Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2001


Artist: if anyone knows, please tell me

Why yes, I have been quite busy as of late.

Anyhow, it was nice getting that chance to look really deep into the shows that aired in 2000 since delving to those lengths is a luxury from here on out, mostly because of how my interest in the medium grew somewhat around this time period. I say somewhat because there was a bit of a lull from 2001 and 2002, but that is a story for another day.

But with the focus on 2001, I can say that I saw a lot of enjoyable shows surface and some not-so enjoyable shows that nevertheless had some pretty awesome music.

Disclaimer: I unfortunately have not been able to solve the problem on how to turn myself into a being who no longer requires sustenance or sleep, both of which cut into my being able to watch copious amounts of anime and listen to all of their soundtracks. As such, it will be a given that I will not be able to touch upon all of them in this series. If a particular show that came out during the year highlighted did not receive a mention and you believe that it merits one because of its soundtrack, feel free to note that in the comments section. Being the soundtrack freak I am, I will add it to the list of stuff I should listen to. After all, if I can sit through Lingerie Soldier Papillon Rose’s soundtrack, I figure I can stomach anything you can throw my way.

Youtube videos are spoilered, clips contain the entire track, and with that, let’s go!

The Read or Die OVA gave me a lot of things that I found to be awesome. The production values were superb, the animation was crisp, the plot wasn’t something I had seen before, and, of course, the music was fantastic. The soundtrack oozed that cool vibe with its blend of jazz, electronica, and orchestral music into one enjoyable package that has had a remarkable amount of staying power. Even now, when I need a bit of energy and inspiration, I’ll turn to tracks like the glorious-sounding “Bring all the wisdom to Great Britain!” and the “Read or Die Theme” with its groovy, jazzy flavor that reminds me of those 1970s spy flicks.

Bring all the wisdom to Great Britain!

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Read or Die OVA OP »

So yes, the R.O.D. OVA OST cements Taku Iwasaki as one of the most consistent anime composers in my book (at that point). And as if his reputation needed any further bolstering, he also goes on to compose music for the Kenshin Seisouhen OVA which is utterly fantastic.

Anyone who has listened to his work on the Kenshin Tsuiokuhen knows that it’s a dark, brooding soundtrack that is wonderful to behold and I’d go as far as to say that it is probably his best work of all time! ALL TIME!!! Nevertheless, this followup manages to meet the expectations that the Tsuiokuhen OVA sets in terms of musical quality. To say that I love the orchestral pieces in Seisouhen is an understatement. Even though the Seisouhen OVA is a bit underwhelming at times, the music helps save it with awesome warrior-esque themes like “Heart of Sunrise” (now on a MALKeionbu Companion CD near you!) and the badass “The Duel in the Name of Love” which depicts the ebb and flow of a fight perfectly in the way it handles the intensity.

The Duel in the Name of Love

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It’s not hard to see why an orchestral fiend like myself enjoys this sort of stuff so much.

Moving on, we come no Noir. Though it’s not quite as badass as Iwasaki’s work on Kenshin Seisouhen, Kajiura’s first notable soundtrack managed to grab anime viewers’ attention with its use of vocals, fast-paced action tracks, and the slower, more introspective works. The amazing thing about all this is that Kajiura’s only improved with time and I’ve been very impressed by her advancement. It shows that when I give Noir a listen, I find it a bit lackluster compared to the music she’s putting out nowadays.

Still, you’ll have pieces that will remain classics no matter what. The action-oriented tracks are what really rule the day here, especially with the awe-inspiring “Salva Nos” which sounds like some divine entity delivering that bolt of judgement on all the sinners out there through the soaring vocals. It’s an amazing piece no doubt, one that’s practically unforgettable, especially if you’ve seen the show itself.

Noir – Salva Nos »

Salva Nos

Angelic Layer also has some action-oriented moments given its plot revolving around a girl who competes in a doll battle arena tournament, but I don’t find the battle themes to be quite as riveting as the slice of life/character theme components. Kouhei Tanaka sculpts a very pleasing soundtrack overall though, and while some of the tension-filled themes can get a bit repetitive with its ominous rhythms (sort of like how Saki’s can get a bit wearisome), the light-hearted moments and the graceful melodies are the tracks that make this album a good choice for those pick-me-up moments.

Misaki’s Theme

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Speaking of light-hearted feel-good anime, Fruits Basket also came out in 2001. The soundtrack never struck me as being a memorable affair, but this anime does give us the poignant “For Fruits Basket” theme song which, for many anisong fans, carries a special weight because it’s hard not to think of Ritsuko Okazaki when one listens to it. Rest in peace, wherever you may be.

