Sora no Woto Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Sora no Woto Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Sora no Woto
Artist: Michiru Ooshima, Kalafina, Yuki Kajiura, Haruka Tomatsu
Matthieu Ladouce, William Walker
Catalog Number: SVWC-7681
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: March 24, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Une Lumiere Envoutante Michiru Ooshima 4:50
2. Ciel Bleu Michiru Ooshima 1:48
3. Flanerie Michiru Ooshima 1:46
4. Servante du Feu Michiru Ooshima, Matthieu Ladouce 4:49
5. Tranquille Michiru Ooshima 1:32
6. Volupte du Soir Michiru Ooshima 2:03
7. Desoriente Michiru Ooshima 2:22
8. Amazing Grace Michiru Ooshima, William Walker 2:09
9. Au Coin du Feu Michiru Ooshima 3:49
10. Un Bol D’Air Michiru Ooshima 1:36
11. Souvenir Perdu Michiru Ooshima 2:09
12. Le Pont de Pierre Michiru Ooshima 2:11
13. Ce Jour-la Michiru Ooshima 1:53
14. Relique Abandonnee Michiru Ooshima 3:11
15. Le Peril Michiru Ooshima 2:06
16. En Ruines Michiru Ooshima 1:42
17. Le Paysage en Bordure de Lac Michiru Ooshima 2:07
18. Un Oubli Retentissant Michiru Ooshima 1:54
19. Sur le Chemin de Retour Michiru Ooshima 1:39
20. La Tempete Michiru Ooshima 1:41
21. La Voie a Suivre Michiru Ooshima 2:26
22. Ambiance Feutree Michiru Ooshima 3:17
23. Destinee Michiru Ooshima 2:20
24. Apres la Pluie, le Beau Temps Michiru Ooshima 1:35
25. Bruine Assassine Michiru Ooshima 2:06
26. Hikari no Senritsu Kalafina, Yuki Kajiura 1:35
27. Girls! Be Ambitious (TV Size) Haruka Tomatsu 1:32

Review: The acoustic guitar comes in softly, playing a Spanish-styled melody that brings to mind the longing people have for a once-glorious past that now lies in ruins. It’s a painful scene to look upon, as people struggle to survive in a world where the geopolitical situation constantly teeters on the brink of war. “Une Lumiere Envoutante” opens up Sora no Woto’s soundtrack on a decidedly melancholy note through its dirge-like melody, and we feel that overwhelming sense of sadness envelope us. There is a glimmer of hope, yes, but its tone reinforces the feeling that the characters must stubbornly cling to their ideals and fight to achieve the happy, peaceful end they seek.

Une Lumiere Envoutante

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Through these mournful tones, the opening track conveys the breadth of Sora no Woto’s setting and its overarching plotline. It etches into our minds the images of the blasted landscape, wrecked by some phenomenon that the creators never reveal, but that we could guess at. That the music is capable of doing all this is a testament to Michiru Ooshima’s skill in the composer’s chair. Listening to this album brings back fond memories of her work for Fullmetal Alchemist, a series that was just as despondent, which required that she be able to convey the depths of sorrow and despair like she does here. Those of you who have seen Sore no Woto know that there are lighter moments to be had and those moments are present in the soundtrack. However, the melancholy tracks stand out quite a bit, serving as a reminder of how tattered the world has become.

“Servante du Feu” drives that point home adeptly through its tragic tone which tugs upon one’s heartstrings. In listening to this track, one cannot shake off the mournful feelings that emanate from this ode dedicated to those who willingly made the sacrifice in defense of the town. By conveying the extent of life’s ephemerality through the vocals and allowing us to feel the town’s grief, the way “Servante du Feu” draws out the emotion from the listener is similar to Fullmetal Alchemist’s “Brothers,” and its flawless execution makes it one of Ooshima’s best songs to date.

Servante du Feu

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Yet, the wellspring of hope is always there and nowhere does it manifest more inspiringly than in “Amazing Grace.” I’m especially mesmerized by this piece, from the trumpet solo that feels like a clarion call for peace, to the solidarity that builds up as the strings and the rest of the orchestra join in to lend their voices to the cause. Just listening to it is soul-stirring; you can feel the hate dissipate away as your spirits are refreshed and lightened as the trumpet and strings summon that sense of profound of joy which bursts forth, leaving you to gaze on in wonder as the world’s prospects brighten considerably.

