Exploring Anime: “Touch Off” by Uverworld (from The Promised Neverland)

Openings in anime come with music from across genre lines. For a Shoujo-Romance, you might get a standard J-Pop tune, or you might get a punk-rock ballad. Individual artists that cross into the anime world can also be pretty diverse, and nowhere else is that more apparent than with the band Uverworld. For this edition of Exploring Anime, we’ll be focusing on their song from one of the more popular anime out there right now, The Promised Neverland, titled “Touch Off.”

Source: http://www.uverworld.jp/feature/2018_livetour?lang=en

It should be noted that when I say Uverworld has provided a lot of anime openings, I do mean a lot. Their song “D-Technolife” became an opening song for Bleach in 2005. In 2011, their song “Core Pride” became the opening for Blue Exorcist, and as recently as 2018 they provided the opening song for My Hero Academia, “Odd Future.” Now, fast forward to the winter of 2019, and their newest single “Touch Off” has become the opening for The Promised Neverland.

Even despite the amount of musical diversity found in Uverworld’s production, they have always come across as being a lot more like a Breaking Benjamin, by which I mean still very much a rock band, with some occasional curveballs thrown in for the listener. This is not to say that I think Uverworld is bad, far from it, but at this point, I do expect a certain type of sound from Uverworld. Thankfully though, I can say that “Touch Off” is musically different enough from the other stuff I have heard from them to be interesting.

The two main things that come across as ear-catching in the song is the acoustic guitar at the beginning of the song. Of course, an acoustic guitar isn’t anything new in rock music, but the way it is used in combination with the lyrics, where the singer questions whether or not they will be able to obtain their freedom, and then immediately drops into the much heavier instruments that are normal for the band feels incredibly awesome.

The other immediately interesting part of the song is the saxophone that picks up at multiple points in the song which adds a lot more melody. In a song like “Touch Off,” one might expect a guitar solo or something more normal for a rock band, but the saxophone comes in instead and provides another element of cool.

The Promised Neverland

The song also works extremely well thematically with the show its connected to, “The Promised Neverland.” In the series, a group of kids has to find a way to escape what they thought was an orphanage when they realize that, in actuality, their home is nothing more than a farm in which they are being raised like cattle to be sold to demons. Much of the lyrical emphasis of the song seems to be on whether or not this person can escape this dire situation that they have found themselves in that appears to be hopeless. One of the lyrical elements I like in particular is the voice that repeats the word fire after each verse, which represents an immediate danger, similar to how the threat of being shipped off to be eaten by demons is an immediate threat faced by the main characters.

All in all, “Touch Off” is an awesomely unique song with a few distinctive elements that make it really stand out both as a song and as an anime opening. Uverworld knew what they were doing on this one.

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