The new anime series Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau, aka Children of the Whales started airing on October 8th, and while we were watching the first episode, the opening song started off with a very beautiful but unfamiliar voice. We noticed the artist name, RIRIKO, and that this was her debut song. We made a few phone calls and arrange to meet her before everybody else notices her too. It was a little late… she already is all over the Japanese internet.
On a stormy afternoon, Honey-chan and Bombon got together to meet RIRIKO who gladly taught them how to play some guitar chords and answered questions about her passion for writing songs, her early beginnings, and her favorite anime and manga series.
I’ve been singing and playing guitar since I was 11, and at that time YUI was the artist who influenced me the most. While I was making covers of her and many other artists’ songs, I started to think that I might be able to write my own songs. I made my first song when I was 14. When my friends from school listened to the song, they praised me saying “You made this?! Amazing!” That made me really happy, so I made more and more songs and before I knew it, I had written “singer-songwriter” as my “dream for the future” on a middle-school paper.
I started going to guitar lessons in my fifth year of elementary school, when I was 11. I wrote my first song when I was in my second year of middle school, when I was 14, and at that time I imagined that I was writing the theme songs for movie or anime adaptations of the novels or manga I was reading. My first song “Crossroad” was based on the theme of the novel “Tokyo Crossroad.”
The thing I had most difficulty with for this song was definitely the lyrics. The director wanted me not to write it from a first-person perspective but from the perspective of looking over the Mud Whale and the people who live there. I read the original work over and over again, wanting to be able to express the beauty, sadness, strength and weakness, everything about it. I decided to express the beauty and strength of humanity shown in the work in the melody, and the heartrending view of life and weakness in the lyrics. The protagonist and other characters in the series are young, they have a certain future ahead of them and a future that they wanted to have. That’s where the title “To the Future” came from. I hope that when viewers watch the anime, they understand the meaning of “To the Future” and what is expressed in the song.
RIRIKO “To the Future” MUSIC VIDEO (FULL SIZE) (TV Anime Children of the Whales OP)
I have every volume of the One Piece manga. Also Bakuman, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun…and of course Children of the Whales, including the fanbook! As for anime, I absolutely love Pokemon, especially Pikachu. When I play the game, my party is full of Pikachus, too.
I tend to read a lot of shounen manga, those with fierce battles and comedy manga, too. I also like works that have foreshadowings here and there, which will be clearly explained in the main story later on. I think the manga I mentioned have a lot in common.
Recently I’ve been listening to “Mezase Pokemon Master” by Rica Matsumoto a lot, both the original version and the 20th version. Also, Masayoshi Ooishi’s album “Kariuta”! I love “Youkoso Japari Park e” and “Kimi Jyanakya Dame Mitai,” too.
I have several live performances and TV shows coming up. I’ve been mostly performing solo for quite a while now, but I hope that one day I can sing live with band members.
In the future I want to gain lots of experience performing on TV, radio, big stages and festivals, and perform theme songs for anime, dramas, and movies. I also want to play concerts abroad. I want to meet lots of different people through my music. That’s why I’m going to write a lot of songs!
I’m really happy that I was able to make my major debut with the OP for an anime, a part of Japanese culture which is well known abroad. I also have confidence in my song “To the Future,” my voice, and my guitar playing. I hope that it reaches those of you living far away, that you listen to it and like it! I, RIRIKO, will do my best to make my dream of performing abroad a reality. Please root for me!