2023 in Review: Big live tours, unexpected comebacks, and more

2023 in review tours albums comebacks

In 2023, male seiyuu artists and 2D music projects were quite active in live shows, and concept series and we even got unexpected comebacks by veteran seiyuu artists.

In this article, you and I are going to revisit some of those things and notice how this year was, despite what it may seem like, quite an awesome year if you’re a fan of seiyuu artists and 2D groups.

These are the key storylines in 2023.

The surprises of 2023

A possible return?

Band Yarouze

Band Yarouze!‘s OSIRIS and BLAST made their return to live performances in March for Dream Match Duel Gig 2023 RAVEN/ADVENT.

This was a long-awaited return by the franchise and its two most popular bands after a long hiatus that had made fans quite anxious about the franchise’s future.

But with this live show, held in March, and the announcement of a CROSSOVER live show in January 2024 with from ARGONAVIS’ GYROAXIA and Fantôme Iris, it is safe to say that many of us – long-time fans of Band Yarouze! – are hopeful of what the future holds for the project.

This was, easily, one of the most exciting news in the 2D music industry, a long-awaited comeback – and a deserved one. On my end, I hope things keep improving for the Band Yarouze! franchise and eventually we get new music by all bands and a return to regular live shows by some or all bands.

aoppella!? changed companies from KLab to MARVELOUS

aoppella!?

The biggest surprise of them all. For those of you who were paying close attention to aoppella!? as a whole, you might have noticed that Klab was the company behind launching this project.

Fast forward to 2023 and I found a couple of things weird about the project.

All of a sudden, the group’s 4th CD was nowhere to be found when it came to purchasing it at a regular online store. Then, the CD was not available on OTOTOY – which is an online digital music store based in Japan – and the last nail in the coffin was the fact that aoppella!?’s music was not made readily available on streaming platforms worldwide.

As both a fan of the project since day 1 as well as a music reviewer, not being able to review the music on time and having the CD available online was weird.

That’s when I checked who was in charge of aoppella!?.

Well, maybe Klab is going through a weird moment, I don’t know.” – I thought.

Well, it was not that. It seems that Klab sold the rights to aoppella!? to MARVELOUS, the company partially behind the 2D music project Fabulous Night.

And oh boy, let me tell you just how bad of a deal this one is.

MARVELOUS is a company that is 100% Japan-centric. All their content is made only for the Japanese public, they rarely – if ever – make the music from their 2D music projects available for purchase as digital releases or available for free on streaming platforms.

At the moment of writing this feature, “aoppella!? 5” is already available online but “aoppella!? 5.5″ has yet to make its way to streaming platforms worldwide. The music is not available on OTOTOY which is the only place international fans could find their official digital music.

So if you want to stay on top of the music released by aoppella!?’s groups – and you refuse, like me, to download their music illegally -, unless you are going to purchase a physical edition of the franchise’s CDs, there is no other way to have access to the music legally on time.

Seeing it from a marketing lens (for context, I’m a professional content creator and strategist for brands and companies), MARVELOUS’ move towards not having aoppella!?’s music available almost simultaneously with the physical CD releases is just a way to alienate a big chunk of the international fanbase.

Hopefully, this is all an adaptation period for aoppella!?, now in the hands of MARVELOUS, but I’m not this optimistic knowing the company’s track record managing 2D music projects.

Jin Ogasawara announced a hiatus from his solo artist activities

Jin Ogasawara

In November 2023, Jin Ogasawara announced on his artist website the suspension of his solo artist activities effective December 31, 2023.

This arrived a bit out of nowhere taking into account how in 2022, he was on fire with a series of experimental new singles in which he tested new skills and singing styles in an array of songs in the most diverse music genres.

In 2023, he was quieter, releasing one digital single “TOKYO HOLLYWOOD”. To everyone’s surprise, the talented solo artist decided to put his solo career on hold immediately after the release of his 1st album “Sokai Gyouretsusha”, set to release on the last day of 2023.

Whatever the future holds, I hope Jin Ogasawara can make a triumphant return to the music industry.

Takehito Koyasu released his first album in 15 years!

Takehito Koyasu

This is possibly one of the most unpredictable and amazing stories of 2023! 15 years after he announced the end of his solo career, Takehito Koyasu made his return to the music industry.

This was as crazy as you could think. The mastermind behind the pioneer 2.5D seiyuu unit Weiss Kreutz (and the project of the same name) announced his long-awaited comeback to the music industry in January 2023, surprising everyone.

The mini-album “New Flavor” includes a collection of new songs, some of those featured in “KOYASU RADIO”, a radio show that Koyasu co-hosts with his son.

Hiroki Takahashi’s 20th anniversary live

HIROKI TAKAHASHI 20th YEAR ANNIVERSARY LIVE Believe in your Heart was held in September in Tokyo.

This live show was held after a full decade of holding no live shows and marked the 20th anniversary since the release of his debut single “Believe in your Heart”.

Soichiro Hoshi’s 30th-anniversary mini-album release

Soichiro Hoshi Soul of Rebellion

2023 was also the year to celebrate Soichiro Hoshi’s 30th anniversary as a voice actor. And to celebrate that important milestone, he announced the release of the mini-album “Restart journey”, a direct follow-up to 2018’s album “Voice and Harmony“.

With 6 solo songs and 1 alongside his band Isla・la, fans got to dive into Hoshi’s classic pop-rock world.

