Running to Horizon: Thirty Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast

It's time to stray a little bit off-course. I largely focus on Tokusatsu-related topics here on CCLemon99.com, but every once in awhile I have to give something outside of my realm a fair shout. Back in 2018 I reviewed every Akina Nakamori album. I spent an entire month covering thirty-five years worth of albums and a few extras. It was...an experience. I don't anticipate doing anything crazy like that again, but every once in awhile something special comes along for me to talk about.

Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of it's release, I'll be talking about Tetsuya Komuro's 1989 electronic epic Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast.


To sum up Tetsuya Komuro's career in short is damn near impossible. He was one-third of the popular long-running group TM Network. Beyond that, his talents allowed him to break off to produce several pop songs in the 1980s before launching a full-blown solo debut with the album Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast.

Following the release of this album, things absolutely took off for Komuro. He went on to compose, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate, and produce some of the best selling music of the 1990s (and the Speed 2 theme). Again, it's impossible to briefly sum up just how important and prolific Komuro is to Japanese popular music. On the list of the top twenty best-selling singles in Japan, he has his hands on the entries in the 14th (Namie Amuro Can You Celebrate?), 15th (Globe Departures), and 17th (H Jungle With t WOW WAR TONIGHT~Toki niwa okose yo Movement) spots.

The end of the story is a lot less rosy for Komuro. He ended up in some pretty hefty legal troubles in 2008, but managed to avoid prison after a bailout by avex, the record label he was affiliated with. He managed to maintain his career for another decade before being entwined in another scandal, which prompted his abrupt retirement from the music business in 2018.

While his name was always out there during the early years of TM Network, largely due to his supreme skills pioneering a new era of electronic music in Japan, he didn't become a name in his own right until he went solo. He has a unique and somewhat unusual voice, but that didn't seem to hold him back when it came to fronting his own disc. I can understand how someone wouldn't be a fan of his vocals, but I dig them.

Let's eat!


Tetsuya Komuro Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast


To set the mood our endeavor begins with an incredibly dense instrumental track. In later years TK had become increasingly theatrical with 30+ minute versions of Get Wild, but this is really the genesis of what would later become a staple of TM Network live shows. These long, sweeping tracks with endless little layers piled on top of one another generate some incredible hype for music that will never disappoint.


DIGITALIAN leads directly into SHOUT. SHOUT is really the place where you're really going to want to make up your mind on whether or not you want to continue with this album. If you do, you'll be greatly rewarded...but as I mentioned, TK's voice is certainly unique.

One of TK's greatest hallmarks, particularly in this era, was his habit of either taking these usually long breaks during the middle of the song from his vocals and his propensity for incredibly detailed and extended intros. This song has both. His vocals don't kick in for almost an entire minute and he takes a one minute, twenty second break from singing smack in the middle of the song. Both times are used to incredible effect of building up the power of this song.

I honestly can't think of a better jumping point from DIGITALIAN.


While the previous two tracks are a bit more on the sterile side, OPERA NIGHT is a bit less tense and a lot more fun. It manages to accomplish all of this while maintaining the electronic flow-throughout.

Listen carefully when you check this one out. There is so much going on from start to finish to make up the beat.


This is the first song on the album that I would call "catchy".

TK likely agreed with this sentiment because he later produced a song for the entirely forgettable girl group CoCo called Haru Milky Way that is VERBATIM the melody from I WANT YOU BACK. I'm not kidding. It's a direct copy minus about ten layers of music stripped out of it.

I WANT YOU BACK is great, though. TK once again employs his trick of building the perfect momentum through a increasingly dense intro and uses a fun little key change when moving into the coda before it gently fades out.


An incredibly chill song. This is TK's second single and it also peaked at number one on the oricon singles chart.

Even in it's slower pace, there is plenty of things here to keep you hooked. The ever-present density is just as available for study as it is elsewhere and subtle little jabs like the random section of English lyrics definitely give this otherwise mundane song some interesting flair.


OK, story time. I was randomly listening to this song while working on something at work overnight with a coworker who was wearing headphones and doing his own thing. All of the sudden he was like "OH MY GOD THAT WAS INCREDIBLE! WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO??" just as the sax solo had ended. I didn't realize it, but he basically stopped listening to his bullshit and just started jamming to my TK.

