Anime Instrumentality Turns 3! Old Fogey Status Reached But Not Yet Crotchety

It’s weird. For someone who can’t even remember his own birthday, I sure don’t seem to have difficulty remembering when I created and started writing reviews on Anime Instrumentality. Part of it lies in the difficulty of the blogging task. Surviving for 365 days straight without dying isn’t hard; billions of people succeed in doing just that every year. But maintaining a hobby for 365 days where, at times, the process of doing so often seems like work and quitting is so easy to do? That’s much harder. These milestones then become that much more important than a silly birthdate.

So with April soon over, it’s time to acknowledge that Anime Instrumentality has passed its third year in existence, with all of the privileges that the milestone brings. For one, it puts us in a class alongside other blogs that somehow aren’t sensible enough to die at the commonly-observed two-year mark. Also, there are quite a few curmudgeony benefits that come with age that’ll explain a bit later.

But first, the reminiscing! That naturally leads into my attempts to come up with a series of posts that try to cover a wider topic so that they’ll bring some diversity to the steady stream of review after review after review. Last year’s focus was on all of the anime music, both BGM and OP/ED, from 2000-2009 (indexed here for your pleasure). That series was a whole lot of fun to write and people enjoyed the snippets that I put up. This year, as you can probably guess, the focus is on anime composers. In the interest of completeness, we’re finding that this series is actually very challenging to write about, mostly because listening to a composer’s entire discography is no small task. Still, we’re having fun with that and you can expect Taku Iwasaki’s profile to come out sometime in May.

A lot of other things happened too. The Aniblog Tourney brought us into the mainstream (and scaring away our hipster fanbase for good). I attended Anime Expo as a member of the press corps, albeit, for Original Sound Version (but still got an article about Megumi Nakajima and May’n as well as an abridged concert report out of it anyways). We also scored an interview with the jazz arranger, Rasmus Faber (and you really should check out his music!). Oh, and we also doubled our dedicated staff, adding Aftershok and Yu to the team, encouraged others to contribute guest posts, and through that, possibly discouraging anyone else from creating a site wholly devoted to anime music critiques/reviews. That last bit is kind of a shame, but what can you do?

I mentioned above that the three-year mark entitles me to certain benefits. Not to the point where I can pontificate like what Andy Rooney does every week (if Anime Instrumentality reaches the five-year mark, I’ll think about it then), but close. A few examples:

  • When normal, average people take me out to karaoke, expecting me to join in and sing Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga songs with them, I’m allowed to be totally shameless in picking and singing anison while they look on, wide-eyed in shock, surprised that I can sing in Japanese (with the aid of Romanized lyrics written on a piece of paper). Besides, I’m not familiar with any Top40 song that’s come out in the last 20 years in the States anyways, so it’s a bit of a lost cause to expect me to know the tunes that everyone else knows.
  • I can loudly proclaim that the music today is worse than the music from ten years ago, abetted by the idol phenomenon that prizes looks over ability and whose fans have the attention-span of a gnat as they move from idol to idol with no concept of loyalty. And then sheepishly admit that I don’t really listen to idol-pop. In all seriousness, the only issue I have with idols is their ubiquity. Sometimes, I wish they’d just go away, but most of the time, they’re pretty easy to ignore.
  • Complain when shows with good music (I’m frowning at you, Cross Game) never get a soundtrack release. Complain when shows with good music only issue soundtrack releases bundled with the DVDs/Blu-rays. This latter issue is actually becoming more and more commonplace. While I can see why the bundling happens (I doubt soundtrack CDs sell all that well unless it’s for something like Macross Frontier), it absolutely drives me nuts all the same. Sometimes, we get lucky like we did with Working!! and Kara no Kyoukai’s soundtracks. Sometimes not. All I can say is that Madoka better have a standalone soundtrack release or I’ll quietly rage. Or find some more productive way of showing my displeasure.

So yes, Anime Instrumentality might be old, but it has not quite reached the point of being crotchety just yet. Either way, we look forwards to seeing faces old and new as we venture into our fourth year of existence!

