Tom Smith asks Galileo Galileo to name their favourite anime
The last 18 months couldn’t have gone better for Hokkaido’s Galileo Galilei. Barely out of school, the four-piece indie unit wowed judges at the Senkou Roit music festival, a teenage talent contest for unsigned musicians, and not only won the competition but nailed a record deal with major label SME Records!
Since then, Galileo Galilei’s fame has rocketed to astronomical levels. Their major debut single ‘Natsu Sora’ (Summer Sky) ranked up over one million downloads and featured in the Japanese baseball anime Big Windup!, while their debut album ‘Parade’ rocked the top five of Japan’s weekly Oricon chart and received an international release. Their connection with anime also continued with another of their songs, ‘Aoi Shiori’ (Blue Bookmark) becoming the fitting theme to the bitter-sweet series AnoHana, as well as the their next single ‘Asu E’ opening Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, which began airing on Japanese TV last month.
They even have a full-length film inspired by and named after one of their very first songs; ‘Kanseitou’ (Control Tower), which received its European premier at this year’s Raindance Film Festival in London. So, with so much success in the charts, as well as on screen, I thought it was time to see which anime series the band would love to have their music a part of.
Vocalist and lead songwriter Yuki Ozaki’s first choice is High School! Kimengumi, originally shown in the mid-80s. This comedic look at high school life focuses on a group of misfits who form a ‘Funny Face Club’, and was originally based on the manga of the same name from Motoei Shinzawa. The anime and manga have been re-run and reprinted a number of times since and is highly regarded amongst Japanese. It’s even grabbed the attention of industry folk across the pond, with Michael Gombos, director of Asian marketing for American comic publisher Dark Horse calling it the funniest manga he’d ever read.
The school theme continues with Strawberry Marshmallow, a series which follows the cute and funny adventures of four primary school girls and their older-sister figure. It’s also peppered with subtle nods to musicians, such as one character’s dog who suspiciously shares the same name as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ former guitarist John Frusciante. It’s also been suggested that the series title is a reference to a single from Tamio Okuda, who is also a former guitarist (of Unicorn fame).
Retro space-opera fun awaits in Ozaki’s third selection, Cobra. The series began life in 1978 and has spawned countless spin offs, including the film Space Adventure Cobra which was released by Manga Entertainment on UK DVD for a limited time.
The fourth choice predates Cobra by 8 years; Dokonjyou Gaeru (‘Gutsy Frog’). Returning to the school setting, this comedy’s premise hangs on the clumsy Hiroshi who manages to accidently squish a frog. The frog magically comes back to life as a print on Hiroshi’s shirt – and proceeds to add commentary on Hiroshi’s every move thereafter.
Ozaki’s final series that he would have loved to have been a part of is The Adventures of Hutch the Honeybee, also from the 70s. Don’t let its happy-go-lucky name fool you, the story follows a young bee searching for his missing mother. However, behind its cute presentation is a cruel script which leads to several lead characters dying – and a generation of Japanese children emotionally scarred. Lucky, then, they remade it in 1989 so a whole new generation of kiddies could weep.
“I choose these titles because we like them! They are all very famous, legendary Japanese animation”, states Yuki Ozaki.
Parade, Galileo Galilei’s debut album is out now in the UK.