Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2006

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I think the last one was about a month ago. Now taking bets as to whether I finish this before the year’s up!

Anyways, 2006 has been hailed by quite a few as a banner year for anime, where many of the shows I watched still managed to stick within my memories surprisingly well. It does help that this year saw the appearance of heavyweights like Haruhi, whose impact on the anime scene can’t be emphasized enough as we’re still living with its repercussions. No fad has managed to supplant it to near-universal appeal like Haruhi did, and like it or not, it’s going to be a major part of what makes up the fabric of 2000s anime fandom.

That said, most of the musical offerings that I really love from 2006 do not come from this franchise. The celebrated Haruhi songs like “Bouken Deshou Deshou,” “Hare Hare Yuukai,” “God Knows,” and “Lost My Music,” have become overplayed to the point that it’s lost that sense of uniqueness even if they are pretty awesome when they first came out on the scene. It’s like how pieces like Final Fantasy X’s “To Zanarkand,” Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise,” and, of course, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” were enjoyable at one point, but I can’t stand to listen to them nowadays. Not trying to knock all of those mentioned above as bad because they aren’t; it’s just been overplayed and since my tendency is to seek out fresh and new stuff that’s underappreciated, I’m not going to bother with Haruhi for this column! There’s more stuff that’s worth one’s time at any rate!

So with that in mind, there’s a lot of good stuff from 2006. I’d be hard-pressed to put my finger on my favorite soundtrack from that year since there are no less than three soundtracks competing for that slot and each of them have something to the that I really like. As usual, clips are in their entirety and youtube videos are spoilered. With that, read on!

Ouran High School Host Club
Squaring off for the number 1 spot will be none other than Ouran High School Host Club. When I remember watching the first few episodes of this series, I was completely dazzled by the music. Yoshihisa Hirano’s compositions are really enjoyable in the way they mix various genres of classical music into a really nice package. Sure, if you were super serious about your classical music, you can gripe about how some of the pieces are just too short and Y. Hirano glosses over opportunities to develop the track further, but I was never bothered by these issues. On the whole, Hirano taps into the whole elegant/pretentiousness vibe associated with the Ouran school and its Host Club through tracks like the “Ouran Concerto” and the “Sinfonietta,” which are among many of my favorites. While Haruhi’s stuff is “been there, done that,” Ouran’s soundtrack still remains fresh and enjoyable to this day.

Ouran Concerto for oboe 2 horns violin and string

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Sinfonietta C-dur

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Bartender
Bartender is also going to compete for that top spot. You could classify many of the tunes from this soundtrack as being nothing more than elevator music, but it sure is damn good elevator music! Its jazzy soundtrack takes us into the soothing atmosphere of Eden Hall, run by Ryo Sasakura, where one can relax and rejuvenate oneself through his concoctions. The mood that “NO NAME ~Kami no Glass~” sets through its piano and percussion really work alongside the narration in the anime and I’m also drawn in to the calming aura that “CHRISTMAS CHAMPAGNE ~Kiyoshiko” brings to the table with its arrangement of “Silent Night.” The soundtrack as a whole is wonderful and if this is the kind of music you dig, you’ll be in good company with the rest of the music here. I only wish that its composer, Kaoruko Ohtake, would compose more music for anime.

NO NAME ~Kami no Glass~

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CHRISTMAS CHAMPAGNE ~Kiyoshiko

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Red Garden
And of course, the last contender would be Red Garden’s soundtrack. I’ve already labeled this a masterpiece, and it’s not hard to see why through its emotional fare coupled with KOKIA’s vocals towards the end. I really do listen to this too much, but that’s fine since it’s still not gotten old and the melodies that I love from it continue to raise the hairs on my neck because of how beautiful they are. Also, I’m too lazy to switch it out with something else and so, it’s an album that seems to have a permanent spot in my car’s CD player.

