A Guide to Band Yarouze!: How a rhythm game made 2D rock exciting

Band Yarouze!

Band Yarouze! brought a lot of quality music, a stellar rhythm game and an outstanding cast to the spotlight, making rock exciting, relatable and fun.

Tempo estimado de leitura: 46 minutos

This is an original The Hand That Feeds HQ feature.

Reproduction of the contents in this feature is strictly prohibited.

Following FlyME Project‘s footsteps, Band Yarouze! was launched in 2016.

Focused on making rock music exciting and relatable, the project put emphasis on quality music, an equally talented voice cast, and a memorable rhythm game that will go down in history as one of the best smartphone rhythm games ever.

With a strong focus on a cohesive, engaging story with a good balance with music, Band Yarouze! had everything to be a project, and while I’d love to write this feature in “present tense”…

The project’s launch was mistimed – just after the 2D idol projects boom in 2015 -, something that led to 3 rough years of existence for this project, striving for more visibility and, ultimately, was shelved by Sony Music Japan due to “poor sales and lack of popularity”.

In this “A guide to” feature, you and I revisit – or visit (in case it’s your first time coming across this project) – Band Yarouze!, its story, cast, and music.

A note: Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+ removed all song preview videos from Band Yarouze!’s official YouTube channel + made most of the remaining content region locked to those in Europe (where THTFHQ is based) thus, this feature does not include any song previews.

A video feature – more compact about Band Yarouze – is available on THTFHQ’s YouTube channel.

What is Band Yarouze!?

Band Yarouze! was a mixed-media franchise published in a collaboration between Sony Music Japan and its sublabel Aniplex+.

The franchise started out as a smartphone rhythm game in 2016, focused on 4 rock bands – BLAST, OSIRIS, Fairy4pril, and Cure2tron – and their adventures as they overcame challenges, came to terms with their past, and fought for their future.

The rhythm game: just like rehearsing for a gig

As a rhythm game, Band Yarouze! started to be distributed on October 12, 2016. However, it was far from being a smooth launch.

The game suffered some hiccups during production, something that delayed the game’s release a couple of times. This alone was leaving a couple of people on the fence as problems in production usually lead to broken games.

Thankfully, this was not the case. Band Yarouze! as a game was absolutely awesome after a couple of initial patches.

The game first introduced its 4 main bands OSIRIS, BLAST, Fairy April, Cure2tron. Later on, and already close to its end, the franchise would introduce DesTIRARE, CrystalCross, Freezing, and Xenon.

CrystalCross and Freezing had its lineups announced and released music.

DesTIRARE’s lineup was never fully announced, with only a couple of characters being announced.

Xenon never released music nor had their lineup unveiled.

Gameplay

Band Yarouze! was a truly challenging rhythm game but it was, at the same time, incredibly satisfying to play.

While most rhythm games keep players with a comfortable performance of the songs – often disregarding the outros and bridges of the songs -, and dumbing things down to only 1 button on-screen, Band Yarouze! wanted you to have your fingers in the action and it kept it in a way that you’d have to be “in the zone” to pull off songs with a flawless, full combo.

You played through the guitar solos – as challenging as those were – and yes, you could get thrown out of the concert if you started to fail to chain combos (much like Guitar Hero did), something that added a lot of replayability to the game, as players that wanted to pull off a combo would practice the song time and time again.

Notice how, instead of grinding for items, or participating in an event in which you have to play a song “50 times” to win an item, Band Yarouze! only made you want to replay a song because you wanted to get good at it?

The will to learn the songs was a big reason why the game had so much replay value.

Additionally, most people wanted to feel the adrenaline of playing guitar.

Like real guitar playing, you’d practice to no end until you pulled off that insanely fast-paced guitar solo, or pull off a tricky intro.

In a way you can say it is “grinding” the game, but, as a player myself, I certainly never felt like it was the case.

Playing Band Yarouze! felt like going for a proper guitar practice session – including all its frustrations that come from being unfamiliar with a song, its structure, and tempo as well as the glee that comes with pulling off something you felt like you couldn’t or didn’t have enough skill to pull off.

Notice how the arrows match the glides on the guitar (something that feels natural) or how chord changes are represented in fast 3 – 4 note patterns

As a guitar player myself, I felt like the game – mainly its gameplay – perfectly captured the feelings of discovery, frustration, glee, and satisfaction of learning how to play guitar.

It’s not the same but for those just wanting to fantasize about playing guitar for a rock band, it did a perfect job at capturing those feelings – including the adrenaline rush that comes with each performance.

I don’t know about you, but the game felt really good to play.

In that way, Band Yarouze! was perfect but, once again, the game’s difficulty was often the main topic when people referred to the project and the reason why they didn’t play the game and thus, never followed the music releases.

Story

The game’s story was pretty interesting, with you following the careers and adventures of several indie rock bands in their path to stardom.

As a player, you were playing the role of an apprentice working for the live house EDEN, a live venue in which all 4 main bands end up converging and performing with some frequency.

There were choices you could make as a player, and those would either determine if you were “all work and no play” or the kind of person that would embrace crazy shenanigans and run along with those, often leading to hilarious situations.

Some details may be off since it has been a long time since I last played the game, but I remember a chapter – well into the later part of OSIRIS’ story arc – in which there was a massive misunderstanding because of the contents of a certain guitar case.

It ended up with OSIRIS’ frontman, Kyo Takara (usually stoic, calm, and not really active), running after a member of Cure2Tron, at the same time as a whole lot of other band members from all 4 main groups were baffled at what was happening.

You, as the player, had the option of following closely the crazy shenanigans and try to help the recovery of that guitar case.

And you could follow that story from 4 different points of view, depending on the band you were supporting (thus, playing its storyline), which added a certain Durarara!! element to the storytelling.

As soon as you’ve read all 4 points of view in that story, you’d get the full view on that misunderstanding and why that guitar case was apparently “stolen” or what its contents were.

I was in tears from laughing so much throughout that story – one of the many well-written set of story chapters in the game – and the choices you were making as a player felt like you were really participating in that chase.

It was bonkers and a whole lot of fun, something I believe you, as a player in rhythm games with strong story components, rarely have, which is freedom of choice.

The story arcs for each band were interesting, showing their interactions within the band, with live venue staff – in which you, as the player, was included -, rival bands, their trials and tribulations, their bonds, and, ultimately, their love for music.

If I had to mention a game or a 2D franchise with a good, cohesive storyline, plenty of fun, and serious moments that perfectly fleshed out each band and its members, Band Yarouze! would be one of my very first choices.

The main cast: a whole lot of talent ready to impress

If you’re wondering if Band Yarouze!’s lack of success was due to it having an unknown cast, well, you’re going to be surprised when I tell you that no, it wasn’t because of that.

Shouta Aoi, Yuma Uchida, Natsuki Hanae, Yuichiro Umehara, Toshiki Masuda, Yusuke Kobayashi, Kaito Ishikawa were just some of the most buzzworthy names in the cast.

Yes, you’ll say that “but those seiyuu are popular!

