【Interview】Chainsaw Man op KICK BACK Kenshi Yonezu

chainsaw man (Tatsuki Fujimoto)

Kenshi Yonezu has released a new song, KICK BACK.


Chainsaw Man op 【Kick Back】

Quote Billboard Japan

KICK BACK is a song written as the opening theme for the TV anime Chainsaw Man. Kenshi Yonezu wrote the lyrics and composed the music, and Daiki Tsuneda (King Gnu/millennium parade) collaborated on the arrangement  Chainsaw Man op

The song swept the Japanese music charts, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard JAPAN Hot 100 on October 19, and became the first Japanese artist to chart in Spotify’s Top 50 – Global Global Global Music Daily Ranking, reverberating around the world.

This time, we had a chance to interview Yonezu Kenshi. He talked about the background of the song’s creation and his thoughts on Chainsaw Man.

kick back is a roller coaster of a song.

-First of all, what was your first impression when you were asked to write the opening theme for Chainsaw Man?

Yonezu: I originally wanted to compose for chainsaw man so badly. Ever since I read the original story, I had always wanted to write a song for the anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man in some form or another. I was genuinely happy when it was decided that I could actually do it. Even before I got the offer, I was thinking a lot about what kind of music I would write.

-What did you find attractive about Chainsaw Man?

Yonezu: In the manga, demons harm humans on a daily basis, and grotesque things happen as a result. It is a very serious world, but Denji, who is at the center of the story, is kind of just an idiot. Denji’s presence makes the negative environment and the serious story become more and more a gag. I think that is very amusing. A person who has never received any compulsory education messes up all sorts of things in a very serious manner. I have never seen such a scene before, and I think it is a fun manga.

kick back song and Romanized lyrics

Click on the image to go to youtube. 

I’ve posted the lyrics in romaji, so you can try your hand at singing if you like.

laundry kyo ha gara a ki de lucky day
kattarii aburayogo re mo kore de bye-bye

dare da dare da atama no naka   yo bikakeru koe ha

are ga ho shii kore ga ho shii to uta te iru

shiawa se ni nari tai   raku shi te i ki te itai
kono te ni tsuka mi tai   anata no sono mune no naka

happy de u me tsu kushi te   rest-in-piece made i ko u ze
itsuka mi ta jigoku mo ii tokoro   ai o bara ma i te
i love yo kena shi te kure   zembu uba te wara te kure my honey
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
nanka wasu re cha ten da

doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star

4443 de hazu reru tansan sui
hungry koji rase te ha ki so na jinsei

「 ya ma nai ame ha nai 」 yori saki ni   sono kasa o kureyo
are ga ho shii   kore ga ho shii   sube te ho shii   tada muna shii

shiawa se ni nari tai   raku shi te i ki te itai
zembu mechakucha ni shi tai   nani mokamo ke shi sa ri tai
anata no sono mune no naka

lucky de u me tsu kushi te   rest in peace made i ko u ze
yo i ko dake muka eru tengoku ja   do mo i ki ran nai
i love yo kena shi te uba te wara te kure my honey
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   a beautiful star
nanka wasu re cha ten da

happy   lucky   konnichiha baby
( happy   lucky   konnichiha baby )
yo i ko de itai   sorya tsumaranai
( anata no mirai   sorya tsumaranai )
happy   lucky   konnichiha baby sauce sweet
( happy   lucky   konnichiha baby sauce sweet )
doryoku   mirai   aa beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   aa beautiful star
doryoku   mirai   aa beautiful star
nanka sugoi yo i kan ji

The first concept of kick back

-I heard that you had been thinking about what kind of song to write even before you received the offer. What was the first idea you had for writing a song?

Yonezu: At first I wanted to use drum and bass in the song. The current “Kick Back” still has some vestiges of it, but in the demo stage, it was a drum and bass type of song, with long synthesizer phrases over rushed drums.

-How did you start the actual songwriting process?

Yonezu: We started with a meeting with the director and people from the animation side. I remember one of the orders for the song that the director gave me was to “make the piece like a roller coaster. It would be a song with repeated modulations, with each part changing so drastically that you would think it was a different song, with highs and lows. I was asked to create a song that you can listen to while being swept along, and when you realize it, the song is over. At first, I was thinking that I was being told a very difficult order. Later, I realized that modulation has two meanings: one is a musical term meaning a change in key and the other is a change in melody. I wasn’t sure which meaning the director was referring to, so I did both.

-I think Chainsaw Man is a work that can be cut from various angles. What aspects of the manga did you try to express in the music?

Yonezu: I think the first thing that leaves a big impression in Chainsaw Man is of course the grotesque part. The first impression is the grotesque depiction of the bloodshed as Denji messes up various things and kills demons in a grotesque manner. Since it is the opening theme, I thought it would be good to expand on that and create a summary of the story. Also, “Chainsaw Man” is a story of betrayal and betrayal and betrayal, and it goes on and on, but because there is a super idiot named Denji at the core of the story, it turns inside out with a pop just on the edge of going bankrupt or not. I think it is a very thrilling manga, so I wanted to express that atmosphere as well.

