ClariS - How Junior High School Girls Became Anisong Legends

Do you already have the hit anisongs “Connect” from Puella Magi Madoka Magica or “CheerS” from Cells at Work! on your playlist? Did you know that these catchy pop songs are by the same artist? And that particular pop duo has released a huge number of songs for the otaku world?? We are talking about ClariS, the girl group that went from zero to sixty in the anisong world in just one decade! ClariS has been involved in the otaku industry from their very first year, and have never slowed down despite the young ages of its members.

If you love “Connect” and “CheerS” and want some more similar music, or you want to see what other songs you already love from anime and games are also by ClariS, keep reading. This power duo had already given so much to the otaku world - and they have only just begun!

From Junior High Super Stars…

ClariS has had otaku ties from the very beginning. The pop duo started out in 2009 when two first-year junior high school students, Clara and Alice, uploaded their cover of the VOCALOID song “Step To You” on the Japanese video sharing website Nico Nico Douga. That year, the girls uploaded seven more similar covers. Because of their age, Clara and Alice only used avatars to represent them, and never showed their faces to the public. By 2010, Sony Music Japan released a new anime music magazine called LisAni!, which included a CD containing another song with the vocals done by Clara and Alice. By then, they were already calling themselves ClariS. The same year, ClariS continued to release many covers, including a cover of the K-On!! song “Listen!!”. When the second issue of LisAni! was released in the summer of 2010, it has another CD attached with a song sung by ClariS. The girls were already making their way into the anime music scene just one year after their founding!

By September 2010, ClariS had been picked up by the record label SME Records despite still being junior high school students. They began to release their own original music, and their first single “Irony” debuted at number 7 on the Oricon music charts in Japan. Interestingly, Good Smile Company created a Nendoroid figure set of Alice and Clara based on illustrations for their debut song. That’s quite a way to start your career, especially in the otaku world. But that was only the beginning, and it’s quite a humble one at that compared to where ClariS went from here!

…To Anisong Legends!

ClariS “Connect” from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

ClariS’ big break into the anisong world came with “Connect,” the opening for the huge hit anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica in 2010. Then in 2011, ClariS’ song “Nexus” was used for the video game Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai Portable ga Tsuzuku Wake ga Nai, as well as the theme song for the manga Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai - which the girls even got to make a cameo in! The following year, their song “Naisho no Hanashi” was used as the ending song for the anime Nisemonogatari. In 2012, Alice and Clara were finished with junior high school but their anisong career was just taking off. Their single “Luminous” was used as the theme for both Puella Magi Madoka Magica films, and “Reunion” for the opening of the second season of the anime Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. Then in 2013, ClariS’ song “Colorful” was used for the third Puella Magi Madoka Magica film, and they released “Click” and “Step” for the first two seasons of Nisekoi respectively.

Then in 2014, Alice left the duo. She was replaced by another high school girl named Karen, and ClariS forged onwards. By 2015 they were back to making anime songs, releasing the ending theme for Tsukimonogatari (“Border”) as well as the ending for Classroom Crisis (“Anemone”). Next ClariS’ song “Prism” was used to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Kiki and Lala, two popular Sanrio characters. Then ClariS was back in the video game scene, providing the theme for the game Akiba’s Beat, “Again,” in 2016. It wasn’t until 2017 that ClariS held their first concert, and shortly thereafter released “Hitorigoto” as the opening theme for Eromanga Sensei. At their second concert, Karen and Clara revealed themselves as the performers behind the avatars for the first time - though they still appear and perform with masks to protect their identities, even today. ClariS also attended their first anime convention as guests at Anime Festival Asia in Singapore. Despite this, they continue to usually appear and perform wearing masks to protect their identities, even today.

ClariS “CheerS” from Cells at Work!!

In 2019, ClariS worked on the ending song for the popular anime Cells at Work! with the song “CheerS.” The girls then took some time away from the anisong scene to release another album, but 2020 saw their return to the otaku world. Their song “Alethea” was the ending for Magia Record, and “Signal” for the Magia Record mobile game. We have our fingers crossed for seeing more of ClariS in the anisong industry in 2021!

Final Thoughts

ClariS x Anime ~ ClariS 10th Anniversary Special Anime Movie ~

You may have started this article not knowing ClariS’ name or story, but you probably already knew their music. Now you know both! From humble beginnings as junior high schoolers covering VOCALOID songs to recording some of the best-known anime songs in the last decade, ClariS has become a really important part of the anisong community. You can regularly hear their music today, across Japan and around the world anywhere otaku gather. And we hope to be hearing these girls for a long time into the future - after all, they’re young, and their anisong career has nothing but potential.

What’s your favourite ClariS song? Where did you first hear their music? Are there any new songs you’re going to head out and download? Is there another anisong band you would like to see a similar article about? Let us know in the comments!

How-Junior-High-School-Girls-Became-Anisong-Legends-Claris1-354x500 ClariS - How Junior High School Girls Became Anisong Legends


Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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