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Cover of the first volume of the Viz Media English release of Sensual Phrase
|Written by||Mayu Shinjo|
|English publisher||Viz Media|
|Original run||1997 – 2000|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hiroko Tokita|
|Original run||April 20, 1999 – March 25, 2000|
Sensual Phrase (快感 フレーズ Kaikan Furēzu ) is a shōjo manga series created by Mayu Shinjo. The manga was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic between 1997 and 2000, and collected in 18 bound volumes. It was adapted as a 44-episode anime television series by Studio Hibari and as a series of novels. The series tells the story of Aine Yukimura, a high school student who becomes the lyricist for a Japanese rock band, and her relationship with the band's lead singer, Sakuya Ookochi.
To promote the anime, two real-life bands were formed: Λucifer, the band the story focuses on, and e.MU, a rival band. Both bands continued after the anime ended before disbanding. Within the series, Λucifer’s original name is Lucifer, which is changed to Λucifer (using the Greek letter lambda) when the band decides to go international. For the purposes of the article, the second name, Λucifer is used. Japanese names are given in Western order, with family name last.
Aine Yukimura is a seventeen-year-old high school student who writes sensual song lyrics on the side in hopes of becoming a song writer in the future. One day, two of her friends from school talk her into entering her best lyrics into a contest. Out on the side walk, she is bumped into and drops her lyrics in the street and is almost run over by a car driven by Sakuya Ookochi, the lead singer for Lucifer a hard rock band known for their sensual lyrics. Aine is clueless about who he is but falls for him anyway. While making sure she is not hurt, he gives her an all access pass to the Lucifer show that night. After she has left he finds her lyrics and takes them with him back to the band with a plan in mind. Aine goes to the show and listens from the back of the audience. As she begins to leave, she hears her lyrics sung by Sakuya and runs up to the front of the stage to see if he is the same guy from before. From this time forward, he sweeps her off her feet. At first she is told that Sakuya is never serious about women and she thinks he might be playing her. However, when he kidnaps her and convinces her become the band's lyricist, she thinks he's still playing her but it's all business and not romance. Sakuya goes as far as to transfer into Aine's high school to protect her and work with her. Initially, Sakuya sees her as a virgin he can tease but his emotions for her soon change into something stronger and more lasting. Seeing her talent and desiring the girl, he campaigns for Aine to become the official lyricist for the band. His manager initially objects, but when Aine continues producing excellent lyrics, he relents and she becomes their lyricist using the male pseudonym Yukihiko Aine to protect her identity and the band's image.
Aine and Sakuya's relationship starts off rocky due to their lack of communication as to their real emotions. Aine tries to hide her feelings for Sakuya thinking that he only sees their relationship as co-workers and nothing more. She believes that he wants her virgin imagination in order for her to continue writing hit songs for the band. When he rejects her sexual advance, this only furthers the belief that he doesn't see her as a woman, only as a co-worker. Although it's not in his nature to be subtle, he attempts to express his feelings for her through a ballad he writes entitled "Little Bird" or "Love Melody" only for her to continue misunderstanding him. It's not until he corners her after the filming for the music video "Drug" does he confesses his feelings. However, starting a romantic relationship and being the girlfriend of a high profile star is not an easy task. As the series progresses, Aine is frequently targeted by Sakuya's enemies including rival bands and obsessed fans.
In particular, Ralph Grazer, Sakuya's older half-brother, an American media mogel who heads an empire in the States and is branching into the Asian markets. Ralph heads to Japan with a grudge against Sakuya, who he has never met but has been pushed to met by their father, and uses blackmail to force Aine to work for him and to break up with Sakuya. This forces Sakuya to take a hiatus from the band and face his biological father, the man had who raped his mother. Sakuya travels to the States to learn the family business, thus giving him the knowledge and power to take Ralph's position as head of the media corporation. Sakuya returns to Japan and forces Ralph to sign a contract giving him his position back if he releases Aine. This tactic and Sakuya's love for Aine confuses Ralph who has always gotten what and who he wanted that he returns to the States to start over and relearn from his father. However, Ralph returns two more times within the manga, and not necessarily as Sakuya's enemy.
Lucifer continues to grow as a band, moving from an independent band to major hit, renaming itself to Λucifer, and preparing to do tours in America and Europe, while Sakuya and Aine attempt to balance their love and professional lives. Aine's feelings for Sakuya and her ability to write lyrics are tested. Hitoshi Takayama is hired as the band's producer to prepare them for international fame. At first, he thinks that Aine is nothing but a mouthy groupie who has no place in the building, let alone in Sakuya's life. As he gets to know her, he falls in love with her but hides his feelings by pretending to be homosexual. He attempts to break up, not only Sakuya and Aine, but Atsuro and Yuuka as he plans their six month move to England so they can set the stage for capturing European fans. Yuki soon puts a stop to this plan by letting Takayama know that the success band is due to their relationships with their families and lovers.
