Tuesday, 26 May 2020

There Is No Violence, Just Cheer in halca's 'Toki Toshite Violence' (Single Review)

*As per, all thoughts and opinions written here are my own. These reviews are subjective, and what I enjoy may not necessarily appeal to you. You do not have to agree with my, nor do you have to like what I like. Let's respect one another's views and interests, and have a jolly ol' time. Thank you.

**I would like to add that, as a human bean and not a robot or AI, I make mistakes. So, if you happen to trip over any mistakes riddled throughout this post, please call me out on it, and I'll clean that mess up. I am fairly sure I have successfully taken care of all the 'hacla's' in here, because halca is clearly a difficult name to spell. Anyway, thank you in advance!

After training for five years to become an anisong singer, halca made her major debut in 2018 with the single Kimi no Tonari, a single that contained the ending theme for the Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii anime. Now in 2020, halca has released her fifth single lead by the song Toki Toshite Violence, an upbeat, pop anime theme tune that currently acts as the opening for the second season of Dropkick on My Devil!.

Much like any artist or idol that has never been posted on this blog before, this single is my introduction to the world of halca's music, and ultimately sets the bar for what I expect from here on out. I've binged this release for a few days already, and after finally getting a good feel of the single, the impending question is this: how much do I enjoy halca's Toki Toshite Violence, and is it worth the listen?

Well, that's up to you to decide, but I will do my best to give you a few reasons for why you should (or shouldn't) listen to it. So, it's time to take a look at halca and her latest release, Toki Toshite Violence. Will it be violently chipper, or will it fall flat and disappoint? Let your judgement be cast and press that play button. It's time to listen to some music~

Listen with me on Spotify or Deezer.

Release Date: May 27th, 2020
Original Release Date: May 13th, 2020 (Postponed due to COVID-19)
Price: ¥1,200 (Regular Edition) / ¥1,600 (Limited Edition) / ¥1,600 (Limited Anime Edition)
Versions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Limited Anime Edition)

Track List:
  1. Toki Toshite Violence (時としてバイオレンス)
  2. Fuzzy Rain
  3. Kyun to sasete Ageru yo (キュンとさせてあげるよ)
  4. Toki Toshite Violence (Instrumental ver.)
  5. Fuzzy Rain (Instrumental ver.)
  6. Kyun to sasete Ageru yo (Instrumental ver.)
Toki to shite Violence
- Single Review -

1. Toki Toshite Violence

No longer a stranger to the anisong circuit, halca brings us her fifth anime theme track, Toki Toshite Violence, which acts as the opening theme for the second season of Dropkick on My Devil!. This is also the first opening theme for halca, who has provided a handful of ending tracks for a variety of anime series up until this point.

With a sickly sweet voice that seems to be a characteristic of of most anime theme tracks, halca delivers what I can only describe as a fun, high-pitched performance that is oddly addictive. Riddled in squeak and catchy in sound, there is no denying that this track is an anime tie-in, especially when it has that recognisable anime-opening feel that I remember so fondly from my Otaku days.

And for all of those reasons stated above, I really like this track. At first, I found halaa's voice a little grating, but I could not deny the energy or appeal of the song, and found myself wanting to listen to it more. Granted, this isn't her most impressive track - I'm a little more impartial to her 2019 track, Sentimental Crisis - but there is something about Toki Toshite Violence that keeps me coming back.

Oh, and I keep dancing along to it, which is a dangerous activity when you are a wota with two left feet, but I think that speaks volumes for how good the song is to me. I don't dance to every song I listen to, so 50 points to halca for making me get up and do some damn exercise with this catchy and cute song.

Sadly, we have not been gifted with the full music video for Toki Toshite Violence, but from the scraps we have been delivered, I can safely say that the video looks as cute as the song sounds, but lacks the necessary violence that the title promised. Still, I enjoy the vibrancy of the colours in the alternative shots, and the contrast of the natural colours and lighting for the solo shots where halca isn't acting.

I do wish we had the full music video, of course, because the whole Jekyll and Hyde deal that the alternative shots scream intrigues me. I love the cute innocence that halca portrays before sneezing and ultimately spilling the chemicals, and the dark, almost Gothic look she has after. It looks amazing, and the set seems pretty fun. Sadly, we only have a short amount of time to experience this, and it's a damn shame we weren't gifted with the full PV. Oh, well. C'est la Vie, I guess.

