Salon's Andrew Leonard pieces together the story of Asian Kung-Fu Generation, a mega-band whose success owes much to anime and video-game soundtracks, YouTube bootlegs, fan-subbed cartoons, and assorted global teenage weirdness that points to a future that might be more futuristic than any of us contemplated:
Then again, kids these days are exposed to Asian Kung-Fu Generation in ways that go beyond your typical CD or digital download. According to Wikipedia, Asian Kung-Fu Generation songs are featured in Nintendo and Konami musical games, as movie themes, and grace the credit sequences for half a dozen anime shows, including "the second opening" for "Naruto" and "the fourth opening" for "Fullmetal Alchemist."
Let us pause now to consider the awesome brilliance of the title "Fullmetal Alchemist."
Second opening? Fourth opening? In Japan, I learned, anime television shows not only feature different songs playing over both the opening and closing credits, but swap in new songs as many as four times per season.
Once upon a time, a rock band played local clubs, got a record deal, released a single, made an album. Today's up-and-comers license their tunes to video games, movies, cartoons and, of course, commercials.
(Photo credit: ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, a Creative Commons ShareAlike photo from Hibino's Flickr stream)