The concept albums

Wataru Hatano “Dawn”

Wataru Hatano Dawn regular edition
Regular edition

Wataru Hatano keeps on pushing the boundaries of his music. Since the release of last year’s 3rd full-length album “TORUS”, it seems that Hatano has found a passion for crafting a cohesive narrative across a set of songs, creating concept albums that feel truly different from what other seiyuu artists are doing.

In 2023, he released the mini-album “Dawn” and, yet again, experimented with his music and the concept of, yes, what a concept album should be.

With 3 reading tracks and 3 new songs, Wataru Hatano, alongside guest and fellow seiyuu artist Koutaro Nishiyama, creates a unique world and a story you want to dive into.

If you’re curious about this concept mini-album, make sure to check it out and experience the story for yourself. With these types of CDs, it is usually really hard to explain how fascinating and intricate they can be. As such I always recommend that you check it out before reading any review online.

Concept albums are made for you to experience a story for the very first time and connect with it uniquely. Your way.

And I love that Wataru Hatano is taking this unique approach to his solo artist career, keeping things fresh.

Junta Terashima “seasons” digital single series

junta terashima

In March 2023, following his 4th anniversary as a solo artist, Junta Terashima announced the start of the “4 season” digital single series.

4 singles, each alluding to a season, were released throughout the year, kicking off with “Re*BLOOM” in spring, “Rebbon” in the summer, “Pain” and “Auto Focus” in Autumn and, the winter-themed single is titled “white clover“.

It is worth mentioning that all these digital singles were released independently, not by a music label. 

It is nice to see more and more male seiyuu artists creating concept series from digital singles under a theme or themed albums and EPs.

This shows the creativity running in these artists and the care towards creating a unique experience or a narrative for fans to dive into.

Yuma Uchida’s digital single series

Yuma Uchida Y

Starting in May 2023 and to celebrate his 5th anniversary as a solo artist, popular solo artist Yuma Uchida announced the start of his first digital single series

A series of 6 digital singles, each celebrating a different aspect of his solo artist career up until now were released in November, culminating in the release of his 3rd full-length album “Y”.

The big tours and live shows

2023 was filled with live shows of all kinds with 2D music projects being a bit quieter than usual, seiyuu artists, bands, and units took the stage to showcase their talents. Shouta Aoi, Yuma Uchida, Soma Saito, SparQlew, Sir Vanity, GYROAXIA, GRANRODEO, and more are just some of the artists to take over the stage and impress in 2023.

Let’s talk about some of the highlights in 2023:

ŹOOĻ LIVE LEGACY “APOŹ”

ŹOOĻ LIVE LEGACY “APOŹ”

In 2023, ZOOL finally held its first one-man live show “ŹOOĻ LIVE LEGACY “APOŹ””.

With a set filled with urban, fiery dance tunes and the occasional R&B and Rap-rock tune, the talented quartet part of the IDOLiSH7 franchise showed how impressive and cohesive they can be on stage – if their performances at IDOLiSH7’s franchise live shows up until now hadn’t been enough to convince everyone.

Sir Vanity 2nd Live “midnight sun”

Sir Vanity has been impressing everyone with its unique take on its pop-rock sound, crafting unique experiences with stories interesting enough to make you come back for more.

Tied with the release of the EP “midnight sun”, came the live show Sir Vanity 2nd Live “midnight sun”. The show was a resounding success with the band filling almost 2 hours of performances with all the songs released up until now.

Makoto Furukawa’s 1st live show

After celebrating his 5th anniversary as a solo artist with the release of the special single “Place Your Bets”, popular seiyuu, solo artist and lyricist Makoto Furukawa had exciting plans.

He was going to hold his first live show Furukawa Makoto 1st Re-Live “Call” in the BOX in November.

And in this way, he neatly wrapped up 5 years of amazing jazz and rock music.

Soma Saito 5th Anniversary Live ~étranger/banquet~

Soma Saito 5th Anniversary Live ~étranger/banquet~

If you thought that Soma Saito was just a singer-songwriter with a talent to craft unbelievable stories within a CD, you may need to check out the live show “Soma Saito 5th Anniversary Live ~étranger/banquet~”.

Soma Saito’s world as a solo artist took over a uniquely designed set following two completely different concepts for each of the days of the live show. 

This resulted in two unique back-to-back live shows including the best of the best of Soma Saito’s music up until now and, for the very first time, featuring an acoustic corner in which some of his songs got unique rearrangements made just for both days of the live show.

2023 recap

There was plenty of action when it came to live shows, tours, and even concept live shows. Male seiyuu artists, 2D groups, franchises, seiyuu units, and rock bands were quite active, focusing on performing live and showcasing their talents.

When 2023 started, if you had told me that Takehito Koyasu and Soichiro Hoshi were going to make a comeback I wouldn’t have believed you. Out of all the comebacks, Koyasu was the biggest one as he was almost 20 years away from his solo artist career.

At the same time, it was interesting to see more and more seiyuu artists focusing on concept CDs or digital series. It is good to see their creativity flowing, creating a more cohesive experience for the fans to enjoy – especially when it comes to concept CDs.

As 2023 wraps up, we’re left with plenty of awesome live shows, unexpected yet nostalgic comebacks, and plenty of innovation by very few solo artists.

While not the most prolific year – check 2020 and 2022 in comparison – 2023, still ended up having a lot of amazing things in store for fans of male seiyuu artists and 2D groups.


Which were your favorite happenings in 2023? Share those in the comments!

You can find all the content in this feature on episode 176 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


For media, PR, and business enquiries, please email me at: info@handthatfeedshq.com

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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