FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!
Thankfully, there are no such things as term limits here, so we can assert our power over the anime music space with impunity, indefinitely. As long as the quality of anime music continues to stay its course, we’ll be here for a long time to come. After all, the quality of anime may go through cycles, but we’ve yet to encounter any similar sorts of trends in anime music, which has remained remarkably consistent.
From the post title, yes, we are entering our 4th year. Also known as the length of time most people will take to graduate from undergrad. Or how long Pep Guardiola has coached FC Barcelona. Or the lifespan of the almighty Didelphis virginiana when raised in captivity. These inane comparisons only further the idea that four years is a weird spot to be in as far as festivities are concerned. 1 year is a fine milestone. 2-year milestones are also worth celebrating since it’s the only even prime. 3-year anniversaries are worthy because it means you’ve gone through endless trials by fire and have a very good chance at avoiding blog death (as opposed to dying in a blogging accident or something). 5 years is also a fine number and makes it a great moment to dig into our history. But 4? What can we celebrate with 4? Well, there’s never a bad time to reaffirm what we’re all about.
Where anime music is and what we foresee happening
The anime music fandom has come a long way. From the early days, anime music never seemed to get much recognition, when it did, it was either people talking about J-pop OP/EDs or confined to a fansites dedicated to one specific composer. There’d be the occasional conversation to pop up on forums/messageboards, but the dialogue would either fizzle fast or lack substance; you can only squeeze so much participation out of a “Name your favorite tune” thread anyhow.
Needless to say, in the face of these conditions, building an anime music site that 1) tried to go more in-depth into anime music through reviews and 2) provided no downloads (I know, right?) was a daunting task in terms of drawing general interest. But the passion of its author(s) (and a healthy dose of stubbornness) carried the site through to where it is today. We’ve managed to expand our presence a slight bit with me interviewing with Justin from Organization Anti-Social Geniuses and Aftershok appearing on the Anime Afterlife Podcast. And as we look around, we can’t help but feel that people are talking about the musical component just a wee bit more. Whether this is more a function of the people we converse with over Twitter, it’s hard to say, but things have been looking up for quite some time, and we’re pretty happy with all the work we’ve poured in, gushing over the latest score and interacting with all of you.
We’d like to think that, as a result of our efforts, we’ve been able to gradually bring the anime music niche out of obscurity and into a larger portion of anime fans’ consciousness. The realization of the extent to which music is integral to drawing out the emotional impact or accentuate the action in certain scenes is an important one because it’s the foundation upon which we can build upon to make people aware that the musical side is enthralling enough to be worth experiencing on a standalone basis.
So hopefully, our work has paid off! The biggest sign that this might become relatively more mainstream (sorry, fellow hipsters!) is when an outfit like Random Curiosity enters the soundtrack reviewing game. My hope is that, with their huge number of readers, they can convert a few into rabid soundtrack geeks, which will make for a greater diversity of discourse and opinions. It’s certainly not an opportunity to be wasted in any case and we’ll be keeping a close eye on them.
The short road ahead
There’s not a whole lot planned for the immediate future. That said, there is one important thing I’d like to announce:
Remember that Composer Profile thing we did way back when? Truth be told, that was one hell of a fun project! Time-consuming, yes, but very fun since we got a chance to sample a composer’s anime discography in all its entirety and explore how they’ve evolved stylistically over the years. Everything was fine and good until we got to Kenji Kawai.
If there’s anything we learned by listening to his music, it’s that he composes way too much and, on top of that, nearly all of his compositions are terrible. We have no clue what people see in him since it’s rare to see people praise anything of his beyond Seirei no Moribito and Fate/Stay Night. And because of that, it pretty much killed our motivation to continue. Do people care that we skip over Kenji Kawai? We sure don’t want to torture ourselves by listening to his music any more than we have to and so, we’re going to skip him entirely.
Some polls are important; some more important than others
So if you even keep up on events in the world of anime blogging, you will know that there are some polls going on at the moment. In fact, we’re going to be in one of those polls sometime soon. That said, polling isn’t the best metric when judging quality because of so many confounding factors, so instead, we’d like to turn to those who appreciate the musical side of the anime fandom and ask how we can be even better at what we do. So for the regulars who’ve come to rely upon Anime Instrumentality as a resource for musical recommendations, musings, and information, we’re curious to know about the following:
- We never did get much feedback on our Weekly Music Musings and I’m really curious what people think of it. It’s one of those little side projects we came up with as a way to break out of the more formal review structure and simply let my mind float wherever the music takes me. So in that respect, the Weekly Musings succeed. But do people actually find it interesting? I’m all for scrapping it entirely if people find it boring, but if people do find it valuable, it’ll become a mainstay for an indefinite period of time until we come up with something more awesome. Or maybe we just need to post on less-obscure series as we’re wont to do.
- It’s actually kind of hard to come up with new ideas/projects to undertake (the weekly musings are a thought, though the jury is still out on how effective that is), so we’re curious as to whether people have any thoughts on what new content we could potentially offer. For that matter, are we even asking the right questions?
- Finally, this isn’t so much a question as much as it’s a thank you to all the readers who’ve responded to that poll I put up for my Japan tourism project. The data we got from anime fans pretty much dwarfs every other demographic, and left some of my group members confused about some of the responses, which is pretty much just as planned. We’re still collecting data, so anyone who wants to put in their thoughts can still do so. All I can say is that we’ll have some damn interesting recommendations to give to the JTA once it comes time to present.
So with our eyes firmly fixed on the future, we enter our fourth year! Wish us luck, enjoy our continuing stream of thoughts, and we look forward to hearing from you all!