|Album Title:||My-HiME Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 HiME|
|Artist:||Yuki Kajiura, Hanae Tomaru, Yuko Miyamura|
|Release Date:||December 22, 2004|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|01. Himeboshi||Hanae Tomaru, Yuki Kajiura||2:41|
|02. Today’s Beginning||Yuki Kajiura||1:57|
|03. Summer, Sky, Sea Breeze||Yuki Kajiura||2:43|
|04. Tumultuous School Life||Yuki Kajiura||1:45|
|05. Looming Shadow||Yuki Kajiura||1:34|
|06. Dance of Darkness||Yuki Kajiura||2:45|
|07. Here Comes Gakutenou!||Yuki Kajiura||1:49|
|08. An Allegory of Tenderness||Yuki Kajiura||2:08|
|09. Mysterious||Yuki Kajiura||1:17|
|10. I’m Hungry!||Yuki Kajiura||1:14|
|11. See You Again||Yuki Kajiura||2:17|
|12. The Sky In the Sunset Glow||Yuki Kajiura||2:23|
|13. Prologue to the Darkness||Yuki Kajiura||1:41|
|14. Summoning of Duran||Yuki Kajiura||3:14|
|15. Kagutsuchi’s Descent||Yuki Kajiura||2:48|
|16. It’s only the fairy tale||Yuko Miyamura, Yuki Kajiura||2:23|
|17. Afternoon Sunshine||Yuki Kajiura||1:37|
|18. A Small Happiness||Yuki Kajiura||1:53|
|19. Because I’ve Fallen In Love…||Yuki Kajiura||1:48|
|20. The Mystery Deepens||Yuki Kajiura||1:46|
|21. Sinking Into the Bottom of the Night||Yuki Kajiura||2:02|
|22. Pale Pink Dance||Yuki Kajiura||2:10|
|23. Mezame||Hanae Tomaru||4:31|
|24. Serenity of the HiME Star||Yuki Kajiura||1:28|
Review: If there is one question that always sits in the back of my mind whenever I approach a Kajiura soundtrack, it’s how diverse a tracklist she brings to the album. Kajiura’s consistency is a selling point to her many fans, but as I’ve remarked in Kajiura’s Profile, the stylistic uniformity of her non-choral music can make listening to her soundtracks straight through a tedious exercise. It’s no accident then that her best works exhibit a good amount of diversity within the album, combining many stylistic elements to make the listening experience an engaging one. And of Kajiura’s soundtracks, I’ve yet to find one more enjoyable than My-HiME’s.
It helps that My-HiME can be divided into two distinct entities, allowing Kajiura to bring in that much-needed variety. The anime’s school life section, where events unfold at a leisurely pace, is marked by easygoing and upbeat music. “Today’s Beginning” is an effective example as it sets the optimistic attitude that the protagonist, Mai Tokiha, carries into her new environs. Its bright, cheery piano introduction quickly makes way for a violin melody that paints a relaxing picture, one further reinforced by the flute as together, the instruments deliver the sense of wonder imparted through the magnificent school setting as well as the wonderful prospects for what this new life brings.
The enthusiasm doesn’t stop there either. The next track, “Summer, Sky, Sea Breeze” captures the essence of summer in an unorthodox manner by having a saxophone playing a smooth melodic line supported by the violins, electric guitar, and synth. Its arrangement exudes energy from every note, and its upbeat tones encourage all listening to seize the day and make the most of the summer fun. “Tumultuous School Life,” while also energetic, directs that energy towards a staccato presentation with the pace and discipline of a military march. It’s not until the xylophonic part comes in that hints of mischief materialize, completing the picture of the school experience that consists of not only the orderly classroom experience, but also the whimsical hijinks that occur as the students are at play. And speaking of the xylophonic sound’s more mischievous vibe, I really like how the cute ditty in “I’m Hungry!” pans out. This track fittingly depicts the aftermath of Makoto’s capriciousness as her shenanigans backfire, forcing her to flee the scene of the crime, pursued by the victims of her transgressions while her mouth is on fire.
Tumultuous School Life
I could go on and on about other tracks like the serene, but enigmatic “Mysterious” and the relaxing, carefree piano melody in “A Small Happiness,” but as delightful as the school life pieces are, the inclusion of action-oriented fare keeps the soundtrack from becoming stale. The music hints at the imminent, destructive fallout in the album’s first track, “Himeboshi,” which features a lilting chorus that wouldn’t be out of place at a funeral. “Himeboshi” is draped by a curtain of sadness, and, through the vocals, foreshadows the long string of tragedies that unfold during the anime’s second half, which are filled to the brim with jaw-dropping plot twists.
The associations to the darker tale that My-HiME weaves come in early through “Looming Shadow’s” dissonant atmosphere cultivated by the strings, but become really apparent once “Prologue to the Darkness” makes its appearance. With a heavy dose of percussion resounding throughout, “Prologue’s” melody bodes ill, complete with a grimness heightened by the violin’s melancholy sound.
Prologue to the Darkness
The anime’s darker moments also provides an opportunity for Kajiura to offer up some stylistically diverse tracks. One example of this is her use of Middle-Eastern tones to render a chaotic atmosphere through “Dance of Darkness.” She also puts in a Spanish flamenco in “Pale Pink Dance,” which not only possesses the energy associated with that lively dance form, but is also suspenseful, fitting that of a showdown between two implacable foes.
Pale Pink Dance
No Kajiura soundtrack is complete without the epic choruses that ingrain themselves in one’s consciousness, and My-HiME is no exception. Though the “Summoning of Duran,” draws out the aura of mystery and suspense through the vocals, it’s really in “Mezame” that the chorus really thrives. The Spanish guitar from “Pale Pink Dance” leads us into the track and the singer follows shortly after with disconnected phrases that sound distant and mournful before the energy really pours in, first through the synth, then the chorus. “Mezame’s” execution of its chorus section is nigh-impeccable; the way it moves from the somber section to the lilting, anguish-filled arrangement of “Himeboshi” gives it an air of grandeur and encapsulates the epic magnitude of the conflict into a musical experience that’s absolutely unforgettable.
With all that “Mezame,” and indeed, this entire album, has going for it, it’s almost distressing to point out that one. Single. Track. The one that keeps this album from becoming a masterpiece, that is. I’m referring to none other than “It’s Only the Fairy Tale” which does the enjoyable instrumentation a disservice by spouting some of the most heavily-accented engrish I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing. Yuko Miyamura’s stuffy-nosed delivery simply does not work here and this soundtrack would have been heaps better without it.
It’s Only the Fairy Tale
It doesn’t change the fact that My-HiME is still my favorite Kajiura soundtrack to date. In taking us through the tumultuous events that transpire during the anime, Kajiura is able to weave a diverse mix of tracks that capture the carefree moods and the moments of sheer tragedy once events are set into motion. Through it all, the listening experience stays engaging and compelling, making this one a rare soundtrack for the ages and one that Kajiura fans should not skip out on.