angela is a band that's best known for making songs for use in soundtracks, especially anime theme songs. Their music typically features dense arrangements including strings, brass, electric guitar, choral vocals, and electronic sounds. It also includes influences from various musical styles including electronica, rock, swing jazz, and ska.
The band leaders, "atsuko" (singer) and "KATSU" (instrumentalist), began writing songs together in 1993 (according to the band's website). Originally, few or no other musicians were involved, requiring recordings to be assembled piecemeal with the use of computers and/or recording studios, and requiring backing tracks to be used during concerts. In 1999, they contributed the opening song and two image songs for the anime series Shin-Hakkenden, with a Warner Music sub-label releasing the opening song as the band's first single, and the image songs being sung by members of the show's voice cast and released on an image song compilation. Neither the show nor its music got much attention from the public (initially, at least). The band then departed that record label and spent the next 3-4 years recording music that they released as self-published CD-Rs / CDs. (Many of these early records, including their debut single, were produced only in small quantities, and have therefore become expensive collectors' items.)
Their major breakthrough occurred in 2003, when they both got four of their songs used as opening / ending themes for the anime series Stellvia of the Universe and began a new record deal with Starchild / King Records (which has continued up through the present). This was followed by several other inclusions on anime soundtracksnote , with Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor having become the series they're most associated with; all later parts of the Fafner franchise so far have featured their music. With the greater resources available to them from this point onwards, the band began to include more session musicians and more (non-digital) instruments in their recordings, and sometimes also in concert (reducing the amount of pre-recorded music needed for their concerts). In particular, they began holding a large-scale concert called "Music Wonder Great Circus" yearly in late December (the 2010 event was filmed and released on home video).
Their music gained some notice outside of Japan when Geneon released Stellvia and Fafner in North America. This led to angela's first three Starchild-era LPs getting published by Geneon in that part of the world, and to the band performing at three US/Canadian anime conventions (Otakon, Sakura-con, and CN Anime) during 2004-2005note . However, that company's brief venture into the record business in America was a commercial failure (even more so than their DVD business was). The band's records since then have not been released outside Japan, though beginning in 2010 they've performed yearly at Anime Festival Asia in Singapore. Also, they appeared as one of the (many) musical acts at each of the Animelo Summer Live yearly events during 2008-2010 and in 2013.
- atsuko (Yamashita Atsuko): composition, lyrics, vocals
- KATSU (Hirasato Katsunori): composition, arrangement, guitar, keyboard
- Jimbo-chan (Kojima Yasuhiro): drums
- various others
Anime featuring music by angela:
- Shin-Hakkenden (1999): "Memories" (OP)
- Stellvia of the Universe (2003): "Asu e no Brilliant Road" (OP), "Kirei na Yozora" (ED), "The End of the World" (ED), "Dear My Best Friend" (ED)
- Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor (2004): "Shangri-La" (OP), "Separation" (ED), "Proof" (ED)
- Soukyuu no Fafner: Right of Left (2005): "Peace of Mind" (OP)
- Soukyuu no Fafner - Exodus (2015): "Exist" (OP First Cour), "Anya Koro" (ED First Cour), "Dead or Alive (OP Second Cour), Horizon (ED Second Cour)
- It should be noted that they also wrote several insert songs for the series, such as "Sayonara no Toki Kurai Hohoen de" (Heaven and Earth) and "Sono Toki, Soukyuu He" (Exodus), and many more image songs, such as "FORTUNES" for Kazuki, "Soukyuu" for Soushi, and "Rikai To Hakai no Prelude" for Misao.
- Jinki:Extend (2005): "Mirai to Yū na no Kotae" (ED)
- Heroic Age (2007): "Gravitation" (OP)
- The Case Files of Yakushiji Ryoko (2008):note "Thème Principal" (OP), "La Vie en Rose" (ED)
- Shikabane Hime Aka (2008): "Beautiful Fighter" (OP), "My Story" (ED)
- Shikabane Hime Kuro (2009): "Beautiful Fighter" (OP), "Hikari, Sagase Naku tomo" (ED)
- Asura Cryin' (2009): "Spiral" (OP), "Link" (ED)
- Asura Cryin' 2 (2009): "Alternative" (OP), "Kanata no Delight" (ED), "Kirafuwa" (ED)
- Seitokai Yakuindomo (2010): "Aoi Haru" (ED)
- Soukyuu no Fafner: Heaven and Earth (2010): "Sōkyū" (theme song), "Sayonara no Toki Kurai Hohoen de" (insert)
- K (Fall 2012): "Kings" (OP)
- Knights of Sidonia (2014): Sidonia (OP), Ai, Hito Kakera (Movie), Kishi Koshinkyoku (OP2).
