It seems like forever since I’ve written up anything related to the MALKeionbu (alternatively known as the MyAnimeList Music Piece of the Week Club), but I figured now that we’ve entered our 25th week of voting, there’s something special to be had in this moment. 25 represents a pretty significant psychological barrier, for me at least, because, let’s face it, keeping a weekly event running for 25 consecutive weeks with few hiccups along the way is a pretty huge feat. And for that, I’d like to thank all of those who’ve directly participated whether it’s in track nomination or voting, in making this such an awesome event.
This milestone also offers an excellent opportunity to look back on all the tracks that have come and gone. The weekly process of nominating 7-10 tracks for 25 consecutive weeks yields a whole hell of a lot of anime music of all styles and rhythms. We’ve gone from simple emotions like Love and Despair, scene depictions like Action and Cityscapes, works from a single composer, to examining music covering various styles (Funky/Groovy) and instruments used (Piano, Electric Guitar). The thing that blows my mind the most is the club members’ ability to come up with a pretty good set of tracks week after week and I’ve yet to go through a week where I didn’t learn something new or find some album or composer to check out. Then there are the discussions that result during the voting phase that have been enjoyable to take part in, because through that, you get a better understanding for people’s tastes and opinions which in turn, helps you appreciate the music more. So it’s been a great learning process through and through!
With that in mind, let’s turn to some of the pieces that really struck a chord with me in some way or other. For the purposes of this list, neither tracks that I’ve nominated nor tracks that I’ve heard extensively are eligible since a big part of what makes this club fun is the process of discovering new pieces. So here are my picks:
Week 2 – Love
Anime Title: Giniro no Kami no Agito
Track Title: Ai no Melody
Comments: Man, even after all this time, this piece refuses to get out of my playlist and the funny thing is that I didn’t even give it points when I had the opportunity to vote for it! And yet, this piece continues to grow on me. The more I listen, the more I notice the little things, like the way she sings the line, “Ai no melodyyyyy” (thanks to Omisyth for getting me to pay close attention to that part) that enhance the track and make it as beautiful as it is. It also got me to take a look at the soundtrack (composed by Taku Iwasaki) and that too, was a very nice experience all around.
Week 3 – Lost
Anime Title: Pokemon Heroes
Track Title: Search for the Girl
Comments: “Search for the Girl” grabbed me with a sense of energy and purpose that you can definitely hear through the music. Furthermore, the music makes for a good picker-upper because the the violin and accordion parts play really well together to create that sense of the grand adventure that works well on its own. What this piece manages to show is that Pokemon music need not suck and its quality virtually assures it a place in my playlist for a good long while.
Week 4 – Legendary
Anime Title: Gigantic Formula
Track Title: Main theme v.0
Comments: MAJESTIC! That’s what this track is. The way the track just crescendos in still leaves me in a state of awe every time I hear it, as it instills within me a sense of the story’s epic scope filled with struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. This piece also served as my first introduction to Hiroyuki Sawano and this introduction has been rewarding. The music from Gigantic Formula is gorgeous and I really liked his versatility in moving into rock in his compositions for Sengoku Basara.
Week 5 – Pop Vocals
Anime Title: Top wo Nerae! 2 Diebuster
Track Title: Groovin’ Magic
Comments: It’s really too catchy for its own good. I mean, ROUND TABLE’s music has always had this sweetness to it like the ARIA EDs, but this one just takes the cake. I’ll just blame the melody for having that catchiness that ingrains itself in so well in my head and never quite lets go. I’ve often found myself humming this song and not realizing that I am until about halfway through.
Oddly enough, half of the list comes from the first 5 weeks. I think a part of it has to do with the time span because these tracks have had more plays compared to some of the more recent stuff. Or maybe actually blogging it helps my memory a bit more than just posting my thoughts in the voting thread itself. Anyhow, let’s skip past a few weeks where we hit
Week 11 – Discovery
Anime Title: Someday’s Dreamers
Track Title: Where the Sky and the Earth Meet
Comment: The piece starts off quietly enough before it comes forth with a very beautiful piano melody. In listening to this, I just can’t help but be drawn in by its sweetness and the feeling of childhood innocence that it depicts through a very whimsical atmosphere that’s just somehow perfect in its execution. The fact that the melody carries a Celtic/Irish flavor is an added bonus since that’s not a quality that I see often in anime soundtracks and variety, in my book, is always a good thing. Also, this track opened my eyes to composer Takefumi Haketa whose compositions have been impressive overall.
Week 16 – Yoko Kanno
Anime Title: Brain Powered
Track Title: Spark
Comments: When I decided upon our first featured composer, Yoko Kanno was a natural pick since her works span many different types of shows and in general, they’ve been quite excellent. The tracks picked for that week were pretty good, but this gem proved to be a little different, starting with that discordant bit in the beginning which might very well have been a turn-off if one were to stop there. Listening further though, would yield quite a musical treat that mixes dissonance with the epic to really keep one off-guard in terms of what to expect, at least, until halfway through the track where it starts showing its true colors as a piece depicting some sort of an epic finale. It’s the unconventional Kanno that I really like here and this effort shows why she’s pretty much at the top of most people’s lists when they have to name anime composers.
Week 23 – Electric Guitar
Anime Title: Geneshaft
Track Title: IDENTIFICATION
Comments: Omonomono had blogged about this particular week with the note that as far as anime soundtracks go, rock music doesn’t actually feature prominently in the BGM. Needless does manage to fill that gap (and I’m working on giving that soundtrack my full attention), but before Needless, there was Geneshaft. In “Identification,” no time is wasted as the piece dives into the melody while delivering on the action that this piece depicts. Through it, you can hear some pretty awesome riffs and distortions that really hold your attention and lend an air of intensity. If this is representative of what the rest of the soundtrack has to offer, I’ll certainly have to look into it!
So as we start the nomination process for Week 26 (dealing in badassery), I’ve also put up a survey to better gauge people’s backgrounds and how well the club is serving its purposes. We also have a slew of year-end activities to look forward to, mostly in putting together a compilation of the best tracks nominated this year, so definitely keep an eye out for that. Either way, here’s to another 6 months of awesome anime music!