ArtsCinema & TVMusic

RADWIMPS is back with “Suzume”: Behind the opening song for Makoto Shinkai’s “Suzume no Tojimari”

Japanese culture has evolved beyond otaku culture, with anime becoming adored and well-loved by audiences worldwide. Take, for example, “Your Name” and “Weathering With You” by Director Makoto Shinkai. These two films are some of the most critically acclaimed anime movies ever released and set to continue this line is “Suzume no Tojimari”, also directed by him.

“Suzume no Tojimari” tells the story of a high school girl who, after opening a weathered door, causes multiple other doors to open around Japan, causing destruction upon those who are near. Aided by a mysterious young man, she now has to close all of them to prevent a series of disasters from happening across Japan.

Personally, when I do start watching any anime, one of the first things that I take note of is the opening theme song. To me, this can make or break the entire show. The opening for “Suzume no Tojimari is called “Suzume”, written by none other than the band RADWIMPS. 

Suddenly popping up on my Youtube recommendations, it piqued my interest enough for me to click play, and upon hearing it, I got shivers down my spine.

Rarely do I come across a song that does that, and when the full version of the song was released, I knew that I had to listen to it in all of its glory. Before I knew it, I had it on repeat, and was whistling along to the song’s melody. It was an absolute banger in my books.

RADWIMPS, consisting of Yojiro Noda and Yusuke Takeda at the moment, are no strangers to making songs for Makoto Shinkai, with songs such as Zen Zen Zense headlining the anime film “Your Name”. Having debuted in 2001, the band has gone from strength to strength before their big break in 2016, where their album for “Your Name” had skyrocketed them to number two on the global charts, and was certified Double Platinum in Japan, with over 500,000 copies sold.

RADWIMPS Suzume: Band Members
From left to right: RADWIMPS members Yusuke Takeda, Yojiro Noda and Akira Kuwahara (On Hiatus)

This was swiftly followed up in 2019 when the band once again conjured up another best-seller, with the “Weathering With You” album winning Animation Album of the Year at the 34th Japan Gold Disc award, while also being the top-selling anime album of 2019, with over 128,000 copies sold.

Now with “Suzume” as the third soundtrack produced by RADWIMPS for Makoto Shinkai. They’ve gone bigger; involving more parties, with production for the song on a much larger scale.

“I want to make a movie that brings people into theatres. To do that, I’m going to maximise the audience’s ability to immerse themselves into the story with the ultimate visual and musical compositions,” Makoto Shinkai said at the initial press conference for the film, and he definitely stayed true to his word.

RADWIMPS partnered with Hollywood Film Composer Kazuma Jinnouchi, who has worked on both American and Japanese projects alike, bringing a wealth of experience and ideas to the table. As for vocals, they cast TikTok star Toaka, whose voice, according to Yojiro Noda of RADWIMPS, had a “connection with this music that no one could sever.”

With that, production for “Suzume” was set in motion, bringing the band all the way to London, more specifically, Abbey Road Studios, where most famously, the Beatles recorded their songs. The final piece has been met with a lot of fanfare, with the official lyric video amassing nearly one million views on Youtube in just a week, and nearly two million plays on Spotify. Frankly, these are mind-boggling numbers.

“Suzume no Tojimari” is to be Makoto Shinkai’s seventh film, now a notable name in the anime world since his first film, “The Place Promised in Our Early Days”. He was really thankful for the help he received from RADWIMPS, Kazuma Jinnouchi and Toaka, considering how he “knew that the musical demands of ‘Suzume’ would be quite different from the previous two films.” 

Having worked on the production, he was thrilled and proud of it, saying that he was “confident we have achieved something worthy of calling a ‘theatrical music experience’” and hopes everyone can experience the film in theatres. With the rollercoaster of emotions that “Your Name” and “Weathering With You” brought about, expectations that “Suzume no Tojimari” would be the same are rife, but who’s to say that it wouldn’t be as good as the rest?

So while you wait for the film and the complete soundtrack to be released on the 11th of November, 2022, you can either take some time to listen to “Suzume” first, wait for more trailers to come out, or watch some of his previous works, because I know I will continue to have the song on repeat.

If you want to check out more from RADWIMPS, you can listen to their songs on Spotify.

Visuals courtesy of Copaceptic.

Glenton Weng

Plays FPS Games, but prefers JRPGS

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