J-Rock at its finest: Ketchup Mania

I was saddened to recently hear that one of my favorite Japanese rock bands, Ketchup Mania, has disbanded after nine years together. The band was relatively unknown in the U.S. until they debuted at the 2007 Dallas A-Kon anime convention, and ever since gained popularity by also performing at 2008’s Sakura-Con.

All the way back in 1999, Ketchup Mania began in Nagoya, Japan with three main members–Hiro the vocalist, Dai the guitarist, and Fanfan the bassist. In 2000, their song “Hime no Omoi” gained recognition by other Japanese bands like Love Psychedelico, Cymbals and Ereki Hachimachi.

Ketchup Mania’s first EP (Strong Music Story) was released in 2001. In the next few years, they solidified their members with Wani the drummer and Yosei the bassist.

They gained national recognition for their 2006 album Greetings From Tokoyo and song “Your World,”  which was used in the anime series Itaden Jump. They released two albums back to back, U-R-G-E and L.O.V.E. in 2007, and Flag in 2008. (http://www.answers.com/topic/ketchup-mania)

Ketchup Mania’s sound is incredibly unique–hard grunge guitars with cute, chipmunk-like vocals. Many of their songs don’t go longer than two minutes, but all have a high energy drive behind them. Just listen to the song below, Namida Vaccum (one of their most popular tunes). Hiro’s voice sounds tough and adorable at the same time–not something you come across everyday!

Only a select few of Ketchup Mania’s songs are available to download through the iTunes library, so anyone’s best bet is to visit Japanfiles.com for mp3s from every album.

Currently, vocalist Hiro is now in the band Cat Loves Strawberries, Yosei in Na-No, and Dai and Wani in Kill Kills.

Liz’s rating: ★★★★

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