Sumire ~ You to Tomoni

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Paprika
So yes, those would be the big three, but there’s something to be said about the huge diversity of stuff that’s made their appearance beyond just the pretty music that I love so much. Satoshi Kon’s Paprika movie also came out in 2006 and the soundtrack, composed by the old standby of Susumu “I ain’t Yui” Hirasawa, took me awhile to get into. It was bizarre listening to the bevy of sounds assault me for the first time, but once I watched the movie, all that cacophony somehow made sense. No, I’m not even going to try to explain it since it’s an experience you’ll have to encounter for yourself. Now, I’ve come to love its depiction of chaos through standbys like “Parade” and “The Girl in Byakkoya – White Tiger Field.” Its style may be jarring to those used to quieter fare, but give this one a few chances and it’ll grow on you pretty quickly.

Parade

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The Girl in Byakkoya – White Tiger Field

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Asatte no Houkou
Asatte no Houkou is one underrated gem, both from the music and the anime front. At its core, it’s a story about how two people’s wishes go awry, but along the way, the characters learn to be a bit more empathetic and understanding, resulting in a sweet story all around. The soundtrack by Shinkichi Mitsumune of Rozen Maiden fame also adds to the languishing feel of summer while sticking in a good dose of soft piano drama music to make things roll. The medley that starts the soundtrack covers most of the show’s musical themes and should prime your expectations as to what the rest of the soundtrack delivers upon. It’s delightful. Maybe not to the degree that some of the others are since it’s mood is rather subtle and I’d hardly classify this as being energetic, but I do listen to it quite a bit, most likely because it starts with the letter A and shows up when I scroll through the list of albums to tune into.

Kumikyoku [Asatte no Houkou]

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Le Chevalier D’Eon
I don’t know how many people have seen Le Chevalier D’Eon, but it certainly was an engaging anime series with its mystery and intrigues that viewers can unravel. Also, conspiracy theorists may find the cultists angle and their goal of controlling Europe’s major powers to be a fascinating bit, especially when names like Robespierre pop up. Michiru Ooshima’s compositions are often overlooked and even if they’re not quite as good as Fullmetal Alchemist or Sora no Woto’s soundtrack, they still demonstrate Ooshima’s ability to depict a European setting. One of my favorite pieces is “Cafe – Paris no Kensou,” which paints a relaxing scene as you sit in a cafe and looking at people walk by the Seine. The other tracks, like “PSALMS” hits the mood rather nicely with those tension-filled melodies that hint at the impending conflict.

Cafe -Paris no Kensou-

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PSALMS

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Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokaan
Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokaan is completely silly. I’ve already remarked about its misleading OP theme elsewhere since this series is all about a bunch of girls from a different environment trying to get used to modern-day Japan. The comedy isn’t exactly top-notch, but it does have its moments. The music, composed by Elements Garden’s Noriyasu Agematsu, matches the silliness for the most part, though his “seasonal” tracks using the Magipoka themes are the highlights along with the easygoing character themes. Well, assuming you like laid-back my-pace type music, which fits in with my tastes. So Magipoka wasn’t a particularly great, but its music was enjoyable and the whimsical tracks make for a great listen.

Magipoka Theme – Spring

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Magipoka Theme – Summer

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My-Pace Yuuma

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Yeah, this is a lot of stuff, but it’s no surprise given all the good shows that came out along with the scores which are downright excellent. The OP/ED section is similarly long, so on to Page 2!

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.

28 thoughts on “Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2006

  • May 18, 2010 at 6:47 am
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    Ouran indeed has a really great soundtracks. It is easier to recognize sober/serious/dark ost as a great piece but not that easy for lighter/merrier ones. Thus, ouran’s osts is quite extraordinary. :)

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  • May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm
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    Asatte no Houkou got a mention! \o/

    Ai no Melody? But I guess KOKIA got a nod with Red Garden.

