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Tom Smith on the hi-fi hijackers

By the time Fairy Tail Part 9 hits the shops here, the J-pop band responsible for its ending theme will be fast approaching their second anniversary – of breaking up! Though, this particular writer can’t help but think Fairy Tail may have had something to do with the band’s demise…

Back in 2006, singer KIM and keyboard buddy AIBA were regulars at local rock joint SENDAI Neo BrotherZ. There, they bumped into their future bandmates SOYA and TOSHIRO. At the time, SOYA was vocalist and rapper in another band while TOSHIRO span and scratched vinyl as a DJ. By January 2007 they had united and made their new band; Hi-Fi CAMP, and they managed to get snapped up by a big entertainment agency shortly after.

In 2008 they were ready to unleash their first single Kizuna and break out of Sendai. They ended up having a massive hit, one that turned out to be the biggest of their career and landing them in the top 20 of Japan’s Oricon singles chart. It also featured in Jae-young Kwak’s sci-fi comedy Cyborg She, helping it build popularity outside of Japan too.

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Technically, it wasn’t exactly their most successful song. That title belongs to a single released two months later, Konotoki, Kitto Yume Ja Nai. Although this isn’t a Hi-Fi CAMP track per se, the band composed the music and wrote the lyrics to it before handing it over to J-pop giants SMAP, who managed to get a number one single with it, leading to the song selling enough copies for it be certified Gold by the Recordings Industry Association of Japan.

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Anyway, I digress. Back to Fairy Tail and the splitting up of Hi-Fi CAMP! The foursome had a string of so-so singles before jumping to major label Pony Canyon towards the end of 2011. With their help, the boys managed to land their first (and only) anime tie-in – no prizes for guessing which one.

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The song was Kono Te Nobashite (‘This Stretched Out Hand’), and it first appeared from episode 99 of Fairy Tail, later to be replaced by the band’s second outing in anime, entitled Boys Be Ambitious!!, following through until episode 125. Despite the catchiness of either track, they managed to earn the band some of their worst chart positions so far, barely making it in to the top 100. Pony Canyon swiftly dropped them, and the band quickly fell apart.

The Fairy Tail curse? I’m not sure. But if you are a fan of the band, or just liked the tracks you heard in the series, don’t fret too much. A new band has emerged featuring Hi-Fi CAMP’s founding members KIM and AIBA, called Panda Lion. This new band has two additional vocalists besides KIM, as well as a DJ, who, according to the band’s profile page, is also in charge of ‘clapping’ – It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it

Fairy Tail Part 9 is out on UK DVD courtesy of Manga Entertainment.

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