Two Excellent Character Songs

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.

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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).

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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.

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Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

13 thoughts on “Two Excellent Character Songs

  • April 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm
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    Hm which is why I almost never listen (or try) character albums. Besides falling into the usual generic jpop trap, a lot of times the songs aren’t sung by the seiyuu “genuinely”, as in the songs are probably heavily edited to remove pitch miss and all sorts of errors made by the seiyuu.

    Have a look at Hirano Aya’s live disaster >< Surprisingly lots of people are still blindingly loving her music, I suppose it’s all idolism =/

    Reply
  • April 2, 2009 at 8:29 am
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    Yeah, with all the studio effects behind her, it’s hard for Hirano to sound bad, but put her out in a live concert and she shows her true singing skills in a way as to be very distressing.

    Not to mention that in a controlled studio, they have an opportunity to do retakes and that’s not exactly a luxury one has in a live concert. Maybe they should just have her lip sync.

    Reply
  • April 4, 2009 at 10:43 am
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    what the FUCIK?????/

    I had my headphones all the way up on the zetsuboU song and I FUCKING DIED.

    Reply
  • April 4, 2009 at 10:50 am
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    OK…now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…the first song is nice. I voice is moe..which isn’t bad, and it’s kind of reminiscent of an enka song, except for the B section (or whatever it is) which is more poppy and deviates from usual enka harmonies (which are all the same, from what I’ve heard).

    Reply
  • April 5, 2009 at 4:12 am
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    @lelangir
    Yeah, second track is nothing more than ear rape. I pity those who listened to it with headphones on full blast. That has got to be unpleasant.

    And your comments on “Faraway Dream” are a strong indication that I should try more enka music to get a better grasp than what I currently know. The song itself does hit the moe vibes rather well, and if you understand the lyrics and Becky’s character, you’ll find that it suits her personality really well.

    Reply
  • April 18, 2009 at 8:36 pm
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    I’ve always liked Kenji Ootsuki. His music really hits the spot (Odoru Akachan Ningen is one of my favorites).

    The first song? not my kinda thing

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  • April 18, 2009 at 11:02 pm
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    @vin-nii
    “Odoru Akachan Ningen” is pretty enjoyable. It’s just that “Buta no Gohan” goes a bit above the edge. As I said to lelangir, it’s damned unpleasant.

    The first song is just for moe purposes, so a hit or miss as the case may be.

    Reply
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  • May 27, 2010 at 3:07 am
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    While I think most female voice actresses sing well enough, some of the male ones have stuff that are pure disturbing.

    I personally found Aya Hirano’s ‘Tomoshibi Twilight’ for White Album pretty decent. For one, she sounds more natural.

    Oh, if it’s about seiyuu songs, I think one you should really check out is Takagaki Ayahi. Her stuff for Canaan and Gundam 00 were both really good.

    Reply
  • May 30, 2010 at 3:37 pm
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    @Jen
    Yup, last I checked, many seiyuu undergo voice training for singing too, so it works well. And yeah, I’ve heard recommendations to check out Aya Hirano’s effort on White Album (the ones I’ve not covered).

    Reply
  • October 22, 2010 at 11:08 am
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    I was searching for this first and second songs pretty badly 😉
    Buta no gohan is guys who like noise, no less 😉 its fantastic thanks a lot ;pp

    Reply
  • October 24, 2010 at 11:24 am
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    @Kurau
    No problem! I know there’s a genre out there called jabber or something and that there are some people who really enjoy it a lot. :p

    Reply

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