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