TRIPLANE – Aikotoba (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

September 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“Another solid single from the rock band TRIPLANE.  Despite only two tracks on the CD single, the DVD makes up for it with a music video and a 15-minute documentary chronicling the band’s performance at Akasaka Blitz and a look at the band’s live performance, stage setup and their appreciation for the fans.  Definitely worth checking out!”


CD SINGLE: Aikotoba

LABEL: Tearbridge Records



RELEASE DATE:  May 13, 2009


  1. アイコトバ
  2. イチョウ並木

DVD: Region 2, Duration: 20 minutes, 4:3

  1. アイコトバ MUSIC CLIP
  2. Documentary – One Man Live Tour 2009 and more!

TRIPLANE makes their return with their 9th CD single titled “Aikotoba”, a song used as the commercial theme song for the Dydo’s Demitasse coffee.

The band which consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Hyoue “Samurai” Ebata (known for his Mr Children/Sakurai Kazutoshi-like vocals and songwriting), Kenji Kawamura on guitar, Kazuya Takeda on bass and Makoto Hirota on drums.

With the first track “Aikotoba”, the song features an upbeat rock love ballad.  Well-written lyrics that capture the feeling of love and longing to be with someone.  The second track which “Ichou Namiki” refers to gingko trees, a song that is fitting for TRIPLANE’s earthy tracks, the acoustic guitar mid-tempo track is a delightful track.

Another solid single by the band but with only two tracks, one must wonder is that it?  Fortunately, the accompanying DVD is where you will find a lot of TRIPLANE goodness.

The first track features a music video for “Aikotoba” which is about a guy and the girl that he likes saying goodbye as she is leaving back to her home via a bus terminal.  The two absolutely miss each other and all they think about is each other despite being far apart.  All he does is draw her in his sketch book and all she does is look at her phone, waiting for his call and the two decide to meet up with each other again by meeting each other halfway.

The second track is a TRIPLANE 15-minute documentary featuring the band’s performance at Akasaka BLITZ in March and Ebata’s One Man LIVE TOUR 2009 and the band meeting up with their fans after the concert plus a brief interview with each member of the band.

The CD insert features the lyrics to the two tracks and like most TRIPLANE releases, come with a discography sheet for TRIPLANE.

Overall, musically the “Aikotoba” is another solid single by the band.  But there are no karaoke/instrumental tracks included, thus the addition of the DVD definitely helps enhance this single.  Usually, with TRIPLANE releases, you do get a music video and a live performance but it was great to see this short documentary on the band’s live performance from earlier this Spring and seeing the fans really appreciative of their music.

Another solid release from TRIPLANE!


TRIPLANE – Kimi ni Saku Uta (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

September 18, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

“The fourth full-length album from TRIPLANE features an album showcasing Hyoue Ebata’s vocals, songwriting and touching upon the various seasons.  Well-produced, well-sung and well-written, this is probably the best album release from the band yet!  Definitely recommended!”

Purchase this album:


ALBUM: 誰に咲く花 (Kimi ni Saku Uta)

LABEL: TearBridge Records



RELEASE DATE: February 4, 2009

  1. 誰に咲く花
  3. 太陽の季節に
  4. 檸檬
  5. 夏が終われば
  6. おもひでの空
  7. around my life
  8. 秋晴れの空の下で
  9. 白い花
  10. 君に咲く歌
DVD:  Region 2, 4:3, Duration: 30 minutes
  1. スピードスター
  2. あの雲を探して
  3. Reset
  4. Dear Friends
  5. いつものように
  6. 僕らの街
  7. エナジー

The rock band TRIPLANE are back with their third album titled “Kimi ni Saku Uta”. The band which consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Hyoue “Samurai” Ebata (known for his Mr Children/Sakurai Kazutoshi-like vocals and songwriting), Kenji Kawamura on guitar, Kazuya Takeda on bass and Makoto Hirota on drums.

The band slowly grew momentum back in 2005 with the release of “Dear Friends” for the anime “ONE PIECE” and since then, have had many venues sold out and needless to say that the group is starting to catch on throughout Japan and it helps that the band has received comparisons to popular Japanese rock band, Mr. Children.

