Aka Akasaka is a highly skilled storyteller, and although on the surface, the Oshi no Ko manga or its anime adaptation may appear to be just another idol-themed anime, it is in fact a realistic portrayal of the idol industry. The anime itself is a remarkable production, with YOASOBI once again delivering a spellbinding opening theme. No discussion of anime soundtracks would be complete without mentioning Animenz's exceptional piano arrangements. His rendition of "Idol" is truly unique and worth checking out.
YOASOBI's Cultural Impact: Redefining Japanese Pop Music
YOASOBI (夜遊び) is a Japanese musical duo consisting of Ayase (composer) and ikura (vocals).
The group's name is a combination of two Japanese words, "yo" (夜) meaning ‘night’ and "asobi" (遊び) meaning ‘play,’ or amusement, which reflects their music's themes of nightlife and introspection. The duo gained popularity in Japan in 2020 with their hit song ‘Yoru ni kakeru,’ which translates to ‘Racing into the Night.’ The song's music video has almost 300 million views on YouTube as of May 2023. YOASOBI has since released several other successful singles, including ‘Gunjo’ and ‘Tabun.’Their music is a fusion of various genres, including J-pop, rock, electronic, and folk, with lyrics that often explore themes of loneliness, love, and self-reflection. The duo has been praised for their unique sound and Ayase's emotive vocals.
Photo Credit: Uniqlo
Oshi no Ko's Impact on the World of Manga and Anime: Critically Acclaimed and Highly Anticipated
Oshi no Ko is a highly anticipated Japanese manga series written by the critically acclaimed author Aka Akasaka (who is the creator of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War manga) and illustrated by the talented artist Mengo Yokoyari (who also wrote Kuzu no Honkai manga). The manga's captivating storyline follows the life of a doctor and his recently-deceased patient who, through a miraculous rebirth, become twins to a renowned Japanese pop idol. Together, they must navigate the complex and often tumultuous landscape of the entertainment industry, experiencing both the triumphs and challenges of growing up in the limelight. The manga's dynamic narrative explores a variety of themes, including the pressures of fame, identity, and personal growth. With its engaging plot, vibrant characters, and unique perspective on the world of Japanese pop culture, Oshi no Ko has garnered a significant following among manga enthusiasts and casual readers alike.
In April 2023, fans will have the opportunity to experience Oshi no Ko in a new format with the premiere of the highly-anticipated anime television series adaptation. Produced by the esteemed animation studio Doga Kobo, the anime promises to bring the manga's vivid world to life with stunning animation, a talented voice cast, and an unforgettable soundtrack with its compelling story and engaging characters, Oshi no Ko is poised to be a major cultural phenomenon in the world of anime and manga. As fans eagerly await the premiere of the anime adaptation, the manga series continues to captivate audiences around the world with its poignant storytelling and immersive world-building.
Image Credit: IMDb
The official song Idol
from the Single YOASOBI
- Artist: YOASOBI
- Released: April 12, 2023
- Album: Oshi no Ko OST
- Label: Sony Japan
- Lyrics/ Composer: YOASOBI
- Genre: JPOP, Anime OST
- Key: C# Major
- Length: 3'45"
Cover of Idol by Animenz
The Intersection of Anime and Classical Music: Animenz's Impact and Legacy
Animenz is a Japanese pianist with the YouTube name Animenz Piano Sheet. Animenz is a classically trained pianist who does piano arrangements on anime OST, openings and endings. Animenz joined YouTube on January 14th 2010, with over 220 videos and almost 500 million views. Animenz has more than 2 million subscribers as of May 2023. Animenz has arrangements of Evangelion, Hunter x Hunter, JoJo, Demon Slayers and also much old anime covers as well.
Animenz’s most viewed video is again an anime arrangement – Tokyo Ghoul named “Unravel – Tokyo Ghoul OP [Piano]” with 91 million views which were posted on February 12th 2015. Animenz has been playing the piano for the last 20 years with the piano used Steinway D-274 Grand Piano. His goal is to transform anime music into a timeless form of classical music that will be appreciated and enjoyed for generations to come. The pianist's work has garnered a significant following among anime and classical music enthusiasts alike, and they continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with anime music and classical piano. They hope that their arrangements bring joy and inspiration to all those who listen, and they look forward to continuing to create music that transcends time and genre.
Animenz's Piano Cover of Idol's Opening Song: A Must-See for Anime and Music Fans
With the rise of the popularity of the manga Oshi no Ko, anime has also risen in popularity. With that the opening of the anime; Idol, has also a cult following. The song and lyrics have so much importance to the story and anime hence such a significant song. Animenz posted the song early on as Animenz is also following the anime. Animenz posted the song on May 3rd, 2023, which already has more than 300 thousand views after five days of uploading the song on YouTube, which is one of his latest songs. The original song has the key signature of C# major and Animenz’s has B major and G# minor. Both follow the time signature of 4/4 and a tempo of 166 BPM. This song is about Ai Hoshino of a girl group called B-Komachi. The song is well tied up with the anime, and we can't expect any less from an anime opening. There might be some spoilers so it is recommended you at least watch episode 1 of the anime before getting into anime analysis. You read manga or watched anime, good let's go ahead.