All in all, this is fun song, one that I enjoy participating in via terrible dancing, clapping along and maybe even singing every now and again, with mispronounced lyrics and all that fun stuff. It's cheerful and energetic, making it the perfect candidate to join in with whenever it's being played. I can't help but like it, and though it isn't my favourite of halca's anime themes that she has done this far, it's still a great tune. I'm happy that it was Toki Toshite Violence that introduced me to her, and I'm happy that this song has been on a loop.

I'm not sick of it yet, and I look forward to enjoying it even more as the months go by.

In A Nutshell: Bright, cheerful and energetic, Toki Toshite Violence is a vibrant anime opening theme that will appeal to a variety of people, and please current fans of the singer and those who enjoy watching anime. It may be a little squeaky, sure, but this song is a lot of fun if you choose to endure it.

2. Fuzzy Rain

With a name that reeks of cuteness and all things fuzzy, it might come as a surprise to the listener that Fuzzy Rain is, in fact, a mellow track with a pleasant and easy feel, making it a fairly decent chill-out track. Of course, this song does have its moments where it is upbeat, serving its own dose of vigour in the chorus and showcasing halca's vocals well.

This is definitely the most mature track of the three, one that takes time to give you a feel for the song and all it has to offer. Fuzzy Rain allows you to truly appreciate halca's voice, and though she still sings with a high-pitched vocal style here, there is a more refined, perhaps even softer feel to her voice, and I have found that I really like that. She sounds great, and I'm glad that we have a song like this that can demonstrate a less grating side to her singing on this release.

I'm honestly a fan of the instrumental for this track mostly because of the piano, and also because the opening reminds me of a few other songs that I enjoy with a similar sound. It's just a great tune, and I can totally see myself listening to this on any given day where I want to simply chill out and have something on in the background.

Fuzzy Rain ultimately offers a nice change of pace from the energy-heavy Toki Toshite Violence. I have a soft spot for this track especially, and though I was unaware of it until writing this review, it's also the song I subconsciously look forward to the most from this single. Somehow it became my favourite without me realising it, and I'm fine with that. I enjoy this song a great deal, look forward to listening to it, and enjoy every moment when it plays.

So, yeah... I love this track, and whenever it begins playing, my complete attention is on this song. Fuzzy Rain is great, enough said.

In A Nutshell: Mellow and pleasant, Fuzzy Rain offers a different kind of energy than the lead track. It's a great change of pace and style, and offers a different side to halca's vocals, at least in my opinion. Definitely a song to check out if you are curious about this single.

3. Kyun to sasete Ageru yo

Any song title with the word "Kyun" in it will immediately lead me to believe that, no matter what, the song in question will be a cute and energetic affair, and whilst halca does deliver a certain amount of cuteness here, it is undeniable that this song is a lot cooler than what I was expecting. With a club-like sound thrown into the mix, Kyun to sasete Ageru yo is a satisfying concoction that brings together sparkling sound effects and halca's more mature, refined vocals.

This is such a satisfying song, one that I need to listen to a little more, especially because it offers up the best of halca's vocals. Here, she is a lot less grating in sound, and I just can't help but reminisce about Happy Hardcore and my teenage days with this song. It feels like such a throwback, and though it does have some more current elements to it, I can't help but like this song more because of my own nostalgia I have tied to the sound. Of course, it doesn't sound like anything I've heard in the past - it just feels the same, and that immediately makes this song a good one, at least in my mind.

I also really love halca's vocals here. This is quite possibly the best display of her singing ability on the entire single, and I think it's because she doesn't bring the 'anime squeak' into the song at all. Even in Fuzzy Rain, it was partially present, but here we just have 'cool' halca, and I love it.

Kyun to sasete Ageru yo is a great song, maybe even the best that this single has to offer. It's the perfect balance of cute and cool, delivers a great amount of energy, and would appeal to those outside of the anime fan circuit. It's a fun club track, one that I would happily dance along to in my bedroom or living room, or the kind of song I would pretend to have a 2000's movie montage to, because that's the vibe it gives me. It's just great all around, and it makes me so happy to listen to it.

Okay, let's scratch out my above statement from the Fuzzy Rain segment about that being my favourite song, because I've changed my mind; this is the song I like the most, just because. I like it a lot, and I'm aware that is mostly due to the Happy Hardcore memories it gives me. It's the simple things that make me fall in love with a song.

And as a fun tidbit to the end of this songs review, I happened to punch myself in the pace from going a little too hard on the para para. It happens, but damn, it goes to show just how much I love this track!

