Japanese duo Tacica won’t be winning the Manga UK Blog award for most original song title anytime soon, mostly because no such award exists. But if it did, they still wouldn’t win. Especially not with the title of their hit single and Naruto Shippuden opener, Newsong.
Sporting soaring vocals and rock ’n roll guitar licks, Newsong was Tacica’s first tie-in with anime and the second track taken from their Newsong EP, bundled with three other new songs. Thankfully for all who are easily confused, only one new song was actually called Newsong, and that new song was Tacica’s highest charting new song until a newer song came along; last year’s single LEO. This saw the boys not only narrowly miss out on a top ten single, but also saw their return to the world of popular Japanese animation, this time for all new sports series Haikyuu!!, an anime following the bonds of friendship and team work between an underdog volleyball team.
2015 sees Tacica celebrate ten years of being the underdog, too. The band began in Hokkaido in April 2005 under a slightly different name (but same pronunciation), Tashika, taken from founding member and bass player Yuta Konishi’s most used phrase in Japanese “Tashika ne…” which can mean either “Absolutely”, “Seems about right” or “If I’m not mistaken” depending on context.
For the first five years, the band were completely independent and despite reaching the top of Japan’s Oricon Indies chart in 2008 with their first single Yellow Crow, Tacica had yet to reveal their artist photo, or feature any of its members in the band’s music videos. If you wanted to see what they looked like, you’d have to drag yourself down to one of their gigs, and buy one of their limited editions CDs only available at shows and select music shops – talk about indie!
This kind of underground styled activity continued for Tacica until 2011, despite being signed with major label Sony at that point. However, Newsong also marked a new Tacica, one with an actual public image, for once. Sony’s site was updated with a long-awaited artist photo and the track’s music video featured the whole band – faces and all – and it was also the song that put the group on the map with overseas anime fans.
Coincidently, it was also through Sony where frontman Igari Shoichi met his wife, label mate Eriko Hashimoto of Chatmonchy fame in 2013, who now have a child together.
Right now the band is preparing the release of their fifth album entitled LOCUS, hitting stores in Japan this May and supported by a nationwide tour for the following couple of months. LOCUS will also include LEO, as well as one other anime tune; HALO, from sci-fi series Space Brothers. However, if you like their sound, you’ll have to stick to imports for now until Sony decide to push the button and let them loose digitally worldwide.
Tacica’s Newsong is featured in Naruto Shippuden Box Set 5, out courtesy of Manga UK on DVD from 13 April.
In the aftermath of the attack on the village, Naruto and Sakura are shocked to discover that Danzo has been selected as the new Hokage. And his first order of business involves Team 7's own Rogue Ninja - Sasuke! Then, the Kage from each village gather for a summit in the Land of Iron, and Naruto seeks a pardon for Sasuke from the Raikage. But the cycle of hatred runs deep in the shinobi world, and while the Five Kage discuss how to deal with the Akatsuki, the mysterious one calling himself Madara steps forward to reveal truths that will turn Naruto's world upside down! Contains episodes 193-243 across 8 ac tion-packed discs.
Languages: Japanese, English and English subtitles.
Matt Kamen weighs the difference between the original series and the newer Shippuden episodes of Naruto.
With hundreds of episodes under Naruto’s belt, it can be easy to forget just how far the world’s favourite orange ninja cadet and friends have come since their first days at school. The release of the complete first season of Naruto Shippuden seems the perfect time to look back at some of the key players in the saga, and see where the new series finds them – and haven’t they grown…?
Tom Smith dives in to the band behind Naruto Shippuden Box 15
Who’s NICO, and what’s their obsession with walls? It’s a question you may ask yourself upon discovering the artist name behind Naruto Shippuden’s eighth opening theme. They call themselves NICO Touches the Walls and, despite the ridiculous name, they are a pretty big deal in Japan right now.
Paul Browne rewinds from Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower into the past
In the latest Naruto film The Lost Tower, the title character and his comrades embark on a mission to capture Mukade – a missing ninja who has the ability to travel through time. Mukade’s plan is to travel into the past and take control of the Five Great Shinobi Countries. During the battle with Mukade, Naruto and Yamato find themselves hurled back twenty years in time. Will Naruto and his friends be able to return to his own time? And will their actions in the past save the future?
Tom Smith on the Britmaniacs behind the Naruto theme.
They’re so loud and proud that they insist on writing it all in caps: ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – possibly one of Japan’s most important alternative rock acts. The group’s tenth single ‘After Dark’ makes for the energetic, guitar-heavy opening theme to the latest volume of Bleach, released in the UK this month, and the group’s sound might at first seem reminiscent of America’s indie scene dashed with elements of punk, it actually has a lot more in common with The Who, their generation, and the sea of British-based guitar heroes that have appeared since.
As Naruto ups the ante and swears to take on Sasuke alone in box set 18 of Naruto Shippuden, the team responsible for the encompassing episodes’ ending theme have also took it upon themselves to up the pace.
At their production peak, Shaw Studios sanded down some of the historical elements in their epics, concentrating on acrobatics and heavier violence. This, in turn, made them more palatable or at least accessible to non-Chinese audiences, and inadvertently stoked the fires of the Kung Fu Boom.
Jasper Sharp runs the numbers on newly-released statistics
The incendiary claims put forward last October by Takeshi Kitano that “the Japanese film industry is going to ruins” seemed to hit a raw nerve with many in the industry and were widely reported in the international press.
Studio Ghibli, tattoo removal and the San Diego Comic Con in our 26th podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani, Andrew Hewson and Jonathan Clements to discuss last week’s Studio Ghibli, the San Diego Comic Con, upcoming releases, and your questions from Twitter and Facebook. Includes an inadvisable impersonation of Meryl Streep, commentary track shenanigans, and Jerome’s skateboarding stunts.
Hopefully you found the first three offerings in last weeks part one informative and you’d had ample time to calm your nerves and research a new country to emigrate to. So without further hesitation, let's complete the list.