High and Mighty Color, known to fans as “haikara”, is a sextet that juxtaposes well-executed hard rock overlaid with clear, melodic vocals. Hailing from Okinawa, High and Mighty Color follows several other Okinawa bands, most notably Mongol 800 and Orange Range, to hit it big nationwide in the early 21st century.
Comprising Maki (vocals), Yusuke (vocals), Meg (guitar), Kazuto (guitar), Mackaz (bass), and Sassy (drums), the band’s origin was a Metallica cover band formed by Meg and Sassy in high school. After the addition of Kazuto, Mackaz, and Yusuke, who had been playing in other bands at the time, the band named itself Anti-Nobunaga, and began to play original music at area competitions.
The band’s combination of technically advanced songs and a blistering live set earned them a significant buzz on Okinawa, and soon the band’s name was on the lips of fans and music industry observers alike. Touted as the successors to local legends like Murasaki and Condition Green, Anti-Nobunaga took another step toward success when they played a knockout show at a summer 2003 event hosted by Okinawa homegrown label Spice Records, the label responsible for introducing the chart topping Orange Range.
Based on the strength of their event performance, the band placed a track on the compilation album Okinawa 2003 the same year. It was around this time that the members of Anti-Nobunaga met their future vocalist Maki in the offices of Spice Records.
A high school student with dreams of becoming a singer and actress, she was getting ready to move to Canada to attend acting school and study English, but cancelled these plans after an invite from Anti-Nobunaga to work together. The band renamed itself High and Mighty Color, promptly ensconcing itself in the studio to rehearse and record.
The band’s first official live appearance in its new incarnation was in September 2004 at the Music Picnic music festival, also hosted by Spice Records, the performance making Maki and High and Mighty Color instant stars. The band released its indie debut EP, Over in November, selling it exclusively through Tower Records retail locations and selling out in a month, its immediate scarcity prompting fans to refer to it as the “phantom record”. In December of the same year, the it was announced that the band’s single “Pride” would be used as the opening theme for hit anime Gundam Seed Destiny, initiating a rash of media exposure and major label attention. The band’s EP was re-released by Sony Music Entertainment in April 2005.