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TFP’s Anime List Project #26: The Karaoke Scene

3 min read

A couple times a month, the Fandom Post community suggests and votes on a new top five list about something in anime, most often from the current season. It’s our way of highlighting something fun or interesting or strange—or even meaningful—about what’s airing now, or about anime in general.

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Since a list on insert songs went over so well (or not) we may as well give in and highlight the often lighter side of impromptu singing in anime: karaoke. Such a national pastime in Japan is a natural element to show group camaraderie or competition. When it’s not also being used as a plot device, as a couple examples below demonstrate.

And like its real life counterpart, most of the time, the purpose of a karaoke scene is to provide a moment of fun. They are often silly, but most fall into three camps: outright comedy (the horrible singer), a pleasant surprise (the Susan Boyles effect), or basically another excuse for an insert song to feature the particular Singing Seiyuu. All but one of the choices below are meant for comedic relief and/or fun audience sing-along. (And that lone exception is there to provoke warm fuzzies.)

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#4 (tie): Amagi Brilliant Park, ep. 9: Not Enough Teamwork!

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Karaoke is team work, and there’s not enough of it. (One or the other.) The Elmentario Fairies need to complete a series of tasks to reset the castle’s defense system they’re stuck in. One of these, naturally, is a scored karaoke trial which forces one or two to make up the slack for others. Who needs Outward Bound?

#4 (tie): Azumanga Daioh, ep. 17: ~/Christmas Meeting 

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Christmas Eve party at a karaoke room for the AzuDai gang. Honestly just a way to end the year on a relatively normal note, doing what normal high school girls might do, instead of the surrealism and cat-based melodrama they often find themselves in. All the karaoke group tropes come out here: the one who can’t sing, the one who can (of course!), the one who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and the ones along for the ride.

#4 (tie): Cardcaptor Sakura, ep. 37: Sakura and Tomoyo’s Lost Voice

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The karaoke occurs in the opening minutes of episode 37, with Sakura and Tomoyo and friends in the park with a portable karaoke machine. And unlike the laughter or surprise that the rest of these selections represent, the point here is pleasant goodwill and even wistfulness, as Tomoyo’s extended solo foreshadows the story to come, where her voice is lost. So to speak. Sakura to the rescue. (Sakura Tange even gets to sing one…before Junko Iwao drops the mic.)

#3: Hidamari Sketch Season 1, ep. 4: May 18th – The Singing Shortcake

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The idea here, of course, is to work off calories (from, say, a shortcake) by singing karaoke. That’s pretty much it. But that’s also perfectly random Hidamari Sketch.

#2: Yuru Yuri, s2, ep. 8: Chinatsu Unrivaled

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A Christmas party again at a private karaoke room, probably the most common settings for anime karaoke scenes (a very familiar setting for Japanese audiences, even as Westerners might think more of the open mic at a bar), this time for the rambunctious girls of Yuruyuri. The cap above kind of sums up what that entails. At least when you let someone like Chinatsu near a mic. More group tropes abound, encouraged along by Toshino Kyouko, of course.

#1: Lucky Star, ep. 5 Ending (“Cha-la Head-cha-la”)

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All Lucky Star ending sequences are karaoke scenes, as the above image makes perfectly clear. Konata singing the standard of an anime tune, “Cha-la Head-cha-la,” from the first opening song of Dragon Ball Z, seems to be one of the most popular in the show’s set list. Lucky Star‘s ending schtick managed to combine the fun audience sing-along effect with otaku nostalgia. (As well as finding a way to keep viewers hooked through the ending credits without having to produce any animation. A hat trick, that.)

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Join us next time in time for work. To have a say in what makes it on that list, and the next list after that, check out the forum thread, read up on the rules, and join the Fandom Post Anime List Project today!

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