Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2008

Really, I swear I’ll finish this before the year’s up.

As usual, don’t forget that all previous installments are filed under the “Decade List” tag and if you wanted to knock yourself silly by listening to the stuff I enjoyed from 2007 on back, that’s the place to go to.

Anyways, 2008 once again saw a slew of excellent shows gracing the small screen accompanied by solid music, even if, when compared to 2007, it felt like a bit of a drop-off. Still, there were plenty of notable shows like Macross Frontier which renewed fans’ interest in the Macross franchise while also bringing in a boatload of new fans, Casshern Sins would also hearken to older fans as well, while Code Geass would fire off a sequel with plot twists that became far too numerous to keep track of. Musically, it was a pretty strong year as well, with artists like Akihiko Matsumoto, Yoshimori Makoto, and Yuuji Yoshino putting their stamp on this year’s works.

So as usual, full clips are delivered here while the ones done through Youtube are spoilered. Be warned though the some of these will be short as I’ve already reviewed them someplace and if you want long, drawn-out thoughts, go check there. So with that out of the way, let’s explore this year’s offerings!

Spice and Wolf
I don’t know if this year had any clear winners since the quality of the music remained high though no one soundtrack really towered above the rest. Still, if there was one that stood out to me, it’d have to be Yuuji Yoshino’s work for Spice and Wolf. The dynamic between the two leads, Lawrence and Horo was already captivating, but what made it better was the way Yoshino brought the setting to life through his music. Tracks like “Shounin to Okami to, Tabi no Nibasha” and “Hikaru Wadachi” evokes the Middle Ages/Early Renaissance sound to help you get immersed into the show’s setting. To top it all off, the anime came with a solid opening theme in “Tabi no Tochuu” where Natsumi Kiyoura once again brings her dreamy voice which, while soothing, gets us started upon a long journey.

Shounin to Okami to, Tabi no Nibasha

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Hikaru Wadachi

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Macross Frontier
And competing with Spice and Wolf for my top spot is none other than Kanno’s soundtrack for Macross Frontier. The background music features some really eye-opening stuff reminiscent of Western film music, especially with tracks like “The Target” and “TALLY HO!” with their quotation of John Williams and Hans Zimmer respectively. But Kanno does show her bouncy, lighter side in “Test Flight Delight” which feels free in its expression, putting the feeling of flying in music really well. Age has also dulled my annoyance regarding May’n as my Anime Expo concert report will attest, though the wish that all the BGM were put on one disc still stands.

The Target

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TALLY HO!

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Test Flight Delight

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Code Geass
Speaking of action, one of my readers pointed out that I had completely forgotten to cover Code Geass in one of the previous years, and that’s my mistake really because Kotaro Nakagawa’s music has always been pretty enjoyable. Even though I’ve not watched the anime, I’ve always been enthralled by the music whenever it crops up during some MALKeionbu week. The feeling that I get out of Code Geass is its bent towards a Latin/Spanish flavor, carried through in works like “Black Knights” that also uses an awesome chorus part. But hey, there’s also a dab of Celtic in “Continued Story” (complete with ethereal Hitomi vocals) to enjoy too.

Black Knights

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Continued Story

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Kure-nai
Kure-nai’s soundtrack is wonderful, employing more of Ken Muramatsu’s jazzy rhythms that he used in sketchbook. That said, the first disc felt inconsistent, and I could never really get into the groove. But once the second disc rolled around, tracks like “Surf Song ~Oikaze wo Ukete” and, of course, “Suiheisen no Mukou ni,” which some of you may know better as the instrumental rendition of the song the characters performed in the musical episode. Come to think about it, that track may very well be my favorite Muramatsu piece to date.

Surf Song ~Oikaze wo Ukete

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Suiheisen no Mukou ni

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True Tears
True Tears irked me in a few ways, but on the whole, it was a positive experience. The music, aside from the ending theme at least, was solid through and through; I don’t think I have to go to deep into why I like “Reflectia” more than once. In addition to composing that opening, Hajime Kikuchi goes on to write beautiful piano and violin melodies throughout the show’s soundtrack. I particularly liked the way he captures Noe’s eccentricities in her theme while delivering a rather nice buildup through the strings in pieces like “SeLecT.” Still, nothing quite beats the upbeat tracks, featured in “Nyuushakou ni, Migite wo Kazasu,” which creates a pretty strong first impression when you first give the soundtrack a go.

