The chupacabra, a goat sucking cryptoid said to inhabit the Americas. CHU-BURA, a Japanese rock song from the band KELUN. Thanks to Manga Entertainment, there is proof that one of these now exists within the UK – and best yet, it poses no known risks to goat-kind. Yes, series nine of Bleach is here and it brings with it a single opening theme, and it would become Kelun’s most popular track to date.
Back in 2006 the band was known by a very different name. UTARI. The line-up was almost identical to today, with Ryousuke Kojima supplying the vocals, guitar and piano work, Satou Shuusake dropping bass-lines and Masahiro Kajitani keeping everything together on drums. Under that name the trio released a debut EP and were soon rocking up the Oricon indie chart.
By the following year the band made the transition to a major label, signing with Sony Music Entertainment. They emerged with a new name, continuing their activities, this time under the banner of KELUN. Within months their first major CD hit the shelves, entitled Astral Lamp. It featured six tracks, two of which became theme songs. First, opening track ‘SIGNAL’ was used as the sixth ending to the anime series Gintama. Then, album track ‘HEART BEAT’ as the opening theme to the live action vamp-boy drama RH Plus.
The CD peaked at 78 in the charts, and was followed up with their debut single ‘SIXTEEN GIRL’ – which may or may not be an Engrish prophecy as to how many people would buy it. Either way, it failed to enter the top 100 despite heavy tie-ins with various television shows.
Thankfully KELUN were third time lucky with their follow up single. It was CHU-BURA, and for Bleach fans, the CD came with two songs from their favourite franchise; the title track, from series nine, and the grammar defying B-side ‘Boy’s Don’t Cry’, which featured as the opening to the PSP action RPG Bleach: Soul Carnival. The single rocketed the band into the charts, landing them a respectable position at 20 in its opening week on sale – still KELUN’s highest ever ranking. Unfortunately, bassist Satou left the band just before the single hit, being quickly replaced by new boy Yukito, completing the group’s current line-up.
CHU-BURA’s success couldn’t have been better timed. Two months after its release KELUN dropped their first full length album, fresh off the success of the track. The whopping 17-track self-titled beast of an album included the single, plus alternative versions of ‘SIXTEEN GIRL’ and ‘SIGNAL’ from their first major EP. It seemed like they were set, they’d finally made it. And then the sales figures came in; KELUN (the album) got as high as 140 in the chart. From there, besides one collaboration single in 2009, the band disappeared from the limelight without a trace (their homepage has also been deleted). A shame, but at the least the legacy that is CHU-BURA lives on in Bleach.
Every ten years, seven magicians compete with them for a secret war in order to possess the Holy Grail. After this battle, the magician winner will have the right to see a heightened desire. Emiya Shiro is an ordinary high school boy except that he is the adopted child of a very powerful magician died. Emiya does not have the talent of his father but to cultivate a very specific, it can repair items. But the day he finds himself facing a battle between two wizards, it will awaken the power that lies dormant in him as a young woman's beauty as devastating as its power: Saber. The order of seven magicians is now met, the war begins.
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.
Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.
More than one way to skin a catbus, in our 24th podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani, Andrew Hewson and Jonathan Clements, for a series of rants and ill-informed commentary about anime, manga, the storm over the Hugo Awards, and your most awkward convention moment.
Mamoru Oshii’s unashamedly esoteric sequel to his earlier global crossover Ghost in the Shell lent the most credibility to claims for anime as ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’, when it became the first animated film from Japan to be entered in competition at Cannes.
Does the future of anime lie on the big screen, and if so, will developments in cinema exhibition technologies redefine its form, content and audiences in the digital age? These are questions many are asking as pundits declare conventional anime’s glory days to be a thing of the past.
Andrew Osmond talks to the director of Shin-chan and Colorful
As the eleventh Japan Touring Film Programme heads through Britain (see here for venues and here for our write-up), we took the opportunity to speak to the director of the anime entry, the feature film Colorful. Keiichi Hara has been working in anime for thirty-odd years, gaining experience through working with two of Japan’s most popular kids’ characters, Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan. He then graduated to his own projects, and is now a freelancer who pushes at the boundaries of what anime can be.
Paul Jacques finds a princess and a... erm... scholar
Cosplaying away at Birmingham's Comic Con, Meg Atwill dresses up as Estellise Sidos Heurrasein (or Estelle for short), accompanied by Aimee Tacchi as the whip-wielding scholar Rita Mordio, both from Tales of Vesperia.
Babystars may want to change their name; Two of the remaining members are now pushing towards 40-years of age, making them more middle-aged than babies. As for being stars, a lot has changed since their debut back in 2002…
Redline and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine showcase the talent of Takeshi Koike, a rising star in the anime firmament. While the two titles are very different, they’re both brash and arresting, the obverse of any safe house ‘style’...
Two high-profile Manga Entertainment releases have something in common in the form of musician and composer Yasuharu Takanashi. It’s the distinctive musical strokes of Takanashi that appear on the new Naruto movie The Lost Tower as well as the upcoming movie addition to the Fairy Tail series – Phoenix Priestess.
The second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close
Dragon Ball GT sees Goku and his allies fighting against some of the toughest foes the universe has ever seen. Take a look at some of the faces you’ll meet as the second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close!