On February 17th, it was announced that actress and singer, Maaya Sakamoto will be singing theme songs for two TV anime starting in April in Japan.
The first is the opening theme for Deaimon, a story set in an old confectionery store in Kyoto. The OP is titled “Sumire” the lyrics were written by Sakamoto herself, and the composition and arrangement were done by Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a Japanese rock band from Kyoto, appropriately matching the anime’s setting.
Deaimon’s protagonist, Nagumo Irino has dreams of becoming a member of a band and runs away from home to live in Tokyo. Ten years later, He receives a letter from home stating his father is in the hospital and asking him to take over the family shop, giving up on his dreams, he returns home. During his ten-year-long absence, a ten-year-old girl named Itsuka Yukihira has been working in the shop. In fact, Nagumo’s mother (voiced by Sakamoto) has become a sort of foster mom to Itsuka. Nagumo’s mother puts Itsuka and Nagumo against each other to see who will overpower the other and take over the family shop.
The series is written and illustrated by Rin Asano who, according to MAL is credited in the creation of Pangaea, Final Fantasy XV: Koushiki Comic Anthology, Tengai Retrogical, Choko Beast!! to name a few.
Deaimon began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten’s seinen manga magazine Young Ace in May 2016 and has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes from Kadokawa Comics Ace as of October 2021. The anime is set to premiere on April 6, 2022 on AT-X.
Sakamoto comments on the making of “Sumire“
“[. . .] I wrote the lyrics and asked Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a band that I’ve always loved, to handle the composition. I think that I was able to write very peaceful lyrics, guided by the warm melody. Sumire (Violets) are a common flower in everyday life, and you can even find them growing in gaps in concrete. They’re so small that you might overlook them, but they are actually very powerful and huddle together to bloom. I chose this title due to the characteristics that these flowers share with people. I’m delighted to have another precious song that I can continue singing into the future.”(Via official press release)
In addition, Sakamoto will also be the lead vocals on the ED theme for the third season of the popular anime Ascendance of a Bookworm titled, “Kotoba ni Dekinai“. This series has sold over 6 million copies (including e-books).
The story follows Urano Motosu, a book-loving post-secondary college student and soon-to-be librarian who ends up crushed to death beneath a pile of books at her house during an earthquake. With her dying breath, she wishes to be reincarnated in a world where she can read books forever. Urano awakens in the body of a weak, five-year-old girl named Myne in a world where books are scarce and only available to elites. Myne, retaining her memories from her previous life, decides to create and print her own books so that she can read again.
The series was first published as a Light novel in 2015 and is written by Miya Kazuki and illustrated by Yū Shiina. Later that same year, It was adapted as a manga with illustrations done by Suzuka (later changed to Ryo Namino and Hikaru Katsuki in part 3 and part 4 of the manga series). The manga series is currently on-going.
The series later premiered as an anime in October 3, 2019, with direction by Mitsuru Hongo who is best known for Outlaw Star and Sakura Wars: The Movie.
Sakamoto commented on the making of “Kotoba ni Dekinai“
“[. . .] I handled the lyrics and composition. This song is full of feelings of gratitude for irreplaceable people and places, and feelings that inspire you when you’re discouraged. In that sense, it’s a sad song but also one that allows you to positively move forward. People who are going through many new encounters and farewells as their environment changes this spring may be particularly able to identify with it. Please give it a listen.”
-Maaya Sakamoto(via official press release)
In voiceover, Maaya Sakamoto is best known as Hitomi Kanzaki in The Vision of Escaflowne, Jeanne d’Arc in Fate/Apocrypha, Haruhi Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club, and Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler, to name a few characters. As a singer, she’s known for performing songs in both English and Japanese. Her early work and collaboration with renounced anime music composer Yoko Kanno in 1996 put her in the spotlight when she released her debut single “Yakusoku wa Iranai.” She later went to release the next selected singles, “Tune the Rainbow”, “Loop”, “Ame ga Furu”, and “Triangler” all reaching the top 10 Oricon singles chart. “Triangler” in particular won the 13th Animation Kobe Theme Song Award.
Her albums have had similar success, with Shōnen Alice and Yūnagi Loop, both reaching the top 10 Oricon albums chart; and her album You Can’t Catch Me, released on January 12, 2011, became her first release to ever reach number 1.