Nyuushakou ni, Migite wo Kazasu

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Kage Hazumi ~theme of noe~

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Toshokan Sensou
Toshokan Sensou is enjoyable as far as one can find the concept of militant librarians battling to preserve the written word against censors to be enjoyable (which I do) and still has enough time to develop its romantic angle. The music is by Kanno. Yuugo Kanno, that is and though I wouldn’t give the soundtrack plaudits, I do want to highlight the main theme which is absolutely jaw-dropping; a superb example of orchestral music done right as all these woodwinds weave in and out, creating a piece that is stately and majestic. I remember being really enthralled by this piece the first time I heard it and now, I’ve listened to it so much that there’s no way I can forget it at all. The last track at the end is also beautiful and once again, you can hear that main theme crop up.

Toshokan Sensou -Main Theme-

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Toshokan Sensou -END TITLE-

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One Outs
I love the One Outs soundtrack! That has to be said loud and clear and repeated over and over since this work by Summer Wars’ composer Akihiko Matsumoto is so woefully underrated. It didn’t help that this show didn’t register on many people’s radars and fewer still will have actually listened to the soundtrack. But those who have given it a shot have enjoyed it; I’m not the only one. I’ll continually highlight tracks like “Aerobatic Funk” and “Wild & Crazy” as the pieces which really are awesome because of how different they are compared to the BGM you’ll normally find. It’s a breath of fresh air to be sure and with his work on Summer Wars, I feel that Akihiko Matsumoto still has plenty of upside since his two soundtracks that I’ve listened to have been solid and I hope that he continues to improve.

Aerobatic Funk

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Wild & Crazy

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Natsume Yuujinchou
Another composer who also has displayed a knack for improving, Yoshimori Makoto, has gone a long way since Baccano! and shines with Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack! This guy will explore the boundaries of music and try to turn whatever he gets his hands on into music. At least, that’s the only way I can explain off the track that features a mosquito buzzing around (worse than a vuvuzela. Fact.) and the one that features weird-ass ghoulish noises. Well, through tracks like the main theme, Makoto shows that he is capable of composing what many of us would consider to be normal fare, and tracks like the theme to Natsume Yuujinchou which has the lazy feel of a summer day though “Kimi ni Fureta Hikari’s” piano wins me over every time. Especially when it shifts at the 4:50 mark (yes, make sure you get to that part at least!!) in the way it evokes that sense of happiness and joy.

Kimi ga Yobu Namae ~Natsume Yuujinchou no Theme~

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Kimi ni Fureta Hikari

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Kuroshitsuji
No, I haven’t forgotten Kuroshitsuji. Taku Iwasaki continues a good run of form and hits gold by nailing the darker aspect of the show while also showing a good amount of skill in his composition of Indian music, which I’ve rarely heard in anime music thus far. There’s not a whole lot more I can add to my Kuroshitsuji soundtrack review. Oh well, have some Indian music to close it all out.

The Stranger from India

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Long journey isn’t it? We’re more than halfway through, and that’s only because there’s not a whole lot of OP/EDs to highlight because my focus kind of shifted away from those as of late. Still, see which ones made the cut on 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.

0 thoughts on “Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2008

  • September 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm
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    2008 may be not only one of my all time years for anime music, but for anime shows themselves.

    Spice and Wolf if one of my absolute favorite shows of all time, and I still very regularly listen to the soundtrack (recently almost every night as I listen to it while reading the 2nd Spice and Wolf novel).

    With other favorites like Code Geass, Kurenai (which, I absolutely adore the entire OST, not just the 2nd disc like you zzeroparticle), True Tears (I even like the ED and the more sad/mellow tracks), and let’s not forget Macross Frontier which is a classic and some my my favorite work by Kanno.

