Bump of Chicken

I’ve talked about Japanese musicians on this platform a decent amount already and I even did so recently when talking about strange band names and song names. You can check out my post Numbness like a ginger for that. In that post I talked about a couple of groups, one of which is a band that goes by the name Bump of Chicken. They’re one of my favorites – among a few others – and after hearing a song of theirs again today I felt like I really wanted to talk about them a little bit.

Bump of Chicken is a band with four members who have their origin in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Apparently they’ve been performing since 1994 when they were still children.  Their alternative rock sound is quite popular in Japan with most of their singles charting in the top 10 whenever they’re released. They’ve also done the music for several anime, games and other media projects. Because I’ve been a big fan of them for quite a while, I’d like to just quickly talk about a few of their songs.

And what better place to start than with Hello World, the song through which I discovered them.
I think what drew me into this song the most – and this isn’t really that much praise for the song itself – is the visuals of the Kekkai Sensen opening theme. This song played at the start of this anime for an entire season and the visuals are stunning. I remember just being in awe at the slow sunset that opens up the song only to reveal a bunch of photos. And then the photos turn into a much bigger image that shows the entire city??? Brilliant. I fell in love with every part of this song very quickly. How the rips in the different imagery reflect the pictures used before and then we get a collage of pictures of Leo getting ready for the day as well. The catchy part of the song plays in front of the main character spinning around as the supporting cast dances around him. And for those who didn’t quite catch it, the sign does say Nightow, which is a reference to the author of the Kekkai Sensen and Trigun manga. But this is only the start of our journey into their music.

I wouldn’t hear much more about them until I watched what became my favorite anime of all time: 3-Gatsu no Lion. The first opening to this hauntingly beautiful story of a depressed shogi prodigy is preceded by Answer, another amazing song by Bump of Chicken. Because before this anime ever aired, we had a music video called: March comes in like a lion meets Bump of Chicken. The song itself is called Fighter and was inspired by the original manga by Chika Umino. The author then wrote a short story for Rei Kiriyama to accompany the song and that’s how this video was born. It’s a fantastic project and it only makes sense that when the manga eventually got adapted into anime it would be accompanied by the sound of Bump of Chicken. I’m guessing that the four guys that Rei walks past on the bridge are representative of the band members of Bump of Chicken. This show would go on to get a few more amazing opening songs that definitely match up and even surpass Answer, but thematically I think this was the best one.

Let’s move on to December of 2020. We’re now knee deep in the pandemic and any hope I had left for society to become normal has long gone. After having struggled with my content marketing course and not bothered with finishing it my outlook on advertisement has gotten pretty bleak. I think that there are people who can create art while also trying to sell a product, but they’re exceptions. Look at people like Sam Riegel who does entire stories that take several ads in a row to get to a conclusion and sometimes even have unmentioned B-plots of him slowly turning into a sunflower. It doesn’t make much more sense if I give you more content, trust me. We also have the hosts of podcast The Yard who just come across completely unhinged when talking about any product they’re advertising, making the ads much more enjoyable to listen to than they would be otherwise. But there’s only one advertisement that has ever made me tear up. I know that sounds insane, but hear me out. Shinsekai is the song that is used by Japanese candy brand Lotte. The song and accompanying music video is an advertisement for the candy brand where a young boy and girl both grab the same chocolate and the girl lets him have it. He then comes across her again and gives it to her after which she snaps it in half and they all share the chocolate. Of course our young man is head over heels for the girl immediately but this opening just has so much style. Who knew advertisement could be so enthralling. I’ve watched the music video dozens of times and I spot some cool references every single time. If I lived in Japan I would 100% buy this chocolate and I wouldn’t even feel bad about it for a moment. One quick thing I want to mention is the characters in the advertisement behind the young boy and girl being invested in what’s happening in front of them, all leaning in to see. Like, are you kidding me? That’s absolutely brilliant. This ad is single handedly restoring my faith in the market. I’m sure that won’t backfire.

I recognize that I’ve been talking for far too long already so I’m going to wrap things up. If I go through my spotify there’s a ton of songs that I’ve liked by them and I could recommend each and every one to you but that will just be overload. So instead let me recommend one final song: Acacia. Just like with the Lotte advertisement, we have another advertisement here. This time it’s for Pokemon. Bump of Chicken is far from the only artist who’s made a song for Pokemon, with Ed Sheeran and Post Malone also coming to mind, but like with much of their music, it’s extremely pleasant to listen to, and the animation is fantastic as always. Bump of Chicken has worked with many other projects and seems to be deeply entwined in other media for years now, assumingly because they enjoy the media as well. Just indulging in a trip through some of their best music videos as I’m writing this blog post has been an absolute joy and I recommend you do the same. Thanks for reading.

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