0 Items | £0.00


Bleach music: Kenichi Asai

Friday 23rd May 2014

Tom Smith on ‘Mad Surfer’ Kenichi Asai

Kenichi Asai

“Try ‘n boogie, guns n’ tattoo” – there’s no greater embodiment of Kenichi Asai’s work than that opening line. As the words are dragged across the bluesy, rock n’ roll riff of Mad Surfer – the Japanese rebel’s song used as the 20th closing of Bleach – it’s difficult not to imagine smoke filled bars, motorcycles or leather jacketed misfits sporting hairdos your mother wouldn’t approve of.

Kenichi Asai is all of the above. He is rock and roll personified, and regarded amongst Japan’s most iconic rock stars and youth culture idols. Asai found his way into rock music like a true juvenile delinquent; by trashing his motorcycle and taking the next few months off of school to fix his broken bones. Immobile and bored out of his skull, he took to art as a way to express his imagination; first with paintings, and later through music after teaching himself guitar.

Skip forwards a few years and Kenichi is working shifts in construction while partying like an animal at the weekend in downtown Nagoya. During his usual rampage through the clubs and bars he notices an equally cool cat going by the name of Toshiyuki Terui, who keeps showing up at the same joints. Soon they would pair up, find a dummer named Tatsuya Nakamura, and form a band that would define the very essence of 90s alternative youth culture in Japan; Blankey Jet City. But first they have to get noticed.

Long before X Factor, Japan had Ikaten, a variety show where a panel of judges would tell hopeful contestants why they shouldn’t quit their day jobs. It might not be very rock, or all that roll, by today’s standards but the trio auditioned anyway, and smashed it – just check out how ecstatic they were with the judges’ verdict:

The appearance had several major labels chasing them for a record deal, though it was Toshiba EMI who won after offering them studio time in London – a mecca for Japanese rock fans, and a place where guitar legend Tomoyasu Hotei would later become a local of (who coincidentally invited Tatsuya Nakamura to come and play drums for him at his high profile show in London last year).

Skip forwards some more and Kenichi Asai’s managed to knock out more than 50 albums between his work with Blankey Jet City and several other bands following Blankey’s break up in 2000, including six under his own name as a solo artist. Bleach’s Mad Surfer can be found on his album fourth album Sphinx Rose.

Bizarrely the only release available from Kenichi in the UK is a maxi single entitled Devil (found here on iTunes). It’s bizarre because it seems to be deleted from his discography according to his record label, and there’s no mention of it on his Japanese Wikipedia entry, despite it being released two years before his supposed ‘first solo single’ Kiken Sugiru. Perhaps it’s a special gift just for England? After all, when Blankey Jet City played in London in the 90s, their poster sneakily had ‘No Japanese allowed’ plastered across it in their mother language – maybe this single’s the same...

Bleach Series 12 Zanpakuto: The Alternate, featuring Kenichi Asai’s ‘Mad Surfer’ as its closing, is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now


Bleach Series 12 Part 1 - Zanpakutō: The Alternate (episodes 230-241)

was £24.99
A mysterious man has given physical form to the Zanpakuto of all captains and lieutenants of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. Newly liberated, the Zanpakuto wreak havoc upon the Soul Society and their former masters. Can Ichigo and the Thirteen Court Guard Squads rein them in before it's too late? More importantly, are they ready to uncover the truth, lies, and deceit that await them?



Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Culture shocks and military musings, in Gen Urobuchi's hard-hitting anime
"It’s an interesting time to have a hero with a militarist outlook. This blog has discussed the arguments over the alleged political content in the blockbusting Attack on Titan and Ghibli’s film The Wind Rises. In both cases, the controversies connects to Japan’s own militarist past in the 1930s and ‘40s, and the spectres they conjure up in countries round the world; of Japanese kamikaze pilots, of torturers ruling POW camps, of the so-called “banzai charges” of soldiers sworn to die for their Emperor."

Kite: the Movie

A live-action remake of the anime classic
Right, hands up those of you who have been betting on which 1990s anime would get a Western live-action remake first. Ok, who had Ghost in the Shell? Evangelion? Cowboy Bebop? But Yasuomi Umetsu’s notorious sexed-up actioner Kite (1998) has beaten them all to the screen, starring anime fan Samuel L. Jackson.

Wrinkles vs Roujin Z

Animation for the old... there's only one way to settle this... FIGHT!
Wrinkles is a new grown-up Spanish animated film about elderly people in a care home. Hang on a bit, that can’t be right. Animation and the elderly; they’re two things which have nothing to do with each other. Well, except for...

Magi the Labyrinth of Magic

In search of the animated Arabian Nights
The literary history of the Arabian Nights that underlies Magi is fascinating. The one point that any Magi fan should know to sound erudite is that three of the show’s main characters, Aladdin, Alibaba and Sinbad, are named after famous Arabian Nights heroes. However, none of these heroes were actually in the original collection.
Last week we gave you the opportunity to vote for your favourite male character from Attack on Titan. This week is your chance to vote for your favourite female character and while there may be fewer choices, we feel it’s definitely anyone’s game this week.

Sword Art Online music: Luna Haruna

Tom Smith on the Gothic Lolita who overflies all the competition
Meet Haruna, the artist behind Sword Art Online’s third ending theme; Overly. At the age of twenty she managed to land her dream job as a singer. And not just any singer; an anime singer!
Yesterday, the announcement video for the Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (Magi: Adventure of Sinbad) anime began streaming. The anime series will be based on the manga of the same name, which is set 30 years prior to the main series, and depicts the early years of the fan-favourite, Sinbad.

Podcast: The Evangelion Two-Step

Box sets and brutal violence, in our 23rd podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani and Andrew Hewson for our 23rd podcast., featuring cover woes, delayed shows, and several uses of the word Slash. Your questions answered, dodged or otherwise belittled, while Jerome confesses to his Facebook addiction, and Jeremy is reprimanded for flagging his own segues.

Robotics Notes

Andrew Osmond tries to build his own robot…
Robotics;Notes could be called You Can Build Your Own Giant Robot! It’s about geeks engaged in a preposterous project; building the mecha they’ve seen in anime for real. The show’s aimed at viewers who might think they really could. After all, they’d probably heard of otaku who have built oversized robots for real.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. Bleach music: Kenichi Asai from the UK's best Anime Blog.