    A great year for anime indeed.

    Now I have the nagging feeling to go back and watch all the anime I’ve just listed… Think I’ll start with more Spice and Wolf :)

    Reply
  • September 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    Just started Gunslinger Girl II a few days ago. That OP is incredible.

    YouTube pulled my video with Aerobatic Funk. It was only the preview size version too, those jerks.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2010 at 11:58 pm
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    HOLY COW @ the Library Wars main theme. Why don’t I remember it used in the show?!?! Definitely the biggest discovery from this column for me.

    On stuff which I think deserves a mention: DMC’s OP/ED for obvious reasons, Toradora ED2 for being a seiyuu collab which exceeds the sum of its parts and Shugo Chara ED3 for being really catchy pop and overall awesome synergy with the visuals in its animated sequence.

    When anime scores are included into the mix, IMO the elephant in the room is the Xam’d OST (both the Ooshima score and the OP/EDs), though one can argue that the CDs were released in ’09 IIRC.

    As usual, great selection though, I’ve always found it hard to find hidden gems which you haven’t uncovered. Back to that Library Wars theme now~

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 12:12 am
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    hmmm 2008. wasn’t that also Kimikiss? I really like some of the stuff on there; though i forget specific composers since it was a collab between three. Clannad AS music was eh….well there was the dango song…

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 12:44 am
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    You’re good. You’re very good. I like what you like –

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 1:17 am
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    @Karisu
    Haha, I can identify with that. Whenever I grab a light novel or some manga that I pull out from my bookshelf, I’ll always be sure to have a soundtrack on hand to accompany the reading. I do that on a regular basis with ARIA and Hidamari Sketch at least. Spice and Wolf happens to be a very good choice for that because of how well the setting is conjured up.

    And yeah, hmm, probably should have at least put up the Toradora OP and ED. Those were actually pretty decent. Not the Christmas song though since that was eghhh.

    @Baka-Raptor
    KOKIA has always been one of my favorite singers because she nails those ethereal tones beautifully. Just wish the OP had animation set to that though.

    And Aerobatic Funk… nothing like training in the mountains while set to some awesome saxophones.

    @Ottocycle
    I’ve not touched the Shugo Chara stuff though I will admit the first OP to be pretty catchy… maybe for the wrong reasons? It was a pretty fun ride. DMC.. yeah, it’s satirical in its execution and though I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites, it is notable if nothing else. And Xam’d… somehow, I totally missed that when I looked up the list of shows. Maybe I’ll plead ignorance and say I cover only TV premieres :p

    And glad you like that Library Wars theme!

    @lelangir
    Kimikiss I put in the 2007 box, and even then, I only covered the OP and ED because Wasurenaide is that awesome. But you already knew that, so

    @ojisan
    Glad you enjoyed the offerings here!

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 2:46 am
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    My eyes are all watery right now after listening to Library War’s OST. The memory keeps flooding back to me and I think I’ll just have to drop every anime I’m watching right now and rewatch that show.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 5:45 am
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    :) finallly someone recognises Toushoukan Sensou’s main theme for what it is, just the right touch of interweaving piano and orchestra..actually Yuugo Kanno’s the only reason I took a gamble on Birdy (i mean, which sane mind would venture into an anime with that title?), and i’m still enjoying the OSTs from those 2 animes.

    haha, you remembered Kurenai’s musical….i sooooo wanted the musical itself though, it was hilarious 😛

    Taku Iwasaki’s good, especially his marrying of choral and orchestral, but have you heard Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru’s OST? If Kaida Shougo continues with what he did in Uraboku, he can easily rival Iwasaki-san. anyways, sorry about the rambling….back to..

    KOKIA, the soothing songstress, i still think her best work was done in 2009, so can’t wait to hear your 2009 reminisces.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 10:47 am
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    @mei
    Are you referring at the ‘Guin Saga’ single?

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 11:42 am
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    Gosh, Kanon sings the Guin Saga OP, not Kokia. :)

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm
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    @Canne
    Not a bad show to rewatch. The themes are really well-laid out and the way they developed the romance was solid. A second season would be pretty lovely.

