Rocket Sneaker / OnexTime

by trinka on August 5, 2008 · 6 comments · AddThis

Otsuka Ai
Bea's UP feat. Otsuka Ai
Artist: Ai Otsuka
Product Code: AVCD-31412/1
Release Date: 2008.05.21
Highest Ranking: #4
Genre: Pop
Label: avex trax
Format: CD+DVD

Five months after the under appreciated Pocket was released, a new single Rocket Sneaker/OnexTime was announced. Rumors started early March, with a variety of bizarre names appearing, the most common being ‘Ai no Kagaku/STAR’. Ai’s official site would announce the new single in April, effectively silencing all rumors.

Otsuka Ai
Ai's new look

Near the release of the single, Ai was featured on sporting a new hair color and cut, giving her a more ‘grown-up’ look. Over time, Ai has gradually become less squeaky as she matured into her current image. Her once hyper active spring singles have all but calmed down and while many may still enjoy her lighthearted, eccentric songs, her recent releases have all been focused on the poignant side.

Rocket Sneaker/OnexTime is Ai’s 17th single, or 19th if you count the LOVE releases. Unfortunately, the presentation for this single could be among the worst yet, having the air of being rushed. The cover artwork and booklet images are plain and uninspired, featuring Ai in clothes with an ugly pattern over a plain background. This lack of innovation could well prove to have been the biggest pitfall of this single.


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1. Rocket Sneaker (ロケットスニーカー/Roketto Suniikaa)

Rocket Sneaker is a bit of a departure from Ai’s usual releases. While the lyrics carry Ai’s usual playfulness, the music is a unique mix of the guitar and piano. Ai states in her interview with Excite, “At first, there were no plans to include the piano. However, Ikoman and I got lost trying to arrange a part for the guitar.” The mix of the two is very fresh and bouncy, giving the track a one-of-a-kind sound.

Taking a step off this Earth
I’m lighter now, I’m floating
Haa I’m a child of the Earth

We met when you bore and raised me
I went out on a lot of walks with you

Obviously, it hurts
Obviously, I’m touched
Obviously, I wanna live on
With you, with you, with you

The lyrics are just as creative as the arrangement with Ai taking a very fun and cute perspective on life. According to Ai, many of her co-workers found the lyrics humorous, particularly the phrase, “child of the Earth”.

Overall, Rocket Sneaker is a fun piece carrying Ai’s creativity and playfulness and is a great opening track to the single. The song (or maybe Ai herself) may be heading in a new musical direction, but it sure doesn’t fail to impress.

Rating: ★★★★★


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2. OnexTime

The first A-side of this single is bouncy and playful, but this track is laid back and well…a little erotic. The arrangement is quite similar to Rocket Sneaker, but it makes a prevalent use of strings. The use of violins and the like, sooth the tone of the guitar and piano, giving the single yet another unique song.

Despite this, perhaps what makes this song the most unique are the lyrics itself, being something very unexpected from Ai. A voyeuristic angle is created within the lyrics causing a lot of seemingly innocent things sound quite suspicious.

Letting you play with my fingertip
Running all over your body
Below the centre, below the centre
So that it slips, it slips
Our eyes met
Then suddenly below that, below that
You trailed a series of kisses

The song is once again, a peculiar one from Ai but it fails to rival its peers, Rocket Sneaker and Sora to Kujira.

Rating: ★★★☆☆


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3. Sora to Kujira (空とくじら/Sora to Kujira/The Sky and the Whale)

Sora to Kujira was the first track on this single to really strike me. It starts off solely with the acoustic guitar, accompanying Ai’s relaxed vocals. The electric guitar joins in afterwards and the from there on, the song starts to bloom.

Ai’s vocals are quite relaxed, and when paired with the arrangement, it has the atmosphere of the end of a movie. Even through such relaxed vocals and arrangements, there is a strong feeling within the song.

As a B-side, Sora to Kujira is yet another example of Ai’s ever-progressing musical talent. The constant moulding of her music into something new and unique is a rare feat amongst today’s J-pop artists, so there’s no doubt that all Ai fans around the globe will gladly stop to enjoy this breath of fresh air.

Rating: ★★★★★



Musically, Rocket Sneaker/OnexTime is a unique package. It may take a little time to grow on some, but it’s high quality material. On the other hand, packaging of the single was less than satisfactory. With online mp3 stores like iTunes, it is imperative that avex works harder with the design in order to make hard copies of Ai’s products more appealing to her fans.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½


'Rocket Sneaker
'Rocket Sneaker' cover
'OnexTime' cover


  1. Rocket Sneaker
  2. OnexTime
  3. Sora to Kujira
  4. Rocket Sneaker ~instrumental~
  5. OnexTime ~instrumental~

DVD Tracklist:

  1. Rocket Sneaker PV

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

trinka is a bit scatter brained and tends to rely on senior writers, but he is definitely here to stay and will become a better writer with time.

{ 1 trackback }

[Blogs] Channel-Ai with the latest Otsuka Ai single | International Wota UNITED STATES
August 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mafee THAILAND December 26, 2008 at 11:15 am

Well, I’m very glad to know there’re still people who like this single. It seemed many considered Rocket Sneakers to be quite a failure. I myself found this track wonderful and enjoy listening to it over and over. It’s like filling energy into your body.

One x Time is so-so. I like it but to me it’s above B-side quality, but not A-side quality.

Sora to Kujira is peaceful and nice. I love this song too but again, not for A-side.

The producers are right to put Rocket Sneaker as A-side, but they are wrong about the concept, promotion plan, costume and all the rest. Not only was the package ‘less than satisfactory’, but also how Ai appeared in TV shows. I couldn’t help wondering every time I watched them, how awfully her stylists and make-up artists worked.

PS. @ DJAeon – I guess you found the pic from the single’s booklet so boring that you used pics from magazines instead, didn’t you?


remblue UNITED STATES August 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Yup :) OnexTime was the better a side on the single but the lyrics throw me off. I guess it’s unexpected :O Although I’m curious to how the PV will go, following tradition it should be on the next album unless I’m mistake (which is possible) I love Rocket Sneaker it’s fun and catchy but OnexTime is better (for me at least)

Sora to Kujira definately reminded me of YUI. I would like more songs like that from ai-chan <3 Ai’s voice and the acoustic guitar blend well :)


DJAeon August 7, 2008 at 12:08 am

“wrong…….?” I found the lyrics a little funny at first, it seemed so random from Ai. OnexTime never grew on meh though…


1337rice August 6, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I actually like One x Time more than Rocket Sneaker as an A-side…
Sora to Kujira was just an incredible especially reminded me of YUI because of the acoustic guitar.
But focusing on the lyrics of One x Time….it just seems…………..wrong…….?


remblue UNITED STATES August 6, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for a well thought out review <3 I love this single the only disappoint is the cover, although I like it ^_^ It could of been better. And for me Sora to Kujira is the jewel of the single.


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