Marginal #4 “Shinobi – Just A Zeccho (HEAVEN) – / Melty Love Cooking” (Review)


marginal

忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN-Melty♥Love♥Cooking are finally out! The first two ending songs featured in the first ever Marginal #4 anime were released today. Already known to the fans of the anime, both songs display different charms in this unit but one thing is common, this unit is slowly gaining ground.

marginal

Title: 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- / Melty♥Love♥Cooking
Label: Rejet/Pitagoras Production
Release date: 01/02/2017
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- (Marginal #4)
2 - Melty♥Love♥Cooking (KENN and Yuto Suzuki)
3 - 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- (anime version)
4 - Melty♥Love♥Cooking (anime version)
5 - 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- (off vocal)
6 - Melty♥Love♥Cooking (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- (Marginal #4)

MIKOTO brought back raging guitars, exciting drumming, mixing it all with some minimal synths and the shamisen for an explosive 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN-. Revisiting their debut days and blending it with Lagrange Point‘s top rock sound, this song certainly doesn’t lack in the hype department, exciting the listener as we thread through the verses into the powerful chorus. It has been a while since we last were presented with such a well crafted song for Marginal #4, a song that really enhances everyone’s strong points, making each of the members shine properly. Listening the vocal performances in detail, we’re pleasantly surprised by how leveled this unit now sounds in comparison with previous releases and even more with their debut single “100万回の愛革命“. All members have been polishing their vocals in the most various projects outside of this unit, and the result is more than satisfying. 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- is a daring tune overflowing with energy and vocal performances that are deemed to impress. 5/5

2 – Melty♥Love♥Cooking (KENN and Yuto Suzuki)

Melty♥Love♥Cooking is a playful song that surprisingly doesn’t sound that cheesy. With bright piano parts, mid-tempo drums as well as melodic guitar work, this song fares pretty well despite not being the best song to showcase either of their talented vocals. “Kimi to Faraway” and “真夏のジャスティス” are by far better examples of how great KENN and Suzuki work as a duo. The vocal parts in the bridge are so gentle and breathy that may cause some issues to the listeners – especially if you’re a fan of either (or both) of them. The rest of the vocal performance was actually pretty solid, not presenting any issues. It’s a shame that the instrumentals once again make the group or duo (in this case) not sound at their best. This duo is known for their powerful performances but this one was far from being it. 4/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

For those that have been following Marginal #4 since their debut, this single is certainly a wink at you, especially the title track. It’s nice to see that MIKOTO (Marginal #4‘s main composer/arranger) is once again bringing heavy riffs and exciting drumming into the mix for them. This was something that was lacking in previous releases and that fans from the unit’s first two releases “100万回の愛革命” and “LOVE★SAVIOR” really missed.

Melty♥Love♥Cooking might fail to be an impressive song, especially when we look back and find songs like “恋せよ乙女!“, the masterpiece ballad “Kimi to Faraway” and “真夏のジャスティス” that really made this duo standout from the rest of the group. Their vocal prowess demands better instrumentals than the one they got for this track. But even if it failed to meet our expectations, it doesn’t fall that short to the point that it needs to be heavily criticized. They fared well despite the out of character instrumental that was given to them.

Before we wrap up this review we need to make some observations.

It’s true that part of 2014 and 2015 were indeed dark years for this group. Some new fans might not know this but this unit has suffered a bit, losing some fans along the way because of that.

Falling on that slump of continuous poor releases didn’t prove to be a good remedy for them, especially when year after year, new and more exciting units were debuting and joining them under Pitagoras Production (Lagrange Point in 2014 and Unicorn Jr. in 2015). That was a catalyst for all those changes that were made in late 2015, early 2016. It seems like Daisuke Iwasaki (Rejet‘s CEO and Marginal #4‘s lyricist) changed his mind about what he was trying to achieve with the group. If there’s someone to blame for that mess that was “Bingo” or how disastrous “UFO” was, it’s him. The group’s direction was beyond atrocious, giving a vibe that Marginal #4 were going to be shelved in the near future to give way for the kouhai units. But as the first unit under Rejet, it would be a waste to discard this much vocal potential and trailblazing ability. Therefore things changed, the unit’s sound was revamped completely, and now we can look at Marginal #4 and realize that maybe, just maybe, that slump was necessarity to move this unit forward. It’s a rise from the ashes kind of situation with this group – even if it still has some bits left to polish.

Vocally this group seems to be slowly regaining their form. I’d dare to say that in 忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN- they sound in peak form.

Toshiki Masuda has turned into a powerhouse mid-toned vocal. We’ve said it before but it’s impressive to see/listen Masuda‘s stellar growth from his debut days up until now. He’s changed so many aspects and details about his singing – mainly due to the fact that he’s been part of more music projects than any of his group members -, and that experience has earned him a lot of praise from his fans and us alike. KENN and Naozumi Takahashi have their vocal registry polished in a way that makes them sound smoother and more melodic in every single line they get (even if their solo careers are not prolific at the moment). Yuto Suzuki has changed considerably. Regardless of him being one of the top prospects in the singing department (seiyuu wise), throughout the years with Marginal #4 he often sounded like he was putting way too much effort into sounding as great as his peers, which wasn’t necessary as his tone and delivery tend to be high quality. He often had to catch his breath rather violently between lines, sounding breathless in some parts only to hit his notes correctly or match the tone of the song. In the past year he polished that issue and now he sounds as smooth as Takahashi or KENN – whose tones are fairly close to his. It’s obvious that he’s conscious of how hard his solo debut flopped back in 2009. Having the opportunity to once again make a name for himself, Suzuki sounded pressured at first, rushing minimal things in his performances. Now, he seems like he’s confortable, not rushing anything and still delivering everything with the quality we’re used to. Just a side note: we’re still waiting for someone in King Records or Avex to understand that this guy has what it takes and needs to make a proper debut to do justice to his talent and looks.

With these vocals, their chemistry and experience Marginal #4 should be where they once were (2014): sat on the throne as the best seiyuu unit. For that to happen again, many things need to change with the main focus being on the instrumentals and lyrics.

And with the anime underway we wonder if Marginal #4‘s releases will suffer in quality (just like what happened with the Uta no Prince Sama character songs in the last few years). MIKOTO and Daisuke Iwasaki have proven before that they don’t deal well with pressure, rushing some releases (2015 is the best “rushing” example with all three Pitagoras units releases suffering in the process), ultimately making this group falling into that dreaded slump.

To conclude: Marginal #4 is slowly getting stronger, we can only wish that the following releases present the same or even better quality.

忍-Just A 絶頂HEAVEN-Melty♥Love♥Cooking” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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