Red Garden Original Soundtrack – Review

Red Garden Original Soundtrack

Album Title: Red Garden Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Red Garden
Artist: Akira Senju; KOKIA
Catalog Number: PCCR-00442
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: January 17, 2007
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia (Out of Print)

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Track Title Artist Time
1. Main Theme ~ Sou de Aru to Negau Kara Akira Senju 3:39
2. Kojin no Shi Akira Senju 2:34
3. Nasu Koto Toshite Akira Senju 1:53
4. Ayumi .. Yamerare Zuni Akira Senju 1:35
5. Yowaku, Yowaku Akira Senju 2:18
6. Shizuka ni Omou Koto Akira Senju 2:15
7. Sono Saki ni Mieta Kara, Zutto Zutto Akira Senju 2:42
8. Omoi Omoi, Soko ni .. Akira Senju 2:42
9. Soshite Mata, to Akira Senju 1:43
10. Eirei Akira Senju 1:27
11. Miete Kuru Mono he Akira Senju 1:54
12. Seinen no Kao to Akai iro Akira Senju 2:42
13. Tsunagari no Houkai Akira Senju 1:55
14. Fukanzen Naru Mono Akira Senju 1:37
15. Hai iro no Shiawase Akira Senju 2:19
16. Konnichiwa Owari Dakara Akira Senju 2:04
17. Mie nai Hikari Akira Senju 2:19
18. Anata to Ita Kara Mieta Koto Akira Senju 1:48
19. Utsukushiku to mo Mitomezu Akira Senju 1:41
20. Owari Kara no Ippo Akira Senju 1:37
21. Susumu, Soshite Susumu Akira Senju 2:04
22. Kireru Ishi Akira Senju 2:03
23. Te no Kasanari Akira Senju 2:23
24. Akai Niwa Akira Senju 2:58
25. Ai ~ Wazuka na Omoide Akira Senju; KOKIA 3:14
26. Katsu ~ Mabara na Hikari Akira Senju; KOKIA 3:45
27. Kurenai ~ Negai Akira Senju; KOKIA 2:40
28. Sumire ~ You to Tomoni Akira Senju; KOKIA 2:25
29. Shiro ~ Watashi Tachi no Hibiki Akira Senju; KOKIA 3:21

Review: One of the hallmarks of an extraordinary soundtrack is its timelessness and ability to convey unto the listener the full spectrum of emotions that the series has to offer and doing so in such a way that it leaves a deep impression. Depthcharge101, despite not having seen the series (and correct me if I’m wrong on this :p) has already written his favorable impressions of Red Garden’s soundtrack and in case his words and the samples he posted weren’t convincing enough, I will confirm that this album is stunningly good, especially when it comes to engaging one’s emotions.

For those who have not seen it, Red Garden’s plot revolves around four high schoolers who discover that they’ve already died, but that they still exist due to their enhanced bodies and to maintain this existence, they must fight an unknown enemy. This turn of events turns their lives upside down; each night may very well be their last and faced with this prospect, each of the girls are forced to come to terms with this situation so that the girls may leave this world with few regrets. As one might expect, this sort of plot is heavily depressing since the subject of impending doom isn’t one to be taken lightly. Thankfully, Akira Senju takes great care to reflect this general mood of despair through music that can be disheartening at times as it instills within the listener the tragedy that has befallen the characters.

“Main Theme ~ Sou de Aru to Negau Kara” starts out in an appropriate manner in bringing out that mournful atmosphere through its slow, deliberate melody. Senju crafts this piece beautifully by blending in many instruments, starting with the bassoon and bass clarinets which provide a depressing backdrop before the flute part comes in with a melody that adds a layer of hopelessness on top of the despairing tone. Because of this, “Main Theme” sets the mood for what is to come by stripping away the trappings of comfort and leaving only a stark sense of tragedy behind. The mournful mood continues in “Kojin no Shi” where the strings section crescendos slowly as to emphasize the sense of fear that the characters feel through its tension-filled melody. This fear is justified since danger can appear just about anywhere and “Ayumi .. Yamerare Zuni” serves as a firm reminder of this through its menacing aura. The violins, combined with the harpsichord in the background, furthers the feelings a person gets when they are trapped and isolated from others as the haunting oboe and flute melody heightens the perception of danger.

