2022 in Review: Underrated Albums that Deserve More Love

Mindblowing songs. Outstanding performances. But the spotlight seemed to not be on them. Time to make things right and shed a light on the hidden gems of 2022.

Music that deserves all the love it can get. It seems like this is a recurrent theme but as the seiyuu music industry gets increasingly crowded, this will continue to happen to various 2D music projects, groups, solo artists, bands, and units.

The sheer number of 2D groups and 2D music projects makes it so that those that suffer the most from lack of exposure are, actually, themselves.

Seiyuu artists take quite a bit of time until they have a loyal following for their music and, at times, depending on how soon or late their debut was, they may never get to rise in popularity, something that overshadows the sheer quality they bring to their music.

In this feature, you and I check the 7 albums that I feel were almost completely overlooked by seiyuu fans.

Most of the CDs featured in this article either did not sell that well in Japan, most international fans of 2D/seiyuu music barely care about them, or went under the radar because they aren’t from hyped-up, incredibly popular projects/seiyuu.

What all these CDs have in common is high-quality music, and unique or surprising performances by talented seiyuu that fully deserve your love.

A note that this is a highly subjective article featuring my picks for CDs that went under the radar in 2022. Perhaps you have a different opinion on some of the entries or believe other CDs were even more underrated than these.

If that is the case, I invite you to leave your suggestions in the comments.

These CDs are all highly recommended and there may be some that suit your tastes and others that don’t. So check this feature, choose the entries that piqued your interest and have fun!

As such, the entries in this feature are NOT RANKED.

Without further ado, these are the 7 albums by male seiyuu artists and 2D groups that went under the radar in 2022.

EROSION “OneThing”

I’ve said it before, EROSION knows how to put on a show and rock the stage like no other 2D rock band.

Their sound is disruptive, violent, aggressive, and insanely emotional. There is a rawness in the vocals, the instrumentals easily convey the words that are unsaid, the feelings that they can’t express.

And in “OneThing”, fans got one of the most emotional entries in the band’s repertoire and, in my opinion, one of the best singles of 2022.

EROSION rose yet again the bar while taking the listener to the depths of their emotions, showing all the ugly, the bad, and their fragilities but also the will to fight, the love, and the passion underneath their tortured souls in the intense rock tunes “OneThing” and “Determination”.

From group to solo performances (Arthur Lounsbery as YORU), EROSION made sure to leave you in awe (and slightly emotional). 

How EROSION hasn’t turned into a more popular band is something that I can’t understand. The vocals are top-tier, and the rock sound is incisive and consistently aggressive. The performances are jaw-dropping and the emotions are always reeling.

As 2022 wrapped up, EROSION’s “OneThing” stands tall as one of the best singles released but also one that could have had a better fan reception given its sheer quality.

TOBARI “In – Black with High Purity”

I believe no one expected TOBARI to arrive and steal the show in 2022 however, this is, in my opinion, the best single released by a 2D group in 2022. (yes, even better than TRIGGER’s “HIDDEN REGION”)

TOBARI arrived and… stole the show out of nowhere. And I love this a whole lot. 

The talented group part of the TSUKIPRO franchise resumed activities as a duo after 2 years of working as pioniX. 

Tetsuei Sumiya and Yoshiki Nakajima took the duo’s intense rock sound and brought in… Takeshi Hama and Zakbee, two of the best composers currently active with 2D music projects. 

If this group was already good prior Takeshi Hama and Zakbee’s addition, imagine how TOBARI ended up sounding with both of them working with them.

Takeshi Hama added layers and layers of darkness and violence to Kuroi Hashiba’s (CV: Tetsuei Sumiya) solo track “Setsunateki Blast” and Zakbee made sure the vocals were extra unbelievable and technical in the dreamy b-side track “Gekkou”. 

What fans get in this CD – easily the best entry by any group in the Tsukipro franchise as a whole – is a set of outstandingly technical performances with refreshing and, at times, mind-blowing, instrumentals to go along. 

