Shouta Aoi “Zessei Star Gate” (Review)

Cover shouta

Shouta Aoi is back with a new single. “Zessei Star Gate” is already in rotation as the opening theme for this season’s anime “Fantasy Star Online 2 The Animation“.

regular shouta
Regular Edition
Single: "Zessei Star Gate"
Label: Broccoli
Release date: 03/02/16
Genre: J-Pop


1 絶世スターゲイト
2 Why, pessimistic?
3 絶世スターゲイト *off vocal
4 Why, pessimistic? *off vocal

Track by track analysis:

1 – 絶世スターゲイト

Zessei Star Gate” is an interesting piece. Kicking off with soothing synths and a delicate piano melody, Shouta‘s high notes add to the sweetness of this intro. But if after these 15 seconds you think the song is keeping that ballad vibe you’ll most likely be surprised. The track gets grandiose as strings, and upbeat synthetic drums make this song ascend to electro pop land. This is a fun track to listen to – the synths aren’t overbearing or tacky, on another note it’s also great to have some guitars enriching the overall instrumental piece. Vocally Shouta is with his register incredibly high so if you’re a big fan of his angelic high notes, you’ll love this. Still it’s a track that screams “I’m featured as a opening theme” just from its instrumental. 4/5

2 – Why, pessimistic?

Taking on a completly different route, Shouta heads towards progressive dance pop territory, where dirty synths are kings and drums are minimal and bassy. Why, pessimistic? is penned by Shouta and promises to be a dancefloor anthem. Starting from the main melody to the hook and the build up, everything was crafted superbly. The tension on this track is just downright addictive – if you aren’t dancing or shaking your head (or any other motion) while listening to this song something is wrong with you. Shouta‘s versatility once again shows up. We were afraid that the instrumental piece might overcrowd and cover his vocals but he actually made himself shine on this one. You’re not distracted by the instrumental piece, it’s actually his vocals that grab and make you tag along with him. If we’re talking about dance tracks, Shouta really nailed this one both instrumentally and lyrics wise. Top marks for the best song on this single. 5/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

This time the b-side track gets the award of best song. While “Zessei Star Gate” is a fun track to listen to it kind of lacks power and consistency. Of course it’s featured as an anime opening but it could have sounded more like Shouta‘s music – which is quite richer and more colorful that the title track ever was. Thankfully Why, pessimistic? impressed more than we were expecting. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to this dance pop gem of a track. The dirty synths, the little details provided by the piano, the bassy drums and the almost unnoticeable bassline running crazy in the background provided him with a powerful instrumental track that only needed a bit of magic from his vocals to immediately reach the status of Shouta‘s best dance track so far.

As a whole this release was balanced. It’s also nice listening to more lyrics penned by Shouta that is slowly growing into an interesting lyricist.

絶世スターゲイト” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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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