Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo Original Sound Track – Review

toki-wo-kakeru-shoujo-ost

Album Title: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo Original Sound Track
Anime Title: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
Artist: Kiyoshi Yoshida, Johann Sebastian Bach, Hanako Oku
Catalog Number: PCCR-434
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: July 12, 2006

Track Title Artist Time
1. Natsuzora ~Opening Theme~ Kiyoshi Yoshida 2:57
2. Sketch Kiyoshi Yoshida 1:10
3. Aria (Goldberg Variations) Johann Sebastian Bach 3:10
4. Karakuri Tokei ~ Time Leap Kiyoshi Yoshida 0:50
5. Shoujo no Fuan Kiyoshi Yoshida 2:46
6. Sketch (Full Version) Kiyoshi Yoshida 4:37
7. Daylife Kiyoshi Yoshida 2:08
8. Daiichi Hensoukyoku (Goldberg Variations) Johann Sebastian Bach 1:15
9. Mirai no Kioku Kiyoshi Yoshida 1:51
10. Seijaku Kiyoshi Yoshida 6:45
11. Insert Song ‘Kawaranai Mono’ (Strings Version) Hanako Oku 4:47
12. Natsuzora ~Ending Theme~ Kiyoshi Yoshida 2:37
13. Time Leap (Full Version) Kiyoshi Yoshida 3:17
14. Natsuzora (Full Version) Kiyoshi Yoshida 5:17
15. Theme Song ‘garnet’ (Yokoku You Short Version) Hanako Oku 2:01

Review: As I listened to this album, the first word that came to mind was “minimalistic.” Instead of trying to impress the listener through epic-sounding orchestrals, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s soundtrack aims for subtlety by utilizing Kiyoshi Yoshida’s compositions in a way as to convey the ordinary behind the extraordinary. This approach suits the movie given that its story revolves around an ordinary girl who gains the extraordinary ability to travel in time, and instead of using that power to put some grandiose plan into action, she uses it for ordinary, almost trivial matters. By taking in this premise and combining it Yoshida’s music (along with a smattering of Bach), Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s soundtrack succeeds in charming the listener with its delightfully simplistic melodies that makes for an enjoyable occasional listen.

The first track, “Natsuzora ~Opening Theme~,” works towards conveying the breadth of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s atmosphere. Starting with a slow, stately, piano melody, the piece begins its buildup through a Celtic section which gives off the feeling that something extraordinary is about to happen. The resounding chord at 1:26 serves as the clarion call by filling the air with a vibrant sound that carries with it a sense of excitement and wonder, as though to announce the extraordinary event. Before the instruments recede, the melody lingers, leaving the listener eager to find out how things will play out during the course of the movie.

Natsuzora ~Opening Theme~

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But before we can get to the exciting parts, this movie reinforces the sense of ordinariness through “Sketch.” The pizzicato captures the flow of day to day life through its repetitive melody, though the downside is that it won’t stand out a whole lot, leading to an altogether unremarkable track that gets the job done. It’s effectively light and simplistic music that doesn’t offer much to begin with. The full version doesn’t bring much to the table either because it differs only in the way it tosses in a few other instruments on top of the repetitive melody to create a more enjoyable listening experience, but only if you enjoyed that track to begin with. The slice of life themes continue with “Daylife,” which displays a mix of life’s more simple moments and a sense of contemplation through a quaint piano melody that drifts along in such a way as to leave you feeling at ease with all the time in the world to reflect and ponder.

Sketch

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The excitement picks up with “Karakuri Tokei ~ Time Leap,” which opens up with a melody created by tinkling bells that bring to mind the sound one would expect out of an old-fashioned clock tower. It doesn’t take long for this nostalgic, serene mood to fade away as it’s replaced by the violin section which creates a sense of tension and chaos as it builds up towards an exciting finish, leaving the listener with an impression that the protagonist has succeeded in breaking the boundaries between time and space. At this point, the protagonist realizes what she’s capable of doing, and that means it’s time for the fun and games to begin. The second use of Bach’s Goldberg Variations works towards creating that mood by conveying the excitement the main character feels when using this ability to make her life easier and less stressful.

