Listening to Japanese Music: Bands/Artists discovered through Anime

*Some songs might be unavailable in certain countries.
I’m sorry, I tried >.<

Happy listening~
… ‘Cause, like, we’re going through quite a bit of songs here 😀

The Pantless Anime Blogger made a list not too long ago of bands/artists he started listening to after having encountered them in anime. This post of his really hit close to home for me because, as I talked about in an older post, it was through anime that I was introduced to the wonderful world of Japanese music. As someone who treats his J-music seriously enough, I decided I’d share my own list.

Now, some of you might have some preconceived notions as to how this is gonna go down — owing to how much idol content I’d been pushing out over the past couple of months. I’ll say this now; while I do enjoy the Love Live! franchise’s various idol offerings (not just songs, but their live appearances and performances as well) my appreciation for their music in relation to the music that I choose to listen to in general is a bit lower than you would expect. That is to say, I don’t listen to idol songs as often as I watch idol performances (I talk about this a bit more in-depth in my discussion of idol performance and spectacle)

I made posts a while back about Japanese PVs that I like and underheard artists that I listen to so if you’ve seen those then you already have a good idea as to the kind of music that I flood my ears with (and check the posts out if you haven’t yet!). My Song Translations also paint a pretty accurate picture of my playlist as well.

Okay. Enough chatter. Plug in your favorite pair of earphones, or set your speaker volume to a comfortable setting, and let’s listen to some Japanese music shall we? 😀

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As a final note, this list isn’t ranked in order of which song I liked least-to-best, but instead I tried to make a chronological account of bands and artists I’d encountered over the years, to better illustrate my descent from pure anison appreciation to, an overall appreciation for J-music, to the indie side of things where I find myself now. So! Without further ado —

Kokoro no inryokuココロの引力 – Gravity of the Heart

~ I first heard of ClariS through a Multi-Anime Opening (lol remember when those were still a thing) that used “irony” for its music and it wasn’t until later on when I hunted that song down that I found out that it was the opening theme for OreImo. ClariS was, for the longest time, the only J-Pop act that I ever loved as much as I did. Kokoro no Inryoku was my favorite ClariS song prior to their appearances in different anime after OreImo and still remains as one of most listened tracks up to this day. Alice’s departure from ClariS crushed me as I did favor her voice more than Clara’s (especially in this song here). As a result I’ve since dropped off, but the duo will always always have a place in my heart.

Hanabi made ato sukoshi – 花火まであと少し – A little after the fireworks

~ Jigoku Shoujo‘s opening themes (“Sakamasama no chou” and “Nightmare“) had always sounded very catchy to me as a young anime viewer, but at the time I had the habit of just skipping over the OPs altogether because I wanted to get the show going (xD). When ClariS taught me that I could enjoy the music outside of anison, I went back to some of the OPs that stuck with me and found SNoW. I was actually surprised at how different her discography was compared to the songs she sang for Jigoku Shoujo as I’d pegged her as more of a emo-y kind of singer when in fact she has more of a pop-py feel her to akin to maybe Fukuhara Miho or miwa, as you might notice as well in this track that I’m sharing here.


~ I note in my first Listening to Japanese Music post that I consider SCANDAL as my real gateway to Japanese music. That is to say, while ClariS opened my eyes (or ears, for that matter) to Japanese music, it wasn’t until I started listening to SCANDAL that I’d come to terms with my preferences. I fell in love the moment I heard Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s third ending theme “Shunkan Sentimental“. My older brother was already a fan and he’d already bought a fair number of CDs and DVDs by the time I became a fan (which would be around 2010-2011). As such they were the first Japanese band whose albums I listened to from the first track to the last. They’ve hit super stardom since then as far as Japanese rock bands are concerned, but I always loved their earlier tracks the most; one of ’em being this track right here, DOLL.