Amazing Grace

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Furthermore, the many bright, energetic tracks scattered in this album work well along with “Amazing Grace” to show that even in these troubled times, people can still muster their energy and optimism towards building that better future. “Ciel Bleu” uses the strings beautifully to capture Kanata’s enthusiasm and energy. The enjoyable mood it depicts is absolutely infectious; I find myself being drawn in the way it playfully captures the main character’s gusto for seeking new experiences as she immerses herself into her new surroundings. “Un Bol d’Air” is equally enthralling. Initially starting out with a militaristic fanfare that you might hear at the start of a parade, this track makes way for a jaunty, whimsical melody that conveys the city’s festive mood. The strings fill this piece with life and the energy it radiates leaves you feeling elated as the melancholy tracks that came before seem like nothing more than a distant dream.

Ciel Bleu

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Un Bol d’Air

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Through this mixture of the mellow and the melancholy, the despondent and the delightful, Michiru Ooshima once again demonstrates her mettle in Sora no Woto’s soundtrack. The mournful tracks pack a considerable punch like her compositions for Fullmetal Alchemist while her lighter, bouncier fare evokes the playfulness of George Gershwin’s music (thanks to Nick for pointing this out), but it comes together really well, making this soundtrack a keeper as it kept me engaged from start to finish.

Rating: Excellent

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.

25 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. signor_rossi says:

    I am glad that you reviewed this soundtrack, might have missed it otherwise. I already like it and will give it a thorough listening this evening. :-)
    BTW, you might like this Youtube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/leonbloy

  2. signor_rossi says:

    I guess you already know Hamabe no Uta? Love this song…

  3. Yu says:

    I 2was waiting for this to show up here :)

    I see the Sora No Woto soundtrack as one of her best works. For whatever reason most of her other music doesn’t make an impression on me. One reason might have been that I felt there wasn’t much melody to distinguish most of her pieces: they were just pretty harmonizing background swells.

    On the other hand, I feel like I can recall Sora No Woto’s tracks individually.

  4. Yi says:

    I actually did not enjoy Amazing Grace much, partly because it’s just something I don’t think I would ever like no matter how it’s done.

    Une Lumiere Envoutante though is so wonderful. It’s my favorite among the samples by a large margin. It’s so good that I’m compelled to find it without even having watched the anime.

  5. @signor_rossi
    I actually didn’t know of either the channel or the song, so thanks for bringing it up to my attention! The guitar duet was pretty awesome. Do hope you managed to give this soundtrack a shot and that you enjoyed it as much as I did!

    @Yu
    Ooshima does have the tendency to do that, but somehow, it’s always resonated with me. Granted, I haven’t listened to her other stuff from Xam’d or Nabari no Ou, so she might do it more there.

    But yes, this one is quite memorable and each track has its own separate character to it that it never really melds together into an indistinguishable blob like some other soundtracks.

    @Yi
    Une Lumiere Evoutante does work if you have the setting and other context in mind, but it looks like it’s beautiful enough on its own. The OST does have a few more guitar works that might be to your liking too! Give it a shot! (And let me know how it is!)

  6. Omurqi says:

    It’s been too long since I’ve last heard orchestral music with trumpets, so Sora no Woto’s soundtrack came as a breath of fresh air for me (even though the ending theme, “Girls! Be Ambitious” was a little jarring at times).

  7. cj says:

    After I finished Sora No Woto, I waited for the OST to come out, and I had a feeling that you would review this particular soundtrack. : )
    While watching, everytime Amazing Grace is played, my heart would swell with emotions…. I was hoping for another track of the Amazing Grace duet done by Rio and Kanata, but the trumpet solo is just as great.

  8. @Omurqi
    Yeah, having “Girls! Be Ambitious” pop up during some of those later episodes just really took out all the serious atmosphere that had built up during those moments. Would have been better if they had just done a basic credits roll.

    I do think Ooshima likes trumpet a lot. You do hear that tendency in her FMA OST at least, especially that first track on the first album.

    @cj
    Once the context is tossed in, it becomes really poignant indeed! Now that I think about it, it would have been nice if the trumpet solo gave way to a duet before the strings made its entry, but as is, it’s pretty awesome.

  9. Canne says:

    This one is actually the first soundtracks that I intentionally find and have already listened to it by the time you review it. Amazing grace is a smart and convenient choice because it is already a classic piece but the fact that it was played over and over a little too often in the anime kind of dampen the emotional impact in the end.