As the group continues to grow, the president of Λucifer's rival label, Kaito Yoshioka, who dislikes the band's success and decides to destroy Sakuya and break up the band through Aine. He brutally rapes Aine in an attempt to break Sakuya. She is found by their producer Takayama, who takes her to his home and tries to comfort her while helping her avoid Sakuya. She tries to commit suicide that night, leaving Takayama no choice but to tell Sakuya. Sakuya finds he has lost his desire to sing (and his voice) and leaves the band. Yuki realizes that the only way to protect the band is to sign with Ralph's label and move the band into the international arena. Meanwhile, Sakuya tries to kill Yoshioka, but is stopped by Ralph, who tells him he's not worth a nickel and reminds Sakuya that Aine needs him with her, not in prison. Ralph avenges Aine by having Yoshioka investigated for tax evasion and fraud, thus destroying his company.
Sakuya takes Aine, who is in a near catatonic state, into hiding to care for her. When she again attempts suicide, he cuts his own wrist telling her he will die with her if that's what she really wants. Aine snaps out of her depression and begins healing emotionally. Takayama locates Sakuya and attempts to lure him back into the band. Several attempts are made by Takayama and by Yuki to get Sakuya back. While they work to recover their relationship, Aine realizes Sakuya is avoiding music and is afraid that she will be hurt again because of him. She convinces him to return to the world they both love. Takayama's death in a car accident, which tramatizes and pushes Sakuya to rejoin the band and sign the contract. Ralph informs Sakuya that once he moves into their father's position that he wants Sakuya to take over the media end of the company, but Sakuya refuses stating that he would rather be a producer instead. After the death of the Takayama, Λucifer goes on to perform their final concert in Japan before moving the band to New York City. While they are overseas, Aine studies to take Takayama's place and become a producer. At the end for the series, Sakuya and Aine are married with a son. (See the one shot of Atsuro and Yuuka's wedding; also, the one shot 'King Egoist' in Love Celeb for the announcement of Sakuya and Aine having a second child.)
The anime adaptation does not follow most of the manga, acting more as a prequel series that shows how the band came to be formed and the daily hardships and struggles they faced as they formed. Aine is not introduced until the band gets their first debut in Episode 19.
- Aine Yukimura (雪村 愛音 Yukimura Aine )
- Main female protagonist of the series. Aine is a shy but innocent high school girl who does not know how to hide her feelings. Her home life is rocky, her parents seem to ignore her, so she's left to her own devices mostly. Their emotional neglect hurts her and causes her to cling to Sakuya all the more. She lacks confidence in herself so she has a hard time defending and protecting herself, relying on Sakuya and feeling guilty about her inexperience and doubts. When Sakuya tells them that Aine will be living with him, they finally realize that they are loosing their daughter to a dangerous world. Sakuya eventually convinces Aine's dad that he loves her and will protect her, so they can live together. Meanwhile, Aine has to fight to find her own place within the label and prove herself over and over again. Eventually she is seen as a valuable asset to Sakuya's emotional heath and to the band, and earns her own place with her innovative concepts, as well as for her lyrics. Towards the end of the series after she's raped and with the death of Hitoshi Takayama, the band's producer and her friend, she grows up, matures, and becomes stronger. Voiced by: Atsuko Enomoto
- Sakuya Ookochi (大河内 咲也 Ōkochi Sakuya )
- Main character of the series, Sakuya is the highly talented lead singer of Λucifer. He is also the youngest member of the band at the age of seventeen and still in high school. He transfers to Aine's high school to get closer to her. While he respects and trusts Yuki, the only other band member who he is close to is Atsuro. He is known for his striking blue eyes which are inherited from his American father. However, Sakuya is also rude, physical, and doesn't care about life even when he starts singing with the band Lucifer. Sakuya lived most of his young teenage life paying off his mother’s debt at the club she worked in. Like his mother, he sang and played the piano for club guests, but to make more money he also worked as a male escort prostitute on the side. He was able to do this because he appears older than his years. Because of his harsh experiences as a child, Sakuya's sense of trust was lost in people. But when he meets Aine, a high school girl, he shows a new caring and sensitive light towards others, especially to Aine. When she first starts working for them he says to himself that he is just selfishly using her, but after a while his true feelings start pouring out. ~see Sakuya's one shot and Vol. 10, Lucifer's Legend~ Voiced by: Masaya Matsukaze He makes an appearance in "Love Celeb" as Kirara's producer.