This song...is truly the underrated hit of the album. Personally I think TK's vocals are at their best here. I'm kinda sad knowing I'll never have fresh ears for this album like my co-worker did, but he definitely made me *really* appreciate the Stan Harrison saxophone solo that slides in so perfectly with this otherwise entirely synthetic beat.


This is another song that TK was quite fond of and later re-purposed. The fresh-lyric version later appeared as the theme song for the 1990 Toei film Ten to chi to. Personally I'm a little more into the film version as it works more as an orchestrated tune than a fully-produced one.

When I say that NEVER CRY FOR ME is the produced version, I mean that very lightly. This is the most stripped-sounding song on the entire album--easily the most instrument-heavy track. Somehow it still fits in very well. A nice little breath of reality.


As I am writing this review thirty years to the day of the album's release, it is cold, infinitely dark, and pouring down with sleet. If it were snowing outside, it would be the ideal scenario for this song. I don't know how, but this instrumental track really captures that Winter feeling for me. Is the synclavier an instrument typically associated to cold weather? To me it is...

It really should come as no surprise that TK's follow-up to this album, Hit Factory, has a beach-themed instrumental track that fits into the glitzy beach theme of that album. He also produced a quadruple album of instrumental music broken into seasons. The man knows his seasonal ambient music.


Ohhhh yeah. The big daddy track of this album. Here it is all the way at the end. This is also the first single from the album AND a number one single on the oricon singles chart. How's that for a debut? Well...except that he had been a major musician for five years at this point with TM Network.

A little back story to this song. RUNNING TO HORIZON is the theme song to the thirteen-episode City Hunter 3 from 1989. Both City Hunter and City Hunter 2 frequented TM Network songs (Get Wild, Still Love Her) and even a song from the TM Network touring band Fence of Defense (Sara). It only makes sense that CH3 kept it in the family by using a song from Tetsuya Komuro.

Like SHOUT, this song has this incredible sprawling intro that builds this awesome momentum. From there it is just this wonderful assault of just pure pop music. TK bends the lyrics in a mighty bid to avoid disturbing the impeccably constructed flow of the music.

It's incredibly easy to compare RUNNING TO HORIZON to TM Network's Dive Into Your Body since they was recorded concurrently, but these are two very different songs. Outside of the similar backing vocals, both are just these wonderfully constructed and LOUD pop songs.

Think of the hits of Stock, Aitkman, and Waterman. I love 'em. Just shameless and unapologetic bangers. Songs like this, and this (it's relevant), and this (even though it's completely stolen from this). RUNNING TO HORIZON is obviously a bit more complex than any of those songs, but their all of the same ilk.

When it comes to a good pop song, I'm a sucker. This song is pop song perfection.

The opening animation for City Hunter 3 cuts down a lot of the awesome intro of the song, but it is easily my favorite of the intros in the franchise.


Since this album has a December release and Christmas songs have a habit of becoming an annual tradition if they're good enough, here we are. This song did get to be the third and final single from the album, but it peaked at number two. So close to that trifecta.

You know what? TK does sincere incredibly well. TM Network bandmate Naoto Kine provides some wonderful strings, and the children's choir is very effectively used.

I will take this a THOUSAND times over TM Network's Christmas song of the same era. It's a very sweet and simple close to our journey of an album.


For a musician that comes from a band that I've always given a solid "B" to, Tetsuya Komuro totally excels as a solo act and producer. This album has no fat. None. Everything on this disc is 100% necessary. It's ten tracks, forty-nine minutes of just solid music. There isn't a single song here that is out of place, there isn't a single dud of a song. It is literally THE album of the tail end of Japan's bubble.

Is it my favorite JPOP album of the 1980s? Nope. It's definitely up there, though. My heart 100% belongs to Akina Nakamori's Stock for the record. The interaction I had with my coworker is proof-positive that TK was a goddamn genius producer. From here...he would only go on to rule the 90s...

Digitalian is Eating Breakfast even has a legacy of it's own, getting a sequel in 2011 and 2013. How are they? Never heard them. The samples were kinda off-putting...but I may check them out some day.

Is this album worth your time? YES. At the very minimum, RUNNING TO HORIZON is a fabulous song, but as a whole it is an experience from start to end.

Here's to 10,958 breakfasts...and many more!


It's always nice to talk about one of my favorite albums. Be sure to check out some of the posts I wrote about TM Network previously...and my month-long Akina Nakamori marathon if you dare.

See ya!


TM Network Original Singles 1984-1999
TM Network Get Wild Song Mafia
Akina Nakamori Month

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