As we approach the end of 2014, we take a good look at this years’ best seiyuu unit releases. This year had a lot of releases in that particular area, with Rejet‘s seiyuu units overpowering every other unit in terms of the number of releases per year. Lagrange Point released 2 singles and Marginal#4 released 3 singles and an album. A total of 6 releases that make them almost a constant presence in this top. They simple beat ELEKITER ROUND 0‘s double release back in the first quarter of the year.
But this was also an year with some comebacks and official debuts: Trignal and フェロ☆メン (Feromen) made their comeback with two pretty impressive releases, on the other side, it was time for Konami’s/Sony seiyuu units to take their first official steps: X.I.P and 3 Majesty debuted officially, besides the fact that their music was already known for a year until it was finally part of an official release.
A year where unity was the main engine to a lot of relevant, interesting and innovative music releases, we finally kick off this TOP 10 SEIYUU UNIT MUSIC RELEASES 2014 EDITION.
And in 10th place we find one of the most anticipated releases of the year, especially for those who already knew about the unit originating from Konami’s/Koei’s mobile otome game “Tokimeki Restaurant“. X.I.P are sassy, daring and sexy, while being the bad boys they are. An electrifying release with a lineup to die for.
#10 X.I.P “NAUGHTY !!!”
X.I.P released under Sony records their first single titled “Naughty !!!“, a single that totally fits completely with the unit’s image. Dressed in a robust, sexy and aggressive pop, X.I.P comes as the best idol unit from “Tokimeki Restaurant” with a very solid group of good seiyuu singers and with songs that aren’t as “corny” as you could maybe expect from a fictional idol unit in a women-driven game (otome game). That aggressiveness and sensuality in the lyrics is what made a lot of people so delirious about this release, that’s obviously the unit’s charm point and, of course, it didn’t fail to complete its mission. The seiyuu lineup is the best mix possible: Satoshi Hino, Kousuke Toriumi and Takuya Eguchi make this unit’s level of sexiness really level up as crazy and, in the end, the final product sounded incredibly good or aren’t we talking about three experienced singers with music to match their quality.
“Naughty !!!“ could’ve ranked higher if the track “Power Move” wasn’t a complete failure but this unit is still relevant both in the seiyuu business as well as this year’s best seiyuu units.
#9 – フェロ☆メン – 『抱きよせてTONIGHT』
フェロ☆メン brought us more of their seductive and provocative sound with this release. The visual-kei seiyuu unit consisting of Junichi Suwabe and Kousuke Toriumi really tried to set the bar high with their release and, although there were a lot of highs and lows on it, it was still a single worthy of being featured on this top. Regarding their sound the unit has showed us better arrangements and lyrics than in every other release made so far by them. They showed us a textbook sound with the trademark Pheromen elements – Spanish guitars, sax, trumpets and their disco synths – but the unit really took things far with the main focus of the unit shifting from their sound to their lyrics with the ballad ラブソング. 『抱きよせてTONIGHT』 was an artistic release that still has a long way to top this chart but was still incredibly fun and seductive – as expected by this duo.
#8 MARGINAL #4 “RED HOT SAGA”
This will be one of those “what the hell?!?” moments for some fans of this unit. Marginal#4 certainly have showed us a lot of quality music over this past year but some things weren’t just right and “Red Hot Saga” really can’t top this chart at will. This was the release that really has made the unit hit THE slope they’re actually in. The quality dropped between this single and the previous release and we started to notice bad things coming on our way. Still this release had two pearls in the midst of all that confusion dictated by the first two tracks. キミとFARAWAY and “My First Love” were the big highlights in a single that, would have passed in front of everyone and wouldn’t be noticed if not for those tracks. It was entertaining, had some quality moments especially in those ballads but that’s it. We’ve heard better from them and this release was just the first drop of what was about to drop almost completely with “Bingo!!!!“.
#7 – ELEKITER ROUND 0 – 狂騒輪舞曲
Kyōsō rondo really turned the tables around after the disappointment that was “Kaonashi Shinshi – Poker Face“. Being part of a double release this mini-album was released one month after that disaster and managed to deal with all the damage that had been made to the fans. Tachibana and Satoshi showed signs of starting to grow as lyricists, especially Satoshi with his fabulous ballad “白い雪の花” where emotions were put into trial and the end result was that emotional, beautifully arranged track where Satoshi shinned like no one else could. As a whole this was a mini-album that showed us a bit of the “classic ER0” that we were so used to. There were tracks for all tastes: sexy and danceable with 月の砂漠のジプシー, jazzy with 狂騒輪舞曲 and heavy rock with “Butterfly Cry“; in the end this was a mini-album that really appealed to fans and turned out to be not only their best of the year but also a great release when compared with other seiyuu unit releases.
#6 – TRIGNAL “SO FUNNY”
“So funny” was one of the biggest surprises that this year gave us. Trignal, seiyuu unit consisting of Ryohei Kimura, Tsubasa Yonaga and Takuya Eguchi made their first album release earlier this year. We were so used to their pretty pop that almost every time failed to impress that this album turned out to be a massive surprise for us. This isn’t your typical Trignal sound, that overly cheesy, almost responsible for making us stay with second hand embarrassment from how bad it sounded; the unit has grown and left behind all that unnecessary baggage and started a journey towards a more pop-rock sound, one that fits incredibly well with the unit. For the first time the members had their individual moments to shine. “so funny” was also an important release for Ryohei Kimura that had the opportunity to, for the first time, pen the lyrics for a track. “Naughty“, the best track in the whole release, is the one penned by Kimura and we couldn’t be happier for his debut as a lyricist to turn out so well. Looking at the release as a whole we can say that it has really solid material with great tracks, interesting solo moments and a completely new sound to Trignal that has really infected us. They sound great and have really set the bar high with “so funny“.
