Anime is one of the uniquely Japanese contributions to modern popular culture and is popular not just in Japan but all over the world. One of the most successful Anime series is Bleach. It is the story of a group of characters both human and supernatural who fight evil, so it is not so original in the story lines!!! But the mixture of action, humor, a little romance and great characters have made this series so successful. It is based on the is shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Noriaki Kubo and currently there have been 15 TV series with a total of 334 episodes and 4 anime feature films.
I was listening to one of my favorite singer songwriters the other day and realized that she had actually written and performed one of the openings for this series and then I started to remember some of the others and I realized that they actually are an interesting sample of J-pop music since the last few years. (even if the themes are a little heroic) In total so far there have been 14 opening themes by different artists and 28 closing themes!!
Here are some of the opening themes I like the most.
The first opening theme was Asterisk by the group Orange Range. Orange Range are an Okinawan pop- rock group who were formed in 2001 but it was in 2003 that they became well known with the single Shanghai Honey which reached number 5 in the single charts. In 2004 they had a huge hit with Hana which reached number one in the charts and stayed in the chart for 50 weeks. In 2005 they were asked to make the opening track for the then new Bleach anime series. The track they wrote was called Asterisk and it debuted at number 1 in the chart and stayed in the chart for 22 weeks.
First Opening - Asterisk by Orange Range
The third opening theme was Ichirin no Hana by High and Mighty Color. High and Mighty Colour are another Okinawan group. They started life as a Metalica cover band actually and but were joined by a female vocalist and produced a song for the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, called Pride which was their first single and hit for them and they started to make their own music. They never really made it to be a really major band, but always had a loyal following. They made the third opening for Bleach in 2006.
Third Opening – Ichirin no Hana by High and Mighty Colour
The sixth and ninth opening themes were by Aqua Timez. Aqua Timez also did the theme for the Bleach spin off movie Bleach: Memories of Nobody. Originally called Aqua Times they were formed in 2000 by Futoshi Kawasaki and Tomohisa Okada when they were at university, but it was in 2005 they changed the name to Aqua Timez and signed to Sony Music. They released their first mini album Sora Ippai ni Kanaderu Inori which became number one in the chart and started their success. The sixth opening was a track called Alones and the ninth opening was Velonica. Both had good success in the charts, and both feature the positive and inspirational lyrics they are well known for. I prefer Valonica but I have included both so you can decide which one you prefer.
Sixth Opening Alones by Aqua Timez
Ninth Opening - Valonica by Aqua Timez
The tenth opening was Shoju S by Scandal. Scandal are a four piece girl rock band from Osaka. The met at a dance and voice school while still in high school became friends and formed the group in 2006 when they were still only 17 years old. They initially signed to independent record company Kitty Records but eventually signed to Sony Music in 2008 after long negotiations. Unusually they managed to obtain artistic control of writing and production. So well done to them! In 2009 they wrote Shojo S (Girl S) for Bleach and it became the tenth opening theme. They have had good success with sales and tour more or less continually. I have actually seen them live and I must say they seem to enjoy playing live very much and are an enjoyable act to see.
Tenth Opening - Shoju S by Scandal
Now the artist that started me thinking about this theme for a post.
Miwa is a relatively new singer songwriter who I like very much and I think will become one of my very favourites! She has only released one album Guitarissimo which actually reached number one in the album chart this year. She wrote Change for the twelfth opening of Bleach in 2010 and was the third single she released.
Twelfth Opening - Change by Miwa.
If you have read so far then well done and thank you so much. I hope you found it interesting.