Well, now they are. Back in 2016, most weren’t.

Aside from Shouta Aoi – with the popularity as part of QUARTET NIGHT in the Utapri franchise –, and Toshiki Masuda – musical acting + Marginal #4 popularity -, the rest of the main cast was an unknown, especially if you checked who were the frontmen for each band.

Later on Daisuke Ono, Showtaro Morikubo, KISHOW, Tetsuya Kakihara, Ayumu Murase, Tsubasa Yonaga, and Katsuyuki Konishi, Daisuke Namikawa joined in and you could tell that this cast was far from being “unknown”.

Masanori Kobayashi, Yoji Ikuta, Shouta Aoi, and Tomoyo Kurosawa brought a lot of talent to the table, impressing with their performances.

To top it all off, Kobayashi and Ikuta made solid transitions to voice acting, impressing with their emotional range and delivery.

Band Yarouze! had an awesome and extremely talented cast filled with a good measure of stars and up-and-coming talents.

The Bands: quality and variety across several rock sub-genres

Contrary to FlyME Project, project that heavily influenced the concept for this project, Band Yarouze! wasn’t as niche in its approach to rock music.

Band Yarouze! included punk-rock, visual-kei rock, pop-rock, electronic-rock, and metal across its 8 bands.

Variety was an important greeting card that made Band Yarouze! appealing to a wider audience than its inspiration, FlyME Project (only focused on visual-kei rock).

Band Yarouze! counted with 4 main bands: BLAST, OSIRIS, Fairy4pril, and Cure2tron.

There were as well, 4 rival bands: DesTIRARE, CrystalCross, Freezing, and Xenon.

There’s not much information about the bands in this franchise as the story arcs were still fleshing out and diving deeper into each main band, with the focus being on carefully presenting the storylines without rushing things.

There’s even less information about the 4 rival bands so, this part of the article may look like it was rushed or is incomplete but yeah, unfortunately, that’s really all the information that is available out there.

Let’s check each band:

BLAST

Lead by Sousuke(Gt.) and formed the band with Tsubasa(Ba.) and Teppei(Dr.), who all attended the same high school, Hinoyama First.

After a long search – in which the band went through a wide variety of vocalists – BLAST ultimately settled for their 17th temporary vocal, Yamato (vo.) as their frontman.

Yoji Ikuta voices the passionate Yamato Shinonome, BLAST’s vocal.

He’s also known within the franchise for getting in all kinds of crazy shenanigans alongside his bandmates Tsubasa Saeki and Teppei Shirayuki (including trying to pick up girls on the beach using the weirdest of pickup lines).

Toshiki Masuda voices the sharp-tongued Sousuke Maki, BLAST‘s leader, and guitarist. He’s serious, determined, and extremely competitive.

Daiki Yamashita voices BLAST’s bassist, Tsubasa Saeki. He loves to watch other people and is often the instigator of whatever shenanigans Yamato and Teppei get into. Believes everyone in BLAST is an idiot, in a way, including himself.

Haruki Ishiya voices the hard-working Teppei Shirayuki, BLAST’s drummer.

As the younger band member, he feels like he owes a lot to the other members for having put their trust in him to be their drummer.

OSIRIS

OSIRIS

OSIRIS was formed by childhood friends Ray(Gt.) and Shin(Dr.). Kyo(Vo.) and Makoto(Ba.) joined afterwards.

As you went through the band’s story in the game, you’d come to the realization that although the visual-kei rock band is still in the indie scene, they had an opportunity to make a debut under a major music label but that went down the drain.

You can say that initially, their dynamic was in shambles, with OSIRIS heavily hinting at disbandment. However, as the story progressed, the band members slowly got to talk about their dreams, their issues and solved a big chunk of those, leading to a reinforced and confident band in the later stages of their story arc.

Masanori Kobayashi voices Kyo Takara, the quiet and introspective frontman for OSIRIS. He prefers to show his emotions in his performances, coming across as cold or aloof when he is not on stage.

Yuma Uchida voices Makoto Kurusu, OSIRIS’ bassist. A realist, Kurusu doesn’t understand why the other band members dream about a major debut. He’s calm and collected although with a gap.

If caught off guard, members will find that he gets easily flustered, is rather goofy and clumsy. On the side, Kurusu is attending college working towards being a doctor.

Natsuki Hanae voices Ray Cephart, Osiris‘ playful guitarist. He’s known for his cheerful yet bossy personality.

He’s often butting heads with Makoto Kurusu (voiced by Yuma Uchida) due to him being a “realist” instead of a dreamer.

Yuichiro Umehara voices OSIRIS’ drummer Shin Koganei. He’s aware that all members of OSIRIS are a bit awkward themselves and with each other regardless, he loves the band with his all.

FairyApril

FairyApril

Out of all bands, FairyApril is the one that starts off its story as part of a major music label however, due to mistreatment in that music label, they decided to go back to the indies.

FairyApril originally consisted of Asahi Ootori(Vo.), Yoshimune Tokuda(Ba.) and Misato Toudou(Dr.) however, their original guitarist withdrew around the time they were signed to Bee Trap – a major music label – and to replace him, Kazuma Nanase(Gu.), guitarist already signed to the music label, joined FairyApril.

Shouta Aoi voices Asahi Ootori, FairyApril’s vocalist. Ootori is selfless, wanting to make other’s dreams come true. He’s got a bright and refreshing personality, making him a beacon of good vibes and positivity.

Kaito Ishikawa voices Kazuma Nanase, FairyApril’s guitarist.

He’s passionate, highly competitive, and top it all off, a lone wolf which makes him look like the least approachable member within Fairy April.

Shouma Yamamoto voices Yoshimune Tokuda, the band’s bassist. He’s FairyApril’s mood maker, a jokester at all times.

Yusuke Kobayashi voices Misato Todo, Fairy April’s drummer.

Despite his cute and delicate appearance, he has got quite the straightforward personality, and to make up for his appearance, he exercises frequently in order to be recognized by others as a strong and reliable person.

Cure2tron

Cure2tron (Read: Cure cure tron) was formed by Shelly (Gt.) and Mint (Dr.). Later, Yukiho (Ba.) joined the band. Shelly did the guitar and vocals until the day he saw Miley (Vo.) alone at a karaoke booth and invited him to join them.

The band members ended up cross-dressing as a result of other bands pointing out that all members had feminine voices and looks.

As such, the entire cast for Cure2tron is comprised of female seiyuu. The cast is as follows:

Tomoyo Kurosawa voices Miley, Cure2tron’s vocal. Miley is upbeat and full of charm however he has a complex about his feminine voice and looks, something he works on throughout the story.

Asami Tano voices the passionate Shelly, the band’s guitarist.

Kaede Yuasa voices Yukiho, the band’s bassist, loves the band members and is pretty refined.

Rie Murakawa voices the bubbly Mint, Cure2tron’s drummer.

The rivals

DesTIRARE

A charismatic band that dominates the contemporary music scene. The band is focused on dazzling others with mind-blowing performances that come from their clashing personalities.

