Himitsu ~The Revelation~ Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Himitsu ~The Revelation~ Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Himitsu ~The Revelation~
Artist: Hirano Yoshihisa
Catalog Number: VPCG-84877
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: Jul 07, 2008
Purchase at: CDJapan


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
01. Kokoro Film (TV SIZE) ALvino 1:14
02. The Number Nines Hirano Yoshihisa 2:17
03. Chase Hirano Yoshihisa 1:59
04. Maki Hirano Yoshihisa 2:54
05. Investigation Hirano Yoshihisa 1:42
06. Breaking Through Hirano Yoshihisa 1:18
07. Chaos Hirano Yoshihisa 1:32
08. Darkness Hirano Yoshihisa 1:19
09. Himitsu Hirano Yoshihisa 1:22
10. The Elite Hirano Yoshihisa 1:57
11. The Elite’s Restless Works Hirano Yoshihisa 1:58
12. The Celebrities Hirano Yoshihisa 1:34
13. The Freshman Hirano Yoshihisa 2:40
14. Unseen Criminals Hirano Yoshihisa 1:20
15. Cruelties Hirano Yoshihisa 1:18
16. For Your Eyes Only Hirano Yoshihisa 3:08
17. Gratitude Hirano Yoshihisa 2:08
18. Sweet Memories ~ Piano Version Hirano Yoshihisa 1:33
19. The Funeral Hirano Yoshihisa 1:17
20. Maki Is Love in Meditiation Hirano Yoshihisa 1:49
21. Maki with the Past Hirano Yoshihisa 1:34
22. Maze Hirano Yoshihisa 2:01
23. Forbidden Ground Hirano Yoshihisa 1:01
24. What He Saw Hirano Yoshihisa 1:09
25. In The Realm of the Memories Hirano Yoshihisa 1:47
26. Wasteland in Heart Hirano Yoshihisa 1:13
27. Dawn Hirano Yoshihisa 1:44
28. Cutie Pie Hirano Yoshihisa 1:39
29. Bittersweet Memories Hirano Yoshihisa 1:11
30. Sweet Memories Hirano Yoshihisa 2:46
31. Kemuri (TV SIZE) makichang 1:05

Review: Even though he was responsible for portions of the fantastic score to the popular anime Death Note, Yoshihisa Hirano has remained a relatively obscure composer amongst the anime fanbase. This doesn’t come as a great surprise especially when you consider how his classically influenced, chaotic style of writing makes for music that’s a little hard on the casual listener. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to start enjoying his music. For Himitsu  ~The Revelation~, the show’s subject matter and Hirano’s style complement each other well, resulting in a soundtrack that makes it much easier to appreciate what Hirano can do.

HtR is a mystery series that follows a team of investigators as they crack cases on an episode to episode basis. While I checked Wiki to make sure that the above description is accurate, one could have easily figured out as much about the show from listening to the soundtrack. Right off the bat, the first track, “The Number Nines,” shoves the setting in the listener’s face. The intro executes perfectly with a sequence of tension-building rising notes only to precipitously crash into the main theme, a melody that brings to mind gunfights and car chases. Out of all the music I’ve heard in my lifetime, this is my favorite musical representation of a high speed crime chase. Another rendition of this theme can be heard in the accurately-named “Chase,” albeit with a ridiculously badass guitar solo inserted. Whichever of the two you prefer, just don’t listen to them while driving or you’ll probably end up speeding and being pursued yourself.

The Number Nines

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There are also plenty of suspense tracks that populate the album, presumably to build up tension before breaking out the action. In these, one can hear Hirano’s signature penchant for dissonance, resulting in music far more unsettling than what most soundtracks offer. “Chaos” and “Darkness” both use plenty of discordant chords, the first opting for eerily-rising woodwinds and the second for muted bagpipes that seem ominously distant. “Unseen Criminals” reminded me a little of the famous Jaws motif, with low strings chugging relentlessly onwards while chaotic noises punctuate the approach sporadically. None of these are quite as unearthly as “In the Realm of Memories”, which features one woman singing notes you might hear from a Halloween decoration. While these and others like them are all entertaining to listen to (especially if you like being creeped out), these suspense pieces begin to become repetitive once the novelty of the dissonance wears off.  It’s an unfortunate drawback, but probably the only one that really comes to mind in this album.

Chaos

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Of course, the tension and action in the field is but a small part of what actually goes on in an investigation unit. Most of the time is spent gathering and brooding over evidence. If all the thoughts flying around a busy mind were instruments, a thinking detective would probably emit something that sounds like “Maki”. In the track, multitudes of different instruments speak up, sometimes alone as individual notions and sometimes together in a united motif. I’ve always liked listening to it because this aural representation of a thinking mind is exceptionally accurate. “Investigation” uses a similar technique, except instead of creating a busy office-like atmosphere, it creates a hectic crime-scene-with-a-dead-body atmosphere by throwing in an electric guitar and a harsher beat.