Main Theme ~ Sou de Aru to Negau Kara:

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This feeling becomes more pronounced in “Eirei” which uses a staccato cello part that emphasizes every note to build up a sense of anxiety which climaxes when “Miete Kuru Mono he” makes its entrance, inflicting the listener with a very dissonant, high pitched violin chord as though it were recreating the sound of someone screaming in fear. This introduction makes the danger feel even more imminent until it materializes in the next few tracks. “Tsunagari no Houkai” has a rhythm that depicts a battle as the girls and their foes engage in combat. Its bombastic introduction brings forth the intensity rather well and around 0:25, the violins, along with the piano, instill a sense of urgency within the listener through a melody that moves quickly and frantically.

Tsunagari no Houkai:

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After all those intense moments, it’s evident that one needs to relax and Senju treats us to “Hai iro no Shiawase” which goes at a much slower tempo, yielding a track that’s really calm and soothing. The way the piece evokes a slice of life feel helps remind us that though these girls have been put in extraordinary circumstances, they’re still normal people. As one watches these girls go to school and share their hopes and fears with one another while this track plays in the background, one cannot help but empathize with their plight. There’s even an upwelling of hope in “Konnichiwa Owari Dakara” which has a lofty, grandiose feel, as though to say that the odds are against them, but the girls can prevail. As the piece draws to a close, it leaves the listener feeling bittersweet; whether the girls can succeed, no one will know, but this piece, overflowing with the yearning desire for normalcy, makes us want to root for their success because they’ve suffered so much.

Konnichiwa Owari Dakara:

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After a few more mournful tracks go by, “Te no Kasanari” is where the album makes a turnaround as the fears begin to dissipate as the melody’s warmth optimistically suggests that all will be well in the end. But “Akai Niwa” is what really drives this feeling home by bringing with it a sense of finality. The way the melody flows in this piece makes it sound as though the girls are able to overcome their struggles and achieve happiness in the end. Though the road was littered with tragedy, this piece sounds the most hopeful of all. The overflowing sense of relief indicates that this ordeal is over, and one cannot ask for a better conclusion.

Akai Niwa:

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But while the girls’ ordeals are over, this soundtrack isn’t finished yet as it treats you to five beautiful tracks, all of which are sung by KOKIA. Up until I listened to this soundtrack, I had never heard of her and had no idea what to expect, but these tracks erased any traces of doubt that existed up to that point. KOKIA’s performance in “Katsu ~ Mabara na Hikari” is noteworthy in the way she was able to vocalize “Ayumi .. Yamerare Zuni’s” overall depressing tone, especially through that trembling tone that brings out the fears and anxiety rather well. From here on, KOKIA only gets better and better, especially with her rendition of “Akai Niwa” in “Sumire ~ You to Tomoni.” However, her crowning delivery is “Shiro ~ Watashi Tachi no Hibiki” which left me completely in awe. Words simply cannot describe how I felt as KOKIA’s performance washed over me, and relieved my anxieties because the way she sings affirms the sense of finality that we get towards the end of the soundtrack, leaving me feeling confident that the girls have succeeded.

Shiro ~ Watashi Tachi no Hibiki:

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Red Garden is underrated in every sense of word, but those who have seen the series and heard the music can attest to its ability to not only convey the tragedy inherent in the characters’ situation, but also to bring forth the hope of a better tomorrow. To call this album beautiful is a sheer understatement; while it might not have the grandiosity of some other anime soundtracks, Akira Senju’s compositions manage to engage my emotions in ways that few soundtracks have ever succeeded in doing by writing quite a few tracks that left me in tears. The praises this album gets cannot be emphasized enough and the lingering feelings that Red Garden’s soundtrack leaves behind are poignant so as to be an unforgettable experience.

