By Tom Smith.
What results when a Naruto addict and a vocaloid producer combine forces? Anime song goodness, obviously! That’s exactly what happened when Japanese twosome GARNiDELiA exploded onto the scene in 2014, unleashing their first single “Ambiguous”, a track that will no doubt be familiar with anyone watching Kill la Kill – it’s the series’ second opening and you can watch its music video right here.
Originally the twosome pursued musical adventures independently of each other. Composer and producer toku (with a little ‘t’, because why make things easy for foreign journalists) started late in life, with a baptism by mecha space opera Macross Frontier as he entered his 30s. The anime series was the first to really capture his imagination, particularly due to its intergalactic pop diva character Sheryl Nome and aspiring singer Ranka Lee. Ever since watching the series, toku began watching late night anime whenever possible, and started composing his own anime-inspired tunes using vocaloid software and Miku Hatsune. Soon he was arranging (anime!) tracks for Sony’s latest otaku idols LiSA and Haruna Luna.
Meanwhile, vocalist MARiA (with a little ‘i’, because… Japan) began her indulgence with music at the earlier age of 11. A year later and she had already made her debut in anime as part of young idol group New man Co., Ltd. , who provided the theme for the wonderfully-titled series Full-Blast Science Adventure: So That’s How It Is. Her career with New man Co., Ltd. didn’t last particularly long, and after the group split up, she became the youngest member of the even more ridiculously named Harajuku BJ Girls (the BJ part stands for Blues and Jazz, of course). Thankfully, a year later they realised that it was a silly name, and rebranded themselves as Chix Chicks.
While Harajuku BJ Girls realised what a sucky name they had and were thinking up new names, MARiA managed to land her first anime theme as a solo artist, singing the opening theme to Toei Animation’s romantic comedy Kamisama Kazoku under the name Mai Mizuhashi. She’s later went on to record songs for the Pokémon: Diamon & Pearl TV series, Hitohira and Dojin Work, amongst others. Though, she has yet to work on Naruto, despite it being one of her most favourite series.
By 2010 Chix Chicks would call it quits, and MARiA was looking for what to do next, despite already achieving so much by the age of 18. It’s here where she was introduced to toku, and the pair have been making beautiful J-pop together ever since.
In a recent interview with OtakuMode, surrounding the unit’s appearance at Sakura-Con 2015 in Seattle, toku spoke about the creative concept behind GARNiDELiA’s Kill la Kill track, stating that he was consciously aiming to create a song that “imbued old Japanese popular songs and a riff with Showa taste”. MARiA added that she thought Kill la Kill’s world managed to capture the nostalgic taste of Japan’s Showa period, while also having “out there” artwork and style.
Make your own mind up, Kill la Kill Part 3 is available from Anime Limited on UK DVD and Blu-ray, and features deluxe packaging and bonus content. GARNiDELiA’s music is available now from the iTunes store.