J-Pop Will Eat Itself
Ritsuko Okazaki



in this series, clicks’n’cuts dilettante Francis Henville describes his descent into the netherworld of Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean commercial pop. Track by track, he navigates deeper into the genre, searching for ever-more-toothsome morsels with which to satiate his jaded appetite…


Ritsuko Okazaki
For Fruits Basket


OK, so here we have another anime theme song—but this time it's from one I've never seen. This track, the opening theme to Fruits Basket, nevertheless scores through the roof for idyllic transparent nostalgic melodies and ineffable softness of tone.

(The internet wishes to inform me that male members of the Yuki family, featured in this anime, "hold a curse; if they are hugged by the opposite gender, they transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac.")

But no apologies. I don't ask you to watch, just to listen.

The opening harmony vocals and catlike electric piano remind me of a tranquilized Ben Folds, until Ritsuko starts whispering the verse in your ear as you fall asleep. You start to dream of your days in elementary school, the peach-colored years. "Let's stay together, itsu mo", she implores.

The childishness of the instrumentation reminds one of Lullatone or Deerhoof. Archaic drum machine presets rotate, sampled strings swell melodramatically, Ritsuko joins herself in the multitrack to sing the second verse with a delightfully phrased harmony line.

The final effect is that of a Beatles-like pop song recorded by an orchestra of toy instruments.

This is a song that makes you look out the window. From mine I can see a line of white and grey trees, leafless, and behind them the shallow, quick river running under the bridge, with a thin vicious layer of white foamy poison at its banks, gathering in clouds as the river rushes under the icy breeze. It's almost winter here in Canada.



By: Francis Henville
Published on: 2004-12-02
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