It is today. At the time this article is posted, “Hinamatsuri Matsuri 2 Message” would have started, and those lucky bastards in Japan would be listening to Katsura Hinagiku live. Unlucky bastards like the miserable Doughnut Gunso could only listen to her albums, picturing any scenes in our own heads. To a certain extent, this isn’t too bad.
Speaking of albums, Hinagiku now has 3 full albums to her name, and there would be about 30 songs. The “Top 5 Hinagiku Character Songs” I have listed two and a half years ago could do with some updates and expansion, which – as I have nothing else to do – is exactly what I am going to do. And we have to knock out the word “Character” as well…
Please bear in mind that this is my “personal” list, and there is “no malice intended” to any omission of your favourite song. That being said, please feel free to suggest to me any song you think is worthy of a place on my (?) list. There is one single rule, though: Thou shalt not ask the whereabout of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”. Violators of this “one rule” would be trolled by the miserable Doughnut Gunso. You have been warned…
There is no guarantee that the YouTube clips attached below would work as you read. If they do not work… well, deal with it.
HiNA track 5
You know, we have actually started our countdown with a “countup”. Don’t get what I mean? This song actually begins with “1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2! Bang bang bang bang!” – no, those are sound of the drums. My understanding of a band is that it would be the drummer who does the count, and here it implies that Hinagiku is the drummer – who also happens to be the lead vocal. Fine…
Hinagiku being Hinagiku is always looking for the perfect score – in anything she could help, that is. However, there is no point getting a perfect score without someone to whom you could show off your score. In this song Hinagiku has made the point very clear: she intends to show her scores to a certain boy – for God’s sake, just fill in that boy’s name with your own imagination.
HiNA track 1
“I cannot be stopped!” declared Hinagiku in the first song of her first album. Nobody knows what exactly she can’t be stopped from. If she was referring to her (still) unstoppable popularity, then it was not exactly a wise declaration. She does have a lot of, um, adversaries because of her popularity…
So let us take a look a this from another perspective. It might simply means that the release of her albums (you know, plural) cannot be stopped, and staying true to this declaration, she already has three personal albums released, while the “real idol” Ruka is still celebrating her maiden album, so this is really a prophecy fulfilled. Somebody tell me why am I spinning that declaration into a self-fulfilling prophecy?
HiNA3 Message track 1
While the other two albums begin with songs with loud bangs (Mind you, those are Steppin’ and Spring has come!!), HiNA 3 Message begins with a much more “peaceful” song titled… well, Message. In light of her current treatment in the manga (i.e. no treatment at all), it is hard to see what message is left of her to tell us, so… let’s see.
If you pay attention to the lyrics (and to be honest, I have not been…) though, you would hear the word “hand” from time to time. While there is no “wiping hand scene” which reduced Hata to tears, Hinagiku does have a lot of “holding hands” moments with Hayate, and we also know that she almost never rejects the touch of his hands when he is voluntarily taking hers. Some “messages” are told by not saying anything.
HiNA3 Message track 10
“Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!” We are in a concert, aren’t we? Sure we are, this is Hinamatsuri Matsuri 2! Let’s have fun! And yes, it is for this reason alone that I believe this song would be used to kick start today’s event.
Everything about this “concert song” is likeable: it’s energetic, it’s a clapping cue, it warms the stage, it includes English lyrics – wait, is that the point of a concert song? Anyway, lines like “I will, I will” and “I’m a dreaming girl” are very pleasing to the ears, and yes, they make it much easier to understand what she is singing.
HiNA3 Message track 2
You know, the Opening Theme to an entire season of anime is going to pop up somewhere in this list. By definition it is in the same category to a certain Ending Theme. Yet for some reasons this ended up here, and that… well, we’ll see. The problem is that this song has ended up being a part of a promotion hoax – Hinagiku singing a song on a love that ended up being with Nagi. And then… can somebody do something about those “Cuties! Lovely! Shiny!”?
What impresses me, though, is the piano and the violin in the background. I do not play the violin, but every time I listen to the violin solo, I always imagine myself playing that part, and then attract a round of applause from the audience.
5. Power of Flower
HiNA track 2
Does anyone know that “Hinagiku can sing” prior to this song? I mean, by the time Hinagiku had her character song CD, she had already performed “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” in the manga. Yet Miki’s comment was only that she was able to memorise lyrics that she was not familiar with, but she said nothing about Hinagiku’s voice. We never knew if Hinagiku could sing better than Nagi (who got a full mark from a karaoke machine).
With this song, however, the audience realised that Hinagiku would be a damn good singer with a powerful voice. It seems to me that the producers of the HiNA album thought so as well – that particular album was full of rock songs. As we all know, with that album, Hinagiku has been defined as “someone who can sell albums”, and she never looked back.
4. Girls Power CARNIVAL!!
HiNA3 Message track 3
In a sense, this song is self-evident: it is written for a carnival – for example, Hinamatsuri Matsuri. If there is any song that is a “must sing”, this is going to be one of them. It is just this… special.
To me, the most special thing about this song is that it is quite “odd”. The melody changes its pitch and tempo here and there, making quite sure that this is not the most “orthodox” of songs. In three albums full of orthodox songs, one unorthodox song is bound to be special. What’s more, the “unorthodoxy” actually makes the song playful and fun – as we all know, Hinagiku is not known for “playfulness”. As such, this song is really, really special.
3. Heart of Flower
HiNA track 10
Some would argue that this is actually the best Hinagiku song – and I would agree back in 2009, when we only have the HiNA album and about 10 songs to pick. Yet as you would see, this song has been pushed aside by newer and (I think) better songs, so…
To me, the most important thing about this song is that it has proved beyond doubt that Hinagiku is much more than just a tomboy – something many people struggled to understand back in 2009, thanks mostly to the Season One anime. Listening to a much more feminine side of Hinagiku was thus not only refreshing, but pioneering: you actually had a peek of the future, in which Hinagiku has “evolved” into a very girly girl.
2. Tiny Star
HiNA2 Spring has come!! track 10
To me this is the best example of “hidden gems”, as it is not promoted as heavily as some other songs. Ask any casual reader to name some Hinagiku songs, and I am not sure if anyone would ever think of this. Yet I find myself so in love with this song that I put it here, second to only one song.
By the sound of the bells in the background, this song is probably best used for Christmas, so if you would like a Hinagiku song to accompany you for Christmas, I pick this one over “クリスマスの少年” – no, the music video is not enough to save that song in terms of awesomeness.
HiNA2 Spring has come!! track 11
The indisputable number one, and in many ways the ultimate theme song of Hinagiku. I have already discussed this song in extreme details, so please go and read that.
It is so classic that two years and two albums after this song, there is no one song that could top this. In a sense it is quite sad, as it means that Hinagiku is already over her prime, and we are not even sure if she could do any better than this. Sometimes, the good old days have just gone and… well, they are gone.