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Anime/Manga Songs on New Year's Kōhaku Uta Gassen

posted on 2009-01-01 23:57 EST
Joe Hisaishi, Ponyo singers, Tokio, Ayaka, Angela Aki, AIKO perform

Kōhaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Song Battle), the New Year's Eve singing contest that is Japan's most viewed music television program, included a medley of music from Studio Ghibli films this year. Composer Joe Hisaishi (pictured at right) personally conducted a full orchestra on selected excerpts from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa - Castle in the Sky, and other films he scored. The Fujimaki Fujioka duo and Nozomi Ōhashi sang the "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" theme song as part of the actual competition on the Red Team. The Mainichi Shimbun paper reports that the team will stop singing this song live in Japan after this performance.

On the White Team, Tokio sang the "Amagasa" theme song for the live-action drama version of Aruko's Yasuko to Kenji manga. Red Team's Ayaka responded with "Okaeri," the song she sang for the live-action drama adaptation of Yuu Watase's Absolute Boyfriend manga. Also on the Red Team was Final Fantasy XII and Blood+ singer Angela Aki (pictured at left), who sang "Tegami ~Haikei Jūgo no Kimi e~." The Shirogumi computer graphics studio had set this song to animation with key animation drawings by Fruits Basket manga creator Natsuki Takaya for NHK's Minna no Uta television shorts. Aiko followed next on the Red Team with her "KissHug" song, which was used in the Hana Yori Dango Final film based on Yoko Kamio's Boys Over Flowers manga.

Last year's inclusion of AKB48, Leah Dizon, and Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa helped boost ratings for Kōhaku Uta Gassen.


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