Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs Album Review

Hello!

saazanka here, one of the VocaSphere writers: Usually, I’m in charge of writing news, but today I had the pleasure of reviewing a brand-new album of EHAMIC: “Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs”!

In short, “Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs” is a special fan-album celebrating AHS VOCALOID & VOICEROID’s 10th Anniversary, released back then at The Voc@loid M@ster 43 event and created with love from Japanese and overseas fans. Despite this album being an unofficial work, it even has special talk sessions with voice providers and many more! It’s a total must-have for any AHS fan’s collection!

The Album

The artwork cover depicts adorable cakes topped with AHS character portraits surrounded by flower pots and a guitar presented at the cosy, most probably quiet café. That scene gives off welcoming vibes for anyone who wasn’t able to attend the “Anniversary ☆ Hearty Session ~AHS VOCALOID 10th Annivesary Fan Gathering~” event, granting you the opportunity to celebrate altogether!

The logo uses a fairly simple and straight-to-the-point font. The name of the album has been chosen by the fans via a Twitter poll. The winning entry has been my favourite and it makes me glad to see it as the final one and as one of the people who voted specifically for this one, I’m glad to see it in the final product. When it comes to the booklet it has a huge variety of beautiful illustrations connected to each vocalist. Giving an impression of mini-artbook rather than usual booklet. Moreover it contains a truly heart-warming “Creator’s message” section: It gives you a sense of harmony, and shows the true love towards the AHS.

All of this results in amazing piece of high-quality work!

The Music

“Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs” contains 21 songs in total, with almost all of them having a happy, festive theme.

The albums starts with “パーティーがはじまるよ/ Party ga hajimaru yo” and “おいわい!せっしょん★ぱーてぃー!!/ Oiwai! Session★Party!!“. I was positively surprised to hear Nana at the first track which serves as a great opening. It has a delicate, yet elegant vibe, as if the audience is introduced to the event, and then Yuuki takes over the gentle mood with her upbeat song. One cannot simply ignore these and listen to them without a smile!

Next tracks include Kizuna Akari, with ちょむP / ChomP ‘s “アニバーサリー/ Anniversary” catching my interest. It follows the album’s happy theme, and Akari’s vocals, who sound way more cheerful than Yuzuki Yukari, fits it perfectly.

By the way, Kyaraai’s art absolutely takes the cake. It was my favourite artwork from the lyrics booklet, and seeing it in the official PV for this song makes it even better.

“starting a new life” is a happy song using both VOCALOID and VOICEROID packages of Akari, creating a unique result. It was a really positive surprise to see the talking part, and I think that there should be more well-known songs that feature such unusual software duets.

The whole album has segments build with different singers, and it’s time to move to songs with SF-A2 miki. The next track is called “ヤラズノレイン / Yarazunorein”, created by OzaShin (a.k.a. 虹色ぺぺろん / PeperonP). I remember being really pleased when hearing it for the first time: This song made me like miki more than I used to, and the instrumental is simple, yet catchy and enjoyable. The tuning is pretty cute, and even if I usually don’t fancy such voices, I think that it perfectly suits the 10th Anniversary occasion, and I really liked it in the end: It felt really refreshing, like a warm, spring breeze. As it comes to miki, there’s also another song of hers, “花咲く / Hana Saku” (Flower Bloom) by Happy (Rocketlam). It welcomes you to miki’s world and I believe that it could be a wonderful introduction to her songs. This song is a perfect music for studying and when you need to focus. It’s a relatively short track, but it’s certainly one of the best parts of the whole album.