With the release of “Kimi ni Saku Uta”, having listened this album several times, I have to admit that this is the band’s best work yet! The album contains the band’s seventh single “Natsu ga Owareba” and their 8th CD single “Shiroi Hana”.

Needless to say that there are plenty of tracks that are just beautiful as the the band combines rock music with a nice touch of strings such as “誰に咲く花” (when in bloom), “夏が終われば” (“Natsu ga Owareba” which means After the Summer), “白い花” (“Shiroi Hana” which means white flower) and “君に咲く歌” (Kimi ni Saku Uta) . Beautiful, just beautiful!

For the most part, the album has a good number of ballads and mellow songs, but you will also find a few upbeat tracks (that are typically acoustic guitar driven) such as “ALWAYS”, “太陽の季節に” (The Season of the Sun), “around my life” (which is the sole track that tends to have a little experimentation for its music) and “秋晴れの空の下で” (Under the splendid fall weather).

If anything, TRIPLANE doesn’t stray far away from its style of music which is more towards the ballad/mellow rock style that fans have enjoyed with their singles. If anything, Ebata’s vocals and lyrics are the focus in TRIPLANE’s music and on this album, the goal was to showcase the feelings of the seasons. And he manages to capture the beauty of the season through TRIPLANE’s music.

As for the DVD, the DVD features a total of seven music videos which include the band’s first five CD singles, a music video from their first album and more.

The first music video from 2004 titled “Speedstar” features members of the band performing in different parts of Tokyo.

The second music video “Ano Kumo wo Sagashite” from 2005 features a woman leaving the country and the band performing in the middle of the field with Mt. Fuji right behind them.

The third music video is for “Reset” from 2005. The band is performing in a room with a door painted in different colors.

The fourth music video for “Dear Friends” features Ebata sitting on a chair and singing and looking at various shapes cut on a piece of paper.

The fifth music video for “Itsumono youni” is the band’s fifth single and the music video featuring Ebata singing and a young toddler trying to figure out how to put the buttons on for the sleeves of her shirt.

The sixth music video is for “僕らの街” (Our City) which was featured on the band’s first album “Home” and features the band playing their instruments on a field while we see clips of the busy life in Tokyo.

The final music video is “Energy” featuring Ebata being covered up by his clothes until he’s gone and then we see a still-motion music video with various clothes making human-like motions.

As for the CD insert, the booklet features the lyrics and several photos of the model holding a frame with a picture. The CD fits into a slipcase. Included is a four-page TRIPLANE information sheet with their discography and live tour.

TRIPLANE’s “Kimi ni Saku Uta” is the best work from the band yet. Beautiful music, beautiful vocals and lyrics that evoke a feeling of the seasons. And by listening to the music, I can see how many people wandering a music store can often be confused about hearing their songs and thinking it’s Mr. Children playing. Their vocals and writing style are quite similar in style. Ebata’s vocals are similar to Mr. Children’s Kazutoshi Sakurai but by no means is that a bad thing, I’ve always felt that Sakurai is one of my favorite singer/songwriter’s in Japan and the fact that Ebata is compared to Sakurai is an extreme compliment.

If you are a fan of TRIPLANE, you really can’t go wrong with this album. Every track is beautiful but for those wanting to hear upbeat, rock music, you’re not going to find it on this album. Many of the tracks are a ballads and for the most part, a lot of mellow type of tracks are featured.

As for the DVD, the DVD does contain seven music videos and TRIPLANE fans may want to own it but for casual fans who do not care for the band’s older music videos, can easily get by with just the normal album release. But overall, “Kimi ni Saku Uta” is an album that showcases Ebata’s wonderful vocals and lyrics reflecting the various seasons. Definitely recommended!

Purchase this album:

TRIPLANE – Natsu ga Owareba / Kokoro Hakobu (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

August 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

“Another solid CD single from TRIPLANE”


CD SINGLE: Natsu ga Owareba / Kokoro Hakobu

LABEL: Tearbridge Records



RELEASE DATE: July 16, 2008


  1. 夏が終われば
  2. ココロハコブ~TV Ver.~
  3. モノローグ~アコーステックVer.~

DVD: Region 2, 4:3, Duration: 9 minutes

  1. 夏が終われば (Music Clip)
  2. ココロハコブ (Live Clip)

I know in my last reviews, I kept driving the comparisons between TRIPLANE and Mr. Children and how lead vocalist Ebata “Samurai” Hyoue sounds almost exactly like Mr. Children vocalist Sakurai Kazutoshi.

But for this review, instead of dwelling on the comparisons of the two bands, I’ll focus on this CD single.

This double A-side CD single is the band’s 7th CD single and features “Natsu ga Owareba” (End of Summer) which is a song that is reminiscent in lyrics to the Brian Adams “Summer of ’69” song which dwells on the past and looking back at the Summer experiences and “Kokoro Hakoba” (Love Move) which is the ending theme for the Sentai TV series “Tomica Hero Rescue Force”. Both songs written by vocalist/guitarist Ebata Hyoue.

The song similar to their hit “Monologue” features a mid-tempo rock song featuring strings by Masatsugu Shinozaki Strings. The song is beautiful and simply another track that showcases Ebata Hyoue’s love for Mr. Children and utilizing strings in his songs.

“Kokoro Hakobu” featured ending theme for the TV series “Tomica Hero Rescue Force”

The second track is “Kokoro Hakobu” (TV version) which is another mid-tempo rock song which is featured on the band’s second album “Kokoro Haretara”.

The third track is an acoustic version of “Monologue” (the band’s sixth CD single) featuring primarily piano and strings by Cieko Kinbara Strings. Despite being released back in Nov. 2007, I still can’t get enough of this song.

As for the DVD, the DVD features the music clip for “Natsu ga Owareba” and a live concert performance of “Kokoro Hakobu”.

The music video for “Natsu ga Owareba” is actually quite interesting and at first I thought it was just one of the lamest videos I have ever seen but turned out to be a pretty good music video.

The music video starts off with a underpass with a black crossing guard. He then starts singing the song and starts dancing to it ala B-boy style for the first half of the song. Fortunately, the music video shifts to sometime during the 1980’s (as indicated by the large boom box) and two guys dancing and a black teenager and his Japanese girlfriend.

The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that a Black teenager is featured in a Japanese music video as a main character and not solely as a talent’s background dancer. But by looking at the teenage couple, there is sadness in their face and all four take a photo together.

Fast forward probably two decades later and you realize the crossing guard was that teenager reminiscing of his youth dancing with his buddies and thinking about his girlfriend. As the song “Natsu ga Owareba” is about memories of the end of Summer, the man then takes the photo from his youth and places it in the area on the ground with flowers.

If anything, the music video started out pretty lame and silly but for any adult who has had awesome experiences during the Summer with their friends and occasionally reminisces of the past, the images of this music video especially during its latter half, is something that we can understand and feel. A time that we enjoyed, we now remember and say goodbye too.

The second clip is a live performance of “Kokoro Hakobu”. This would be my first time to watch TRIPLANE since they are never featured on their music videos it seems. And also curious to see if the live mannerisms of Ebata Hyoue are similar to Mr. Children’s Sakurai Kazutoshi. But all in all, great to see the band perform live.

As for the CD insert, you get your standard lyrics and production credits. Outside of the CD, you get this wrap around cover with the “Tomica Hero Rescue Force” image. Also, included is a four page info. on TRIPLANE’s nationwide concert tour all over Japan, bio. for the group and discography.

I really love TRIPLANE’s music. Not because I’m a hardcore Mr. Children fan and their music is reminiscent of the awesome Mr. Children 1993-1995 years but I have to really appreciate the songwriting and the musical arrangement for his songs.

Both “Natsu ga Owareba” and “Kokoro Hakobu” are very cool songs and although, I find it a bit weird to see the latter song used in a children’s sentai show, nevertheless, I hope it exposes more people to their music.

The music video for “Natsu ga Owareba” (and I like to emphasize the second half, because the first half was just a bit lame), was definitely one of those music videos that resonates pretty deeply for those who tend to think about the past, especially past love and the summer time. But the addition of a live performance was a great addition to the DVD as well as an acoustic version of “Monologue” on the CD single.

If there was one thing that I wish was included were the instrumentals for the songs because for songs such as TRIPLANE’s music, they are the type that you want to sing along too.

All in all, another solid and beautiful CD single from TRIPLANE! Recommended!


