Garnet Moon/Inori

by Rinoa on April 16, 2007 · 1 comment · AddThis

Garnet Moon
A.C.E. feat. Hitomi
Artist: Hitomi Shimatani
Product Code: AVCD-30637
Release Date: 2005.01.26
Debut Ranking: #8
Label: avex trax

Hitomi Shimatani is fairly well known for her countless tie-ins, despite of the fact that she is not popular enough to have a fixed contract with any company to endorse their products. This meant that she would not be promoted through regular commercials, as various popular artists manage to be the face of certain products for a set period. Nonetheless, Hitomi would enjoy quite a lot of variety and artistic freedom to explore different themes and genres through her tie-ins. After the hit single and successful tie-in, “ANGELUS“, another huge tie-in would be set in for her next release. For the first time, Hitomi would release a single which would be associated with the Playstation II game, “Another Century’s Episode”, better known as A.C.E.

Her 17th single was a continuation of the overall mature-sexy image from 2004. avex wanted to ensure that this single would be fairly popular with the audience by attempting to target this single towards the young adult audience. This decision was a fairly smart one, considering the fact that typically young adults are more prone and financially able to purchase singles rather then teens or mature adults. For this reason this song has a lot of urban influences, which point towards clubbing activities which are so popular amongst young adults. Apart from all this, avex also ensured that this single would fit the theme of A.C.E. to make it attractive to gaming fans too. Thus the techno influences were done on purpose to match the futuristic theme of the game.

Autograph Sessions
Autograph Sessions

As for the promotional campaign, avex would heavily promote this single even more than her regular singles. Countless billboards would decorate the trendy Shibuya, Hitomi would be featured in a load of magazines and she would perform this song on many variety shows. Hitomi Shimatani would attend on some events linked to this game and would even be invited for an autographing session. Finally this single would be released in various formats: CD, DVD Audio and SACD. In any way, avex made sure to make this single appear modern and avant garde. It was pushed into the spotlight in every possible way and rendered as attractive as possible.

Also a rather obscure but interesting fact is that this single was initially set to be named “Gypsy Moon” but it would be renamed as “Garnet Moon“. The word “garnet” refers to a deep red gem, which is associated with mythology. The cover art is an interesting combination of ultra-future elements and mythological aspects. The moon is of a garnet colour and her outfit decorations reflect various accessories featured from A.C.E. The most appealing aspect of all is that the leather sexy outfit and her dark wild hair is reminiscent of the American TV show, “Xena: Warrior Princess”.

Predictably enough this single would become an instant hit, reaching #8 on the Oricon charts and charting for 12 weeks. Overall this single would sell 81,000 copies, making it her best selling single in 2005. It would chart on the yearly Oricon rankings at #119 and it is also one of her best selling singles to date. I personally feel that this single deserved every ounce of its’ success since it’s such a polished and sleek representation of every aspect of Shimatani’s musical career.

 

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1. Garnet Moon

Garnet Moon” is radically different from anything Shimatani has ever released. As a first, it has a load of urban-techno influences and a contains darker atmosphere from her typical releases. Prior to 2005, most of Hitomi’s music and vocals were sugary, cute and carefree. They were fairly popular but the problem was that they were deviod of emotion and rather generic. For this reason, this new direction was by far rather welcome by the Japanese audience, especially since the strong tie-in brought this song in the spotlight.

In any way the techno-pop dance hybrid was an excellent introduction to a more mature direction. I really loved how it had this element of underground club music. Gave this song a hint of mystery and allure. The futuristic atmosphere produced with the techno elements matched perfectly with the theme of A.C.E. Overall the catchy and confident atmosphere created was simply excellent. This song would become a firm favourite amongst her fans and is actually the song which has managed to get me hooked with Hitomi in the first place for all these years.

Yet the music is not the only novelty of this track. Hitomi’s vocals are rather polished here. I feel that they have seriously matured, like fine wine does with time. They are rather sensual and blend in seamlessly with the background music. Although her vocals aren’t exactly the star of this song, I think she has managed to pull off the low-pitched, deep vocals quite well. This aspect would be explored further in her following releases, especially when being combined to her crossover genre.

