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Gia's List: 8 Great Anime Bands

by Gia Manry,

Every anime has music in some form or another, but lately it seems like more and more shows are incorporating their own fictional bands into the show...and the show's soundtracks. Here are eight of the best, from the past and the present.

8. Egoist (Guilty Crown)
In a world where Japan has given up independence in favor of martial law after a virus causes chaos, Egoist and its lead singer Inori have become an immensely popular Internet phenomenon. However, the band is merely a front for a resistance force known as "Funeral Parlor," as protagonist Shu discovers when he runs into her and tries to save her from the GHQ— the international organization that has taken over Japan in its troubled times. Naturally, Shu discovers that he has a greater strength within him than he knew, and he joins the organization...but not the band.
Best Song: Euterpe
7. Bad Luck (Gravitation)
Excitable lyricist and singer Shuichi Shindou unites with his bestest best buddy, guitarist Hiroshi Nakano, to form the band Bad Luck and try to break into the competitive world of Japanese pop music. It's Shuichi's lyrics, written on a page that gets lost in the wind, that first brings him to the attention of novelist Eiri Yuki, who calls the lyrics garbage and spurs the series' romantic plot. The insults also challenge Shuichi and motivate him to improve his work, and eventually the band meets some success... and a third member, keyboardist Suguru Fujisaki.
Best Song: Rage Beat
6. ENOZ (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Most people have had at least a fleeting fantasy of being some kind of rock star, and true to Haruhi's subconscious world-altering form, she gets her chance in exactly the fashion you'd expect a schoolgirl would: she takes over for the lead singer and guitarist of ENOZ, an all-girl band at her school, performs a pair of tunes for an increasingly crowded gym, and gets all the attention and accolades... without having to attend extended rehearsals or write music or any of the other hard parts. As it happens, ENOZ has some impressive talent... as long as they don't get injured.
Best Song: God Knows
5. Girls Dead Monsters (Angel Beats!)
In a show that seems to channel both K-ON! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (and not just because they both feature bands), Angel Beats!'s cast of dead students in an afterlife school/purgatory features Girls Dead Monster, a four-member girl band whose main job is to provide a musical distraction for their enemies and mindless minions. It works, because the music is pretty catchy... enough so that official releases of the tunes sold big, ranking high on Japan's sales charts.
Best Song: Alchemy
4. Houkago Tea Time (K-ON!)
As the list starts to move from bands that are incidental to the plot to those with a central role, we start with the five-girl band Houkago Tea Time, formed throughout the story of K-ON!. After forcing her bassist pal Mio to join the school's light music club and, by extension, its band, drummer Ritsu acquired several additions to the group: beginner guitarist Yui, keyboarder Tsumugi, and rhythm guitarist Azusa. The popularity of K-ON!'s characters and music is nothing short of legendary, with each single selling big.
Best Song: Don't Say Lazy
3. Black Stones (NANA)
Named after co-protagonist NANA's favorite cigarette brand, the Black Stones start out as an indie band with big dreams. When their bassist Ren gets plucked from obscurity to become join the musical big leagues, Black Stones has to rebuild itself from the ground up— and does, with NANA as the lead. She comes to see Ren (who is also her former lover) and his new band, Trapnest, as rivals and hopes to become as popular as they are. The various rivalries and romances between the two bands and their friends form the bulk of NANA's drama.
Best Song: rose
2. Beck (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
Mangaka Harold Sakuishi was inspired by a large number of bands when he created Beck, which revolves around protagonist Yukio's introduction to the guitar and how it opens him up both to a little more excitement in life and, of course, to plenty of drama. While the band scored plenty of its own original music, it's probably best known for covering The Beatles tune "I've Got a Feeling," whose lyrics became a victim to rights complications and were replaced on the show's North American DVD release.
Best Song: Slip Out
1. Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
Music is a major part of the Macross franchise, of course, but Macross 7's band Fire Bomber may be one of the most prolific fictional bands ever. The band takes center stage throughout the series, with guitarist/lead vocalist Nekki, basssist and backup singer Mylene, keytarist Ray, and drummer Veffidas encountering a new alien enemy alongside the crew of the Macross 7 fleet. While the band's music becomes a major part of the battle, Nekki also involves himself in combat directly by flying a Valkyrie mech into battle.
Best Song: Dynamite Explosion

Each list is accompanied by a new reader poll, as well as the results from last week's poll.

The new poll: So, let's say that you had the opportunity to hire some household help, even in these troubled times. The problem is, your new maid/butler/handy person must be an anime character, complete with both the advantages AND disadvantages that come with them. Who would you pick? Let us know and check back next time for the results!

The previous poll: Last time we asked about your catch phrase and in retrospect, it should come as no surprise that the top honors went to Gurren Lagann's instant classic, "Who the hell do you think I am?!" (Though one wonders how the votes would have gone if the poll had included some of the OTHER classic Gurren Lagann quotes.) Pokémon's Team Rocket speech took second place, with "I'm in despair!" from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei rounding out the top three. Here are the full results (and yes, a blank entry somehow sneaked in and in fact garnered votes... mysterious!):

  1. "Who the hell do you think I am!?" - Kamina (Gurren Lagann) - 23.4%
  2. "To protect the world from devastation..." (etc) - 18.3% - Team Rocket (Pokémon)
  3. "I'm in despair!" - Nozomu Itoshiki (Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei) - 12.5%
  4. "In the name of the moon, I will punish you!" - Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon) - 10.5%
  5. "You are already dead." - Kenshiro (Fist of the North Star) - 9%
  6. "Uguu~" - Ayu (Kanon) - 5.4%
  7. "Just as planned." - Light Yagami (Death Note) - 5.2%
  8. "Hail Il Palazzo!" - Excel (Excel Saga) - 4.4%
  9. "I'll be the hero!" - America (Hetalia - Axis Powers) - 2.9%
  10. "Yes, my master." - Alucard (Hellsing) - 2.8%
  11.   - 2.7%
  12. "Desu!" - Suiseiseki (Rozen Maiden) - 1.6%
  13. "Believe it!" - Naruto (Naruto) - 1.5%

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