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Japanese pop-singers, Level Stage Planning

Wednesday 6th February 2013


Tom Smith on anime's weirdly named pop-singers LSP.

Level Stage Planning


Larval Stage Planning. It may sound like a company you’d find in Yellow Pages, but if it’s the planning of stages you’re after, then this trio of J-pop beauties will only disappoint. But! If it’s theme songs you desire, it’s an entirely different story. They specialise in them, and the second series of Baka and Test – released on UK DVD this February – just so happens to contain one of their tracks as its opening; ‘Kimi + Nazo + Watashi de JUMP!!’, check it out in the video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmK9nmMcwyk

The unit, which also goes by the initials LSP, was originally formed in 2010. If you thought their full-name was inappropriate, you clearly haven’t met their production company Fuctory Records – yes, it’s pronounced exactly how you think it is. LSP were formed and coached by long-time Fuc-er Eiko Shimamiya; a popular J-pop star that produced under her own name, as well as part of the (also bizarrely named) production collective ‘I’ve’. Eiko is best known for her songs featured in the ultra-violent anime and visual novel Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and probably not so well known for featuring on a Fuctory Records compilation album along with a song called ‘F*CK ME’, without the safely placed apostrophe. If you haven’t already guessed from the not so subtle label name, Fuctory Records dealt with a lot of ‘adult’ game soundtracks.

Not so surprising, then, is that LSP is far from a conventional pop unit. Their first maxi-single ‘Rolling Star’ wasn’t even stocked in music retailers. Instead, if you wanted to pick up a copy you’d have to trot along to your nearest video game shop.  The title track of the single was used in the saucy PC title Kisaragi Gold Star, so was conveniently stocked where seedy ‘dating’-sim junkies went to get their digital seduction hits.

‘Kimi + Nazo + Watashi de JUMP!!’ was LSP’s follow up single. This one took the group in a new direction. ‘Rolling Star’ had caught the attention of anime-song specialists Lantis, who soon snapped up the girls to join their ranks alongside the likes of JAM Project (Dragon Ball Z), Milky Holmes and Natsuko Aso (also from Baka and Test). Lantis took the girls into the world of anime and placed their single ‘…JUMP!!’ as the sole opening of Baka and Test series two. It was also LSP’s first exposure to Japan’s official charts. The single managed to scrape into the top 40 of the daily charts, and narrowly missed out on the top 40 of the weekly charts. Their next single ‘Trip -innocent of D-‘, which really isn’t a euphemism, worked on the exposure the girls had gained from Baka and Test and led to their highest chart position to date, at 32 in the weekly charts, while also featuring in the anime High School D x D.

Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts – Complete Series 2, featuring an opening theme by Larval Stage Planning, is out 11 February on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

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