The band included:

  • Dizzy (vocals) – no voice actor announced
  • Seiji (guitar) – voiced by Showtaro Morikubo
  • Masaki (bass) – voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi
  • Shuu (Drums) – voice by Daisuke Ono

CrystalCross

CrystalCross is a duo consisting of twins Yuu and Shou who faced scrutiny from certain people because their mother is a Japanese woman who came back to Japan after migrating to America for a long time.

CrystalCross are FairyApril’s rivals, especially due to the fact that they come from the same major music label, although FairyApril left the label since then.

The band included:

  • Yuu (vocals) – voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga
  • Shou (vocals) – voiced by Ayumu Murase

Freezing

FREEZING‘s formation starts out as a group of eccentric musicians that had no band. They were put together by their record label and eventually came to be a tight-knit band.

The band included:

  • Shuuji (vocals) – voiced by Shinya Takahashi (Story only) / singing and rapping by Lotus Juice
  • Atsushi (guitar) – voiced by Daigo Fujimaki
  • Ryusei (keyboard) – voiced by Taishi Murata
  • Nine Six (drums) – voiced by Shota Chonan

Xenon

A top band that is as famous overseas as it is domestically. World tours are part of their daily life.

The band included:

  • Victor (vocals) – no voice actor announced
  • Kouki (guitar) – no voice actor announced
  • Shuin (bass) – no voice actor announced
  • Graham (Drums) – no voice actor announced

Other characters

Up until now, I’ve talked about the main bands but there are also 3 solo artists and 1 supergroup that make an appearance in the game. Some even released songs.

Dante

Dante is a genius drummer and solo artist. He’s one of the Quattro Virtuoso and was voiced by KISHOW.

Adam

Adam is a bassist and solo artist. He’s one of the Quattro Virtuoso, legendary musicians in the Band Yarouze! franchise. Adam was voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara.

Raphael

Raphael is a guitarist and member of the Quattro Virtuoso. He was voiced by Daisuke Namikawa.

Quattro Virtuoso

Quattro Virtuoso consisted of 4 legendary musicians, the best at their respective position within a band and, in a way, rivals to some of the members in the 4 main bands in the franchise.

The members and positions were the following:

  • Dizzy (Vocals)
  • Raphael (Guitar)
  • Adam (Bass)
  • Dante (Drums)

The main frontmen

Masanori Kobayashi

kobayshi masanori

Voicing Kyo Takara, OSIRIS’ frontman is none other than Masanori Kobayashi, singer and stage actor that made the jump to voice acting with Band Yarouze!.

Prior to joining the project, Kobayashi was already known for his singing skills, performing in the indie scene with covers bands.

Kobayashi was so into Kyo to the point that he was sporting his hairstyle for all the live shows he performed with OSIRIS.

When asked as to why he was donning that hairstyle his answer was simple “Isn’t Kyo-chan cute? I want to look like him.”

As a singer, Kobayashi is outstandingly skilled.

He is a tenor with a massive range, not only dazzling in his natural range – going for insanely high notes – but also go low to match the song’s intensity. He’s skilled with faux baritone, a skill he uses quite frequently on OSIRIS’ songs.

He’s now active as a solo artist as WARROCK.

Yoji Ikuta

penguin research yoji ikuta

Yoji Ikuta voices the passionate Yamato Shinonome, BLAST’s vocal. Although he’s got some credits as a voice actor, Yoji Ikuta is best known as the frontman for Penguin Research, a pop-rock band signed to SACRA MUSIC.

His voice tone is a bit brassy, going for higher tones with more ease than the lower ones.

He’s consistent and, in a live setting, has an overflowing energy to the point that it is infectious.

Shouta Aoi

Shouta Aoi give me love me

Shouta Aoi doesn’t need an introduction yet, I’ll be doing it in case you’re not familiar with him. He’s a renowned solo artist, actor, and voice actor.

Considered one of the best singers among male seiyuu, Aoi is an all-rounder with a voice tone often dubbed as “angelic”, with his high notes being an awesome greeting card.

He’s got a vast array of skills under his belt – including an ethereal, crystal clear falsetto – that always elevate his performances. In a live setting, Aoi sounds like he eats CDs for breakfast.

Tomoyo Kurosawa

Tomoyo Kurosawa is a seiyuu and has plenty of credits in 2D music projects. She has a lively, youthful singing tone that fits well with Cure2tron’s Miley.

Band Yarouze’s music: a quick analysis

Now, this is not an extensive analysis – as you can tell by the title of this section – so I won’t be covering all releases by each band.

I’ll cover 3 iconic songs by each band that I believe best represent their talents and unique sound and, at the same time, are great entry points for you.

Still, for reference – in case you’re interested in checking out any of these bands -, I provide you a list of the entire discography chronologically arranged.

Let’s check how each band sounds:

OSIRIS

The band is known for their emotional lyrics and aggressive, dramatic rock sound that lends a lot of elements from what you’d call a traditional visual-kei rock band.

Their sound has shades of the GazettE, SID, LUNA SEA, and BUCK-TICK.

Songs that best highlight OSIRIS’ talents:

  • Darkness
  • Bloody Masquerade
  • Heavenly Breeze

Darkness” is that one song that will always come to my mind when I mention OSIRIS. This is an iconic song that leverages all the talents in this band and bundles those into an easy listening punk-rock meets visual-kei rock tune.

Kobayashi’s voice resounds with you, it will reach your heart and make you invested in his performance. He’s a rare case of a frontman (or singer), that really knows how to drive a crowd to his performances. He’s got an unapparelled charisma that makes it impossible not to care for his performance.

Then you have the instrumental and this is where OSIRIS was, in my opinion, in a league of its own in the Band Yarouze! franchise.

The drums pound in a way that you’ll want to follow along to those – headbanging, feet tapping, nodding, just pick the way you usually groove to rock music -, the bass is explosive, and that guitar?

That guitar is everything.

Not only is the main melody in the song insanely catchy but also incredibly “traditional” of visual-kei rock, but it also has one of the most explosive guitar solos in 2D rock music that I’ve had the pleasure to listen to.

And yes, it seems I’ll be saying this in all songs by OSIRIS because yes, the guitar work was off the charts.

Bloody Masquerade” is that type of song that fans of dramatic, theatrical visual-kei rock will love however, this song is the most metal rock you can get in the franchise.

It is aggressive, loud, hard-hitting, with a percussion – courtesy of the massive drums – packing a massive punch.

Kobayashi’s vocals are insanely theatrical, embracing a bit of the faux baritone technique to pull off those lower-toned sections in the verses (and part of the chorus).

He adds a lot of variety to his performance by seamlessly transitioning from his tenor range to faux baritone register, something that you won’t notice unless you’re focused on exactly that.

The bassline for this song is among the best in OSIRIS’ repertoire. It is classy and punchy while driving the whole song forward.

The song includes as well a harpsichord melody playing in the background, further improving that dramatic, refined touch to their performance, in a way, channeling big Versailles vibes.

