Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Takagaki Ayahi Does KOKIA -- really, really well

Oh, man. I'm still recovering. What a great, great job Takagaki Ayahi 高垣彩陽 does with two character songs as Feldt Grace from Gundam00. (click photos to enlarge)

The two songs, 祈り† ("Prayer") and Justice, are written and produced by KOKIA, she of the soaring voice and sweet melodies. And Ayahi does her justice, for sure.

30-second samples here.

In these days of magical audio processing, I guess I can't be sure, but as far as I can tell, the only other seiyuus who could sing this music are Sakamoto Maaya and Mizuki Nana. That's amazing company to keep for the 23-year-old comparative newcomer, Ayahi.

I think Hayami Saori approaches similar quality as a singer, but she doesn't have the vocal power that Ayahi brings, with her opera-trained voice.

The CD is called come across. Here are product details from Amazon Japan. Officially released today.

The fact that this CD is ranked 52nd on Oricon today shows once again that name, and possibly musical style, count more toward popularity than quality does.

I'm not sure how they got together, but KOKIA did an OP and ED for Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, in which Ayahi starred. And this CD comes out on the JVC (Japan Victor) label, while KOKIA's most recent CD is on Victor, which is an associated label.

In her blog today, Ayahi is effusive: "Today I'm SOOOO happy!" She loves the picture on the cover. She loves Gundam00. She loves Feldt Grace. She loves KOKIA. She loves having had the opportunity to be together with all these people. "It's really a miracle of fate!"

On 2channel, only one person has heard the songs so far, but s/he says: "I am just listening to now, and I'm at a loss for words.... She approaches every job she gets with a sincere attitude and an unplumbed depth of expressive power...."

On KOKIA's blog, she has a couple of posts about this CD, saying it is the first time she has produced someone other than herself. I laughed at a comment indicating that Ayahi brought very clear ideas about the character and how she should sing. Sounds as if she caused KOKIA a bit of trouble, lol.

18 comments:

Serakah said...

So is the CD out? If so would you mind pointing me in the direction of an online store that has it? I can't read moonspeak. :p

Eri said...

I was surprised by how powerful her voice is in this single. It really feels like her talent is wasted in songs like the Sphere ones and so on, she doesn't even sound that good in them ><

hashi said...

@Serakah -- Sure. Sorry about that. Here's CD Japan:
http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=VTCL-35059

Not sure how "first press sold out" will affect delivery times. Not too much, I imagine.

I believe you can also order from amazon.co.jp, using the link to product details I gave. Look on any Japanese page for words like "Click here to see in English."

@Eri -- I know what you mean. She needs material like this that suits her talents. I thought she sounded kind of stiff and un-pop-like in some of her previous, more ordinary stuff.

Emily said...

I'm listening to it- and it truly is beautiful :)

aubrey said...

Thanks. Excellent music

bmk said...

I'm really surprised by her in the 30-second samples. I love how strong and emotional Ayahi's voice seems to be in the songs.

As Eri above said, it's totally different from her voice when she sings in Sphere (huge fan of Sphere btw). I always felt the sound of Sphere is dominated a lot by Kotobuki Minako's voice, so Ayahi's voice is somewhat drowned out a bit when they sing together. Still doesn't stop me though from liking her music, no matter in which manner she sings.

In somewhat unrelated news, the new PV for Sphere's new single is on their website.
http://www.planet-sphere.jp/main.php

bmk said...

Also forgot to add in my last comment.

Happy belated 24th birthday Ayahi.

Serakah said...

Cool thanks for that Hashi. She sounds damn good from the clip.

Never really hard of Sphere so thanks for that link bmk. The songs are okay but Toyosaki Aki is ridiculously cute. <3

hashi said...

@bmk, Serakah -- If you're interested in Sphere, I just came across a fascinating 20-minute clip on NicoNicoDouga showing them backstage, etc., for their ShakexSphere live event earlier this year. It's here:
www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm8216572

I liked several of the quotes in it. I think it was Kotobuki Minalo who said they enjoy each other's company a lot, spend a lot of time together, and are friends, colleagues, and rivals.

And during the event, one of the lines was when Ayahi accused Toyosaki Aki of being "too cute," lol.

Serakah said...

I'm surprised I managed to sign up for an account at that site. My brain hurts now.

That clip was some kind of awesome. Was the too cute part where one of the girls said "kawaii sugiru!" and Aki said "gomenasai!"? I literally busted out laughing.

Ah dammit I think I've become a Toyosaki Aki fanboy thanks to you. *shakes fist*

On another note, I definitely wouldn't mind if you started blogging about more music which are coincidentally sung by cute girls. :D

hashi said...

@Serakah -- Lol. As for Toyosaki Aki, was it the cute little double chin that did it? I'm not a huge K-On fan, but I thought she (and almost all the other seiyuus) were great in Kanamemo.

I think she's likely to become the second member of Sphere to win a Seiyuu Award as one of the top young seiyuus of the year. I wouldn't actually vote for her myself, however: Takagaki Ayahi and Hanazawa Kana for me.

bmk said...

Nothing wrong with being a Toyosaki Aki fanboy. K-On! and Sphere have turned me into one. Actually interested to see how her solo debut single goes.

Outside of anime themes and character songs, has Ayahi debuted a solo single? If not, I'm expecting her and Kotobuki Minako to eventually do so.

hashi said...

@bmk -- No, Ayahi doesn't have any music out in her own name. I also expect something in the not-so-distant future. Maybe now she and her management see what kind of music she can sing best. And maybe they are also waiting until she has a big hit show as a seiyuu.

Good work by Sony/Music Ray'n to have come up with these four. The bits of their live events I've heard make them sound to me a cut above other seiyuu groups.

So interesting to see them emerge, one by one, as stars in their own right. Kotobuki is the only one whose seiyuu work I still haven't learned to love, but it does look as if she may be the heart of the singing group.

Serakah said...

She has a double chin? I never noticed. Mostly it's the super cute smile and voice that does it for me.

I don't know about a solo singing career but a show like Hirano Aya's would definitely suit her. You know where she'd go to the zoo and pet pandas while going "kawaii!". That would be made of awesome.

Yoruko said...

What I think Ayahi needs is some great anime composer to take her under his/her wing and use her as a vocalist~

Like how Kanno Yoko wrote for Sakamoto Maaya for a while, or how Kajiura Yuki has the FictionJunction or Kalafina girls...

I thought Nakagawa Kotaro might suit Ayahi's operatic voice - he's done the music for Code Geass and 07-Ghost...and the latter has a GORGEOUS soundtrack...which would go well with a KOKIA-inspired voice :)

Shana-nee said...

I'm soooo gonna watch out for this. I'm loving Takagaki Ayahi's singing recently, just haven't gotten the time to hunt them down. XD <333

And oh, she looks a bit like Koda Kumi in that image. XDD <3

hashi said...

@Shan-nee -- There are posts on 2channel mentioning a resemblance to Kouda Kumi, too. Some think that's a good thing, others that it's a bad thing, lol.

Shana-nee said...

@Hashi: Hahah I agree, looking a bit like Koda Kumi has it's up-sides and down-sides indeed. I've been liking Ayahi Takagaki recently too. I started hearing her in Special A, and now I'm following her in Sasameki koto, she's doing a great job. And for these songs. I can't wait <333