My introduction to chiptune-powered outfit Anamanaguchi came many years ago when the gamer-centric (and immensely influential) website Penny-Arcade linked to their “Power Supply” EP. I was immediately hooked by this band creating original music using what sounded like an old Nintendo. To distinguish themselves from other chiptune bands, Anamanaguchi complimented their arrangements with electric guitars and live drums.
In 2010 they recorded the soundtrack to the video game based on “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. It was a much faster, more driven record paying homage to classic NES action themes. It worked incredibly well. A few subsequent singles released via their website veered into the realm of popular dance music and with “Endless Fantasy,” they’ve completed the transition.
Clocking in at over 76 minutes, “Endless Fantasy” is a bit of a marathon. It really feels like a double album, with the material ranging from J-pop influenced would-be club anthems (“Japan Air”, “Prom Night”), a handful of more rocking numbers (“John Hughes”, “Spf 420″) to more purist chiptune tracks (“Echobo”, “Pastel Flags”). They’ve even taken a couple nods towards their label as the “Weezer of Chiptune” with a couple nods to the Blue Album (“In The Basement, Space Wax America”).
At 22 tracks, the band has assembled a sprawling collection of tracks that has something for everyone. The club songs are so sickly sweet that they’ll give you cavities, but they’ve become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. (they take some time to grow on you, though)
Anamanaguchi remains one of the biggest names in the genre and with albums like “Endless Fantasy” where they’re able to expand their sound creatively without abandoning their roots it’s easy to see why.