And that classic guitar solo in the bridge? Chills run down my spine, especially when the solo picks up its pace and goes on overdrive. When the solo gives way to the last pre-chorus, you’re left completely satisfied. What a track.

If you want something similar to this song (yet with an alluring undertone), OSIRIS has “Into the madness”. I can’t recommend that song enough.

Lastly, I recommend a song that I believe not many people actually appreciate: “Heavenly Breeze”.

This is a semi-acoustic power ballad with a massive focus put on Masanori Kobayashi’s vocals however when the song starts, you won’t be expecting the show he’ll give you in the chorus.

Kobayashi puts aside his faux baritone register and fully embraces his natural tenor range to deliver a mesmerizing, ethereal chorus with a mix of high notes, falsetto, and head voice.

I dare say, “Heavenly Breezehas one of the hardest choruses I’ve ever heard.

It requires a whole lot of skill, complete control over your singing tone, a good breathing technique – otherwise, you’ll completely mess up the tempo in your performance -, and a lot of confidence in your singing skills.

This is a song to not take lightly and is proof that Kobayashi is an incredibly gifted singer that seriously deserves your attention.

Aside from band songs, OSIRIS’ members also released solo tracks. Those can be found in DUEL GIG EXTRA, album released in 2018.

The band also collaborated with FairyApril for a special single “Frontier” (2017) and covered SID’s “Monochrome no Kiss” (song featured on Kuroshitsuji).

osiris
Re:Incarnation final show in Tokyo 01/11/2017 //Photo from @OSIRIS_staff on Twitter

While the project was active, OSIRIS turned into a live band, with Kobayashi assuming vocals for all the tours and live shows the band participated in.

OSIRIS was getting bigger than Band Yarouze! itself and that could still be felt up until 2020 when all the bands in the franchise were inactive and OSIRIS was still releasing music in collaboration with REALIVE!.

Complete discography:

  • Voice (2016)
  • Bloody Masquerade (2016)
  • Desire (2016)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 -OSIRIS EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 -OSIRIS EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 (2018)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 -OSIRIS EDITION- (2018)
  • DUEL GIG EXTRA (2018)
  • CHAIN (2020)

BLAST

The band has a youthful yet aggressive punk-rock/punk-pop sound that easily sets them apart from all other music within the franchise.

Their sound has shades of the FLOW and Penguin Research.

Songs that best highlight BLAST’s talents:

  • Resonance
  • Bureiko Time
  • Dreamer
“Resonance” is featured in Duel Gig! vol.3 -BLAST EDITION- (2018)

Resonance” is a nostalgic pop-rock tune that perfectly captures that youthful vibe that a band formed during high school usually has.

The excitement in this song is infectious and, in a way, this is the kind of song that you’d commonly have as an anime opening. The verses put the bassline in the spotlight as Yoji Ikuta powers his away through the song with a lot of emotion.

The chorus is where the drums shine, bringing a lot of intensity and variety to the rhythm in this song. And the guitar work is off the charts, with the band providing a stellar solo in the outro.

“BUREIKO TIME” is featured in Duel Gig! vol.3 -BLAST EDITION- (2018)

BUREIKO TIME“ is an underrated song by BLAST but easily one that perfectly sums up this band’s identity. It is fun, upbeat, and chaotic.

It has the right amounts of nonsense into it yet still embracing an easy listening fast-paced pop-rock sound that will get in your head.

Yes, “Bureiko Time” has one of the catchiest choruses in the Band Yarouze! franchise and it is an absolute treat to listen to.

The verses have a certain acid-jazz touch to them while being incredibly fast-paced – instrumental and vocals – and insanely groovy.

The chorus is a blast to listen to, with organ and brass melodies joining in the mix, delivering a danceable and funky tune for you to dance along to.

Dreamer” taps into the band’s emotional side. The song has a simple instrumental with powerful drums and textbook pop-punk guitar and bass work on top.

The chorus will have you singing along to the lyrics and that is due to it featuring chants. Yoji Ikuta is an absolute powerhouse in this song, adding a lot of flair to his performance while fitting perfectly in such an intense instrumental.

BLAST certainly had that exciting, youthful sound that will hype up the listener, whatever the song you pick from them, you’re sure to start singing or jamming along to it.

Aside from band songs, BLAST’s members also released solo tracks. Those can be found in DUEL GIG EXTRA, album released in 2018.

The band also covered Asterisk’s iconic “orange range” (song featured in BLEACH).

Out of all bands in the Band Yarouze! franchise, BLAST got to perform live a couple of times, with Yoji Ikuta bringing his band – PENGUIN RESEARCH – to play as the members of BLAST. It was quite the awesome crossover and added up to the comfort and energy Ikuta had on stage.

Complete discography:

  • Dreamer (2016)
  • Nightmare boogie (2016)
  • Shout for life (2016)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 -BLAST EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 -BLAST EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 (2018)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 -BLAST EDITION- (2018)
  • DUEL GIG EXTRA (2018)

FairyApril

FairyApril has a bright pop-rock sound with hopeful or uplifting lyrics to top it all off.

Their music has an overflowing personality that shows in their high-energy live performances.

Their sound has shades of the Nico Touches the Walls, SUG, Alice Nine, and flumpool.

Songs that best highlight FairyApril’s talents:

  • FAIRY GO!
  • Shining☆Star
  • Give me Thrill
“FAIRY GO!” is featured in Duel Gig! vol.3 -FairyApril EDITION- (2018)

FAIRY GO!” is a perfect track to illustrate how FairyApril’s music sounds like. The tone is happy, the vibes are good and the lyrics are uplifting at all times.

This song has quite the pacing, with the chorus being an explosion of speed and color.

It is worth noting that one of FairyApril’s charming points is its strong bass sound. The bass is punchy at all times, adding a lot of groove and feel to this song.

On the vocal end, Shouta Aoi fully embraced Asahi’s upbeat personality and you can say, in a way, that his performance puts a smile on your face.

“Shining☆Star” is featured in Duel Gig! vol.3 -FairyApril EDITION- (2018)

Shining☆Star” is such a groovy track. The pacing is comfortable, there is complete harmony in the mixing in this track, with all instruments falling in the right places and creating the perfect setting for Shouta Aoi to mesmerize the listener.

There’s something really interesting in this performance that I believe not many have picked up when listening to the song – given as it is so subtle -: Shouta Aoi’s performance has a slight touch of enka in the chorus.

It is nothing major but I love that detail in his performance.

At the same time, the mixing in this song made it so that you’ll feel like you’re in the first row at the band’s concert.

The guitar is on your right and center, the bass is constantly on your left, and Aoi and the drums are in front of you (with distance being noticeable between both).

Thrill o Choudai” shows that there’s more to FairyApril than just their upbeat, uplifting pop-rock music.

This song is fast-paced, with groovy verses and an electrifying chorus that embraces the fun of pop punk.

Once again, the bassline is off the charts, being the most noticeable instrument in a fast-paced and intense instrumental such as this one.