Karakuri Tokei ~ Time Leap

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With such a power at her disposal, the character was bound to confront the consequences of her reckless behavior sooner or later and reality brings her back down to earth rather quickly. “Seijaku” captures the emotions going through the character’s mind when she realizes the gravity of what she’s done as the piece channels despondency and regret through a mournful piano melody. The approach this piece takes is rather interesting: the piano plays for 3-5 seconds and letting the note linger, allowing 3-5 seconds of silence to creep in. This alternation between music and silence creates that sense of isolation, as though the protagonist was trying to search for answers except with each passing step, things feel even more hopeless and with no end in sight. While it does fit the overall mood, if you’re not altogether fond of Yoshida’s approach to this track, “Seijaku” can feel ponderous.

Seijaku

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But as we come closer to the end, the mood begins to shift slightly upwards. “Insert Song ‘Kawarenai Mono’ (Strings Version),” starts a sense of yearning to it as though it depicts the character pining for simpler times. Slowly, but surely, the piece gradually shifts, as a sense of realization creeps in and explores a myriad of mindsets, ranging from a contemplative section from 1:26 to 2:00 to the peak at 3:54 where the main character experiences a wave of relief pass over as circumstances turn out all right in the end. Finally, Hanako Oku’s “Theme Song ‘garnet'” works to sum things up through a lovely ballad that captures the feelings of the main character while providing a sense of closure to all of the events that have happened during the course of the film.

Insert Song ‘Kawarenai Mono’ (Strings Version)

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It’s really hard to peg where this album falls. Most of the pieces are evocative and do an excellent job of complementing the scenes in the movie and yet, when you listen to the tracks on their own, pieces like “Natsuzora” will stand up pretty well while others like “Seijaku” sound overly drawn out. So the mileage that one can derive out of this album depends on how well one can appreciate the way this soundtrack captures the essence of ordinary extraordinary ordinariness. If that’s something that’s right up your alley, then this album becomes a solid recommendation. Otherwise you may want to skip this one in favor of something that isn’t as slow and sluggish.

Rating: Good

About the author

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.

7 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. “an enjoyable occasional listen”.

    Exactly my thoughts :D I thought it was good when I first listened to the OST, but when the context of the show slowly faded out, it became sort of bland and not as interesting.

    But it still makes “an enjoyable occasional listen”.

  2. blur says:

    I’d agree as depthcharge mentioned,
    I really enjoyed the show, but seeing how much time has past and the story has pretty much lost me, I cannot fully appreciate the music at it’s full potential. Which I think is a problem for most if not all OST’s.

    “Kawarenai Mono” feels like another good song which can work its charm without the anime though. But I’ve only heard a part of it so can’t really say.

  3. @depthchage101
    Yup, every word on here was chosen carefully. Good for a nice change of pace, but hardly an album that can fully withstand the test of time. That said, “Garnet” finds its way into my playlist quite a bit.

    @blur
    I’m not sure that holds true since the really good ones like Gunslinger Girl and Escaflowne have been repeat showups on my playlist because of how enjoyable they are. And yeah, “Kawarenai Mono” is an excellent piece if you’ve heard the vocal version.

  4. I absolutely loved this movie, and I felt that a big reason why it was so good was because the music fit so perfectly.

    I love that opening theme.

  5. @Glo the Legend
    As fitting as it is, I just wished the listening exercise outside the series was a touch better. Not that it isn’t good.

    And more Bach. That would also be a great thing.

  6. blur says:

    I was doing random browsing the other day and I somehow ended up looking at anime themes at Youtube. Then I remembered this article.

    Since then, I’ve been listening to Kawarenai Mono on my player everywhere I go. Great recommendation indeed! Lol.

  7. @blur
    Thanks! Glad to be of use, especially since it is a very wonderful piece! =D

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