Character-oriented pieces occupy a curious place within the realm of anime music since they’re mostly there for people who can’t seem to get enough out of simply watching their favorite characters on screen or hearing their favorite voice actors/actresses. So with that, a market for character songs comes into being which requires that most seiyuus be able to sing (thankfully, most are, which usually isn’t a problem unless you’re dealing with live concerts. See Aya Hirano.). The songs, on the other hand, pose an interesting question because it’s never quite clear how some of them succeed at adding any sort of value to the series or the character since most of it falls into the category of generic J-Pop. To me, I consider songs that bring out a facet of a certain character’s personality to be more enjoyable, and with that in mind, here are two character tracks, not necessarily from character albums, that I think do a decent job of conveying the essence of the characters themselves. As the post title suggests, these pieces succeed based on the specified criterion, so if you’re ready to see what I’ve dredged, time to dive into some of the pieces after the jump.
Anime Series: Pani Poni Dash!
Track Title: Faraway Dream
Artist: Chiwa Saito
As far as pieces that convey a certain character’s mindset goes, this song does the trick. Chiwa Saito, who plays Rebecca Miyamoto from Pani Poni Dash!, conveys the essence of her character really well through the general mood of this song and the lyrics which have an amusing component to them. As soon as the music starts, the introduction’s air of introspection gives way to a lament that’s unsurprisingly self-centered if you know Becky’s general attitude towards life’s inconveniences. The way she sings this song feels as though she’s isolated and her tone straddles a line between being whiny and being wistful. That said, she doesn’t appear to be angry and is taking it in a nihilistic sort of way since she hints at the fact that part of the reason for her loneliness stems from the fact that she’s a genius and because of her implied massively superior intellect, no one really understands her. Of course, that’s a pretty big statement to make and indicates to us that it’s her haughty attitude towards everyone else that results in her being alone, but being the self-centered person she is, she isn’t going to admit that it’s her problem. So without anything else to do or anyone else to interact with, she’ll be found, gazing at the sunset while downing her glass of milk (with a sigh of satisfaction that’s adds ever so slightly to the endearing factor).
Anime Series: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Track Title: Buta no Gohan
Artist: Kenji Ootsuki; Yuu Kobayashi
If you’re ever looking for a piece that showcases Yuu Kobayashi’s amazing ability to sing, definitely give this song a whirl since it’s quite an experience. There’s just something about this piece that hits all the right spots in all the wrong ways with a sound that can only be described as a magnificent sort of ear rape. The piece flows chaotically from the very start with its assault of sound upon the listener. Once Yuu Kobayashi makes her entrance, her singing (if one can call it that) brings out the sort of abuse that would easily lead to a sense of despair within the listener and if you’re at all like me, it becomes really difficult to listen to this piece for too long since it’s nowhere close to being a pleasant melody that once can relax to. Not surprisingly, the brainchild behind this track and other similar pieces like “Odoru Akachan Ningen” (Welcome to the N.H.K.) is none other than Kenji Ootsuki, who uses his composition skills to capture Kaere Kimura in a way that is absolutely spot-on. Keep an ear out on the electric guitar part around the 1:50 mark which briefly serves as a nice respite before Kobayashi’s voice makes a return to bring this track back to a full circle of… music.
I’ll admit that the raison d’etre for this post is to showcase “Buta no Gohan,” and as such, might be viewed as a waste of blog space, but given my busy schedule as of late, this is the best I could do, though you may see me attempt this article again since as I mentioned, character CDs are a subject that’s definitely worth exploring (Hayate no Gotoku is an excellent example in the shameless sort of promoting and marketing that they do to promote these CDs and I’m sure the endearing characters are a big reason why). Yes, I realize that I probably could have done something like review the character CD for Yuki Morikawa (from White Album), played by Aya Hirano and if I’ve the time, I’ll probably give that album a shot sometime this week. But the big prize will be later on when Rin Ogata, played by Nana Mizuki, releases her single. That’s an album that I’m definitely looking forwards to hearing and one that will get my full attention for sure.