Tasuku Hatanaka “FIGHTER” (Review)

tasuku hatanaka

Tasuku Hatanaka released FIGHTER, album overflowing with songs capable of being hits and exuding a maturity that his repertoire up until now lacked.

tasuku hatanaka fighter cover
Label: Lantis
Release date: 27/03/2019 
Genre: Dance-pop/Acoustic pop-rock


01.Let's get ready to rumble!(Instrumental)
02.Fighting for...
07.DO IT
09.オド☆リバ~MUSIC IS MAGIC!~
11.あの日の約束 [lyrics by Tasuku Hatanaka]
12.look back, look forward(Instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – Let’s get ready to rumble!(Instrumental)

Fancy, progressive intro makes way for this energetic release. The instrumental does its job of opening/amp up the listener with its tasteful beat and melodies.

2 – Fighting for…

Fighting for… follows the same energy and sound as the intro. Old-school synths, crystal clear piano melodies and a slow-paced progressive beat set the stage for this imposing and addictive song.

The build-up to the chorus and the chorus itself stand out in this song for its fancy progression, the subtle transition and then the delivery, the addictive melodies, and stunning performance in the chorus.

On the vocal end, Hatanaka ups the ante from previous releases’ title tracks and delivers a powerful performance filled with flair.

From his falsetto to vibrato and other flourishes, he made sure for this song to leave a mark. And it did. Best song on this album.

3 – イッサイガッサイ

Funky guitar riffs and a slap bass line lead the way for this up-tempo pop-rock tune.

The instrumental is overflowing with energy and, for the most part, is fast-paced however, to make things interesting, there are some sections or brief intermissions that introduce quieter, slower parts. Jazzy pianos and an exciting guitar solo seal the deal for this song.

There is a lot of falsetto going on in Hatanaka’s performance.

As it is usual, he keeps showing his control and talent by tackling and/or incorporating flourishes or tricky sections in his performances and he makes it all look easy. Stellar performance in yet another energizer.

4 – 虹

Niji has a low-fi feel to it. Distorted, gated synths, distant piano melodies, minimalistic atmospheric synths, and an 808 beat complete this unique instrumental. The song creates an ethereal, old and unapproachable soundscape.

It is an original approach that fits well with the other songs on this album as well as introduces a different sonority in Hatanaka’s solo career.

As far as vocals go, Hatanaka’s have some manipulation on it to give it a distant, melancholic tone.

Although this isn’t a highly technical song as the previous one, Hatanaka’s performance is one that will impress you. It is not every day that you listen to him performing a song as unique as this one.

A nice break from all the up-tempo, highly energetic songs we’ve had since the start of the album.

5 – Addicted

Addicted is a feel-good electro-pop tune. Washy, dream-like synths, a mid-tempo progressive, snare-driven beat, and a simple bass line take the listener to a summer-inspired soundscape.

This is a laidback dance tune that captures the essence of summer and, to top it all, it has a sweet performance by Hatanaka, that mixed clean singing with manipulated vocals and rap.


[As previously reviewed] Progressive saw synths and a dreamy piano melody lead this summery tune.

The beat alone is infectious, it has as many retro influences has it has contemporary dance music influences. You’ll start tapping your feet to the music as soon as press play. The bright lyrics and upbeat mood will certainly make you get up from your seat and put a smile on your face.

When all of that is already checked, STAND UP manages to deliver a low-key impressive progressive dance-pop song with addictive funky guitar riffs to take you to the dancefloor. The instrumental is made for this season, it’s exciting and groovy.

Now onto the vocal performance. Fancy falsetto? Well, it seems that Hatanaka has an impressive one that he doesn’t shy away from showcasing.

But if that is not what you’re looking for then his gentle energetic vocals and control will certainly impress you. He shows a well-rounded performance on top of an engaging and well-crafted dance instrumental.

7 – DO IT

After revisiting his debut song, we’re back to the new additions.

DO IT brings back powerful electronica with polyphonic synths and an exciting beat to top it. This is a song ready for the dancefloor.

The pacing is comfortable, there are no up-tempo sections although the song might sound fast in some instances due to the progression or the build-ups.

The chorus is overflowing with energy and is extremely catchy, almost begging for the listener to pitch and participate in the chants.

As for the vocals, Hatanaka gives his best to make this performance shine. His vocals, at times, are manipulated, fitting well with the song’s theme and vibe. Manipulation is not overdone so it gives a nice touch to this performance.

The clean vocals are as expected: crystal clear, with a bit of growl and rawness on them and all that skill to back up his powerful falsetto and vibrato.

8 – 真夏BEAT

[As previously reviewed] A high tension synth lead opens the way for Manatsu BEAT. Relying heavily on synths to create its dreamy soundscape, Manatsu BEAT is an interesting summer dance tune.

Among the several interesting bits in this instrumental, we have tempo changes. This instrumental has more than its fair share of tempo changes. The verses are initially slow-paced, however, the build-up made into the chorus is so well done that the listener barely notices the smooth increase of tempo.