Although this is but a small detail, I love how Shouta Aoi performs the bridge, tackling its English lyrics “Give me thrill, I want more excitement” with a near-flawless accent and in a slightly suggestive one.

This is the type of song to listen to time and time again.

Since their debut, Fairy April released a couple of insert songs for the game – that were later released in Duel Gig albums. The band was represented by Shouta Aoi once in a live setting.

Aside from band songs, FairyApril’s members also released solo tracks. Those can be found in DUEL GIG EXTRA, album released in 2018.

The band also collaborated with OSIRIS for a special single “Frontier” (2017) and covered T.M.Revolution’s iconic “HOT LIMIT”.

Complete discography:

  • Storm flight! (2016)
  • eat sweet Night (2016)
  • Amaoto Valentine (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 -FairyApril EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 -FairyApril EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 (2018)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 -FairyApril EDITION- (2018)
  • DUEL GIG EXTRA (2018)

Cure2tron

Cute jazz-pop coming from a charming, colorful band.

Jazz elements make their way into their music at times – be it with unique beats or with the addition of a classy contrabass – and you can expect fancy piano melodies to appear from time to time in their music.

From cute to classy, from intense to loungy, Cure2tron was a group that brought a lot of quality to the table.

Their sound has shades of the SCANDAL, SID, and L’Arc en Ciel.

Songs that best highlight Cure2tron’s talents:

  • Swing Night
  • Tabidachi Melody
  • I’m A Superstar

Swing Night” is such a treat of a song. It has a loungy pop-rock sound in which jazz drums meet a sampled beat, a bouncy bassline punches its way through the song.

The guitars are funky and slow-paced, focusing on feeling and emotion while Tomoyo Kurosawa goes for a performance that mixes clean singing with rapping.

The chorus is one of my favorites in the franchise as it channels those late summer vibes and that guitar solo in the bridge? That’s a dreamy solo. Really.

I love those slow-paced, emotional yet minimalistic guitar solos in songs that have such a loungy vibe such as this song.

Tabidachi Melody” is another quality tune by the talented band.

The focus is put on the groovy bass line driving the song forward. On top, you find classy brass melodies, funky guitar riffs and

The verses are laidback and slow-paced, giving off a nostalgic citypop vibe that is ear-catching. The chorus is addictive and filled with flair, with Tomoyo Kurosawa delivering a stunning performance.

On top of it all, the guitar work in this song is absolutely flawless, with a guitar solo in the outro taking this song to a whole other level.

The guitar leaves the stage and leaves the drums and bass in the spotlight, creating one of the best outros in this franchise. Mesmerizing stuff from Cure2tron.

I’m A Superstar” is a song that strays away from the band’s loungy jazz-rock sound and, instead embraces a whole rock band sound that impresses.

If you have your music knowledge updated, you’ll instantly notice that this song samples Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” in the verses, and a lot of the fun in this song comes from how the original was adapted into this track.

The verses are filled with flair and a groove that comes from the classic however, the chorus brings the band’s exciting rock sound to the spotlight, changing a bit of the tone in the song.

I find this track to be one of the hidden gems in the Band Yarouze! franchise. Fun and refreshing even in Cure2tron’s repertoire.

Aside from band songs, Cure2tron’s members also released solo tracks. Those can be found in DUEL GIG EXTRA, album released in 2018.

Complete discography:

  • Megamegatron (2016)
  • Strange Party Night (2016)
  • Chocolat mode (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.1 -Cure2tron EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.2 -Cure2tron EDITION- (2017)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 (2018)
  • Duel Gig! vol.3 -Cure2tron EDITION- (2018)
  • DUEL GIG EXTRA (2018)

Have a taste of each of these bands’ sound in the official video below.

Rival bands’ music

If you want a taste of DesTIRARE, CrystalCross, Freezing, Dante, Adam, and Raphael’s songs, a special album titled “DUEL GIG RIVALS” was released in 2018, including their songs.

A couple of suggestions out of the rivals tracks include:

Freezing’s “Pick your Poison”: song that, for those that played the game still haunts them.

This is a freakishly fast-paced song, the bassline is insanely complex and the drums never take a breather. And that intro? Absolutely bonkers.

On vocals for Freezing, rapping, and singing, is Lotus Juice and he absolutely threw it out of the park with his performance (this is a rare song in the franchise as it is fully performed in English).

This is that type of song that, if played during a live show, I’d join the mosh pit in a heartbeat.

Its energy overflows, the chorus is explosive and a lot of fun to listen to.

You’ll feel this song in your bones.

Adam’s “ONE-MAN-SHOW” is such a treat for bass lovers. The song has quite the long, dramatic intro, with a bass solo taking over 50 seconds of the song but that’s not all.

The whole track is bass goodness, with plenty of slap bass going on.

To make things even better, on vocals is Tetsuya Kakihara tackling lyrics in Japanese and English and absolutely smashing it.

You’ll sing along.

You’ll scream along to those lyrics.

This is yet another high-tension, high-octane rock song that will make goosebumps all over you. Flawless performance and outstanding instrumental.

CrystalCross’ Show (CV: Ayumu Murase) with “Top of the World”. For reference, CrystalCross was an electro-rock/synthwave duo with a lot of energy to their music.

Now, this is quite the rare, unknown track but it is, by far, my favorite performance by one of the seiyuu industry’s vocal chameleons, Ayumu Murase.

He goes for a powerful performance resorting to a faux baritone register – thus, an unusual lower range –, showcasing just how versatile and skilled he is as a singer.

To top it all off, he was tackling tricky lyrics that mixed Japanese and English, while smoothly shifting between his clean singing and rapping. To say that he was flawless would be an understatement.

Yes, you’ll tell me “but he’s doing that with Paradox Live’s BAE, there’s nothing new about it!

Well, if you check the date when this song was released (2018), you’ll notice that it was actually the very first time Murase tackled lyrics like that and delivered such an impressive dual performance.

That’s why this is a song that I thoroughly recommend. Murase was already dazzling everyone since 2018, showing his singing skills and massive vocal range.

Shelved by Sony Music Japan

One of the most ambitious projects in the last decade, Band Yarouze! showed everyone that you can make a good rhythm game, have quality music and an equally good storyline going on that will hook in new players and fans alike.

There’s only 1 other 2D music project that has managed to pull off all 3 components – rhythm game, music, and storyline – with the same quality as this franchise has (IDOLiSH7), something that makes Band Yarouze! a rare project with outstanding quality that truly deserved to experience success.

However, having launched 1 year after the 2D idol project’s boom – IDOLiSH7, Ensemble Stars!!, B-PROJECT, etc. -, Band Yarouze! was fighting against impossible odds, as most fans of 2D music flocked to the idol projects and left on the side this awesome rock project that had a lot of heart and quality to offer.

At the same time, Band Yarouze! was embracing rock music.

If you haven’t come to this conclusion so far, let me highlight this for you: in general, fans of 2D music do not appreciate rock projects. You can ascertain that by checking how many 2D rock music projects there are out there and how many of those are actually popular (at the time of writing this feature, only ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream and Dear Vocalist are popular).

