Category Archives: Anime

Minori Suzuki’s 6th Single “BROKEN IDENTITY” | OP of ‘I’m Quitting Heroing’

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Minori Suzuki

Japanese voice actress, Minori Suzuki has announced that she will be releasing her 6th single “BROKEN IDENTITY” on June 1, 2022. The song will be used as the opening theme of I’m Quitting Heroing, a new anime airing on April 5th in Japan.

The anime’s promotional video above features the chorus of this song, which is a hard rock tune, unlike anything Suzuki has done before. The single will have a total of six songs, including two new coupling tracks and an instrumental of each.

The single will be released in three formats: Limited Edition A will include a Blu-ray Disc containing the Minori Suzuki Anime Song Covers Collection, a sequel to the Minori Suzuki Covers Collection that gained popularity on YouTube last year. This will include four newly recorded covers, along with comment videos, and a self-cover of “Saihate” that was only performed once during a special Livestream to commemorate the release of her previous single. You can find Limited Edition A available for preorder here:

Limited Edition B will include a CD containing the sound source of Minori Suzuki 2nd LIVE TOUR 2021~Make My Story!~, which was held last year. It will be a 60-minute recording and contain all 11 songs. More specifics about tracks will be announced at a later date. You can find Limited Edition B available for preorder here:

"Yusha, Yamemasu (Animne)" Intro Theme: BROKEN IDENTITY [Limited Edition / Type B] / Minori Suzuki
CD Japan

The Regular Edition will come with a CD wrapper with an original anime illustration, which you can preorder here:

"Yusha, Yamemasu (Animne)" Intro Theme: BROKEN IDENTITY [Regular Edition] / Minori Suzuki
CD Japan

Minori Suzuki also has an impressive resume as a voice actress, voicing characters such as Hajime Fujiwara from The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, Akiho Shinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Uiui from SHOW BY ROCK!! Mashumairesh!!, Ena Shinonome from Project Sekai: Colorful Stage! feat. Hatsune Miku, and Agnes Digital from Umamusume: Pretty Derby.

Suzuki is currently one of the most powerful voice actress artists in the business. Using her outstanding vocal ability, a wide range of expressions, and striking smile as her weapon, she energizes everyone who watches her perform.

You find more of Minori Suzuki on her official YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter

Nao Toyama to Sing OP Theme of ‘Ascendance of a Bookworm’ Season 3

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Voice actor and music artist, Nao Toyama announced that she will be performing the opening theme to Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 titled, “Ano Hi no Kotoba“. The announcement came during Nao Toyama’s Birthday Celebration ~Naobou is quitting the 20s ~ held at EX THEATER ROPPONGI.

Nao Toyama

Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 will begin airing in Japan in April of this year. In a recent article we wrote, Maaya Sakamoto announced that she will be performing the ending theme to Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 titled, “Kotoba ni Dekinai.” Nao Toyama also announced that she will also be performing the ending theme of I’m Quitting Heroing titled, “Growing.”

This 6th single, which is also part 3 of her ‘5th Anniversary Plan’, will include both “Ano Hi no Kotoba” and “Growing.” “Ano Hi no Kotoba” was written by singer-songwriter Sakura Fujiwara and composed and arranged by Soulife. The following are direct comments from Nao Toyama, Sakura Fujira & Soulife.

Nao Toyama

I worked really hard with the anime staff to ensure that “Ano Hi no Kotoba” matches season 3’s story. In fact, I almost ended up crying many times during the recording. May the people around you find happiness. I hope that this song resonates with everyone who is working hard towards a future that they chose.

– Nao Toyama
Sakura Fujiwara

I wrote the lyrics to this song after watching the previous seasons as a viewer. When I heard the sound source of Nao Toyama singing them to the lovely pop tune created by Soulife, I was so impressed that I immediately sent the director a message saying, “This is amazing!” I wanted to make it a warm song where Myne turns the pages one by one and expresses her gratitude for the encounters and events that she has experienced so far, so we had many back and forth exchanges to complete it, and I’m delighted to see it finally released. I hope you enjoy it

– Sakura Fujiwara
Soulife

When I was asked to compose this song, I carefully read the original story and decided to create a song that would bring out a more mature quality than anything Nao Toyama has done before.

While it retains the classical, medieval European elements of past theme songs, it also has a “sadness” that people say is typical of my work. The result is a melodious and encompassing song. The main character grows with a mixture of anxiety and expectation in the lyrics written by Sakura Fujiwara. I hope listeners will feel the excitement of turning to the blank page of “today” with this opening theme. I look forward to watching Myne’s growth with you all!

