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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

The rise, fall, and rise again of Serani Poji


Serani Poji, a musical project/band from the Shibuya-kei (lit. Shibuya-style) genre known for songs such as “Where’s Smiley?” and “Pipo Pipo,” has had a tumultuous journey to popularity. It started with a Dreamcast game that originated from a musical project that’s currently one of the most popular Japanese acts on TikTok.

Tomoko Sasaki, a founding member of the band Serani Poji, is a musician who started working for SEGA in 1992. Besides Serani Poji, she is also known for her soundtrack work on games such as the “Nights into Dreams” series, “Samba de Amigo”, and several songs from “The IDOLM@STER” series. Tomoko also writes children’s songs with her sister, illustrator Wakaba Sasaki, on their Youtube channel Tokio Heidi.

Serani Poji started as a fictional pop star in the life simulation game “ROOMMANIA #203”, released for the Dreamcast in 2000. In the game, you play as a god, watching over the life of the main character, a young man named Neji Taihei. In the game, Neji is a big fan of Serani Poji.

To promote the game, Serani Poji released their first album Manamoon, under Nippon Columbia’s label TRIAD in 1999 (months before the game’s release). The album is co-produced by DJ Yukihiro Fukutomi and features vocals by Yukichi from the band CECIL.

A sequel to ROOMMANIA #203, titled “New Roommania: Porori Seishun”, was later released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002, and to promote the game, Serani Poji released their second album One Room Survival under Nippon Crown. This release was the first Serani Poji project that featured Yumi Higashino as a vocalist, and also the last work featuring Fukutomi as a producer. In the same year, they released a remix album to Manamoon.

2003 was the year when they started releasing material without promoting a ROOMMANIA game, with their third album Ochamekan, its single “Bomber Minmi” and a bonus short film titled “Go! Go! Super Girl.” under SEGA’s label Wave Master. Both releases were entirely produced by Sasaki and were the last releases before the band’s disbandment in 2004.

In 2010, Sasaki revived Serani Poji as a solo project, releasing a new album titled Merry Go Round Jailhouse. Unlike the other albums, Merry Go Round Jailhouse features vocals from Sasaki herself. Although not releasing music for a long time, Sasaki did reveal in 2017 that she’s still working on new Serani Poji songs to coincide with a new ROOMMANIA game, which unfortunately ended up being shelved, according to Sasaki, in 2023.

2023 was the year when Shibuya-kei music started to come back to popularity, especially on TikTok. Serani Poji was one of the artists from the genre who left obscurity, alongside Lamp, CAPSULE, and Frenesi. “Pipo Pipo” and “Where’s Smiley?” became two of the most-played songs on TikTok in January 2024, leading to Where’s Smiley? joining Billboard’s TikTok Top 50 charts and Nippon Crown releasing a sped-up version of Pipo Pipo.

Despite their impact, we don’t know when Sasaki will work on new music under the project, but maybe in the future, we can see more Serani Poji material without waiting another 14 years.

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About the Contributor
Joao Hernandes
Joao Hernandes, Writer
Hello! I'm Joao or J.P. for short. I'm currently a sophomore, and i'm formerly part of the LEGO Club. I'm into drawing, listening to music, and obscure media.

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