Forgotten Japanese Singers – The Neutral

It’s been a while since I did one of these features. It turns out most anime songs don’t make much of an impression on me in the long run. I forget them pretty quickly, which means I don’t remember a lot of anisong singers/bands either. And the ones I do remember are often still active on the Japanese music scene and hardly “forgotten” at all. There might be a correlation between memorability and longevity when it comes to success in music, but I can’t prove it.

Still I dug deep into my archives and found something at last, hence today’s update… Or so I thought! It turns out this band is still active too! I’m happy for them, but how I am going to write my blog feature at this rate? Sorry The Neutral, today you’re going to have to pretend to be forgotten so I can “remember” you!

Today’s artist: The Neutral (ザニュートラル)

Notable anime song(s): Nichiyoubi no Taiyou (日曜日の太陽) from Narutaru

Biography: The Neutral is a Japanese pop band from Hyogo Prefecture. They were founded in 1998 (official website) with a current lineup of Shigeru on vocals, Kiyomasa on guitar and Homerun Yotani on bass. Until 2016 they were a 4-man group with Beat Daisuke on drums.

The original members all met as high schoolers, so they still have that “buddies teasing each other” air about them. Their profile page is just them making fun of each other from start to finish, interspersed with a bit of band history. I like it when bands have personality and don’t take themselves too seriously, it’s so funny.

Anyway, The Neutral made their major debut with “Chance wa Soko da!” under the Dream music label and released 4 albums before moving to their own label in 2012. They released their Best Of album, “The Neutral Best” in October 2013. One of the songs on it, “Kazoku no Jikan” made it to #2 on the charts, their highest ranking to date. According to the wired CAN system, whatever that is anyway. They’re still in the music business today and had a performance on October 22nd at a Rocktown festival in Osaka. They also released their 11th single “7170” in September 2017 so they’re doing pretty well.

I encountered The Neutral when I watched Narutaru and heard the opening song, Nichiyoubi no Taiyou. It has a light, cheerful reggae feel to it that isn’t common in Japanese music, much less in anime theme songs, so it stuck in my memory immediately. I liked reggae a lot, back then. The contrast between the poppy sounds and the mournful lyrics also synched up well with the cartoon graphics + unhappy events shown in Narutaru’s opening sequence. Not to mention the infamous disconnect between the early parts of the show and the later, darker episodes. It was a good choice of theme. Watching the anime once was enough for me, but I still listen to Nichiyoubi no Taiyou very often.

Other songs by The Neutral

Based on songs I found uploaded to Youtube. Let’s try a couple and see if it’s time to add The Neutral to my regular playlist.

Kimi ni Todoke (君に届け) – It’s a nice song, easy listening. Catchy and happy like Nichiyoubi no Taiyou. More impressive was how much fun the singers seemed to be having on the stage. Attending one of their lives would be a lot of fun. The audience seems to be full of surprisingly harmonious young ladies though… Maybe it’s not a live but a music video?

Kazoku no Jikan (かぞくのじかん) – Too sappy and sentimental for my liking. Mommy this, Daddy that, I don’t like those kinds of songs. Musically it’s a bit boring too.

Tatakai no Uta – Something to do with Aura Battler Dunbine? Its rather noisy.  It sounds like something Arashi or Hikari Genji or some other boy band would sing while running around the stage. Not sure if like.

Pan to Pistol (パンとピストル)- Amusing music video and lively song. Pan! Pan! Pan pan pan! It grows on you the longer you listen to it. I like it.

If you like Nichiyoubi no Taiyou, The Neutral’s songs are all in the same vein so I think you’ll like the others as well. The Neutral is pretty good.

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