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Tom Smith on the band behind Bleach’s 14th Opening Theme

The Manga UK blog has covered a wide range of bands and singers from anime, but none of them have been on the same level as the visual kei / pop-rock group SID. Not only did they take their role in producing Bleach opening theme ‘Ranbu no Melody’ further than most (their bass player Aki went on to name his pets after the franchise’s characters), the song also become so popular that it eventually became a theme song for several other shows as well!

Bleach was the very first series that the single appeared in, and the group composed it with the anime in mind. The song is based on the singer’s own experiences of forming a band and the hardships endured while keeping the faith for a brighter future, with lyrics just vague enough that they could easily represent the struggles of Ichigo and pals, too.

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‘Ranbu no Melody’ was SID’s eighth major-label single. Yet, despite it selling loads of copies, having a tie-in with Bleach (it came bundled with an exclusive calendar of the series too!) and then going on to be themes for oddly named Japanese TV shows such as Bebop! High Heels (a cultural variety series, apparently) and even weirder music programs such as A-ha-N and Chart Busters R, ‘Ranbu no Melody’ somehow managed to be SID’s lowest charting release in the Oricon Singles Chart up until this point. Not that that was a bad thing, all of their singles, including this one, managed to secure a top-five chart position – but while previous efforts enjoyed comfy number two and three slots, this one made its debut at number five. Even to this day, with the band celebrating their tenth anniversary, they have yet to release a CD that hasn’t entered the top-ten. Something very few bands achieve.

It also wasn’t their first partnership with anime, that honour belonged to their debut single with label Ki/oon, ‘Monochrome Kiss’, featured in Black Butler. In the time between then and Bleach they had also managed to squeeze a couple of songs into Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as FMA: Brotherhood.

Today, SID are still a powerhouse in the visual kei / pop-rock scene, only really topped by the might of L’Arc-en-Ciel. They celebrated their tenth anniversary last year with a tour that included a massive show at Yokohama Stadium as well as the famous Nippon Budokan.

The anniversary parties continued. As well as the tour, the band released their first ‘best of’ album, compiling some of their most popular songs of the past ten years. All the hard work sung about in ‘Ranbu no Melody’ had finally paid off – the album went straight to number one in the charts.

Unfortunately for overseas fans, SID’s following outside of Japan isn’t as strong as a number of their contemporaries. Germany’s Gan Shin took a punt and released SID’s indie album Hoshi no Miyako a while back, but didn’t release much more after that. Now that album has fallen out of license, leaving SID’s music exclusive to Japan.

Bleach: Series 14 Part 2 is out now on UK DVD courtesy of Manga Entertainment.

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