Greetings and salutations, everyone! I’ve been following this blog for several years now, but I decided one day that I wanted to personally be a part of the awesome work the AI staff does. To my great pleasure, they welcomed me onto their team. Thanks again! Now I have to earn my keep.
I’m told I have one of the more unusual “what got me interested in anime” stories. I did not watch any Sailor Moon or Pokémon as a child, but I was an avid fan of film soundtracks and musicals. During my senior year of college, I came across the anime Le Portrait de Petite Cossette while researching “Cosette” from Les Miserables. The dark and bloody work had decidedly nothing to do with Les Miserables, but I was quite taken by the soundtrack, which quickly led to my love affair with Yuki Kajiura’s music. As I explored other anime series, I very much enjoyed the variety and complexity of series’ soundtracks. By the time I saw Kanon (2006), which has become my personal favourite, I was hooked on the medium. The way Kanon instilled deep emotional responses to musical cues to be exploited as the series progressed added a new level of enjoyment to the series. Anime: come for the girls and stay for the music.
Since then, I have run an anime soundtracks panel titled “Introduction to the World of Anime Soundtracks” at Connecticon for the past four years. I love expanding and refining this panel each year, covering memorable scores from various anime (new and old) and analysing the effects the choice of music has upon the narrative. This past year, I expanded my repertoire with a separate panel focused solely on the soundtracks from Key works, viz. Kanon, Air, Clannad, and Tomoyo After, and another panel on the history, technology, and fan culture of Miku Hatsune.
I taught myself how to play piano and violin, so, unsurprisingly, I tend to prefer orchestral through decorative piano/violin type soundtracks, especially those by Jun Maeda, Yuki Kajiura, and Tenmon. That said, I also rather enjoy epic soundtracks with drums, brass, and voice.
One of the things about being a soundtrack junkie of sorts is that the music starts to have an effect on how I live my life. Consider the differences between decorative piano and epic soundtracks. In series employing “light” soundtracks, only a few characters feel the effects of any one character’s success or failure. In series employing epic soundtracks, the fate of the whole world rests on the choices of the characters. Yet for all soundtracks’ poignancy or grandeur, in the real world there is no soundtrack to life. There is no music helping me to discern critical decisions from mundane ones, to determine which person to marry, to embolden me to rise to the occasion and make the right decisions even when they are grueling, or to foreshadow the misery the first step down the wrong path will bring. The silence is a challenge to consider the gravity of my choices and their uncharted consequences.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this. I look forward to being able to share my passion for anime soundtracks with everyone here in the months to come!