Other people toss up preview posts with the aim of highlighting plot, characters, seiyuu, and art design. Our idiom here is music all the way, so once again, we’ll highlight the soundtrack offerings for this Winter anime season. Naturally, there’s a high chance I’ll only get around to watching three or four shows (one of which will have noitaminA as its timeslot) since that’s all the time I can make these days, but if you wind up taking a look at all of these, you’ll know who to keep an ear out for.
Synopses will join the music commentary this time around for your pleasure. I’ll wind up paraphrasing from the Chart Driver’s hard work and if you want to eschew the music entirely and focus on some of the more traditional factors to choose your shows, you could just hit up the link above. For the rest of you who are curious about the music, see what I’ve got to say after the jump!
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Composer: Yuki Kajiura
Synopsis: Madoka is an ordinary middle school student who will presumably turn into a magical girl at some point. Who knows what’ll happen next because Akiyuki Shinbo is sitting in the director’s chair for this one and we all know how awesome Nanoha was once we got through the monster-of-the-week episodes.
Thoughts: Can I safely say this is the show that’s got one of the strongest director/composer combos out of all the shows airing this season? The last time Kajiura and Shinbo paired up, they worked on Le Portrait de Petite Cossette. Kajiura did a great job on that one in the way her music brought forth the show’s eerie vibe through a beautiful soundtrack. That said, I’m not expecting a rehash of Cossette’s score. If anything, it’ll be more like the work she did for Mai HiME.
Composer: Tomoki Kikuya
Synopsis: Tsukiko, a girl, attends a formerly all-guy’s school and is the only girl there.
Thoughts: Tomoki Kikuya seems to be on a roll as of late. His work on last season’s Ika Musume probably didn’t catch anyone’s ear too heavily since his music tends to blend in the background rather nicely as it did in the work he’s done for Hidamari Sketch. As for his work on Starry Sky, I’m not quite sure how it’ll go. I’ve never listened to any of his romance works really closely before (Da Capo II for instance), so this may turn out to be a novel listen. This show’s not exactly high on my watch list though, and so, it’s not likely I’ll get a chance to find out how his work fares here. Kikuya will also be busy scoring Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!!, a show that’s probably more to his style since it’s more of a slice of life, romantic… comedy?
Composer: Hikaru Nanase (aka: Masumi Ito)
Synopsis: Females are the only gender capable of wielding the Infinite Stratos (IS), a weaponized exoskeleton system. So can Ichika Orimura, a boy, and he’s taken to a school to train alongside the girls on how to use the Infinite Stratos.
Thoughts: Well now, this actually sounds interesting. The potential for the music that is. Hikaru Nanase’s work on Bungaku Shoujo, a soundtrack I’ve been meaning to review but have completely stalled on, has yielded some really heartwarming, heartfelt tracks, something I’m sure will pop up here in her depiction of the developing romance between the male lead and his female classmates. The emphasis on weaponry and warfare should yield some good stuff too, given her past work on Chrono Crusade, which featured some really glorious, high-energy, orchestral tracks.
Composer: Kotaro Nakagawa
Synopsis: In addition to being a poor attempt at spelling “Gothic,” Gosick takes place in the made-up European country of Sauville where Kazuya Kujo, a student at St. Marguerite Academy, meets Victorique, a mysterious yet beautiful and brilliant girl, and together, the two solve mysteries.
Thoughts: You’d almost think Shinkichi Mitsumune would be scoring this given this show’s title since he did do the gothic lolita score for Rozen Maiden. I’m not particularly too worried about how this will turn out since Nakagawa’s got a sterling track record when it comes to scoring anime. He’s done pretty much every genre under the sun, from my first introduction to his works through Planetes, to the whimsical BGMs found in Hayate the Combat Butler. Most people will know him for the work he did on Code Geass, which wowed us with its Spanish flair. I don’t think we’ll see that here though. Sauville sounds kinda French, so I would expect music more in line with classical European mixed in with intense action tracks when the scenes call for it.
Composer: Masaru Yokoyama
Synopsis: Aliens have invaded Earth! To fight them off, Kazuya Aoi enrolls in a school to train to become a Limiter and partners up with Bridgette L. Satellizer, a Pandora, genetically modified girls who have great combat prowess.
Thoughts: It’s the Queen’s Blade composer! Or if that turns you off, it’s the Arakawa composer! Anything with Yokoyama in the composer’s chair has a lot of potential musically since he’s shown that, through the two works mentioned above, he can compose a score that fits nearly any show’s style. Almost like Nakagawa I suppose. Whether the show requires majesty, action, or drama, nothing’s really out of his reach, and so, I have high expectations that he’ll be able to come up with an excellent score once more.
Composer: Ryo Kunihiko
Synopsis: Boy who lives on his own for the first time stumbles upon a young man who claims to be an alien with a bad case of amnesia.
Thoughts: Ignore the flippant description since I’m pretty sure we’re looking at a real sci-fi anime. Make that a sci-fi anime scored by Ryo Kunihiko, who has no shortage of majestic scores through the years. The high sense of adventure that Kunihiko is capable of cultivating is illustrated wonderfully more recently in his work on Tegami Bachi’s soundtrack, but it’s always been there ever since he scored Twelve Kingdoms. You really can’t go wrong asking him to do adventuring music, and with the scope that Level E seems bent on, we’ve got a good fit here.
Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko)
Composers: Keiichi Okabe, Satoru Kousaki
Synopsis: Feminine boy meets tomboyish girl in what looks to be a warm, romantic anime with dramatic overtones as the two struggle to understanding themselves and each other.
Thoughts: This is a strange combination indeed since the last things I recall out of these two were the ska-frenzy of both Working!!’s soundtrack and Ore no Imouto’s. That’s probably not going to happen this time though, since the dramatic quotient, I’d like to think, will beckon more towards the soft melodies that something like Aoi Hana’s soundtrack would possess. With this MoNACA duo though, anything is possible and Hourou Musuko is capable of surprising us all, especially if they don’t default to minimalist fare that’s been Kousaki’s trademark thus far.
Composer: Souhei Kano
Synopsis: The “Fractale System” is beginning to collapse and Kurane’s chance encounter with a disappearing girl leads him to embark upon a journey to look for the girl. In doing so, he learns more and more about the secrets behind the “Fractale System.”
Thoughts: A show I’ll be picking up for sure and a show featuring a new composer I don’t think any of us know much about. Seriously, I don’t know where they picked him up and the only music-related thing that anyone pointed me to (thanks ottocycle!) is a song he wrote while he was at whatever music conservatory he studied at. Needless to say, it’s a pretty neat blend of dissonant orchestral music and some jazzy syncopation, and if this is what we get out of Fractale, we could be in for a wild, zany romp. There is method to that flurry of madness though and if you’re curious, you can listen to what I’m talking about below:
I will do a reminiscence post for all of 2010’s anime music. I will not do it until March, since that’s when the last of the soundtracks for Fall’s shows will have been released and that I’ll have been able to listen to a majority of them to be able to highlight the good, the excellent, and a lot of the unappreciated!