On Anime Songs and the Internet’s “Freedom of Speech”

It’s no secret amongst my friends that I like many anime songs, Vocaloid music, and certain Japanese band singles’, like Supercell’s, songs. Why? Just take a look at these.

Compare These:

To these:

And I wonder why many people hate those who do Anime karaoke. I sing some of those too. I’m not sure about you, but I think the first selection is much, much better and more worth singing along to than the second selection of more popular songs. The love and dedication that goes into composing and making the music for these songs can be felt deeply, even if you don’t know any Japanese. This is also true for classical music and English and Tagalog songs from back when I wasn’t even born yet. I like songs like the ones by Michael Learns to Rock, Air Supply and Peter Cetera. I also love Filipino Classics like Rey Valera’s and Freddie Aguilar’s songs; as well as songs by Filipino contemporary artists like Ogie Alcasid, Jay-R, Regine Velasquez, Lea Salonga and Janno Gibbs. Their songs feel genuine and beautiful.

In the second selection, however, I only sense the need to be marketable or “unique”, with almost no regard to the listeners or content. Now tell me, which is better: a song with love and dedication with every word sang, or a song that obviously wants to make money, and a fool out of you?

*do note Rebecca Black’s song

Many people seem to have a problem with others who try to sing Japanese songs. Is it because they usually sing badly? Is it because it’s not patriotic? Or is it because they can’t understand?

Based on some websites that I’ve visited, one of the reasons why weeaboos are hated is that they do Japanese karaoke. Now, I ask them this very simple question: what is it about singing something not in English that they hate? I haven’t found an answer that I’m satisfied with. Some say that they sound really bad, with the accent and all, and I see their point; but this can be cured by practice. Most just rage on with hate for all that is anime or Japanese. It seems that being part of Anonymous gives you the right to badmouth everything in the world. The internet’s a free place, is it not? “Freedom of speech” is ever implemented; we’re Anonymous after all. We can do whatever the hell we want.

What do I say about this? No.

If you disagree with my simple answer, then I dare you to say so to my face. I’ll be more than willing to talk. ๐Ÿ™‚

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About Lucas Magnus

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43 Responses to On Anime Songs and the Internet’s “Freedom of Speech”

  1. Pingback: Japanese Anime Stories » Blog Archive » On Anime Songs and the Internet's โ€œFreedom of Speech …

  2. Azure Hoshizora says:

    Music is about personal tastes. Some songs just hit the right spot for certain people, others not much.
    I don’t think its unpatriotic in any sense. As a Singaporean, we hardly have any local songs for us to even sing; even local artists go to Taiwan to expand their career. Then there’s the hoard of K-pop fangirls who keep singing Korean songs without knowing what the songs even mean anyway.

    I would say one thing though, I don’t really approve of people who claim to like and love a song to death just because it s from an anime they like; without listening to the entire song or even understanding the lyrics…

    • @fkeroge says:

      That is true. It’s a matter of personal taste, yet why can’t people just leave it at that? I see so much hate and angst in many high school-themed movies from America and most of them are rooted on popularity and what is “in” with the crowd. Liking something different will put you in the “losers” group.

      I have read some people’s comments that Japanese anime songs are “unpatriotic” and lacking culture. But I guess they are just trying to badmouth everything in the world.

      I make it a point to understand what I listen to, but I don’t have anything against those who just love to sing and hum to anime songs because they love the anime. It’s a form of fandom too. And true fans will make efforts to understand the meaning of the songs, I think.

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        It depends on the individual I suppose, everyone should be allowed to like what they like. It does make some difference of course. Obvious as it is, I’m not exactly popular in class or anything. I did observe that the ‘popular’ kids in my class all like Glee.

        Haters gotta Hate.

        It just sort of irks me. And I hold it against people who do so unintentionally. It just kind of feels shallow, like the western pop songs… I know hardcore fans out there make it a point to buy the CDs even when they live on the other side of the globe though, I’m just not that extreme (and rich)

  3. Overlord-G says:

    I collect the songs. I could care less about haters. They hate my singing, say it to my face. Don’t waste my time commenting about it from a faraway land or something. Yes, people have their likes and dislikes but don’t you dare judge me because I like something you don’t. I like this kind of music and you like that kind. Let’s both respect each person’s opinion and bash the songs, not the person who likes the song.

    • @fkeroge says:

      That’s exactly the point. People are spouting ad hominem arguments, not sound ones. Respect of others’ opinions is key to understanding each other. MAny bad things in this world could have been avoided if people just took the time to know others before talking.