Ongaku – 音楽 – Music

~ I’d already watched (and re-watched numerous times) Kara no Kyoukai at this point in the timeline but my appreciation for Kalafina’s stylistic offerings didn’t really come to surface until much later. As you’d notice in the entries above I pretty much skewed a bit more towards J-Pop, mostly because they were the most accessible and as such were the more far-reaching music at the time, and it wasn’t until a bit after their work with Kara no Kyoukai that Kalafina started making waves in the anison scene — with performances for Kuroshitsuji, So Ra No Wo To (terribly underrated anime, go check this show out now), and of course Madoka Magica. Just with these three songs one could discern the wide range of Kalafina’s music, and going off that, I decided to share this track to further showcase their versatility.

school food punishment
you may crawl

~ One of the things that I really appreciate about the noitaminA anime programming block (other than being the destination for the more.. adventurous types of anime) is that a lot of the times the singers/bands chosen to do the OPs/EDs for its shows aren’t your typical anison performers. I don’t know if this is just coincidence or not but school food punishment for example sang most of their anison for noitaminA anime ([C], Higashi no Eden, and UN-GO) — and all of ’em are phenomenal. sfp would my first real taste of experimental Japanese Rock with electro-synth and I’d be a bit hard-pressed to call any other band similar to what they bring to the table. They were way ahead in the times in my opinion, more so when you consider the fact that this track “you may crawl” is more than 10 years old at this point.

Soutaiseiriron (相対性理論)
Ohayou OOPaatsu – おはようオーパーツ – Good Morning, OOParts

~ If you were to ask me what I prioritized with regard to what I look for in the music that I choose to listen to, then surely vocals come first. Enter Etsuko Yakushimaru, whose unique vocal stylings I first heard in Arakawa Under the Bridge‘s OPs (Seasons 1 and 2), The Tatami Galaxy‘s ED, and Mawaru Penguindrum‘s two OPs way back when. Her breath-y “low blood pressure” style of J-Pop is oddly addictive and once I got hooked it didn’t take long for me to set out and find my next fix. I found out that she was actually the front-woman for a band called Soutaiseiriron before even entering the anison scene, and right away I was taken in — whether it was by their quirky style complimented Etsuko Yakushimaru’s coquettish voice or their penchant for odd but catchy lyrics — see for yourself in the video (credits to Kitty for that awesome TL).

Negoto (ねごと)
Tasogare no rapusodii – 黄昏のラプソディ – Rhapsody of the Dusk

~ Another band discovery I made, thanks to noitaminA’s Fall 2013 programming block by way of a show called Galilei Donna, was Negoto. Truth be told when I first heard the OP for that I thought the vocals were a tad bit too high/squeaky for my liking. Three years later (lol) after having since been exposed to actual high-pitched and irritating vocals I went back and tried out Negoto again and I thought — hey, it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being; more than that they’re actually really really good (xD) Curse me for being uncultured in my early years of following J-music (and subsequently bless Negoto for continuing to produce good music even to this day). Seriously though, Negoto’s sense of rhythm (as far as “Japanese girls’ rock” is concerned) is just on another level, and here’s a taste of that in Tasogare no Rhapsody.

Tsukiyo no net – 月夜のnet – Moonlight’s Net

~ In the past I’ve talked about how one of the ways I decide on shows to watch was whether are liked its OP/ED, but nowadays it’s not really beyond me anymore to pick up songs from anime that I don’t even watch xD Such was the case for ecosystem. Admittedly however, I first found out about ecosystem through You see, I do this thing where I’ll chain search through the “Similar Artists” tab on that site in attempts to discover bands/artists to listen to and ecosystem came up during one of those searches. As adventurous as I claim to be with my music though, I’d much rather test the waters with music that’s more or less easier to come across (luckily they made OPs for Gintama and Uta Koi). If I had to describe their sound in one word; it’d be just plain “fun”.

Itsue (イツエ)
Umi e kaeru – 海へ還る – Return to the Sea

~ Summer 2014’s Aldnoah.Zero remains to very much be a polarizing title that has fans either praising or despising its otherwise magnificently convoluted narrative. If there’s anything that both parties can agree on however is that aLIEz was the sh*t (“I SAY CRIIIIIEEEER, I SAY LIIIIIAAAR“). *ehemehem* One of the reasons why Sawano Hiroyuki’s tracks are as awesome-tier as they are (dating back to his work on Guilty Crown) has always been his excellent ear for vocal talent. “Mizuki” was one of his discoveries and by golly was she a find. The harrowing quality to her voice is just so amazingly haunting. Some time in passing I found out that she was actually the front-woman for the band Itsue — which to this day is still one of my favorite J-bands.