The reception and support of 2D rock projects is even less if there are no innuendos, borderline BL pairings, and the sort going on in 2D rock projects (something that is a common occurrence in 2D idol projects).

When a 2D rock music project is kept to its purest form – celebrating rock music and following the bands’ path in the music industry -, most fans of 2D music just won’t bother with it.

Good examples of projects that are purely about rock music and suffer from the exact same lack of popularity include DIG-ROCK, Gang-Rock, and DYNAMIC CHORD.

Then you have the game’s difficulty that apparently kept a lot of people at bay, even if there was an “easy” mode available that would still let them enjoy the story.

Aside from that, Band Yarouze! was, in a way, innovating by bringing to the spotlight a rock-driven rhythm game.

At its core, the focus on rock music and bringing visual-kei to the spotlight were bits of inspiration taken from FlyME Project.

And we all know by now – if you don’t, I invite you to check this feature on FlyME Project – what happened to this project.

As ambitious as it was, visual-kei rock was not well received. People didn’t care about it (and its publisher was also not caring much about it, but that’s another issue).

FlyME Project fighting for visibility and barely staying afloat after launch should have been a red flag for Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+.

2D Rock music projects – no matter how ambitious, high quality, or with the best cast ever – were not working at all in 2015 – 2016.

It was not a matter of which music labels were supporting or distributing the music. It was not a matter of how popular and buzzworthy was the seiyuu in the cast.

It was because it was rock music and rock bands.

Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+’s decision to launch Band Yarouze! in 2016 was odd and, in my opinion, it was one of the reasons why the franchise struggled for visibility and, eventually, met its end in 2019.

Bad timing.

In a way, in 2021, 2D rock music projects still struggle to stay afloat however, the expectations for those are now lowered, and thus, it isn’t as common for projects of this nature to end as quickly as Band Yarouze! did.

Still, it is safe to say that bad timing is one of the reasons this project failed to stay afloat.

Rock music as the driving music genre, a story sticking really tight to the “human” drama of being in a band and wanting to overcome odds and be successful did not appeal to many.

The game’s difficulty was another reason many claimed to be at the core of not bothering following Band Yarouze!.

The main cast was filled with quality voice actors but many were not popular back in 2016 and only around 2018 did some of those members turn into stars, and even as stars, they weren’t enough to keep the project up. Even by adding stars – Kishow, Daisuke Ono, Tetsuya Kakihara – the project didn’t manage to stay afloat.

The quality music – the best rock you could find among 2D music projects – was strangely underappreciated.

But the thing that clearly killed off this project was the lack of faith by Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+ in this project.

Band Yarouze! could have been a popular mixed media project. If only the strategy around it had been different.

Just look at ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream and notice how popular the project is while keeping the story simple and the music varied and unique to each band.

A bit more faith by Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+ in Band Yarouze!, its quality and potential, could have taken the project to where it belonged, among the most popular mixed media projects.

It deserved much more than just being shelved due to lack of popularity.

That only happens because marketing efforts were poor, not because of the lack of quality of the project.

Just look at REALIVE!, a project with which OSIRIS has been collaborating since Band Yarouze! met its end in 2019.

The project is not that popular – in comparison with other rhythm games and 2D music projects – however, the marketing efforts – collaborations with other projects – are keeping it alive and have led to a cult following surrounding it.

Lack of popularity of Band Yarouze! didn’t happen because the seiyuu were not popular (just look at ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream and how that franchise, without any buzzworthy names in its lineup, carved its path to popularity until it finally brought some relatively “big” names for its lineup).

Lack of popularity of Band Yarouze! didn’t happen because a game is “difficult” to play.

It happened because there was no effort in making the project big.

What Sony Music Japan and Aniplex+ should have had into account is that popularity doesn’t come naturally, that’s why many 2D music/mixed media projects put a massive effort into marketing in the first couple of years, trying to make sure the project is seen, heard and known.

Just look at the marketing “machine” Hypnosis Mic now has after the first 2 – 3 months of no popularity at all. Where did it take them? Yeah, you get the gist.

For those that followed Band Yarouze!’s journey from launch until its end of the distribution in 2019, you’ll know that Sony Music Japan did not put much effort into promoting the project, starting from the unrecommended launch date to everything else that was going on during its 3 years of activity.

Yes, the project, in a way, was staying afloat because of OSIRIS’ live shows from 2017 to 2018. And yes, you could say the project is, in a way, still alive as OSIRIS still collaborate with REALIVE! from time to time.

But by the end of the day, where are the other bands?

Why did Sony Music Japan only focus on OSIRIS after the game’s end of distribution?

Why has that support for OSIRIS also faded away in 2020?

Is Band Yarouze! really a project that is alive?

There are many questions and, as you can imagine, there are no answers for many, if not all of those.

While I’d love to dream about this project making a return, let’s be realists like OSIRIS’ Makoto Kurusu: it seems unlikely.

Sony Music Japan holds the intellectual property (IP) and thus, another company would have to buy the rights to the game and music to revive it – which would be insanely expensive to do, and a massive cost to revive a project that, perhaps only 5.000, maybe 10.000 fans would embrace once again.

Not to mention the contracts with the voice actors themselves. There may be some clauses in the original contracts against the seiyuu joining the project should it be purchased by another party. Not to say that is the case, but it can happen.

On the other hand, Sony Music Japan has a track record of “moving on” from projects or artists that do not sell well and thus, it would be virtually impossible – and a first for this music label – to actually go back on their word and revive a project that they “discontinued” after alleging “poor sales and popularity”.

Just like you, I want Band Yarouze! back but it does seem unlikely.

Why should you check Band Yarouze! and its bands? What is so unique about it? Will casual rock or pop fans enjoy it?

Out of all the 2D rock music projects I covered for this “A GUIDE TO” feature, Band Yarouze! is among those that are not only easy listening but also really eclectic to the point that even those not that big on rock music will enjoy.

And that’s because pop and EDM (in a way, even rap-rock is featured in this project) found their way into some of the bands featured on it.

The focus is put on rock music, with each band exploring a different side – and thus, sub-genre –, which ends up being something that makes Band Yarouze! a project that will appeal to many people.

If you’re a massive fan of fast-paced, emotional – at times, dramatic – visual-kei rock, OSIRIS is the band for you.

Fast-paced, exciting punk-rock? BLAST has the thing for you.

Easy listening pop-rock Fairy April is going to be your thing.

Cute pop-rock sound with a jazz touch? Cure2Tron is the band you should check.

Exquisite electronic rock with a bit of rap? Freezing will cater to your tastes.

Like EDM and want it to sound explosive with rock and rap in the mix? CrystalCross is your thing.

Variety is something that is everywhere in Band Yarouze!. There is a band that will, for sure, cater to your tastes.

And that is one of the charms – I dare say, the main point – about Band Yarouze!.

Then you have a terrific cast that doesn’t fail in voice acting and singing quality. Every band, every solo artist, they all sound incredibly well; not to mention the high quality of the songs.

