2D groups impressed in 2023 with stellar performances, technical vocals, and groovy music. And ZOOL is your best 2D group of 2023!
From January 5 to 15, 2024, readers and viewers of THTFHQ voted for these awards valuing, first and foremost, talent and quality over popularity.
Nominees were shortlisted by The Hand That Feeds HQ and our readers chose a winner.
To avoid petty fights between fans and disrespect towards seiyuu and their fans, no votes are disclosed in any written features covering THTFHQ AWARDS 2023.
If you want to check the abridged version of the complete results of this year’s edition, those were unveiled on episode 182 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, THTFHQ’s weekly podcast all about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.
ZOOL kicked off the year with its first one-man live show “ŹOOĻ LIVE LEGACY “APOŹ””.
With a set filled with urban, fiery dance tunes and the occasional R&B and Rap-rock tune, the talented quartet part of the IDOLiSH7 franchise showed how impressive and cohesive they can be on stage – if their performances at IDOLiSH7’s franchise live shows up until now hadn’t been enough to convince everyone.
Later in the year, the group released its 2nd album “Źquare” and oh boy, it was one of the best albums of the year, even if it arrived a bit later in 2023.
This album elevated the group’s quality while showcasing new sides to them, all wrapped up in a series of pop and rap-rock tunes that make an impact.
ZOOL pushed the envelope in 2023 and is your 2D group of the year.
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):
In 2023, Anthos* kept on impressing with their performances while adding surprises along the way.
With all of these CDs, the group and its members showed why they are one of the most exciting and technical 2D groups out there.
Not only did fans get to listen to the power vocals by Kent Ito, Shunichi Toki and Shun Horie but everyone else stepped up to impress, with Seiichiro Yamashita standing out in “Regret” (song from the CD “Fake”) and Wataru Komada, Toshiki Masuda and Daiki Hamano joining in those high notes in “The other side” (from “OTHER”).
The group keeps on improving instead of reinventing itself to attract attention. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why Anthos* continues to be as exciting and interesting as ever.
Worth adding that the group was also back on stage for Hana Doll* -Behind The Frame- Anthos* Stage Event 2023, live + variety event held in June in which Anthos* once again dazzled everyone.
I’ve said it countless times, 2023 was XlamV’s year, and seeing how disruptive they were while focusing on quality over quantity, they got a good shot at being your 2D group of the year.
It is an understatement to say that XlamV is an insanely talented group.
If the digital singles – also included in the EP, “Climb” – were an indication of anything, it was that you and I were experiencing the birth of a new group set on delivering quality performances that stray away from what is a trend, instead focusing on what makes sense taking into account the outstanding vocals at their disposal.
The journey for this group has been quite amazing since its official debut in 2023 and the series of digital singles – culminating in the EP “Climb” – proved this group had everything to be in conversation as the biggest surprise of the year and one of the best 2D groups active in 2023.
It is rare to have a group so in sync vocally right off the bat, but XlamV has impressed in this regard.
And because they had nothing to lose, they were sounding, looking, and uniquely presenting themselves. They made a good case for themselves as a good alternative to the generic pop idol trend that keeps on being a winning formula in the 2D music industry.
Oh boy, GYROAXIA’s year was… odd. Don’t get me wrong, the band released amazing singles – with “ALL MY PARTS” being THE highlight – and held live shows, their own tour, and everything else in between.
But it seems that all that hype the band had surrounding them in 2023 was nowhere to be found. Do you feel me?
And why were they back to releasing music with Bushiroad Music? Why weren’t they releasing music with UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN?
Those were the two biggest questions I had in my mind throughout the year.
Of course, changing who they released music with didn’t affect the quality of their music – it was still bloody amazing, if not even better than ever. But it was still odd how, in 1 year, they went back and forth between music labels. That is not only rare to happen but also strange.
Still, the band was one of the biggest players in 2023, especially starting from the Summer of 2023 with the release of several digital singles – that ended up being shredding rock tunes made to hype you up – not only for their summer tour but also for what may come in 2024 (let’s hope it’s a new album, fingers crossed!).
