Check out J-Generation′s best J-Pop and J-Rock album/single jackets of 2014, chosen by contributors David Cirone and Jen Wang.
Dir en Grey – Sustain the Untruth
Dave: Demonic-male-sexy as only DIR EN GREY can pull it off. This is the kind of album jacket that makes me buy something right off the shelf without hearing a note.
Aldious – Other World
Jen: The gorgeous ladies of Aldious look like Disney princesses… ready to rock!
URBANGARDE – Utsukushii Kuni
Dave: URBANGARDE’s Utsukushii Kuni features artwork by renowned Japanese painter Aida Makoto, a contemporary Japanese artist known for his provocative works of manga, painting, and sculpture. Paired with URBANGARDE’s always counter-culture lyrics, the painting takes on new life as a critique of a schoolgirl-obsessed society.
Man With a Mission – Tale of Purefly
Jen: The fantastical artwork is reminiscent of The Dark Crystal and Lord of the Rings.
Onmyouza – Fujin Kaiko & Raijin Sosei (double release)
Dave: EPIC is the word for the awesome double-concept-album artwork served up for Onmyouza’s mythology-themed releases of Fujin Kaiko & Raijin Sosei. This is a band that swings for the fences with their visual imagery, and their fan following worldwide continues to rise.
Rie a.k.a. Suzaku – Sonic City
Jen: With her brightly-colored hair and goggles, Rie a.k.a. Suzaku looks like a post apocalyptic anime heroine ready to protect the world from aliens and bad music.
THE KIDDIE – DYSTOPIA
Dave: The Kiddie’s Matrix-like cybernetic moment of capture strikes just the odd balance between horror, androgyny, and straight-on casual cool, tip of the hat included.
Blu BiLLioN – Sincerely Yours
Jen: There’s nothing more sincere than the heart, and the one of an artist is multifaceted and full of life. The eye in it seems to penetrate the soul.
Sheena Ringo – Gyakuyunyu Kowankyoku
Dave: Once again flawless and fearless, Sheena Ringo takes charge of her own Ports and Harbors Bureau to “re-import” herself on this album of self-covers for songs written for PUFFY, Chiaki Kuriyama, and SMAP among others.
VAMPS – Bloodsuckers
Dave: The jacket for VAMPS Bloodsuckers puts you in a dangerous position — save yourself or give in to the tattooed vixen who’s ready to bring your life to a sweet but sudden end.
Perfume – Cling Cling
David: The ornate doll-like beauty of Perfume is captured perfectly in the artwork for the limited edition release of Cling Cling.
moumoon – Love before we Die
Jen: The shot has all the making of a typical romantic image even the lens flare, but the cut on her mouth completely subverts it.
Brand New Idol Society (BIS) – STUPIG
David: Anime/mecha versions of the group’s members reveal BIS to be every fan boy’s dream — poseable, shiny, and ready for takeoff!
Charan-Po-Rantan – Wasurekaketeta Monogatari
Jen: This cover perfectly captures the band’s whimsical nature. It would interesting to join the sisters for tea.
Mamoru Miyano – New Order
David: Mamoru Miyano’s tie-in single for the Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life: Awakening Arc anime is ultra-cyber-future-sexy. He’s ready to move fast into some luck girl’s heart.
Tokyo Girls’ Style – Jujika
David: Tokyo Girls’ Style’s single release for the horror film Gakkou no Kaidan puts you in the perfect frame of mind for schoolgirl ghost stories.
Fudanjuku – BE HERO
Jen: Rather than another picture of the group, the limited edition album features anime versions of the boys. Like all good heroes, they are ready for adventure.
Sumire Uesaka – Kakumei Teki Broadway Shugisha Doumei
David: Voice actress Sumire Uesaka delivers an oddly disturbing combination of combat and kawaii in the military version of her single Kakumei Teki Broadway Shugisha Doumei.
Nami Tamaki – NT Gundam Cover
Jen: Nami here is an otaku’s dream girl with lounging around in her cute PJs, surrounded by Gundam models.
Akina Nakamori – All Time Best
David: The artwork for Akina Nakamori’s first (hard-to-believe that!) greatest hits album places her square back in the 80s where she debuted.