The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Artist: Satoru Kousaki, Ryuichi Takada, Keigo Hoashi, Kakeru Ishihama,
Erik Satie, Eminence Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Honda
Catalog Number: LACA-9178~9
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: January 27, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia

Tracklist and miscellaneous album information provided by VGMdb.


Tracklist
Disc 1

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. A Story Beginning from the Usual Scenery Satoru Kousaki 3:52
2. The SOS Brigade’s Christmas Party Satoru Kousaki 2:25
3. Noisy Time Satoru Kousaki 1:04
4. What Awaits Beyond the Everyday Keigo Hoashi 0:52
5. The Girl Named Ryoko Asakura Ryuichi Takada,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
3:00
6. From Anxiety to Fear Ryuichi Takada,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
1:45
7. Betrayed Expectations Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:48
8. The Extent of the Isolated World Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
3:15
9. Certainty of Environmental Change Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:57
10. The Clue of Haruhi Suzumiya Kakeru Ishihama,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:28
11. Feet that Don’t Appear Before a Popular Heart Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
1:15
12. Connected Memories Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:33
13. The SOS Brigade Again Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
1:56
14. READY? Ryuichi Takada,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
4:14
15. Chasing the Memory of that Day Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
1:27
16. The Word that the Leading Girl Speaks Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:27
17. Footprints to the Future Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
1:53
18. Gymnopedie No. 2 Erik Satie,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:56
19. What Lies in Yuki Nagato’s Heart Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:59
20. Verification of Self-Consciousness Keigo Hoashi,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
2:45
21. A Turning Point of History Ryuichi Takada,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
3:19
22. The Brigade Members Who Met Again Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
5:02
23. A Story Ending in the Usual Scenery Satoru Kousaki,
Eminence Symphony Orchestra
3:16

Disc 2

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Gymnopedie No. 1 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 3:18
2. Gymnopedie No. 2 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 2:51
3. Gymnopedie No. 3 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 2:28
4. Gnossienne No. 1 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 3:25
5. Gnossienne No. 2 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 2:18
6. Gnossienne No. 1 Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 2:57
7. Jeux te Veux Erik Satie, Seiji Honda 5:16

Review: Now I understand why anime directors love Satoru Kousaki’s compositions so much: his music blends in wonderfully with the scenes, yet isn’t so overpowering that it takes away from whatever the scene is trying to convey. Throughout The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, the background pieces weaved themselves seamlessly into the movie with their ambiance, going from inspiring hope to inciting panic. But by doing so, the album is harder to listen to and enjoy on its own. Bereft of the scenes, the soundtrack to The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya doesn’t have quite the same level of impact. While that’s not totally a bad thing, it does mean that if you’re looking to get a decent amount of mileage out of this album, it’s best to listen to it after you’ve seen the movie.

After all, when you listen to an opener like “A Story Beginning from the Usual Scenery,” there’s not really much to it that you can put your finger on. The trumpet’s languid pacing fits the title of the track like a glove. It’s so seeped in the pleasantness of the ordinary that you’d be hard-pressed to find something remarkable about it. Maybe its optimistic flavor is worth commenting upon or the shift over to a guitar section is nice, but beyond that, it doesn’t offer any line or melody that would keep you rapt at attention. And if it did, it’d be missing the point of depicting ordinary ordinariness completely.

A Story Beginning from the Usual Scenery

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So in looking for pieces that will catch your attention, you’ll have to do some digging around because this album has a tendency to stay far from the bombast and aim towards subtler fare. Tracks like “Footprints to the Future” channel a mellow mood that positively exudes its optimism ever so slowly, but nevertheless, it comes off beautifully. “What Lies in Yuki Nagato’s Heart” is similarly subtle, though it differs in that the strings’ tone is more introspective. Through it, you can feel Kyon considering every single one of his options in terms of what makes him and those around him happy. The cloud of uncertainty hangs over the track, but its depiction of the main dilemma is spot-on, and by the end, a smidgen of hope appears, assuring you that things will turn out all right in the end.

Footprints to the Future

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What Lies in Yuki Nagato’s Heart

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That said, there were a few tracks that caught my attention on the first pass. “From Anxiety to Fear” was absolutely dazzling as the strings brought out that heightened sense of panic that Kyon must have felt when his world was turned upside down. The brass section’s entry accentuates that feeling of fear, and the piece builds up spectacularly as it unleashes a rousing finish to illustrate Kyon’s stunning realization of what’s happening to him. “READY?’s” dramatic buildup is also worth mentioning, especially its deliberate pacing that develops into a beautifully grandiose moment before leveling off slightly as Kyon makes his fateful decision. It doesn’t end definitively, suggesting that making the choice sends Kyon into a new adventure as he works to bring order to the chaotic state of affairs.