Now, let’s begin with Tohoku Zunko’s part. “Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs” has granted her with two solo songs in total, starting with “ミライツヅリ / Mirai Tsuzuri” (Writing the Future) by きゅおんママ / sound9th, and “御徒町音頭 / Okachimachi Ondo” by EHAMIC himself. The first one is a soothing melody that will help you relax after the exhausting day, and may will make you feel a bit nostalgic. Tohoku Zunko’s vocal was the best choice here, as our green-haired vocalist gives the song a nice feeling. The next song is adopting the style of traditional Japanese folk music. I would love to see this song get an original PV! No matter if it’s in the style of the usual 2D one or 3D one, I’m pretty sure that Zunko would look really cheerful. Whilst listening to the song, you can feel the happiness she is conveying which makes easy to imagine her smiling face.

As for the special features here come the “おしゃべりアニバーサリー~桜乃そら編~ / Oshaberi Anniversary ~Haruno Sora Hen~” (Anniversary Talk ~Haruno Sora Session~) and “おしゃべりアニバーサリー~結月ゆかり編~ / Oshaberi Anniversary ~Yuzuki Yukari Hen~” (Anniversary Talk ~Yuzuki Yukari Session~), which are my favourite parts of the CD. Personally, I have a soft spot for voice actors and their VOCALOIDs interacting together in any way, and this CD shares two portions of talks between Haruno Sora and Kikuko Inoue, Yuzuki Yukari and Chihiro Ishiguro. These chats were born thanks to the VOICEROID technology, which I find really impressive. You can witness voice providers wishing all the best to their “children” directly, and it serves as a nice form of break between songs. I loved both parts, with Haruno Sora’s one being simply lovely, and Yuzuki Yukari’s one being positively silly. I smiled while listening, and wish for more future projects like this.

Now, let’s talk about the solo songs of these VOCALOID girls.

The first track of Haruno Sora is “あざやかなはるのそら / Azayakana Haruno Sora” (The Radiant Haruno Sora) by モモじろう / momojiro with lyrics by 桃白 / momo_shiro. Since I’ve seen the artwork for the song I simply loved it! I feel as this song is perfect for me: I like expressive colours, and the mature, yet cheerful tuning fully showcases the strengths of Sora’s voice. It’s yet another song I wish to get a proper PV in the future, because it’s totally worth it. Our colorful vocalist may still be a newbie in the VOCALOID scene, but let’s wish all the best for her!

The second one is called “As Hope Stars” by KAI. I know this producer for few years already, and seeing his name featured in the album was a pleasant surprise. I usually listen to his works featuring Yuzuki Yukari, and I was so happy to see him using Sora’s voicebank. I look forward to the future works of his using various vocalists. This track made me realise how refreshing it is to hear your producer changing the usual singer from time to time. In fact this motivated me to look for covers of his works featuring our VOCALOID five.

Speaking of Yukari, here comes her part which is my favourite song from the whole album: It’s “A Holy Story” by xi’an. I find that this song has a calm, magical atmosphere, and it made the biggest impression on me. It gives a completely different vibe from the other songs, and even Tohoku Zunko’s soothing vocals cannot match it. “A Holy Story” takes you to a different world, where you can reflect on everything with ease, and witness an elegant performance of the songstress. Compared to her sister vocal, Kizuna Akari, it creates an impressive contrast embracing the difference in the atmosphere as well as the tuning of the song.

Following the usual formula, Yukari has two solo songs. It’s time for “Connection Perilla” by かねイルカ / Kaneiruka with lyrics by 謌名波 / Kanami, and arrangement by Project irukanami. Similar to Akari’s “starting a new life”, it features usage of both VOCALOID and VOICEROID packages at the same time.

It’s slightly different for Nekomura Iroha who only gets one original song. I’m sure that the fans of her will forgive the creators for this sudden modification: Not only is the song itself (entitled “スターチス / Statice”) by Roa of a really high quality, but Iroha has hidden a special surprise in her track. It’s a sweet-sounding piece easily making you forgive the lack of the second song. You can easily imagine as always clumsy Iroha overly excited about the preparations for the celebrating event completely forgetting about her singing duty which fits her image. Sounds cute, isn’t it?

