Updated: Jul 1, 2020
I revisited one of my favorite anime themes of all time on Youtube recently. "Sobakasu" by Judy and Mary; opening theme of the first season of the Rurouni Kenshin anime series.
As I always do, I look for live performance videos of the songs that I really like; a luxury we can now easily afford because of video streaming sites. First time I saw Judy and Mary, I realized there was not really a "Judy" and a "Mary". They weren't a couple of cute, singing Japanese cosplay girls that I was imagining. On the contrary, they were actually a huge, badass, Japanese, SUPERBAND! The type that fills up stadiums and arenas. They dress up flamboyantly and all members are masters of theatrics! They were a spectacle to behold onstage.
The entire band is just something else. A cut above the rest, and yet—YUKI, the band's singer was still a stand out among them. She does have that "anime" voice, but I dare say, she might be THE GREATEST FEMALE ROCK SINGER of the late 90's and the early 2000's that the rest of the world did not know about! Top 5 of ALL TIME for sure in my book!
Watch Judy and Mary's WARP Tour Final on Youtube. YUKI sang perfectly at the Tokyo Dome in front of tens of thousands of fans that night. Judy and Mary’s swan song as a group. It must have been an iconic event for Japanese music.
Her songs were mostly as high and intense as Sobakasu, which means they’re quite difficult to sing. It takes an exceptional singer to pull them off, but YUKI not only belted and slayed them all for two and a half hours, straight, she was jumping and dancing all around the stage while she was at it! Not only that; by the end the concert, she sounded like she could probably sing ten more songs after. As a guy who also sings, that was crazy.
YUKI sings with her heart —just as how the greats do it. Which is why I am inexplicably moved whenever I hear Sobakasu, even if I didn't understand a single word of the song. I did look up the lyric's English "version", and although it was very roughly translated, I could tell that it was trying convey profound thoughts and emotions. It makes me wish I knew Japanese just to fully appreciate its poetry. And yes, YUKI wrote it.
Now, I just searched "Top 100 female singers of all time" on Google. All it showed were Western artists. The usual suspects, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Beyonce... While everyone in the list were fantastic and also my favorites, you bet your ass, YUKI would have easily bumped one of them off that chart. If only the people who write these things aren't oblivious to artists in other parts of the world. Makes me wonder how many more YUKIs are there for us to discover.
YUKI left Judy and Mary in 2003, but she still creates and performs amazing music to this day.
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