Suisei – 水星 – Mercury

~ Also from 2014 came the very controversial animated short/music video called Me!Me!Me! (by Teddyloid of Panty, Stocking and Garterbelt fame), that featured some pretty intense (fair warning) NSFW visuals accompanied by some trippy J-Pop from DAOKO — who a lot of you now may know of as the one-half of the hit song Uchiage Hanabi from the anime movie of the same name. Before she went mainstream though, DAOKO was a mysterious R&B prospect that ruled the indie scene with her air-y vocals reminiscent of Etsuko Yakushimaru except edgier, and with a preference for rap and hip-hop. I became a fan right around the turning point of her fame but it was still really was nice to see her career come to fruition. To offically cap-off our little musical adventure, I’ll send you guys off with this little track of hers, Mercury.

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Find anything you like? 😀
What are some bands/artists that you found through anime?

23 thoughts on “Listening to Japanese Music: Bands/Artists discovered through Anime

  1. Lol first song and you instantly got my seal of approval!
    I actually wondered if you have seen my top 30 songs from ClariS list which was made almost a year ago. Head to number one and shake hands with me!

    • Oh wow, nice!
      This was one of their first ones too so it’s definitely a pleasant surprise finding someone who likes this song too xD

  2. mirrorpurple – Singapore – Full time soloist blogger, part time novel writer, part time gaming streamer. A rather pessimistic individual, but is actually a cute person at heart.
    mirrorpurple on said:


  3. I only really liked Claris when they did the Eromanga OP. I did not even realize there was an Alice. hahaha. I’m not a fan, but I like their gimmick.

    wow, snow sounds like a more mature sounding miwa. I love that deep voice. Never a fan of Hell Girl me self, but I like the song above. sounds very early 2000s, lol.
    napaka baba ng opinion ko sa scandal, kasi di ko gus2 ung boses ng singer nila tpos ung pagka retokada nila lumalala pag tanda nila >< pero ang ganda nung Doll. do their early works sounds like that? they sound like a band there, lol. yung kasing mga recent nila medyo artificial b ang dating nila sa akin. pero, i like this one. suggeat me an album. xD
    never a fan of kalifana. ewan ko, ako lng yn i'm sure. kahit ung kanta nya sa madoka di ko trip. hahaha

    yes! SFP is my jam! I love them. oddly enough, i was also introduced to them through noitaminA. i think they also did some jdrama or something.
    ganda ng boses ni etsuko. reminds me of the singer of Azumanga Diaoh. nakalimutan ko name!!!! naka LSS si OOPaatsu. I have it repeat thank you for this!!!
    and omg, i love Daoko. seryoso, this is my jam. parang Back on ung rap parts nya. hahaha.

    now I'll scour the web for their albums. great post, leap!!!!

    • oohhh, you thought ClariS was just one person? yeah, their main schtick used to be them being a duo of masked high schoolers on niconicodouga suddenlt making it big xD

      another fair comparison to SNoW would be Kylee (interesting since both of them spent some time living abroad, so they have, like, reaaally good English that shows in some of their songs)

      SCANDAL’s earlier stuff is where they shine the most in my opinion. When it wasn’t about style and “paganda”. I’d definitely recommend any of their first three albums (BEST SCANDAL, TEMPTATION BOX, and BABY ACTION) to start you off. Fun(?) fact about Haruna’s (the vocalist’s) voice though: she changed her singing style a bit after the second album because the way she was singing before (like here in DOLL) was messing up her vocal chords. Shunkan Sentimental tears her throat up the most 🙁

      Yeah, Kalafina’s more of an acquired taste, but it’s interesting if you think of them as “classical idols”

      Sweet, another sfp fan! (which again proves our age, TPAB, hahaha! sfp isn’t even around anymore)

      Yeap, sobrang chill ng boses ni Etsuko, hahaha, mapapa-LSS ka talaga. Forgot the name for the OP singer of Azumanga too but yea, similar styles

      Yey! too bad DAOKO is more mainstream pop now 🙁

      Happy to contribute to your playlist 😀

      • oh no, i know claris is a duo. but, there was a former duo? anu b? i thought may dating member tapos napaliltan? i watch the eromanga op song’s PV a bunch of times now, lol

        i’ll try scandal’s first 3 album then. i tihnk i heard their latest, and i saw its PV and i was floored. like wtf, just age!!!!

        lol, wala n b sfp? omg, we used to blast their songs in our anime club. xD tanda n nga ntin.

        ok lng yn. i can search through Daoko’s discography for the good ones. hehe

        • Ah, yeah, napalitan. Dati Clara and Alice, but then Alice broke away to pursue her studies — so the ClariS now is actually Clara and Karen, lol

          Yeah. At some point it stopped being about the music for SCANDAL. I mean, they still sound decent, but not as good as they used to be.

