GRANRODEO “Phantasmagoric Magical Star” (Review)


GRANRODEO‘s 2014 kicks off with the release of their 21st single, Phantasmagoric Magical Star.

And what a way to open this year for the band led by 38 year old multi-talented seiyuu KISHOW and guitarist e-ZUKA. This single is featured as the second opening theme for the second season of basketball themed anime “Kuroko’s Basketball” where Kishow gives voice to Himuro Tatsuya.

Phantasmagorical GRANRODEO

Single: 変幻自在のマジカルスター (Phantasmagoric Magical Star)
Release date: 12/02/2014
Label: Lantis
Genre: Rock


01. 変幻自在のマジカルスター
02. 絶頂ポイズン
03. Once & Forever (Plugless Live Edition)
04. 変幻自在のマジカルスター (OFF VOCAL)
05. 絶頂ポイズン (OFF VOCAL)

Track by track analysis:

01. 変幻自在のマジカルスター

We kick off this single with Phantasmagoric Magical Star, the single featured as the opening theme for Kuroko’s Basketball anime. KISHOW’s vocals reverberates in our ears in the intro leading to the aggressive guitar playing provided by e-ZUKA.

With a slightly less aggressive instrumental when in comparison with the previous single The Other Self, this track guides us through their rock to a highly enthralling chorus like what we’re already used to listen to when we hear the name GRANRODEO.

Overall a good track that shows us that, not only GR knows how to make good uptempo songs but their can also manage to make interesting midtempo ones.

02. 絶頂ポイズン

With a jazzy bassline and a complete change from GRANRODEO’s usual style of playing, Zetcho Poison impresses not because it’s an amazing song with great solos like The Other Self, hyped up choruses (the band’s trademark) or even because of the great vocal work (well, there is great vocal work throughout the single but that I guess it’s unquestionable).

It’s because this is such an unusual track on GR’s repertoire that it stands out in its way, being a great addition to the single showing yet another side to GRANRODEO’s versatility juggling between different kinds of playing especially with on guitar and bass. Impressive bass work.

03. Once & Forever (Plugless Live Edition)

Already known to the fans Once & Forever is featured in the 2007 album RIDE ON THE EDGE and is once again part of a single release. This time GRANRODEO changed the arrangement of the song making it an acoustic version of it.

The regular version of the song already impressed with its amazing chorus but plugless it really emphasizes both KISHOW’s amazing voice and e-Zuka’s wonderful guitar playing together with strings quartet.

A gem of a song that never gets old besides the fact that the song already has 7 years on its “belt”.

Final considerations

A single slightly less up-tempo than the previously released The Other Self in 2013 that presented us with a full throttle, top of the top playing.

This time, Phantasmagoric Magical Star breaks the pace set in 2013 and shows us not a completely different GRANRODEO but a GRANRODEO that has evolved with time, now that the band has reached the 9 year mark on their career they’re showing us that the band has earned a lot of experience throughout the years and they’re put it to good use.

e-ZUKA’s guitar playing style is as good as ever combining the aggressive, yet highly technical guitar riffs with the more melodic solos fitting the rest of the instrumental pieces like a glove.

But not everything is due to e-ZUKA’s master guitar playing, the recording sessions bassist Ikuo (Abingdon Boys School) does a tremendous amount of work delivering some mesmerizing basslines living up to his reputation of meticulousness and precise bass playing, adapting to the band he’s working for with no problems.

To add to all of this we have KISHOW’s vocals that blow the charts in terms of quality, his falsetto on some songs and his natural vibrato impress and add to KISHOW’s vocal qualities that extra bit of talent that many vocalists/frontmen lack.

All in all GRANRODEO are, time after time, showing that they can make good music, be it for anime or for other purposes. A band that rarely fails to amaze and make us excited with their music.

Phantasmagoric Magical Star is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silva
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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Phantasmagoric Magical Star
Zetcho Poison
Once & Forever (Plugless Live Edition)


Slower than previous entries in their repertoire, Phantasmagoric Magical Star shows us a GRANRODEO evolving with time and not shy to branch out and explore new sonorities or give a different twist already known ones.

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Slower than previous entries in their repertoire, Phantasmagoric Magical Star shows us a GRANRODEO evolving with time and not shy to branch out and explore new sonorities or give a different twist already known ones.GRANRODEO "Phantasmagoric Magical Star" (Review)