BAE had a strong year in the Road to Legend CD series, going up against all of the coolest teams in the Paradox Live franchise to, ultimately, claim their spot in the Road to Legend final against cozmez and Goku Luck.
The stylish rap trio ended up winning that battle with “Ch△mp1on“.
On top of it all, with the premiere of the anime adaptation, Paradox Live THE ANIMATION, the group got a boost in exposure and popularity that I believe, ended up further solidifying the group’s stance within the franchise.
The Hypnosis Mic franchise was not as active in 2023 as it had been in previous years, at least, when it comes to releasing new music.
Still, during the summer, the franchise released two EPs – “The Block Party – HOMIEs -” and “The Block Party – HOODs –” – and showed different sides to all crews.
While everyone was on top of their game, delivering surprising – and pretty unique – performances, it was the members of Fling Posse who impressed the most with their performances. But honestly, in 2023, all crews were outstanding.
Early in the year, Fling Posse held a sold-out show Fling Posse to release 8th LIVE ≪CONNECT THE LINE≫ and in April, they participated in Hypnosis Mic 9th LIVE “ZERO OUT”.
Wrapping up the year, the franchise was back for the 2nd season of its anime adaptation Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima +, tying it up with the release of the album “Welcome 2 Rhyme Anima+”.
It seems like this is a blast of the past to have bands from the Band Yarouze! franchise releasing music.
And indeed, in 2023, BLAST, made a sudden comeback with the release of the digital single “YATSUARI” and joined OSIRIS for their first live in a couple of years, “Dream Match Duel Gig 2023 RAVEN/ADVENT”.
While I feel like fans were delighted with all of this, I also feel like these hints at a full-fledged comeback by the Band Yarouze! franchise had us all wishing for more, and more.
BLAST’s comeback was a big surprise and them releasing music again was a delight. Here’s to wishing the band and the Band Yarouze! franchise can return to full activity – in whichever capacity it works for them – in 2024.
The VAZZROCK franchise had a quieter 2023 in comparison to the extremely busy 2022.
Still, the franchise was all in for the 5th season of the bi-color CD series, bringing more new performances and awesome songs to the table.
VAZZY‘s members keep on being impressively amazing throughout their performances be it solo or as part of duos, which is a big plus in my books.
The lack of a live show in 2023 was odd – as the franchise had been holding those without a miss since their start – but even if that was missing, VAZZY was there to impress in the bi-color series.
In 2023, the aoppella!? franchise underwent a couple of changes, with Klab moving away from the franchise and giving the reigns to MARVELOUS.
FYA’M’ yet again continued to deliver outstanding performances with their unique brand of R&B and soul acapella.
Still, out of all groups in the franchise, FYA’M’ keeps on being the one with the most complete lineup covering all of the men’s main vocal ranges – tenor, baritone, and bass.
Adding to that, they have a percussion and bass like no other group in the franchise, really being the heart and soul of FYA’M’, a key to their groovy R&B style.
NEO BASARA makes a new entry in the THTFHQ AWARDS and that’s because I finally got to check their music out (please wait a bit until the reviews make their way to the website).
The group, featuring vocals by Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Hinata Tadokoro and Shun Horie was in a league of its own with their first solo performances (at least the first solo performances by characters other than the #1 host in each group/house).
However, the standout performance in the FABULOUS NIGHT franchise – among all released in 2023 – belonged to Reimu (CV: Toshiyuki Toyonaga) with “T.T.E.(Till the end)“.
If you’ve listened to the song, you know why it is a big reason why NEO BASARA was chosen as the representative group for the FABULOUS NIGHT franchise at this year’s edition of the THTFHQ AWARDS.
It is just THAT good. It is unbelievably good. It is a performance that shows just how freakin’ talented Toyonaga is – honestly, by now this is a fact – as well as the potential that NEO BASARA has as a group to impress in upcoming releases.
Thank you to everyone who voted at the THTFHQ AWARDS 2023!