Review | KAORU “Breathe”


KAORU stops to take a breather in a beautiful, dreamy soundscape you’ll want to lose yourself in “Breathe”.

Hana-Doll* is an idol project created by movic (TSUKIPRO, VAZZROCK, Tsukiuta, etc). 7 idols are part of Anthos, group signed to the fictional talent agency Amagiri Production.

Anthos* is comprised of Kent ItoWataru KomadaToshiki MasudaShunichi TokiDaiki HamanoSeiichiro Yamashita, and Shun Horie.

Title: Breathe
Label: Movic 
Release date: 09/10/2020
Genre: Minimalistic electronica


1 - Breathe
2 - Breathe(Off Vocal)

Track analysis:

1 – Breathe

A dreamy piano melody paints a pure white, far and wide soundscape.

In the background, a simple beat – hi-hat and clap track – adds a progressive twist to this song alongside the atmospheric synths.

The verses ride on a comfortable downtempo, pushing aside all instruments to give the spotlight to Shunichi Toki’s gentle vocals however, as tension builds up to the chorus, so does the instrumental grow, bringing in a variety of synths for minimalistic hits, to brief arpeggios (playing on your left) and even pulsing bassy synths, all of these elements help flesh out the intensity in the lyrics.

In a way, the quiet verses seem like someone is taking a breather from something, even recalling memories, doing that without distractions on the horizon.

Then, the chorus is intense yet still dreamy, reflecting some conflict at the same time as there’s a bright outlook beyond that.

The tone is gentle at all times in this song, in a way showcasing some fragility by KAORU.

Opting for this tone was the perfect choice as Shunichi Toki already has, to begin with, a gentle singing tone to himself, almost lullabyish at times.

And for this performance, Shunichi Toki was in full control right from the start. His mid-tones are confident, unmovable yet packing a lot of emotion at their core. His long notes shine and he brings some vibrato – although it is not a big feature – to his performance.

A bit of a breathy twist adds the final touches to what is a rock-solid performance in one of the dreamiest songs in The Way I Am CD series.

Breathe” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Hana Doll* Anthos* - The Way I Am - Kaoru / Kaoru Kisaragi (Shunichi Toki)
Kaoru Kisaragi (Shunichi Toki)

Breathe” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support Anthos* by streaming via official outlets.


Looking forward to brighter days, growing from past experiences, and taking a breather. KAORU's "Breathe" may initially come across as a minimalistic song and quiet toned down in its dreamy sound but it is overflowing with emotion and will, possibly, overwhelm you. The empty, dreamy verses contrast heavily with the packed, bustled choruses. On top, Shunichi Toki delivers a powerful performance that is mid-way through being a lullaby and lowkey, an emotional scream. Quite the interesting song fleshing out the dramatic story at the core of those lyrics.


Vanessa Silva
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).





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