It’s a new semester and a new year for the anime club. And what better way to get hyped up for the year than with a song from L’Arc~En~Ciel.
It was 2005 and I was sitting amongst the crowd at Supanova, in what kind of looked like some oversized garage, waiting for the cosplay competition to start. The numbers in the room started to swell as it came closer to the start time for the competition (and as you should know, nothing ever runs on time in a convention).
They’d been showing anime on the big screen, but now they were just showing random Japanese things to fill the time. I was chatting with a friend of mine, talking about what we were expecting from cosplay when 4 little animated figures walked across the big screen.
“Are you ready?”
My obsession with L’Arc~En~Ciel began then. It almost mirrored my interest in anime, as if the two were inseperable to me. And they kind of are. L’Arc~En~Ciel have been making OPs and EDs for anime throughout their career, from Blurry Eyes for DN Angel, the 4th Avenue Cafe for Rurouni Kenshin and Driver’s High for GTO to Ready Steady Go and Link for Full Metal Alchemist. And its no surprise why, L’Arc for a long time was the biggest J-Rock band in Japan (and are still one of the biggest), and pretty much all the anime they touch become brilliant (okay…except maybe for DN Angel).
Ready Steady Go represented an interesting part of the band’s history. After the success of their albums Ark, Ray and Real, Laruku had taken a break to go do other things. Some started solo careers, some created other bands with curious names (like Acid Android and S.O.A.P, which I’ll let you find out the meaning of yourself). Some decided to play to co-star along side Gackt as a vampire in a movie that appealed to fangirls all around the world. But after three years of solo projects, many of the Laruku fans began to wonder if they would ever get back together.
And then Ready Steady Go came out. After that Supanova, I went home and looked for the .mp3s across my dial-up connection (well okay, that was after finding the Transformers: Victory theme after watching the karaoke comp). I eventually managed to find every obscure version of that song, from the Tetsu/Yukihiro/Ken-ready versions to the Tetsu/Hyde/Yukihiro/Ken-less versions. I found a friend in high school who shared my new found passion for L’Arc (though he prefered the S.O.A.P songs, but whatever.) and we would scour the internet and cheap DVD stores in the city to try and find any scrap of L’Arc we could get our hands on.
This month L’Arc~En~Ciel are celebrating their 20th anniversary. They’ve pretty much done it all. And while Hyde’s voice has slowly become raspier over the years (cigarettes are bad kids), they still keep pumping out the tunes. And while my interest in L’Arc has waned over recent years (like my interest in new anime), I still sometimes listen to those earlier albums like Ark and Ray, put on songs like Honey, or Kasou, or Stay Away, or Fate, or Ibara no Namida, or Trick, or…well you get the idea. And when I do listen to those songs, it takes me back to a simpler time and I become a fan all over again.