Well, that was quick.
This winter, for better or for worse seemed to just fly by. It feels like yesterday that many of us dipped our toes into Madoka, Hourou Musuko, and Yumekui Merry, but many of those shows are coming to an end and many new ones take their place. Like before, we’ll be doing a preview with more of a focus on the musical side of things; people looking for plot summaries can look elsewhere since we choose our shows based on the composers than things like plot and seiyuu (OK, not really). So check out the composer rolls after the jump!
Composer: Satoru Kousaki
Synopsis: Focuses on the lives of some high school girls, specifically, Tooru, her childhood friend Run, Yuuko, and Nagi. The anime is adapted from a 4-koma and will most likely fall into the four girls, one school mold.
Zzero’s Thoughts: It’s hard to shake the generic tag from this series and the only saving grace is whether the comedy works or not. Everything seems so predictable, right down to their choice of Satoru Kousaki as this show’s music composer. What that means is that A Channel’s soundtrack may try some interesting musical things, be it a novel adaptation of an old theme or fusing genres where one might not have thought it to be possible, or it’ll just be his usual brand of minimalistic fare. Whatever he puts forward, it’ll somehow only work within the context of the anime and so, will not be a great standalone listen. That’s been Kousaki’s track record since time immemorial, from Haruhi to the more recent Ore no Imouto’s soundtrack. Star Driver might bucked this trend, but the jury’s still out.
Synopsis: Six childhood friends, one of whom is a hikkikomori, will reunite to grant one of their friends one last wish.
Yu’s Thoughts: REMEDIOS seems to be best known for composing the soundtracks for several films and j-dramas. Given the nature of Ano Hana and REMEDIOS’s background, we may actually end up with a good score that supports the guaranteed emotional angst which will surface in this show.
C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Composer: Taku Iwasaki
Synopsis: Things weren’t looking good for the Japanese government, until it was saved from the edge of financial meltdown by a mysterious group called the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The Japanese people weren’t as fortunate, and still have to cope with rampant unemployment and crime. The story centers on a boy named Kimimaro, whose no-nonsense life is interrupted when he’s offered a large sum of money, one that must be paid back.
Aftershok’s Thoughts: Given Taku Iwasaki’s track record and the show’s intriguing premise, this has potential to be very interesting. His work on shows like Gurren Lagann and Black Butler’s soundtrack was impressive and effective, even if it was not what stood out the most about the shows. His score on Persona has received praise even when the show hasn’t. This, combined with the show’s schedule set to be on the Noitamina timeslot, sets the expectations high. If all goes according to Iwasaki’s modus operandi, expect a mix of rock and orchestral with some soft ballads for the more sensitive bits.
Composer: Hiroyuki Sawano
Synopsis: Though the two dimensions are meant to remain separate, there are demons that leave Gehenna, the world of demons, and enter the human realm Assiah to cause trouble. There exist humans known as exorcists who battle the demons and restore order to Assiah. The protagonist, Rin Okumura, who bears the burden of being the illegitimate son of Satan, decides to become an exorcist to avenge of the death of his foster father, who gave his life to protect Rin from demons.
Zzero’s Thoughts: Hell YES! I don’t know how well this series is going to do, but Hiroyuki Sawano’s position as soundtrack composer brings with it a lot of high hopes. We all know how much I loved his music ever since the first notes from Gigantic Formula reached my ears. He’s gone on to do highly acclaimed work for Sengoku Basara as well as the awe-inspiring Gundam Unicorn soundtrack. If nothing else, I’ll be checking this show just to listen to his music since I love the dazzling epic orchestrals he seems to conjure up (overwrought though it may be at times).
Synopsis: A lone survivor of a massacre is falsely accused of the crime and gets thrown into prison where he must entertain audiences.
Zzero’s Thoughts: Usually a composer with all caps suggests that he’s a rock musician. And surprise surprise, he did do some theme songs for the likes of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but not a complete score though. Still, I wanna rocks mune ni rocks.
Yu’s Thoughts: The manga centered around a combination of action and dark/twisted atmosphere. If the anime stays true to the manga, the music will probably be some kind of heavy rock mixed with a good deal of uninteresting atmospheric suspense. Hopefully the show will prove my pessimistic predictions wrong.
Composer: The crew at I’ve Sound
Synopsis: A boy is transported to Biscotti, a kingdom in a fantasy world, in order to help the princess save the country from invasion.
Zzero’s Thoughts: To be frank, I am not a heavy fan of I’ve Sound. In fact, aside from a few of their singers, their work is usually far from where my tastes usually land since I’m not too fond of heavy synth and electronica. The first time I’ve heard a soundtrack composed by one of their members (Malko Iuchi) for To Aru Majutsu no Index, I wasn’t really too enthralled by what I heard. One can make a safe assumption that Dog Days’ music will offer more of the same, so I’ll avoid this altogether. Oh well, at least the OP is done by Nana Mizuki, so maybe I’ll just watch the OP sequence just for that.
Yu’s Thoughts: I’ve only ever enjoyed the vocal trance stuff from I’ve Sound (more specifically Kotoko). It goes without saying then that asking a primarily electronica group to score a shounen show with a likely harem thrown in isn’t going to turn out well. The most memorable part of this show will probably be how the kingdom is named after twice-baked cake.
Composer: Yuuji Nomi
Synopsis: More high school life anime, except the things that go on feel a wee bit more surreal, ranging from a principal who wrestles deer, a character with a windup device on her back, and a loli who’s addressed as “Professor.”