From Anxiety to Fear

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READY?

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And what a fantastic ride that turns out to be! “A Turning Point of History,” which plays during the most intense, standout moments of the film, uses dissonance to convey the scope of the danger that Kyon faces. The opener nails the ominous atmosphere through the chorus and the piece moves in slow motion as it depicts imminent doom. The climax, where the chorus crescendos to a near-fevered pitch, then makes way for a quieter melody that comes with a slight tilt towards the melancholy, as though to depict Kyon’s final moments. Once again, there’s no conclusiveness as the piece closes out, but when “The Brigade Members Who Met Again” plays, you know everything ends well. The soundtrack closes with the chipper “A Story Ending in the Usual Scenery” which is upbeat as the strings and woodwinds bounce along. Kyon’s struggles result in a newfound appreciation for the anomalies which, while inconvenient, spice up his life. “A Story Ending in the Usual Scenery” reflects those sentiments through its joyful sound that contains a hint of mischief mixed in with a pleasant sense of normalcy and makes us look forward to the next chapter in the Haruhi franchise.

A Turning Point of History

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A Story Ending in the Usual Scenery

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In the realm of ambient orchestral music, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya’s soundtrack is one of the best; I can listen to it while reading a book or doing work because it somehow blends in perfectly without distracting me from my work. It’s when I want to listen to it carefully that it becomes difficult to fully commit my attention to it. My preference for engaging background music that can function well in context and on its own means that I’ve yet to find a Satoru Kousaki composition that has kept me riveted over the long haul. That said, Disappearance’s soundtrack is his best work yet, and I did enjoy it even if I do hope Kousaki will get to the point where his compositions can stand well on their own.

Rating: Good

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.

18 thoughts on “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Original Soundtrack – Review

  • July 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    Wow, I can imagine the movie having some pretty good scenes judging from these tracks alone. I like how “READY?” is building up to something epic, although I’m not too sure if the song name fits.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm
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    Enjoyable in general. I like the theme in the first and last track, but other than that there weren’t any outstanding/memorable melodies or themes.

    Did they actually utilize Erik Satie’s compositions in the series? I find it interesting that they they took the works of a semi-modern classical composer and slapped Haruhi on it. Satie’s compositions do fit in with the mood of the first disc, I guess. Pleasant sounding music that functions best in the background.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2010 at 12:13 am
    Permalink

    @Reltair
    I think so. If I were to try to put it in the context of a mecha show, try to imagine a pilot’s state of mind right before he launches as he fully commits to his goal of wiping out the enemy, calms his nerves, etc. That’s pretty much what Kyon is thinking during that segment.

    @Yu
    Yeah, that’s been my complaint in general with Kousaki.

    I’m not sure whether you meant series or movie, so I’ll answer both. I don’t remember Satie ever being in the series, but it was definitely in the movie. I remember watching the movie and thinking “AHA!” when Gymnopedies2 popped up because I was kinda familiar with it when it was used in the trailer. Why the second disc was exclusively Satie, who knows, but you are right in that it matches the ambiance overall.

    As a minor note, the Gymnopedies version heard in the first disc is played by a full orchestra. I just found that ironic that when I wiki’d Gymnopedies, there was a segment saying how Debussy thought Gymnopedies 2 could not be arranged for orchestra. And yet, here we have one on the first disc.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2010 at 9:48 am
    Permalink

    I like “A Story Ending in the Usual Scenery.”

    Still, overall, the track is decent, but not all that memorable for me. Maybe I need to watch the movie first.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2010 at 10:26 am
    Permalink

    Ahaha.. As you can see I don’t keep up with the Haruhi franchise.

    I think Debussy was primarily a pianist, so he wouldn’t have too much experience with orchestration? Perhaps Wikipedian is misquoting him. *shrug*

    I’m really looking forward to the soundtracks of the anime airing in this new season. What I’ve heard so far sounds good.

    Reply
  • July 8, 2010 at 2:33 am
    Permalink

    @Yi
    Yeah, I did try listening to this album prior to the movie, but none of it really stood out as strongly as it otherwise would have if you had the context.