The song starts, and there is the first line when translated into English is “The invisible smile that tears up the media” which is a dark metaphor for the entertainment industry and how the media will continue to impact what might be negative and scrutinized on a regular basis. This is a high-energy song, with strong lyrics. The intro in the original song is about the first eighteen seconds, where the song and lyrics are strong. This song is about the idol Ai Hoshino’s rise as an idol as well as the sufferings that she went through because of her stardom.
Anime starts off strong as well, he starts off loud and with an arpeggio played by his right hand and the chords played by his left. He repeats it four times and then there is the main tune of the main line of the intro “Tensai teki na aidoru sama” meaning she, the idol is a genius, the godly idol which is fourteen seconds to the Animenz’s song.
Verse 1 takes up from the intro and follows the beat and lyrics are mirroring the strict and lie that idol live up. As the people and media are constantly interviewing them about their diet, hobbies and interests which inevitably Ai in the anime is also asked about. They have to give a happy reply and smile, but in reality they might not have eaten at all. Ai replies to these questions as it’s a secret.
Animenz before the verse 2 lyrics stats plays a small but for around five seconds which smoothly connects the song. When the lyrics of the ‘questions’ start, he plays it slow with fast finger movements but they are in the same area of piano, it continuous throughout the verse. This is still thirty-two seconds into the song and it transitions to second verse of the song.
Verse 1 takes up from the intro and follows the beat and the lyrics are mirroring the strict and lie that idols live up to. As the people and media are constantly interviewing them about their diet, hobbies and interests which inevitably Ai in the anime is also asked about. They have to give a happy reply and smile, but in reality, they might not have eaten at all. Ai replies to these questions as if it’s a secret.
Animenz before the verse 2 lyrics stats plays a small but for around five seconds which smoothly connects the song. When the lyrics of the ‘questions’ start, he plays it slowly with fast finger movements but they are in the same area of piano, it is continuous throughout the verse. This is still thirty-two seconds into the song and it transitions to the second verse of the song.
Verse 2 is also short, again continuing to securitize the idols by constantly asking their type (as in what type of guy/ girl they like), who are their enemies, and more, to get them to speak. Which might be career-ending for idols, but audiences will eat all this day and night. The song is very fast and hippy, when not knowing the lyrics and Japanese it sounds like a happy song.
Animenz plays this fast, and dynamic, there are so many keys played. This is still forty-four seconds before the next part is played. That is around eleven seconds of verse 2 but there are so many keys and it is complex to play, but fun and interesting to hear. Animenz is playing the song and keeping the original hype of the song yet keeping the intentions of the song intact.
This is the part where the song slows a bit and the lyrics are “I don’t understand what falling in love with someone else is like” which is a reference to Ai during an interview she slips up or opens up more about her real self as she hasn’t told or understood what love means, which comes full circle in ep1 of the anime.
Animenz slows the song as well during this section as well. Then gradually increases the pace of the song. In the background just as the original song has “Hey! Hey!” in, which is like the idol concerts and the fans are shouting to beat and bringing the idol and fans in synchronization. This is the fun part that Animenz said he couldn’t miss and by playing it any time, he can’t help but shout and it’s been addicting. He then plays the piano faster and looks so difficult to play but to hear such remarkable beats is a treat to eyes and ears.
This is where the chorus of the song begins. Again, the song picks up its pace and the lyrics are “A reincarnation of Venus” which symbolizes Ai, as she is always depicted as the brightest star and Venus is called the evening star, even though it is not a star it shines like one, adding to that Venus is symbolizes lady’s beauty and love which is also like Ai. Furthermore, the final line is “They make up a perfect love” here in the lyrics to the video ‘ai’ written in katakana, which can mean ai in two ways, the first being the general ai as love and another one as misery.
Animenz’s chorus begins at fifty-nine seconds and the song is fast. His hands are moving fast and at the Venus part of the lyrics of the song he again added the “Hey! Hey!” or HaHa as he says. The keys are played faster, where the right hand is relatively at a place the left-hand plays the middle as well as the left side of the piano as well. Then this chorus ends with a beat, which depicts that this section has been over.
Verse 3 in the song is all about the other members of the band B- Komachi. They are sometimes shown as just the backup dancers or just as a support for Ai. As Ai stands out more as compared to other members of the group. This also creates pressure on Ai, as she has to be perfect for her fans or otherwise they won’t ‘forgive’ her and cannot ‘accept’ her being weak and not strong. This intense pressure is many times what stars and idols in the entertainment industry face. This rap of the song is very intense and dark as well as the music video.