This was not a half-assed 2D music project.

There was care for it to be engaging, high quality, and incredibly fun while putting on the spotlight rock, a music genre that many love (just not that much among 2D music fans).

If you’re looking for a new rock music fix – ranging from metal to electro-rock – and outstanding performances that will make you want to hear more from each vocalist (the character, and perhaps, the seiyuu in question) and appreciate a project that overflows with love for every single bit it created and released, Band Yarouze! is, indeed, the thing for you.

Whether it will be revived or not is something no one knows but for sure Band Yarouze!’s fans are still with the same passion for it. For newcomers, its music lives on and is still as refreshing, exciting, and high quality as it was when it was first released.

Band Yarouze! deserved more love. It deserved attention. It had the quality to justify that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

Make sure to check the music from Band Yarouze! and if you do enjoy it, spread the word about it!

A guide to” special features are released every 2 months at The Hand That Feeds HQ.



Band Yarouze! on social media:

Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for writing about Banyaro. I remember playing Idolish when a friend said: pre-register on this, you’ll love it. And she was right, I was there since the beginning and when the close announcement was on social media, I cried a lot. It was my favorite game, I loved it and it loved me back because I had all the cards I ever wanted, I was so damn lucky except with the ‘Mad Scientist Makoto’s card’, it never came home.

    I wonder if you know of any website or some fan that has all database of the game? Like cards, story, etc?
    Once again, thank you for writing about this wonderful game.

    • Thank you for checking this feature and celebrating this awesome project by sharing such a beautiful story!
      Your friend was not wrong (bless them for that suggestion). Banyaro was the best.
      Did you have a favorite song or songs to play in-game?

      Awesome that the game, in a way, was good to you 🙂 After all of this, I hope the good memories trump over the frustration that was seeing this beloved project go (I guess we’ll never get over it, taking into account how amazing the game/project was).

      Makoto sure was hard to get on my side LOL I only got his “Wolf” card and that was about it for EXR cards of his.

      Unfortunately, fans of Banyaro never mobilized to develop a full-fledged/complete wiki about it so all wikis out there are pretty much bare bones and even worse, abandoned.

      There are some tidbits of story here: https://banyaro-eng.tumblr.com/story-translation

      A Banyaro fan created a google drive folder featuring some of – I believe not all – the cards from the game.
      It’s worth checking out if you’re feeling nostalgic: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B2bhSQYf-QgOVEU0MFhDTGVOdm8?resourcekey=0-1PTmZNHbMwKEJV0LhfRlSw

      There’s also a tumblr user that features some of the cards: https://banyaro-cards.tumblr.com/

      That’s about all the good – rather in-depth – content that there is about the project! Hope it helps 😀

      And thank you once again for taking the time to read this feature and leave a comment!

  2. Thank you for wrote banyaro article!
    Im start playing this game in february 2018 (yeah, that day is valentine day) not too long and suddenly announced end service!
    I know this game when i saw OSIRIS and Cure2tron’s art at their own illustrator(sarachi yomi and yuugen) twitters.

    I honestly write the good points and bad points of this games:

    Good points:
    Great Music, great art, great story, great playing that have challenging expert++. I dont know details but everything is great,thats all.

    Bad points (dont hate me, everyone have different opinion):

    Story
    – Only the main story have full voices, some of event stories and episode of avalon supposed to road to S2 but they treated as just a event story so doesnt need to voiced(well, its aniplex game, twst also doesnt have full voiced at card and event stories).

    – I know the a lot of seiyuu are busy schedule and cost a lot of money but they should arrange their schedule to voiced it. When came to 2018, only ikuta(yamato), kobayashi(kyo), Yuasa(Yukiho) and Shouta(Asahi) are remained to promote their game in twitter until the end. The others:

    Tano(Shelly) – you already know who is she, shes completely focus to Lovelive franchise now.
    Ishiya(Teppei) – when he get main chara, yamada jiro in hypmic. He started focus on that side now. (But he still tweet abt banyaro sometimes, not like tano)
    Tomoyo(Miley) – she has gained a lot of popularity every years.
    Murakawa(Mint), Kaito(Kazuma), Matsuda(Sosuke), Daiki(Tsubasa), Yusuke(Misato), Hanae(Rei), Yuuma(Makoto), Umehara(Shin), are completely busy as hell.
    Yonaga (Yuu) and Ayumu(Sho) – busy on others anime and franchise like i7.

    -The end of episode of avalon, dreamin’ are really really bad. Not only they rushed the stories reached into end, they didnt explained what and why apprentice(player) standing at sakura tree scenes
    (I know they said our apprentice are transfer into banyaro world badabingbadaboom breaked the 4th wall)

    Arts
    – Arts is very good but not really. the sprites was kinda off of proportions. They tracing from the chara sketches where the illustrator’s drawing and turned them into sprites. I know they poor but thx good they have remake sprite in episode of avalon.

    – Honestly, Cure2tron’s sprite was most worst body proportions, i can say the yuugen’s loli proportions are unnatural (Although he wrote that he knows his art was really sucks, need to improve in twitter).

    – After the game shut down, they drew a new art for collab or memorial book(artbook), they just keep tracing, tracing and tracing from card illustrations. I know its their own art but i didnt have feeling when i saw the tracing art.

    Game
    – Expert++ was most difficult damn…
    – Their story’s sprite arent moving

    Gacha
    – About the N card gacha, they said you will get one SR cards. I rolled many times but i didnt have it until game shutdown

    – EXR card was 95% difficult to get it, its rare. After they stopped update, they free us rolling gacha. They didnt decreased the EXR rate. In the end, I get EXR yamato, makoto, asahi, yoshimune, yuu and shuji only.

    – For me, the most difficult to get was Cure2tron cards. i dont know what they had speciallity?

    I can tell why they ended service with 2years. I think not only the game difficult,
    the promotions also the problems.
    Because of aniplex youtube channel has restrictions outside japan. We cant watch banyaro video in youtube. Even they open a banyaro yt channel for overseas, they just uploaded three videos only. Thats all.

    We know copyrights are important but Aniplex and sony need to know not only you just promote your game in your country and earn your money in country only. You must promote public even the games are not popular as MonHun, At least some of overseas users saw this game and they can help you promote the game without locked the regions to video.

    But im still love this game in the end.

    • Thanks for your comment (and long game review)!

      When you mention ” (…) some of event stories and episode of avalon supposed to road to S2 but they treated as just a event story so doesn’t need to voiced” you should have into attention that the project was already in its last legs when those stories were released, it was rushed perhaps because they no longer had resources to put quality into the project.

      Prior to the game’s end of distribution, the creators were already hinting at new story chapters – thus Xenon were announced – but as you could tell, we never got that part of the story, just a teaser up to the start of that storyline.

      Banyaro’s staff releasing all those story chapters after letting everyone know that the game was being discontinued was a show of good faith to us, the fans. A “thank you” if you will.
      Of course, those weren’t voiced, because those were, quite possibly, intended to be released in-game at a different time (had the game lasted long enough) and thus no voice actors had their lines recorded.

