Welcome back to your monthly dose of Visual Kei&Anime! This time I have a feature of a band that got their major debut doing not, one but two ending themes for the same series. That band being none other than heidi! So grab your drink and take a sip as we scroll down memory lane for many!
heidi is a group with relatively simple, but also somewhat secretive backgrounds. Their line-up has always been, Yoshihiko as the vocalist, Nao on guitar and group leader, Kohsuke on bass, and Kiri on drums. They got their start in early 2006 playing a series underground lives, cumulating to their first official one-man live on June 3rd 2006. At this live they immediately sold out of their first single “Yuuyake to Kodomo/Maria”. The group would be swept up into a whirlwind of omnibus collaborations, as well as festivals and multiple band lives.
This would peak their popularity in Japan with a 2008 memorial performance for hide of X Japan, and gain the attention of the record label Geneon Universal Entertainment. The group would launch their major debut with “Yokan” and carry on as a flagship group within major label Visual kei groups. Even appearing at several international anime conventions to perform. To date heidi has released twenty singles, two mini-albums, twelve full albums, as well as several omnibus collaborations and more. Over the years the group has maintained a small, but mighty following of fans and as always are highly worth checking out their discography that’s largely available via Spotify.
And with that we can jump into their anime tie-ins!
heidi would be tapped, not once but actually twice for their anime tie-ins. Both within the same franchise too! They would provide two ending themes for none other than cult classic Maid Sama!. The first song featured being “Yokan” which would be the ending theme for episodes 1 through 15. “Infinity Loop” would be the second ending theme, for episodes 16 through 26, as well as the special episode Maid Sama!: Omake dayo!. For those unfamiliar with the series it goes a little something like this:
“Having transitioned recently from an all boys, to a co-ed school isn’t easy. Being the first female student council president on top of it all is especially hard, and with a nickname like “Demon President”, Misaki Ayuzawa is just doing her best to maintain order. Even if that means using her skills in Aikido to do so. However, despite her prim and proper image at school, Misaki has a secret. She works part-time at a maid café to help her family pay the bills. All goes well until Takumi Usui, the most popular boy at school, is a guest. From there things will go one of two ways; he’ll destroy her reputation or… use the secret to get closer to her?!” (Paraphased from the MAL Entry)
This feels like a bit of a rough, but energetic ending theme here. The first couple of listens I wasn’t sure exactly how this would work with the overall atmosphere of Maid Sama! but it feels about right. Letting Kohsuke, Kiri, and Nao play for the first 20 seconds of the track was a really interesting choice. For me it really let my mind latch on to their playing, verses the vocals which is unusual during these features. Nonetheless, this song really has a lot of great punchy beats, with excellant guitar and bass work to follow it up.
I think the best part of the track, after the instruments, is Yoshihiko’s vocals during the chorus. While the idea of the power of youth might not be the core theme of Maid Sama!, it’s certainly present in the song. Which couples nicely with the foreshadowing within the lyrics about Misaki and Usui’s relationship (to my understanding). You can take a look and see for yourself here.
That opening drum semi-solo is a really interesting choice again. On par with aforementioned “Yokan”, but very distinct in comparison to other bands featured prior. I understand why this ending seems to be the fan favorite if Spotify is anything to go by, the track has an incredibly catchy beat. I really like the guitar riffs and vocal effects around the two minute mark as it really sounds like a ‘loop’. My only negative is that there are some really interesting choices in mixing. Sometimes they boost the vocals, and scale back all other instruments, other blends have been used as well so it adds a unique but semi-off putting if you loop this too many times in a row.
My only real complaint is that “Infinity Loop” does not seem to match the mood of Maid Sama!… at all. I can’t say for absolute sure as I’ve never seen the series, but the song lyrically is pretty heavy. For reference, I used this translation to get a more rounded idea. There’s something so jarring between the lyrical content, and the image Maid Sama! has that’s not connecting with me. So I’d love for anyone whose actually seen the series to weigh in on this one.
And with that, another Visual Kei&Anime has come to a close! It’s a rather concise edition, as I’m not overly familiar with either band nor anime. It’s due to that fact however, that I had so much fun putting in listening time and getting to know heidi! I’ll see you next month for another round!