#5 – D.A.T – “NOCTURNE -DRASTIC DANCE-”
D.A.T once again brought us their electrifying dance pop with ““NOCTURNE -drastic dance-””. This was the unit’s second release and turned out even better than their debut single “VS”. It’s way addictive, it has the right amount of seductiveness and both singers sound on top of their game be it in the dance tracks or even in the technical ballads. “NOCTURNE -drastic dance-” is the clear highlight in a single that still is featured in our playlists and simply just doesn’t get tiring or old at all. This is a seiyuu unit that is sounding better with time and Takayuki Kondo has shown us that, while he hasn’t debuted solo, he’s got an impressive amount of talent to offer to this unit with his mesmerizing high notes and seductive lows. A unit full of energy and talent.
And reaching now the top four we’re presented with a complete domination from Rejet’s seiyuu units. And why is that? Both have lyricist and Rejet CEO Daisuke Iwasaki behind the lyrics and MIKOTO working on the music – this golden duo did amazingly well this year with 4 out of 6 releases all in the top 5. It’s almost surreal, most people might even think this top 5 is biased but this is a fact: these units sounded near perfection, both released highly entertaining, consistent singles / albums with a couple of incredibly awe inspiring tracks, they have an even more flawless lineup and didn’t resort to any big changes in their sound because the sound was already that good – let’s just not cry because of that awkward thing that Marginal#4 call “Bingo!!!!” -. Starting off in 4th:
#4 – LAGRANGE POINT “CATASTROPHE”
Lagrange Point make their debut in the best way possible enabling us to see more of two artists that were being shadowed by most of their peers. Toshiyuki Toyonaga, the long lost seiyuu pearl that really deserved to be noticed finally got his chance and stage/musical actor and seiyuu Genki Okawa got a shot at being part of a unit and show us just why he’s being part of so many musicals in these past few years. Both seiyuu have made their steps in the music business previously, while Toyonaga was an indie rocker until just recently, Okawa actually debuted under a solid label but his debut fell short. Now both are working as a unit and proving to everyone just how great they sound with their aggressive, slightly addictive rock sound and vocals to match with it perfectly. A unit with a lot of talent but as with Marginal#4, they need to be careful not to slip with their releases and make blunders despite their impressive talents.
#3 – MARGINAL#4 “CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL”
The best single released by Marginal#4 in this year of 2014. The addictive, seductive and suggestive fan-serviced CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL arrived in the early summer and really made us more excited then ever. The unit celebrated 1 year since their debut at that same time and this single seemed like the perfect way to celebrate it. Their pop-rock is addictive, energetic and fresh, always one step ahead of their competition and this single was the only proof we needed to confirm it. The title track was as scandalous and seductive as expected and the duos tracks sounded impeccable. In the end this was, without a doubt a high point both in this year’s releases and in Marginal#4‘s releases.
#2 – MARGINAL#4「STAR CLUSTER」
Marginal#4‘s best of release come out as a bit of a surprise when almost everyone was expecting either a new single or a 1st album. Still this is a release that encompasses a 8 month career without any hiccups. Marginal#4 debuted as the first seiyuu unit originated from Rejet and they impressed everyone with both their sound and their lineup full of stars. “Star Cluster” is the best way to get all the amazing four singles released until then adding two new tracks, one of them now standing in top best ballads delivered by M#4, a fantastic way to summarize how great this unit sounds without overwhelming the listener or being way too distracting with cheesy background instrumentals or anything of the sort. They keep the formula simple and it gave them a lot of success. Rock elements alongside the addictive electronic pop that makes all the tracks in this best of shine their best – one of those albums that will be a great greeting card for new fans.
#1 – Lagrange Point – Black Swan
Have you taken the time to listen to this little masterpiece? “Black Swan” has proven that Lagrange Point are at their best, making the next release better than the previous one. With the flawless “Never Sorrow“, this single simply blows everyone out of the park. A release completely spotless with performances that range between the highly emotional “Never Sorrow” to the piercing high throttle rocking performance in the title track “Black Swan“, this unit is showing amazing skills with solid performances and even better instrumental pieces to go along with those.
What still impresses a lot of people is how did they manage to blend so well with a classic piece such as Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake Op.20-Suite, Iii. Danse Des Petits Cygnes. It was a strike of genius that payed off.
This mix between rock and pop is what makes Lagrange Point stand out. It’s not your pretty pop like you’ve listened on Trignal‘s album or the jazzy pop-rock like ELEKITER ROUND 0 and not even the electronic pop-rock delivered by Lagrange Point‘s seniors in the business Marginal#4. It’s this distinctive pop-rock, resorting more to rock elements than pop ones that impresses. If you analyze their music you notice that the lyrics are clearly pop but the majority of the instrumentals stay far away from that genre. When it comes to deliver something meaningful, Lagrange Point seem to be right on point and this release proves it. How can they, in only a few months since their debut, make a second release so strong that is capable of dethrone Marginal#4‘s one year reign is something to think about. They debuted fast and following that pace they’ve taken the top spot as the best release by a seiyuu unit in this year of 2014 and are slowly trying to claim their spot as the top seiyuu unit.
It certainly was a year full of interesting releases, new ideas, concepts, major debuts, comebacks, big fails but in the end it was a year that all the fans can be satisfied with.
Here’s to hoping that 2015 can present us a lot of great music from these (and the others that weren’t featured here) seiyuu units.