Yesterday I went to the Live5pb.2016 in Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo. Live5pb. is an annual live event held to showcase all the artists under 5pb. records. 5pb. is a video game manufacturer and record label producer. 5pb.Games’s most notable work is Steins;Gate. They also do plenty of console ports, bringing famous games such as Muv-Luv and ever17 from PC to consoles.
5pb.Records’s major representative artists are Itou Kanako, Ayane, Nao, Afilia Saga, Imai Asami, Hara Yumi, and Zwei. All of these artists showed up singing anime songs and game songs. There were plenty of songs from the Steins;Gate and Hyperdimension Neptunia series performed. In particular, Steins;Gate 0, being a game released just a month ago, was a big focus.
The live kicked off with Steins;Gate theme song “Hacking to the gate” by Itou Kanako. What was different from usual was the fact that Imai Asami joined Kanako for a duet. Imai Asami voiced the main heroine of Steins;Gate, Makise Kurisu (picture below). It goes without saying, but the audience (myself included) went berserk at this.
During the live, there would always be a talk corner in the middle for introduction to new game projects or interaction or dubbing sessions with voice actors involved in 5pb.’s games. It started with the introduction of the main characters of “Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO”, a remake of the original game from 1996. Then was followed by an introduction to the new “Science Adventure” title “Anonymous;Code”. Lastly, there was a talk by voice actress Ogata Megumi (most well-known for voicing Ikari Shinji, the main character of Neon Genesis Evangelion) about the game “Mystereet F”, currently still in production.
5pb. has contributed so much to the Japanese game industry, yet hardly anyone knows about them.
The man behind 5pb. is Shikura Chiyomaru. He is the executive director of the company, composer, writer, and has a hand in almost everything that goes on in 5pb.
Fans call him Shachou (CEO) affectionately, and for good reason. Chiyomaru, unlike most people of his status, puts himself close to the fans. He interacts with fans regularly on twitter, and is often on the front-line during lives and plays the guitar for the artists under his record label.
In his youth, Chiyomaru did plenty of game programming and composed a lot of music as a drummer in his band. He was great in both fields. Today, he has a fixation on the visual novel genre, believing that visual novels combine both games and music perfectly.
Chiyomaru has since composed countless songs, and most of them are game music. Most of the games he composed for aren’t well-known, but there’s Steins;Gate, a game almost everyone has heard of at the very least.
EMBED YOUTUBE VIDEO OF HACKING TO THE GATE
He has released eleven compilation albums of his works. “Game vocalist best ~Shikura Chiyomaru gakkyokushuu vol. 1 to vol. 3”, and “THE WORKS~Shikura Chiyomaru gakkyokushuu~ 1.0 to 8.0”.
5pb.Games have very few original IPs, as their focus is on developing games for existing IPs as well as porting games. For some unknown reason, Chiyomaru is a staunch supporter of the Xbox console, and thus publishes a lot of games for the Xbox console. Some of their few original IPs are Phantom breaker, Bullet soul, and Dunamis15. Steins;Gate was co-developed by Nitroplus.They have also ported many legendary titles to various consoles, either on their own or in collaboration with other companies.
Some notable 5pb. games :
Science Adventure series : Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate, Robotics;Note, Chaos;Child, Anonymous;Code.
These games are perhaps the most representative works of 5pb. These are developed together with Nitroplus, except Robotics;Notes. The first three games all had anime, and Steins;Gate 0, the sequel of Steins;Gate, already has an anime announced. Although based on science-fiction, The games are set in places very real to the Japanese people’s hearts such as Shibuya, Akihabara, and Nakano.
Last but not least, 5pb. has appeared as a playable character in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. The games sold quite well on Steam so I believe many western gamers do at least know about the 5pb. character if not the company.
Plenty of people know Steins;Gate without knowing the company behind it, or the man behind all the theme songs of the series. I hope with this article you have gotten an idea of what 5pb. does, and do check out their games!