In A Nutshell: Kyun to sasete Ageru yo is probably the best track on this single, but that's ultimately up to you to decide. Thanks to a lack of halca's 'anime squeak' and the addition of what feels like club remix sound styles, as well as the overall energy, this track offers a little more than the previous two, and will probably appeal to a wider audience. Definitely give it a try and see if it tickles your fancy.

- Conclusion -

~Slight tonal change in my writing ahead, because I have had a significant decrease in energy, and have had a little cry over Maika's impending graduation from HouPri this coming July~

I believe that the quality of any given release is based on an individual's tastes, as well as how much you feel yourself gravitating towards a specific song, or set of. It's all about subjectivity, what you enjoy in that moment, and what calls to you on any given day. For myself, I have felt nothing but a desire to listen to halca's music these past few days, with Toki Toshite Violence being one single that I have binged multiple times, for hours on end.

Granted, I have not been quite as obsessive with this release as I was with Gunjou no Sekai's Aozora Moment, but I have been on a halca trip, with her most recent album also being an object of my desire. Regardless of what release it is, I've simply been enjoying the heck out halca's music lately, and ultimately delighted with all that she has to offer me as a listener.

As a single, Toki Toshite Violence is a fun little bundle of songs that range in energy, and create different forms of excitement and happiness for me. Each track has its own sound and identity, and though some might be put off by her vocals - especially when it comes to the title track - I do think that the release as a whole provides a great portfolio of just how good of a singer halca is, and what she can do with her voice depending on the genre and tone of a track.

Do I think that this will appeal to everyone? Certainly not, but that goes for any music release in the world. I do think that the leading track itself will appeal to anime fans, of course, as well as those who simply enjoy anisong or chipper, cute J-pop tunes in general. The accompanying tracks, however, have a better chance at reaching a broader audience, simply because they break away from that adorable, generic J-pop, anime theme style that many of us know and love.

I love this single, though. It gives me a great amount of joy from start to finish, and I can't fault any one of the songs. Yes, I have my favourites, but I enjoy all of them when I listen to the single as a whole, or when I simply want to enjoy one song for any given period of time. No matter which song it is, though, I can't help but enjoy myself, because halca really knows how to deliver a catchy, memorable song that sticks with you even after it has finished.

Toki Toshite Violence is pretty damn great, and it delivers a wonderful amount of happiness to me as a listener and a reviewer. I will hopefully spend many more days jamming to it with vigour, but a little less aggressively than I have been. Then again, what else should I expect from a single that has the word 'violence' in the title? I really should have been more prepared...

Bruises aside, this release is a Godsend, one that creates pure happiness, and maybe a little bit of violence on my end. But that's the price I am willing to pay for solid tunes and happy para para-ing... or something.

To conclude this conclusion, Toki Toshite Violence is great single, and I'm glad that this was my introduction to halca. I look forward to what she brings out in the future, but for now I will simply enjoy Toki Toshite Violence, as well as her past releases until something new comes along. I hope that you look forward to all that she has to offer, too.

Favourite Songs: Fuzzy Rain, Kyun to sasete Ageru yo

- Final Rating -


Representing my true self as someone who, no matter what, will somehow hit themselves during para para. I am just that dangerous to myself.

The whole single is a win for me, though, hence the 5/5 rating. It's a lot of fun, and a single I continue to gravitate to without fail, something that not all singles can do. I enjoy all of the songs, love listening to them individually and together, and just enjoy what halca has given me as a listener. I couldn't be happier with this release, to be honest.

Again, this won't appeal to everyone, but it's something I simply enjoy, and it inspired me enough to write up a review. I'm happy I found it, and I'm glad that I now have halca in my life, because I clearly need even more anisong singers in my life. Heck, I'm still waiting for someone to fill the hole that Ray left in my heart, and honestly? I hope that it's halca who fills that void, because she simply creates happiness for me.

'Tis a good single, and I can't say anything more on this release and how much I like it.

Have you ever heard of halca, and if you have, where did you find out about her? Are you anisong fans as well, or do you simply enjoy Japanese Music as a whole? Let me know your thoughts, and if you check this single out, definitely tell me what you think, and if any of the songs appealed to you.

And with that, I have finished this review. It has been a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Until the next post though, I will begin to take my leave and thank you all for taking the time to check this post out. Please take care, keep yourself physically and mentally well, and love your idols as much as you possibly can.

See you later, guys~

Much Love and well wishes,

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