    Glad the music was able to install that sense of nostalgia!

    @mei
    Yeah, that main theme has been on my mind for about 2-odd years now and definitely is gorgeous through and through. More people need to be exposed to it, no doubt about that. Also had no idea that Kanno composed for Birdy. Might have to give that a look-see to see if it measures up to what he did for Library Wars.

    As for Kurenai’s musical scene… absolutely unforgettable! I still think it’s my favorite filler episode ever!

    Thanks for alerting me to Uraboku. I have not listened to any of Shougo’s works, so not really sure what his sound is like, though from your thoughts, it sure does look like that he’s someone to look for from an up-and-coming standpoint. And yeah, KOKIA will definitely get the coverage in 2009.

    @signorRossi
    Yup, Kanon does indeed sing the ED… I don’t think there was a vocal OP for Guin Saga though. Will have to give the soundtrack a go because of Nobuo Uematsu since I still haven’t given it its due.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm
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    @signorRossi
    I’ll admit the ED for Guin Saga was not bad, but i’m still more partial to KOKIA’s voice, she just never fails to evoke some kind of peacefulness everytime I hear her voice.

    am going to wait for zzeroparticle’s 2009 recap before i go on and ramble more :)

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm
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    Aww, you should give Code Geass a watch – good stuff. “Continued Story” is my favorite song out of the selection here.

    Like others have said before me, I don’t remember Toshokan Sensou having that epic song. Now I’m tempted to go watch it.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm
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    @zzeroparticle – You are correct, there is no vocal opening for Guin Saga. I really like Uematsu’s soundtrack though, it is so very regal. The score itself is 2 discs and there is a third disc of bonus tracks that was released with the Blu-Ray.
    You also didn’t mention a fun score by Kotaro Nakagawa from 2008 (not 100% on the year though) for a movie called Dramatic Baseball Movie. It steals heavily from James Horner’s The Rocketeer but is quite a nice score. I have not seen the movie itself though.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2010 at 8:21 am
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    Oh my, seems I was very tired yesterday… :)
    @mei
    listened to Kokia’s ‘Real World’ album yesterday and especially the latter half had quite some good songs; I also liked Kokia’s ‘Red Garden’ songs, now if I would only understand a thing of what she sings… 😉
    @zzeroparticle
    If you’re gonna have a listen to the ‘Guin Saga’ OSTs don’t forget the bonus tracks Sirusjr mentioned, the Guin theme piano version on it is very good.
    As for the Casshern music, I liked the ‘Casshern Sins Special Complete Album’ the most.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm
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    @mei
    Haha, I’ll be sure to do so and look forward to your musings and ramblings! Especially since her soothing tones are really entrancing.

    @Reltair
    I’ve been trying to find the time to give it a go. I figured it’s one of those shows that needs to be experienced, not in the least because the music is solid.

    And yeah, watching Toshokan Sensou can never be a bad thing!

    @Sirusjr
    I know that the guys at OSV managed to review it and I’m looking forward to the listening experience because of their positive outlook on the show. The show doesn’t seem to have gotten huge plaudits and that’s why talk of the soundtrack hasn’t been all too widespread (not that talk of anime soundtracks is ever all that widespread anyhow).

    I’ll have to check it the Nakagawa score you mentioned then. Odd that ANN doesn’t have the composer credits though.

    @signorRossi
    KOKIA’s work on Red Garden is probably one of my favorite listenings ever. I’ll often skip some of the BGM just to head to that section to be drawn in by her vocals.

    Will be sure to check out the bonus disc… could have sworn I saw it in a shop that’s close by where I live, so I’ll look into it.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm
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    I really love the Kurenai soundtrack. I’ve been thinking about why I like it so much recently coincidentally. I think I’ve settled on how it sounds to simple. It doesn’t employ an entire orchestra. Even the emotions it conveys are not complex. There’s a beauty in this simplicity.

    You’ve missed Allison to Lillia. I haven’t watched it, but the soundtrack is definitely notable.

