2014 was an interesting and prolific year in music releases as well as providing some surprises for most fans. This was the year where Rejet seiyuu units, Marginal#4 and Lagrange Point, reigned like no one else, the year when GRANRODEO‘s best album to date was released as well as many other fantastic things provided by some of your favorite seiyuu. This year had a lot of debuting acts that impressed, be it for how good or how bad they sounded (that is left open for discussion) and the year of some iconic and most anticipated comebacks in the seiyuu music business.
All being said, it’s time to make a small review of this year’s debuts and comebacks and what did they bring to the table.
Kicking off with the debuts, perhaps the most exciting part of this top since most of these names are new to the music business, we find not only new names but also others that were already in the music business but didn’t take a major role, most of the times being on the background but now taking the initiative deciding to make a name for themselves in the music business.
Lot’s of expectation and hype were around one of the big debuts this year, we’re talking about seiyuu Kensho Ono that debuted this past January with his single “Fantastic Tune“. Kensho, 25, is signed under Japanese music label Lantis where some of the big names in the seiyuu business are. Some of those include: GRANRODEO (Kishow Taniyama), OLDCODEX (Tatsuhisa Suzuki), Daisuke Ono, Kenichi Suzumura, Showtaro Morikubo and Takuma Terashima. This label is no joke when it comes to support the artist and so far these seiyuu have succeeded in releasing substantial and interesting releases throughout the years. So, back in 2013 Kensho joined the label and delivered his debuting single in January, single that was featured as the ending theme for the second part of the season of basketball anime “Kuroko no Basuke“. Kensho headed towards the rock genre and, with the help of former OLDCODEX guitarist R.O.N, managed to deliver an electrifying single without any flaws.
Many artists fail to deliver a spotless first single but Kensho managed it and it really set the bar really high for his next release, the mini-album “Touch The Style“. It wasn’t a perfect release but Kensho really delivered a multitude of tracks ranging between pop, rock and electronica in a mini-album that was meant to show that Kensho is not only a rock artist but knows well how to adapt to other genres.
All in all, Kensho did manage to make a safe debut without hiccups and we can only expect more interesting things from him in the year that awaits us.
And now, finally making a major debut (he’d already solo debuted last year but this one is a debut in a major label) is Toshiyuki Toyonaga. This is a well worthy debut since Toyonaga has more than ever proven that he is a top singer, musician, composer and lyricist – yeah, all of these together – the best example is MUSIC OF THE ENTERTAINMENT released in the first quarter of the year and then the major debut single “Reason…“, released this month. Mesmerizing, angelic, powerful, technical, versatile are some of the many adjectives we could give to Toyonaga‘s talents. A certain jack of all trades that has more than anything impressed with both his versatility and genius behind his music. This is not a seiyuu trying to enter the music business anymore, it’s a musician that is also a seiyuu making a debut to show how his hard work sounds. What do I mean by this? He has real musical talent that was always known but only now is receiving recognition for it. Arranging, writing the lyrics and composing the songs are just some of the things Toyonaga knows. He doesn’t even need to make an effort to sound cool while singing. Toyonaga is, without a doubt, a diamond, a well polished diamond.
Another debut that really had a lot of people fawning about was Rejet‘s newest brainchild, seiyuu unit Lagrange Point. Genki Okawa and Toshiyuki Toyonaga are the unit’s members and things couldn’t have gone better for them with a lot of hype behind their release “Catastrophe“. That went as expected, both the release and the hype behind it or weren’t we talking about a new seiyuu unit to rival Marginal#4 with multi-talented arranger/composer MIKOTO working behind the scenes. MIKOTO really brings to the table the best weapons for a seiyuu unit to win over its crowd. Addictive instrumentals, most of the times resorting to heavy guitar work alongside some synths: that heavy pop-rock is what attracts the listener and made Lagrange Point make their glorious debut. If they’ll be capable of rivaling Marginal#4, only time will tell, because at the moment, their are wearing the crown in the best seiyuu unit, but Lagrange Point show great signs of being a solid seiyuu unit and if they have the luck to take over the crown that won’t be that big of a surprise. If the releases keep on being constant, entertaining and seriously engaging for the fans it will probably come true.
