Hanabi / 花火 (2015)

Hanabi / 花火: “fireworks”

This year, Oku Hanako released a re-recorded version of her indies single, “Hanabi”, in honour of her 10th anniversary as a major artist. This brings “Hanabi” up to three versions: the original hikigatari version, the arranged version, and this one. Not counting live versions, the only other song that I can think of that has this many versions is Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星.

To accompany the re-recording, Mogelatte / モゲラッタ (HoneyWorks) made the official music video for the song.

花火 / 奥華子 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

The music video is nice to look at and it helps visualize the song’s meaning. I find it interesting how it combines traditional watercolour drawings with computer-made effects. It makes the video seem like it’s in 3D space, but at the same time, it still retains that 2D feel. What stood out for me were the numerous fireworks (for obvious reasons) and how the two met up in yukata (as is customary for watching fireworks, but it stood out for me because of Rosanne’s translation notes).

How does this version compare to the original hikigatari and arranged versions? I would describe this as the hikigatari version with strings. It retains the basic feel of that version and fills in the “gaps” with extra instruments. As expected, Oku Hanako restricts herself a little more with her more “cutesy” voice, but it’s not as striking as it was for the new version of Gekkou / 月光 and I don’t think it’s detrimental at all to the song.

To those who like the hikigatari the best, the arrangement may be somewhat distracting. While I think that some of the arrangement could be toned down a bit (e.g. some strings parts could be less fancy), I think the arrangement carries the emotion well and provides some really nice counter-melodies. However, I will agree that I think the emotion was best expressed in the hikigatari version. Perhaps the best example to highlight the difference is the part coming out of the interlude and into the last stanza.

Overall, I think it’s a very nice version and I’ll continue to enjoy it alongside the others.

Lyrics →


Kusabi (single) / 楔 -くさび-

Kusabi / 楔: “wedge”, or according to Generasia, “bridge”, or according to J-talk, “linchpin“. The single’s title includes the pronunciation in hiragana (くさび) like it did when the song first appeared on vol.4.

Oku Hanako’s 10th anniversary single is out! Her first release a major artist, Yasashii Hana / やさしい花, was released on July 27, 2005. If you haven’t been following along, in honour of her 10th anniversary as a major artist, she has arranged and re-sung Kusabi / 楔, one of her indies songs released on vol.4, and later vol.best.

More info, the song, and lyrics →

What’s the song on the 10th anniversary pop-up?

If you go to Oku Hanako’s official site, you’ll be greeted with a pop-up message:


There’s a music score in the background, and being the musical guy I am, I just had to figure out what it is. You can probably guess, but after playing through it in my head, I concluded that it’s a snippet of Kusabi / 楔, specifically the end of the pre-chorus until a little after the end of the chorus (the chorus starts at [C]).

No wonder I haven’t been able to work out the chords by ear. I knew the chords, which are written above the staves, were somewhat complex, but I didn’t think they were to this degree. You have major chords, minor chords, slash chords, sus4, add9 (both major and minor), and even some combinations of them. Don’t worry if you understood nothing in this paragraph: just know that it’s appreciatively complex.

Kusabi / 楔 cover art revealed!

The release of Kusabi / 楔 is about a month and a half away and the cover art for the new release has been revealed:


Kusabi / 楔

I wonder if that photo was taken in one of the subway stations or one of the streets where she used to perform. If so, it would give the cover a deeper meaning.

It’s quite reminiscent of the older covers, too. The first one that came to mind was the one for Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星:

Chiisana Hoshi cover art

Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星

Kusabi / 楔 track list announced!

A new header image was put up on June 1 on Oku Hanako’s official site:

2015-06-01 header image showing Kusabi / 楔 track list

Header image on the official site as of June 1, 2015

The text at the top, I’m guessing, briefly explains that the 10th anniversary for Oku Hanako’s major début is July 27 of this year, and to celebrate, they’ll be releasing a 10th anniversary single called Kusabi / 楔-くさび. The single will be sold for at least ¥1000.

Tracklist →

Preview of the new Kusabi / 楔 single

Oku Hanako’s upcoming single was aired today the JFN radio station(?).

YouTube user sasasa has uploaded the song (although I think the first couple of seconds are cut off). If you’re impatient and can’t wait until July to hear it, now’s your chance before it gets taken down.

楔-くさび- / 奥華子 by sasasa [YouTube]

I’ll reserve my opinion until it’s released in July, but I’ll say that I don’t think it’s any better or worse than the original, just that it’s different.

10th anniversary single announced!

My, it’s almost 10 years already since Oku Hanako debuted as a major artist. Can you believe it? I can’t find any information on exactly when she signed with Pony Canyon, her record label, but her first major release was on July 27, 2005 (Yasashii Hana / やさしい花).

In celebration of her 10th anniversary, she’s releasing another single[jp]: Kusabi / 楔-くさび. Yes, it’s that popular indies song of hers. Just like all the other indies songs that got turned into singles, it will be resung and arranged; according to Barks, strings have been added to make it even more emotional. I can’t wait to hear how this turns out!

The single will be released on July 22. In the meantime, I know you now have the urge to listen to the original, so here it is:

Oku Hanako 楔 Kusabi with English lines by mokade3 [YouTube]