Visual Kei&Anime – Golden Bomber

Well – we’re back! This time with a rather… polarizing ‘band’ that being none other than the air kei Golden Bomber. Come with me as we take a peek at a group that is more a vocalist and performance unit then a true ‘band’.

Golden Bomber is a oddity in Vkei, and in general. The whole gimmick is that Golden Bomber isn’t really a band – no one outside of leader and vocalist Sho Kiryuin perform live. Yutaka Kyan the ‘guitarist’, Jun Utahiroba is the ‘bassist’ and Kenji Darvish is the ‘drummer’ – however they’re more likely to be doing a drama reenactment then pretending to play their instruments. Their style is to parody anything – taking a lot of inspiration from the late 90’s VKei stages and visuals to borrowing from current trends. However, they’ll parody anything from comedians, Vkei bands, manga, etc. It’s well known that their recording band(s) are all professionals. They formed in 2004, never hiding this fact and have been incredibly successful.

However, it’s exactly that point that people find them so charming. Musically, Kiyiruin carrying the group as their song “Memeshikute” released in 2009 took off. The group puts on elaborate live performances, touring extensively in Japan and having performed in South Korea, Japan Expo in France, and more. Even after achieving enough popularity for seven major labels to try and sign them, the group has always declined such offers preferring to stay and indies act for their fans.

Golden Bomber is unique in the sense as well that they’re more likely to be known for individual activities then for being in the band. All members are regular guests on various variety TV programs. Kenji Darvish is known for his body builder physic and appearing multiple times on Sasuke (i.e. Ninja Warrior). Yutaka Kyan has a blossoming acting career. In addition to members Sho and Jun are married – a rarity to be announced and accepted publicly in VKei.

The group with a now eighteen year history have released twenty six singles, four full albums, six best of albums, and so much more. You can check them out officially on Youtube, or on Spotify.

Before that though, because it will come up several times, a sincere thank you to Golden Bomber Lyrics for their amazing translations. I used their site exclusively for lyric references in this post. Their translations are not only fabulously well written but come with extensive notes as well. Bless them and their efforts.

Now, let’s go ahead and jump into the good stuff, their anime tie-ins!

Despite Golden Bomber’s extensive history in Japan, it wasn’t until 2011 that they were tapped for an anime tie-in. Their song “Boku Quest” was used as the ending theme for Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal for episodes one through twenty-five. Let’s take a look at what this round of Yu-Gi-Oh! has in store for us-

“Yuuma Tsukuo wants to be the greatest duelist, but is not particularly talented. His school bully Ryouga Kamishiro splits a key given to him, accidentally seting off Yuuma’s path to his dream! Yuuma and Ryouga begin to duel, and due to Yuuma holding on to one half of the key, a door of destiny appears before him. Out comes Astral, an alien only he can see. After entering the door, Yuuma’s memories are scattered in 100 “number cards” which he has to retrieve, on top of defending Heartland City from anything else that might happen”. (Paraphrased by the MAL Listing)

From what I can tell, especially in comparison to later songs in this post – This is one of Golden Bomber’s most sincere efforts as a collaboration. I believe it’s commissioned specifically for the anime, since there’s no notes on the translation about any major word play referring outside of the song. So that’s honestly, pretty sweet.

I’m going to be very honest. This is the exact type of song that edgy middle schoolers would gravitate to. I mean truly, the commentary about being bad at school aside from P.E. and wishing to be anywhere but school screams 5th/6th grader to me. It’s so comical to adult me, but if this had been around when I was that age I would have been all over it.

Musically speaking, it’s got a lot of hallmarks for Visual Kei at the time. Between the guitar riffs, bass line, and drum patterns – I’ve for sure heard all those elements in other more ‘true’ VKei bands before. Sho’s vocals are pretty insane, he’s got some solid ‘barks’ in there, and the growling call and response section is a nice touch.

No complaints, and if you’re going to be listening along to this post – this is the most tolerable song Golden Bomber did in collaboration with anime. Trust me. This is the must listen, and only listen to song of this post. This has been a PSA.

In 2012, Golden Bomber… I mean Golden Ixion Bomber DT, was tapped to do opening and ending themes for Ixion Saga DT. I’m going to be honest, this collaboration is a bit of a mess. The opening theme was “DT Suteru”, which was used for all episodes and had two versions: the standard and “Kon” version. The standard version of the song was used as the ending theme for episode 25 as well. The ending theme was “Let’s Go ED”, which was used for episodes two through fourteen, and also had two versions: standard and “Erec” version. Additionally, Jun Utahiroba appeared in the fifth episode of the anime as the glasses character and spoke about 3-ish lines of dialogue. [x] But, if you’re like me and never heard of this anime before here’s a very brief summary:

“Kon Hokaze is a boy who embarks on a journey into the world known as Mira. In Mira, there’s a mysterious energy known as Alma. Kon finds himself saving Princess Ecarlate from attackers, and now he is roped into the struggle for Alma”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Entry)

… I have a sincere feeling this whole section is going to give me a headache since I have to add in so much additional context for this to make a lick of sense. So “DT Suteru” or “I’ll Get Rid of My Virginity” is a re-working of Golden Bomber’s 2008 song “Motokare Koroso” i.e. “I’ll Kill Your Ex-Boyfriend”.