          wala na, hahaha. may bagong banda yung lead singer though (la la larks yung name nung band) and they sound pretty much like sfp, so it’s like they never left, haha!

          yeah, just steer towards her earlier tracks and you’re good 😀

          • awww~ i always love the fact that the duo was HS anonymous people. feels weird to have one casually replaced. cnu ung rplacement? ung matangkad o ung pandak?

            i am not updated with sfp, but i’m glad they’re still rocking. reminds me of SCANTY. all members have moved on, pero ung lead singer iniwana n ang music industry. hirap hanapin ng albums nila, napaka obscure nila

            and yes! again thanki you. i should read your other music posts. xD

            • si Clara yung matangkad xD rule of thumb also is that Clara almost always has a moon motif on her costume (Alice used to be the Sun; Karen’s is a star)

              I have an invite for a private tracker if you’re interested xD

              Haha! Yeah, go ahead 😀

  4. moyatori – A few times in a blue moon, I blog about anime, Kalafina, and other random things that I think of and later regret.
    moyatori on said:

    Thanks for all the recommendations! I also fell in love with the first four on your list through anime (except ClariS through Madoka, and SCANDAL through Bleach). I also didn’t watch Hell Girl, but was attracted to the vibe of the anime and how its OPs seem to fit it so well.
    I also enjoyed Soutaiseiriron when I watched Mawaru Penguindrum – you remind me that I should check out more of their songs! I listened to all the songs in your post, and also really enjoyed Itsue.
    Other artists I discovered through anime: Akiko Shikata (Umineko), amazarashi (Tokyo Ghoul), Do as Infinity (Inuyasha), Onmyouza (Basilisk), and I’m sure there are more. It’s funny, because out of the anime I’ve listed, Inuyasha’s the only one I’ve seen more than one episode of. But if those artists didn’t do anime OPs, I honestly wouldn’t have known about them…

    • You’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed this little playlist 😀

      Yes! More Soutaiseiriron love~ Itsue is really good. Or was. They disbanded fairly recently 🙁

      It’s funny you bring up Akiko Shikata as the OP for Umineko was probably the only thing I really liked about the whole show, haha! Ooh, amazarashi was actually in my shortlist of bands to put in here (though I first heard them through Ranpo Kitan) along with bands like Ling Tosite Sigure and cinema staff.

      I didn’t even know Do as Infinity did anison until Juni Taisen, amusingly enough xD But yeah, happens to me a lot too (usually with more long running shows)

  5. I feel like i used to listen and pay attention to music in anime more before than i do now. i’m just not a huge music fan but some bands i can think of bc of anime is maximum the hormone (dn) and…TK (tg) and sawano? (from AZ and owari), the pillows (FLCL) and aoi eir (from somewhere…i can’t remember). oh and there’s asian kung fu generation. this one is one of the firsts i think that i picked up so i can’t remember from where but i know they also did the song for erased, which i’d been really excited to hear since i like that song! i also looked up the artists for the inuyasha songs, lol

    i’m pretty sure there are others but i’m blanking out right now ^^;;

    Soutaiseiriron sounds really cute! i’m not really a huge fan of female singers tho, i just find that the voices sound too much alike @_@

    • I think, with me, it had to do with my growing irritation towards mainstream music (lol) that I came to like music in anime more — that and I have this thing where I’m very quick to get tired of a song that I can understand the words of, and as funny as it sounds I think that me not knowing most of the words being said is why I’ve come to like japanese music as a whole more xD

      All good bands/artists you mentioned there btw 😀 Aoi Eir I think I heard first from SAO so you might be remembering her from that. Love Sawano, lol, I even watched a jdrama series because I saw he did the OST for it.

      Yey more Soutaiseiriron love~ Lately I’ve found that I share the same sentiment towards male singers, oddlye enough, so in a way I do get what you mean xD

      • yeah, i think since last year i’ve been really disliking music and idk, it feels like there’s no purpose to it anymore?? compared to previous years. some of it i can get really into but after (say) the 10th time listening to it bc the radio overplays it, it gets old and i need a change of pace. and wow the amount of music that gets old quickly is rising lol

        oh i know what you mean, i think that’s also one of the reasons i like foreign music. not only do i not know what they’re saying but i feel like i pay closer attention to the actual music/whats going on. not that i know much about music 😛

        mmm, i don’t think it was from sao. i never watched it xD but it was from somewhere HMMMM

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