  10. @Canne
    I can definitely see that though I still founds its rendition here to be very uplifting all the same, especially if you need that bit of hope flowing in. That doesn’t change the fact that the soundtrack as a whole is solid and very much enjoyable the whole way through!

  11. Reltair says:

    Happy and peaceful melodies. They make me think of Disneyland. >_>

    “Ciel Bleu”, the name has me chuckling since I just recalled the scene in BECK where they named one of their bands that. Randomness.

  12. Sunagan says:

    Wow, this is such a great blog! I’m a clarinet player myself and highly into classical music so I totally appreciate all your efforts!

    Will continue reading posts on here. Love the music of Sora no Woto, by the way :D.

  13. @Reltair
    Somehow, I think of a nice jaunt through Paris or some European setting. Ooshima is pretty good at doing that sorta mood I think.

    @Sunagan
    Welcome aboard! It’s kind of funny because until recently, I’ve mostly interacted with pianists, so it’s always awesome to see musicians of different instruments pop up. Glad you enjoyed Sora no Woto’s soundtrack since it’s up there with being one of my recent faves!

  14. Sirusjr says:

    Fantasic soundtrack. I had a discussion with some fans of orchestral music a while back and we all agreed that this one is special and worthwhile as a listen even when you have no experience with the anime. I’m glad to see your review of it here and giving it the praise it deserves.

  15. @Sirusjr
    I watched the anime, became entranced with a few of the pieces, heard the soundtrack, and was blown away! It’s rare to see a soundtrack that’s as memorable as this one is where you can readily recall nearly each and every track. Ooshima’s work has been generally consistent and I’m glad that she puts in a solid effort on here. I think I’ve even managed to get one non-watcher (to my knowledge at least) to give this one a shot and she liked it a lot.

  16. minor squabbles says:

    I’m sad that no one has mentioned the awesomeness of Flanerie (literally means to take a stroll).

    Eh btw, do review Kanata’s character song as it has an orchestrated version of the main character song. Negai go to Kimi to’s Instrumental Arrange Ver. is simply one of the best anime song -> classical conversion I’ve heard for a while, or maybe I just don’t know that many, additionally, the mood of the song is kept so well sometimes (not all the time) I find happiness just listening to it.

    Sora no Woto OST is almost like true love, but not quite. Lacks something more for me and I can’t name it. Negai go to Kimi to, Flanerie, Ciel Bleus, après la pluie, le beau temps and co. will all have a place in my heart though.

  17. minor squabbles says:

    Double post, I know :(

    For Ciel Bleus’ comments though I’d say its theme is mainly Kanata’s curiosity

    For Un bol d’air, I feel more of a silly mood, probably something like the 5 of the girls just messing around.

    Also, Tranquille was great, a bit disappointed it’s not listed either

    Servante du Feu is simply amazing. I could go paragraphs describing why it is but it’s just that great. Some people were pleasantly surprised by the French lyrics and since they were pleasantly surprised I supposed Ooshima Michiru did her homework for that. Awesome solo in the middle and since I’m not a clarinet player I’d like to ask, was that a clarinet playing the solo?

    And to be honest I didn’t quite like Amazing Grace just because it’s overtly-used in many places and in truth the piece was called ‘New Britain’ I think and back in 1900something a composer put two and two together and came up with Amazing Grace. Its lyrics expressed coming out and confessing the might of God while maintaining humility at the same time, matching the tune’s sudden surge and fall at the start. Genius composing I know but you didn’t have to play it so many times, Sora no Woto. It completely lost its impact on me on the last episode to be honest. I completely skipped that part and I even cringed when I listened to it that time because it felt sort of corny to me.

    ‘I’m an army, I must fight for my country, good God a girl is on top of that building with a giant robot spider!! That’s dangerous! She’s playing a trumpet?? What?? Amazing grace! how sweet the sound! Let’s stop and listen for a while and maybe our enemies can stop too so we can listen together although they could just shoot us while we’re listening away.’ Imagine a squad of USMC troops stopping to listen while a group of terrorist retreats as another terrorist comes up to some high place and plays Amazing Grace.

    Yooi Te! ~Instrumental Arrange Ver.~ is also good btw, it’s another instrumental arrange from another character album. I forgot but they’re all mostly good. It’s so good I usually remember this orchestral version instead of the original tune which genuinely sounded a bit generic at some points.

