Simoun Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

Album Title: Simoun Original Soundtrack 1
Anime Title: Simoun
Artist: Sahashi Toshihiko, Ishikawa Chiaki, savage genius
Catalog Number: VICL-61964
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: June 21, 2006
Purchase at: Out of Print


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
01. Utsukushi Kereba Sore de Ii (TV Size) Ishikawa Chiaki 1:33
02. Youen Naru Kizuna no Hibiki Sahashi Toshihiko 2:25
03. Josei Kokka Dai Ichi Gakushou: Kyuu Jinrui Sahashi Toshihiko 1:48
04. Josei Kokka Dai Ni Gakushou: Danseishakai no Houkai to Haijo Sahashi Toshihiko 1:51
05. Josei Kokka Dai San Gakushou: Arata na Tane no Hozon to Henka Sahashi Toshihiko 1:40
06. Josei Kokka Dai Yon Gakushou: Josei Kokka Kakuritsu Sahashi Toshihiko 1:49
07. Kasuka Naru Koi no Kokoro Sahashi Toshihiko 2:29
08. Tabidachi no Yokan Sahashi Toshihiko 2:18
09. Tsubasa to Tsubasa Sahashi Toshihiko 2:31
10. Tokubetsu na Mirai to Tameni… Sahashi Toshihiko 2:21
11. Kanashimi no Simoun Shivuyura Sahashi Toshihiko 2:55
12. Sonomama de… Sahashi Toshihiko 2:01
13. Izumi no Hadou Sahashi Toshihiko 2:33
14. Yakusoku Sahashi Toshihiko 1:35
15. Utusukushiki Miko no Namida Sahashi Toshihiko 1:41
16. Ginen to Shinjitsu Sahashi Toshihiko 1:47
17. Kuroi Kage Sahashi Toshihiko 2:10
18. Oozora no Auriga Sahashi Toshihiko 2:27
19. Doukoku Kooru Tempest Sahashi Toshihiko 2:30
20. Kuuchuu Yousai Sahashi Toshihiko 2:43
21. Shizuka Naru Inori no Koe Sahashi Toshihiko 2:27
22. Denen Sahashi Toshihiko 2:25
23. Sora yo Kaze yo Kagayaki no Daichi yo Sahashi Toshihiko 2:52
24. Inori no Uta (TV Size) savage genius 1:37

Review: Sahashi Toshihiko’s Simoun soundtrack is a rare gem that transcends simple greatness and enters the realm of “amazing”. After what amounts to hundreds of playthroughs, I still haven’t gotten tired of it; every subsequent listen yields something new to like. Sometimes, I’m entranced by how seamlessly Sahashi merges passion with action, resulting in pieces that are not only breathtakingly exciting but also remarkably lyrical. Other times, I’m impressed by how the music always grows in intensity or draws back in trepidation in all the right places. Whatever the exact reasons are, I find myself engrossed in a breathtaking adventure every time I listen to this soundtrack. All it takes is the first track to immediately immerse me in the strikingly beautiful story.

Youen Naru Kizuna no Hibiki

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The tale begins with the dramatic “Yoen Naru Kizuna no Hibiki”. Improvising a dashing invitation, a solitary accordion proffers its hand to its audience with a flourish. The offer is irresistible. In no time at all, the surroundings are illuminated by a heated tango that is colored with the slightest shade of mystery. Suavely charismatic, the accordion is then joined by its partner, a cello, and the two intertwine in a beautifully impassioned duet. The accordion’s invitation to dance is a portal to an entirely different world – a world where the colors are brighter and passions run high.

This world is quickly revealed to be on the brink of an all-consuming war. The nation of Simulacrum’s march towards impending strife with its neighbors is mirrored in the grim and relentless timpani heard in “Josei Kokka Dai Ichi Gakushou: Kyuu Jinrui”, whose deliberate strokes create a heavily oppressive atmosphere reminiscent of strained relations in desperate times. These uneasy feelings roiling beneath the surface are apparent in the agitated “Ginen to Shinjitsu” and “Kuroi Kage”, where barely restrained strings capture tensions ready to break forth at the slightest provocation. It does not take much to send everything over the tipping point when all stability is shattered in the magnificently rousing “Tabidachi no Yokan”. The shimmering calm that begins the track is fleeting; the transient peace is quickly shattered by trumpeting cries that transform the gentle introduction into a landscape set ablaze by tidings of war.

Tabidachi no Yokan

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The calls to battle are promptly answered as the music rapidly escalates with an intensity to match. “Josei Kokka Dai Ni Gakushou: Danseishakai no Houkai to Haijo” sees chaos break forth as instruments scramble frantically in the wake of the breaking of peace, effectively setting the listener on edge as the rapid notes and sudden bursts of volume create an atmosphere of frenzied panic. This initial rush segues into the sound of mobilization in “Tokubetsuna na Mirai to Tameni…”. The piece’s terse, down-to-business feel unexpectedly rises into a resolute song soaring on mighty wings, conjuring a sudden sensation of wonderment at the magnificent show of strength assembled for a determined purpose.