– Soulife

Nao Toyama made her voice acting debut in 2010. She attracted a lot of attention for her role as Kanon Nakagawa in the TV anime The World God Only Knows.

After that, she went on to play characters in numerous popular works, such as Karen Kujo in Kin-iro Mosaic, Chitoge Kirisaki in Nisekoi, Reina Prowler in MacrossΔ, and Rin Shima in Yuru CampΔ.

In 2019, she held her first solo tour and performed overseas in Taipei and Shanghai. The following year, she celebrated her 10th anniversary as a voice actress by releasing her character song best album “Special Thanks,” which placed third on the Oricon Weekly Ranking.

In 2021, she released a mini-concept album titled “off” with the theme of, ‘rest and healing’ in May and her fifth single “Samenai Maho” in November. 2022 marks her fifth year as a singer.

You can find more of Nao Toyama at her official website here, and follow her on Twitter here.

Yui Makino’s Digital Single “Touch of Hope” is Out Now! New Album Planned for 2022

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Today musical artist , Yui Makino released her new digital single Touch of Hope.”

Touch of Hope” is the theme song to The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, a feature-length animation based on a Japanese manga series by Nagabe that was completed in March last year.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún is a story of a little girl named who was abandon in a forest with strange beasts. One day she befriends one of these beast, one who seems to be nicer than the rest, and proceeds to call him “Teacher”. Together they embark on journey to find more about Shiva’s background, while “Teacher” serves as a guardian and protector. Their bond seems to transcend their incompatible natures, becoming a folktale of two outcasts -one human, one inhuman- who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.

The subtitle in the title, “Siúil, a Rún” is a reference to a traditional Irish song, which is sung in the point of view of a woman lamenting a lover who has embarked on a military career, and indicating her willingness to support him. “Touch of Hope pays homage to the traditional Irish song by singing some of its original lyrics.

The Girl from the Other Side was released in 2019 as a short 10 minute, art animation and was highly acclaimed at national and international film festivals.

In March 10th 2022, A feature-length animation was produced and released by Wit Studio and directed by Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya set to be released with the manga’s bonus volume.

To fund this production, Wit Studio held a crowdfunding campaign from March to May last year, and the target amount of 3 million yen was achieved in just four hours. In the end, the campaign raised over 20 million yen from 1,418 users.

“Where else can I hear Yui Makino?”

You may be surprised to learn that Makino made her voice acting debut in April 2005 as Sakura, the heroine of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, an anime based on an original story by CLAMP. At the same time, she made her pre-debut singing “Omna Magni,” the ending theme for Genesis of Aquarion produced by Yoko Kanno.

Later that same year, she released “Amrita,” the theme song of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle the Movie: The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom.. Since then, she has voiced many anime characters and worked on many anime tie-up songs, demonstrating her diverse talents as a voice actress, singer, and pianist.

In August 2021, she released a Blu-ray version of Yui Makino Live Concert Five6three7, her 15th anniversary concert held in April (released and distributed by Amuse), and in December, she released the single “Espero,” the theme song of ARIA The BENEDIZIONE.

Yui Makino will be releasing a new album in 2022 under the FlyingDog label. More information will be released at a later date, so please keep your eye on Yui!

To find more information on Yui Makino visit her Official Website or follow her on Twitter

Exclusive Yae Miko Interview – Genshin Impact 2.5

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Ever since her appearance as an NPC, Yae Miko has been among the top, fan-favorite characters in Geshin Impact. With the release of 2.5 at the of end February, fans finally got a glimpse of the voice behind the mysterious editor-in-chief & shrine maiden of Grand Narukami Shrine!

Watch our exclusive interview with voice actor, Ratana and get to know the voice behind YAE MIKO!

GIVEAWAY

HOW TO ENTER

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here, and answer the following questions on the video’s comment section (on YouTube):

What would be the name of Ratana’s Publishing House AND Why do you like Yae Miko?

Winner(s) will be contacted via YouTube and email using their YouTube usernames. Deadline is April 2nd 2022.


Never miss a giveaway op or exclusive interview, Join the TKN mailing list below!

Join 821 other subscribers

Maaya Sakamoto to Sing OP Theme of Deaimon and ED Theme of Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3

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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.

Shigeru Kishida of Kururi

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.
-Maaya Sakamoto

(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.

BELLE | Should You Watch It?

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Mamoru Hosoda at Animation Is Film Festival 2021

Known for his emotionally touching and visually captivating films, such as Wolf Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Summer Wars, award-winning film director Mamoru Hosoda is back with his ninth film, BELLE.