    Oh and “Girls! Be Ambitious” didn’t really bother me. I actually liked the ED a lot, as well as the OP. The problem with me is somehow I have gotten over the problem of the ‘ED BREAKING MY MOOD!’ like in Zero no Tsukaima S2.

  18. @minor squabbles
    Talk about a long one! Let me see if I can at least touch base on all the stuff you mentioned:

    If I were to talk about everything, this would have turned out to be too long. Otherwise, agreed that it’s a fantastic piece that really jibes well with what the title means since it’s so nice and whimsical. Nice rhythm and melody to reflect a “my pace” kind of feel that’s absolutely wonderful.

    Not sure if I’ll be able to get around to reviewing the character songs though since I typically don’t do that and my queue of stuff to review is also becoming bloated. If nothing else though, I’ll give it a listen since I’m interested in seeing where character songs have gone to bring the character’s personalities to life. Not surprised that Kanata’s channels a rather sweet, happy mood though.

    Also, it might be a clarinet playing that middle section of Servante du feu though a sax can get that high-pitched. It’s either a sax or clarinet and if I had to take a guess one way or another, I’d guess a sax.

    Amazing Grace is one of those pieces that seem pretty divisive based on its implementation in the anime. You’re not the first to voice thoughts about it being overused, and plenty out there have gotten tired of it so that it’s lost its luster. Not for me though. Its effects have not waned nor has the magic been lost, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

    Also, much negative stuff has been said about the show’s ending. I also agree with those criticisms. It was a corny way of handling things and you can count me as one of those who wished that the girls made a heroic self-sacrifice and be a part of the honored dead.

    Somehow your praise for the character songs are making me at least really curious! :p

    And finally, I like the ED too. Just a bit jarring in its implementation, but it’s kinda nice and sugary. OP is solid all the way though, but with Kalafina, that’s more or less expected.

  19. amos says:

    glad to see a review on an amazing soundtrack. i love the use of real instruments that many animes stray from. also glad to see someone else mention Flanerie my favorite song aside from une lumiere envoutante. which is what id like to make some points about. first off thats not a guitar, sounds like a lute to me which would fit rather well with the setting of the anime. the very first note is too low for any standard guitar, could be a 10-12 string guitar but then the higher pitched strings wouldnt have the tone is does. I may be wrong but im 99.9% sure thats a lute. also the beginning theme does have a tinge of romanticism(spanish) but for the bulk of the song it seems mostly classical/viennese and maybe even a little baroque which would also fit the setting of the show. towards the end it has a tremolo section which is usually always attributed to the spanish style guitar but the theme itself remains. i hate to be a stickler but this stuff is kind of my life :P also it is a very real performance with the FLACs you can hear the clicks of the strings being plucked and the player breathing which is standard practice to keep those muscles loose!

    either way i hope that somehow there is a season 2/OST#2 since i enjoyed both the music and show very much despite the ending which i saw coming anyway lol. didnt take anything away from the show for me.

    ah well my post is pretty late for this but oh well keep up the good work

  20. @amos
    Glad to see people enthusiastic about anime music who can share their musical expertise o/

    You know, my ability to recognize instrumentation is still kind of developing so I wouldn’t be surprised if you were on the mark regarding the lute bits. Do agree with the notion that it’s got the whole Spanish vibe going on and that it fits in really well with the setting.

    As for the whole breathing thing, I don’t think I’ve noticed it when I listen to the CD (and yeah, I do own the actual CD), but then again, I’ve only played it when I drive around, so being able to pick out that kind of detail is kind of hard with all the environmental noise going down. I’ll give it a listen in close, quiet quarters sometime!

    I don’t think we’ll be lucky enough to get a second season since the anime ended on a definitive note. It’d be a nice surprise all the same. But I wouldn’t fret too much regarding the music. Michiru Ooshima has composed a lot of good music, so seek those out!

    Thanks again for the detailed comment and for sharing your music knowledge!

  21. nnnn says:

    Nobody’s mentioned Le Peril? ;A; That song was amazing!

    And as far as the instrument in the opening track goes, I’d say it’s a harp guitar.

    • @nnnn
      It’s kinda hard to be able to name every single track that’s good, especially when the album is so consistent as it is. There’s a reason it was one of the top albums to come out of 2010. Michru Ooshima’s compositions have been rock-solid on the whole.

  22. michiyo24 says:

    Does anyone knows the name of the song Rio played in episode 9 when she was frustrated?

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