Before I’ll move on to the next part, let me tell you a secret: I haven’t listened to Hiyama Kiyoteru before, because I don’t listen much to male vocals. My favourite voices from are usually female ones, so I didn’t know what to expect when I started the CD for the first time, and now the vocalist in mention has arrived. It turned out that “Let’s お花パーティー / Let’s Ohana Party” (Let’s Have a Flower Party) has dispeled my doubts completely! It’s a short track, but before I noticed it, I started to replay it over and over. EHAMIC and PSGOZ did amazing work here, and it’s quite an eye-opener to me! The pitch is impressive, and makes you want to stand up and if you haven’t met Kiyoteru before, just like me, then this track is a perfect example of his abilities. Still being hesitant? Then may I introduce you to the next track, “変わる未来と変わらぬ愛を / Kawaru Mirai to Kawaranu Ai wo” (The Changing Future and Our Unchanging Love) by 越黒リタ Koshikuro Rita. I guarantee that your impression of Kiyoteru will change in a positive way.

The solo songs section is almost over, and it’s high time for group chorus. “自由奔放な祝歌(架空戯曲「時揺れの国」より) / Jiyuu Honpou Iwauta” (Kakuu Gikyoku “Toki Yure no Kuni”) (Freewheeling Celebration Song, from the fictional drama “Toki Yue no Kuni”) consists of Kaai Yuki, Hiyama Kiyoteru, Yuzuki Yukari and Kizuna Akari. I think that this combination isn’t a common sight, so listening to them was quite intriguing. It’s a short track, but combined with the music and all vocalists, it’s definitely worth listening! Litsar did an amazing job!

If you wanted more of Macne Nana in your life, then this song is perfect for you. “あなたとほほえみささやかに / Anata to Hohoemi Sasayaka ni” by モモじろう / momojiro makes me go back to the Tohoku Zunko part, because it feels as soothing as it was in Zunko’s case, but this time, it features more of lively parts. I wish this song could be placed earlier, because I’m worried that the fans may skip it while listening to the album: It’s almost at the end, so it’s easy to overlook. AHS fans, make sure to give a warm welcome once this track will be officially uploaded to the streaming sites in the future!

“Amnion” by 小金井ささら / Koganei Sasara is the second song of Kaai Yuuki. I was surprised when hearing it for the first time, because unlike “おいわい!せっしょん★ぱーてぃー!!/(Oiwai! Session★Party!!)”, this song is really calm, accompanied by a quiet, barely audible voice of Kaai Yuuki. I can see it as a worthy addition to the soundtrack of some RPG video game.

So finally I present you with the last song called “おめでとう / Omedetou” (Congratulations) composed by tamachang with lyrics by isshy. There are a lot of singers here! To be exact, they are: Nekomura Iroha, Yuzuki Yukari, SF-A2 miki, Tohoku Zunko, Hiyama Kiyoteru. It’s a simple but lovely song. Furthermore, seeing Iroha once again was a pleasant wonder. I think that it’s a perfect ending song, which follows the similar atmosphere of a previous one. With its sophistication it feels like an ideal conclusion for the album. I like this change, because with this, it’s like we started the party with a kick, but we ended up on a graceful note. It gives a sense of unity between the fans and AHS VOCALOIDs.

Conclusion

“Anniversary ☆ Hearty Songs” is an excellent AHS 10th VOCALOID & VOICEROID’s Anniversary compilation, which features all kinds of music: relaxing ballads and catchy, birthday tracks. Every fan of AHS will surely find something they’ll like here. Personally, I’m really happy with the final result. As a person who followed the project since the initial announcement, I feel utter happiness holding the physical album in my hands. I look forward to the future projects of EHAMIC, and I’m sure that they’ll be even more enjoyable. I would love to see 20th Anniversary project, and the vision of it makes me wonder about the future of the VOCALOID and VOICEROIDs.

Let’s end the review with proper cheers: To the next 10 years of AHS!

Where to purchase

The easiest way to purchase the album is via online BOOTH page of EHAMIC. You can check it out under this link.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s