- Yukifumi ("Yuki") Todo (藤堂 雪文 Todo Yukifumi )
- Yuki, guitarist and leader of the band. He's the one who steps up to management and let's them know what is in the best interest of Lucifer and his band mates. Santa's old friend (in the anime only) and one of the founders of the band, Yuki has the strongest sense of leadership and responsibility that naturally makes him the band leader. In the manga, Yuki is the actual founder of Lucifer since he scouted out Towa and Atsuro first from the band Bi-Jazz. ~see one shot on Towa and Vol. 10, Lucifer's Legend~ He is often the one who knocks sense into Sakuya (sometimes almost too literally) whenever Sakuya's primal feelings blind him to Aine’s own hurt and pain, and the exasperation he causes his band mates. Yuki is the eldest son of a famous, traditional Noh theater family, but was forced to choose between the band and his family when he tells his father he wants to quit Noh and concentrate on the band. He is subsequently disowned by his father, but a later episode of the series (anime only) reveals a friendly relationship between the two. Although he does go back to Noh theater after Lucifer officially disbands, Yuki's relationship with his parents is not mentioned in the manga after Marriage Phrase, Vol. 6. On a side note, Yuki is married to Maria and has a child. Their marriage was arranged because Maria's family was in Noh theater as well. She was in love with him but felt he treated her like a little sister. Eventually Maria found out about Lucifer and snuck out with him to watch the band practice. Yuki's tune changed when Sakuya started to come onto her. Maria supported his decision to be a guitarist in a band. However, when Yuki's father disowned him, he briefly divorced Maria because he wasn't certain he could take care of a wife at the time. He begged her to remarry him when the band signed their first contract. ~see Vol. 6 Marriage Phrase~ Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki
- Yoshihiko ("Santa") Nagai (永井良彦 Nagai Yoshihiko )
- Λucifer’s drummer, Santa’s namesake comes from his birth date, which is on Christmas Day. Santa is an easy-going, but boisterous guy, who formerly played in Climb' with his girlfriend Yumi, who cheated on him and thus broke up the band. --(anime only). In the manga, Santa was originally the drummer for a heavy metal band called Shinigami. And the first time Santa met with Yuki about leaving Shinigami for Lucifer he made a pass at him. Yuki knocked him flat against the wall for thinking he was a woman. Santa agreed to a session and the rest is history in the manga. ~see Vol. 10, Lucifer's Legend~ He comes from a large family, loves ramen and beer, as well as putting his foot in his mouth at the most inappropriate times. It is through Santa that Yuki was able to meet Sakuya. ~ Other than that, his history is little known when compared to his band mates, and is the only one who remains single at the end of the series. Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai
- Kazuto ("Towa") Sakuma (佐久間和斗 Sakuma Kazuto )
- Bass guitarist of Λucifer. He doesn't joke around a lot and is considered an enigma of the band. He can be quiet and secretive, although not shy. He and Atsuro are best friends and attended the same high school. They both joined the band Bi-Jazz together. Much to his dislike, Towa’s androgynous good looks make not only women but also men swoon over him. His parents wanted a girl so when he was born he was raised as a girl for the first few years of his life. Cursed with fair, wavy hair and feminine beauty (and the inability to tan), Towa’s looks blur the lines between people’s perception of his gender so much that some people ignore his natural gender and do not even consider him a man. His bain was receiving love confessions from guys in high school, which Atsuro would tease him about. Although Towa was irked by this at first, he decides to use his beauty as a shield. The only person he reveals his true self to is his childhood friend (they literally grew up together and know each other to the point that he was afraid that she would see him as a girlfriend instead of a man) and current girlfriend, Miya, Λucier’s official makeup artist. Miya, ironically, is considered tomboyish and considers herself a rather plain woman. She and Towa completely complement each other, as in each other’s eyes, Towa is fully a man as much as Miya is fully a woman. ~see Towa's one shot~ Voiced by: Susumu Chiba
- Atsuro Kiryuu (桐生 敦郎 Kiryū Atsuro )
- Guitarist. As the most friendly and cheerful member of Λucifer, (in the manga he can also be as volatile as Sakuya when it comes to Yuuka) Atsuro serves as the comic relief in Kaikan Phrase. Atsuro’s long-time girlfriend, Yuuka, is actually his stepsister with whom he desperately tries to keep their relationship a secret from their parents, the media, and even his band mates. The biggest problem they face is that they are listed in the registry as siblings so there was a possibility that they might not be able to get married. Shinjo never really explains the legal complications fully even during the one shot in which Atsuro and Yuuka get married in the US without their parents blessing. Aine is the first person to find out about Atsuro and Yuuka. She tells him that she will keep their secret even though the paparazzi see him with Aine and mistakenly, as usual, announce that Atsuro is having an affair with Sakuya's girlfriend. Aine's secret about dating Sakuya has been outed for a while but the media never finds out that she's the lyricist for Lucifer. The secret causes Sakuya and Atsuro to fight until Yuuka announces to the band that she's in love with Atsuro. Eventually the band (except Sakuya) reveal that they had suspected that was the case all along. Also by the end, Atsuro and Yuuka also make a conscious decision to be together even if their parents objected and to be open about their relationship to the public. ~Vol. 6, Forbidden Phrase; Vol. 12 for outing of the relationship; and another one shot called Kinden Phrase~ Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura
In her blog, Shinjo noted that though she was the actual creator of Sensual Phrase, she was one of the last to know that the series was going to be adapted into an anime, and that by the time she knew, Shogakukan had already made the decision to do the series. She was also unaware that there were talks about making a film adaptation of the series until two years after the proposal was rejected. When the anime was rerun on AT-X, she found out by seeing it on the channels official website. She left Shogakukan in 2007, despite the company threatening to take all of her earlier series, including Sensual Phrase, out of print if she did so. Shinjo contacted a lawyer and, the threat was never carried out.
