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New fans groove to 'Anime Music'

Hit songs sung by anime characters are the latest musical genre to climb the pop charts in Japan, hot on the heels of perennial chart-toppers like SMAP.
The song "Go! Go! Maniac" captured the top spot on the May 10 Oricon weekly music chart for single CDs, followed by "Listen!!" at No. 2.
Both songs are from "K-On!!" a TV anime series about a high school girl band called Ho-kago Tea Time (After-school tea time). The songs are sung by the five voice actors who play the lead characters.
It was the first time a CD released in the name of anime characters has topped the Oricon single CD chart.

Two new anime songs released Aug. 4 seized the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the Aug. 16 chart, just behind SMAP, a quintet of former boy idols now in their 30s.

Dubbed "anime songs," the genre is proving exceedingly popular, drawing interest from music fans outside the world of anime enthusiasts.

The music is composed in the "image" of the anime characters, and the creators and singers of the songs are gaining wider profiles in the music industry.

2ch Anime Song Ranking BEST 100(旧版) part2

"K-On!!" was adapted from a manga into an animated TV series in spring 2009. The story is about five high school girls who form their own pop music band.

Atsushi Isoyama, a producer at Pony Canyon Inc., said, "(Each song) is created with the supposition that a band of high school girls wrote the lyrics and music, arranged it and performed it."

Seventeen CD titles from the anime have already been released, selling a total of more than a million copies.

Since the second season began in April, eight more CDs have been released, selling 810,000 copies.

Music producer Shigeo Komori, who was involved in the show's first season, says anime music offers greater scope for its creators.

2ch Top 300 Anime songs Part6/6

"Anime music has a rich variety," Komori said. "What is attractive about the style is that creators can express themselves by making full use of their musical experiences in varied genres to pursue more interesting music and sound."

According to Oricon Inc., the number of anime-related hit CDs has surged in recent years. About 40 songs made it to the top 10 of the Oricon single CD chart in the first half of this year.

Anime songs' popularity also spurred the release of new music magazines devoted to the genre. One is "Lis Ani!" launched in April by Sony Magazines Inc.

Fumiaki Nishihara, a deputy editor of the magazine, who is also on the staff of "What's In?" music magazine, said, "Since around 2000, people in the anime business began focusing on products such as DVDs and CDs, in addition to plastic models and toys."

Anime songs have great potential to attract fans overseas, according to Hidefumi Nishikubo, a senior analyst with Oricon Communications Inc.

"Anime programs have already reached overseas audiences," Nishikubo said. "Japanese (anime) music could be accepted by the global market."

By A.S. on Aug 31, 2010
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