BUMP OF CHICKEN’s planetarium

by Celsius005 on February 4, 2007 · 5 comments · AddThis

planetarium promo picture
Title: planetarium
Release date: 2005.07.21
Peak Position: #4
Product Code: TFCC-89142
Label: Toy’s Factory

Prior to the release of the highly acclaimed double A-side single [supernova/karma] in 2005, BUMP OF CHICKEN announced their 10th single [planetarium] in the same year, which dazzled BOC veteran fans and grabbed the attention of many new ones. Well, well, it would appear that they’ve really outdone themselves (as expected!). Let’s take our first step inside this great planetarium to see the splendor of stars that have captivated fans for so long. Shall we?

The cover of this single features a close-up of the spherical component attached to the Zeiss projector, a machine designed to simulate the thousands of stars we see in planetariums. It’s a rather dramatic shot, wouldn’t you say? Many of BOC’s CD jackets feature such dynamic photography or computer-rendered graphics that prove countlessly again and again to be mystifying and quite artistic - this one being no exception. As a promotional gift, the band released a BUMP-esque version of HOMESTAR, a 21st century home planetarium by Sega Toys. This awesome home planetarium can simulate up to 17,000 stars and supports features to dramatically change the appearance of the simulation. Neat, huh?

Needless to say, the underlying stellar atmosphere is reflected in both songs of this single, giving listeners a sense of “spacing out” (…) as the melodious tunes race through the mind. Shall we carry on?


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My, my, this is certainly a surprise! Vocalist Fujiwara Motoo shouldn’t have been so modest during the Excite interview that took place while this single was still in the making. Though he claimed to lack memory of the time he first introduced the idea to the band, he managed to share just enough about the origins of this song. According to Fujiwara, the earliest ideas of this song came to him around the time BUMP OF CHICKEN was performing live. Those small bits and pieces were gradually put into place since then until he could form a worthwhile sample to share with the other members of the band. They were very impressed - especially guitarist Masukawa Hiroaki - by the melody, which was accompanied by acoustic guitar. They pursued to complete this song and in the process engraved the name “planetarium”, the theme having possibly been inspired by their 2002 album “jupiter”. Despite having memory issues, Fujiwara could have at least given a more prestigious recollection that truly shows the quality of this song (heh, he made it all sound so simple)…

I think this song goes way beyond what people had originally anticipated. I also think that it goes way beyond the bluesy description given by the band prior to its release. It, in fact, must be going beyond Japan, shooting straight out and breaking through language barriers it’s so good. Realmente es una forma de arte. ¡Claro que sí! From the guitar intro to the soft sounds and soothing melody, “planetarium” really does have that nightly visage.

“planetarium” is a soft rock song from start to finish. The first guitar chord lingers for a second, creating a sort of crescendo effect. This prominent guitar sound is joined by a chorus of an additional guitar, bass, and bells. Bells can be heard in several of BOC’s softer songs, and they do very well to keep the song in a somewhat gentle atmosphere. This song is no exception. Tension is finally relieved when the drums join in the fray (doesn’t that part send chills down your spine?!). Fujiwara’s vocals fare well with this song as much as they do for “supernova”. By now you can hear - no - feel the sounds that make up the vast of space reflected in this song. Though it doesn’t get any more exciting than this, “planetarium” dishes out a few minor twists to please your palate: an interlude after the second chorus and an ascending third chorus after the bridge. In structural terms this could be written as AAB AAB C AAB BDE.

Leave it Fujiwara and his remarkable skills in lyrical writing/composition to create a song that not only sounds good, but is also true to its meaning. It’s an ode to the one and only star in the sky, the star you so very much want to touch but cannot. As you can see in the translation this song has much to tell about one’s experience in a time of complete lamentation, though it is also inspirational.

