From projects with an all-star cast to those betting heavily on new, up-and-coming talents, in this feature, you’ll get to know a bit about some of the most buzzworthy 2D music projects launched in 2022.
In 2022, there were plenty of interesting new projects coming forth, with some having yet to make big debut releases or others only taking the first steps.
The focus this year was on mixed-media projects more so than on strictly 2D music projects. This happens as a way for the project to thrive should the music not sell well and connect with the listeners. In that way, the project ensures it can continue to release audio dramas, voice comics, radio shows, and the sort.
Let’s go over some of the 2D music projects that were launched and active in 2022.
Despite having been announced in 2021, it was only in 2022 that the TECHNOROID franchise kicked off its activities.
Technoroid is a new generation mixed media project created by Noriyasu Agematsu (Uta no Prince-Sama, GHOST CONCERT, and VISUAL PRISON) in collaboration with RUCCA and Elements Garden.
It arrived with an ambitious concept and quickly, fans started to see what Agematsu mentioned with this being a true mixed media project.
Early on in the year, a smartphone game was launched featuring songs by all groups, without many music releases to the name of its core groups, 2 new units joined in the project and then, the anime series was announced for a premiere in 2023.
TECHNOROID is all about its EDM sound with each group approaching the music genre in completely different ways, making some of the groups quite charming and interesting to check.
For big fans of EDM music and, in a way, RUCCA and Elements Garden’s compositions, this is the perfect project featuring a solid mix of veteran and newcomer seiyuu in the cast.
This was one of the most active new 2D music projects in 2022.
Visual-kei rock in the neo-sengoku era. Sounds like a crazy plot but it is the core of MAGATSU NOTE, a disruptive mixed-media project launched in February 2022.
The project quickly started to release digital singles for each of its groups, making fans participate in voting to decide who the winner was in each face-off release.
While that part of this project is easily the weakest, where MAGATSU NOTE shines is in the way it embraced visual-kei rock music.
The project brought in several pro and indie visual-kei bands to help out with making the music as aggressive and intense as possible while still being as stylish as you could expect from visual-kei rock.
While the project is rather niche both for its concept and the music genre that is at its core, MAGATSU NOTE does show the potential to turn into quite the exciting visual-kei rock project.
And we go from feudal lords in neo-Sengoku to superheroes in a sentai series.
Seiyuu + music + heroes, surprising everyone, PRELUDERS put the focus first on seiyuu – something that reminds me, in a way, how some of the biggest 2D music projects kicked off their activities by putting the focus on the seiyuu themselves instead of the characters.
According to PONY CANYON, PRELUDERS mixes seiyuu with heroes and music, counting with characters full of individuality.
This is a mixed-media project with a big focus on music and voice drama.
On the vocal end, the franchise brought in Yuma Uchida, Kent Ito, Junya Enoki, Kouhei Amasaki, Ryota Suzuki, Ryota Iwasaki, Shun Horie, Atsushi Tamaru, and Shintaro Asanuma. This lineup of stars, veterans, rising stars, and newcomers brought balance to this franchise, with its 3 groups having quite a lot of consistency.
As far as the music goes, the franchise has pop music at its core, with EDM and rock making their way through some of the songs.
In 2022, the franchise released 3 CDs, one of those being the 1st full-length album “By Your Side”.
Despite all of this, excitement about the music in this franchise is barely existent, which is quite surprising given the stellar cast it has. Since early November 2022 and up until the time of writing this feature, the franchise has been keeping its activity on social media to a bare minimum, slowly reducing the amount of content being shared.
Is this a sign the project crashed and burned right after its launch? Is it a sign the project is regrouping for a new set of CD releases? At the moment, you and I don’t know this.
Whether the project continues its activities or not is something we will have to wait and see.
The biggest 2D music project announcement of 2022 is, undoubtedly, the reggae music project, JAMROCK.
Yes, you read it well, this is a project all about reggae music, being the first ever project to fully focus on the music genre, showcasing its charm and good vibes to an audience that may as well be coming across this music genre for the very first time.
The project brings together world-renowned reggae artists and voice actors.
And talking about voice actors, you can expect to find a star-studded lineup here. Makoto Furukawa, Kishow, Junya Enoki, Yuki Ono, Ryohei Kimura, Yuto Uemura, Chiharu Shigematsu, and Sho Karino take the stage for this project.
However, there is something slightly different in this project. Not all seiyuu in this case are in charge of the singing. Some seiyuu – Yuki Ono and Ryohei Kimura – for example only lend their voice to the voice dramas whereas the song performances are left to professional reggae singers.
