Culture

Five J-Rock Artists for Anime Fans to Get Into for 2020

Add these killer bands to your otaku playlist.

By 4 min read

The music scene in Japan is typically known for bubbly pop idols with appearances just as adorable as their songs, but foreign anime fans have long known that there’s more to Japan’s music charts than AKB48.

Anime soundtracks are always sparking interest in new artists for otaku, and if you’re a fan of J-rock or just catchy alternative music in general, here are five artists currently making waves in the anime scene.

Amazarashi

Amazarashi has been on the radar of anime fans for quite a while now, and they’ve only been getting more attention from English audiences on their YouTube channel thanks to the raw style of their songs. Their song Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku was featured as the ending for the anime Tokyo Ghoul √A and their single Sora ni Utaeba is the third opening for the popular series My Hero Academia.

Lead singer Akita Hiromu’s raspy voice fits the band’s melancholic style so perfectly that you’ll no doubt be moved by his songs.

For the 2019 anime remake of Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo, their beautifully melodic Sayonara Gokko was chosen as the first ending, which was a perfect match for the dark, heartfelt series.

Don’t speak a lick of Japanese? It doesn’t matter. Lead singer Akita Hiromu’s raspy voice fits the band’s melancholic style so perfectly that you’ll no doubt be moved by his songs.

Songs to check out

Queen Bee

Better known in Japan as Ziyoou-vachi (女王蜂), Queen Bee isn’t afraid to shake up the status quo. Lead singer Avu-chan is openly transgender in a society that doesn’t seem quite ready for her yet, but she owns everything she does with the eccentric and unapologetic way that she carries herself.

Their song Half, about the pressures of being biracial in Japan, was featured as an ending for Tokyo Ghoul: Re. The band found even more success with the release of the 2019 album, Ten, which features Kaen, the first opening for 2019’s Dororo.

Blending over the top glam with bright creativity, Queen Bee’s videos are often eye-catching, and their songs are doomed to get stuck in your head for days.

Songs to check out

Eve

Eve got his start covering popular songs in the utaite community on YouTube and niconico scene which is a term for artists who perform cover songs, usually written by Vocaloid (voice synthesizer software) producers. Since then, he’s been releasing his own material, honing in on a fast-paced style complemented by his soothing soprano voice. His animated music videos leave fans speculating and commenting with their interpretations on his YouTube channel.

His latest album, Smile, includes Yamiyo—a song that meshes dark, poetic lyrics and optimism stunningly. It was the second ending theme for Dororo, an anime just filled with hits if you couldn’t tell.

Songs to check out

Maigo Hanyuu (羽生まゐご)

Maigo Hanyuu is the only artist on this list that hasn’t been featured in an anime, but Hanyuu’s work is so great that it’s only a matter of time. You’ll find Hanyuu in YouTube’s utaite community making songs featuring Flower, a Vocaloid collab between Yamaha and Gynoid.

Hanyuu is known for taking traditional Japanese instruments and blending them with modern tempos. They tune Flower’s voice to perfection while attaching visually appealing music videos to match. If the only Vocaloid artist you’re familiar with is Hatsune Miku, fix that asap!

Not the biggest fan of Vocaloid? Check out Hanyuu’s latest work from the album Masho no Kamatoto, which uses organic vocals fitting Hanyuu’s style just as well as Flower.

Songs to check out

Mili

Mili is a Japanese indie band led by Canadian singer Cassie Wei, who sings in English. Wei’s gentle and calming voice creates an ethereal vibe, especially when their YouTube songs are paired with fantasy concepts.

Their song Rightfully was the opening theme for 2018’s Goblin Slayer, and they recently released the ending song for the upcoming series Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. One of Mili’s best songs is Opium, a beautiful tune with lyrics that weave heartbreak into a soft melody.

Songs to check out

What Japanese anime artists do you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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