Fruits Basket OP – For Fruits Basket »

Finally, we also got two movies that are worth mentioning. Spirited Away is the better-known of the two and here, Joe Hisaishi once again leaves us in awe with his ability to compose a soundtrack that draws us into the movie’s setting. The music is light for the most part and there’s a dab of melancholy that permeates many of the pieces depicting Chihiro’s journey and growth as she goes from place to place, seeking out her parents while coming to terms with the changes in her life. Although tracks like “One Summer Day” is memorable, as it turns out, a lot of people like “The Sixth Station” much more (myself included).

One Summer Day

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The Sixth Station

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Princess Arete would be the other movie, and the only reason why I even watched this movie at all was due to Akira Senju’s compositions. While the movie left me wanting at times because it falls short of its potential, there’s no denying that the music leaves a very strong impression. The pieces in this movie are comparable to the music in Spice and Wolf in its incorporation of medieval/Renaissance themes. However, the piece that stands out the most here is the piece that introduces the anime, “Kiniro no Tsubasa.” Sung by Taeko Onuki, its melody caused me to melt in my seat, leaving me in a state of bliss the first time I heard it, reinforcing Akira Senju’s position as one of my favorite anime music composers.

Kiniro no Tsubasa

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Despite all that, there are a few notables that I left out that’s worth chastising me for. I have seen Millennium Actress and I’m sure it certainly deserves a mention if I ever get around to giving that album a go. Earth Maiden Arjuna also has some good music, but again, I haven’t seen the series or listened to the music enough to give an informed judgment. Finally, for all that one Kokoro Library track did to leave me impressed, I still haven’t gotten around to giving that soundtrack its time to shine even though it’s packed with piano melodies which is normally a sure winner with me.

Anyhow, as I mentioned, I’ve been busy as of late, but I’ll hopefully have a few news tidbits to toss around in the next few days.

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.

0 thoughts on “Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2001

  • January 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm
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    glad you are doing this.

    hm maybe i could pull off something like this too.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm
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    @omo
    Someone should since I’m highly likely to miss a few good soundtracks/OPs/EDs somewhere along the way :3

    Reply
  • January 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm
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    The year I watched Noir, I listened to Salva Nos to pump myself up before taking each of my final exams. Performance varied.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm
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    Noir has one of the best sound tracks in all of anime. Yuki Kajiura is too awesome!
    I really like Canta per me from that as well.
    After watching Noir, I went on a binge and watched every single anime she composed music for… Cossette, Mai Hime… etc.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2010 at 11:41 am
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    @Baka-Raptor
    Salva Nos would qualify for the moments of awesome, making it great for those “let’s get it ONN!!” moments. I can only assume that before, your theme of choice was the Rocky Theme or something.

    @Yi
    Yeah, the two choral pieces are what make Noir so memorable. Kajiura’s consistency in the realm of soundtracks is what gets me to come back even if its stylistic changes aren’t as varied as some other composers.

    It’s kind of strange that before, she was getting crappy series to compose for, but once she did Cossette, things started looking up!

    Reply
  • January 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm
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    I love what you are doing here. I adore the osts of Noir, Spirited Away and ROD. I used to listen to them everyday. Oh and thanks to you, I discover new good ost; Angelic Layer.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm
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    Till date Yuki Kajiura’s UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ stuff is the only one I can tolerate.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2010 at 9:18 am
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    I definitely with the part on Salva Nos. That firmly remains as one of my favourite chanting pieces by Kajiura. The only other one which left such an impact was I Talk to the Rain from Tsubasa.

    There’s now loads of OSTs I want to try out. Iwasaki Taku is one composer I really want to know more of, but just need to be pointed in the right direction. Will definitely start out with some of his soundtracks mentioned here.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm
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    Glad people are finding new stuff to listen to or old stuff to fondly look back upon!

    @Canne
    Angelic Layer is a pretty decent series too! The characters are really lovable and the atmosphere as a whole brings about that uplifting experience that the soundtrack brings out really well!

    And yeah, Noir, Spirited Away, and ROD will always get listening time on my watch. I figure since I’ll never get a chance to write about those albums, that I’ll have to use this opportunity to address them.

    @Shin
    I prefer Susumu Hirasawa’s beats though Kajiura’s isn’t bad by a long stretch.

    @Jen
    Tsubasa is too good not to be addressed so that’ll come up in the near future. As for Iwasaki, the two Rurouni Kenshin OVA soundtracks are awesome! Hope you get a chance to check those out!

    Reply
  • January 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm
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    Salva Nos – just plain epic. I remember when I was watching Noir whenever this song would start playing, you knew that it was time for something pro to happen.

    The type of songs that make you feel epic (not sure how to describe it) are my favorite.

    Reply

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