Kuraki Mai's two most recent singles – Yesterday Love
and Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou-
– are both theme songs for the Detective Conan
anime franchise, but they couldn't be more different. While Yesterday Love
, released in January, is a dated-sounding electronic pop song straight out of the nineties vault, her latest Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou-
goes back even further in time to incorporate traditional Japanese music elements into a melodic and melancholic ballad.
Aligning with the Kansai autumn setting of the movie Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter for which the single serves as theme song, Kuraki penned a wistful love song that evokes the imagery of crimson leaves. The title and lyrics refer to the Tokgetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto that serves as a popular scenic spot for viewing sakura and autumn colors. Kuraki's lyrics this time are among her most eloquent, relaying the feelings of yearning for a lover that one wants to see, but cannot. The first chorus is especially impactful, opening with the memorable line of "Togetsukyo Bridge that is dyed crimson" and expressing the hope of placing prayers into the flowing river.
Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou- is composed and arranged by Kuraki's frequent collaborator Tokunaga Akihito, the maker of Mai-K classics like Stand Up and Winter Bells. It's a pleasant surprise that this familiar collaboration yielded a sound different than their previous works. Tokunaga applies traditional music elements in the chord progressions and string instrumentation of the medium-tempo number to create an appealingly arranged fusion pop song that sounds nostalgic yet contemporary.
Kuraki delivers a versatile and expressive vocal performance to match the song's changing moods, adeptly adjusting her singing tone and technique between modern and traditional for the verse, pre-chorus and chorus sections. Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou- stands out uniquely as a traditional-style song amongst her many singles, and it's quickly become one of my all-time favorite Kuraki Mai songs.