    Oh, and something sort of unrelated. I’ve recently found Kaze no Shoujo Emily’s (2007) soundtrack to be quite lovely. It was apparently written by the man who writes the music for the Kirby games. You should take a look.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2010 at 11:49 am
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    @Yu
    It’s always worth asking people who like Muramatsu’s compositions for Kurenai how they feel about sketchbook, so obviously, your thoughts on that would definitely be awesome because right now, between the two, I’d choose sketchbook to fill up a slot in my car’s CD changer over Kurenai.

    Talk about something I missed =P I even have it tagged too! I remember the instrumentals being pretty solid though my thoughts on the OP/ED vary with my mood that I can never nail down a consistent opinion. Some days, I’ll be drawn in by its wanderlust-y feel, other days, I’ll be annoyed.

    Haha, that’s something to check out! Even if it’s Akira Miyagawa and not Hirokazu Ando since I’ve always loved the energy that the latter puts into his music. I don’t know whether the energy willl still be present for Kaze no Shoujo but I will give it a shot.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm
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    Let’s see.. why do I like Kurenai’s OST better than Sketchbook’s? Kurenai’s soundtrack has a feeling of sadness in certain pieces. When I sadness, I don’t mean outright mourning of the Akira Senju-esque kind, I mean the sadness of nostalgia. Part of why I’m so sensitive to this feeling may be because many of the pieces have been influenced with traditional Asian melodies. Sketchbook doesn’t give me that kind of feeling: it’s mostly just relaxation music.

    That’s not to say I dislike Sketchbook’s OST by any means; I enjoy it very much. I have not watched either show (I don’t have the time to watch much anime), so I’m not biased. 😛

    Random thought, it would have been awesome if Muramatsu was then K-On soundtrack to do. I feel like his style would fit the show.

    And I took the time to upload my favorite track from Kaze no Shoujo Emily’s OST. If the quality’s a little bad, forgive me, it was my first time making a YouTube video ^^;

    Reply
    • September 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm
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      @Yu
      Definitely see where you’re coming from there. I’d say you hit the nail pretty good on the melancholy bit, especially since those kind of sad, nostalgic melodies can be harder to pull off. Also, Muramatsu is fantastic at blending those jazz rhythms into Asian music though that’s all he seems able to do. Tempted to say he composes in one genre, but just does a really good job with it.

      And if you ever find the time, those two shows are definitely worth a shot! That said, I can sympathize with where you’re at since I’m starting to be the same when it comes to video game music. I’ll still listen to the soundtracks, but I’ve yet to touch a game in quite some time.

      Would Muramatsu have saved K-ON!? Now that’s an interesting question, but I do agree that his relaxing tones would be an excellent fit for that show.

      Finally, thanks for sharing. If nothing else, that really kicked it up my priority list a few notches since I like the way it progresses. Always good to listen to those unnoticed gems, especially when they’re as good as that track. Now I’m really looking forward to giving it a go.

      Reply
  • September 11, 2010 at 4:08 am
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    Kokia’s Gunslinger Girl OP is my favorite song ever (for now).

    It’s kind of weird how that’s the only anime I saw from this whole list. I guess 2008 was my inactive year.

    Reply
    • September 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm
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      @Yi
      Gotta love KOKIA’s voice through and through because of its lightness that still packs that sense of melancholy into the mix. 2008 does pack quite a few good shows though and I’d recommend checking titles like Spice and Wolf. Especially if you’re economics-oriented. :p

      @TheBigN
      Totally forgot about that post though I could have sworn that Kurogane no Linebarrel was one of those shows which had really solid music even if the content was a bit hit or miss. Overall, a solid year for sure even if I’d peg 2007 as being my favorite.

      Reply
  • September 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm
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    Well, you already pretty much know what my favorite tracks from the year that 2008 was. It definitely was one of my favorite years in terms of music coming out for sure.

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  • September 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm
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    I really do like Kurogane no Linebarrel’s soundtrack, but I think the OST was released in 2009 (at least the second CD), so I didn’t include it in the lineup. I think. 😛

    Reply

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