Tamayura Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Tamayura Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Tamayura
Artist: Nobuyuki Nakajima, Yumi Matsutoya, Antonín Dvořák,
Katsutoshi Kitagawa, DEPAPEPE, Maaya Sakamoto, Megumi Nakajima
Catalog Number: VTCL-60234
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: December 22, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Introduction Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:42
2. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara Maaya Sakamoto, DEPAPEPE, Yumi Matsutoya 3:53
3. Tamayura ~ Main Theme Nobuyuki Nakajima 2:41
4. Sunaosa Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:38
5. Momoneko-sama Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:29
6. Maiagaru Kimochi Nobuyuki Nakajima 2:02
7. Futoshita Hakken #1 Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:11
8. Karamari Karamari Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:54
9. Akogare Nobuyuki Nakajima 2:04
10. Dancing #1 Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:24
11. Kioku no Naka ni ~ Main Theme Hensou Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:46
12. Neboke Manako Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:42
13. Pinboke Shashin Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:54
14. Nagusame Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:38
15. Shuppatsu! Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:57
16. Kuresen ni Notte Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:15
17. Futoshita Hakken #2 Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:06
18. Ohiru ne Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:48
19. Chiisana Tankentai #1 Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:42
20. Kaeranai Hibi Nobuyuki Nakajima 3:18
21. Omoigakenaku Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:03
22. Humoresque Nobuyuki Nakajima, Antonin Dvořák 1:44
23. Natsukashii Kioku Nobuyuki Nakajima 3:14
24. Chiisana Tankentai #1 Nobuyuki Nakajima 2:12
25. Yasashii Kaori Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:31
26. Mirai no Jibun e Nobuyuki Nakajima 3:49
27. Dancing #2 Nobuyuki Nakajima 0:36
28. Melody ~ Short Ver. Megumi Nakajima, Katsutoshi Kitagawa 4:32
29. Epilogue Nobuyuki Nakajima 1:02

Review: Director Junichi Sato’s record with quality anime is mixed, but the common thread that runs through all of his titles is wonderful music. If you’ve read any of his interviews, you’ll notice that he places music upon a high pedestal, thinking, correctly, that it plays a major role in immersing the audience into the anime. This is especially true when he directs iyashikei anime, with its calming, character-centric focus, and healing touch that always hovers about. This wondrous interweaving of healing and music is exemplified most brilliantly in his work on ARIA and its celebrated soundtrack and is demonstrated once more in Tamayura. As Tamayura’s story is smaller in its scope than ARIA’s, so goes its soundtrack. But that smaller scale does not mean a diminishment of quality as its music shines as an example of a simple, yet effective soundtrack.

The theme Tamayura focuses upon is in preserving precious memories, with an emphasis on a girl’s love of photography. This concept leaks over to the soundtrack, which brims with the nostalgia one gets from seeing an old snapshot, taking memories once thought to be forgotten, and unveiling them where they regain their clarity and form once more. “Introduction” depicts this process through its murmuring piano phrases that slowly reveal the crystalline facets of the past until the full radiance of one’s childhood joys are lit and restored by the process of recollection.

Introduction

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As the memories take form, “Tamayura ~ Main Theme” comes in with its twinkling piano introduction and ushers me forward with its sunny disposition. The measured steps amble along with a hop and a skip through a structure far from complicated, but nevertheless gets me into the proper mindset by conveying the characters’ eagerness and joy along with a dab of curiosity as they explore the world around them. This piece, so subdued in its softness and lightness, succeeds in capturing the show’s serendipitous, heartfelt nature as it invites me to share in the characters’ discoveries and moments of happiness.

Tamayura ~ Main Theme

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The pleasure that the characters derive from their short journeys is reinforced through tracks like “Maigeru Kimochi” and “Kuresen ni Notte” which bring out their zest for life in similar ways. “Maigeru Kimochi” waltzes with whimsical abandon through a bright and cheery piano melody to establish an atmosphere rolling with delight. This mood is heightened further by the oboe in the second half which exults in the characters’ light, boundless spirit. Augmenting that is “Kuresan ni Notte,” a track that is more sprightly because its staccato melody skips along enthusiastically, but it knows when to slow down to cultivate the rustic setting through the bandoneon’s folksy sound.

