Tom Smith puckers up for SID, the band behind Black Butler.
It was a moment fans had been nervously anticipating, ‘Monochrome Kiss’ – or more accurately ‘Monokuro no Kiss’ – the first major label release from the visual rock quartet SID. It was that critical debut all long-term fans dread, the moment their home-grown indie heroes take a step out of from playing sweaty dives with fuzzy sound systems, to strutting it on TV screens across the nation after a big record deal. It’s a tense time that all too often drives the hardcore fans crazy in fear that a bigwig producer will alter the group’s unique qualities in favour of a commercially more acceptable sound, amongst other things.
‘Monokuro no Kiss’, used as the opening to Black Butler, laid all such fears to rest. But there was never anything to worry about. SID had fought their way to the top of Japan’s seemingly impervious indie scene in the space of five years – the media were even branding them ‘the monster band of the indie scene’, and rightly so! On their own, they had accomplished chart success on numerous occasions, both with albums and a string of singles. They even did a show at the mighty Budokan, the massive indoor arena where The Beatles made their Japanese debut some 40 years prior. Who needs record labels?
One of the albums from this early period in SID’s career is available digitally in the UK. Entitled Hoshi no Miyako, it’s the group’s second independent album and features their first chart ranking single Sweet? – but you’d best grab it soon, it’s officially ‘out of license’ in the UK but it appears neither Sony or the European licensor, Gan Shin, has noticed yet.
SID’s success didn’t go unnoticed and soon the boys were signed to Ki/oon, a subsidiary of Sony that contains some of the country’s biggest alternative rock acts, including ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION and L’Arc~en~Ciel. With a major label backing them (and the ever powerful world of anime), their first single got in the top five and saw the musicians return to Budokan, this time selling it out in an impressive 180 seconds.
Soon began a long affair with SID and Japan’s animation industry. Their third single ‘Uso’ (above) saw the foursome provide the first ending theme to the hit series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, giving them top two chart success in the process. Craving further chart dominance, they returned to the show for its final ending with the single ‘Rain’, and this time it worked. The track got them their first number one, though in the daily chart – and narrowly missed out on topping the weekly chart.
Bleach got a piece of the SID action too with ‘Ranbu no Melody’, released at the end of last year. Though, hardened Ichigo-followers will have to wait for series 14 to hit the shelves before they hear it.
2010 concluded with SID also picking up the Top Pop Artist award from the Billboard Japan Music Awards for that year. Now, at the very moment these words are being typed, SID return with their single ‘Itsuka’ riding high in the charts and confidently showing that SID are much more than just another mark on the collar of Japan’s rock scene – they’re here to stay.
By popular demand, the anime fan-favourite released for the first time on DVD!
Four years after Tai, Mimi and the rest of the Digidestined brought peace to the digital world and found their way back home, the Digimon Emperor - a new villain - threatens the world and its Digital Monsters. With some the original kids off to junior high, a new generation is chosen to defend and save the world from evil.
Davis, Yolei, Cody, and Ken join T.K and Kari to form the new Digidestined team. Together they journey back to the Digital World to battle the Digimon Emperor and free all the Digital Monsters from his control.
Toei Animation has announced production on Dragon Ball Super, the first all-new Dragon Ball series to be released in 18 years. Following the recent events of the hit feature film Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection, Dragon Ball Super will debut in July 2015 in Japan.
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.
Pacific Rim opened a new gateway to ’bot sagas for youngsters, and for oldsters too. They’ll see del Toro’s film, learn how much he was inspired by Japanese cartoons, and then check out the originals. If they choose Eureka Seven Ao, they’ll find elements also seen in Pacific Rim, embedded in a very different show.
Live-action remakes of classic anime titles are the subject of controversy and fan-rage in the anime community - Akira being a rather hot topic on that front, but could this be the saviour we’ve been looking for?