There is no way I can explain in words just how unbelievably good this single is. 

If you haven’t checked “In – Black with High Purity“, I thoroughly welcome you to do so and prepare yourself to fall deeper and deeper into pure darkness and then be taken by the hand to one of the most beautiful soundscapes you will find in 2D music.

Loulou*di “Pensée”

Really early in 2022, Loulou*di arrived with one of the most brilliant CDs ever released by a 2D group.

Pensée” is a marvel both on the vocal and composition ends. Its refined, grand entrance takes you through a beautiful – initially empty – soundscape and slowly opens the curtains for the tale that is about to unfold.

If there is something I love about Loulou*di is that this is a 2D group with music that will make you think, that follows and sticks to a really cohesive story, and makes you anticipate each composition and performance.

This CD is the most complex in terms of composition and most certainly, one of the most technical on the vocal end. 

Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Shunsuke Takeuchi, and Daiki Yamashita were put to the test, showcasing their vocal prowess – individually as well as as a group -, and delivering a set of spine-chilling performances. 

Once again, Loulou*di takes the listener through a fantasy-filled world, lets you sit down, take in the soundscape and slowly submerges you in deep, pitch-black music with outstanding emotional vocals on top. While the group has an obvious niche orchestral pop sound and even more niche lyrical performances, I feel like this single deserved much more attention.

The technicality is unreal in this one. Each composition, each performance. Each detail. Everything shines in this CD. So check “Pensée” if you have the time for it. You won’t regret it.

KAGARIBI “Noroshi”

I like my rock music to be quite heavy and there is no other band in the Dear Vocalist that manages to scratch that itch as KAGARIBI does.

This year, the rock band fronted by Judah (CV: Soma Saito) released “Noroshi”, a full-throttle heavy rock single that arrived with a band and left a trail of destruction behind.

“Noroshi” has a perfect balance between the band’s heavy rock sound and the clash of personalities within the band VS a softer sound and an open showcase of love and care for the story’s protagonist (you, the listener) in the drama CD parts. 

The title track is as heavy as you could get which is a sound many fans were missing from the previous releases – which were more emotional and acoustic-driven. The dirty delivery, hard-hitting drums, and raw, intense vocals by Soma Saito put the cherry on top of this song, the heaviest in the UNLIMITED CD series.

On the other hand, “meant to be” is an open declaration of love. While Judah was quite subtle about those in previous entries – even in the “Raving Beats” CD -, nothing had come close to this. 

As such, the tone is soft and dreamy, warm and careful as the lyrics trace back memories and talk about hopes for the future. 

The vocals are equally warm and a bit lower – still not the usual “low vocals” that Judah has -, sounding closer to the listener. The intimate tone in this song is noticeable from a mile and as you go deeper and deeper into this song, Judah envelops in all the love and passion he has.

KAGARIBI’s “Noroshi” is a perfect entry in the UNLIMITED CD series, one that goes straight for your heartstrings, makes a mess of them, and then treasures them. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gakuto Kajiwara “Road Movie”

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If there is a talent that has been impressing me a whole lot in the last couple of years is Gakuto Kajiwara.

From his unique clean singing tone to his loungy semi-acoustic music, he has been checking all the right boxes for me. 

Gakuto Kajiwara is maturing at an insanely fast rate, showing the maturity, control, and consistency of a veteran in “Road Movie“. This single went on to be on repeat for me for quite a while after I reviewed it. The vibes are good, the music has a comfortable tempo and the soundscapes are cozy and welcoming.

Listening to the songs in “Road Movie” feels good. Each feels like a warm hug after a hard day’s work.

“Road Movie” ends up being a trip down memory lane, exploring nostalgia, love, and care through a set of semi-acoustic songs with tasteful funk and citypop influences.  

On top of those are Gakuto Kajiwara’s smooth and always steady vocals. 

