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Bleach Music: Universe

Monday 9th June 2014

Tom Smith on series 13’s rainbow rockers...

Bleach - UniverseWhile the Soul Reapers form an uneasy alliance with the Visoreds in Bleach series 13 part 2, the band providing the episode’s ending theme have an uneasy alliance of their own.

Universe formed in 2002 when four childhood buddies grabbed some instruments and decided to make a band in the first year of junior high. Like many newly formed groups, lacking the funds to hire venues to put on shows of their own, the boys took to the streets of their local area to perform to indifferent strangers in hope of gaining a following.

After several local music festival appearances and the odd proper gig, the guys spot a competition between chewing gum company Lotte and Sony who are searching for a new talent to feature in an upcoming commercial. Universe enter it, win and Sony sign them on the spot, placing them on their Defstar label, along with the likes of Beat Crusaders, Rookiez is Punk’d and Dev Parade. It was the start of a turbulent relationship.

It all started off so well. That winning song became Universe’s 2010 debut single ‘Haruiro’, and was quickly followed up by another – much less edible – tie-in; ‘Echoes’. This one was coupled with anime and became the 24th ending of Bleach, spanning episodes of 279-291.

This dose of dreamy guitar-pop didn’t quite hit the right chord, though. While the cheery, catchy melody of ‘Haruiro’ managed to peak at number 27 in the charts, the Bleach-based follow-up failed to make the top 50 altogether.  And after Universe’s first major EP was released and suffered a similar fate, the band was soon dropped from Defstar altogether.

The guys refused to give up and returned a year later with another EP, this time under the wings of an indie label. Part of the promotion involved Universe opening their own official YouTube channel, (found here) with worldwide access – something rarely done with artists belonging to Sony.

Despite budgets for music videos being reduced to whatever change they had spare, and their make-up and stylists becoming a thing of the past, their music production remained consistent and their core fans continued to show their support. The first indie release, ‘Kawaii’ captured all of this in its video. Filmed entirely in one shot, with a static camera, a lone member sits and sings while playing a very sweet acoustic tune on guitar as a couple stop to listen. A nod back to their days performing on the streets? Most likely, especially considering their next video release ‘Graduation’ is filmed entirely in a school, very much like where they first met.

Universe are still active. After eight months of radio silence, the band’s official YouTube channel recently spurted out a shortened version of their brand new single ‘Nijiboshi’ (‘Rainbow Star’). It’s the foursome’s first release since Cosmo Museum, their first and only full-length album which was released last year.

Bleach Series 13 Part 2 is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now


Bleach Series 13 Part 2 (episodes 279-291)

was £29.99
The Soul Reapers form an uneasy alliance with the Visoreds, and the battle against the Espadas resumes. Barragan, the former ruler of Hueco Mundo who was displaced by Aizen, appears to be defeated by the combined efforts of Hachigen and Soi Fon until they discover him forcing open Hachigen's Shiju Saimon barrier.

Later, Ichigo is troubled that he can't seem to use his Hollowfication to full effect. And with the ultimate battle with Aizen looming, he'll need every ounce of power!

Contains episodes 280-291.

Special Features: Omake, Clean Opening & Ending.

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.



Bleach music: Aqua Timez

Tom Smith on Aqua Timez, the band from the Bleach 6.2 soundtrack.
Many of the artists who perform the many themes of Bleach can attribute their entry to mainstream success to the famous anime series. And if not to Bleach, then to anime in general. That was until the five-strong pop squad Aqua Timez entered the scene.

YUI does Bleach for Rollingstar

Tom Smith reports on YUI, the all-caps rock chick.
It’s been suggested that Japan’s singer, song-writing guitar chick YUI is her country’s answer to Avril Lavigne. Amid an industry manufactured and micro-managed to levels that make England’s best pop efforts seem amateur in comparison, she stands out as beacon of musical delight. For teenage girls, she’s proof that you don’t need to buy into the squeaky clean, plastic smiles of sickeningly sweet J-pop to be a successful female musician; for guys she’s the girl next door, and for anime fans she’s composed and performed themes in some of the most prominent series of recent years, including Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Bleach music: SID

Tom Smith on the band behind Bleach’s 14th Opening Theme
"The song is based on the singer’s own experiences of forming a band and the hardships endured while keeping the faith for a brighter future, with lyrics just vague enough that they could easily represent the struggles of Ichigo and pals, too."

Bleach and Japanese cleaning products

Matt Kamen strangles a puppy… for science
It’s gratifying to see a generation of people so interested in hygiene – that must be why you’re lining up to buy a series called ‘Bleach’, right? If some orange haired janitor with a fancy mop (mop, magical talking death sword – whatever) excites you, hold on for these other heroes of the Japanese cupboard space!

Bleach music: Kenichi Asai

Tom Smith on ‘Mad Surfer’ 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.

Bleach music: SunSet Swish

Tom Smith on the band behind Bleach’s 21st Ending Theme
SunSet Swish held their first-ever live performance on Valentine’s Day 2004, at a small venue in Osaka Prefecture’s Hirakata city. A fitting introduction to the music world for a band whose claim to fame is having quite possibly the soppiest theme in Bleach history: ‘Sakurabito’.


The popular anime series Tiger & Bunny will be receiving a new movie, and this time it’s a live-action Hollywood film.
Over the next few weeks we will be choosing our favourite Japanese and English voice actors. Disagree with our choices? Make sure you let us know your favourites!
With plethora of live-action anime adaptations that are already out or in the works such as Parasyte, Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, it’s no surprise that studios are clamouring to get their hands on the next big live-action hit.

Where is Victorian Romance Emma?

Why do we get Downton, but not Emma?
Fans of K-On! The Movie’s lovely and realistic vision of London may not be aware that in between that film and Steamboy’s loving depiction of a steampunk-era Manchester and London rests a show that is as accurate as either, and yet is also arguably the most English anime show ever made. Yet it still cannot be bought on DVD in the UK itself.

Hayao Miyazaki versus Alan Moore

Seconds out for the battle of the beards
They’re world-famous practitioners of pictorial media. They started out labouring in despised sub-cultures, then rose to become full-blown artists with establishment respect. Oh, and they both have really impressive facial hair. Miyazaki prefers to keep his beard neatly trimmed, but Moore’s magnificent bristle evokes a shaggy primeval forest, housing a Paleolithic shaman from Northampton or a bouncing bellowing Totoro. Or possibly both.
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