Fantastic Magic isn’t an album that necessarily tells a specific story the way Flowering did. However, all of the songs are connected by one specific theme: “Who Am I?”. Each of the songs in the album deal with the struggle for an identity, both as a person and as an artist.
Here is a link to the full album on YouTube:
The album begins with the title track “Fantastic Magic”
This song intertwines the struggle for identity as a person and artist. This song, like many, could be seen as a silent confession of the artists emotions towards an unknown individual. It takes a reminiscent perspective, appearing to look back on the good times the artist and the individual shared. It conveys a feeling that the artist is looking back on the past to discover who he is. Specifically in the lyrics (roughly translated):
The delusion and imagination directed at us
The delusion and imagination that we were robbed of
When I become parched, I know all the colors
My heart is pounding, you and me, and memories
The heart of those days is slow mo slow motion
My heart is empty these days Slow mo Slow motion
This song isn’t necessarily my personal favorite out of the songs in the album, but I never skip it when it comes on.
Up next, we have what is likely Kitajima’s claim to fame: “Unravel”:
This song was the opening for the first season of the anime Tokyo Ghoul, an adaptation of the manga written by Sui Ishida. This song is all about the identity of the individual. It is a declaration of the artists lack of individual identity. A realization that he no longer knows who he is and is afraid of what he has become. It is both a cry for help and a warning to his loved ones to stay away from him. It is also a wish that others will remember him the way he used to be, the person that he sees as a “pure” version of himself. I believe the lyrics that best convey this are:
In the distorted world, I gradually become transparent and invisible
Don’t find me, don’t stare at me
In a world that someone drew I don’t want to hurt you
Remember me and keep me vivid
Overall, this song is a certified banger. If you watch anime, you’ve most likely heard this song more than once. Even then, the best is yet to come.
Following the chaotic cry for help of “Unravel” is “Kalei de scope”:
This song leans into the more existential side of the album. It is also, like “Fantastic Magic”, a fusion between the two different identity crises. One of the most significant parts of the song are the lyrics:
“Why does only the unreachable miracle move my heart?
Why is it that only memories that cannot be seen move my heart?
These lyrics talk about how oftentimes the things we struggle the most to remember are what have the most impact on who we are as people.
After that, the song “an artist” begins:
As evident from the title, this song deals much more with the singers struggle with an identity as an artist. This is clearest in the following lyrics:
For the sake of being reflected in you, even though I can’t change
Even if I gave you everything that I captured on the remaining film
Nausea wells up, a mass of phrases I don’t even want to see
Break that key, you’re crazy crazy”
This song is about the artists desire to create art that is inherently meaningful, while also struggling with their feelings that everything they make is essentially pointless.
This is followed by the song “tokio”:
This song is a deep dive into the identity of the person behind the artist. It is the individual. He is observing the world around him, the world of the “artist” from the perspective of the “individual”. It is a fear of change, mixed with the understanding that one must change eventually. This is shown with the lyrics
“no matter how much I overtake myself
When the morning comes, everything will rewind
If I reach out my hand, the answers overflow
Suddenly I’m broken and lost
Chasing after unfamiliar places
Forcing myself to find my place
I feel like I’ll be hated for who I am
I tried to swallow myself inside someone
It’s time to change
I still can’t say anything to the unchangeable me”
This, the bridge of the song (I think), carries the most power within this song. It is an acceptance and a denial. It is the emotions of the song summarized.
Next up is “Shinkiro”:
This song is an expression of the desires of the artist. This is shown through the lyrics
“I can’t see the important things, so listen to my music listen to my music
Don’t even doubt what you have in your hand, listen to my music listen to my music
i was having the same dream”
This song is softer, and one of the only songs with a second singer joining TK. This song is almost begging for the listener to listen to the music and messages the artist has made. It is a desire to be known as an artist.
After that comes “Dramatic Slow Motion”:
This song is complex in its own right. It is, in some ways, the realization that the individual and the artist are the same. This is best shown with the lyrics
“I want to give you a slow motion name and show it to you
In the world, my dream rock star has already entered me”
Though I believe the most powerful lyrics in the song are
“Consciousness is blown away by the delay
The volume envelops you
Harsh voices and scenery, hand in hand
This time I’m the fake star of my dreams
Can I touch your eardrums?”
These lyrics are like a repeat of the message of “Shinkiro”. The artist is asking if he is allowed to have his music heard.
The next song in the album is “Spiral Parade”:
This song is about the journey from being just an individual to also becoming an artist. This is best shown with the lyrics
“Forgetting how to blink, I chose the endless road
I’m searching with my ears open, it’s an endless Self Spiral
At some point, I touched the guitar, and there was nothing to fear
It begins when I meet myself reflected in six mirrors”
However, it is also a realization of losing yourself to your art. A fusion between the artist and the individual.
After this is “Fragile”:
This song is about the futility of the artist. It is an expression of the difference between what the artist wants to create and what they are actually capable of creating. The following lyrics support this:
I’m not here to seek pain, but
The words that come out are sad
I’m not here in search of light, but
If you can see something, that’s fine
play hide and seek
The words I want to convey are floating in the air
The only thing I can spit out is the darkness, you know?
I wish I could see everything in her transparently”
This song is a beautiful song and is one of the softest songs in the album.
To end the album, we have the song “contrast”:
This song is an acceptance and a transformation. The individual and the artist accept each other and become one. It is the most “conversational” of the songs within the album. The lyrics that best represent the song are
you know all my favorite things
I guess I even remember my favorite chords
Why? Even though the present is overflowing
Remembering a phantom promise
If you close your eyelids, time will stop
you remember all the things i said
Because you can solve all the incomprehensible codes
Why? I don’t know who I am
I guess I was looking through a phantom telescope
I can’t close my eyes because eternity will run away”
It is a realization that there is no such thing as a permanent identity, neither for artist nor individual.
This, while not my favorite album by TK, has some of my favorite songs by him.