He’s not a seiyuu but he’s quite connected to the business and since we’ve already mentioned him, we might as well talk about his major debut. MIKOTO has finally debuted and we couldn’t be more excited about him. For those who’ve paid attention in the past, he’s the guy behind the music for Marginal#4, Lagrange Point, Diabolik Lovers character songs, Scared Rider Xechs, KENN‘s most recent solo work and many other things, most of them related to Rejet. So far he’s never failed delivering exciting, electrifying songs and, on top of that, a wide range of styles and genres to boot. But that was always work under a bigger name, now the story is completely different. MIKOTO made his debut with the rocking single “ACCEPTED BLOOD“. The single is featured as the theme song for Rejet‘s drama CD collection “Meiji Kyuketsu Kitan “Tsuki Yasha” and as managed to gather, as most Rejet releases, a lot of hype around it. All that hype is more than deserved. For years he’s worked behind the scenes making amazing instrumentals and orchestrating the music from its very starting point until the final product for other artists and projects, now it’s he’s time to shine and he doesn’t disappoint. Some might say that it sounds similar to this or that that they’ve heard before but one thing is for sure, his guitar work alongside his vocals, that we might say, those sound really good, make MIKOTO‘s debut stay on solid ground and what he need to do right now is to wait for future releases by this amazing guitarist.
Another debut this year, and this was also a huge one, Kenji Nojima finally decided to that the plunge into the music business with a debut mini-album titled “Any day Shuffle“. This was an unexpected debut but turned out to be a wonderful surprise for his fans that were so eager for his to make this important step in his career. His laidback jazzy pop-rock has really shone without being over-the-top and impressed with his greeting card: the outstanding vibrato that has been making a lot of fans melt. It was a solid debut in safe territory so we can say that’ll be hearing a lot about Kenji Nojima’s music in the future.
And now we go to the surprising musical flops this year provided by one seiyuu unit and one solo act.
It’s still unknown why did these two guys managed to flop their seiyuu unit debut and follow up. Seki to Konishi, seiyuu unit consisting of Seki Tomokazu and Konishi Katsuyuki, simply managed to completely fail to both gather attention from the fans and deliver an entertaining debut mini-album. It’s sad to see this since these two seiyuu actually sing pretty well, Konishi Katsuyuki was always a seiyuu that really knew how to sing and impress with his deep vocals and versatile voice, Seki Tomokazu is not the best of singers but he still sounds good enough for being in a seiyuu unit. And when everyone thought that, maybe these guys will take things seriously and make a major debut, all things fall down the drain with a miserable release, trying to sound overly upbeat and with instrumental pieces that will make you cringe. They had everything to make a good debut, instead this will probably be the last time we hear about this seiyuu unit.
And to complete this part regarding this year’s debuts we find seiyuu Kouki Miyata.
This is quite of a late debut considering that most seiyuu that enter the music business range between 18 and 30 years old, when they’re on top of their game or simply trying to gather some hype around them to lay them some auditions. But Japan is known for surprising everyone with not so ordinary stuff. Debuting late might sound like an hopeless feat in Europe or in the US but in Japan it works, most of the times.
Kouki Miyata, 42 years-old, debuting in the music business might have sounded interesting for some people but it came out as good as the premise, it flopped. His debut album 白鳥ブリコラージュ, released to celebrate Miyata‘s 20 year old career didn’t come out as a celebration, at least record sales wise or even with it charting on the Oricon charts. Nothing much can be said of an album that really didn’t have anything interesting to start with. For those who even like Miyata‘s characteristic vocals this release doesn’t even sound the least bit interesting as soon as you start listening to the album. The debut could have been made in a better way, with a better producer and better ideas. Will we be hearing about a next Kouki Miyata release in the future? Most probably not.
And that is all for the debuts in the seiyuu business – music edition.
Now we focus in the comebacks that really had some interesting and talented seiyuu come out of their hiatuses. This year only three seiyuu made their comebacks to the music business and those three were missed and, surprisingly enough, came back with new material or even if they hadn’t new material, their trademark sound with the songs that everyone loves.
And kicking off with perhaps the best and most anticipated comeback: Naozumi Takahashi brought us a new album and a single, not too shabby for a comeback we might say!
The electrifying VOICE RENDEZVOUS and ふうらいぼうきょう/望遠郷, were kind of like a gift to the fans for having to wait so much between the release of O+PLUS+, back in 2012 and VOICE RENDEZVOUS this past June. It turns out that Naozumi always has a trick under his sleeve and simply manages not only to show his trademark sound but still goes out of his comfort zone and tries new things like on the track “CHU-CE ココロカラダコトバ“.
Many people missed Naozumi Takahashi and his excitement towards his music (that is one of the best ingredients for a musician, if you don’t get excited with your music, who will?), upbeat and fun tracks as well as those where his velvety voice simply makes us melt. He’s the kind of singer that, the longer the pause between releases, the bigger is the suffering for his fans. He sings well, is a surprisingly good lyricist and, on top of that, is a musician that really indulges in his music and loves what he does.
We’ve missed you Nao-nii! Glad you’re back to the music scene!
