Anamanaguchi is my hands down favorite band ever.
I first heard Anamanaguchi through a gameplay trailer of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Video Game. I was captivated by first levels theme “Another Winter” so much so that I would just repeat the video over and over just to hear it.
I later looked up the composer, found the name Anamanaguchi, found their Sound Cloud account, and then got lost in sweet 8-bit music bliss.
Regrettably, not joining any of their social media, I found out about their Kickstarter of Endless Fantasy too late. It apparently turned out to be the second most successful band to be crowd funded within just 12 of the launch.
I was very happy for them, I waited for drop of their epic, 22-track album. I was hit with something completely unexpected. A change to their sound and style that felt too… perfect.
I’m going to go through the 10 tracks I’ve personally love to give you a little taste of awesomeness. Let’s jump in!
The first track of the album shares the same name of “Endless Fantasy,” which I played to death. Once you hear the bass drum kick in, you’re in for a pleasant ride.
This track would be the defining mood for the album, a mixture of chill and exciting. It’s such a game changer from their previous work, due to the structure being more like a song in the way of complexity with intro, verse, chorus, breakdown, verse, and back to chorus again.
I’ve always imagined the lead chip tune in any of their songs as their vocal lead and this one is a cutie. All in all a solid opening for their album.
“Japan Air” took me by surprise, due to it having an actual vocalist sounding a bit off-putting to what I was expecting. Maybe the vocals made it too bubblely, but I grew to like it after a few more repeats.
I do like the ending build up with the lyrics:
They all try to keep up
While we fuck this shit up
They all try to keep up
And then the sweet little spoken message at the end gets me every time.
“Echobo.” I have no words other than pure bliss. The fast beat and passionate notes of this track as a special place in my heart.
It makes me visualize a lively arcade, buzzing with blips and bloops. The crowds would huddle around this couple as they dominate the room.
“Planet” steps back from the rush to a slow, electric chill atmosphere; very uplifting and lively. To suit the name perfectly, it’s like you’re floating above a 8-bit earth as its rotates around a pixelated, starry space.
A little along the way, “Prom night” is the second and last track in the album to feature vocals and I was hooked to this electric dance tune. Its empowering beat, glitchy 8-bit scratches, and intimate lyrics blend together incredibly.
In early 2014, Anamanaguchi released a 2K14 version of “Prom Night” with refined vocals that I felt wasn’t an improvement, nor diminishing of the original, but mix it with Quad City DJ’s Slam Jam and you got a solid remix. Credit to Foobie on YouTube for this great mix.
“Akira” places the mic back to the 8-bit vocalist and it really shows what this band can pull off. Honestly, this track is so delightful and cheerful I originally thought it could be tied to the 1980’s movie Akira, but was I wrong.
It was later that I found out that the name Akira can be a unisex name. It makes me wonder who they really dedicated this song to unlike a few song ago they named a song after the late 80’s and 90’s film director, John Hughes.
Reaching the mid point we have “Interlude (Total Tea Time)” which sounds directly out of an old school pause menu. When resumed, we get hit with “Meow” that always gets me going.
This has got to be by far one of the weirdest catchiest uses of sampling I’ve heard. Using a cartoonish meow throughout the song really makes it something unique and fun. A real fever dream-like video complements the song insanely well.
“In The Basement” has to be the odd one out in the album and I love it. Starting off as a simple jam, it reels you in for a delightful little rock tune.
It’s the simplicity of this song; not adding any extra sound effects or pizzazz that really makes this song one of my favorites. It’s just the band and their 8-bit sound.
“U n Me” tugs me by the heart so bad. Its festive and intimate sounds remind me of a Christmas parade where you get to see all the holiday lights and decorations.
It gets me the same way that “Echobo” does; blissful, but in a more slow and cozy way. I guess this gets my December nostalgia running.
Finally “(T-T)b.” This track ends the album with high energy and a sense of celebratory completion. There is a spoken verse in the track itself, from YouTube’s hamishpatterson that is fitting to the ending somehow.