And so it ends, this opportunity to present unto you the wonderful snippets of music that have become near and dear to me. I hope you enjoyed this exercise. I know I certainly did when I scoured through all these albums in search of those wonderful melodies that have become a mainstay in my anime experience where both the music and the wonderful scenes it conjures up remain etched in my mind. Well, that’s mostly true since I have this bad habit of listening to soundtracks without watching the anime. So yes, I have made a ton of promises I most likely can’t keep about actually watching some of those shows, but hey, that’s just how I roll!
Whether you’re new to this article series or you’ve hung around since its inception, here are all of the posts exploring the past, located in a list for your convenience. Feel free to reminisce along; there’s no expiration date when it comes to gushing about the music that’s defined some of your favorite shows:
- The Introduction – From Whence this Idea was Conceived and How the Journey Began
- Anime Music of 2000 – Love, War, and Guitar Smashing. (Love Hina, Inu Yasha, and FLCL)
- Anime Music of 2001 – Read it or Die & Miss Out on Kajiura’s First Major Success (Noir, Kenshin, Spirited Away)
- Anime Music of 2002 – Drinking at Cafe Alpha in Purgatory (Haibane Renmei, FMP, 12 Kingdoms)
- Anime Music of 2003 – Feeling the Gravity While Aloft in the Grand Stream (Gunslinger Girl, FMA, Kino’s Journey)
- Anime Music of 2004 – For the Love of Life, Dolls Materialize Beyond the Clouds (Mai-HiME, Rozen Maiden, Elfen Lied)
- Anime Music of 2005 – Chronicling a Summer-lit ARIA in the Silhouette of a Breeze (Blood+, Honey and Clover, Nanoha)
- Anime Music of 2006 – Lost My Music in the Host Club’s Red Garden (Paprika, Ergo Proxy, Welcome to the NHK)
- Anime Music of 2007 – Two Sketches that Pierce the Heavens (Moribito, ef, Romeo x Juliet)
- Anime Music of 2008 – A Spicy Library War Lacking in Deculture (Code Geass, kurenai, True Tears)
- Anime Music of 2009 – A Finale to the Design Class’s Summer Wars (Erin, Xam’d, KnK, Bakemonogatari)
On top of all this, I’ve gotten close to two dozen recommendations for stuff I should be listening to, from the near-unanimous cry for giving Toshihiko Sahashi’s Simoun score a shot (many consider it to be his best work), to Yasuharu Takanashi’s Towards the Terra, to a couple shots completely out of left field in Kaze no Shoujo Emily and an anime baseball movie. There’s obviously a lot to try out, and as the Fall 2010 season has shown so far, the quantity of good soundtracks continues to pile on with no end in sight. I’d go as far as to say 2010 has been an enjoyable year musically, and you can look forward to a summary once the year ends.
When all is said and done, I’m left with a huge queue of stuff to review and as daunting as it seems, I really look forward to exploring the albums of yesteryear while keeping my ears alert for newer stuff. I’ll also try to come up with another article series to give myself some breathing room between review writing just to mix it up a bit. If you’ve any suggestions on what could make for a fine article series, feel free to send them my way.
Random thoughts that prevent this post from being content-free:
- Is there a Japanese-run anime music blog that does what I do here? Even if I have to run that site through Google Translate, I’d still like to know. Save for contests like Saimoe, there seems to be very little cross-pollination going on between the fanbases in Japan and those in the West. I’d like to see that changed somehow. For now, links to anime soundtrack sites is sufficient.
- While we’re on the bit about cross-pollination, what about the lines drawn between anime and game music? Will there be more artists who cross the lines and work in both mediums? Already, names like Nobuo Uematsu, Kou Ootani, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Taku Iwasaki, Michiru Ooshima, Yoko Kanno, Yuki Kajiura, among others, have worked on both game and anime music, and I expect this number to increase as games become more and more cinematic, and so, will have similar requirements for their melodies.
- To stir the pot a little, my top 10 soundtracks from the last decade are, in order: Spirited Away, Red Garden, ARIA (entire franchise), Gunslinger Girl, Kenshin Seisouhen, Romeo x Juliet, Ouran High School Host Club, Mai HiME, Haibane Renmei, and Spice and Wolf. I expect some vehement disagreements here and that my responses to at least half of those will be: “I haven’t listened to that soundtrack. Sorry. :p”
- The above list is a boring concept. I should come up with a list of the best soundtracks you’re not listening to though given my readership, I don’t know how well that’ll fly since you might be listening to them already.
- One short project up for consideration is to determine whether the soundtracks to all yuri anime are solid and enjoyable. Number of counterexamples found so far: 0
- Composers who aren’t as well known, but who I’ve learned to look out for: Masaru Yokoyama, Makoto Yoshimori, Shougo Kaida, Ken Muramatsu, Akihiko Matsumoto, Kotaro Nakagawa, and Hiroyuki Sawano.
- Composers who need to write more anime music: Kaoruko Ohtake (maybe I should just listen to more Natural Highs), Takeshi Senoo, John Williams (I can dream, right?).