Soothing synth pads and a groovy bass line were pivotal for that smoothness. Then we have the verses, clearly faster-paced than the chorus and packing a whole lot of tension that culminates in its high tension synth lead and catchy beat.

In the chorus, I found the washy drums, especially the cymbals, to be rather overbearing. When the chorus kicks in, all you can listen to are those cymbals that completely take away the focus from the vocals.

Aside from this, the instrumental is catchy and creates a comfortable loungy vibe that makes this song incredibly enjoyable to listen to.

On the vocal end, it’s a pity that Hatanaka didn’t show more.

He certainly is a solid singer, demonstrating that with this groovy performance, however, aside from a quick falsetto, nothing interesting happened. Even with its issues, Manatsu BEAT is a solid tune.

9 – オド☆リバ~MUSIC IS MAGIC!~

Disco music finds its way into this release to add some spice to it. Funky guitar riffs, groovy bass line, playful brass create a laidback and classic summery soundscape.

From the addictive beat to the dreamy synths in the outro to the stunning guitar solo, this song doesn’t fail to impress.

Hatanaka’s vocals fit perfectly with this music genre, delivering a playful and melodic performance.

10 – プラマイプラス

Gears change and we’re back with an upbeat electro-pop tune however, it sounds completely different from the album’s overall vibe, much brighter and youthful.

This song serves as an intermission in an album full of powerful dancefloor tunes exuding a dark, mature vibe.

Hatanaka’s performance was fun and upbeat, adding an extra spark to this entertaining song.

11 – あの日の約束

Hatanaka’s lyricist debut is finally here. Ano hi no yakusoku is a sweet acoustic pop-rock ballad. It kicks off softly with simple acoustic guitar riffs, atmospheric synths, and ethereal strings.

Slowly, melancholic piano melodies, simple drums, and electric guitars make their entrance to reinforce the emotions overflowing in this song.

This song builds up in a way that the dynamic is constantly evolving, the best example is how the song kicks off quietly and gradually gets more eventful, growing in scope and emotion until it reaches the climax in the guitar solo featured in the outro. The vocals make all the emotions in the instrumental flourish beautifully.

12 – look back, look forward(Instrumental)

A delicate, quiet piano melody ties up this album in a melancholic fashion. It follows the same melody featured in Ano hi no yakusoku and expands on it with electronica and grand piano melodies.

Final considerations

There is good pop music and bad pop music. Then, there is Tasuku Hatanaka. Clichéd, right? However, there is no other way around when talking about this album.

Tasuku Hatanaka released FIGHTER, album overflowing with songs capable of being hits and exuding a maturity that his repertoire up until now lacked.

If it is not noticeable by now – especially if you read this review from start to finish while listening to the album at the same time -, we’ve just experienced what might be the best full-length album (by a male seiyuu) released in 2019.

Consistency was really key in this release. The tempo, the beats, the progressions, the intro, and ending instrumentals, all contributed to this album to sound like a complete, satisfying release without any loose ends left to tie.

To add to this, the choice of instruments and the vocals are tasteful. If that wasn’t enough, all songs exude a “hit song” vibe. From what I felt while listening to this album, any song could have been used as a title track and it would still be a fantastic greeting card to this release.

This might be a bold statement but while it is still early to say for sure that Tasuku Hatanaka is the best male seiyuu solo pop artist of his generation (the 90s), he is certainly paving his way for what seems will be a great solo career. He might, with time, consistency, and a bit of luck, sit on the throne of the best male seiyuu pop artist of his generation.

Now, let me stray away a bit. I find it extremely exciting to watch and/or listen to this new generation of talents. No other generation – among male seiyuu – has had this massive amount of talent in the music department as the 90s generation has.

Some might argue that older generations did not have the opportunities that this generation has and that there are seiyuu from those generations that are fabulous singers (true), but we can all agree that this generation has way too many things on their hands that already go beyond voice acting, plus, the seiyuu industry is in a ridiculous point of competitiveness that music is being used as a platform to make each seiyuu sound and look unique.

The 90s generation of male seiyuu solo artists includes Toshiki Masuda (1990), Soma Saito (1991), Yuma Uchida (1992) and Tasuku Hatanaka (1994). There’s no need to enter in detail on how talented each of these men are, especially if you happen to listen to their music or happen to check our reviews out of curiosity. So, to sum it all up in this brief rant, This generation is overflowing with talent and Hatanaka is making a big name for himself in a slow, steady way.

Back to this review: if this album is any indication, we, Hatanaka’s fans, can all only expect more quality in upcoming releases. FIGHTER is a shockingly good album, a firm candidate for album of the year.

FIGHTER is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Fighter / Tasuku Hatanaka
Tasuku Hatanaka

This review was possible thanks to our sponsor, reina.


Tasuku Hatanaka released FIGHTER, album overflowing with songs capable of being hits and exuding a maturity that his repertoire up until now lacked. The choice of instruments and the vocals are tasteful. If that wasn't enough, all songs exude a "hit song" vibe. From what I felt while listening to this album, any song could have been used as a title track and it would still be a fantastic greeting card to this release.


Fighting for...
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).






You might also like...