pulled.

    Wonder if people with a bent towards instrumental stuff are rebels. 😀

    Well, there’s a lot here that I do say and also a lot that I didn’t. Let me see if I can address all points.

    1. The songs can be as mainstream as they want insofar of being able to get to that point by either talent or marketing. I make no value judgments on whether being mainstream is bad or not, and so, I’m not one of those “I liked them better when they were underground” people.
    2. Facts are facts and I don’t disagree with what you’ve said about the growth of that trend. I do hope that I’m still allowed to opine on that trend and say that I don’t like it when the quality of the aspect that I care most about (the music) degrades as a result of this practice though.
    3. No disagreement there. Sometimes it feels like they can succeed in spite of their discography (more than just 1-2 dodgy singles)
    4. Nope, I agree that there isn’t. I do think of music as a near-universal medium that can transcend language and cultural barriers. Moreso with anison and J-pop being really closely intertwined.
    5. As stuffy as I can be at times, I’d like to think that I give all albums a fair shot. Obviously, the end goal is to give my reaction and people can use that as a measuring stick to see where they stand on that same song. I’d be just as distressed by people who are mindless apologists with regard to a certain artist as I am towards people who mindlessly consider my words to be FACT. A healthy dose of questioning and challenging is always a good thing to have.

  • October 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I know quite a few people who listen to anime songs even thought they have no interest in the source anime in question, or those who barely watch anime at all, so there’s really no reason why anisongs can’t catch on when they do follow the same theme as normal JPop. Several of the better singers have been branching more into the music industry and away from pure seiyuu-contracted-music anyhow (especially since they get a bigger share of the profit pie that way).

  • October 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    First off, that pic of DJ Azu-nyan is great made me smile. Cute pic, but she should plant her third finger when slip-cueing. 😉

    @chikorita157: This comment bothered me. It’s one thing to love a genre of music, and I love anime-pop and J-pop as much as the next guy, but it’s not fair to compare two genres and calling one “talentless”. I listen to a lot of mainstream pop and R&B and it’s mostly apples and oranges (listening to some Taylor Swift right now). If I could compare, the production value a typical Billboard listed album is near flawless, and artists like Usher are incredible live. The two are geared towards totally different markets and styles.

    The state of BGM music (I call them scores, if anyone cares) in anime I’m not worred about at all. I’ve loved scores (bite me, omo) since I was little, listening James Horner’s Legends of the Fall OST. I’m really impressed with what I see in anime. Yoko Kanno is one of the most talented musicians of the era, effortlessly slipping in and out of so many types of styles: John Williams-esque work on Aquarion, contemporary pop in Macross Frontier, and throwback brass in Cowboy Bebop. Along with the likes of Takefumi Haketa, tenmon, Fujita Junpei, Shinji Orito, etc. etc. the soundtrack industry is in no worry.

    Anime pop is just fine. It’s catchy, it’s a good way for seiyuu to get exposure, and it’s good marketing.

  • October 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    @Chikorita157: Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you ask me , J-Pop and the Pop we hear nowadays have roughly around the same talent, if you exclude Electronic or Dance hits. Dance hits don’t focus too much on the vocals but instead, on the beat. I find it unfair to judge the worth of an entire genre of music simply based on two examples.

    Regarding the article, however, I think it’s true in the fact that anime songs are indeed, slowly entering the song charts. I mean, it’s not like anime songs and J-Pop are two distinct genres, so to speak. They overlap each other. Why can’t an anime theme song be on the charts? Its lyrics do not necessarily , only focus on the show itself, right? It could even theoretically be used for everything.

  • October 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I think one thing that I forgot to make clear is the fact that I have no problem when J-pop and anison mingle because, well, people are correct in saying that anison is more or less difficult to discern from vanilla J-pop that one can group them together and still be OK. The problem that I do have stems from them sucking. That’s pretty much it. There’s no wider claim than that.

    Yeah, the economics/incentives put in place do push them in that direction and its understandable why they’d make those decisions. Still, I do wish that they could do that and still maintain a good level of quality on both ends. What I’m seeing more of are seiyuu who can’t sing, singing, and that doesn’t sit well with me. Neither, for that matter, does the idol phenomenon.

    Nothing to really add to what you’ve stated beyond a few seiyuu singers who irk me, but with a specific one, I think I might be alone in thinking she’s not that good :p

    I’ve kinda addressed your point in the opening paragraph, so hope that answers your questions!

  • October 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

    That last bit is interesting. To me, it reads like the person is simply making excuses for mistakes. By calling it deliberate, the “mistake” isn’t really a mistake. But doing so insults us fans though.

    “The increasing emphasis on having seiyuu look good so as to work within the soulless idol-creation process is taking a toll on the quality of the vocalists out there as well as the quality of the voice acting work.”
    It seems like all entertainment industry in every niche eventually end up valuing image more than talent… Kind of sad really. 🙁

  • October 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Here comes my defense… I kind of went overboard with my statement, but whatever.

    I know there are good pop artists out there and I probably heard them myself. The problem is the two artists overshadows everything else, so yeah… it’s going to water down the good pop music in the genre… like mention in the article, Sturgeon’s Law is in full effect

    And I don’t hate western pop… I like a good number of pop songs out there, especially Michael Jackson. It’s just that those two artists among a few others (Black Eyed Peas) just gives me a bad aftertaste.

    Yes, I do listen to several songs from Anime I haven’t watch. Most notably, Lia, Sakamoto Maaya Elisa and Yuuki Aria. Its good to have a pretty diverse selection of jpop since its get tiring listening to the same song over again. On top of that, I listen to some OSTs.

  • October 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I think what you said sums it up nicely. If a performer doesn’t reveal their true level of competence for the sake of fitting into a certain stereotype, then that we, as fans, have been disserviced. I value competence above most other factors, so the discontent that I speak of might just be me (but seeing the comments so far, I doubt it).

    Depressing isn’t it? Thank goodness that plague hasn’t creeped into the realm of composers.

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