The Global Popularity of Official HIGE DANdism’s ‘Mixed Nuts’ Explained

·5 min read

Now one of Japan’s biggest mainstream acts, Official HIGE DANdism’s most recent hit single “Mixed Nuts” continues to break records, sailing past 100 million streams on July 6 to rewrite the J-pop rock band’s own record for fastest release to hit the milestone. It’s also the first domestic song released this year to generate 100 million streams, notable in that this figure is an indicator of a nationwide hit in today’s J-pop music scene.

The key to the breakthrough was the popularity of the TV anime series SPYxFAMILY. “Mixed Nuts” was written by Official HIGE DANdism — often referred to as HIGE DAN for short — as the anime’s opener. The track was digitally released April 15 and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 on May 18 and July 6. The CD version, an EP with the song as the title track, dropped June 22 and boosted the song’s performance even further.

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The song showed no signs of slowing down 13 weeks after its debut on the Japan Hot 100, and on the week of July 4 to 11, it held at No. 1 for streaming for the third consecutive week to extend the total to 11 weeks at the top. “Mixed Nuts” also hit No. 1 for downloads for the fourth week and came in at No. 4 for video views, and these three metrics helped keep the track at No. 1 on the Japan Hot 100 for the second week in a row, extending its record to three weeks atop the multi-metric chart.

The song has also been dominating Billboard Japan’s Hot Animation anime song ranking, holding at No. 1 for the 13th consecutive week on the chart dated July 20. It’s now at second place in terms of total weeks at No. 1 on this list, surpassing YOASOBI’s BEASTARS opener “Kaibutsu” and closing in on LiSA’s “Gurenge,” the ubiquitous Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba theme that reigned for an impressive 16 consecutive weeks.

The secret of the song’s popularity is backed by its musicality. “Mixed Nuts” is a jazzy yet fast-paced, colorful pop-rock number. It’s an incredibly catchy track that folds together various genres to spark an uplifting feeling, showcasing the highly skilled performances by the HIGE DAN members.

The story of SPYxFAMILY starts off with the main character, an agent code-named “Twilight” tasked with maintaining peace between two rival nations, setting out to create a pseudo-family to carry out his mission. The members of this pseudo-family are a diverse group of gifted individuals — Twilight acting the part of a perfect father, Yor, an assassin acting as the mother, and Anya, a girl who can read minds — who work together to create the Forger household. While the storyline is a thrilling espionage narrative, the comedic elements born from the misunderstandings between characters stemming from the differences in their positions and abilities have made this series popular among a wide range of generations.

The title of this anime’s theme song is a nod towards Anya, who loves peanuts. Peanuts are a part of the mixture of various kinds of nuts that represents the diversity of today’s society, as expressed in the lyrics: “In a world like nuts packed in a bag, everyone shares their lives with someone they’ve met/Those of us who find our way in there smile, like peanuts pretending to be (the kinds of) nuts that grow on trees.” This theme, combined with the entertaining espionage narrative that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of nationality, also contributed to the success of the anime’s opener.

The SPYxFAMILY anime series has since become a hot topic around the globe through the power of social media. The anime series is based on a comic serialized in Shueisha’s online magazine Shonen Jump+. The collected volumes of the work had sold more than 12.5 million copies as of the start of the anime’s broadcast, and the total sailed past 21 million by the end of May. The show is ranked among the top 10 on Netflix in more than 10 countries, mainly in Asia such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Online, fan art related to SPYxFAMILY is being shared on social media, and memes related to Anya are becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In Japan, short videos of people lip-synching and dancing to the character’s voice saying, “Anya loves peanuts!” are flooding video sharing platforms, and on TikTok in particular, total views of videos tagged with #spyxfamily have exceeded 10 billion.

Various factors such as SPYxFAMILY’s explosive popularity and the momentum of the theme song itself have placed “Mixed Nuts” in the top 100 on the U.S. Billboard Global 200 chart since its release. On the chart dated July 23, it slipped from the top 100 but hangs on at No. 104, extending the song’s record to 13 weeks on the list. [It’s at No. 118 on the latest tally dated July 30.] This places the band among the top 10 J-pop acts to stay on the chart the longest, attesting to its global popularity. As one of the top J-pop songs of 2022 so far, Official HIGE DANdism’s “Mixed Nuts” is likely to continue breaking records in the second half of the year.

–This article by fukuryu first appeared on Billboard Japan.

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