Visual Kei&Anime – Vistlip

Welcome back to Visual Kei&Anime! We’re taking a look at a group that’s been in the game since 2007, as well as being one I’ve yet to get into. This being none other than Vistlip! Let’s get started!

vistlip formed on July 7th, 2007 – on the day of the Tanabata Festival. They are composed of Satoshi the vocalist, Yuh the guitarist, Umi who is also a guitarist, Rui the bassist, and Tohya the drummer. According to their official profile they’ve created their own unique existence with their music and visual works that don’t fit into the framework of Visual Kei.

Normally, I’d go more into their background but it’s been surprisingly difficult to find facts that I can fully confirm. I do my best to cross reference band profiles from multiple (somewhat trusted) sources. This time around I wasn’t comfortable adding any further details. What I can say is that the band is celebrating their 15th Anniversary this year, and tour regularly throughout Japan. In their time as a band they have released twenty three singles, five mini albums, seven full albums, and so much more! With such a unique set of circumstances, let’s go ahead and look at their anime tie-ins!

We jump into approximately August 2009, with vistalip’s first tie-in with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s!. For those that have been around for awhile, this particular anime has quite a few VKei bands featured on it’s soundtrack. vistlip’s song “-OZONE-” was used as the third ending theme for episodes sixty-five through one hundred and three. Here’s a quick refresher on 5D’s

“In a world where dueling has evolved, where duels are played on D-Wheels, a hybrid between Duel Disks and motorbikes. Yusei is a skilled mechanic living in the poor town of Satellite, has managed to build his very own D-Wheel. Jack Atlas steals this D-Wheel and heads to Neo Domino City, with Yusei’s best card, Stardust Dragon in tow. Yusei manages to build a second D-Wheel with some help from his friends, while Jack has risen to the top of the Dueling world. With the new D-wheel working, Yusei heads off to Neo Domino City to find Jack and take back what is rightfully his. To neither man’s knowledge, they are part of a much larger plan, with various people behind the scenes pulling strings”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

The piano slow build into the full song was surprising. At least, it wasn’t what I was expecting for an anime tie-in. Between Yuh and Umi, there’s a lot of really nice guitar work that plays off of the percussion and synthesizer nicely. I really love Satoshi’s vocals, they’re really familiar in a way, but also very uniquely him.

I’m genuinely impressed at how well vistlip has managed to blend their own style into Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s themes. Just looking at the TV sized lyrics, it oozes a solid sense of this is who the band is, but also works for the series. In general, 5D‘s seemed to go hard with the VKei tie-ins that are really good?? Like alice nine, Plastic Tree and now vistlip? Way to go 5D’s your ED’s are on point.

A few years later, vistlip would be invited again to contribute to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, this time in Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Zexal Second. Their song “Artist” was used as the first ending theme for episodes one through twenty-five. The second edition of Zexal and goes a bit like this:

“Yuuma Tsukumo with his friends have thwarted the Barians’s plans in the first season. Yet, Yuuma continues on his quest to restore Astral’s memories in this second installation. The Barian Emperors hear of this and begin to collect the number cards, something that would destroy Astal’s world, but save their own. Of course, with the new powers of the ZEXAL, Astral and Yumma still must protect the world from outside threats”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

I’m not going to lie. These Yu-Gi-Oh! tie in songs slap. That’s my general consensus, but also somewhat specific to vistlip. Just like prior mentioned “-OZONE-“, “Artist” is really solid track. It does a similar lead in, but nonetheless is a really impressive track.

Tohya really gets to flex here. His drum work is keeping the song together and giving it’s peppy but not frantic backbone. Whoever vistlip gets to do the keyboard and effects in the mix should really become full fledged members of the band – their work is impeccable. Yuh and Umi aren’t sleeping on this track either since their guitar solos towards the 2:30 mark are fantastic too.

Thanks to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki, there’s also the full sized lyrics for me to take a look at. Again, I am thoroughly impressed at how VKei, but clearly structured around the series these are. It’s really earnest and relatable, without getting cheesy lyrics that I appreciate.

In the summer of 2014, vistlip contributed to the samurai rock anime Bakumatsu Rock!. Their song “Jack” was used as the opening theme for all twelve episodes. A quick synopsis:

“Ryouma Sakamoto wants the world to know his passion for rock ‘n roll, thus he struts around showing his skills. However, Japan doesn’t allow anything outside the Heaven’s Songs to be performed and failure to cooperate can lead to harsh consequences. Ryouma is undeterred and joined by Shinsaku Takasugi and Kogoru Katsura works to find a place to perform their music. They strive for freedom, and wish for their music to be accepted”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

When you listen to “-OZONE-“, “Artist”, and then “Jack” back to back you can for sure that vistlip has a formula when writing anime tie-ins. That’s not a dig at the band at all, just a musical finger print of sorts. I will say that “Jack” has more bit more bite from the start, to set it apart.

I haven’t seen Bakamatsu Rock! so I can’t be sure, but I feel like this time around Satoshi mimicked the way voice actors record their songs. Again, this isn’t a dig but there’s a very distinct set of vocal patterns V.A.’s tend to use when they sing OP and ED’s, at least to my limited knowledge and ear. Unlike the prior tracks, I really feel that Satoshi leans more into that style over his individual style here. I might have brainrot from doing one of these every month at this point though, or my lack of familiarity with vistlip prior to my research for this title to blame for this conclusion.

But, I am really digging Tohya’s drums in this one. He’s got great energy for these types of songs and it really shows. I also wish that Rui’s bassline was amped up a little bit more on these songs! He’s a great player, but his bassline is really pushed back in comparison to the drums and guitars on these anime tie ins. I just wish we could hear it more clearly!