Songs from elementary school that influenced kick back

-The song This song quotes a lyrical phrase from a Morning Musume song. How did you come up with this idea?

Yonezu: I can only say that it was intuition. I don’t know what it was, but I had a feeling that I wanted to do it anyway.

Click image to jump to video

-This song was released in 2000. Did you listen to it in real time?

Yonezu: Yes, I did. I am of this generation, so I listened to it all the time when I was in elementary school. We’re ALIVE has a chorus in which you sing “shiawaseninaritai. If you properly listen to it, it is also sung as “♪ shi “ya” waseninaritai”. That really stuck in my ears at the time. I wondered why it was “shiya-wase” and not shiawase. I remember very strongly that I was doing something like singing together only there” with a friend I was playing with at the time. When we decided to make the opening theme for Chainsaw Man, I remembered that. Once that connection was made, it was very quick. I listened to the song again for the first time in a while and thought, This is the only way to do it. If I were to make the opening theme for Chainsaw Man, I had no choice but to sample including this.

-The lyrics in the chorus include “Fill it up with happiness” and “Fill it up with luck”. Is the word happy one important keyword?

Yonezu: Denji was born in a very disadvantaged environment, and I think that in such a ridiculously unhappy situation, people lose their concreteness. They think abstractly, like, “I just want to be happy. Then we don’t think about what we need to do in order to be happy. Therefore, I thought it was necessary to construct songs with flat and easy-to-understand words such as happy and lucky.

I’ve been writing songs as if I were drawing a comic book.

-In producing this song, you invited Daiki Tsuneda as an arranger. The two of you have been close friends for some time, but how did you come to work together on this song?

Yonezu: When I was having a drink with Daiki, we talked about how crazy Chainsaw Man was and how great it was. After it was decided that I would be in charge of the opening theme, we had another chance to have a drink. We talked about the fact that we were going to do a song for Chainsaw Man, so why don’t we do it together? We started working together in that light-hearted way.

-How did you feel the essence that was added to the songs during the production with Mr. Tsuneda?

Yonezu: I knew that he was amazing. My demo songs were made with stoic drum and bass, but he gave them a boost of a bad feeling. I’m glad I asked him to do the job.

KICK BACK has already generated a huge response both in Japan and abroad. How do you feel about the response to the song, including the chart action?

Yonezu: I appreciate that. I think that the premise of Chainsaw Man is that above all else it is wonderful. Especially, I think that the opening image is the best among all the anime openings I have seen.

Kenshi Yonezu’s admiration for manga artists 

-I think there are probably some people overseas who have come to know the name Yonezu Genshi because of this. The artist Yonezu Genshi has been very much influenced by shonen manga and anime culture. The fact that such a musician would write a theme song for an anime is also a major characteristic of Japanese pop culture today. With this in mind, let me ask you again. What do you think you have received and inherited from shonen manga and anime culture?

Click image to jump to video ↓

Yonezu: I am someone who wanted to be a manga artist in the first place. It is not so much that musicians are influenced by manga, but rather that people who wanted to be manga artists happen to be musicians. So, I still have the me of my elementary and junior high school days when I said I wanted to be a manga artist. I’ve been drawing comics since that time, but I transitioned to music halfway through, so I haven’t had my heart broken in comics yet. I haven’t had any setbacks. If I had really wanted to be a manga artist, I would have experienced many things, such as bringing in my work to an editor and being told various things like, “This part is not good enough,” and thinking, “Oh, I have no talent. Because I have not had that experience, I still think somewhere in my heart that I can be a manga artist, and that if anything, I am better suited for that than for music. Rather than being influenced by manga as a musician, I have the feeling that I have been making music in the same way as I draw manga. So, that part of me is very close to manga.

Concept of Chainsaw Man op cd sleeve

-What kind of intention did you put into the jacket of this single CⅮ, which Yonezu himself drew Chainsaw Man?

Yonezu: The first design had a version of Denji, Aki Hayakawa, and Power. But when I saw it, I thought it was a little different. So I decided against it and wanted to make it look like a poster visual for a movie, so that’s how it came to be. The composition of the hands was influenced by the poster visual for Parasite. In the Parasite poster, only the feet are visible at the edges, and I thought that was cool because of its unsettling nature. I tried to unravel the disconcerting nature, the coolness, and the patheticness in my own way, and that’s how I ended up with that image.

Thoughts on Tatsuki Fujimoto, the original manga artist

-What is your impression of the style of Tatsuki Fujimoto, the creator of the manga Chainsaw Man?

Yonezu: I don’t know him, but we are from the same generation, so I feel that what we have seen and grown up with is close. I feel very sympathetic to him. Also, his amazing imagination. For example, in the comic spread of the Fighting the Dark Demon scene, the astronaut’s half body makes a path, and he has the drawing ability to output that kind of imagination while also possessing wonder. He has something that only he can draw. I think he is a rare talent.

Thank you for watching. See you soon.

chainsaw man. (World’s largest number of translations)


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