      A note: few are the games that have side stories voiced. Utapri, IDOLiSH7, Enstars, Hypmic are just some of the examples of games that do not (or seldom) have voiced side stories.

      As outsiders, I believe we shouldn’t criticize that hard how the last story chapters were handled or how those weren’t voiced and that’s because we don’t know if:
      1 – the project had, close to its end, any money to pay voice actors (thus the final parts ended up not being voiced) or its writers and game devs
      2 – if any contracts had expired since then (thus making it impossible for some seiyuu to record lines) and needed to be renewed

      There was much going on in the background that we don’t know. We only got a “slightly finished” product by the end the game was discontinued.

      While you make a good point about the art, I feel like it is really subjective, at least, for me the art is not the reason why I play a game or not. Not to mention that there are 2D music/mixed projects with worse or inconsistent art and those are still around (I-chu comes to mind when it comes to inconsistent art style).

      The gatcha rate was like any other gatcha game: unfair for the most part.
      That’s how a free game can “make” people spend money on it. Can’t blame them, if I was a game dev spending hours and hours creating the game (and polishing it with each update), paying voice actors and other staff, I’d, at least, make it so that people would want to spend in-game money to help pay the game production costs.
      I can say that, in the 3 years I played the game, I had my fair share of EXR cards (most from OSIRIS and BLAST) and I was playing it free (I did not use any “real” money in game).

      There’s only 1 game I believe has a good gatcha rate (pretty easy to pull rare and higher rarity cards): it’s Stand My Heroes!. Aside from it, all other games have the same difficulty when using their gatcha.

      Sony Music Japan has a history of closing itself for the Japanese fans. Everyone else outside of Japan is left hanging. That happens with their 2D music projects (Band Yarouze!) as well as artists (Soma Saito comes to mind, as some of his music videos are region locked). They are the biggest music label in the world however, they completely disregard overseas fans and then wonder why 2D music projects of theirs are not popular…

      But I feel you: with faults and everything, Band Yarouze! is a game fans can’t help but to love.

      Once again thanks for commenting! (A note, your comment was edited as cursing is not allowed in the comments.)

  3. Thank you for another great article! I remember playing BanYaro for a short period of time in 2016, it was one of the first rhythm games i tried, along with LLSIF and I-Chu. I still like some of Cure2Tron songs and everything CrystalCross had released(too bad it was only a few songs). I agree that this project had a big potential and couldve probably become bigger if it was released a few years later and was promoted well.

    Tbh i have always thought rock music was more popular among 2d idols/singers series..? At least judging by majority’s favorite units in multigenre idol franchises(Enstars, etc.), and by how big BangDream is currently. As well as by how i often struggle to find more EDM-ish stuff among j-pop releases. Maybe i got a wrong impression though, since i’ve mostly been listening more stuff by female seiyuus/artists since i’ve discovered j-music…

    (Also this might be unrelated, but as a fan of more electronic-based music i wanted to ask: how do you think, will there be more hiphop and EDM based seiyuu franchises like this in the following years? From what i’ve counted before, there have been at least 5-6 of rock/band-themed seiyuu projects released after BanYaro, but i barely have encountered any of these for other genres… Now when it seems like electronic music is finally getting more popular in Japan, do you see more of stuff like Handead Anthem or Den-on-bu being released and getting successful in the future?)

    Thanks again for the article, it was a nice, nostalgic and informative read!

    • Thanks for the comment @Ev! CrystalCross was way too awesome of a group (kind of refreshing even within this franchise)!

      You make an interesting point.
      Yes, rock bands/groups in multi-genre idol franchises are popular (UNDEAD in Enstars is a good example of that). I guess that’s because there’s variety in those projects thus fans end up enjoying the groups with an “edgy” vibe and thus, the ones that perform rock music.

      But you can’t see the same popularity in 2D projects that are exclusively about rock bands (genuine exceptions are Argonavis from BanG Dream – popular overseas and domestically – and Dear Vocalist – really popular in Japan).
      And that’s what I find weird and, in a way, can’t find an explanation as to why rock bands in idol projects work well, but those can’t or won’t work well in strictly rock projects…One world argue it’s the art or the cast but there are plenty of examples that completely throw away those doubts about the quality on both those fronts..

      As far as EDM stuff goes – seeing as you like it -, Parahos (eurobeat), HANDEAD ANTHEM (pure EDM), are good projects.
      – A’ (CV: Ryohei Kimura) in the Dear Vocalist franchise is also a good shout in case you want a certain level of chaos and allure into your EDM music (the earlier stuff is EDM, the recent stuff is jazz-pop though).
      – 2wink in the Ensemble Stars!! franchise is also a good group to check. The group is a bit on the EDM-pop side but if you fancy upbeat EDM with a happy-go-lucky or cutesy twist, they sure can fill that void.
      – NOISE NOVA (PERFECTION NOISE franchise) has a strong EDM sound however, the group – and even the solo releases – mix a whole lot of music genres. I’d suggest you check “True Place”, “Turning Point” and “Achromatic” if you need an EDM fix with a twist (their music is available on Spotify).

      Seeing how popular Hypmic and Paradox Live are, I bet there will be at least 1 more 2D hip-hop project to join the hype before the trend fades away (I’ll give it 2, 3 years until the industry moves on to a “new” shiny music genre or concept).
      Then, we’ll probably see a resurgence of idol projects however with a touch of jazz, lo-fi hip-hop and R&B (those genres are starting to be a trend for idol groups).
      If the recent launches of PERFECTION NOISE and Tokyo Color Sonic!! are showing us anything is that idol projects will start to be hybrids in terms of music genres, group dynamics and format.

      EDM could be the next big thing but exclusively EDM 2D projects don’t seem to be that popular right now even if the music industry in Japan is already embracing the music genre.
      For 2D music projects, the genre itself needs a project with the same impact as Hypmic or Utapri to actually turn into a trend. And that is difficult to pull off as turning into a trend also depends on how open are fans of 2D music for EDM to be a trend.

      Handead Anthem has 3 things that many not help making it popular in the long run: the cast is comprised of mostly seiyuu that are currently not that popular (at least not popular enough to draw a crowd to it) + the Zombies/undead concept was “good” a couple of years ago… now it may turn off many people that are sick of zombie content + NIZISTA doesn’t seem to have a focused marketing strategy for it.

      I believe Den-on-bu may end up being popular. It’s easier for 2D projects with female seiyuu to be successful with pop and EDM music. Whether it’ll turn EDM into a trend will be a matter of the seiyuu’s popularity (I can’t say much about it because I don’t recognize any of the cast in that game) rising over time and a streak of solid music releases that solidify its stance as a leading project worth checking out.

      Even if EDM doesn’t end up being a trend, I reckon that any 2D idol project that has more than 4 groups will, for certain, include a group that is all about EDM (it’s a good dynamic and usually contrasts well with those “cutesy” groups in idol projects).

      Once again, thanks for reading the article and for leaving your impressions + interesting questions!

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