Rating: Masterpiece

zzeroparticle

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.

14 thoughts on “Red Garden Original Soundtrack – Review

  • May 12, 2009 at 2:35 am
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    Indeed a masterpiece it is. I have watched an episode so far (the dark atmosphere puts me off a little), but I’ll finish it eventually.

    But it doesn’t really matter if you have seen the series or not, the ost itself is a hidden gem and everyone should at least give it a try ^^

    KOKIA does mostly pop stuff, although occasionally she does interesting songs like chouwa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tehrLcmRMwA)

    <3 Senju Akira. Maybe it’s time to try another album of his.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2009 at 8:18 am
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    I liked this soundtrack also very much. :)
    I advice you to also have a listen at the ‘Arete Hime’ Soundtrack, which is also very lovely (and Origa sings also well)…

    Reply
  • May 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm
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    @depthcharge101
    I gotta admit I haven’t been actively seeking KOKIA’s music beyond that song she did for Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-. It was pleasant there and this performance demonstrates that she’s a versatile singer. And that’s good since I’ve been tiring of certain anime artists as of late.

    But yes, Red Garden is a dark series. The music pretty much indicates that. 😛

    @signorRossi
    I’ve listened to Arete Hime and I do have to agree that it’s a very enjoyable soundtrack. The flavor is different, but with Origa’s contributions, I’m still awed at how beautiful it is.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2009 at 6:29 am
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    Indeed here be a hidden gem. Thanks for the awesome review.

    I need to listen to more of Senju Akira’s soundtracks. How does it happen that not a single one of the anime I’ve watched has his work? Well until FMA 2nd, that finally brought him under my spotlight, that is. Never too late I guess!

    Reply
  • May 19, 2009 at 9:51 pm
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    @humbug23
    Yeah, from the little research I’ve done on him, he’s known for doing TV dramas than anime music though his works aren’t too shabby either. I’ve already checked out Princess Arete and I should try giving his Victory Gundam music a shot. In any case, I’ve been happy with his output so far.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2009 at 6:59 pm
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    I couldn’t agree more with this soundtrack’s masterpiece status. It is simply breathtaking. One of my all time favorites.

    One of the other anime soundtracks that I felt recently went perhaps a bit overlooked was Muramatsu Ken’s Kurenai soundtrack. While not quite the caliber perhaps of Red Garden, I still find it to be an outstanding OST.

    Reply
  • May 23, 2009 at 9:53 am
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    @Karisu
    It’s good, but the problem I had with it is that it’s just a bit too inconsistent for my tastes. Incidentally, I did review the soundtrack on this site and I’d appreciate some in-depth thoughts on that particular soundtrack. :p

    Reply
  • July 5, 2009 at 6:30 am
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    yesss. someone who also appreciates this distinctive OST. Wouldn’t say the anime’s plot was anything to shout about, but the music, you can just imagine the emotions that are being expressed.
    and once again, KOKIA wows with her beautiful and etheral renditions….

    Reply
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  • November 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm
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    Ive seen the whole thing. And all I have to say is that the characters: Rachel, Kate, Rose, And Claire (Lise) Where more then just charcters on the screen they were living till the very last words of lulu or the last words of lise! They were your friends your enemy’s your heroines! I love this I cried at the end of the “Show” I didn’t stop! I hope that everyone who watches this loves it as mutch as I did! Also I hope that you all see the beauty and the grace of them all. I loved it more then words can say. MAYBE im overreacting about all the deaths. But if so then you must not see the beauty I loved this manga/ Anime more then my grnadma likes christmas cookies! (HaH!) I truly enjoy this from the music to the last words of the story!

    Reply
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  • July 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm
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    Yeah, indeed, this is one of the masterpiece OSTs.

    Reply
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