Gunslinger Girl Original Soundtrack – Review

gunslinger_girl_ost

Album Title: Gunslinger Girl Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Gunslinger Girl
Artist: Sahashi Toshihiko, the delgados, Yoshitaka Kitanami
Catalog Number: MJCG-80140, MJCD-20073 (re-release)
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: December 21, 2003, October 4, 2006(re-release)
Purchase at: CDJapan

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Track Title Artist Time
1. The Light Before We Land the delgados 1:57
2. TEMA I Sahashi Toshihiko 3:51
3. Costruzione Sahashi Toshihiko 1:25
4. Popolo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:19
5. Citta’ Sahashi Toshihiko 1:30
6. Malinconomia Sahashi Toshihiko 1:46
7. Tristezza Sahashi Toshihiko 1:24
8. Ansia Sahashi Toshihiko 1:24
9. Amoretto Sahashi Toshihiko 2:28
10. Ti Amo Sahashi Toshihiko 2:06
11. Rabbia Sahashi Toshihiko 1:27
12. Desperasione Sahashi Toshihiko 1:14
13. Calma Sahashi Toshihiko 1:59
14. Gioia Sahashi Toshihiko 1:49
15. Tema II Sahashi Toshihiko 1:20
16. Buon Rocordo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:29
17. Brutto Ricordo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:23
18. Maniaco Sahashi Toshihiko 1:12
19. Bar Sahashi Toshihiko 1:23
20. Albergo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:38
21. Chiesa Sahashi Toshihiko 1:44
22. Tema III Sahashi Toshihiko 1:18
23. Paura Sahashi Toshihiko 1:19
24. Bucolica Sahashi Toshihiko 2:19
25. Timore Sahashi Toshihiko 1:13
26. Agitazione Sahashi Toshihiko 1:27
27. Luce E Buio Sahashi Toshihiko 1:28
28. Tema IV Sahashi Toshihiko 1:31
29. Silenzio Primas Della Lotta Sahashi Toshihiko 1:28
30. Movimento Sahashi Toshihiko 1:22
31. Etereo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:54
32. Tema V Sahashi Toshihiko 1:21
33. Sorriso Sahashi Toshihiko 1:13
34. Adulti Sahashi Toshihiko 1:12
35. Velocita’ Sahashi Toshihiko 1:23
36. Simpatia Sahashi Toshihiko 1:18
37. Tema VI Sahashi Toshihiko 1:25
38. Romanze Sahashi Toshihiko 1:18
39. Dopo Il Sogno Yoshitaka Kitanami 1:12

Review: If you’ve ever experienced a fantastic soundtrack, you’ll understand the magical experience it can bring you. Whether you’re travelling down the bustling aisles of Neo Verona with Romeo x Juliet’s OST, adventuring through parallel worlds in Tsubasa Chronicle’s future soundscapes, waltzing to Ouran High School Host Club’s extravagance or wandering unknown labyrinths with Vampire Knight OST, the power of a good soundtrack is not to be doubted. Gunslinger Girl proves to be such a soundtrack, letting you experience all of Italy’s historical richness and everlasting beauty, but contrasting it with the bitter circumstances of the story’s heroines.

In a nutshell, Gunslinger Girl’s story revolves around these girls who have been rescued but are turned into cyborgs who do the government’s dirty work. Besides being gun-wielding girls trained for combat, they are also just normal girls trying to learn more about themselves and their relationships with others. Being a complex anime which allows viewers to question ethical matters, Gunslinger Girl can mean different things to each person. It can be a story about love, innocence, strength or optimism and the soundtrack delicately expresses all these interpretations within its tracks.

The main themes of the anime are presented in the form of TEMAs, with “TEMA I” to “TEMA VI,” scattered throughout the whole soundtrack. Each TEMA clearly depicts a different aspect of the anime. For example, “TEMA II” is nostalgic while “TEMA IV” is more tense, bringing across a sense of danger. Together, the TEMAs are like the threads woven into the anime, playing an integral role in expressing the characters and their circumstances.

TEMA IV

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The soundtrack also effectively displays all the faces of Italy portrayed in the anime, from the light “costruzione,” depicting the daily activities of people on the streets, to “Ti Amo”, depicting the beautiful and romantic country of Italy, to “rabbia,” depicting the dark underworld. A number of tracks are also vivid description of the girls’ lives, from the hints of uncertainty in “ansia,” the tragedy of being forced to kill against one’s nature in “tritezza,” and the simple joys of everyday life in “gioia.”

Ti Amo

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Gioia

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Gunslinger Girl does not fall strictly under the action category, since most of its violence is only meant to impress upon viewers the lives these girls lead. As such, action themes in the soundtrack are also carried out in a very elegant manner, such as through tracks like “movimento” and “velocita'” by evoking foreboding feelings within listeners.

Velocita’

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In short, the soundtrack is mostly slow and relaxing. Nearly all the tracks are expertly executed and very elegant in terms of music and delivery. Nothing will stick out too much. Though the overall mood is melancholic, there are definitely optimistic tracks to lighten things up.

There are a few weak points in this soundtrack, however. The biggest problem is that because of how subtle most tracks are, they are not memorable. After some time, the only tracks one can recall clearly are the TEMAs, because those are the ones which tend to be longer and include a wider range of instrumentals, leaving a greater overall impact. The theme also gets quite repetitive, making it hard to identify specific tracks. Though almost all the tracks work well within the context of the anime, a few are not compelling or can even sound unpleasant without the context, such as “simpatia” and “adulti.”