    Also, IMO ’06 is the Iwasaki revival year with Giniro no Kami no Agito and Kekkaishi… culminating in what we all know as Gurren Lagann.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm
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    Ahh, some wonderful choices here. 2006 was a great year for music. I appreciate the decision not to cover the already-over-popular tracks of Haruhi. (Gah! Although I love the soundtrack, I’ve listened to it as much as I’ve been forced to play Pachebel’s Canon in D. T_T).

    I need to check out a lot of these shows, as the only one whose music I am familiar with is Ouran. I absolutely adore the music of that show, it’s so classy xD One of my favorites was the piano version of the OP song, although all the background music in general was really nice and suited the atmosphere well.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm
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    No love for Simoun? I’m so disappointed! The OP and both OST albums were on my most-played list for many many months after the show had ended. I still think it was one of the high points of that decade.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm
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    This was, IMO, pretty much the best year in anime last decade, and the music was also outstanding. I really liked Kenji’s Fate/Stay Night soundtrack, but I do agree his Higurashi soundtrack is very underwhelming and well below his standards. The Honey and Clover II ED, “Split” by SuneoHair, also deserves a mention. Taniuchi Hideki was also doing outstanding work at around this time on the Akagi soundtrack, and about half of the Death Note soundtrack. Funnily enough, the other composer who worked on Death Note, Hirano Yoshihisa, also did the soundtrack for Strawberry Panic, which made me think at the time that I’d never seen a yuri anime with bad music. I think that’s still probably true.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm
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    Agreed with Gozaru. Since the only possible reason Simoun has not received mention here must be that you haven’t heard any of its music yet, I will post YouTube links:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLyHmKEOMxQ&feature=related

    I appreciate the mention of Paprika’s soundtrack. While unusual, it certainly is unique in a good way.

    Lastly, I’ve never heard of Asatte no Houkou. I’ll have to look into it.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 7:25 pm
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    I knew you guys would comment about the lack of Simoun D:

    @Canne
    Kind of funny how, as Sorrow-kun mentioned Hirano also composes darker fare for the Death Note anime so he can shift deftly between moods when it suits him.

    When I listen to Ouran, I do get quite a kick out of the experience. The classical music does capture the lighthearted moments of a show, accentuating it even further. Needless to say, it’s a wonderful listen that brings back the nostalgia really well!

    @ottocycle
    Well, I’ve already responded to your comment via Twitter, so the only thing I’ll add is that Iwasaki’s compositions for the movie were solid in addition to KOKIA’s lovely vocals. Guess this means I should also delve into Keikkaishi too.

    @Mint
    Yeah, it didn’t make sense to cover those known quantities when there’s a world of stuff people should take a stab at. Between the three that I highlighted as my possible faves, Bartender hits the classy mood just slightly better. Then again, it’s more of a healing/soothing type of show that takes place in a refined beer lounge. Ouran is comedy (and well done at that!) but I find that the joy is in listening to the music as a subversion of the host club’s borderline pretentious activities :3

    @Sorrow-kun
    I think I just have a beef with composers who write solely for the atmosphere moreso than melody because one works great within shows but doesn’t do too well outside it. Kawai’s work does tend to fall under that category even if stuff like “Pride of the Warrior King” is really really good!

    @Gozaru
    I wouldn’t doubt it. The consensus I’ve heard/read is that Simoun offers some of Sahashi’s best compositions. Ever. Yu managed to nail the reason why I didn’t cover it and it still sits idly on ye olde backlog.

    As for Hirano’s work on Strawberry Panic, I’ve been told to check it out by Smankh who says it’s pretty solid after I asked about how it compares to Ouran. But yeah, I can’t think of a yuri anime with bad music either. Marimite’s was solid and Aoi Hana gets the mood down quite nicely. There are probably other prominent ones that I’m not thinking of either.

