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Tom Smith on Naruto’s newest song.

Japanese duo Tacica won’t be winning the Manga UK Blog award for most original song title anytime soon, mostly because no such award exists. But if it did, they still wouldn’t win. Especially not with the title of their hit single and Naruto Shippuden opener, Newsong.

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Sporting soaring vocals and rock ’n roll guitar licks, Newsong was Tacica’s first tie-in with anime and the second track taken from their Newsong EP, bundled with three other new songs. Thankfully for all who are easily confused, only one new song was actually called Newsong, and that new song was Tacica’s highest charting new song until a newer song came along; last year’s single LEO. This saw the boys not only narrowly miss out on a top ten single, but also saw their return to the world of popular Japanese animation, this time for all new sports series Haikyuu!!, an anime following the bonds of friendship and team work between an underdog volleyball team.

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2015 sees Tacica celebrate ten years of being the underdog, too. The band began in Hokkaido in April 2005 under a slightly different name (but same pronunciation), Tashika, taken from founding member and bass player Yuta Konishi’s most used phrase in Japanese “Tashika ne…” which can mean either “Absolutely”, “Seems about right” or “If I’m not mistaken” depending on context.

For the first five years, the band were completely independent and despite reaching the top of Japan’s Oricon Indies chart in 2008 with their first single Yellow Crow, Tacica had yet to reveal their artist photo, or feature any of its members in the band’s music videos. If you wanted to see what they looked like, you’d have to drag yourself down to one of their gigs, and buy one of their limited editions CDs only available at shows and select music shops – talk about indie!

This kind of underground styled activity continued for Tacica until 2011, despite being signed with major label Sony at that point. However, Newsong also marked a new Tacica, one with an actual public image, for once. Sony’s site was updated with a long-awaited artist photo and the track’s music video featured the whole band – faces and all – and it was also the song that put the group on the map with overseas anime fans.

Coincidently, it was also through Sony where frontman Igari Shoichi met his wife, label mate Eriko Hashimoto of Chatmonchy fame in 2013, who now have a child together.

Right now the band is preparing the release of their fifth album entitled LOCUS, hitting stores in Japan this May and supported by a nationwide tour for the following couple of months. LOCUS will also include LEO, as well as one other anime tune; HALO, from sci-fi series Space Brothers. However, if you like their sound, you’ll have to stick to imports for now until Sony decide to push the button and let them loose digitally worldwide.

Tacica’s Newsong is featured in Naruto Shippuden Box Set 5, out courtesy of Manga UK on DVD from 13 April.

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