Review | “Tokyo Color Sonic!! Unit.2 IORI×HARUHI”

Emotionally raw and with an intense performance, Iori’s “measly” is a strong entry in the Tokyo Color Sonic!! franchise.

Tokyo Color Sonic is the name of the mixed-media franchise created by sprout and counting with character designs by the popular illustrator Ryo Fujiwara.

This franchise counts with an 8 character cast, with characters split into 4 different “buddy” units of singer + songwriter.

Tokyo Color Sonic counts with drama + music in its CDs.

To know more about this project, make sure to check THTFHQ’s quick guide to it.

Team 2 features Iori Takarada (CV: Soma Saito) and Haruhi Kaji (CV: Yoshiki Nakajima).

Review

Title: Tokyo Color Sonic!! Unit.2 IORI×HARUHI
Label: sprout/COLORATION
Release date: 27/08/2021
Genre: Rock

Tracklist:

1 - measly

Track analysis:

1 – measly

Team 2 makes its big entrance with “measly”. And this song has a completely different tone in comparison to the songs released so far however, still exploring rock music.

Drama takes over this song through its distant intro, with guitars and fading synths bringing a twinge of sadness into the instrumental. Slowly, acoustic guitars, bassy drums, and a punchy bassline join in, enhancing the emotional performance on the vocal end.

Everything seems under control, with a simple, minimalistic emotional performance but what expects you is something rather interesting.

The song builds up its tension with forlorn strings carrying you to what is an uncontrolled show of emotions.

Those controlled emotions pour non-stop in the chorus, with the instrumental heightening the drama to the spotlight via loud guitar riffs, powerful splashy drums, and intense strings. The passion and regret are overwhelming and loud, taking over this section in a really interesting and unexpected way.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the chorus will quite possibly catch you off guard as the change in intensity and volume – with the instrumental going really loud –, from the soft verses to the strong chorus, is drastic and not at all expected.

I still find some issues – that have been carrying over on the production/mixing side – in this song. The instrumental is intentionally loud in the chorus and this time around it does make sense.

I reviewed the lossless version of the song (16 bits/44,100 kHz) which is a really high-quality version that should sound incredibly clear while using neutral headphones and the 1st verse still sounds a bit too quiet on the vocal end, with the instrumental covering the performance. Due to the low quality common of streaming (128 kbps) and MP3 (~320 kbps) versions, the song may sound a bit murky in that section so be wary of that.

Thankfully that issue is exclusive to the 1st verse. The other verses are much cleaner. The chorus sounds a bit overwhelming at first but given how the song progresses and its lyrics, it was necessary for the instrumental to go loud.

It also helps that Soma Saito (as Iori) has the power in his voice to stand on top of the loud instrumental, making himself heard even when, during the second part of the chorus – the drums go loud in the splash and hi-hats –, it almost gets harder to stand out but he still manages to power his way through. Still, the sound levels in the instrumental could have been lowered just a bit to better fit the sound levels of the vocals.

Saito’s performance is also something worth paying attention to. He’s performing an emotionally draining song and he’s doing a little bit of everything on the vocal end. You can hear him tackling those slow, melancholic notes in the verses, the rise in tension in his voice towards the chorus, and the unrestrained emotion he brings to the chorus that overwhelms you.

He’s also fully embraced vibrato – and he’s sounding much more robust than ever before – something that adds a lot of drama to his performance (especially noticeable in the chorus), and mixes a bit of head voice in his performance. Although the performance sounds like your regular Soma Saito outing, he’s actually put a lot of color into his performance giving it layers and layers of depth.

All in all, “measly” is a strong entry in the Tokyo Color Sonic!! franchise. Emotional and raw at all times and with a dramatic performance filled with depth, the only thing dragging it back is the mixing, a problem that persists since the franchise’s theme song “Begin on Buddy”.


Tokyo Color Sonic!! Unit.2 IORI×HARUHI is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Tokyo Color Sonic!! / Drama CD (Soma Saito, Yoshiki Nakajima, et al.)
Drama CD (Soma Saito, Yoshiki Nakajima, et al.)

Tokyo Color Sonic!! Unit.2 IORI×HARUHI” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support the Tokyo Color Sonic franchise by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

“measly” is a strong entry in the Tokyo Color Sonic!! Franchise. It seems that rock is taking over the solo entries, instead of bringing a hybrid sound to the spotlight. The focus on rock music once again is highly welcomed though as it is perfect to showcase the emotional range of the franchise's vocals. Emotional and raw at all times and with a dramatic performance by Soma Saito (as Iori) filled with depth, the only thing dragging it back is the mixing, a problem that persists since the franchise’s theme song “Begin on Buddy". But all things considered, "measly" is the best sounding entry so far in this franchise (yet far from perfect).

REVIEW OVERVIEW

measly
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).

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