Making
Offshot Photo

The promotional video is simply superb and is well designed. It was first aired on December 29th 2004 on M-ON! Express WARP. The setting resembles one of those exclusive, underground clubs. There are basically three defined scenes and outfits, all of them set to reflect the dimly lit and mysterious environment. All the outfits were fairly sexy and pointed towards the direction of a partying evening. Out of them all, the jeans outfit is one of her most notable ones in her career and is a trademark of this single. Hitomi would wear this outfit while promoting and performing this single. The most attractive aspect of this promotional video was the fact that the choreography was quite polished and I personally feel it is her peak in her dancing sequences.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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2. Inori

Inori” translates to “Prayer”, It was the other A-side of this single. However this song wouldn’t feature in the album “Heart & Symphony” and would not contain a promotional video either. This song was also the ending theme of A.C.E. and is probably the longest track she’s ever released. It follows a very close pattern to her slow pop ballads, but one can also notice that there are some small hints of orchestral experimentation. This is evident through the extensive use of strings and piano. There are also some subtle “music box” elements which are a personal favourite for me because they manage to throw in a hint of fantasy and magic.

The song is rather soothing and delivers a sense of finality. However I don’t exactly feel strongly towards this song because it has nothing considerably extraordinary in this song. The experimentation with orchestral instrumentals is quite limited to a few instrumentals and so the composition is fairly uniform. In the following singles, there would be a variety of ballads which would easily overshadow this song. Consequently I am not surprised that this song was left out from “Heart & Symphony“. Having said all this, it’s still a fairly attractive ballad for those who enjoy mellow tracks.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion

After this fantastic single would be released, Hitomi would completely submerge herself into the classical crossover genre. To be honest, I’m actually puzzled that after her huge success with this single, her management would completely tranform her image and musical direction. I personally am curious when considering what would have happened if she would have taken the urban genre. Maybe right now we’d be seeing another Koda Kumi with more elegance and class. No one can really tell, but I must say that this single left a huge impression on me. The whole transformation to being bloody sexy was simply perfect and her sleek and professional choreography was brilliant. I was also impressed how she tackled the techno genre with ease and a professional attitude.

Overall this single is well polished and contained quite a lot of effort. If you’re considering of buying a single of hers, this is an excellent choice. It has both a ballad and an up-tempo song which makes quite a complementary mix for a good price and is also enough to get the listener to get a feel of her most prominent specialities. Also if you are considering to get into her music, I feel this single would be an excellent way to get introduced to this gorgeous songstress.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

Cover
Garnet Moon Cover

CD Tracklist

  1. Garnet Moon
  2. Inori
  3. Garnet Moon (Instrumental)
  4. Inori (Instrumental)

Related Posts:

  1. Kuu’s ‘Moon’ Most quad a-sides are quite good, when released by Kuu. This single is no exception. To add extra hype, tie-ins with American star, Fergie and Raggae artist, pushim, were announced. As a result, first day sales have surpassed all of Koda's previous releases of the same type.......
  2. Shinku/Ai no Uta "Shinku/Ai no Uta" is Hitomi Shimatani's 26th single, with a tie-in with "Another Century's Episode 3: THE FINAL".........
  3. Mahiru no Tsuki The title "Mahiru no Tsuki" means Midday Moon. I believe this ballad reflects Hitomi's career. It gives you the feeling of reminiscence and transition. This ballad is simple and delicate in itself. Even if the tone of this ballad is not emotional it is beautiful in its' simplicity. ......
  4. ANGELUS / Z!Z!Z! -Zip!Zap! Zipangu "ANGELUS / Z!Z!Z! -Zip!Zap! Zipangu" is Hitomi Shimatani's 16th single, which would be a tie-in with the anime Inuyasha. ......
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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

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International Wota » Blog Archive » [Blogs] Channel-Ai Articles on Hamasaki Ayumi and Shimatani Hitomi UNITED STATES
April 19, 2007 at 12:36 am

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