So the song is a originally a parody of yandere troupes, that got repurposed to make fun of male virgin troupes. Great.

I’m gonna be honest this is the “Kon” version to my knowledge – this poor VA. This song is so damn painful to listen to. I couldn’t do it more then twice. It’s very clear that the comfortable range of the VA was not taken into consideration when re-arranging this song, so there’s so much strain in his delivery. Plus, just the lyrics are borderline incel worthy that I can’t imagine it was pleasent to record this, even as a joke.

Golden Bomber might not be my favorite band. I’ve bounced back and forth on really liking them, to really not but this song was a low point even for them. I need to move on.

In a similar vein, I feel the need to explain context for this songs again. If you’re sensing a pattern – you’re correct. The ending theme is “Let’s Go ED” or … jesus christ fuck Ixion Saga DT “Let’s Go Erecpyle Dukakis”. Erecplye Dukakis being a reference for Erectile Dysfunction since his character gets hit in the balls so hard by the main character Kon, he canonically gets castrated. The original song is a re-working of Golden Bomber’s song “Let’s Go KY“. KY being the abbreviation of the Japanese term “Kuuki yomenai” which refers to someone who can’t read the room and makes social missteps due to this.

So I have talked a lot about Visual Kei in relation to anime on this blog. I like to believe I have a pretty high tolerance for all the usual pitfalls, troupes, stupid, out of touch and whatever other bullshit gets thrown in. But this song, while technically fine, and lyrically not as outright offensive or incel worthy is just… how the fuck did Golden Bomber agree to this? Better yet, how does the band that actually had to re-record this agree to this? I have found my threshold for garbage.

There’s a damn good reason why this shit is not available anywhere legally and I had to use re-uploads to listen. I understand there were two other song writers credited on the lyrics for the reworked versions, so Sho most likely didn’t actively participate in writing this or “DT Suteru” but like… I have no doubt that Golden Bomber is ashamed and embarrassed about this collaboration and are doing their damnest to bury it. Like dear god this is a true low…

Moving past the garbage that was the prior entry – Golden Bomber’s popularity didn’t take a hit. In fact they kept getting popular enough to provide the ninth opening theme song for none other then Chibi Maruko-chan. Unlike many anime tie-ins Golden Bomber was not commissioned to do a new song, but a cover. Their cover was of “Odoru Ponpokorin” which was the third intro song, and now is the regular intro since episode 295. The song is usually updated with a cover by a popular band instead of changing it completely. Golden Bomber’s version is called “Odoru Ponpokorin (2016 Version)”. It was used for episodes 1047 through 1190. Chibi Maruko-chan needs no intro, but just in case:

“Chibi Maruko-chan follows the daily life and adventures of Momoko Sakura, i.e. Maruko-chan. She lives with her extended family, and attends school like any other girl her age. A story of life’s simple pleasures, and among Japan’s most beloved anime”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Entry)

When you’re familiar with Golden Bomber as much as I am… this song falls significantly more into their more sincere efforts which is nice. That being said… I have no ill-will to Chibi Maruko-chan or “Odoru Popokorin” (I love EGirls version), but this version is ANNOYING.

It’s just the right combination of ear worm lyrics, the total lack of any technique by Kenji’s ad-libs, and the overall instrumentation. Memorable yes, but sincerely the most annoying version of this song I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t stand listening more then a handful times before I gave up trying to have any sort of honest commentary on it.

The last anime tie-in that Golden Bomber had wasn’t an opening or ending theme. It also didn’t have the entire band as a guest. In 2021, members Jun Utahiroba and Yutaka Kyan made a three minute-ish guest appearance in Visual Prison, episode six as themselves.

I actually saw this appearance, unlike many others. I’ve written about my thoughts about and the series in general here. Overall it was fine, nothing massive just a blink and you’ll miss it sort of bit part.

L to R: Kyan, and then Jun.

So after somehow making my way through this mine field, I learned a lot about Golden Bomber. I’m genuinely surprised that their anime tie in discography is so small, and super technically only consists of one true original song, two re-workings, and one cover. That’s a first in a lot of categories for VKei&Anime.

Golden Bomber is a very polarizing band in the Visual Kei community. A lot of people don’t like them, and many other’s do. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with them, and this blog post did not help much. They do in fact have some absolutely hilarious and catchy bangers in their non-anime discography. “Memeshikute” and “Dance My Generation” being two of my personal favorites and worth watching a music video or listening in with lyrics pulled up.

All that said, I need a palette cleanser. So I’ll see you next month with the next edition!


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