This may be something that takes away the fascination of seeing and listening to seiyuu tackling reggae music, instead leaving that to professional singers in the genre.
If like me, you prefer to listen to seiyuu challenging themselves in different music genres, then JAMROCK fails a little bit in this respect.
So far, the franchise has released 4 mini-albums and is slowly bringing attention to itself.
Among all the 2D music projects launched in 2022, JAMROCK is the most interesting due to its unique story, and concept and for embracing reggae music, for the first time in the 2D music panorama.
One of the biggest surprises of the year was the mixed media project, “I’m Sorry”. I’m sorry is a new 2D music project created and with an original concept by the talented seiyuu, mangaka, and CEO, Shinnosuke Tachibana.
This is the very first 2D music project launched by a seiyuu which is quite exciting. At the same time, its lineup is ridiculously good. Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Makoto Furukawa, Shouta Aoi, Chiaki Kobayashi, and Yuuta Fujisaki complete this lineup.
I’m sorry is marketed as a “Handsome Prime Minister Project” with a music battle at its core. However, it seems the concept itself did not attract a lot of attention, even with “I’m sorry” being featured in several magazines, having released a couple of drama CDs, and having a stellar cast.
Soon after its launch, the project announced a cast event that… ended up canceled. And some of the scheduled drama CDs were also canceled around May 2022. Since then, the project has been on the down low, without communication on social media and with no prospect of ever returning to full force.
The downlights in the 2D music industry
And on a contrary note, there were some projects that faded away silently, others that announced their hiatus and others that simply couldn’t find their footing. Let’s talk a bit about those.
I’ve talked extensively about THE LAST METAL and how this project had the awesome potential of educating young fans of 2D music for the rich and fascinating world of heavy metal music.
The project has a strong lineup consisting of Kent Ito, Ryota Suzuki, Arthur Lounsbery, and Keisuke Ueda and has a promising concept however how it was executed was completely wrong.
I’m talking about my favorite 2D music project in 2021. And it pains me that it went the completely wrong way due to… rockstar egos.
It seems that the project brought along several rockstars from the 80s for the composition team in this franchise and what happened was the focus was more in highlighting only the legends that were playing in Venomous 8’s songs.
And what happened to the vocals? Everyone was singing in unison for 80% of the songs. That’s it.
Remember how fascinating the project made heavy metal music sound? Yeah, that was thrown away completely in 2022.
“Welcome to the Deadlight City” was an absolutely dreadful debut CD with everything going wrong for its cast. If you were expecting to have clarity on the vocals, there was none. For those expecting to find high-octane heavy metal music that nodded at the 80s but was still as innovative and exciting as today’s heavy metal… this project is not it.
The sound was ridiculously dated, and the vocals did not shine. If this was the idea that Vul Productions had when they announced that they were going to make metal music cool… well… it is a pity.
The CD sold poorly and communication on social media stopped in August 2022.
Vul Productions does have a massive challenge to overcome with THE LAST METAL, especially if it actually wants to take it to its rightful place as one of the most awesome 2D rock music projects.
I was quite critical of VISUAL KARMA’s backward mindset – of selling merchandise before even releasing music – gimmick. And I said that this project while exploring visual-kei music – something that excited me a lot as a fan of the genre – was not focused on visual-kei at all.
Well, 2022 kicked off and VISUAL KARMA released its first single “Kyouki ≠ Shinnai Dystopia”. It was an okay release but lacking a lot on the performance side, with seiyuu not matching the style and technique that visual-kei rock requires.
After that release, the franchise held a fan event and continued to release voice dramas on its Twitter account until November 2022, when all communication from the franchise apparently stopped.
It is not known if the franchise is just on a hiatus, if it is a strategic pause for a couple of weeks before resuming new content or if it is officially done.
Regardless of the outcome, this project had the possibility to go against the current and present a unique visual-kei rock sound and interesting story while introducing fans to new or relatively new seiyuu. Alas, at the moment of writing this feature, it has failed at everything I just said.
One of the biggest new 2D music projects launched in 2020, Perfection Noise has slowly drifted away and communication from the franchise stopped early in 2022.
With a stellar lineup including Shoya Chiba, Soma Saito, Kaito Ishikawa and Ryohei Kimura and mixing individual drama CDs with music – much in the style of Dear Vocalist -, the Perfection Noise franchise seems to be fading away with no big perspectives of making a return any sooner.