Natsu ga Owareba / Kokoro Hakobu / TRIPLANE

TRIPLANE – Kokoro Haretara (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

July 1, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

“For those who enjoy bands such as Mr. Children, you will definitely enjoy TRIPLANE. Although, their is constant comparisons to TRIPLANE sounding too much like Mr. Children vocally and musically, that is not necessarily a bad thing at all.

In fact, if you were a fan of Mr. Children’s music from their earlier ‘Bolero’ years, you will definitely enjoy TRIPLANE’s ‘Kokoro Haretara’. Cool music, awesome vocals and a band with a lot of potential!”


ALBUM: Kokoro Haretara

LABEL: avex entertainment



RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2008

1. モノローグ
2. 愛の唄
3. I am
4. 扉を開くよ
5. メトロ
6. jump -線の向こうへ-
7. 僕に出来る事
8. yesterday
9. エアポケット
10. ココロハコブ
11. 明日晴れたら

DVD: Region 2, 4:3, Duration: 8 minutes

Featuring the music video, concept, story, making and special segment of the band’s hit song “Monologue”.

TRIPLANE is an interesting band because of the comparisons to Mr. Children.

The group which was formed back in 2002 consists of vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Ebata “Samurai” Hyoue (who people say he’s like Mr. Children’s Sakura Kazutoshi which Ebata respects); guitarist Kawamura “Kane” Kenji; bassist Takeda Kazuya and drummer Hirota “Tan” Makoto (the leader of the band).

Lead vocalist Ebata’s voice is very similar to Mr. Children’s Sakurai Kazutoshi and thus the frequent comparisons.

In 2004, the group debuted with “SPEED*STAR” which is said to be a cover of a hitomi song but in fact, hitomi actually covered the song that was sung by them.

But the group is probably known for their third CD single “Dear Friends” (NFCD-27002, January 11, 2006) which was used as an ending theme for the anime series “ONE PIECE”.

And in 2008, the group released their second album “Kokoro Haretara” which would feature the group’s latest hit titled “Monologue”.

Back in 1995 or so, Mr. Children’s “Bolero” was one of my favorite albums. A good balance of their music that would feature rock and also rock that would have a touch of strings. Well-written songs and just all out good music and vocals.

TRIPLANE’s “Kokoro Haretara” reminds me of that album. They may not be as well-known as Mr. Children but the potential of this group is just great. Tracks such as “Monologue” really showcase the group’s talent as a band and has that “Owari Naki Tabi” Mr. Children feel while the second track “Ai no Uta” has that “See-Saw Game” Mr. Children upbeat acoustic guitar style.

There are so many awesome tracks on this album such as “Metro”, “Air Pocket”, “Kokoro Hakobu” and the list goes on and just a great balance of fast, upbeat songs and ballads.

As for the DVD, the DVD features the music video of their hit song “Monologue” which features a tree-like creature in the forest (the music video also has removable subtitles), enjoying his walk through the forest until children start pelting it with rocks.

During his walk in the forest, the creature finds a woman unconscious and nurses her back to health. But the woman can only last so long as it’s going to snow in the area. So, the tree creature tries to bring her to safety but the fire they built has run out of brush and the woman is in dire need of heat. Thus the creature sacrifices himself by being the firewood to keep her warm.

The other segments on the DVD are text-based and photos behind-the-scenes on the making of the music video. The special 3-minute still-motion video features a storyboard which features the actual storyline of how a boy became the tree and as it got older, the woman that he cared about and had to leave her. The story is told by text to the instrumental music of “Monologue”.

As for the CD insert, the insert booklet comes with lyrics and production credits. And pictures of the globe and the red head kid. The CD fits into a cardboard slip cover and a little promotional flyer with a biography of the group and 2008 concert tour dates.

Being compared to one of the most successful Japanese bands and drawing comparisons to Mr. Children is definitely not a bad thing. If anything, it’s great publicity and also a great comparison because many people love Mr. Children’s music.

But I also understand both sides of Japanese music reviews with many who praise the group for it’s music and vocals and resemblance to Mr. Children but also a little criticism of the band sounding too much like Mr. Children and thus the band is not too original.

Personally, for me, I love Mr. Children. They are my favorite band. And the fact that another band sounds like them musically (the earlier years 1995-1996 years) and how vocally, Ebata and Mr. Children’s Sakurai sound so similar is a bit surreal but I never saw it as a bad thing.

