Monthly Review: Rikka “Be Witch”, Shunichi Toki “SCIENCE” and more

February 2024 brings more music by Shunichi Toki, a sweet single by SparQlew, and the show stealer, Rikka’s “Be Witch.”.

This and more in this article – and extended video – of MONTHLY REVIEW February 2024.

This month’s episode is all about the music released in February 2024.

February 2024 was quieter than usual but that doesn’t mean it skimped on the quality. No, actually, the few exciting releases of the month were really strong and made a big impact – in more ways than one.

I start with the show stealer, Rikka Sera (CV: Natsuki Hanae) with “Be Witch.”. This song was everything and more I wanted and expected from Rikka. Beautiful, grandiose, and impactful, this is an orchestral pop tune like no other.

Shunichi Toki continues his streak of stylish CD releases, this time around with the single “SCIENCE”. Expect a lot of jazz and playfulness going on in what is one of the highlights of the month.

SparQlew celebrated its 5th anniversary as well as Valentine’s day with “You’re My Valentine”, a single overflowing with sweet, gentle vibes, looking at the present and past while with an ambitious look at their future.

As such, the standout releases in February 2024 were:

  • SparQlew “You’re My Valentine”
  • Shunichi Toki “SCIENCE”
  • Rikka Sera “Be Witch.”

In the video version of this article – which covers many more CDs and features your comments – I also bring my impressions about a few CDs I recently reviewed.

Make sure to watch the episode!

SparQlew “You’re My Valentine”

SparQlew "You're My Valentine"

SparQlew pulled off a 2-in-1 with “You’re My Valentine“, celebrating both Valentine’s Day and their 5th anniversary as a group.

This ended up being a really sweet gift to their fans, one in which you got to revisit, in a way, their sound from back then as well as experience their mature, citypop-driven sound and even a blast from the past with a gentle rearrangement.

SparQlew celebrates its 5th anniversary and Valentine’s Day with a sweet and nostalgic single that feels good at all times.

Shunichi Toki “SCIENCE”

Shunichi Toki “SCIENCE”
Regular edition

Following a flawless 2nd mini-album release – with “Another Birthday” – expectations were pretty high for “SCIENCE“.

While not a massive upgrade over what he did in there, in “SCIENCE”, Shunichi Toki continued experimenting with his sound, bringing rock and jazz in the title track while trying things out with a fancier, groovier albeit slower-paced jazz sound in “roulette”.

All in all, “SCIENCE” may not be an upgrade over “Another Birthday” but it is an exciting step forward, exploring the possibilities with jazz music.

Rikka Sera “Be Witch.”

Rikka Sera Be witch

Be Witch.” arrives with a delicate piano painting a dreamy, endless soundscape.

But there is something about this song that will start sounding off. The song is slow-paced and the tone is gentle, however, the piano keys are urgent, and breathless, almost as if they are searching for something.

The vocals are quiet yet really powerful and overflowing with emotion. This is a performance of contrasts, one that is beautiful from start to finish. One that will certainly impress you.
When “Be Witch.” wraps up, you’re left thinking this is a spiritual successor of “Lily” (or even “Adonis”) yet, a much more mature, dramatic, and focused type of song – yet in the same line and with a similar vibe.

I couldn’t help drawing parallels between both songs, especially seeing as both are piano-driven songs – really dramatic for the most part – and also with a dreamy vibe to themselves.

If you compare both songs, you will find parallels everywhere and you will also notice just how much Rikka has grown, how John-san (the awesome composer behind this song) has grown, and how much Natsuki Hanae has improved as a performer, especially when it comes to his emotional range.

All in all, “Be Witch.” is a beautifully emotional song that shows Rikka Sera in the best colors ever.

What is THTFHQ’s MONTHLY REVIEW?

As the name says, Monthly Review is a monthly feature in which I find yet another excuse to talk about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.

This is a feature in which I get on camera – unscripted (and usually looking a bit tired lol) – covering the most impressive/buzzworthy releases in any given month – and hidden gems that not many people may end up paying attention to -, counting on your participation as well in all 4 corners:

  • Best of the month (3 best/buzzworthy/gems of every given month as picked by me + 3 suggested by THTFHQ readers
  • Monthly Choice (3 CD suggestions by me – regardless of when the CDs were released – and 3 suggestions by THTFHQ readers)
  • Music in the Horizon (a look at next month’s releases – it mixes my and your comments on upcoming releases by male seiyuu artists, bands, units, or 2D groups)
  • Ask Vanessa (ask me anything about male seiyuu or 2D music, if you don’t ask, it turns into a “Soma Saito” corner)

Do you want to participate in MONTHLY REVIEW?

This show is a collaborative work between you and me, sharing our love for male seiyuu and 2D music projects. Don’t be shy to participate.

All this to say, don’t worry about not having perfect English writing or the sort, we all make mistakes and even I am not a native speaker – and typos are really my bread and butter here on the website – so don’t let that stop you from participating, should you want to!

As always, several times during the month, the survey to participate in next month’s episode is shared on THTFHQ’s social media (Facebook and Twitter) and on THTFHQ’s YouTube channel‘s community tab (make sure to subscribe to not miss the notification, or lurk if you don’t want to subscribe).

You can participate as many times as you want, I only ask that you avoid submitting the same answers in the various entries you make in this feature.

The goal is to feature as many CDs as possible, not to talk only about 1 or 2 CDs.

Please remember that these episodes are much more enjoyable with your insights. Every month I share a survey on social media for you to leave your impressions on new music.

Although only 3 people are chosen for each corner (less if there were fewer submissions), know I read them all. I read everything and keep being impressed by your musical sensibility!

THTFHQ’s community is filled with talented individuals, fans of good music, and voice acting. You geek as hard – or even more – about both things as I do!


If the links are not working, CLICK HERE to check the video.

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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