Tokubetsu na Mirai to Tameni

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Nevertheless, war proves to be no easy affair. Nerves are stretched paper-thin in the turbulent “Yakusoku” and “Josei Kokka Dai Yon Gakushou: Josei Kokka Kakuritsu” as desperate struggles play out in the tenuously agitated atmosphere. Despite the odds, the forces press forward with determination in “Kanashimi no Simoun Shivuyura”, whose fiercely unflinching melodies remain steadfast even in the face of loss and tragedy. This firm resolve pays off at last in “Oozora no Auriga”, where the theme which initially drew the listener in makes its return, just as bold in its steps as ever. In the daring melody is a performer who dances arm in arm with danger, mere inches away from a precarious death. Yet, the steps are executed with a confidence that guarantees success. One is only left marveling at the aplomb with which the music pulls off this act with victorious triumph.

Oozora no Auriga

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

But feats of skill can only do so much – the endless fighting begins to take its toll on the individuals in the war, a change reflected in tracks like “Utusukushiki Miko no Namida”. Stripped of all its earlier audacity, the main theme is reiterated by a lonely violin. The sorrowful lament is made all the more poignantly wretched by memories of the theme’s former glory. Meanwhile, “Shizuka Naru Inori no Koe” and “Sonomama de…” are similarly performed by a solo piano that relates bleakly melancholic renditions of the anime’s OP and ED. All of this grief is suppressed in sound until “Doukoku Kooru Tempest” opens the emotional floodgates and releases a heartrending storm of despondent passion. Raging violently, the pained notes bemoan unjust tragedies born from conflict.

Doukoku Kooru Tempest

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Despite the many cataclysms, the music continues on to raise the audience’s spirits, reminding us that the world continues on regardless of the tragedies experienced in victory or loss. The tranquil yet grandiose swells of “Sora yo Kaze yo Kagayaki no Daichi yo” and “Josei Kokka Dai 3” speak of wide expanses where countless new opportunities await, ready to yield the fruits of peace. However, the track that resounds with the sound of hope the most is doubtlessly “Denen”. In the piece, a delightfully lyrical pastoral theme is warmly performed by an orchestral ensemble, painting a vibrant picture of a verdant land bathed in radiant sunshine. It’s the perfect heartwarming end to the prodigiously grand and tempestuous tale of Simoun.

Denen

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Simoun’s soundtrack is truly exceptional in that the music never leaves you thinking “more could have been done with that.” Indeed, Sahashi takes full advantage of every opportunity. Track after track, he demonstrates his expertise at orchestration, utilizing his expertise at manipulating tension and emotion to craft an album that remains engrossing in its entirety. Even better, the second disk is just as good, making for twice the amount of wonderful music.

Rating: Masterpiece

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.

17 thoughts on “Simoun Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

  • August 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm
    Permalink

    Dang. I wish I had heard of this anime some years ago. The music sounds really good. I especially liked Tokubetsu na Mirai to Tameni, it has that rising up type of feel, or a sense of wonderment as you pointed out in your review. Definitely going to be looking to listen to more of Sahashi Toshihiko’s works too.

    Reply
    • August 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm
      Permalink

      Glad you liked it as much as I did! Sahashi does a great job with these pieces in that they always manipulate the atmosphere in a way that hits the spot just right.

      I’d recommend Black Blood Brothers and Gunslinger Girl if you’re looking for more Sahashi. Simoun is by far my favorite work of his, though.

      Reply
  • Pingback: Simoun’s Soundtrack’s Orchestral Flair and Hisaishi and Touhou Blendings

  • August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    Permalink

    I have started watching this anime thanks to Draggle and yes, the music sounds really good. It definitely fits the overall feeling of the show, especially the dramatic moments…

    Reply
    • August 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm
      Permalink

      I ended up watching the anime because the soundtrack was so awesome 😛

      I wasn’t disappointed either. The character development really made the show for me, besides the music of course.

      Reply
  • August 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    Permalink

    I heard this soundtrack before your review: love the tango piece. But your article makes me want to go back and enjoy it once more and feel even more deeply, the nuances in the music!

    Reply
    • August 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm
      Permalink

      That tango piece honestly had me hooked the first time I picked up this soundtrack. Glad I’ve inspired you to listen to it again. After all, there’s always time for another run-through of the Simoun OST!

      Reply
  • August 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm
    Permalink

    Do you know — is the tango original? It sounded familiar the first time I heard it in the series, and I have never been able to escape the feeling that I’ve heard it before.

    Simoun‘s soundtrack is wonderful.

    Reply
    • August 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm
      Permalink

      I’m fairly certain the tango is original, but I’m no connoisseur of tangos so I can’t say for sure. I know that I personally haven’t run into anything it’s sounded like.

      Totally agree with you that the soundtrack is wonderful, though :)

      Reply
  • August 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm
    Permalink

    My favorite from Sahashi. Ever since OST1 came out it’s been with me in a mp3 player our a phone ever since.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm
      Permalink

      Man, that’s three years longer than how long I’ve had it on my phone.

      Reply
  • August 11, 2012 at 10:54 am
    Permalink

    The fact that people are commenting on this post shows just how strong of an impact this soundtrack has had upon them – it’s effectively timeless if an anime from 2006 can still evoke this kind of a response long after it’s aired. Thanks for the endless nudgings to get me to check it out. It certainly was worth it!

    Reply
    • August 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm
      Permalink

      I don’t ceaselessly bug you about listening to something unless it’s really, really good, haha.

      Reply
  • Pingback: Super Late Secret Santa 2011 Project – Simoun Review « The null set

  • Pingback: JWTK - Classical music, who listens to it? - Page 2

  • Pingback: 10 Notable Waltzes in Anime - Anime Instrumentality Blog

  • Pingback: People’s Choice Top 20 Anime Composers… of all time! | Anime Instrumentality Blog

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: