Platinum Disco & Nisemonogatari Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Platinum Disco & Nisemonogatari Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Nisemonogatari
Artist: Satoru Kousaki, Yuka Iguchi
Catalog Number: ANZX-6718
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: July 25, 2012
Purchase at: CDJapanPlay-Asia


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
01. Platinum Disco Araragi Tsukihi (CV. Iguchi Yuka) 4:16
02. Platinum Disco -instrumental- Araragi Tsukihi (CV. Iguchi Yuka) 4:17
03. Kenka Kousaki Satoru 2:44
04. Niichan ato ha makaseta Kousaki Satoru 2:28
05. Nisemono Kousaki Satoru 2:00
06. Uso Kousaki Satoru 3:40
07. Jouken Kousaki Satoru 1:35
08. Kairaku Kousaki Satoru 4:41
09. Hisshouhou Kousaki Satoru 2:56
10. Batsu game Kousaki Satoru 2:40
11. Onmyouji Kousaki Satoru 2:17
12. Yuutousei Kousaki Satoru 2:28
13. Shikigami Kousaki Satoru 1:59

Review: Few would accuse Bakemonogatari’s music of being overly florid; Satoru Kousaki’s compositional cues in that first season were about as bizarrely spartan as the art of the show itself, and to good effect. The tracks were eerily well-suited to Akiyuki Shinbou’s art deco abstractions but fell a bit short when it came to standalone listening. What were more inspiring, though, were the show’s openers – an almost alarming shift in gear on Kousaki’s part and possibly the show’s most enduring musical legacy. The OP’s were massively entertaining character studies that added a lot of depth to the show (the fact that they were actually great songs didn’t hurt), and, coupled with the austere background tracks, really gave a glimpse at the scope of Kousaki’s composing abilities.

In Nisemonogatari, this peculiar dichotomy of sparse, minimalistic background tracks and lively, lyrical OP themes is still the modus operandi – the stylistic fingers of the first season are all over this score. Indeed, its status as Bakemonogatari’s sibling soundtrack is probably the best way to describe it, and family resemblances abound. Here’s just one example:

Sanpo

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Futakotome

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For the most part, “Platinum Disco” lives up to its pedigree, especially in 90-second guise. It’s a hilariously mismatched amalgam of two very different musical archetypes – 70’s disco and traditional East-Asian folk music – and it’s precisely this stylistic dissonance that makes the song tick. This track lives and breathes this duality, and it bets every penny that it can pull it off. Which it does, sort of.

Platinum Disco

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To begin, the transition between the throwback disco introduction and the oriental reed flute melody is surprisingly smooth, and the song as a whole finds a very listenable middle ground. The pentatonic main melody grooves nicely with the twangy 70’s guitar and four-on-the-floor disco beat – it really is nothing like you’ve heard before. If you’ve ever feasted on bacon chocolate chip cookies or deep fried ice cream, you’ll understand how apparent contradictions can be very effective given the correct execution, which is the case here, at least stylistically.

Despite this, “Platinum Disco’s” one trick is not enough to carry the whole song. Its gimmick rapidly unravels by the halfway point, revealing little substance underneath. It succeeds in trying to combine two very different archetypes but is too generic within those to hold my interest for the full 4-minute 16-second haul. That’s too bad, because there are a few great ideas here – it’s just that they’re spread too thin. Compositionally, the song is nearly an exact copy of “Ren’ai Circulation,” but is too repetitive and fails to give off the same arresting charm as that overachieving forebear. This is another one of those songs whose strength lies in its arrangement rather than its composition.

Ren’ai Disco

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Furthermore, Yuka Iguchi’s performance is simply adequate. She brings to the table a bit of the cute whimsicality of Emiri Katou’s Hachikuji, but none of the depth and texture of Yui Horie’s Hanekawa and Chiwa Saitou’s Senjougahara. Then again, she is not as annoying as the former and avoids the pretension of the latter two, reiterating how par for the course her work is.