Written and illustrated by Mayu Shinjo, Sensual Phrase premiered in Shōjo Comic in 1997, where it was serialized monthly until its conclusion in 2000. The individual chapters were collected and published in 17 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from June 1997 through January 2001. An additional volume was released on April 24, 2003 containing a sequel chapter for the story and additional unrelated short stories. Shogakukan republished the serialized chapters across six shinsoban hard cover editions in 2003 and re-released the original 17 volumes in 2006 with new covers.
Sensual Phrase is licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media, including the special final volume. It released the first volume of the series on March 24, 2004; the final volume was released on February 13, 2007.
The series is licensed for regional language releases by Editorial Ivréa in Spain and Latin America, Pika Edition in France, Egmont Manga & Anime in Germany, and Star Comics in Italy. It was serialized in Germany in Manga Twister and in Italy in Amici.
Five novels based on the manga were published by Shogakukan:
- 90-nichi no Densetsu, published December 1, 1999 (ISBN 4-09-421241-8)
- Hong Kong Kyoushikyoku, published July 25, 2000 (ISBN 4-09-421242-6)
- Ao no Meikyu, published November 26, 2001, (ISBN 4-09-421243-4)
- Owarinaki Shinwa, published February 2001, (ISBN 4-09-421244-2)
- Engage Song, published June 3, 2003, (ISBN 4-09-421245-0)
Sensual Phrase was adapted as an anime television series by Studio Hibari. It was directed by Hiroko Tokita, with music by Susumu Akitagawa and character designs by Yumi Nakayama. There were multiple opening and closing themes, some of them credited to the fictional bands Λucifer and e.MU, for which real-world counterparts were created. The anime was broadcast on TV Tokyo in 44 episodes from April 20, 1999 to March 25, 2000. It was later released on 11 Videos by Pony Canyon.
Kaikan Phrase Original Soundtrack (快感フレーズ Original Soundtrack) is the anime series soundtrack album. It was released February 16, 2000 by Pony Canyon. Some tracks are performed by Λucifer, the real-world counterpart of the fictional rock band of the series.
Kaikan Phrase Visualism (or Kaikan Phrase BGM Image Album: VISUALISM) was releaded on March 15, 2000 by Pony Canyon. In addition, a self-title album by Λucifer was released on April 15, 1998 by PolyGram, containing songs from the manga.
A video game based on the series, Kaikan Phrase: Datenshi Kourin, was released in Japan for the Sony PlayStation by Enix on February 24, 2000. Produced by Produce, it is a Single-player Music game that features the five members of Λucifer. In 2010, Datenshi no Amai Yuuwaku x Kaikan Phrase was released for the Nintendo DS.
In 2006, a film adaption of Sensual Phrase was reportedly discussed by the Sensual Phrase editor at Shogakukan, but the idea was rejected because the company felt it would have been too much of a "hassle." According to Shinjo, she didn't learn about the proposal until years after it happened.
In addition, an artbook called SA KU YA (ISBN 4-09-199791-0) and a postcard book based on the manga were published.
- "Shinjo Blogs about Canned Sensual Phrase Film Talks". Anime News Network. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Sensual Phrase's Shinjo Explains Why She Left Magazine". Anime News Network. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Shinjo, Mayu. "Kaikan Phrase". Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "快感♥フレーズ / 1" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2009-01-24.[dead link]
- "快感♥フレーズ / 17" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "快感♥フレーズ 特別編" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "Viz Announces Q1 Acquisitions". Anime News Network. 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "Sensual Phrase (Kaikan Phrase) Vol.1". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "Sensual Phrase, Vol. 18". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- Mayu Shinju's official Sensual Phrase page
- Official Viz Media Sensual Phrase site
- Sensual Phrase () at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Kaikan Phrase: Datenshi Kourin at allgame.com
- Band reunites