If there’s a seiyuu that is really known for singing incredibly well whatever you make him sing is KENN. But when we think about when was the last time that we heard about a single or mini-album released by him we get this answer: back in 2013 with the single 紅ノ夜ノ唄｜Eidolon featured in otome game “Tokyo Meiji Renka“. That was quite of an awesome single but soon after that we’ve never heard a thing about a new single/album by KENN.
We had to wait a couple of months until something related to KENN‘s music career was announced. This time he’s presented us his first best of, an overview of his solo career up until now. It’s a collection of some of the greatest tracks he’s released so far from 2012’s “Pieces of my wish” to “Be the one for you” back in 2011 even to his most recent single “Eidolon“, there’s a bit of everything, there’s all the changes that made KENN‘s solo career, the success it is.
Still this wasn’t an original album or single release, it was merely an appetizer that really made us crave for more of KENN’s music.
And least but not last we have Hoshi Soichiro. He’s back after a long hiatus from his music career. As an accomplished seiyuu he’s most of the time focused on voice acting instead of singing and, as it is natural, his music career started to be featured in the background, like if almost forgotten. But Shoichiro made his comeback and not in the most discreet way. A new album still under the giant Japanese music label KING RECORDS where he’s fellow artist alongside Miyano Mamoru and Nana Mizuki. The album titled “Little World” was released on his birthday and turned out to be a solid comeback with an entertaining and catchy sound provided by ELEMENTS GARDEN (Miyano Mamoru, Nana Mizuki, Uta no Prince-Sama). Better couldn’t be asked for a comeback than this second album.
And that is all for a year that was prolific enough in music releases, debuts and comebacks. It was a good year, that is for sure. Now, in a good celebratory way, we let our wishes go wild and simply wish that some names comeback to the music business and others please make a debut asap.
DISCLAIMER: these are only our hopes for next year, those seiyuu that we’d really love to listen to more but sadly haven’t got the opportunity to shine for themselves or have had the opportunity but it wasn’t in the right time and really need to have a proper comeback. So this is nothing that has been confirmed at the moment, only wishful thinking.
- Yuto Suzuki (solo wise he’s been way too quiet, seiyuu unit wise we talk way too much about him because of Marginal#4 – still he has a talent to reckon with so it’s a matter of time until he decides to make a proper solo comeback.)
- Yoshimasa Hosoya
- Takuya Sato
A person can dream right? Well, some of these names really deserve a chance to be heard since they’re not that well known but have a voice and talent to die for. Of course we’re talking about Yoshimasa Hosoya and Takuya Sato, polar opposites in singing style and ability but two voices that will equally mesmerize you.
Takuya Sato can easily be a powerhouse singer with an incredible bright future in the music business if with the right music label (something between Avex / Lantis / 5pb records). He’s a power vocalist without a doubt: low toned voice able to rival Tatsuhisa Suzuki and Daisuke Ono in a showdown and an important aspect – he loves singing – that passion, if well directed, will bring him another outlet to showcase his talents and make his name widely known. Takuya Sato just screams “rocker” as soon as he starts to sing, if only some label would be interested in his talents…
A talent still unexplored with lots to offer and a lot of hope from us that he can make a solo debut as soon as possible.
Yoshimasa Hosoya is a name that we most certainly would love to hear that would be debuting. He’s owner of a voice and ability able to compete with KISHOW and Mamoru Miyano and that already tells us something incredibly important: if Hosoyan debuts it’ll be a frenzy in the seiyuu fandom and in the music business itself. A good deal would be Yoshimasa Hosoya with Lantis as the backing label, giving him a certain freedom to his music genre and image, something that lacks in other labels. KING RECORDS would be a great choice if only they didn’t put every single artist of them working with ELEMENTS GARDEN, in the end, making everyone sound exactly the same.
His vocal skills are beyond amazing: with a flawless vibrato and mid-ranged tone that is incredibly versatile to the point of mastering falsettos, you will certainly crave for more and, in the process, melt just a bit.
Why wish this? Well if you guys payed enough attention last year, Kensho Ono, still a “common seiyuu” not related to the music business started hanging out more with some Lantis‘ artists, a few months later he was signing a deal with the Japanese music label. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The same has been going on for Yoshimasa Hosoya lately. He’s been seen with Lantis‘ artists quiet often recently: Takuya Eguchi (is under Kiramune, a branch of Lantis), Kensho Ono and Tatsuhisa Suzuki – just to name a few – so maybe, just maybe, there’s something in the background starting to happen? Well, it’s all speculation right now but the modus operandi is the same as Kensho‘s last year.
Now that Hosoyan is freelancing it really makes the possibility of him making a debut in the music business feel a little bit real. Let’s wait and see.