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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.

22 thoughts on “Anime Instrumentality Turns 3! Old Fogey Status Reached But Not Yet Crotchety

  • April 29, 2011 at 12:46 am
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    Back in my day…

    Congrats on another milestone. Looking forward to another year of you complaining about mediocre OP/ED singles with crappy B-sides sung by the idol-of-the-month. 😛 Well done, and keep up the good work.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 2:27 am
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    Ah… I really symphathise with the first point about losing touch with ‘mainstream’ music. In most areas, I guess fads come in the form of different singers or bands. Here, it comes in different languages. We’ve already shifted from the American to Chinese pop, and now to Korean pop. Been all too familiar with the shock on peoples’ faces when you haven’t heard a single one of the latest hits >.<

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  • April 29, 2011 at 3:21 am
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    Last year was truly a very productive and successful year for the blog, so you deserve yourselves a glass of cocktail while listening to your favorite anime jazz tune to celebrate this momentous occasion. Happy 3rd Birthday to you guys! May more reviews and composer profiles grace upon this site for 2011 and the years to come :)

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  • April 29, 2011 at 5:05 am
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    Congratulations, and welcome to the esteemed (not really but kind of) 3-year club. But yes, keeping a blog for three years is harder than living for three years for people like us, so it is something to be proud off. ^ ^

    Anyway, that past year seems like a really good year for this site. Good luck on another year!

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  • April 29, 2011 at 5:23 am
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    3 years of being mainstream, 3 long years.

    Congrats on selling out.

    No, really, congrats on hitting the 3-year milestone and not dying. Your blog is now an old fogey of the blogosphere. The wise uncle in the neighbourhood who spends his time rocking in his crotchety old chair and handing out candy to children. And some other bad metaphor here.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 5:30 am
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    Awesome. I can’t wait for Taku Iwasaki’s profile; he’s one of my favorite composers.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 9:15 am
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    Congrats on making it to year 3, especially the time and effort it takes for all the staff and contributors to write all these music reviews…

    I can loudly proclaim that the music today is worse than the music from ten years ago, abetted by the idol phenomenon that prizes looks over ability and whose fans have the attention-span of a gnat as they move from idol to idol with no concept of loyalty. And then sheepishly admit that I don’t really listen to idol-pop.

    Sad, but true… While I don’t really follow Idol-pop groups since I care more about how it sounds, it’s a pretty harsh reality. Most of these songs I have check out last year like Momoiro Clover (who did the Yosuga no Sora ED2) was a mixed bag. One decent song but two really mediocre songs. Same thing with Hirano Aya who have pretty much declined from being a very talented voice actor to being… well, you know. There are some exceptions like Sphere for example, but like Sturgeon’s Law, 90% of everything is crap.

    Sadly, I do have to apply this to not only J-pop, but regular pop… Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber are the ones that come in mind with mediocre singing and the same old crap… It pales in comparison to the songs made in the 90s or perhaps earlier. The crappiness of today’s pop music pretty much created my strong dislike towards mainstream music in general.

    Anyways, Congrats!

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  • April 29, 2011 at 10:53 am
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    Congrats on the 3rd year. You will likely make it to the fourth unlike me.

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  • April 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm
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    Congratulations and thanks as well! I have really enjoyed your site, and found many interesting OSTs that I had never heard before. I always enjoy your erudite commentary. Oh, and Taku Iwasaki? Hells yeah!

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  • April 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm
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    @Sorrow-kun
    And here I was, thinking that you didn’t forgive me after I blasted the Sae Nakata Amagami ED theme. Well, I’m sure I’ll get to a few of the craptastic OP/ED themes from Spring when the occasion rises or when I get bored.

    @Jen
    It’s OK. As long as you’re the one springing the surprises and not the other way around. I will say that the satisfaction of surprising my fellow karaoke-goers by doing some decent J-pop renditions is pretty up there and makes up for the fact that I’m not up to date on the mainstream stuff.

