I’m watching a handful of new anime this winter season and the one that has impressed me the most so far has been Wit Studio’s The Rolling Girls. Its visuals are very colorful and its vocal songs (OP/ED & inserts) are catchy, too. The thing that caught my attention when I looked more closely at the credits is that those songs so far are all covers of tracks by ’80s & ’90s Japanese band The Blue Hearts.
The Blue Hearts’ most recognizable song in the West is likely their 1987 hit “Linda Linda” since it has been featured in other media after its debut including the 2005 film Linda Linda Linda (here’s an English trailer), wherein a high school girls’ band plays covers of Blue Hearts songs. That movie was released on DVD stateside by Viz Pictures in 2007 but I think it’s currently out-of-print.
Back to Rolling Girls: covers of the following Blue Hearts tracks have aired so far, sung by the show’s four main voice actresses: (UPDATED 2/8)
– “Hito ni Yasashiku” (人にやさしく, 1987) as main opening theme, episode 1 ending theme
– “Tsuki no Bakugekiki” (月の爆撃機, 1993) as episode 2 & 3 ending theme
– “1000 Violins” (1000のバイオリン, 1993) as episode 1 insert song
– “Eiyuu ni Akogarete” (英雄にあこがれて, 1987) as episode 2 insert song
– “Nō Tenki” (脳天気, 1993) as episode 4 ending theme
– “Nagaremono” (ながれもの, 1988) as episode 5 insert song
There’s a song collection CD with an April release date that claims to feature five cover songs from the show so there should be at least three more debuting in future episodes.
Rolling Girls isn’t unique in using voice actors’ covers of older Japanese songs – the ending theme for Maria Holic season 1 was a cover of YMO’s “Kimi ni Mune Kyun” and Penguindrum had many covers of ARB songs including “Rock Over Japan” (aka the SEIZON SENRYAKU theme).