Anime theme songs are a tricky business. They’re the first thing fans associate with a show, and thus have tremendous power. Play a “One Piece” fan “We Are!” and they will cry spontaneously. Offer them a dozen remixes on CD and they will buy them all. “We Are,” though, is an old-fashioned song, designed first and foremost as a theme tune. Plenty of other anime have used upcoming singles by popular musicians, depending on the connections of the producers. Others have chosen memorable deep cuts, like the use of Asa-Chang and Junray’s haunting “Hana” in “Flowers of Evil.” When those don’t work, there’s always voice actors on tap. Convince an idol group like Sphere or a popular voice actor like Mamoru Miyano to star in your anime, and you have both talent and a theme tune on lock.
The ending themes of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures” are mostly pre-existing songs, including truly wonderful choices like Savage Garden’s “I Want You” and Jodeci’s “Freek’n You.” But the opening themes are all original songs, featuring a strong roster of talent. The first of these themes, “Sono Chi wa Sadame,” was written by Shoko Fujibayashi and composed by legendary composer Kohei Tanaka. These two had previously written and composed, believe it or not, “We Are!” The final ingredient was Hiroaki “Tommy” Tominaga, the lead singer of the “Super Brass Rock Band” BLUFF. The producers of “Jojo” would repeat this recipe for “BLOODY STREAM,” uniting anime composer royalty with an up-and-coming vocalist.