    @Yu
    Primarily, yes, but he did do some orchestral works. I’m sure most composers studied orchestra to some extent, and Debussy is talented enough to be able to make orchestral arrangements.

    And stop reading through my drafts folder! :p

    Reply
  • July 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm
    Permalink

    I haven’t had a chance to sit down with the movie, but it does seem the soundtrack is solid. I understand what you mean about music that evokes a mood, without attracting too much attention to itself. I’m sure many directors prefer to have the music subject to the overall experience, which means it is less capable of standing on its own, regardless of how well crafted it might be.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 10:10 pm
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    @Joojoobees
    Yup, that’s a reasonable position for the director to take as far as musical implementation is concerned and this soundtrack actually works well when I use it to study/read/do work. I’ll also add that the soundtrack is easier to dig if you’ve seen the movie. The way the music was weaved in the movie is worthy of a lot of praise because it was done really well.

    Reply
  • November 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm
    Permalink

    The titles work excellently too – they already give me an impression of what the song would be like without even playing it. I know, this sounds like it’s a given, but compare it to songs which describe a lyric, or songs that have nonsensical, unrelated titles, this is a godsend.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2010 at 12:51 am
    Permalink

    @Valence
    Yeah, if there’s one good thing about the way it’s set up, yeah, it’s easy to tell which tracks go where since the titles themselves do an excellent job of prepping your expectations so that you have a clue as to what mood to be in when you listen. Helps make it easier to get a good feel for it.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm
    Permalink

    Wow.. I just watched it. And it was the best. Unlike any other stories, this one is very unpredictable and yet it still has the whole story intact. No doubt, the best anime movie!!

    Reply
    • June 2, 2011 at 11:09 am
      Permalink

      @back track
      Tell me about it! I love how, in this movie, everything feels so wrong, but that’s what makes the movie so amazing. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say this is the best anime movie ever, but it’s certainly the best anime film to come out of last year for sure!

      Reply
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  • January 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm
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    First of all, I loved your review, it’s very informative and I’m definitely buying the soundtrack when I can~

    I do have a question, though. You know the piano piece that plays in both the trailer and the VERY beginning of the movie? I was wondering if it’s on this OST, and if so, which track is it?

    Thanks much, and once again, awesome review~

    Reply
    • January 6, 2012 at 1:56 am
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      @Lydia
      Yes! The track you’re looking for is Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies No. 2, which is on the album for sure. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • January 1, 2014 at 7:05 pm
    Permalink

    My feelings about this soundtrack are the same ones I have about the movie. The series was good overall, but left me wanting more, and was nothing amazing, and it was the same with the soundtrack, which is a collection of decent tunes and somewhat memorable sections, but nothing to write home about. The movie, on the other hand, greatly exceeded my expectations and was quite an astounding piece. This is pretty much how I feel about the soundtrack. It surprised me by taking the alright tunes from the series and immensely improving upon them (e.g. “Story Beginning in the Usual Scenery”), actually making me listen to the more upbeat tunes (e.g. “SOS Brigade Chraistmas Party”), which I don’t really do with soundtracks most of the time, and presenting poignant and memorable works (e.g. “Word that the Leading Girl Speaks”, “Footprints to the Future”, my 2 favorite tracks), something that the original series never accomplished. I am even a fan of the inclusion of the Gymnopédies, which I feel are quite fitting in tone for the scenes they appear in. My one problem, which is something mentioned in this review, is the lack of a really distinct ending. Sure, “The Brigade Members who Met Again” is a very clear indicator of resolution and reunion, the actual final track ends in a bit of a wash of sound, and, while it is indicative of the story that follows, it doesn’t really match up with the rest of the album, and, once again, leaves me longing for more. Well, maybe Disappearance of Yuki Nagato will satisfy me. Overall, I thought this was a pretty fantastic album to complement a great movie, especially after what I thought was a not-completely-up-to-snuff series.

    Reply
    • January 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm
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      @E
      Definitely. The music in the series were decent enough, but they never really shined as hard as they possibly could have. The movie’s soundtrack though was a good few notches above to match the tone and intensity of the fare offered up during its course. Finally, the use of Gymnopedies does mesh well with much of the existing music. Perhaps it’s the minimalism at play that helps. Satoru Kousaki is certainly one who really plies his trade in minimalist music…

      Reply

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