Maigeru Kimochi

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“Kuresan ni Notte

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When it moves away from the joys that come from days spent romping around with friends, Tamayura’s soundtrack grows more introspective, focusing upon the characters’ hopes as predominantly piano pieces like “Akogare” nudge them gently forwards. As I listen to that track, the image conjured is of the characters making steady progress towards their goals. Its tone is confident, carrying with it a certainty in the passions the characters wish to pursue. This effort culminates in the serenity that “Mirai no Jibun e” radiates. Its piano melody starts slow to depict the characters’ slight hesitation, but the piece sheds that hesitation, growing stronger ever so slowly until the strings resound with the sound of success. The way “Mirai no Jibun e” ends is inspiring, filled with optimism and euphoria, and is uplifting through this expression of hope and joy.

Akogare

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Mirai no Jibun e

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Through its slow-paced fare delivered by a mix of piano, acoustic guitar, and strings, Tamayura is yet another strong entry in a long line of wonderful iyashikei anime soundtracks. The music is soft and serene, with a nostalgic air that collects memories thought to be fleeting and exposes them to full view where they can blossom and be cherished once more. It’s altogether fitting for a show centering upon a snapshot of a little girl’s life.

Rating: Very Good

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.

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15 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Rhythmroo says:

    I loved ARIA and its soundtrack. Call me a sap for loving breezy and warm music, but man did I love both ARIA’s and the samples here. But man, I love anything with Piano and Woodwinds like the Clarinet and Oboe. The samples are fairly simple in structure and non-adventurous, it would surely make a nice listen to while sitting on the couch or doing homework.

    Only track I wasn’t that impressed was with “Mirai no Jibun e”. It feels a bit pretentious with it’s Instrumental choice for the harmony when it raises in expression/dynamics. They could have structured it better. For some reason I’m craving Augmented 6th chords…

  2. lelangir says:

    Yeah one quality I saw in this (through first run-through) was this quality of “reserve”. It’s great when an arranger isn’t afraid of using solo instruments in BGM tunes. As an arranger you might think a solo instrument is too empty or just “not enough” but I think having the patience and reserve to really let solo instruments (or, simply excluding unnecessary instruments) shine is the mark of a learned TV arranger/composer. H&C, Hidasketch and Saki come to mind as well (and of course ARIA).

    • @Rhythmroo
      I guess he might have been trying too hard to deliver that hope and optimism line in “Mirai no Jibun e?” That segment came from the tail end of the track, so that might be why. Otherwise, I thought the buildup leading to that point was pretty good.

      Beyond that, yes, this is great homework fare since it’s not too distracting with a gentle drifting sound that gets you right into the mood.

      @lelangir
      It’s kind of strange that this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this composer… and I have no idea where Junichi Sato pulled him from. Wherever it is, he’s done an excellent job in meshing well with SatoJun’s vision with his music.

      Also, no idea how solo instruments can be too empty save for the lack of patience that you’ve cited. Especially solo piano. I can’t imagine solo piano as ever being empty.

  3. lelangir says:

    I’ve shared a number of solo instrument pieces on mal k-on and everytime people were like “sounds too empty”. :/

  4. Rhythmroo says:

    @lelangir
    Do you know why they say it sounds empty? Usually, not always but a lot of the time, when I say something is empty, it’s because I don’t like the harmony or chords being played, as well as poor instrument pairing and/or something that sounds robotic when performed.

    In regards to solo pieces, if it’s played in the same robotic fashion (Meaning no real dynamic changes and bland separated notes), it can be boring. Empty might be a poor word to describe a piece unless it is a Piano piece or an instrument that can play chords (like harps, pitched percussion, strings, etc.).

    In other words, do the people you show solo pieces mean that it is boring? This intrigues me… can you give some examples of tracks that those people found to be “Empty”? Thanks. :)

  5. Aftershok says:

    I tried to force myself through Tamayura long before this review went up and tried again after reading this review. Could not do it. I usually enjoy these sorts of quiet shows but I felt like I was being suffocated by moe. Despite this, the soundtrack seems to be quite fitting and I actually enjoyed some of those sound clips, the Main Theme particularly caught my attention. They’re as harmonically sophisticated as a Green Day album, but, hey, who cares, right? My only worry is that these sorts of songs tend to get very repetitive very fast, which can’t be easily represented in short sound clips like these.

