THTFHQ AWARDS 2021: Best band/seiyuu unit of the year

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The few bands fronted by male seiyuu rocked the stage while seiyuu units were reborn with new sound and concepts that impressed everyone.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

From December 27, 2021, until January 10, 2022, over 2500 of our readers voted at THTFHQ AWARDS 2021.

Nominees were shortlisted by The Hand That Feeds HQ and a winner emerged, however, in the interest of fairness – and want to put the spotlight on other male seiyuu that also had a fantastic 2021 -, this feature includes all 5 seiyuu units/bands that were up for voting, with only #1 being ranked.

To avoid petty fights between fans and disrespect towards seiyuu and their fans, no votes are disclosed in any of the written features covering THTFHQ AWARDS 2021.

If you want to check the abridged version of the complete results of this year’s edition, those were unveiled on episode 78 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, our weekly podcast all about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.

Without further ado, these are the bands/seiyuu units that shone in 2021.

#1 GRANRODEO

There is so much love for GRANRODEO in this edition of THTFHQ AWARDS! Just like in last year’s edition, GRANRODEO is your Best Band of the Year!

I’ve already talked about how impressive GRANRODEO was in 2021. The band fronted by KISHOW and with compositions and guitar work by e-ZUKA fired on all cylinders last year, challenging themselves with the creation of “Bokutachi no Gunzou”, the band’s 2nd concept album.

The band not only overcame the challenge but also exceeded everyone’s expectations – that were already pretty high (let’s admit it, GRANRODEO never disappoints) – delivering a heartbreaking tale following a character that has had a presence within the band’s music for a decade.

I’m a massive sucker for concept albums so I was all over this story and found myself going through an emotional rollercoaster.

There is a lingering nostalgia about the album, winking at those simple days as a student and then a wake-up call to reality as you see what the end of the journey is like. Or, at least, what can be pretty much described as a haunting experience as you see the lights go out.

But let’s not forget that the band released “Treasure Pleasure”, a single that was all about its retro funk-rock sound and what an underrated single that one is. Do give a listen to that single if you like a bouncy, bass-driven rock with a summer vibe. Hell, do give a listen to that single if you like good rock music!

And if you ever fancied listening to GRANRODEO’s songs with jazz or acoustic rock arrangements on top, the band released as well “Live Session “Rodeo Note” vol.1”.

On top of releasing 2 outstanding original CDs and an elegant acoustic CD, GRANRODEO found time to finally celebrate its 15th anniversary with a set of live shows in the first quarter of 2021 then, in May, the band held GRANRODEO LIVE 2021 “Rodeo Coaster”, making the live show available as a livestream for international fans.

GRANRODEO had a perfect 2021, further solidifying its stance as the best band fronted by seiyuu as well as your winner in the Best Band/Seiyuu Unit of the Year category at THTFHQ AWARDS 2021.

From this point on, the seiyuu mentioned are not ranked (the order in which they appear below doesn’t correspond to the place they ranked in the final voting):

Sir Vanity

Sir Vanity

Sir Vanity was pretty dormant after its debut in 2020 however, little did fans know that the rock band fronted by Yoshiki Nakajima and Yuichiro Umehara would end up releasing 3 digital singles, one of those featured as the theme song for the Tokyo Revengers stage play.

The band released the solo track “Ajisai” (performed and with lyrics by Yoshiki Nakajima), “HERO” and “goldfish” (performed and with lyrics by Yuichiro Umehara), showing a bit more of what the band can do and how their dynamic will be from now on (solo and band releases from time to time).

It is still uncertain if the band will start to be more active in 2022 but the activity it got in 2021 was enough to satisfy fans of Sir Vanity.

SparQlew

SparQlew
SparQlew

SparQlew had a crazy year.

The unit held SparQlew Live Tour 2021 ”Breath” early on in the year.

And mid-way through the year SparQlew announced a complete change of sound and concept, approaching their music in a mature way, putting aside the bubbly, preppy sound that marked the first years of their career.

At the same time, the unit announced the release of its first mini-album “Daybreak”, confirming that it’d only include 1 SparQlew song, with the rest of the album being comprised of solo songs by all members.

That was surprising, putting on the spotlight the singer-songwriter skills of some of the members, having them explore the music genres they love or write, and telling the stories they want to their fans.

“Daybreak” went on to be the seiyuu unit’s best album to date as well as one of the best albums released in 2021.

Wrapping up the year – and thus, putting emphasis on the “crazy year” -, SparQlew announced the departure of Shoya Chiba from the group as well as from Kiramune, with Chiba now being free to sign with whichever music label wants him (if he even wants to be a solo artist or join a seiyuu unit elsewhere).

Despite its ups and downs SparQlew’s 2021 was bloody awesome, a massive step forward for what is, currently, one of the best seiyuu units out there.

TRD

TRD

TRD made its debut in 2021. Takayuki Kondo and Daisuke Ono, formerly known as members of EDM-Pop seiyuu unit D.A.T., reunited after disbanding in 2020.

However, as you can expect, the duo couldn’t continue with the name D.A.T. upon changing music labels, they signed to PONY CANYON and Marine Entertainment is the one that owns the name “D.A.T.”.

The change of name also marked a change of sound for the duo. Their debut mini-album “TRAD” was all about K-pop-inspired pop music. Intense, fast-paced, trendy, made to attract new generations of fans as well as cater ever so slightly to international fans.

That mini-album was followed by the single “Strangers” that continued to capitalize on that sound but also brought back some of the elements that were part of their sound as D.A.T.

The duo was well received – despite the relatively lukewarm sales numbers – and sparked a wave of nostalgia to everyone that followed D.A.T. until their disbandment only to have the awesome surprise that was them making a comeback with a brand-new image and sound.

Kashicomi

Kashicomi

One year since the release of their outstanding 1st mini-album “Dusk”, Kashicomi, seiyuu unit consisting of Shoya Chiba and Sho Nogami, announced the release of a new single.

fight, fire with fire/ Kimi ni Utau Refrain” arrived later in the year, getting a lukewarm reception by fans, which is quite surprising and shocking at the same time given the sheer quality that Kashicomi has both on vocals as well as sound-wise (Rock music).

The duo wasn’t active beyond that release, still, for what it’s worth, Kashicomi continues to be one of the most exciting seiyuu units out there, criminally underrated, yet easily a top 3 best seiyuu unit when it comes to their quality overall and outstanding chemistry on the vocal end.


Thank you to everyone that voted and spread the word about THTFHQ AWARDS 2021!

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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