Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔: “Your smiling face” or “Your Smile”
kimi / 君
no / の
A possessive particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
egao / 笑顔
“smile”, “happy face”
This album version of “Kimi no Egao” might be more familiar to most Oku Hanako fans than the original hikigatari version. The original was the first and title track of her 2011 concept album, Kimi no Egao -smile selection-, which then reappeared as track 7 on the second disk of her 2012 compilation album Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-. The album version was track 7 on her 2011 album, good-bye.
It has recently resurfaced (May 7, 2017) as the featured song in a PV for the yuri manga series called the Kase-san Series. The PV is titled “Kimi no Hikari: Asagao to Kase-san.” / キミノヒカリ ～あさがおと加瀬さん。～ (English title: “Your Light: Kase-san and Morning Glories”). It continues to make me wonder if Denny was right. Then again, I haven’t seen any announcements about this from Oku Hanako’s official streams, so it’s likely that she had minimal interaction with the project.
The video has some very light yuri and is relatively “safe” (mostly glances and some hand-holding), but there is a brief kissing scene at 2:55. Be warned.
Compared to the original, I think this album version is over-arranged. I had once described it as having been arranged for the sake of arranging it, trying to put in as many fancy embellishments as they could. I found the arrangement distracting and unnecessary. I still think so to some degree, but like many of her songs that I didn’t like at first, I slowly came to appreciate it. That said, I think that the original is significantly better and I would prefer to listen to that over the album version every time.
Aitai Toki ni Aenai / 逢いたいときに逢えない: “I Can’t See You When I Want”
aitai / 逢いたい
“want to meet”. This is the desire form of 逢う (“to meet”).
toki / とき
ni / に
A particle indicating the time of reference
aenai / 逢えない
“cannot meet”. This is the negative potential form of 逢う (“to meet”).
“Aitai Toki ni Aenai” is track 5 on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album “Utakata” / うたかた. Being placed between the more energetic “Hane” / 羽 and the slower “Trump” / トランプ, it serves as a good transition both in tempo and in mood between the two songs.
Although I don’t have a translation for you today, it seems to be a song in which the singer can’t get over her break-up and can’t help but keep loving her former partner.
“Kumo Yori mo Tooku” is the first track on her self-produced indies single vol.1, reappearing again as the second track on vol.best.
I never realized how much of a sad song this is. We have a translation today by Icepath that reveals the singer longing for a former lover who left her for someone else. Her love is out of reach, further than even the clouds. Heavy stuff; this is her indies for you.
The chorus features Oku Hanako trying to hit higher notes. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t hit them as well as she would today (for example, see Ai to Iu Takaramono / 愛という宝物); it comes out a little airy and a bit jarring. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend having someone new to Oku Hanako’s works listen to this just yet. For those of us who have been fans for a while, we can use this to show just how much she’s improved as a singer. That said, I’ve heard this song enough times that it doesn’t sound out-of-place for me.
This one is a rare find. You were probably aware that Chiisana Hoshi was released as a single in 2006, and you might have been aware that it was one of her indies songs released on vol.best, but did you know that there’s a third non-live version? Look again at the 2006 single: the last track is this “oyasumi” version. This version appears to serve as the hikigatari version of the single; whereas her later singles featured instrumental versions, her first five singles featured hikigatari versions.
It certainly lives up to its name. Her soft singing and heavy reverberation of the accompaniment really makes it sound like a lullaby. Her vocalization at the interlude and at the end is a nice touch.
This version reminds me a lot of one of her indies song, Waratta Kazu / 笑った数. I’m not surprised, though, since Chiisana Hoshi was originally an indies song, and this version was released close enough to her major debut that her indies era still had a great influence on her style.
Comparing it to the other versions, although I like this version, I still prefer the original indies version; it strikes a nice balance between this version and the single version. All the reverberation in this version can be a bit difficult to get through sometimes, and I feel the single version loses some of the feeling of the original in its arrangement.
While coming up with things to say in this post, I accidentally wrote a translation (apparently in less time than the rest of the post). I haven’t checked it for any idioms and less obvious subtleties, but I think it’s clean enough to post. My translation notes are available.
Oku Hanako’s ninth album, titled Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日 (“Today When I Could See Far in the Distance”), has been released! I missed posting all the status updates in the past month, so I’ll cover everything here.
The album comes in two editions: the regular edition and the limited edition. The limited edition comes with a DVD.
I think this is honestly one of the most adorable songs I’ve ever heard. I also think Oku Hanako’s voice is just perfect for this song. When I’m feeling down, this is a song I sometimes play to feel better (after a whole bunch of sad songs though, haha).