- Aho Girl (2017): "Zenryoku☆Summer!" (OP)
- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Otome no Route ha Hitotsu Janai! (OP) (2020)
Other works featuring music by angela:
- Saiko Robot Konbokku (3DCG animated TV series, 2003, Japanese version only): "Stay With Me" (OP), "Egao de Bye-Bye" (ED)
- Vampire Host (live-action TV series, 2004): "In Your Arms" (OP), "Solitude" (ED)
- Lion Maru G (tokusatsu TV series, 2006): "Tori" (ED), "Jinsei Yūgi" (ED)
- Wonderful World (film, 2010): "Wonderful World" (theme song), and the background music
- Shinjū Tenshi a.k.a. Synchronicity (film, 2011): "『Real』 wa " (theme song)
- Heroes Phantasia (video game, 2012): "The Lights of Heroes" (theme song)
- Love Love Sweetie Ver. 1 (EP) - 2000
- Love Love Sweetie Ver. 2 (EP) - 2000
- Tears on My Pillow (LP) - 2000
- Love Love Sweetie Version 3.0 (EP) - 2002
- A.I.B (LP) - 2003
- Sora no Koe (LP) - 2003
- I/O (LP) - 2004
- PRHYTHM (LP) - 2006
- Shinjuku Kyōshikyoku (EP) - 2006
- Trash Box (EP) - 2008 (as "Domestic Love Band")
- Land Ho! (LP) - 2009
- Yoru ga Hakobarete Kuru Made ni 〜A Song in A Bed〜 (LP) - 2011
- mirror☆ge (LP) - 2011
- ZERO (LP) - 2013
- Bishōnen — KATSU
- "Blind Idiot" Translation — Their song titles are sometimes in Japanese and sometimes in English. Geneon's efforts to translate the Japanese song titles sometimes resulted in phrases such as "A Poem of a Small History" or "Younger Unknown HD in the Head".
- Concept Album — The first album from 2011 is related to a book by Keiichi Sigsawa (author) and Kōhaku Kuroboshi (illustrator) (the album cover is by the same illustrator, and the book has the same title except for having "Book" in place of "Song" in the subtitle).
- Cover Version — They covered the OP song from Martian Successor Nadesico, "You Get to Burning", and "Dearest" from the Nadesico sequel movie, on a non-album single. They also have covered the Evangelion OP song "Zankoku Tenshi no Tēze" live sometimes, including at Animelo 2009 together with Chiaki Ishikawa. They also covered the OP song from Negima! Magister Negi Magi (first series), "Happy☆Material", at Animelo 2008 (under the "Domestic Love Band" pseudonym).
- There have also been a few others who have covered songs by angela, including Yui Horie (who covered "on my way" from I/O on her 2004 album Rakuen, and also covered a song from a 2001 angela single on her 2008 album Darling, including KATSU playing piano on the latter), Yoko Ishida (who covered "Asu e no Brilliant Road" on her album Hyper Yocomix and on her concert video Live in Concert, and also covered "Shangri-La" on her album Hyper Yocomix 2), and Masaaki Endoh (who covered "Asu e no Brilliant Road" on his album ENSON).
- Gratuitous English — The lyrics of "Forget Everything" are entirely in English. They don't have any serious grammatical errors, but Atsuko's pronunciation is such that Anglophones probably would not even recognize that it's in English.
- "This Is My Wish" is in notably better English, although there are still lines that can be hard to interpret.
- Image Song — They have some:
- "Break Out" and "All My Love", for Shin-Hakkendennote
- "DEAD SET", for Soukyuu no Fafner: Right of Left
- "FORTUNES" and "Rikai to Hakai no Prelude", for Soukyuu no Fafner: Heaven and Earth
- "Itsuka no Zero kara" and "Kyōkaisen Set Me Free" from K
- To a certain extent, " - requiem of red - " also counts, although on the Album, it is sung by Atsuko, not Anna Kushina's voice actor.
- Japanese Pop Music
- Loudness War — As with most pop music, level compression tends to be used on their records. One song that led some people to complain about the level compression was "Tsubasa" ( ); this is probably because it has an ocarina solo with some high notes during an otherwise-quiet part of the song, which was then made loud by the level compression.
- Lucky Charms Title — The album mirror☆ge (pronounced like "mirage"), and a song on it titled "Guruguru☆Boshi".
- My Nayme Is — Their name is written entirely in lowercase. Also, the two main members' names are written as "atsuko" and "KATSU".
- Paper-Thin Disguise — Their alter-ego band "Domestic Love Band", in which the group members go by pseudonyms: "Kateinai Aiko" (家庭内 愛子), "Z-GATZ", "Coji", "BRAVE" (ブレイブ), and "Enbun" (塩分)
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Hikari, Sagase Naku Tomo" has an upwards key change at the last occurrence of the chorus. "Unmei" also does something like that.