Oku Hanako made a tweet recently about the upcoming movie, Ashita ni Nareba / あしたになれば (“If Tomorrow Comes”; the AsianWiki has some info about the movie, including a plot synopsis). It looks like she had been asked to do the theme song; it’s called Kimi ga Kureta Natsu / 君がくれた夏（”You gave me the summer”, according to a machine translation).
There’s a trailer that features a clip of the song:
It blows me away! It’s too bad I can’t find the whole song anywhere; I’d love to hear it. However, the style differs significantly enough from her pre-BIRTHDAY works to say that we may never get that early Oku Hanako back.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the first movie she’s done a theme song for since The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (whose theme song was Garnet / ガーネット). Mind you, that’s movie and not other works, because she’s done Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花 for a game, and possibly a few other (non-CM song) things that I currently can’t recall. Anyway, if that’s the case, then I can draw some parallels between Kimi ga Kureta Natsu and Garnet.
Garnet was the song that got her famous. It worked off the basic style of her previous songs (mostly her indies), and became more or less the base style for her next two albums (three, if you count BIRTHDAY). That style was superseded with the release of Utakata / うたかた (with Garasu no Hana), but the style of the albums from BIRTHDAY to good-bye still had a hint of TIME NOTE in it.
We saw even more deviation from the style with the release of Kimi to Boku no Michi / 君と僕の道. Taking the previous album, good-bye, into account, we speculated that she may be headed into a more arrangement-heavy (possibly with synths) style, with less and less piano hikigatari. What’s more is that Kimi to Boku no Michi didn’t have a single hikigatari track.
With that in mind, I’m inclined to think that Kimi ga Kureta Natsu will be like Garnet (and I suppose also Garasu no Hana) in the sense that it’s a song that marks a new style, leaving an old style behind—a new beginning, of sorts. Additionally, it seems that the latest videos for Oku Hanako (as of this post) are all for this song in one way or another, and my hunch is that this song will be her next single.
Pony Canyon had finally posted Garnet on its channel a few months ago. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but could the posting of Garnet have held some significance or have been some sort of foreshadowing?
In any case, I don’t think we’re getting the old Oku Hanako back. It won’t be long before we find out what direction her musical style will take.