aerynsunX (aerynsunx) wrote,

Ballad of Truth

I recently alluded to my "little obsessions". Most are fleeting. Some have stood a long time. One of those is anime. Japanese anime are, but cannot really be characterized as, cartoons. Yes, there are plenty of anime shows that are cute, silly, funny and just for kids or just for laughs. Some that make it to the US and are shown on tv are aimed at kids. But most are not. For every kids-oriented anime, there is more young adult/adult themed anime. The more popular series in Japan are the ones that make it to US televisions. For instance, I just watched the finale of Death Note. This was a mind-bending anime not meant for those who are not thoughtful or who are impatient. As a matter of fact, patience is a key to anime. The Japanese do not tell stories quickly. It took nine years just to tell some of the story of InuYasha before the series ended. Almost all anime series starts with a manga (comic book series). Sometimes, the manga precedes, and/or exceeds the series. As is the case w/InuYasha, in which the manga just recently ended in Japan. But the anime series ended 2 years ago. My all-time favorite anime is Cowboy BeBop. It had amazing storytelling, animation, perfect voice acting and english dubbing. And it made me realize that an animated story can be filled with intense emotion, tragedy, and can even bring tears to your eyes. My co-favorite is Fooly Cooly. Total opposite in tone. More comedy, less tragedy. But it was very human and real in it's emotion. And ultimately, it awed me with it's immensity. My current favorite series is Bleach. And this too, will be a loooooog one. But it's great. It's one of the most popular anime series ever in Japan. And that popularity has transferred to US shores. But I digress. You may wonder; but why am I not explaining these stories? Because they're not the point. My real point is about J-pop. Japanese pop. I love it. And I was introduced to in thru anime.

From Outlaw Star to Bleach, I have heard music that I absolutely love. Most of the songs I first loved came from the InuYasha series. But Bleach has since surpassed InuYasha in my mp3 player. Thru anime, I also discovered artists I've become a fan of. Yoko Kanno is a prolific composer of amazing talent. From Cowboy BeBop to Ghost in the Shell, she has composed a vast amount of wonderful music. If Hollywood won't "discover" her, Cirque du Soleil should. Her work is right up their alley. And well beyond. One of the bands I've become a fan of is Do As Infinity (D.A.I.) The band is named after it's founder and composer and guitarist, Dai Nagao. The other two main members are vocalist Tomiko Van and guitarist Ryo Owatari. They lasted from 1999 to 2005. A shame because they were very good. Tomiko Van, or just Van, has gone onto a solo career and I haven't caught up with her solo work yet. Two of their most popular songs became closing songs for InuYasha. Fukai Mori (Deep Forest) in season 2 and Shinjitsu no Uta (Ballad of Truth) in season 5. Fukai Mori became their signature song. And it's a sad song at heart as it's about a friend of Van's who died too young. The only way to really know if you like music is to hear it. So I looked over Youtube to find some D.A.I. videos. Unfortunately, the official videos for both of these songs are "copyright protected" and keep getting yanked off Youtube. A shame. However, altered versions aren't a problem. Since I love these songs so much I have to share. Even if it means sharing bastardized forms of videos. It's all about the songs, anyways. This 1st video of from a live performance of D.A.I. performing "Fukai Mori". Please forgive Van as she is especially choked up at the beginning because, like I mentioned before, it's a personal song for her. Unfortunately, the song is cut short a little, but you get most of it:

This one is a slightly altered version of the original ending from season 2 of InuYasha. First, the images were slightly altered in order for it not to be "embed disabled" (again copyright issues). Second, the text was removed. Which makes it so much easier to see the featured character in this particular ending; the gorgeous, flawless, deadly, full-blooded Great Demon lord, Sesshomaru--half-brother to half-demon InuYasha. It's a looooong story, but suffice it to say that Sesshomaru is my absolute favorite character in anime. Bottomline, this was my first introduction to the song. Just hearing a piece of it, and I still loved it:

Last, is season ending 5 song, "Shinjitsu no Uta". It's been translated at "Ballad of Truth" and "Song of Truth". Either way, it's a strong, powerful song that's sung with power and emotion by Van. The original video was yanked like I said. This is, I think, a karaoke version because it features the words in both styles of Japanese writing, and in English. Personally, I find the English lyrics more distracting than the Japanese. It's a bit hard to see the video, but the song is what's important. Hope it grows on you like it did with me:


If this is all new to you, I ask you to give a chance.  If it's not up your alley.  So be it.  But try it first.  In the end, it's just pop music in a different language, not rocket science.  Why do I like it so much?  I dunno.  I just do.  For right now, that will suffice.  And I haven't even gotten to how much I love Hyde yet.  Or to the music from Bleach.  That's good stuff. 
Tags: anime, bleach, cirque du soleil, cowboy bebop, death note, do as infinity, fooly cooly, fukai mori, ghost in the shell, hyde, inuyasha, j-pop, japanese pop, obsessions, outlaw star, sesshomaru, shinjitsu no uta, videos, yoko kanno, youtube
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