Calling all Kingdom Hearts and Evangelion fans!!!

If there’s one J-pop singer that people outside of Japan might be familiar with, it’s undoubtedly Utada Hikaru. A New Yorker who’s been making music primarily in Japan since 1996, Utada’s jams have been adding atmosphere and emotional weight to Japanese people’s playlists since before playlists were a thing. Millions of people outside of Japan got their first taste of what some call “pop music genius” when unanticipated tears began rolling down their cheeks as Sora and Kairi were torn apart once again to the sounds of “Simple and Clean” at the end of the first Kingdom Hearts game. (Proof positive: I just looked up a video on YouTube of the end scenes of Kingdom Hearts and pretty much immediately started crying!) That connection was reinforced for video gamers when she contributed the song “Sanctuary” (aka Passion”) to Kingdom Hearts II.

▼ The Japanese version of “Simple and Clean” is called “Hikari”

Kingdom Hearts isn’t the only franchise in which Utada has made a mark, though. Fans of Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance will recognize the remix of the song Beautiful World, which served as the theme song of the movie. In fact, Sakura Nagashi from Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo is the 11th track on Utada’s first album in over 8 years. The album, Fantôme, will be released on September 28th.

The news surrounding the release of a new album isn’t the only thing to get super hyped about. A new installment of the Kingdom Hearts series is scheduled for release in January 2017 and a new remix of the orignal tear-jerker “Simple and Clean” (“Hikari“) along with it. This version is much less serious in tone, but packs an emotional punch nonetheless.

It’s a great year to be an Utada Hikaru fan and 2017 is going to be another great year for Kingdom Hearts fans.

But hey, Utada and Kingdom Hearts may not be for everyone! Perhaps BabyMetal is more your style? Tell us who your favorite Jpop artist is in the comments below!

Source: PRTimes, POPCrush
Images: Utada Hikaru