Altogether, I still feel that “Platinum Disco” can stand among the likes of its familial stable of accomplished –monogatari OP’s. Though I’m ambivalent about whether or not it has the staying power of some of the stalwarts of the first season, there’s enough interesting material here to give it a pass.

Aside from the requisite OP instrumental track, the rest of the disc is devoted to those stark, alienating background numbers. Historically, the biggest complaint and compliment about Bakemonomonogatari’s OST is that it was built exclusively for accompaniment. Solitary listening was at times almost painful, but those tracks fit the show in ways almost too beautiful to describe. If the criteria were based purely on how the music complements the show, I honestly don’t think better background tracks for anime have ever been written. If you ask me, they’ve become as essential to the -monogatari experience as the visuals and the dialogue themselves.

Kenka

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I’m happy to report, then, that Nisemonogatari’s soundtrack, or at least this compilation, is surprisingly listenable. “Kenka,” for example, starts the trend of tracks on this disc that are initially off-putting but strangely infectious. A Spanish-styled tune, (the Andalusian Cadence lives!) it’s easy to get caught up in the exciting accordion melody, which doesn’t become stale thanks to the constant introduction of varied new elements. The crisp, dense, rapid-fire guitar riffs are actually very interesting and engaging; there is almost no repetition of material in this tune. If those are two sentences you never would have thought would describe a –monogatari soundtrack, I’m as surprised as you are.

Niichan ato ha makaseta

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The quality continues. “Niichan ato ha makaseta” is an absolutely enchanting two-guitar rendition of themes from “Futakotome” from earlier in the season. The track’s aim is not really to be catchy or exciting, but rather to soothingly induce nostalgia. It’s subtle with the themes without obfuscating the melodies too badly, and that’s really what the track is best at doing, because it’s otherwise a bit tame. The two-guitar interplay could be more expressive, and there’s little in the way of an ending, but there’s much to enjoy here, and it’s a welcome addition.

Nisemono

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“Nisemono” is probably the tune most often associated with Kaiki from the show, and it positively oozes style. The main melody on the cello drips with an unsettling sleazy unsavoriness. The song, in truth, is a bit repetitive, but it stands on the merits of the utterly contagious main melody.

Jouken

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Kairaku

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“Jouken” and “Kairaku” are probably two of the more surprising additions on this OST, and are the most robust representatives of classical music in the –monogatari musical canon. The songs are mostly played for laughs in the show, but, as far as I’m concerned, they are actually very good songs, with a very whimsical, carefree air. I could swear that they’re repurposed homages of existing songs, but have failed to conclusively identify them as such.

Yuutousei

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Shikigami

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For some reason, the latter half of this list takes a turn toward resembling Bakemonogatari’s OST in a lot of ways. Everything is less melodic and engaging and more reserved and atmospheric, though, as a whole, more listenable than the bulk of the first season. “Yuutousei” and “Shikigami” are good examples of this – the former aims for a jazzy, laid back atmosphere while the latter offers a more edgy, creepy persona. They’re both serviceable tunes, though whether you want to spend 2 minutes listening to either one is really up to how well you can withstand music that’s so minimalist.

All in all, this compilation represents a boost in listenability in an area that didn’t really need one while the previously stellar OP’s (at least in this case) has been taken down a notch. Those disappointed with the soundtrack from Bakemonogatari won’t be won over by this, but there’s enough to like here that I can call this album Decent.

Rating: Decent

Aftershok

A huge jazz nerd and unabashed fan of alternative rock, I joined Anime Instrumentality in December 2010. I tend to get very passionate when it comes to music and try my best to understand how it works. An enormous fan of The Pillows, among my favorite anime composers include Ko Otani and Yoko Kanno. My tastes in anime vary wildly, but I try to be as thoughtful about my viewing as I am about my listening. I play the saxophone.

