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anime music

Ya Boy Kongming

An Anime for all the Party People

Ya Boy Kongming or Paripi Komei, which translates to Kongming of the Party People, is an anime based on the manga of Ryo Ogawa. The premise is a sort of reverse isekai, where a famous Chinese strategist from the  Three Kingdoms era gets reincarnated into our modern age. Initially he thinks he ended up in hell, since the very day of his reincarnation was on Halloween, and he got transported to Shibuya. So, a bit too loud and wild for a guy from the 3rd century. And in the case that you wondered, yes of course, he reincarnates as a bishonen young guy.

A young musician by the name of Eiko, spots him sleeping on the street close to the club she’s working in the morning after Halloween. She, thinking he is just some random party animal, helps him get up and leads him back to her place, so he does not freeze to death. It was Eiko herself who impressed him the night before, singing in the club. He vows the become her strategist and help her accomplish her dreams. Eiko, as any other rational person is still weirded out by a peculiar guy in what she thinks is cosplay. But once he compliments her singing and songwriting talents, she mellows and accepts his offer. They do clash at first. Eiko think that talent is the most important foundation to succeed in music. Kongming disagrees. Based on his life and experience, he is certain that it is a skill that one develops and crafts with time. But Eiko’s talent isn’t the only motivation for Kongming. With the help of the internet, he discovers that history did not go as planned after his death, and his lord didn’t get to fulfill his ambition. This, along with a few other regrets from his previous life will fuel Kongming going forward.

Music means a lot for Eiko. When she was younger, she and her father would spend a lot of time playing the guitar and singing. He was the person who inspired her love for music. But then one day her father disappears. Eiko falls into a deep state of depression, which culminates with a suicide attempt while on a class trip. Her current boss, the owner of the club she works in saved her. He also took her to his club, where a soon to be famous singer performed. It was in that moment that Eiko was reborn. Music once again gave her a central reason to exist, to live and love life.  In a sense, music is both the first spark that created her individuality, but it is also the very reason for her resurrection as a person. She also admits to Kongming, that even tho her father has left her, every time she sings or enjoys music, she feels connected to him.

In his infinite wisdom, Kongming concludes that they need to add another member to their team, a rapper. And Kongming being Kongming, he knows just the guy. The perfect addition is a freestyle rapper named Kabetaijin. Ever since he befriended a freestyle rap enthusiast in high school, Kabe has lived and breathed freestyle rap. The combination of obsession and talent, has led him to the very top, defeating his own idol Sekitoba. But he overdid it. He lost the passion for rapping. The only thing he cared about was winning battles. Feeling his health deteriorating after a collapse on stage, Kabe decides to quit. But, with some typical Kongming machinations, not only does he join the team, but he also reinvigorates his passion for freestyle rap, without endangering his health.

The three of them together, with some support from the club’s owner, and a eccentric producer, will strive to achieve Eiko’s dream, a performance at the biggest EDM festival in the world, but their first goal is to get themselves booked at Summer Sonia, one of the biggest festivals in Japan.

The show is realistic bout the music industry. At times I feared it would go the shonen route and present that with hard work and ambition you can achieve your dreams. But it dares portray the music industry in its all-cutthroat self. Musicians and their agencies will do a lot of nasty stuff to get ahead. Eiko and Kongming face and encounter that throughout this series. And along the way, lot of musicians lose their initial love for the art itself. They will obsess over other things, like the number of followers, or how much they are selling. With commercial success, the art itself gets lost in the shuffle. There is no better example for such a development than with the final boss of the series, Azaelia. They started out as a all-girl rock band. But they could not achieve success their own way, which lead to a total transformation in style and expression under a very influential and competent manager. Striking a balance between what the mob wants and what you as an artist want to express or explore are hard to find. This is why Kongming sees Eiko as such a singular talent. He knows she can connect people and through her music lead them through transformative experience just be being her authentic self.

The music in this show is amazing. 96neko sings all of Eiko’s songs and that person has such an amazing voice. There are multiple performances throughout the series where I got goosebumps. Shoya Chiba, who voices Kabe has great cadence and comes off as a legit freestyle rapper. The intro is very catchy and has vibes that really remind me of the early 2010s Romanian dance music explosion, with acts like Inna, or Edward Maya taking the global scene by storm. I foresee a similar future for Eiko as well.

The animation team does not really lag behind the musical production. In a few scenes, when Eiko is playing the guitar and singing solo, they animate the fingers on the right frets, and the movement looks super fluid. They also do a great job of portraying just how magnificent her performances are to Kongming initially, but the wider audience as well later on.

A great, great anime and I truly hope with all my being that it will get a season 2.

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