This series was fated to be an irrationally personal watch of mine regardless of quality. I’ve finished it since that first write-up, though a full rundown of what I thought would take up another story entirely. As for right now? I just want to bask in the glow of one of my favorite ending themes from last year.

Fastest Finger First/Nana Maru San Batsu (7O3X)*
Babyraids Japan/ベイビーレイズJAPAN
“◯◯◯◯◯”

The MV bizarrely cuts out in the middle of the song, so here’s a live version of the whole thing.

Anime, though many times predictable, can still come up with the darndest things sometimes. Because of all the things that could have come up as the ending theme to an anime about high school quiz bowl, a fat slab of double-tempo Offspring’s “Hammerhead”/Green Day’s “Jaded”-style pop punk would fall hard on the highly unlikely side of the scale. But look at where we are!

I, for one, appreciate the audacity. This thing stands out significantly from everything else, while still fitting right in with Fastest Finger First’s tone and then being strong enough to stamp itself right into the show’s essence. Granted, it’s not like Babyraids Japan goes full 90's California on us, given that it brings more conventional anime-theme touchstones like buzzy synths and girl group vocals into the mix.

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However, they fuse such disparate elements together seamlessly, when it could have so easily gone so wrong, and they make it look easy. An anthemic woah-ah here, a momentary slowdown before the rapidly return to full throttle on the chorus there, and it’s enough to make one wonder why everyone doesn’t do this all the time?? The five singers of Babyraids Japan are the glue that must be holding it all together, with voices and performances that finely tow whatever thin sliver of Venn diagram there is between the brashness and slice-of-life candy paint.

Altogether, even without understanding a lick of Japanese, the message rings loud, clear, and persuasive: Quiz Bowl Or Die.

*Astute nitpickers may note that I incorrectly made “seven zero three X”, rather than “seven the-letter-O three X” as correctly used here, one of my article tags when first writing about the anime, because indeed a fool am I. I’ve used it again as a tag anyway. Fight me :P

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RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.