[Honey's Anime Interview] RIRIKO (Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau, aka Children of the Whales)

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.


About Yourself
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Which event or who was your major inspiration to become a musician? Are there any musicians or situations that specifically inspire you to make music?
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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.

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When did you begin to play the guitar? And what was your first song about?
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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.”

About your major debut

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You wrote the music and lyrics for the OP of the fall anime 2017 Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (Children of the Whales). The song is titled “Sono Saki e” (To the Future), can you tell us what is this song about, and how it relates to the anime?
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This song is one I originally wrote for the band I was in when I was in high school. It was originally titled “Beethoven” and was based on the theme of Beethoven’s career. Unlike its current arrangement, it also used to have more of a rock vibe with electric guitars. The band broke up, but I made a demo CD with this song on it as the artist RIRIKO. The director Kyouhei Ishiguro listened to the CD and picked this song. The arrangement now is focused around acoustic guitar and percussion, and the title changed from “Beethoven” to “To the Future” to better fit the image of the anime.

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)


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In your composition process, which part of the music comes first? If it’s the melody, how do you arrange it? And how do you write the lyrics?
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I usually start with the melody. I usually make songs in the following order: melody A → melody B → Melody C (the hook). I choose chords while playing guitar and decide on the tempo that sounds best. After that, I choose the theme of the lyrics and start writing them. Although sometimes, the theme for the lyrics is already chosen.

About Anime
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Which anime or manga series are your all-time favorites?
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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.

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You are releasing your 3rd album titled “Which anime songs are on your current playlist? Who are your favorite anisong singers/bands?
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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.

About Your Upcoming Projects
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Can you tell us about your upcoming activities and events or projects you will be working on? Any new anime-tied-up songs? An album?
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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.

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What kind of projects would you like to be involved with the future? What are you looking forward to learn and do in your music career?
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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!

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Here is an opportunity to greet and send a message to all your fans around the world who are looking forward to listening new music from you.
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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!


honeys anime character
I’m so happy to have the opportunity to get to know such an young cool artist.

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Right? We got her just before her debut, I hope when she gets super famous she remember us being the first insects who interview her

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I’m sure she will remember, we broke one of her guitar strings when we were trying to play it…

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She just laughed, people do that all the time...

Find out more about RIRIKO here!

SoundCloud: ririko
Twitter: @RIRIPERO