Now playing in theaters, Belle is a modern adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast and could be considered a spiritual sequel to Hosoda’s 2009 film, Summer Wars, as it also deals with a virtual world.

Synopsis

The film starts with Suzu Naito (Voiced by Kylie McNeill), a shy 17-year old high school student living with her father (Voiced by Ben Lepley). She lives haunted by the memory of her mother’s death at a young age. Since then, Suzu has been living in her shadow, having almost no close connections and no self confidence. At least, until one day, with the help of her one close friend Hiroka Betsuyaku (Voiced by Jessica DiCicco), she discovers the online virtual world of ‘U‘ where over 5 billion users log on daily. When Suzu logs in for the first time, U automatically creates a beautiful, freckled, pink-haired avatar based on her biometrics, and she nicknames herself “Bell” (鈴 = Suzu is Japanese for Bell).

Suzu logging into U for the first time. Bimetic readers in her ear.

Enjoying her newfound life in anonymity; Suzu, using her voice and overcoming her trauma, develops Bell into a world-famous singer among U. Rapidly gaining popularity, Suzu holds events and concerts as Bell in U, and fans come to dub her as ‘Belle‘ (French for “Beautiful”) However, during one of Belle’s online concerts, she is interrupted by an avatar named only as “The Dragon” (Voiced by Paul Castro Jr).

“The Dragon” avater appears for the first time, during BELLE’s concert.

Intrigued, Suzu & Hiro embark on a journey to discover the person behind The Dragon. Along the way, Suzu realizes the real power of being anonymous online and the many reasons why people like her escape to U from their own lives. 

What type of story is BELLE?

The film seems to be confused about what type of story it wants to tell; whether it is an action-adventure story, as Suzu begins to discover the virtual world of U as Bell, or a romantic story, as the plot depicts the ‘forbidden’ nature in the relationship between Bell and The Dragon and Suzu’s determination to help The Dragon. One thing is for sure, the film is a musical feature. Unlike a Disney film, where characters spontaneously spring into a musical number often without warning, the film does a great job in coordinating the music with the imagery that’s on screen.

“Lend Me Your Voice”

The film touches on several sensitive topics and themes, such as overcoming personal trauma. The film successfully portrays one’s desire to escape real situations for a glamorous, anonymous lifestyle; a secret, secondary life where real-life issues are nonexistent. Additionally, many viewers find themselves connected to the main character as the film dives into the psychological impact of dealing with a personal loss and its effects on a person’s daily life. 

The Music

The music in this film is captivating and leaves the viewers in astonishment, undoubtedly worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation. Kaho Nakumora (Suzu/Belle in Japanese) and Kylie McNeill’s vocal performances are phenomenal and are presented with a profusion of emotional appeal. Kylie’s vocals perfectly embody Kaho’s performance as BELLE and, with Ludvig Forssell’s creative songwriting skills alongside Mamoru Hosoda and actress Kaho Nakumora, make exquisite lyrics. 

BELLE sings “Gale of Songs” as she enters U for the first time.

“Should I Watch it?”

Though the film may contain some unnecessary subplots, it makes up for its visual presentation and musical and vocal performances. The film portrays Suzu with relatable qualities that speak to the viewer, whether you have experienced personal loss or not. If the above mentioned is not convincing enough to watch BELLE in theaters, consider that this film was worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation during the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Perhaps cast members, Kylie Mcneill and Paul Castro Jr can convince you through our exclusive interviews. Watch as Kylie & Paul share behind the scene stories and their experiences working on BELLE.

Interview With Kylie McNeill

Interview With Paul Castro Jr

We also included a brief Interview with Mamoru Hosoda we conducted during the 2021 Animation Is Film Festival in Hollywood, CA.

Watch BELLE In Theaters!

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Watch BELLE the newest movie by award-winning filmmaker, Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more), comes a fantastical, heartfelt story of growing up in the age of social media.

Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.

Subtitled Trailer

English Dub Trailer

The Cast

You can watch Belle in theaters and IMAX in both Japanese and English starting January 14, 2022, get your ticket now!

Highschool Of The Dead Returns?! (Not really, but…)

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Though there are NO official plans to bring HOTD back, the series has been trending among fans due to the newly released version of the High School of The Dead theme song of the same name.