    @Yu
    Spot on and sadly enough, I’ve heard both songs you’ve stuck in the comment. I’ve enjoyed both “Youen Naru Kizuna no Hibiki” with its seductive flair, “Rekishi wa Kataru” with its blend of tension and elegance, and “Doukoku Kooru Tempest” which feels like the rise of some dark lord or something. That I’ve gotten even this much positive mileage out of it means I’m about due. It’s probably even better in context.

    I think Hirasawa does tend towards a lot of electro-synth/whatever since the OP to Berserk was sort of the same way. As for Asatte no Houkou, it’s got a nice combination of pretty piano music that fits in with the kind of stuff I like.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm
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    Ergo Proxy is on my list of OP/EDs. I love it.
    Or maybe it’s because I’m also in love with the series, but I do think it’s a very good OP.
    I’m so glad you included it.

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  • May 19, 2010 at 1:28 am
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    @Yi
    I’m really thinking about giving the soundtrack to Ergo Proxy a shot… even if the music never struck me during the 13something episodes that I’ve seen for it. But yeah, the opening is one of those tracks that are easy to listen to somehow, so I have no problems just tuning it in and letting it all go~

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  • May 19, 2010 at 3:22 am
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    That’s one fantastic list of OST. Paprika’s music is possibly my favorite anime music out there (I still frequently listen to Mediational Field).

    Anyway, nice to find out that a silly title like Magical Pokaan actually has a some nice soundtrack to back it up. I might give it a shot sometimes soon 😛

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  • May 19, 2010 at 6:08 am
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    Yay! Loads of stuff which struck my attention too. Like I’ve mentioned before, Ouran is really in a class of its own. I really enjoyed Red Garden and Le Chevalier D’Eon as well. And from the clips here, looks like I just can’t miss out on Bartender either. =D

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  • May 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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    @Omurqi
    I was quite surprised too with Magipokaan and had my doubts after watching the show and wondering whether the soundtrack would be pleasant. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

    Hirasawa’s been pretty consistent with his musical style in Paprika, showing he can do that cacophony, but also the smooth jazzy elevator music thing decently too. I think my next watch might be Tokyo Godfathers since he also composes the music for that too, so I’ll see how that goes!

    @Jen
    I certainly wasn’t going to forget Ouran and Red Garden =p

    But yeah, Bartender is great, relaxing fare and the soundtrack is filled with tracks like those two. It’s a great way to fritter those worries away since it’s so calm and enjoyable~

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  • May 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm
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    Some fantastic choices here. I hadn’t heard Red Garden until recently and it is such a beautiful classical soundtrack, especially the Kokia tracks at the end :)

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  • May 20, 2010 at 1:06 am
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    I think you should check out Ergo Proxy’s soundtrack. I’m curious as to what you think of it. It’s certainly a very different genre than many.

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  • May 20, 2010 at 1:50 am
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    @Sirusjr
    With the context, that soundtrack becomes all the more poignant because Senju does such a fantastic job in getting you to feel the emotional pain that the girls go through. There’s enough hopeful stuff to buoy you up and it hits so deep and it feels so right. KOKIA’s stuff is just a bonus to an already awesome effort, that’s for sure!

    @Yi
    That’s sort of what I expected… now to see if I can somehow get my hands on the US release since I know they’re floating about somewhere…

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  • May 20, 2010 at 4:24 am
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    wow, finally, some appreciation for Red Garden, well the soundtrack definitely is a must, we can all skip the anime.
    anytime i need to de-stress, it will have to be the Red Garden OST & KOKIA. This is THE killer combination 😛

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  • May 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm
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    @mei If you haven’t listened to it already, get a hold of the “Guin Saga – This is My Road” album by Kanon, it almost sounds like Kokia. 😉
    I really like the Red Garden OST too, btw. :-)

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  • May 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm
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    @mei
    Well, it was going to receive its due, regardless of whether I’d reviewed it or not! And I have no idea how to de-stress using Red Garden. It usually makes me feel sad more than anything else if it’s not uplifting me with some of KOKIA’s more optimistic fare. My de-stress of choice is still the tossup between ARIA and Bartender!