12 thoughts on “Platinum Disco & Nisemonogatari Original Soundtrack – Review

  • September 6, 2012 at 2:03 am
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    Good review and commentary as always. One thing that I thought about Renai circulation and platinum disco both is that the full version was surprisingly unsatisfying compared to what it could have been. I mean the TV versions are so catchy and fun you think it would only get better…but you just are left with a feeling after listening to the full versions that they could be been better…

    Reply
    • September 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm
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      I think you make a good point. There’s just not enough actual songwriting to fill up the time in some of those songs, and especially in this one. I’d say that there’s just something about “Ren’ai Disco” that makes it a cut above the rest despite its repetition, with that Kana Hanazawa and all.

      Reply
  • September 6, 2012 at 4:33 am
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    I agree with your views on ‘Platinum Disco’ that its gimmickry is what makes it interesting, and once you hear it too often, it can get pretty bland. I used to skip the opening all the time when I was watching the show.

    ‘Nisemono’ definitely sounds like it comes out of a Tim Burton movie. It did make me smile smugly whenever I listened to it.

    In the end, the OST, just like the anime, is average.

    Reply
    • September 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm
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      I thought the show itself was rather enjoyable, all the more so with the music. It’s when you remove the context from the soundtrack that the problems start to arise, I think, but there’s just a bit more listenable material in the bulk of the OST than the first season’s.

      Reply
  • September 6, 2012 at 5:19 am
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    Oh wow, that “Ren’ai Disco” audio sample. I knew they were similar, but I never would have thought they’d perfectly line up like that. I share your opinion about Platinum Disco. The TV size version was fine, but the full version didn’t really add anything. It’s pretty forgettable in my opinion.

    As far as the BGM tracks go, I like “Nisemono”. Even though it’s repetitive, there’s just something amusing about it. I also like Kosaki’s acoustic arrangements of the theme songs. Like with Bakemonogatari, I wish there were full length versions of the next episode themes.

    Reply
    • September 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm
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      Haha, yeah, I managed to throw together that mashup in a couple of hours. The tricky part was that “Ren’ai” was just a TAD faster than the other song, so I had to speed up “Platinum” by something like 2.5BPM to keep them lined up over the long haul. There were a number of other issues I ran into, but I won’t bore you with more of them here!

      I believe it was the “Futakotome” release that had those acoustic arrangements. Those, I think, are some of the best OST tracks to be had for this show.

      Reply
  • September 9, 2012 at 10:45 am
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    I remember hearing a Platinum Disco/Ren’ai Circulation mashup a few months ago… it really is funny how similar they sound. I see what you mean about Platinum Disco’s weirdly postmodern combination of things that shouldn’t be combined, though. It works about as well as deep-fried mars bars, and I actually really like deep-fried mars bars, so.

    The BGM being hard to listen to on its own is a problem I keep running into with OSTs, though moreso with gaming. Many times I try listening to a soundtrack from a game that seemed to have great music (MGS comes to mind) and I only end up liking one or two tracks. I guess BGM will always be stylistically different from music that was meant to be listened to with no accompaniment.

    Reply
    • September 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm
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      I think game music is sort of its own category, because it has to account for long stretches (sometimes hours) of static scenery and unchanging setting. To stand out too much in this environment probably means the player will quickly tire of the music, so I think much of it is tuned to be pleasantly out of the way while still being effective. That’s not to say it’s OK to give all background music a pass or to outright expect all of it to be half-baked, though, because there’s a lot of background music out there for a lot of media that is truly good music. I think it’s only fair to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it high expectations from the getgo; that’s why sites like ours exist.

      Reply
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  • December 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm
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    Any idea when or if they are going to release the orchestra (slow) version of Platinum Disco from episode 11? It was one of the best sounding track from the series.

    Reply
  • May 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm
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    anyone know what title background music when tsukihi got attacked at ep10?

    Reply
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