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Tom Smith on the music behind Fairy Tail 5

It’s been said that two’s company, three’s a crowd. But for Japanese electro-pop duo AIRI and Koshiro, two is more than enough to party – to MAGIC PARTY! At least if the cutesy name of the pair’s musical project is to be believed.

MAGIC PARTY are a relatively new unit compared to some of the artists covered on this blog (especially with the recent introduction of One Piece). They formed in 2008 with the help of Amuse, the super powerful entertainment company that powers the likes of Perfume as well as ONE OK ROCK.

Leading up to the twosome’s formation, Koshiro had been a musician with varying success in his own right. Way back in 1999 he made a major label debut with MILKRUN, which would later change its name to AUDIO RULEZ in 2004. Their new name, as equally (if not more) awful than their last was the final nail in the band’s coffin, and after releasing just one album with the AUDIO moniker (which barely made it into the top 300 chart), they disbanded, never to be seen or heard again.

Koshiro didn’t let the experience get him down. He was still devoted to music. To him, audio still rulez [groan]. At that time AIRI was still a high school girl, nearly eight years his junior. Pressure was on for her to join a school club, and much like the plot of K-On!, she decided to join the school’s light music club. It turned out she quite enjoyed it, and had a great voice to match. Perfect for Koshiro, a now wandering electronic producer on the lookout for a voice to match his compositions.

Following on from AIRI’s time with the school music club, she decided to try her luck at a career in the arts, so she began taking auditions for various acting roles. Lucky for her (and for Koshiro), Amuse has their fingers in many pies besides music, and one of their scouts spotted AIRI at a TV drama audition and suggested that she teamed up Koshiro. The MAGIC PARTY begins.

MAGIC PARTY released their major debut single in 2009, a tie-in in with a popular new TV drama at the time. They decided to follow it up in 2010 with the second major single ‘Egao no Mahou’, this time being tied to the release of the new, fun anime series Fairy Tail.

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The track became the anime’s fifth opening, appearing in the latest boxset out this month from Manga Entertainment. Its style is typical of up-tempo, uplifting Jpop despite the pair having a wide range of western influences. Surprisingly they list their sources of inspiration to include Brit pop-rock such as The Beatles, The Who and Muse, to 80s classic pop such as Cyndi Lauper, and even a bit of 90s electronica with The Chemical Brothers. Who’d have guessed? Either way, with songs this cheery and catchy, sign me up to the party.

Fairy Tail 5, featuring MAGIC PARTY’s ‘Egao no Mahou’, is out on UK DVD and Blu-ray from 2 December from Manga Entertainment.

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