Verse 3 starts for Animenz just after the chorus, and it is at a minute and twenty-one seconds. Here now Animenz added his fusion of classical music into the rap song. Which is not an easy task but he successfully managed to do so. He added a minor scale which is inspired by Beethoven's Sonata, which completists the original song as well. At a minute and twenty-six seconds during the song to add up more spice to the song; he modified the chord progression. Then the second half of the verse is much faster and more intense where there is the pressure on idols, to give much more effect on the song and lyrics he switched to a fast arpeggio run. Then finally this verse ends with the re-use of the chord progression that was used in verse 1 as Animenz stated that he loved that chord progression from the first thirty-two seconds of his song. His verse 3 ends at a minute and forty-three seconds.
Then the chorus of the song begins. Again, being peppy and cheery. Talking about how fans trust idols to the point of worshipping them. Their weakness of the strangest and most powerful idols can shatter their careers, being the brightest star. In the final line “To show the real Ai” Here Ai meaning the Idol name Ai, Ai has to show the real Ai without a spec of weakness in her. The song follows the same chorus beats as the last time.
Animenz as well follows the same chorus beats to this chorus as well. Which starts a little slow but then picks up the pace, with little gaps, and then ends similarly on the beat of the last line before starting the next rap part of the song. This part is cheery as played and listened again and again one will defiantly shout the last line “Sorekoso honmono no Ai.”
This next part is about Ai and her perspective on her career. Her strong will and determination to be in this industry. Her career is built on the fake ‘I love yous’, her sweat dripping with all the work she is doing. A small spoiler here is a reference to Aqua and Ruby, her two children; twins that Ai gave birth to. Who are reincarnated from past lives with all their memories but Ai believes that her children are geniuses. Then there is a line where she calls herself ‘Maria’ who is Mother Mary from The Holy Bible, who is the embodiment of purity and virginity. Hence, Ai even though having kids has to hide this fact and portray herself as a virgin and a pure self of her. This is not like a traditional type of bridge to the song, but this is Ai’s side.
Animenz cleverly added Bolero drums beat to the rap song. Bolero drums are used in Cuban music, in the last quarter of the 19th century. This is a lively Spanish rhythm. He wanted to emphases on the drum beats of the main song. This did not include the main melody. Through his genius skill, he added this part and matches the vibe and atmosphere that has been built till now through the song. After the end of the lyrics where the original song starts the pre-chorus, Animenz extended the bridge to give closure to the bridge in a more tractional and classical music way.
There is a short pre-chorus before going to the chorus of the song. Where the lyrics are “I have never been loved by anyone nor I loved anyone else” This is from the fact that Ai has grown up in a household where he wasn’t loved, and because of this she hasn’t loved anyone, and the lie she tells, she believes and trusts that one day she will say that she loves someone truly. Spoiler: the video also hints at her holding hands with Aqua and Ruby her kids.
Animenz starts this just as he ends extended. This is a slow and emotional part of the song. Hence he plays the piano slowly yet takes a bit of pace. It is fast at the beginning and emotional, then again the song becomes slow. One can feel Ai’s emotions and her feeling in this part of the song. Animenz catches Ai’s feelings through his piano.
The final chorus is where Ai is wishing that she will be able to feel real love and convey her real love. She wants to tell and wants her words to become true one day. Major spoiler warning, if you haven’t read manga or watched anime ep 1 please do that, if you don’t want to spoil your experience. The stalker feels betrayed when he finds Ai having kids and ends her life. This is the point, where she finally says her first and preassembly last ‘I love You’ to Aqua and Ruby.
Animenz again with the final chorus picks up the pace. This is a good pace with excellent hand movements. There is again the final ‘Haha’ part included in the song. After that, the song again becomes faster. Where before the outro he took a short pause and continued the next part of the song.
This is the part where Ai is finally able to say Aishiteru to Aqua and Ruby. This time it is not a lie; it is the ultimate truth of Ai’s life. Spoiler, these are her final words to kids before the star in her eyes vanishes forever.
Animenz ‘I love you’ and Aishiteru played this part very carefully, as he believed this was part of the song which conveyed the true message. At 3:18 he played ‘Aishiteru’ with portato articulation. Which is a smooth and pulsing articulation. [there is portato giving a pulsing sound and there is staccato sounding a bit choppy] Animenz played portato, depicting how Ai is slowly fading into nothingness. She finally said I love you.
Ep1 was a roller-coaster an hour and twenty-two minutes long is unquestionably worth watching. This anime is undeniably the anime of 2023, so don’t miss it. While you are at it, I’ll wipe off my tears and get to the next part.
This anime provides a compelling introspection into the reality of idol culture. While it can appear to be a glittering source of happiness for many, it also has a darker, toxic side that needs to be addressed. It is not the responsibility of idols to provide happiness to their fans. They are human beings with the same right to live and love their lives as they choose, without being dictated to by their fans. The accompanying song effectively conveys these sentiments. Furthermore, Animenz's arrangement adds a classical music touch that takes the song to a whole new level.
Until next time, Happy Music!
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