    @Rhythmroo
    Augmented sixth chords are soo 15th century, man. Hip people use m7b5 nowadays, buddy :D

  6. Yu says:

    Anything can sound bland or empty; it doesn’t have to be solo. However, some instruments are harder to “fill” the music with. Pianos/organs are the most immune to the empty feeling because of the sheer number of notes you can play at once, as compared to a flute, which can, the last time I checked, only play one note at a time.

    Expression is everything in a solo piece. It is much easier to express yourself in a group or an ensemble, because the other musicians and yourself play and build off of each other. However, the focus is on one person in a solo and they have to carry the emotional burden alone. If they don’t do it well, the piece turns boring and flat. The ability to express a piece well is what separates the best musicians from the mediocre ones.

    Of course, “empty” might just be one of those lazy catch-all phrases that people use to criticize work without putting effort or thought into the criticism :P

    Anyways, I liked the samples. The pieces certainly excelled in presenting the sweet and innocent slice of life sentiments which would have prevailed in a show like Tamayura. The solo instruments lend themselves well to the relaxing nature of the music. If too much is going on, it’s not relaxing anymore, is it?

    • @Aftershok
      I think a better jumping-off point would be ARIA since that’ll provide a good litmus test as to whether this is the kind of genre you can really stomach. It’s not moe so much as finding those little pleasures in life while having good amount of development along the way within the anime’s framework.

      I’m also inclined to say it can last awhile. I’ve been putting on Tamayura as my commute to work music, so it’s lasted me three weeks and I can’t say I’ve gotten bored of it yet!

      @Yu
      Quite right on the whole relaxing bits. I’d say there’s enough going on for the OST to be musically interesting while not so overbearing that it would turn your attention from whatever it is you’re doing. The way it channels the sweet/innocence turns out well and I was quite pleased with the results.

  7. Rhythmroo says:

    @Yu
    Well said Yu. Makes sense. In regards to…

    “Of course, “empty” might just be one of those lazy catch-all phrases that people use to criticize work without putting effort or thought into the criticism :P” -> I was expecting this as an answer as well, and it was well received. ;)

    @Aftersh0k
    Isn’t that just a fully diminished 7th chord? That’s been hip around the same time. :p Shhhhh

  8. Aftershok says:

    @Rhythmroo
    Wouldn’t a fully diminished chord, as derived from the diminished scale, have a sixth and no seventh, while a m7b5 (aka half-diminished, as derived from the seventh mode of the major scale) would have a minor seventh and no sixth? Perhaps it’s due to my jazz background, but the way I’ve been taught is that augmented sixth chords, the way they are usually voiced, are the exact same as an equivalent m7b5 chord (starting on the third of the augmented sixth chord) without the fifth, but maybe that’s only when it’s used as a dominant. As an example, if a conventional “Italian” aug6 chord were voiced (bottom-up) Db, F, B, then an Fm7b5 would be F, the implied Ab from the aug6 chord, B, SDFHASDIFHAIWUEHFP345TRQWIURBV;’os’fw

    NEVERMIND SCRAP IT ALL I CONFUSED m7b5 WITH m6 ARGGGHHHH

    I’m a failure.

  9. Rhythmroo says:

    Lol. Well we are both trained under different disciplines. I’m classically trained, so you could write any Jazz short hand for Chords and I could get it wrong. But yeah, I was speaking of Italian, French, and German Chords. They usually make a great climax for a build up in a piece, but that may be too soon for anime ops/eds. My mind couldn’t handle it if I find one with a strong climax on that kind of Chord.

  10. lelangir says:

    augmented 6th….i just think in roman numerals ヽ( ゚ヮ・)ノ

  11. lelangir says:

    Aren’t augemented 6th chords just subdominant chords? They just resolve chromatically to the dominant in different directions, IIRC.

  12. Yi says:

    I love the piano tracks on this! Perfect for the lighthearted, relaxing, small trips the characters take. Great music for an anime I really enjoyed.

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