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“Connect” (Japanese: コネクト, Konekuto) is the opening theme song for the 2011 magical girl anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The song has since became widely known among anime fans during the series’ immediate rise to popularity, with the theme inspiring many parody remixes and musical covers.
“Connect” was originally written by songwriter Shō Watanabe, performed by J-Pop idol duo ClariS and was used as the opening theme song for the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which premiered in Japan on January 7th, 2011. The song was later released as the group’s second single of their debut album Birthday on February 2nd, 2011. Notably, many changes were made to the opening sequence as the series went on, with fans speculating that it had to do with story-related events. However, it was revealed that most of it was due to a low animation budget on behalf of Shaft, the ambitious animation studio known for the cult hit series Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Bakemonogatari, and Hidamari Sketch.
ClariS was a Japanese pop idol unit consisting of two anonymous high school girls from Hokkaido known as Clair and Alice. Originally known under the name “Alice Clair” (アリス☆クララ), the duo first started out singing covers from various anime series and by Vocaloids and uploading them to the video sharing site Nico Nico Douga since October 2009. The group was first discovered by Sony Music Entertainment and were featured in the anime magazine LisAni!, under the suggestion of Vocaloid producer Kz, along with first song “Drop.” ClariS later released their debut single “Irony”, which was used as the opening theme for the 2010 anime Oreimo. After the major success of “Connect”, the group went on to release three albums and had their music featured in various anime series, until the departure of Alice in May 2014.
Other notable things about the opening is the black cat seen with Madoka was originally not planned for at all and just somehow thrown in. Later on the cat was given a name and a story through one of the drama CDs for the series.
The cat, named Amy, played a large role in series of events that set the stage for the story of the anime. In the original timeline when Homura first met Madoka she was already a magical girl. In the drama CD it was revealed that Madoka saw Amy about to get run over by a car and she made a wish was to save Amy’s life. Homura and Madoka became friends because Homura was moved by Madoka’s kindness. When Walpurgis Nacht happens, Amy leads Homura to find Madoka.
Another important note is the revelation in the tenth episode that Homura was actually the main protagonist of the series. The lyrics of the song were largely about her story.
After it’s release, the song was met with praise from fans and critics, with it reaching #5 on the Oricon weekly singles chart and as well as being certified gold for selling 100,000 copies in a single year in Japan. Meanwhile, online users in Japan taken a liking to the song, began creating musical covers, MAD remixes, and animated parodies and uploading to Niconico immediately after its debut. However many videos featuring the original song has since been taken down from Niconico and from YouTube, mainly due to the strict copyright policies of the song’s holder Sony Music Entertainment. To counter-act this, many users had to resort in using vocal or midi covers of “Connect” in their video, with many utilizing a cover version sung by Niconico singer irony (shown below), mainly because of the similarities between the original. The video has since viewed more than 1.9 million times since its upload on February 2nd, 2011.
Left: MIDI Cover | Right: Violin Cover
Left: Band Cover | Right: Piano Cover
Left: Comment Art AMV | Right: Shuzo Matsuoka
Left: Charlotte ver. | Right: Chargeman Ken!