The promotional video complements the song accurately. All four band members are seen inside a planetarium that is empty save for seats and a Zeiss projector. The projector illuminates to turn the desolate walls and ceiling of the planetarium into the universe (this idea is stated in the actual song). Nothing in particular stands out in the PV, and it seems to convey the direct, more literal meaning of “planetarium”. Simply put, it is as pleasant to see as it is to hear. Not so much avant-garde.

Songs titled “planetarium” are quite nice…

Rating: ★★★★★


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ginga tetsudou

The B-side of the single was made at the same time as the previous song. What a lengthy track. This soft rock song contributes to the overall “spacey” atmosphere, making the experience all the more enjoyable and relaxing. “ginga tetsudou” translates to “Milky Way Railroad”, and, as you know, the Milky Way is the name of our galaxy. Unlike “planetarium”, this song doesn’t allude to outer space at all. The word railroad in the title is justified since the song is a first person account of various events and musings on a seemingly normal, everyday sort of train. Sticking a color to it, I’d definitely say blue matches the mood perfectly. I’m sure the feelings and thoughts described are those which all humans feel, some more often or to a much higher degree than others. Pensive describes the song accurately.

This song starts out with an acoustic guitar intro, followed by a wonderful display of Fujiwara’s mellow vocals. He sings rather quietly in the beginning, almost in a tentative sort of way. He continues to sing this way with his own guitar accompaniment until after the first chorus. The rest of the band joins in at this point, and this seems to change the pace of the song. By the end, Fujiwara does in fact sing with slightly increased strength which mirrors what is happening to the person’s thoughts during his journey on the train. Confidence may the thematic focus.

I thought the overall pace of the song was dreadfully slow and dull when I first heard it, but my feelings for it have changed significantly after countless playbacks. Knowing BUMP OF CHICKEN’s knack for veiling important yet hidden attributes, it’s pretty much a given that the song’s gradual (and almost unnoticed) intensification was intended. Ah, another masterpiece!

Rating: ★★★★☆


This single is pure love. She’s my darling. It makes me wonder sometimes just how in the world something so perfect for me ever came to existence. I highly recommend this single to anyone looking for soft music that’s very pleasing to listen to. Even to those who aren’t overly enthusiastic about BUMP OF CHICKEN, [planetarium] is worth giving a try and/or sharing with friends. ~Viva la BOC!~

Overall Rating: ★★★★½


planetarium cover

  1. プラネタリウム
  2. 銀河鉄道

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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Which song do you listen to before sleeping ? : Welcome to the Nhatkyviet.com, the place for Asian Entertainment: movie, drama, music, you name it !
May 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Risa December 19, 2008 at 3:40 am

Hi Nice to meet you.
I am Japaese.
But I don’t have PV.
So I became happy to watch this movie!!


emptydb May 3, 2007 at 8:21 pm


love the melody of this song by Bump of chicken, Ginga Tetsudou. Its song that you want to listen to all over and over again…its a relaxing song to listen to.


Aprilis CANADA February 7, 2007 at 4:17 am

You know how some people are drawn to “hearts”? Well, I’m the kind that’s drawn to “stars”. So when I saw the title Planetarium, I just had to take a peek.

Before I go on any further, I must say that I’m rarely listen to male artist or boy band music. But I must say, I’m really impress with this song. Like Rinoa said, the song is really relaxing, the kind that you can fall asleep too. The lyric is excellent too, really meaningful. The PV is simple but like you said, it matches the song perfectly.
On the other hand, I wasn’t too thrill about the b-side. It was nice, but just isn’t my cup of tea.

Excellent detail review, good job!!


Rinoa February 5, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I decided to check this single out and wow.. I love how every tiny detail has been taken care of! Makes it seem more personal which is pretty rare in a single.

Anyhow I’ve enjoyed how this song sounds so relaxing to listen to. Like you can sit back and close your eyes and imagine the sky. The pv’s quite simple but I liked the ‘earth’ ball and how they appear to be in a weightless environment. All those gorgeous scenes of the stars have a very beautiful effect too. Keep it up with these brilliant reviews.


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