Adulti

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Even so, this soundtrack is definitely worth listening to, even if one hasn’t watched the anime. The sheer beauty of it will definitely draw listeners in, and the few disappointing tracks here and there are a very small fraction among the total number of 39 tracks. To those who’ve watched and understood the implications of the anime, this soundtrack will make you remember how the show impacted you emotionally and cause you to once again question the ethics of saving these girls who are on their deathbed by turning them into instruments of manslaughter.

Rating: Very Good

Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

20 thoughts on “Gunslinger Girl Original Soundtrack – Review

  • December 12, 2009 at 3:34 am
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    That’s very beautiful soundtracks. I don’t have this one in my collection but after listening to the ones you post here, it gives me dream-like feeling. Personally, it reminds me of many other anime in action/fantasy genre. Is it me or the OST doesn’t sound especially unique? I’ll have to listen to the full album first, of course. Fantastic review, btw :)

    Reply
  • December 12, 2009 at 3:47 am
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    I was actually kind of waiting for this review.
    I always thought Gunslinger Girl had one of the most amazing and mood setting soundtrack ever. The use of orchestral classical style is so appropriate for the series, and Tema IV is especially fantastic.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2009 at 1:03 am
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    @Canne
    It’s solid orchestrals through and through and I’ve gotten a lot of mileage listening to it since it sparks so many fond memories that I got from watching the show. I’ll let Jen give her take on the uniqueness of it, but to me, it stands out by virtue of being able to draw the listener into the setting and not many soundtracks can do that while presenting itself well as a standalone listen.

    @Yi
    Seriously. It’s one of my favorite soundtracks from one of my favorite shows and I think to this day, I can maybe name 1-2 other soundtracks that have been as enjoyable as this one.

    Props to Jen for taking this OST on and doing an excellent job with it! /end GSG fanboy mode

    Reply
  • December 13, 2009 at 11:03 am
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    This is a brilliant soundtrack. Velocita was probably my favorite. I love the instruments.

    I think it’s finally time to finish watching the second season (which I gave up on when I couldn’t find the episodes). I guess there’s another season coming out, or an OVA. I can’t remember where I heard that, nut I did hear it.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2009 at 5:16 am
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    ooooh, haha, finally another top-notch OST being acknowledged :).
    i really loved TEMA IV & Citta’, and the pain of having to wait quite a long while to finally get my hands on them.
    thank you for the review, Jen

    Reply
  • December 14, 2009 at 8:28 am
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    The Light Before We Land is an excellent song. Again one which has withstood long periods of filtering through my playlist. Xp

    However, I didn’t check out the full OST when I finished the first series of Gunslinger.

    Reading your review now, it’s about time I give the full OST another go. Lol.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm
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    @Glo
    I’d place it on my top 5 list easily just because how much it’s managed to move me over the years. There’s a lot of good music out there, but few that I listen to as frequently. It’s practically become a staple whenever I drive anywhere.

    Second season is a bit less enthralling, both music and plot-wise, but I’ll leave it to you to discover it and judge for yourself.

    @mei
    Yeah, top-notch soundtracks such as this are as rare as rain in the Sahara and the main themes really make it a wonderful listening experience.

    @blur
    You’re missing out if all you’re sticking to is the OP :p The orchestral melodies are quite excellent and I definitely recommend giving that a go. Also, watch the series if you haven’t done so already!

    Reply
  • December 14, 2009 at 11:20 pm
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    Listening to these tracks remind me of GSG, so it figures that I like them. It definitely has the Italy feel to it, which is a place I would love to visit sometime.

    TEMA IV is amazing. I love orchestra music along with voices (choir? forgot what they were called) coming in.

    Reply
  • December 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm
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    @Reltair
    TEMA IV also happens to be my favorite theme out of them all, even moreso than TEMA I’s melancholy violin stuff because the former has that choir part you noted that feels like someone delivering their divine judgment unto those who dare interfere with their jobs. Or something like that ^^;;

    Reply
  • December 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm
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    I love this soundtrack and I really think that Gunslinger Girl is one of those series that really relies on the music to set the mood for the characters.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2009 at 12:23 am
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    @lostty
    Yeah, I know that the music in the first few scenes of the second season just didn’t work with me too well, and in my opinion, that ruined a lot of what made the first season work so well.

    Reply
  • January 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm
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    Sahashi’s work is always amazing. He can pull of so many styles that it becomes impressive.

    I’m surprised his other works havn’t been mentioned, though. Simoun, for instance, was one of his masterpieces, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2010 at 12:54 am
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    @Yu
    You’re the second person over the timespan of 24 hours to toss down Simoun as a solid recommendation for music. That soundtrack certainly hasn’t gotten a whole lot of press and I suppose I should rectify that sometime soon once I listen to it to see what’s up with all the praise that people are giving over it. Thanks1

    Reply
  • February 1, 2010 at 12:22 am
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    Good review of a great soundtrack. What stood out for me was mainly the Tema tracks (especially Tema I and IV), Chiesa and Ti Amo…

    I just got my hands on the 2nd season. I remember back when it first aired I was so hyped, but the moment I watched the first scene of Il Teatrino I was shocked! Never have I seen a series drop in quality so much in my whole life!! I’m finally giving it a chance though since so many people say it has a better story than the first one. Hopefully It’s not the mediocrity I’ve been picturing in my head.

    The music was half the experience in the first GSG to me, and the art style matched the subtle pace and melancholic tone perfectly. Thanks again for this review.

    Reply
  • February 1, 2010 at 2:11 am
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    @Despera
    Oh man, you’re giving me nightmares of that first episode. I’m about as shocked as you were since the quality of the work nosedived without Madhouse behind the artwork and animation. And also, I’m inclined to say that the use of techno in the first episode irked me since it ruined the elegant European setting that Sahashi established so well.

    Best of luck in pursuing the series, though if I were you, I’d read the manga if you can find it.

    Reply
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