Natsuki Hanae “Seishun wa Zankoku Janai” (Review)

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Seishun wa Zankoku Janai” is finally out. Natsuki Hanae tackles alone his first single (but it’s not his solo debut). As someone already regarded in the music business and among seiyuu fans as a skilled angelic singer, the excitement for this release is through the roof for us and we couldn’t be more impressed by how well he fared on this solo adventure.

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Regular edition
Single:青春は残酷じゃない
Label: Nippon Columbia
Release date: 07/09/16 
Genre: J-Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

01.青春は残酷じゃない
02.ヒーローインポッシボー
03.青春は残酷じゃない(Instrumental)
04.ヒーローインポッシボー(Instrumental)

Tracklist:

01.青春は残酷じゃない

For those that are following anime, especially shounen anime, you might have come across this song. 青春は残酷じゃない (Seishun wa Zankoku Janai) is featured as the opening track for “Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan“. This song relies on an acoustic guitar-driven instrumental piece that opts for a simple approach in which drums are soft, the bass is ready to envelop every single detail on this song, all of this will maintaining an entertaining mid-tempo. This pop-rock tune follows the classic rock formula, formula that seems to work well to Hanae‘s favor because his vocals sound tender but at the same time bring a certain energy to the track. 4/5

02.ヒーローインポッシボー

If you’re looking for a playful track with a funky bassline, ヒーローインポッシボー will do the trick. Playful guitar riffs greet us, giving way for the classy rhodes piano (that dazzled us with its performance in the bridge) and the jazzy drums to take over this incredibly laidback track. The loungy feel you get from this track levels up thanks to Hanae‘s soft vocals that are able to deliver every single note and verse flawlessly. This track could have easily been featured in one of Toshiyuki Toyonaga or Kenichi Suzumura‘s releases (it’s pretty close to their sonority nowadays) due to how demanding the vocal performance is and how the whole arrangement is vocal centric. Thankfully we can add Hanae to the list of seiyuu that not only sing heavenly but also tackle this genre with top marks. 5/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

There’s no doubt about Hanae‘s unique vocal skills. He’s got one of the most delicate, soft and most controled high tones in the business, making good use of his tenor abilities and dazzling everyone with how consistent he’s when belting all kinds of difficult notes. “Seishun wa Zankoku Janai” puts Hanae in an acoustic setting and it was visible how well he shone throughout the two tracks included in this release. The instrumentals were simple, without any kind of tricks or machinations to sound just like every other pop-rock song. Instead everything was so laidback and with a jazzy touch that we couldn’t help but to fall in love with this release. Hanae performed at a high level and is exactly that that makes us wish for his solo debut to happen as soon as possible. If you’re curious about Hanae‘s vocal abilities and are just checking him out, this might be a good place to start before jumping into his SolidS performances. If you’re a fan of his acting or singing then this quality won’t come as a surprise to you. Top marks.

Seishun wa Zankoku Janai” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.