Usagi Drop Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Usagi Drop Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Usagi Drop
Artist: Suguru Matsutani
Catalog Number: ESCL-3747
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: August 03, 2011
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
01. Otozureta Henka Matsutani Suguru 1:54
02. Hitori no Onnanoko Matsutani Suguru 2:02
03. Daikichi to Rin Matsutani Suguru 1:58
04. Wakare Matsutani Suguru 1:38
05. Wakare 2 Matsutani Suguru 2:28
06. Tatamae Matsutani Suguru 1:54
07. Ketsui Matsutani Suguru 1:25
08. Asa Gohan Matsutani Suguru 2:18
09. Kattou Matsutani Suguru 1:33
10. Yoku Wakaren Matsutani Suguru 1:15
11. Soudan Matsutani Suguru 2:12
12. Sukkari Chichi Matsutani Suguru 1:09
13. Jikan Keika Matsutani Suguru 2:15
14. Yorokobi Matsutani Suguru 1:52
15. Gimon Matsutani Suguru 1:32
16. Kore wa Ase! Matsutani Suguru 0:57
17. Knight Matsutani Suguru 1:00
18. Kouki no Theme Matsutani Suguru 1:17
19. Kouki Mama Matsutani Suguru 2:00
20. Urei Matsutani Suguru 1:32
21. Koigokoro Matsutani Suguru 1:56
22. Sou Ichi no Kakugo Matsutani Suguru 1:59
23. Shinpai Matsutani Suguru 1:42
24. Odekake Matsutani Suguru 2:12
25. Tomadoi Matsutani Suguru 1:10
26. Iede Matsutani Suguru 1:31
27. Shiawase Matsutani Suguru 2:10
28. Fureai Matsutani Suguru 2:20
29. Hajime no Ippo Suginami Jidou Gasshou Dan 2:54
30. SWEET DROPS -piano version- Puffy 4:16
31. High High High -piano version- Kasarinchu 3:01

Review: As I sit here and watch Usagi Drop (as of this writing, I’m only about halfway through), I’m struck by the show’s many simplicities. There’s the simplicity of the premise, which sees a man in his early 30s, Daikichi, take in a young relative of his and the life-changing events that result from it. There the seeming simplicity in its art which uses a soft color palette to give us the feel that what we’re watching is an ephemeral snapshot to be savored. And there’s the simplicity of the soundtrack, which features soft acoustic guitars, soothing woodwinds, and bouncy piano melodies that never feel hurried as they echo life’s meanderings. All of these components join together in a way that – yes – simply works. Though there are a few moments where the soundtrack dispenses with a few unmemorable moments, for the most part, Usagi Drop’s music wraps all the character and emotional moments together in a package that leaves you with a warm glow in your heart as you watch the bond between Daikichi and his ward, Rin, grow.

The heartwarming emotion that bubbles up through Suguru Matsutani’s compositions are present from the beginning and carries itself throughout the rest of the soundtrack. With “Otozureta Henka,” Matsutani uses a combination of the acoustic guitar and piano to lightly brush us with a gentle wave that soothes and calms as the melody wanders about. A minute in, there’s a shift from the uncertain meanderings to a touch of loneliness fused with a childlike innocence to depict Rin. But the track succeeds in getting her story across. It establishes her circumstances and ends strongly and compassionately as Daikichi makes the decision to take in his six-year old relative. The violins give off a sigh, and their new life begins.

Otozureta Henka

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Many of the successive tracks reinforce this newness and most of it comes through quieter tones. “Hitori no Onnanoko” starts with a glimmer of lightness as the piano and violin conjures the anticipation the characters have for their new lives now filled with endless possibilities. As the piece proceeds, the woodwinds, from the flute and oboe to the clarinet, fill the air with a feeling of quiet contentment. Though it feels fleeting at times, the piece subtly wins your heart in a way not unlike how Rin wins Daikichi over, and Matsutani really works the dominant motif in this track and carries it to other tracks on this album to show the many sides of their relationship. In “Wakare 2″ the piano echoes the tenderness as well as a hint of loneliness and hope, but the theme’s rendition in “Soudan” departs from the more melancholy tones with a charming track that exhibits a spunky aura through a staccato delivery as each subsequent note hops about in a spritely manner.

Soudan

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This upbeatness materializes further in many of the album’s other tracks. “Asa Gohan,” as expected out of that track title, rouses you out of “Ketsui’s” melancholia through the harmonica and guitar’s combined effort while “Yokorobi’s” energy is absolutely infectious as it joins synth and guitar into a laid-back track that has a dab of euphoria. “Odekake,” while also laid back, uses the synth, harmonica, and acoustic guitar’s ability to weave a pleasing aural fabric that raises the excitement level just a bit further to where the track bubbles with a subtle sense of exuberance.

Yokorobi

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There are moments of sadness, delivered through “Gimon’s” monotonous ambiance or “Urei’s” slower arrangement of the serene “Kouki Mama” to depict Kouki’s mother’s loneliness, but the heartwarming tracks are where the album shines. Of those, nothing quite matches up to “Koigokoro,” where the three-beat measures flow out gently and serenely, bringing with it the quiet sense of joys to be had. Although simple, the steady gait with which it moves leads you towards a state of stability and happiness. “Shiawase” takes this mood a bit further and “Fureai” ends it all on a good note, leaving you at peace and feeling optimistic.

Koigokoro

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Fureai

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Finally, I must profess to enjoying whenever composers take opening or ending themes and set them to piano. While “SWEET DROPS” feels like a standard piano arrangement that doesn’t quite stretch the envelope in its adherence to the original, “High High High,” the ending theme, easily wins me over. Its relaxing, mellow pace, combined with the piano passages with the occasional syncopated measures allow it to give off a stylistically different vibe from the rest of the score, making it a fun listen.

High High High -piano version-

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In Usagi Drop, Suguru Matsutani has come a long way from his earlier effort on Nodame Cantabile’s soundtrack. While the latter is made up of snippets that never ingrain themselves in your consciousness, the heartwarming aura that radiates from the former will forever carry the day. These sentiments that effortlessly worm their way into your soul is what makes all the difference, as the lingering feelings of joy and comfort invite you to listen and savor all that it has to offer.

Rating: 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.

4 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Jen says:

    I totally agree that the heartwarming pieces are a total winner. And I loved the piano version of High High High too. Very different take on the song, but fantastic nonetheless.

    • @Jen
      Definitely, especially when you compare HHH to the arrangement of Sweet Drops, which was just too close to the original. Just like the way the ED theme closes each episode off on a good note, so does this arrangement, which closes the OST on a very wonderful note!

  2. some random dude says:

    Not related to anything here but I suggest anyone reading my post to go and listen to the recent Ao No Exorcist soundtrack!
    It’s got some good amount of variety and is really epic!
    Here’s one that might knock your socks off!

  3. Yi says:

    This is actually one of my more favorite soundtracks from this season. Simple and heartwarming are good descriptions, and the music fits it well. Very soft and very relaxing. I love it!

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