  4. baka~ says:

    Despite having anime-only knowledge when it comes to Japanese, I admit that I hum to the tune of an anime song (since I suck at remembering the lyrics) from time to time. I guess the one thing that captivates me with anime music media when compared with our local or even western top hits is its uniqueness. For example, our culture as Filipinos have been embedded within our songs that’s why most of them uses the theme of ‘love’ or ‘family’ while anime songs would usually present ‘individuality’ or ‘strength’ or ‘teamwork’. There’s also the presentation of music. For our local media (influenced by the western culture), we only have a handful of blood-pumping tunes to greet our day. Most of them have been recycled over and over, giving us nothing new. When it comes to anime media, you can have a mix of techno, or gothic along with pop or jazz. The combinations themselves are endless and this is something that gives us options to enjoy music at our leisure.

    As for the issue of weeaboos, from a personal opinion, this is only their way to outcast the oddball in their society. Anyone who doesn’t fit in their crowd will always get shunned but what if you drag one of those haters to a community dominated by their so-called weeaboos? Let’s see them survive the wrath of the people they bash

    • @fkeroge says:

      I’ll use an analogy: let’s say you have a basket full of apples and you have an orange in it. An ordinary person will say that the orange does not belong because it is different. Same if you have a basket of oranges with one apple. I think people just need to realize that both apples and oranges are fruits. Then we’ll have a happier world.

      • baka~ says:

        if only society can go that way. Since people tend to brand each other and specializes at fault finding, there will be no satisfaction until someone gets bashed. No matter how educated a person may be, these things are part of one’s culture and will continue to influence the generations to come =(

        • @fkeroge says:

          I’ll give yet another analogy: I have a piece of rectangular white paper with a small dot at the corner. A person will notice the dot first before the whiteness of the paper. People overlook good things because we just want to see the bad things and rage about them to promote self-righteousness. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE for “educated” people like our public officials.

          • baka~ says:

            This. An accurate wording here ๐Ÿ˜€

            Though in the end, it is those with power who are capable of influencing the masses through media. Notice how media can easily portray which side is righteous and which is not and it’s not just the news. Take for instance, celebrities. In our local stations, we could even see the news promoting international/western celebrities doing concerts or releasing albums but have you ever heard locally about anime media or even Hatsune Miku being promoted?

            Whatever does not interest the masses, will not get mentioned and what’s worse, will get shunned, ignored by society with all its bias and prejudice and to those minding their own business, enjoying things at their leisure, will be caught up in the process.

            • @fkeroge says:

              The media is one of the most annoying things ever created by man. They are supposed to give us real, unbiased news, but now all I get from 24Oras and TVPatrol are sensationalized crap that tells people what they want to know, not the real events.

              What they say is good, is good, and what they deem to be bad will be bad.

  5. kluxorious says:

    I listen and sang to Japanese and Korean songs all the time and I don’t give a flying fuck what people are saying because I like what I like. Having said that, Justin Bieber is shit and yes I’m a hater ๐Ÿ˜›

    • @fkeroge says:

      I don’t think people should just stay quiet about insults to the things they like. That’s why people aren’t shutting up. We let them insult our likes. I think if it’s important and dear to you, you should do whatever you can to make others understand why.

  6. Actually, I sing Japanese songs for karaoke only. It helps when that deters normals from ever inviting me to karaoke knowing that all I’ll sing are songs that they have no idea about simply because they’re not anime fans or are heavy listeners of J-pop and so, giving me free rein over the machine.

  7. moichispa says:

    I have to say there is also a part of Japanese music that is commercial itself however hopefully it is just a part.

    It have been a while since I declared myself a Japanese mysic listener, both anime songs and J-music artist. In this time I have discovered more great music and I haven’t got fed up yet. It is a whole country after all.Some times even one song can fill more that an entire stupid artist discography.

    And yes, people looks weird on you if you sing in Japanese but I don’t mind If “normal” ask it helps me to improve my pronunciation(students excuse) even if in reality I love to do it.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Actually selling the albums is needed, but should not be the only focus.

      There are a lot of good music in this world, and there are bad ones. They should be judged by what they contain, not by who listens to them.

      Singing in a different language helps you learn it. I don’t see why any of it is bad at all.

  8. Sebz says:

    What I like about Japanese songs are their themes and lyrics. They cover a lot of things other than love and sex and partying till the end of the world (American and Korean). Here in the Philippines, the artists that meet my standards are Parokya ni Edgar, Sandwich, and Gloc9 tops.

    Though I still like some of the US billboard toppers, excluding the general objects of spite (Bieber and Black) Rebecca Black did. Ugh.

    • @fkeroge says:

      There are a lot of beautiful things in this world. Why not sing about them? that is what I love about anime and Vocaloid music. And also why I still love Michael Learns to Rock. I’m also a fan of Francis Magalona and Glock9! High five, friend!

      There are also a lot of good new English songs. But I picked the more popular ones just to make my point.

  9. Yi says:

    For me, as long as something sounds good, I don’t care if it’s Japanese or English. And people shouldn’t either.

  10. Valence says:

    I feel a bit bad for having Japanese songs dominate my iPhone too. Whenever I’m asked to play something I look for English rock so people don’t give me funny looks. Sigh, society works like that.

    • @fkeroge says:

      I have Japanese songs dominate my iTunes library (and my PSP since I don’t even have a camera phone) too.When other people see/hear me and my friends playing Anime songs at home or at the University, I don’t think I get too much stares from the people around us. We just mind our own businesses. There are rare occasions that some people will join in on your session too, and that’s cool.

  11. SnippetTee says:

    Music is art based on your own definition and nobody can entirely understand that because they are not you.

  12. Arashix says:

    Since I play an instrument and was exposed to all types of music, I’m rather open to all types of genre. Although, I do favor my Japanese music (ex groups: Scandal, Kalafina, Kotoko, Mami Kawada, also a few doujin circle groups involving Touhou) slightly more. I do hate it when people do bash what you love, but I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however not unless they bash just for the sake of bashing. God, I hate people like that…

    • @fkeroge says:

      People are entitled to their own opinions, yes, but there are limits. I have yet to see a good argument against listening to Japanese music (or any other type of music). Bashing just for the sake of hate is childish, in my opinion. Some haters don’t even know why they hate things. They just go with the hater crowd and badmouth everything.

      • Arashix says:

        Exactly. There is no reason for it, but they do it anyway. I hate to think of some people as naturally spiteful or bad, but people make themselves look ignorant and sort of foolish doing it, without a proper reason. Oh well, their loss I suppose. I feel among friends and like-minded people with clear thought here at least.

        • @fkeroge says:

          Agreed. It’s my belief that people are kind, but selfish. Almost all “evil” come from selfishness. People just want to find a purpose; a reason to be. I think that’s why they try to hate everything. They get a feeling of self-gratification and “uniqueness” by doing so. It satisfies their selfishness.

  13. ~xxx says:

    I’ll prefer the one in the beginning… But I can’t promise that I’ll like them.
    My favorites are rather older than the second ones… those are from the 90’s and the 80’s, and some of the songs in the last decade…

    Anime songs are rather good in meaning than the one’s I’ve been listening in the new Pop song age where I can note that there are few notable songs that make me not listen at all.

    My mom’s favorite singer are The Carpenters, which by the way also my favorite after hearing them singing…

    Generally, Music is based on the personality of the listener… It generally affects the way of living of an individual… I guess those who are caught by the influx of great talents like Bieber and Lady Gaga, aren’t considered as not great listeners to music… But I could say that they are staying in touch with the world.(I wish I could Hear Justin Bieber sing Few of the Carpenter’s song and made a very good rendition)

    In the end, we still have a choice on what music we should listen.

    • @fkeroge says:

      It seems like we have the same tastes. I just can’t seem to like some of the songs that came out recently. I’m a guy who judges songs by how well the instruments work together and what the lyrics contain, and most English songs, especially the rap ones, are just not my taste.

      I’ll say that Justin Beiber has a good voice. It’s just that what he sings does not do his talent justice.

      “In the end, we still have a choice on what music we should listen.”

      Oh yes, we do.

  14. Maserbeam says:

    I don’t understand what the music videos that were linked to were for. The meat of the text seemed to be separate from the comparison, since you didn’t even pick comparable music, regardless of genre, tonal and thematic differences or similarities. (Well, aside from nearly all music being four chord progressions, including the famous 1-4-5 chords. ryo-P uses this to good effect in Melt.) All I got out of it was your favorite music.

    Your bone to pick seemed to be music made to get your dollars. Why not compare it with the same kind of music? Music made for the sake of music. At that point, we’d have nothing to say except, “Yay for good music.”

    As for your question about singing Japanese karaoke, I’ll answer this: In a social space, be mindful of who you’re with. Friends who don’t listen to it? Then be considerate. Friends who listen to the same music? Sing all you want. In public? Sing all you want, but be considerate.

    If you couldn’t care less about anything, I don’t think there’s any recourse but to sing.

    If you’re still wondering why we hate it when weeaboos sing, then it’s because they’re goddamn weeaboos.

    • ilegend says:

      So in other words, let me rephrase and summarise your comment in 150 words or less..:

      “I don’t understand what the music videos shown prove. You just showed us your favourite music.

      You compare your favourite music with songs made to profit.

      Sing Japanese Karaoke if you can sing well, otherwise not.

      Weeaboos are GODDAMMED, so they sing.”

      This is the gist of it in short. Everything you said seem objective and from a unbiased point of view, until the last sentence. And because of that, whatever you said earlier proves nothing. This will prove my point further if you realise it too, becoming offended and flame me. Peace~

      • Maserbeam says:

        … I had an entire reply ready but I realized your name is different, so I deleted it.

      • @fkeroge says:

        I guess my point is not being seen by some people here. I did not make this post to say that Japanese music as a whole was better. There are pretty bad Japanese songs, but I especially picked these “bad” songs in the second selection to get my point across. There are bad songs, and there are good songs. There are Japanese songs, and there are English songs. Assuming that I consider only Japanese songs as great is as bad as understanding can get.

    • @fkeroge says:

      No, I didn’t exactly link those music because they were related or anything. It was with the relative popularity of the songs. I purposely picked popular “bad” English songs so I can get my point across.

      And the Japanese music that I linked, those were not solely made for the sake of music. They make money out of it, for goodness sakes. Sure, they may be good music with meaning, but that doesn’t mean that they are not made with money in mind, nor does it mean that they are my favorites, so stop making assumptions.

      And about social space, the internet is a social space. Be mindful of who you’re with. People who agree with you? Then be grateful. People who have the same opinions as you? Type all you want. In places like these? Comment all you want, but be reasonable.

      And seeing that you still go on about hating weeaboos, I’ll tell you something good: as weeaboos are “freaks” who love anime and Japan so much, haters are freaks who love self-glorification and attention too much.

      • Maserbeam says:

        Look, as much as I like using the word weeaboo as a derogatory word, it’s not like I wasn’t one myself. I can’t really be the only one who jokingly calls one self and others a weeaboo. Which is why I am even more curious that you seemingly labeling me a hater. At this point, I’ll have to acknowledge that we have different meanings when we use the word weeaboo, so my usage of it is most likely causing failure of communication.

        • @fkeroge says:

          I see. I was in a rather bad mood last time so I kinda lashed out without thinking. I apologize. But we have to mind our words and where we use them. Insults will not just be ignored by everyone. There will always be someone who will find it offending. I was once obsessed over Japan once too, but I was never criticized for it. It’s kinda like a part of the growth of an anime fan.

  15. ilegend says:

    For the first time in my life, I finally found someone who agrees with what I have been thinking. All this while, I realised English songs has becoming more distasteful to me, especially with the rising trend of rap songs, and unknown rappers popping up everywhere. Back when songs were invented, it IS a completely seperate term from a rap itself. However, nowadays they put rap in a song and call it one. While they do not release rap songs, they produce cheap monetary schemes like Friday – Rebecca Black. This post seriously needs to go out to everyone in the world so that we will realise how much good english music has deteriorated. Peace~

    • @fkeroge says:

      There are still many good songs. There is a whole world of languages for you to explore. And about rap, there are still some good ones left in the world. I don’t know about America, but we still have rap with appeals for a better government and other good causes. I like songs made with consideration and at least a message that we can appreciate. There is still hope.

  16. hiroy_raind says:

    Perhaps it was the free (mostly) nature of the vocaloid songs that has gifted us with talented composers such as Ryo, Wowaka, Deco*23, and many more.
    I also love the magic when said songs were then sung by talented nico nico artists, and create an even greater song out of them.

    I used to simply listen only to Japanese musics, but in recent years I started to be more open as I found some English songs that I actually liked. But I still tried to focus on Japanese musics, especially vocaloids that were sung by nico nico artists, just because listening to all of them would take a toll on my space and money :p.

  17. Ashlotte says:

    That is one of the things that I like most about Vocaloid music…Their not trying to sell a product to anyone or appeal to an audience it’s just making music for the love of making music. I really don’t even bother with the radio anymore and just keep my MP3 with me at all times these days.

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