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One Piece Film: Red's Uta Owes Her Singing Voice To Japanese Idol Ado

A brief, early look at Netflix's live action "One Piece" series the streaming service released in June of 2022 suggest that its upcoming adaptation of the classic anime and manga franchise boasts a sizable scale and budget to match. Netflix is seemingly able to invest significant resources into its "One Piece" show on the strength of the franchise's decades of popularity since the debut of "One Piece" Chapter 1 in 1997.

Also in 2022, "One Piece Film: Red" premiered in Japanese theaters in August and stateside in November. Although "Film: Red" revolves around some of the same groups of characters featured in anime episodes released concurrently with the movie's premiere, its story stands entirely alone, and functions separately from the series' mainline canon. "Film: Red" broke a box office record in Japan shortly after its release, landing it a spot on the list of the highest-grossing films in Japanese box office history.

At the core of "Film: Red" is a new character named Uta, who established herself as a popular singer prior to the film's start, and is about to debut on-stage when it opens. Uta sings seven songs throughout "Film: Red," each of which is effectively incorporated into its story like in a musical. While Kaori Nazuka and Amanda Lee separately voice the character in Japanese and English respectively, in both versions of the film Uta's songs are performed by a real-life pop star named Ado, who is in the midst of a meteoric start to her singing career.

Ado is one of the most popular up-and-comers in Japan

All seven of the songs Ado sings as Uta in "One Piece Film: Red" are compiled on an album titled "Uta no Uta: ONE PIECE FILM RED" — the name of which is a pun, uta both meaning song and serving as the name of Ado's "One Piece" character. This album broke records on the Oricon chart that tracks the popularity of music in Japan, after four of its singles occupied the chart's top four spots for four weeks in a row (via Crunchyroll).

In the midst of the success of her "Film: Red" soundtrack, Ado also signed a deal with the US-based Geffen Records. As detailed in an article about this development on Anime News Network, Ado began her career covering songs by Vocaloid artists, which refers to digital signing voices and characters, the most well-known of which is Hatsune Miku.

Ado's first big hit was "Usseewa," which can be translated as something akin to "shut up." The official video for the song on YouTube currently sits at more than 240 million views. Meanwhile, "New Genesis" from "Film: Red" has been viewed more than 80 million times since its June 2022 release.

While Ado remains anonymous, it's publicly known that the hyper successful singer is only 20 years old. On the strength of career milestones like her Geffen deal and record-breaking "Film: Red" soundtrack, Ado may merely be at the start of an illustrious music career.