Music art for “High School Of The Dead” 2010 (Left) and 2021 (Right)

The song is performed by Jrock band, Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets with vocals by lead vocalist Ichigo. Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets began as a one-man Doujin music band (Fan made/inspired music) created by Kishida Kyoudan. Kishida initially produced covers songs from various series, mainly from Touhou Project and Type-Moon series. From 2007 through 2010, more members joined the band; Ichigo, Hayapi (guitar) & Micchan (drums).

Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets: Kishida, Micchan, Ichigo & Hayapi

In 2010, Under the NBCUniversal Entertainment label (then known as Geneon Universal), they eventually made their major debut with their single “Highschool of the Dead” which was used as the opening theme to High School Of The Dead anime series. Three years later, on October 30th, 2013, their single “Strike the Blood” was used as the opening theme to the anime series Strike the Blood.

Strike the Blood anime

In 2013, the band went on to a different label, and with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the band then went on to release numerous singles and albums which were used in various anime series, including GATE (2nd season, Op theme), Alderamin on the Sky (Op theme), and A Certain Scientific Railgun T (ED theme).

On August 18, 2021, the band released the newly re-recorded version of their 2010 hit single, “High School Of The Dead [2021]“. In addition, the band’s official YouTube channel released the official High School Of The Dead theme song music video, 11 years after the original release.

When the HOTD theme song was released in 2010, it never had a music video to go along with it, nor was it ever featured in any of the band’s albums. The band has recently released a compilation album titled Isekaitensei Shitara Best Album Deshita.

Isekaitensei Shitara Best Album Deshita features all their anime singles and the newly re-recorded HOTD theme song. The album comes in two versions: the regular edition and the limited edition.

The Regular edition contains two CDs of Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets’ best anime singles, including “High School of Dead[2021]”. The limited edition includes the entire album in two CDs, a 48-page band member interview booklet, a Blu-ray containing HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD [2021] MUSIC VIDEO, and “Kishida Kyodan & THE Akeboshi Rockets Live Video held on November 11, 2020. HOTD 2021 art is a homage to High School of The Dead and shows the character Saya Takagi.

You can purchase the album here [REGULAR VERISON] | [LIMITED EDITION] or Stream HERE.

Anime Expo Lite announces “Discover Little Tokyo” Event

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Anime Expo Lite 2021 ticketholders will have the opportunity to partake in a special promotion event being offered by a dozens retailers and restaurants in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles!

Little Tokyo’s famous Yagura or Tower

Beginning Friday, June 25 thru Sunday, July 11, 2021, Anime Expo Lite Ticketholders are invited to discover the historic Little Tokyo district and visit each of the participating establishments listed below to receive a custom designed Anime Expo coaster.

There are 6 different full color coasters available to collect, each may be assembled to create the above artwork designed by, Collateral Damage Studios commemorating Anime Expo’s partnership this year with Hate Is A Virus.

The list of participating establishments are as follows:

Although held virtually the past two years, Anime Expo Lite 2021 marks the 30th Anniversary of the long-running annual convention. Anime Expo Lite begins on July 3-4, 2021 from 12pm – 8pm (PST).

Tickets for Anime Expo Lite 2021 are just $5 (+ processing fees) with all proceeds to benefit the Hate Is a Virus commUNITY Action Fund. Purchase your tickets here and take a trip to Los Angeles to ‘Discover Little Tokyo’ and get exclusive access to Anime Expo Lite (Live stream).

Lucasfilm + Anime Expo Lite: STAR WARS: VISIONS Panel & Sneak Peak

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Anime Expo announced that Lucasfilm will bring a galaxy far, far away to Anime Expo Lite this July with Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview panel!

Join host Chastity Vicencio and Lucasfilm executive producers, Jacqui Lopez, James Waugh Josh Rimes and Qubic Pictures’ Co-Executive Producer, Justin Leach and Kanako Shirasaki for an inside look at Star Wars: Visions before the series debuts on Disney+ later this year.

Star Wars: Visions is an upcoming anthology of animated shorts celebrating
Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators and storytellers.

Concept Visual

According to Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm Ltd, Star Wars: Visions[is an] anthology collection [that] will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.

The upcoming novel Ronin written by Emma Mieko Candon, will tie into one of the shorts. Ronin is set to release on October 12, 2021. There is no current release date for Star Wars: Visions.

Cover not final

Full Panel Details:

Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview
Date: July 3, 2021 / 3:00PM PST
Duration: 30 minutes

Where:  Anime Expo Lite

Tickets to access this year’s Anime Expo Lite programming are $5 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Hate Is A Virus commUNITY Action Fund. After the stream concludes on July 4th, ticketholders can re-watch the content, as well as access additional programming, on a VOD basis from July 5th -16th, 2021.