Hitomi Takahashi

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A wide-eyed pop/rocker with a punkish slant, Hitomi Takahashi made a splash on the Japanese scene with her debut in 2005, but failed to replicate her success, although her moderate popularity rarely wavered…
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A wide-eyed pop/rocker with a punkish slant, Hitomi Takahashi made a splash on the Japanese scene with her debut in 2005, but failed to replicate her success, although her moderate popularity rarely wavered due to her contribution to anime soundtracks, as well as collaborations with the synth-punk stars Beat Crusaders.

Hitomi (her name means "eye"; she was so named, unsurprisingly, because of her large eyes) grew up in a music-loving family on a diet of Beatles and Eric Clapton. She was interested in dance-pop as a teen, but decided on a rock career after a successful karaoke session, and won a Sony Music SD audition (Vo-che3) within a year, beating 20,000 opponents. Her debut single, "Bokutachi no Yukue," released while she toiled at her high-school exams, served as a theme song to the hit anime series Gundam Seed Destiny and became a smash hit on its own, charting at number one -- the third solo debut to pull that off in the history of Oricon. The record moved 135,000 copies and prompted Takahashi to start her own radio show. The next single, "Evergreen," was tied to the drama New Kids War, but charted outside the Top 20; however, her third release, "Aozora no Namida," used in the anime Blood+, climbed to number eight and sold 80,000-plus copies. In early 2006, Takahashi was on a roll -- she was acclaimed as New Artist of the Year at the Japanese Gold Disc Awards in 2006, released the debut full-length Sympathy, which reached number ten, and finally debuted live (which was not that easy, considering she was still a high schooler).

However, her winning streak ended with the single "Communication" (2006), which stopped at number 60 despite a tie-in with a talk show. Around that time, Takahashi began to collaborate with Takuya of Judy and Mary, who produced her five singles in 2006-2007. The majority of those were poor sellers, although "Candy Line," which was used in the Gintama anime series, reached number 14, and "Jet Boy Jet Girl," a tie-in with the anime Toward the Terra, stopped at number 22. Still, during the time she worked with Takuya Takahashi, who graduated from school in 2008, she began to gain creative independence, writing her own lyrics and drifting toward pop-punk, which was the sound of her second album, Bamboo Collage (2007), another commercial disappointment (it stopped at number 63). In 2009, she also collaborated with Beat Crusaders on another Gintama theme, "Wo Ai Ni," and starred in a short film included on the band's live DVD.