By Paris365 on December 19, 2012

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SME Records

Well, it seems Haruna is still having an identity crisis. You may recall that when her first single, "空は高く風は歌う," came out earlier this year everyone was calling her Haruna Luna, Luna evidently being a homage to that single. But, for better or worse, that nickname has stuck. Mostly, anyway. If you search for her as Haruna Runa on Yes Asia you won't find her. But Haruna Luna finds her immediately. It's the opposite on CD Japan, which has her listed as Haruna Runa. It will be interesting to see what happens as her career progresses. I can see why she might want to use her real last name, Runa, but I can also see why she'd want to use a cool nickname like Luna, especially since so many people and businesses are insisting on calling her Haruna Luna already anyway.

Haruna's new single, "Overfly," is the outro theme for the series Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Hen. It starts off with a bit of piano but soon electric guitars join the mix as Haruna starts singing. Not long after that, bass guitar and drums join the mix. When the anthemic chorus strikes, we hear soaring strings, elevating things to a higher level. Not that we need the strings. They're a nice embellishment, but the fact of the matter is that Haruna sings the song quite passionately, her voice overflowing with emotion. The intensity with which she sings the choruses in particular makes this one truly triumphant theme song, her voice and vocal styling calling to mind a young Ayumi Hamasaki.

The first B-side, "祈り" (translation: "Prayer"), calls to mind many, great hair metal power ballads. It starts off gentle and sweet with Haruna singing softly over piano, coming across like a normal J-pop ballad, but by the time it hits the chorus, the song grows in intensity, synth, strings, guitars and drums supporting if not elevating her amazing voice. As it continues, it proves to be massive stadium rock at its best. It's easy to imagine hundreds of fans waving their lighters -- or smart phones -- as Haruna sings this in a major arena. Granted, her career isn't at that level yet, but I predict that it will be in another year or two.

The next B-side, "魔法の城、真実の書物" (Google translation: "Castle Of Magic, Book Of Truth"), starts off rocking from the start with razor sharp guitars and furious drums that are soon joined by glimmering synth. The infectious song reminds me of Ayumi Hamasaki again, as it would have been perfect on her albums I Am or Rainbow. Which happen to be my two favorite Ayumi albums, so that's high praise coming from me. (This single also includes an instrumental version of "Overfly.") -Michael McCarthy

Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

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