Visual Kei&Anime – Sadie

The series continues! This time, we’re going to be taking a look at a legacy band within a golden era of mid-2000’s Visual Kei, Sadie! A group that was around for a solid ten years, and currently on hiatus… but we have hope at a return given where the members are now. So let’s get into it!

Sadie is a five member band that got their start in 2005. The group’s original line up was Mao on vocals, Mizuki on lead guitar, Tsurugi on rhythm guitar, Aki on bass, and Sora on drums. Sora would depart the group in early 2006, citing artistic differences. In March of the same year Kei would replace Sora on drums and be their final member. Sadie would have a steady stream of success throughout their ten year career. First starting as opening for groups like D, and Kra, and then later touring on equal footing with their peers like heidi and lynch allowing them to maintain a crazy momentum. The group would also make an international appearance at AM² convention in 2011 with heidi.

However it was announced during their ‘forever and ever….’ tour that the band would be going on hiatus during 2015. Considering that 2015 was their 10th anniversary year, the band expressed their wishes to reconsider their music and livelihood, but that they would give it their all until hiatus. Sadie would release their final single (as of writing) on May 27th 2015, and concluded activities on September 21st 2015 after their final live on their “Never Ending Voyage -We Never Say Goodbye-” tour. During their ten years together, Sadie released an impressive 13 albums and EP’s, 17 singles and appeared on six compilation albums in addition to various DVD releases.

This hiatus hasn’t been complete silence from the members though. Most of the members are still active in the scene in other projects. Mao and Mizuki are currently the core members of THE THIRTEEN who just put out their 5th EP ‘ICY’ on March 24th. Tsurugi is currently a guitarist for RAZOR who put out a best of album titled ‘五枚刃’ on February 17th of this year. Aki was the support bassist for BLESSCODE when they were active. Kei was the support drummer for AWOI while they were active as well.

Of course, I like to plug where you can listen to them legitimately when I can. You can stream a fair amount of Sadie’s discography here on Spotify (at least in Japan). Additionally, you can stream parts of RAZOR’s discography here, and THE THIRTEEN’s here. So now without further ado, we can get into Sadie’s anime tie-ins!

Sadie had their first brush with anime tie-ins in 2010 with the series, Mazinkaiser SKL. This was a three episode OVA that was released from November 2010 through April 2011. Sadie provided the ending theme of “Juggernaut” for all three episodes. The story goes a little something like this:

On Machine Island, the Garan Army, Kiba Army, and Aira Army are all battling for dominance. The island is a prison, isolated from the rest of the world, but has plentiful resources for all three factions to create an infinite supply of giant robots and other weaponry to maintain their battles. However, Machine Island has a power reactor that has grown unstable, and will explode within 66 hours of being noticed. Should it explode, it will destroy all life on earth. The government dispatches the Death Caprice Sequad, of Ken Kaido Ryo Magami and their giant robot the Mazinkaiser, to solve this issue”. [Paraphrased from the MAL entry]

So if there’s one thing about “Jaggernaut” is that the opening of the song, and overall momentum really does fit that theme really well. If I had to describe the energy of the song, it’s like you trapped raw energy in a bottle and just kept shaking it to see if the bottle would break first or the energy would burn out, with neither side ‘winning’. It’s wrapped up well, with a high level of technical skill from each member keeping it from getting completely lost, but it’s infectious. The punchy beats, the guitar work, bass line, and Mao’s vocals are all insane.

The one thing I have to say, is Sadie really lucked out with getting Kei. The most predominant feature of this song is the drums, at least for me. The heavy use of the Tom Toms (I think), with the more ‘open’ sounding drum, I’ve never quite heard used to liberally in a VKei song in a minute. It curates a really distinct sound in the song that drives it forward especially with latter couplings with the cymbals. I could definitely see this song being a crowd pleaser at live events.

I’m not quite sure lyrically how well this goes with the concept of Mazinkaiser SKL, but at least the name and the energy is on par with what the series appears to be about!

Sadie would then have their second, and final anime tie-in in December 2010. This time it would be for Togainu no Chi. This time, their song “Toge” would be used as the fourth episode ending theme. The story goes a little like this:

The organization Vischio, has taken over Tokyo and renamed it Toshima after the third world war left Japan in ruins. The Vischio oversee a series of battle games known as Igura, where competitors battle one another, often to death, in order to fight the king of Igura, Il-re. Bl@aster is the less murderous version, where weapons and killing are prohibited, with Akira being the undefeated champion. One tragic day, Akira is accused of murder and due to his circumstances, unable to prove his innocence through legal means. He’s offered an out to the murder charge on two conditions. The first is that he must start battling in Igura. The second, is that he must defeat Il-re by any means necessary.” [Paraphrased from the MAL entry]

I want to bring up the fact this is a single ending theme, before even getting into the music. This isn’t unheard of for anime to having a different ending theme each episode, but it is fairly uncommon. Since I haven’t seen Togainu no Chi, I’m assuming that the choice of “Toge” (thorn) as particularly the fourth ending theme has some sort of meaning. The lyrics certainly paint a very…. Visual Kei-esque image of the world of Toshima. At least, I like to think there’s some meaning in the choice. Maybe someone on staff was just a fan of Sadie and wanted to bring them on.

“Toge” falls much more into the more dramatic type of Visual Kei ballad. The opening of Mao’s a cappella was a really impressive showing on this part. Mao flexes his vocal prowess in this song, belting out the earlier ballad elements, before transitioning into a quick fire delivery, and doing this seamlessly multiple times throughout the song. I’m almost disappointed he didn’t add in his harsh vocal abilities, just to really push the envelope, but “Toge” doesn’t really need them.

This song also has a much more dampened sound. I listened to this song multiple times, but something about the mix is off. It’s hard to applaud the song when I can’t really heard all the finer tricks that Tsurugi, Mizuki, Aki and Sora pull out. There’s an awesome dueling guitar moment around the three minute mark between Tsurugi and Mizuki but it’s so hard to hear. Don’t even get me started on how muddled Aki’s bassline and Kei’s drums got on this track. “Toge” very much feels like Mao’s vocals were meant to be on display, but not too much. At least it seems like the mood fits the series it was part of.

And with that, this month’s Visual Kei&Anime has come to a close! I hope for fans of Sadie that I managed to do the group justice. To this day, they have a bit of a cult following holding out the group to resume activities, so it can be a bit intimidating to talk about the group. Although, I’m bandwagoning on holding out that they resume group activities soon!

Two anisong mentions aren’t enough, nor do they show the absolute talent this group has, but I think for the anime fan converting to Visual Kei fan they serve as a solid transition point. Be sure to check out the rest of their catalogue here, and with that I’ll see you next month!

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