Well, this is what seems, seeing as social media activity has been stopped altogether since the release of the original soundtrack CD.
That being said, Team Entertainment usually has a weird way of working, almost leaving their franchises abandoned before picking them up and giving them a new life.
Still, while I don’t want to sound pessimistic, it seems that Perfection Noise, as awesome as it was, may be seeing its end fairly soon.
A pity as this is a project that has the potential to hit a really loyal niche market – just like Dear Vocalist or even DIG-ROCK – yet it seems that Team Entertainment may be giving up on it way too early.
Here’s to me wishing Perfection Noise can make a comeback anytime soon.
Another awesome 2D music project that… didn’t manage to grab the attention of fans with flashy visuals for their characters or a trendy sound, two elements that are instant hooks for most people just looking for a new fix of “handsome” characters to drool over.
For fans of good music and of variety in the 2D music industry, Jazz-on! appeared as one of the most unique and refreshing projects. Jazz music was – and still is – at center stage, bringing with it its unique syncopated beats, fancy brass, and stylish contrabass.
To top it all off, the franchise has some of the most technical singers – and massive fans of jazz – in its lineup. Shunichi Toki and Makoto Furukawa particularly stood out in this franchise.
Unfortunately, in the 3rd quarter of 2022, the Jazz-on! franchise announced that this new story arc had ended and as such, they had decided to go on a hiatus until… well, fans will never know until when.
On my end, I can only attribute this project fading away to its poor sales numbers. Fans were very few and the music wasn’t attracting that many people thus, this was the only outcome possible.
However, contrary to some of the projects mentioned in this section, there is some hope for fans of Jazz-on as its creators still hope the project can return in the future.
In 2021, “Live us” was one of the buzzworthy projects, bringing an original mixed-media project following a dramatic story that is fleshed out through voice dramas + music releases.
There are 5 different artists – between groups and solo artists – that aim at giving color to the world they live in, one of human conflict and deep environmental issues that ended up leading to the ban on live shows.
The music genres explored in this project are quite interesting with classic J-pop, K-pop, R&B, rock, and electro-pop represented by α-TuNe, StrelitziA, ZiN, unknown order, and TapeTum.
However, while the groups are unique and the lineups feature a good mix of stars and newcomers, Live Us has never lived up to its initial hype and that is mainly because the franchise refused to release music on streaming platforms, completely cutting short the possibility of striking it big with the international fans. At the same time, it seems that Japanese fans were just not into this project, with most CDs selling poorly.
As 2022 wraps up, Live Us has gone from one of the most exciting new 2D music projects to a big “what could have been” in terms of direction, music quality, and world-building.
2022 was a more contained year in terms of the number of new 2D music projects being launched.
Following the trend that you could find this year for solo and unit debuts, there was a drop in the number of 2D music projects being launched however, this was the year with the most polarizing music projects taking the stage. You could find projects that went all out with music genres that are not as loved or common in the 2D music panorama and found as well a couple of projects with unique concepts or stories.
On my end, the most exciting 2D music project of the year is JAMROCK. While I’m not the biggest fan of reggae music, it is awesome that fans of 2D music will get to expand their horizons and explore the good vibes of reggae music, all through the voices of some of the most exciting seiyuu talents.
MAGATSU NOTE is still too unpolished in my opinion with some songs not sounding good at all but there is a lot of potential going on in there as well as some absolutely bonkers performances by seiyuu such as Hiromu Mineta and Jin Ogasawara. Also, visual-kei rock done by real visual-kei rock bands? That’s the stuff.
On the lowlights, it is a pity that JAZZ-ON is going on a hiatus and that Perfection Noise, despite its star-studded cast and awesome music, is disappearing from the public eye.
Regarding the lowlights, it is worth mentioning that some of the projects that are failing to attract attention have some of the biggest or best lineups in there. So you could say that a 2D music projects being successful is not directly tied to whether the voice cast has popular or unknown seiyuu. It goes way beyond that, to the story, music, and character designs.
All in all, 2022, was a rather quiet year for fans of 2D music projects, with very few joining in and most focusing on being mixed rather than full-on music projects.
Which were your favorite 2D music projects launched in 2022? Share those in the comments!
You can find all the content in this feature on episode 123 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, The Hand That Feeds HQ’s official weekly podcast in video format.
If you prefer content on the go, you can also find the content in this feature in the sound-only version of SEIYUU LOUNGE.
You can find the podcast on the following platforms