    @signor_rossi
    Yes! I loved that album because of how well Kanon takes you far far away into other lands. The tone of voice that she uses is really beautiful and it’s a solid ED theme.

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  • May 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm
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    @zzeroparticle, @signo_rossi
    there’s no denying KANON was good in Guin Saga, in fact, Guin Saga’s would be one of my top choices for 2009. But KOKIA still kinda ranks 1 step above (for me anyways).

    @zzeroparticle
    i de-stress with sad music, go figure. to each his own :)

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  • May 21, 2010 at 12:08 am
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    I usually de-stress with Hisaishi music or with Kunihiko Ryo’s Juuni Kokuki Kokyu/Piano Memories albums. :-)

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  • May 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm
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    @mei
    Her ethereal voice does kinda do the trick nicely. I was pretty impressed with most of her songs in general, though Red Garden does benefit from Senju as the composer. Wonder if they’ll ever collaborate again.

    @signor_rossi
    Not a bad selection. Guess your mode of de-stressing involves going off to different wondrous worlds out there and Hisaishi/Kunihiko both do a good job of that. Now I want to try out Kunihiko’s Letter Bee OST…

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  • May 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm
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    Indeed, FSN is probably the greatest thing since slice bread or peanut butter for me : p

    Anyway good choices on the instrumental and OP/ED. I think part of the reason why Kiri is so under-appreciated is that Ergo Proxy isn’t that popular. My best OP/ED in 2006 is undoubtedly Juukai’s Anata ga ita Mori, but that’s probably partly because of my love for FSN.

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  • May 22, 2010 at 12:48 am
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    Fate/stay night is a decent anime that I myself overrate. I don’t even know why I chose Saber to center a blog around. Spur of the moment I guess when I was doing a mental random pick of anime characters I knew.

    Around half of those series I have only sampled, which leads me to the other half. Ergo Proxy’s OP does seem to go by unnoticed, but I just find it fascinating to listen to. Red Garden’s soundtrack was great, and my friend recommended Le Chevalier D’Eon for me to watch just recently. I like what I hear from it though.

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  • May 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm
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    @Reltair
    Ooshimas music for Chevalier D’Eon is very good and among the best works I heard of hers, I especially like Ria no Kan, Russia ni Shisu and Owari ni Mata Kotoba Ariki. The anime itself isn’t bad either and certainly worth a watch. If by chance you find it a bit boring/dragging in the middle you should still watch on, since the finale is very strong and doesn’t disappoint.

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  • May 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm
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    @depthcharge101
    A lot of people that I read do talk a lot about Ergo Proxy’s pseudo-philosophical pretentiousness and the ED of Paranoid Android since Radiohead’s involved, but Kiri seems to be passed up quite a bit.

    As far as FSN goes, I love Juukai’s ED quite a bit! The OP was also a much better version of the VN’s OP theme, though the 2nd OP was a bit of a wash.

    @Reltair
    Ehh, why not, right?

    And yeah, Le Chevalier D’Eon was one that I found to be really enjoyable if you’re into the political intrigue atmosphere combined with some historical rearranging. The score is solid through and through and even if I can find a few holes to poke in the show, the soundtrack is strong.

    @signor_rossi
    Talk about those twists and turns at the end! I live for those moments in Chevalier 😀

    Reply
  • May 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm
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    I like the love here for Kanon’s work in Guin Saga but I didn’t enjoy anything else from her album besides the actual full ED song. The ED song was perfect and had a beautiful feeling of peace but the rest of it was just too much synthesizer for me.

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  • May 31, 2010 at 10:49 am
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    @Sirusjr
    I can see that being an issue if you’re not overly fond of synthesizer and though I liked it, I’m not one to be able to really determine what’s overuse. Still, I did think that the “Cavalleria Rusticana” was really enjoyable.

    Reply
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