Zzero’s Thoughts: Assuming that the OVA/Episode 0/whatever that was released earlier is representative of the series, I might actually be looking forward to this one. Though the music so far doesn’t feel cohesive since they’re little more than a collection of musical cues, I do hope to see something come out of this, especially when the composer has worked on Ghibli fare like Whisper of the Heart.
Yu Thoughts: I was especially impressed with Nomi’s work with The Cat Returns – and it seems he might deliver something similar again if the first episode is anything to go by. The music I heard was definitely not what I expected from a KyoAni slice of life show, but that’s a good thing.
Composer: Shiro Hamaguchi
Synopsis: A hot spring inn and the lives of the people working in it.
Thoughts: Whoaaaaa, Shiro Hamaguchi is back to do a soundtrack for an anime? Talk about good tidings! VGM enthusiasts will know him as a master arranger for such fine works as the orchestrated album for Final Fantasy VIII (titled Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec). His arranger profile doesn’t stop there either as he has gone on to do the Haruhi orchestral arrangements that we’ve come to know and love. Anime fans who might not have ever touched a game soundtrack may be familiar with his work on notable anime titles such as Kiddy Grade, the baseball classic Oofuri, and of course, the almighty One Piece. In short, he knows his orchestral stuff and even though the show’s premise sounds pedestrian, the music alone might propel me to give the anime a three-episode test.
Composer: Kei Haneoka
Synopsis: Nanako Matsutaka somehow finds herself roped into a study group that focuses on strange sexual perversions and tries her best to retain some semblance of sanity.
Zzero’s Thoughts: Kei Haneoka’s strength in the past has always been in composing music for comedy anime. The first time I’ve been exposed to this composer’s works was through the slapstick near-insane Pani Poni Dash. He’s also shown his strength composing for shows such as Negima!? and Today in Class 5-2, all of which are comedies. Given that Hen Zemi’s bent is along the same lines, Haneoka’s compositions should mesh fairly well with whatever’s going on onscreen.
Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream
Composer: Seikou Nagaoka
Synopsis: Rizumu Amamiya competes in a sport that blends skating and dancing, aiming for the top of what must be a dangerously sparkly event.
Thoughts: At first, I wasn’t planning to check this show out, but when I noticed Nagaoka’s name gracing the composer credits, I almost had a change of heart. Almost. The synopsis looks just a wee bit cheesy for my tastes, but the only Nagaoka work I’ve ever heard, Strike Witches, was actually really good and impressed me enough to heap praise upon it. While I’m not sold on Pretty Rhythm’s premise, I will keep an eye out for the soundtrack since I expect that to be one of the show’s few bright spots.
Tea for Universe, Tea for Life
Composer: Kou Otani
Synopsis: Sasuke Furuta is obsessed with the intricacies of the tea ceremony, having learned it from his lord, Oda Nobunaga and the tea master Sen no Soeki and has resolved to walk this tea path to ultimate fulfillment.
Zzero’s Thoughts: Bee Train is one of those studios that I’ve given up on since nothing they’ve produced has really interested me very much. However, if there’s one point of consistency that they bring to their anime (beyond plots that ooze along like molasses), it’s awesome music. Now, they weren’t fortunate enough to get Yuki Kajiura, but they were able to secure Kou Otani’s services. You guys should like his stuff since he’s done excellent work on the Haibane Renmei soundtrack and the music he did for Shakugan no Shana was good. Video gamers might know him for the immersiveness that the music to Shadows of the Colossus had upon gamers (an atmosphere that one can find in his score for Shana as well). So high hopes are on a good soundtrack. Just don’t expect the anime to follow suit.
Tiger & Bunny
Composer: Yoshihiro Ike
Synopsis: People known as “Next” act as superheroes. Veteran hero Wild Tiger is forced together with rookie Barnaby Brooks. Conflicts in their views about the role of a hero ensue.
Zzero’s Thoughts: Yoshihiro Ike’s got that interesting history. And by interesting, I mean that I’ve watched a few of the shows he’s composed for (Kamichu, Mokke, Ergo Proxy) but came out of all of those shows without a lasting impression of the BGM. Now, maybe it’s my fault for missing something really special, but that’s just how it is. Though I probably won’t be watching Tiger & Bunny, it’ll be good to hear from those who are watching this anime and are well-versed with Ike’s work so they can let me know how this one will fare.
Yu’s Thoughts: Yoshihiro is a bit of a wildcard. After hearing the dark but not very memorable music for Ergo Proxy, Kamichu was the last thing I ever expected him to score. Nevertheless, he did and did it well. Anyway, Tiger & Bunny’s premises isn’t very similar to Ergo Proxy’s or Kamichu’s, so how this soundtrack will turn out is very up in the air.
We’ve always been wary about putting up profiles for shows whose composers we know next to nothing about. Such is the case with Jun Sato, the composer for the MBA-tastic Moshidora (with a baseball bent), Shuhei Naruse’s music for Sket Dance (for crying out loud, the only work this guy’s done has been for various incarnations of Rockman), the duo that’s doing the work for Steins;Gate, et al. Also, we’ve had a longstanding policy of not covering anime second seasons unless their composers have changed at some point. So that means Kaiji 2, The World God Only Knows 2, and Maria+Holic 2 (among others) aren’t mentioned here (but a few of us are looking forwards to them regardless. Do feel free to comment about those that we’ve skipped over or anything else we’ve happened to miss.