His clarity and consistency across tracks and with each continue to impress me and, by the end of it all, there’s no way I won’t be wanting more and more from his performances. This is a movie that I don’t want to end and honestly, I don’t know why this single wasn’t more talked about. 

Sir Vanity “Ray”

You can say that Sir Vanity is still taking its first steps in the music industry because that is still what it feels like for the rock band fronted by Yoshiki Nakajima and Yuichiro Umehara.

However, the band has been impressing with their work so far, presenting fans with plenty of interesting performances well worth your attention. 

And in “Ray”, the band’s 1st full-length album, listeners get to check the band’s music released up until now with a couple of new tracks in the mix. 

From solo tracks by Nakajima and Umehara to full-on band tunes such as the title track “Ray” or the aggressive, fast-paced rock tunes “will” and “HERO”, the band offers a refined pop-rock sound that puts a massive smile on my face.

With double vocals and double guitars, listeners can expect Sir Vanity’s songs to be impactful but with different yet complementary charms. 

Yoshiki Nakajima and Yuichiro Umehara do have awesome chemistry and when it comes to sharing vocal duties they more than cover for each others’ weaknesses, ending up delivering performances that may make your jaw drop in awe. 

While far from a perfect album, Sir Vanity made sure to arrive with a band with “Ray”, setting the stage for something bigger in 2023.

If you’re into good voices performing exciting rock music, Sir Vanity’s “Ray” is, undoubtedly, a must-listen.

Makoto Furukawa “Ibara Rinbukyoku”

Makoto Furukawa has been on top of his game as a solo artist, creating unique soundscapes and lyrics that make you stop and think as you dive deeper into their stories. 

“Ibara Rinbukyoku” is a single all about its dual charms that in one moment put you in an emotionally raw and nostalgic soundscape and, in the other, take you to a decadent yet intimate setting.

All emotions end up being a part of “Ibara Rinbukyoku” – the song – that is surprisingly emotionally rich. 

Makoto Furukawa continues to play around with his technique, control, and range, trying things he usually doesn’t do or that most people would never imagine this low, growly baritone to pull off. 

 “Sono Yogaakeru made” then goes full on dramatic in what is a tearjerker of a rock ballad.

Furukawa has been showing glimpses of genius in some of his lyrics and usually, the songs he writes lyrics for are those that stand out the most.

And that is exactly the case with the fancy jazz tune “Onlynight Crown”. He knows how to write songs that exude an exclusive and fancy vibe while bringing a bit of allure and mystery to the spotlight. How this song is not talked about is something that baffles me. 

He ends up being the star of all songs, conducting himself with an elegance that is hypnotizing. He’s the storyteller but also the star. It is beautiful to hear and, when in that soundscape while listening to the single, watch and experience up close. 

Split into two versions – totaling 3 new songs – this single explores the beauty and elegance of jazz and orchestral music while delivering some of the most impressive performances so far in Makoto Furukawa’s solo career.

“Ibara Rinbukyoku” may not be as flashy as some of Furukawa’s previous releases when it comes to jazz music (still present in both editions of this single) but its somber intimacy is a setting that will make you come back for more and more.

The sheer quality of the music and performances tied to the unique sound makes it one of the hidden gems of 2022, a single you must check.


When I look back to all these albums – singles, mini-albums, full-length albums – I can’t help but hope more people would love them.

Seeing this much talent and quality being overlooked is quite frustrating. The performances delivered by some of the best singers in the seiyuu industry, groups that have intricate, genuinely interesting compositions, and solo artists that keep on impressing and evolving.

I’d love for more people to find their music and if you can, do check the albums I covered in this feature. There is no shortage of quality music in there and performances that will make your jaw drop in awe.

These 7 albums and artists – there are many more – deserve all the love they can get.

If you’re curious, do check the links to the reviews that I added to this article. There are a lot of gems left for you to uncover and fall in love with.

Which albums released in 2022 by male seiyuu or 2D groups do you feel like are underrated? Share those in the comments!

You can find all the content in this feature on episode 127 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

YouTube

Spotify

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts


Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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