Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a trend in the anime blogosphere in which bloggers answer 50 questions about anime and about themselves. To my delight, Ace Railgun, who started this trend, did put a few questions related to anime music, and because so many took on the challenge of answering them (37 people, give or take a few), there’s quite a lot of data I could mine. And yes, me being who I am (a notorious procrastinator who will find any reason to duck out of doing schoolwork), I was curious enough to dig through every single one of these posts to see what observations I could make about the anime blogosphere as a whole on the soundtrack front.
Keep in mind that this is hardly scientific and only represents people who have been narcissistic enough to undertake such a writeup. This might be valuable, might not be. I just did it for amusement value and to satisfy my curiosity about anime blogger’s tastes in music. It’s a nice exercise at any rate and do forgive my tongue-in-cheek editorializing here and there. More after the jump.
Basically, the three questions bloggers were told to answer are as follows:
3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?
4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?
5. What is your favorite anime ending song + animation?
- Most-mentioned soundtrack: Guity Crown (6 mentions).
By most-mentioned, I mean that some bloggers listed more than one soundtrack while they were going through their favorites. Some people had difficulties picking a favorite and listed 3-4 soundtracks they really really enjoyed. Others had a clear favorite, but mentioned a few others. The runner-up was the soundtrack to ARIA the Animation (4 mentions). As an ARIA fanboy, this definitely made me happy that people recognized how enjoyable the soundtrack is. Other mentions include: Shiki soundtrack, 5 Centimeters per Second soundtrack, and K-ON!’s soundtrack (insert incredulous face on that last one).
- Most of the entries suffered from recency bias.
That is of the soundtracks listed, 25 out of the 60 listed are from relatively recent shows, or, for the purpose of this definition, shows that came out sometime in the last 3 years. Part of this isn’t a surprise since people are going to enjoy soundtracks of shows they’ve actually seen and if people’s memories are like mine, they’ll remember the more recent stuff with greater ease. Also, I’m tempted to say that many of these bloggers who’ve written the 50 Questions posts tend to be relatively newer fans and because of that, they haven’t had time or chance to see some of the older classics. At least, I’d like to think this explains why…
- Only one person picked Cowboy Bebop’s soundtrack as their favorite.
Granted, it’s not my favorite soundtrack either, but given the fact that when I trawl twitter to see what people are saying about anime soundtracks, you’ll inevitably find someone talking about how awesome Cowboy Bebop’s music was. Ditto goes for Samurai Champloo with its hip-hop/R&B influences, which seems to be a fan-favorite. Oh well. At least FLCL’s OST got mentioned twice. Power to The Pillows.
- Some people (10% of respondents) still can’t tell the difference between soundtracks and OP/ED themes.
This was actually slightly disappointing. I’m okay if people consider opening and ending themes as part of the soundtrack since there’s no denying how strong a role they play within the anime musical experience. But to mention opening and ending themes exclusively when expounding upon why one likes an anime soundtrack? A travesty!
- Opening themes are all over the map.
The tendency towards the recency bias mentioned above still stands, but there’s really no strong consensus on what people collectively enjoyed most. Repeated mentions include Shiki’s first OP (2 mentions), ef – a tale of memories OP (2 mentions), Baccano!’s jazztastic OP (2 mentions), and Nichijou’s OP theme (also 2 mentions.
- People gravitate to Bakemonogatari’s ending theme.
With 4 mentions, that was the top pick. Not hard to see why since the energy that ryo puts into his melodies and nagi’s vocals are absolutely awesome. Not even Haruhi’s “Hare Hare Yuukai” was able to take it down, though it was the runner-up with 2 mentions.
- Regression stuff people who aren’t me can try doing: Figure out how long respondents have been fans of anime, try to determine correlations based on year released of favorite shows, scenes, characters, soundtracks, basically, the entire gamut of the questionnaire. There are probably other things you can do with all this data that someone with only one semester of statistics under his belt (me) haven’t even thought of. I’ll leave this as an exercise for someone more proficient in the art.
Hope you enjoyed this fun exercise. Feel free to debate/theorycraft/whatever below in the comments.
EDIT: Per Marina’s request, I’m throwing the spreadsheet here. The data is far from organized, but you can see what was going through my head when I did my analysis and what factors I considered.