Investigation

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At this point, it probably seems like the whole HtR soundtrack means nothing but business, and grim business at that. However, that’s not the case since Hirano gives the listener a surprising number of buoyant tracks to break up the dark atmosphere. “The Elite’s Restless Works” is a whimsical piece — while the melody comes off as playful, it is also very, very eccentric. Nevertheless, this eccentricity is oddly endearing and the track is very much an earworm. I was even more surprised to find a flamenco in “The Elite”. It was a very welcome surprise though, as the track packs plenty of over-the-top fun, offering both guitar and violin solos as things energetically whirl along.  And finally, since drunken woodwinds and fiery dances apparently aren’t already enough, Hirano throws us something cute. “Cutie Pie” is exactly what it sounds like: a delightfully dainty little piece whose charming melody is a far cry from the darker regions of the soundtrack.

The Elite’s Restless Works

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And last but certainly not least: the emotional stuff which no soundtrack can do without. It’s only natural that a heavy load of emotional baggage results when your job deals with murderers and dead people. The main theme is recapped again in “For Your Eyes Only”. However, it moves nowhere near as fast it originally did; there’s an overwhelmingly morose feeling in every note, weighing this formerly invigorated theme down with sorrow. It’s almost unbelievable that the theme here is the exact same one which kicked off the album because of how different everything sounds. Finally, the last track, “Sweet Memories”, isn’t quite depressed, but it also doesn’t shake off the sense of melancholy introduced in “For Your Eyes Only”. Still, the operatic voice which makes its entrance halfway through is a shining ray of hope for those working in a grim and unrelenting field.

For Your Eyes Only

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Sweet Memories

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In all honestly, even if everything except the main theme was awful, I would have rated this album well just because of how awesome “The Number Nines” and “Chase” are. More seriously, I’d say that the only drawback would be the large amount of dissonant tracks that pile up without adding anything new to the experience. Nevertheless, that doesn’t ruin the overwhelmingly positive overall experience Himitsu the Revelation’s soundtrack offers up. My hope, then, is that his efforts here are sufficient to tilt you more towards Yoshihisa Hirano’s generally excellent scores and get you to delve deeper into his other works.

Rating: Excellent

About the author

Yu A musician with a fondness for anime, I love listening and talking about the music accompanying the shows I watch. I'm fond of classical styled music, but any piece regardless of genre can tickle my fancy. On the other hand, I'm awful at discussing anime because I'm so terribly easy to please.

8 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. random says:

    I generally enjoy Yoshihisa Hirano’s music. You’re right about him being obscure though – it seems like I almost never see his name mentioned despite him being one of the better anime composers out there. I’m actually more of a fan of his chaotic soundtracks like The Book of Bantorra and Break Blade, rather than his ones that aren’t.

    I only wish he did longer music. This soundtrack is particularly short with even the main theme being only a little longer than two minutes – and this isn’t uncommon for Hirano’s soundtracks. Maybe I’m just spoiled by composers that do more average length soundtracks. The only other problem with his soundtracks is what you mentioned, which is that he usually does a large amount of dissonant tracks. I don’t think of it as a big problem though, since his other tracks generally make up for them.

    • @random
      Track length is pretty much the reason why I don’t rate some of his work as highly. Like Break Blade, despite the awesomeness of that one Sinfonia of the Battlefield track which is just astounding in its epicness.

    • Yu says:

      @random
      All the more reason to market him more, eh? ;P

      Generally shorter track length doesn’t bother me as long as the piece goes somewhere, does something interesting, and wraps up nicely, things which Hirano is definitely capable of making his music do. If a track repeats a motif over and over without adding any significant embellishment, I tend to hold it in lower esteem than a track that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

  2. roy says:

    Suddenly I feel like James Bond.

    Just sayin’ haha

  3. Arthur says:

    Wow, just heard Hirano Yoshihisa – Moderato scherzoso for piano trio on Animenix – must check out this composer some more.

    • Yu says:

      @Arthur
      Ouran High School Host Club’s OST is the most typically classical soundtrack Hirano has written for anime, missing the discord and chaotic tendencies of the majority of his works. After listening to it (and everything else he’s written), it’s not surprising at all that he studied at Juilliard.

      Also, yes! Another convert!

  4. Aftershok says:

    Ooh, I enjoyed the samples. I especially enjoy the sound of keys clacking on a woodwind instrument like in “The Elites whatever blah.” Makes the music sound so “real.” Clearly, Hirano wrote those clacking sounds in personally.

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