With this, my first post on what Google assures me is the only English-language blog devoted to Japanese musical collective I’ve Sound, I hope to provide anyone reading this with the quickest, dirtiest guide to the I’ve clusterfuck the world will ever know. I suggest you all listen to what Samuel L. Jackson says and hold on to your butts, because far as metaphors go I am completely lost here and no longer have the slightest idea what I’m trying to say.
Blogging is a beautiful thing.
Anyhow, THE ROUGH GUIDE TO I’VE SOUND begins below the ‘more’ link, so if getting to know some of the most talented J-pop producers and singers out there tickles your fancy you’d best get to clicking it. Aiight? Aiight.
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO I’VE SOUND: PART 1. What is I’ve?
I’ve, as it is now, is a group of producers based out Sapporo, Japan. While they’re mostly known to North American fans through the anime themes they’ve produced, most of their work is in fact used in Japanese eroge, pornographic computer games usually with a “choose your own adventure”-style system in favour of full interactivity. Since the group’s foundation in 1998 (they had produced for karaoke and Dancemania games before, but 1998 was when the I’ve moniker first came into usage), I’ve has contributed to over 70 eroge, at least 10 anime and released 6 compilation albums in addition to numerous I’ve girls solo releases and Comiket exclusives. In addition to a rotating core group of vocalists, the I’ve collective is made up of 11 producers. As for the weird name, it allegedly comes from ‘aibu’ (the kanji in this blog’s title), which means ‘caress’ in Japanese.
PART 2. Who are the I’ve Girls?
The I’ve collective has always relied on a rotating group of female vocalists, and the current group (known as the “I’ve Special Unit”) consists of Kaori Utatsuki, Mami Kawada, KOTOKO, SHIHO, Eiko Shimamiya, MELL and MOMO. At this point, KOTOKO, Shimamiya and Kawada are the only I’ve Girls to release solo albums (all on Geneon records), and KOTOKO’s debut album “Hane” is the first I’ve project to be released in North America (released to co-respond with her tour of Anime Expo and other anime conventions in the US). The I’ve girls played a group show at the Nippon Budokan on October 15, 2005, and while there have been rumours of a follow-up concert none have ever solidified.
PART 3. What anime series have they done stuff for, exactly?
As of now, Please Teacher (background music, opening and ending themes), Sister Princess RePure (background music), Tsuyokiss (background music, ending theme), Mahou Shoujo Tai (ending theme), Kannazuki no Miko (opening and ending themes), Starship Operators (opening and ending themes), Please Twins! (opening and ending themes), Shana (opening themes, third ending theme), BALDR FORCE EXE RESOLUTION (opening and ending themes), When They Cry – Higurashi (opening theme), Black Lagoon (opening theme) , Maria-sama ga Miteru (OVA ending themes) and Hayate no Gotoku (opening and ending themes). As you probably know, almost all of these series have been licensed for North American release, so finding anime I’ve has contributed to is easy as anything.
PART 4. Where can I hear I’ve music?
YouTube, my friend. Some very gracious people have uploaded what seems to be every music video the I’ve team has made, and I believe if you search long enough you can find the entire contents of the Live at Budokan DVD on there. Also, the artists’ official websites have samples of their singles, so if a little taste is all you need then Geneon’s got your fix for KOTOKO, MELL and Eiko Shimamiya.
PART 5. Where can I buy I’ve CDs?
Unless you can somehow find a brick & mortar store that stocks KOTOKO’s album or live DVD (I’ve tried, and it’s not easy), pretty much the only way to go is online. I’ve never ordered from either site myself, but CDJapan and YesAsia both have healthy selections of imported I’ve stock… However, for the more budget-minded fan I really recommend against importing since paying $20+ for a single CD just isn’t that fun. Anime licensor RightStuf’s online store has KOTOKO’s album and DVD for (fairly) reasonable prices, and if you’re really up for a challenge Best Buy has Hane in their store computers so there just might be a chance of finding a copy there… Someday…