They do produce their own original music and I have to say that I really enjoyed their second album “Kokoro Haretara” a lot. There are many awesome tracks on this album and I hope their comparisons to Mr. Children don’t push people away but moreso, pushes them towards TRIPLANE.

Cool music, awesome vocals and a band with a lot of potential! Definitely give TRIPLANE’s “Kokoro Haretara” a try!


Kokoro Haretara / TRIPLANE

TRIPLANE – Monologue (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

December 13, 2007 by · 1 Comment 



CD SINGLE: Monologue

LABEL: tearbridge records

CATALOG #: NFCD-27056~7

DURATION: Disc 1: 13.6 minutes Disc 2: 16.9 minutes

Released on November 7, 2007



Disk 1:

  1. Monologue
  2. Energy
  3. Dear friends ~Acoustic ver.~

Disk 2:

  1. Monologue
  2. TRIPLANE Single Medley
  3. Dear friends ~Acoustic ver.~


TRIPLANE is an interesting band because of the comparisons to Mr. Children.

The group which was formed back in 2002 consists of vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Ebata “Samurai” Hyoue (who people say he’s like Mr. Children’s Sakurai Kazutoshi which Ebata respects); guitarist Kawamura “Kane” Kenji; bassist Takeda Kazuya and drummer Hirota “Tan” Makoto (the leader of the band).

Lead vocalist Ebata’s voice is very similar to Mr. Children’s Sakurai Kazutoshi and thus the frequent comparisons.

In 2004, the group debuted with “SPEED*STAR” which is said to be a cover of a hitomi song but in fact, hitomi actually covered the song that was sung by them.

But the group is probably known for their third CD single “Dear Friends” (NFCD-27002, January 11, 2006) which was used as an ending theme for the anime series “ONE PIECE”.

And recently, the group has released their sixth CD single titled “monologue”. The limited edition series is interesting because it is bundled as two CD singles which are nearly the same that the CD singles both have the same track 1 and track 3 but with the first CD single containing their song “Energy” which was released in August 1 as a limited distribution.

So, people really didn’t have a chance get “Energy” thus it was included in this recent CD single. As for the second disc, track 2 is a medley featuring a sample of the main tracks from TRIPLANE’s first five CD singles (SPEED*STAR, Ano Kumo wo Sagashite, Reset, Dear friends and Itsumo no youni).

As for the CD single, “Monologue” is a very lovely ballad featuring a beautiful blend of piano and string arrangement to give a whimsical feel to the song. As mentioned before, with Ebata’s vocals similar to Mr. Children’s Sakurai, the song has a feeling of a Mr. Children ballad and that’s not a bad thing considering that Mr. Children is a personal favorite of mine and also their music is brilliant written and the musical arrangement top notch.

All in all, “Monologue” is a beautiful track and the acoustic version (third track) features Ebata on acoustic guitar and Yokoyama Hiroaki on piano and gives another depth to already a beautiful ballad. Awesome!

As for the second tracks on both CD singles, on disc 1 is the song “Energy”. A faster-paced rock song that is well done and also has that Mr. Children-esque type of feel to it. And on the second disc is just a short medley with each sample of the main track of their last five CD singles lasting about a minute and half long.

As for the CD insert, both inserts feature the lyrics for the songs on the CD singles. On one of the inserts is information on TRIPLANE’s upcoming live tour, a biography on the band and discography information.

In the flap that comes outside of the CD case has a message from mihimaru GT’s Hiroko and Seamo giving a positive shout out for the band as well.


I feel that there are many labels who look for the next Mr. Children and there are always comparisons to the band and also Mr. Children’s Sakurai Kazutoshi and granted that TRIPLANE’s Ebata sounds similar to Sakurai and the group does get compared to the band often but there is enough to give the band its own style.

All in all, “Monologue” is a beautiful ballad and both versions are elegant and definitely raises my alert for the band’s next CD single (Kokoro Haretara) due in February 2008 and for the price of a CD single for the limited pressing, you do get two CD singles. Yes, they are essentially the same for two tracks but that second track of getting “Energy” on one disc and the medley on the other is a nice bonus for $12.

If you enjoy Mr. Children and Spitz, definitely give TRIPLANE a try.