Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OP Single – Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi – Review

Album Title: Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi
Anime Title: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino
Artist: KOKIA
Catalog Number: MJCD-23037
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: January 23, 2008
Purchase at: Out of Print

Track Title Artist Time
1. Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi KOKIA 4:05
2. Umaretate no Shiro KOKIA 4:20
3. Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi (instrumental) KOKIA 4:03
4. Umaretate no Shiro (instrumental) KOKIA 4:20

Review: It is a curious matter that the more I like something, the less confident I feel writing about it. But when I ponder further, the explanation is simple really: the better something is, the harder it is to do it justice. For example, Mononoke took me over a year to put into words, while something like Gundam 00 took about roughly three hours from start to finish. ‘Tatta Hitsotsu no Omoi’ is something I’ve heard more than two years ago, and have been meaning to write about ever since. Something about the song calls out to me, and even amongst KOKIA’s many virtuosic works, this one has a beauty which holds its own.

As shallow as it sounds, my initial take on the song was based merely on it’s listenability. One could just listen to it while paying minimal attention, and it would still prove to be well worth the time. KOKIA’s flawless vocals, the beautiful piano melody punctuating the piece, the subtle emotional build-up to the chorus… For just that, I recommend this single without reservations.

But there is much more to the song which gives it meaning beyond anything that a casual listen can possibly provide. Hidden within the lyrics and instruments is a motivational message about life. KOKIA begins the song by expressing the desire to hold on to her one and only wish, amidst the background music which slowly comes to life. Once it begins though, it is relentless, giving little room for a breather. Throughout the piece, the one thing that shines through is a sense of conviction, be it through KOKIA’s vocals, the violin lines in the chorus, or the confident piano notes scattered throughout the piece. To me, this song brings forth a sobering sense of realism: that all motivations come from within. It is one’s dreams and goals that set the wheels of life spinning, after which one is forced to keep pace. It is a lamentable pursuit, one can say, where there is absolutely no time for emotions and uncertainty. However, it is in such conviction that life holds meaning. It is in this endless struggle that life holds a purpose.

It is then fitting that the second piece feels like something which heals, depicting the winter snow that buries all wrong. The gentle instrumentals and vocals paint an endless world of white to lose oneself in. Despite its serenity, there is a slight tinge of loneliness, especially noticeable in the pan-pipe solos which, though beautiful, is markedly solitary. In short, ‘Umaretate no Shiro’ almost mirrors the way in which some of us recede into our own world for solace.

To the most casual listener, the single is enjoyable and peaceful to listen to. To me, what made this one of my favourite songs of all time is how I find it both sobering and inspirational. It is this emotional connection that took me a good two years to place my finger on, and muster enough confidence to write about. I certainly don’t think I’ve done it justice, but this is probably the best I can manage.

Rating: Masterpiece

Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

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