Welcome back to Visual Kei&Anime! This time we are talking about late 90’s, early 00’s band – Lastier!
Lastier was a Visual Kei band formed in 1996 in Niigata, Japan and disbanded May 3rd 2001. The group consisted of Ryuichi Ishiyama on vocals, Tomoaki Takasaki on lead guitar, Yuki on bass, and Ryo on drums. At one point, they had a second guitarist Kyoichi who left the band in May 2000.
Lastier is an unusual case in Visual Kei, considering their trajectory. Aside from the steady release of singles in their indie days, they were introduced to the public via TV Asahi’s program “Break Out” a show that showcased new and upcoming Visual Kei bands. From that appearance they were signed with Nippon Columbia for major label debut. All their major singles were tied into various programming, including some anime collaborations. However, in June 2000 they were dropped from Nippon Columbia, and once again were an indie unit before disbanding May 3rd 2001. It’s not well known how extensive they toured, or any controversies with the band. During their time together, they released three demo tapes, twelve singles, and four major albums. In 2012, they reunited at the charity event “Sailing into the NEW WORLD” to support the recovery from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.
Unfortunately, Lastier is a band where official sources to listen to their music have been lost to time. So I can’t link a Youtube or Spotify page. That being said, some fans have uploaded their material unofficially so it’s not lost forever.
In 1999, Lastier made their anime tie-in debut with Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. Their song “Dive into Shine” was the opening theme for episodes twenty-eight through forty-four. As always a quick summary of the series:
“Kusakabe Maron, looks like a high school girl, but is actually the reincarnation of Jeanne d’ Arc. At night, Maron becomes the thief Jeanne to seal the demons that reside in art, and also prey on the weak hearts of the art’s owners with the help of the angel, Fin Fish. After she seals the demons away, the art disappears giving her the name of Thief. Of course, she isn’t the only thief as the thief Sinbad appears, coincidentally as a new classmate arrives. Maron’s work is anything but easy as her best friend is the daughter of a detective set on capturing the Thief Jeanne and Sinbad!”. [Paraphrased from the MAL Entry]
I’m going to keep my thoughts here short and sweet – “Dive Into Shine” is very generic. Lyrically, composition, instrumentation everything is just average. There’s nothing bad about it, but there’s nothing outstanding either. The major positive here is that Ryuichi the vocalist, is clearly the crown jewel the band. His vocal color was so unexpected when I first heard this song, but incredibly distinct.
Their second and final anime tie-in was in early 2000, with little known series Miami Guns. Their song “SEEDS” was used as the opening theme song for all thirteen episodes. It’s also a little fun fact that “SEEDS” was recorded and released by the band three separate times; twice as an indie single with re-recorded vocals and karaoke version, and once as the major label version. The major label version being used for the anime of course. Let’s talk about Miami Guns premise for a bit:
“Yao Sakurakouji decided to join the Miami police force to enjoy the car chases, gunfights and destruction – for fun since she’s rich. Lu Amano is her partner and daughter of the police chief. Together they attempt to clean up the streets of Miami and take on the syndicate known as “The Organization”.” [Paraphrased from the MAL]
Seeing how much “SEEDS” was workshopped, I did have some expectations for this song. I can’t lie about that. The opening with the strings only and Ryuichi’s vocals for the first 30 seconds was very promising. Again though, this is another song that did not land for me. It’s no where near bad, but just considering Lastier’s contemporaries I’ve covered and their sound from around the same era – there’s a very large gap between the two.
In this song I can feel the major label interference though. Between the opening, and the guitar solos there was a lot of heart and soul in this track at one point. At the same time, I feel like a lot of the more interesting ideas were taken out for a more main stream and marketable sound. It’d be interesting to hear what the other two versions sound like but this isn’t the place for that.
I do feel bad that I’m ending on such an unintentional low note with Lastier. Given how many editions I’ve done though, I accept that not every band will resonate with me. Especially since I’m looking at their most commercial releases in relation to anime for this series. It’s just a bit of a bummer that Lastier’s works are a bit harder to find for those who might be curious despite my comments.
Either way, this was a very quick look at a very unique band. I hope that you’ll come check out next month’s edition as well! See you then, or with the next post!