Following Bakamatsu Rock, was their tie-in with mega hit Yona of the Dawn in fall of 2014. vistlip’s song “Yoru” was used as the first ending theme for episodes one through fourteen. This series is quite well known but just in case…

“Yona is the princess of Kouka, whose sheltered and shielded from any danger or hardship. This comes crashing down as a heinous act of treason threatens to destroy all that she holds dear, including her title. She is forced to flee with only her childhood friend and bodyguard Son Hak, with a huge target on her back. Yona vows to do all in her power to become strong enough to take back what is rightfully her’s, including reclaiming her kingdom”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

The first thing I really want to point out is the opening for this song. I highly recommend headphones, because the heartbeat rhythm coupled with the violins to open is so. fucking. cool. But hard to hear without headphones since it’s mostly focused in the left ear by the way. Having it used throughout the song to tie it together was just the cherry on top for this track, 10/10 effect usage here.

vistlip continues to surprise me since I wasn’t anticipating a song like this. When the guitars and bass are finally brought in it really sent shivers down my spine. The lyrics are just open enough where without context, it’s still a great song. In context with Yona though, it’s very fitting.

There’s also some really nice breaks within the track that really highlight Satoshi’s voice that I enjoyed a lot. The ending where the heartbeat comes back in, and it’s just an acoustic guitar to send off the track was sweet and brought it full circle for me. It also has the distinct ‘ending theme’ energy, not a good or bad thing just the vibes I got.

vistalip’s song “CONTRAST” was used as a theme for Divine Gate in 2016. Specifically it was used as the ending theme for all twelve episodes of the series. You guys know the drill so here we go-

“The legend of the Divine Gate is told to young children that depicts merging the living world, heaven, and the underworld. Those born with abilities from the union of these worlds – adapters – formed a World Council which controls the Gate, labeling it all a folk tale. However, it’s very real and students are trained at a special academy to hone their skills in relation to the tale. Aoto is a water power user, but refused to join this special academy. However, the wind user Midori, and fire user Akane convince him. Now the trio, and their leader Arthur seek out the Gate once and for all to see if the myth is true”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

I’m going to be pretty honest here, it’s a fairly standard anime opening. It has vistlip’s formula in full effect, and it distinctly plays into anisong structure well. Being their fifth entry into anime tie in’s it’s to be expected.

The one thing that salvages the song is that about two minutes in Yuh and Umi have a dueling guitar moment. At least that’s what you think until, the guitars echo off one another and have solos interspersed. It’s such a unique take on it, and hearing it a second time around the four minute mark to close out the song was an excellent choice.

It’s a bit of shame since I’m not quite sure how and where this song was cut for the “TV size”, so it might have been lost to the anime-only listeners. That’s why I get to point stuff like this out to you guys here to rediscover.

This next entry, I confirmed that vistlip did contribute a song. But it’s a bit unclear the exact details. The series is Senjuushi, as well as the OVA Senjuushi: Kijuushi-tachi no Happy Birthday!. Their song “BLACK MATRIX” was used at least as the ending theme for the second episode of the series, and for the OVA. It might have been used more but I didn’t have the time to check the whole series myself. I did my best to piece together a summary but this being an Otome game adaptation I have a feeling some details were lost in translation.

“The Despair War is a battle between ancient gun faction and contemporary gun faction – despite the fact the world was destroyed in a nuclear war earlier. The world empire rules with an iron fist, and have banned any weapon ownership, and the factions are fighting in secret. The Kijuushi are the souls of the ancient guns appear and shows their everyday life in this warzone”. (Paraphrased from the MAL Description)

This sounds weird, but with the piano and vocals to start the song, “BLACK MATRIX” sounds exactly like the type of anisong where war is a major theme in the anime. I’m not sure why my brain connected those two parts together, but it works here. At least until the full band comes in and threw me for a loop.

At about a minute in the really frantic energy between the band and Saotshi is wild. This is a song where the first time in awhile I can practically see the furi (synchronized dancing) that fans would do during a live performance. I even felt my head droop into a head bang mode for this track. I can tell exactly where I’d be twirling my towel too. This song is so much fun to bop along to.

We now hop into 2021, the latest entry of writing which is with… Duel Masters King!. vistlip’s song “Act” was used as the ending theme for episodes one through twelve. A quick note is that this is the seventeenth season of this anime, so the description will probably only make sense to those that have been following for it awhile. I had to go to Duel Masters’ Fandom entry for this one, so be sure to give it a read and click that link if needed.

“Joe and Deckie hear a mysterious announcement in their dreams about an “evolution”, “4,000 years of dueling history”, and more. Joe and his friends after finding a mysterious scroll decide to go find the 12 Legendary Cards. But their destination is in… the past??”. (Paraphrased from the Duel Masters’ Fandom Entry on Duel Masters King!)

So… the formula that vistlip has for anime tie ins is in full effect here. It gives off the very strong “this is a shonen anime ending theme” vibes. It’s not bad per say, technically it’s well produced and structured. It’s just rather generic. Any band could have put this together, there’s not a ton of vistlip’s musical finger prints here the way there are in prior mentioned songs. It might be the sign of them growing as musicians, or it might be a downgrade – up to interpretation.

As always this is just a small sampling of the band’s work. If any of these tracks sparked your fancy, be sure to check them out on Spotify or Youtube. They have plenty in their discography for you to listen through and find a new favorite to play. They certainly surprised me with their style!

I’ll see you next month with another band in this feature!


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