    @Roy
    I think part of it came from me taking things a bit more seriously and trying to maintain some semblance of a schedule. It’d be one thing if this were work, but I’ve been having a blast the whole way through just sharing whatever discoveries I can find within this rarely-covered niche, so I don’t see this slowing down one bit. Here’s hoping the plans I have in store for this year come through!

    @Yi
    Yup! I’m just hoping things pan out for this year and I can do things that are currently only ideas in my head. But we’ll see. New things tend to pop up regardless of whether I want them to or not. Happy accidents tend to happen around me a lot lately.

    @Valence
    The day that anime music becomes mainstream is the day I’ll probably retire. There’s no way I’m going to shed my hipster cred since those glasses are a huge investment!

    Perhaps I’ll start by telling all the young ‘uns to get off my lawn.

    @shlap
    Indeed. ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWAA! definitely will get the coverage.

    @Baka-Raptor
    Wouldn’t that ratio be more like .75? There’s four of us poking about!

    @Shinmaru
    Free
    Wanna be free
    Gonna be free
    And move among the stars
    You know they really aren’t so far
    Feels so freeeeeeeee~

    @chikorita157
    I really bear no ill will towards new artists since I really don’t have time to venture outside my anime/J-pop bubble. The price I pay for being so specialized I guess. The way I see it, they’re in it for the money and fame and they’ve succeeded, but they’re also easy enough to ignore. Now that I’m focusing more on BGM, it’s been harder to find bad music. Not impossible, of course, but just harder.

    And yeah, what the hell happened to Aya’s career? Seems like she’s more tabloid fodder these days.

    @Aftershok
    You’ll get far by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

    @Panther
    Are you also somewhere in your fourth year? I guess part of my motivation is from the fact that no one else is covering this topic, so there’s no reason to give up just yet!

    @Joojoobees
    That’s the goal! The only difficulty lies in figuring out how interested people are in the off-the-beaten stuff that sometimes gets on this blog, but I suppose that as long as an audience exists and as long as my passion remains, we’ll keep on going strong. And erudite? One of these days, I oughta do a survey to see what adjectives people come up with to describe this site. Some of the adjectives I’ve seen so far have been a bit of a surprise. Positive adjectives of course, but a surprise all the same.

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  • May 1, 2011 at 11:27 am
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    Madoka’s OST – When you mean standalone release, are you referring to the likes of Kara no Kyoukai where a compilation “best of OST” was eventually released?

    If I’m not mistaken Madoka’s Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 will be bundled with the DVD/Blu-ray release of Vol.2 and OST 2 with Vol. 3, according to CDJ and vgmdb.

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    • May 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm
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      @dumbass
      Yes! That’s precisely what I mean. I basically want a soundtrack CD that isn’t attached to any of the DVDs or Blu-rays.

      Reply
  • May 3, 2011 at 12:52 am
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    Even though music reviewing is for hipsters, I find myself dropping by every now and again. Congrats!

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  • May 8, 2011 at 9:24 am
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    Wow, I’m late coming on here with my congratulatory greeting. So here it is , Congratulations for lasting this long and still keeping it going.

    I hardly listen to mainstream popular songs from the Billboard or hitz charts because I chose to ignore them. Anyway, pop songs these days are far less memorable and are almost always overly commercialized. They are here today, forgotten tomorrow so it’s not a loss if one don’t get into the latest commercial sensation to hit the charts.

    And that’s why I love your blog because it introduces something completely different from any of those mainstream stuff. Keep it up, y’all.

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    • May 9, 2011 at 1:10 am
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      @Anime
      Thanks for the well-wishes~

      @Ayumikat
      It helps that I have a few incentives in place to prevent me from ever stopping. I’m mostly glad that people find this site useful since the real expressed intent is to expose people to stuff that might be at the periphery of the anime fan’s consciousness (most people don’t actively pay attention to BGM after all!) and hopefully spur them to acknowledge that hey, some of the instrumental stuff might be good too.

      But yes, we do what we can and as long as I’m still around, we’ll keep up at it!

      Reply

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