|Album Title:||Amanchu! Original Soundtrack|
|Artist:||GONTITI, Masahiro Sugaya|
|Release Date:||August 24, 2016|
|01. Umi to Sora to Taiyou to ~morning~||GONTITI||2:45|
|03. Issho ni Arukou||GONTITI||1:33|
|04. Asobi no Jikan||GONTITI||2:48|
|06. hurry up!||GONTITI||2:32|
|07. swing on the beach||GONTITI||2:24|
|08. new waltz||GONTITI||2:05|
|09. Kaze to Yubikiri||GONTITI||2:01|
|12. Ame no Getsuyoubi||GONTITI||1:56|
|13. funny cat||GONTITI||1:39|
|14. blue in bossa||GONTITI||1:32|
|15. Pikari Walk||GONTITI||2:26|
|16. Magic Time||GONTITI||3:20|
|17. Nyuudougumo no Mukou ni||GONTITI||2:04|
|18. Natsu no Ookoku||GONTITI||2:25|
|19. delightful day||GONTITI||3:26|
|20. Tsukiakari to Marin Shoes||GONTITI||2:07|
|21. Kitto Aeru||GONTITI||3:50|
|22. Teko Sentimental||GONTITI||2:52|
|23. Suichuu Megane||GONTITI||3:10|
|24. Sayonara mo Iwazu ni||GONTITI||3:28|
|25. Umi to Sora to Taiyou to ~sunset~||GONTITI||2:52|
Review: From the onset, Amanchu’s formula was bursting with potential. You had a Kozue Amano scuba diving story directed by Junichi Sato, both of whom previously unleashed the wave of calm and optimism that is ARIA. And in that iyashikei trend, the acoustic guitar duo of Gontiti (whose work on Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou was solid) was, on paper, a good fit to compose and perform the soundtrack.
But sometimes, formulas don’t pan out quite to the level you’d expect. Amanchu’s soundtrack, while perfectly serviceable, doesn’t stick like it should, thereby rendering the effort less than impressive.
The initial foray looked promising. Gontiti’s “Umi to Sora to Taiyou to ~morning~” has all the trappings of what an Amano story’s main theme ought to sound like. Its glistening introduction is followed by an acoustic guitar sauntering along at a pleasant clip and showering the listener with its boundless optimism. The mood the piece imparts is of a carefree exploration of the day to day and it primes you to the discoveries that will crop up.
Umi to Sora to Taiyou to ~morning~
From here, Gontiti’s acoustic guitar melodies diverge to take on many roles. Some, like “Issho ni Arukou” bounce along with aplomb, retaining the main theme’s optimism. Others, like “Asobi no Jikan” take the more introspective route as the guitar flows quietly. Others still, like “route135” jolt you out of your reveries to send you on a journey as the tempo has you skipping along in delight. Within many tracks, there’s the sense that the overriding focus is on the thought and thrill of discovery.
Asobi no Jikan
While the moods are mellow, there are a few tracks that departed significantly enough from the soundtrack’s oeuvre that it stuck out like a sore thumb. I thought “underwater’s” electronica was a bit overpowering and that its electric guitar added an unnecessary edge to the piece’s overall atmosphere. And then there’s “Natsu no Ookoku”, which featured hoots that made it distracting. Eclectic these tracks may be, but they didn’t flow well with the rest of what came before.
Natsu no Ookoku
And this brings me to my biggest criticism of Amanchu’s soundtrack: it’s really hard to differentiate one track from the next because of how well they blend together in their tonal uniformity. Amanchu’s soundtrack’s consistency becomes its Achilles heel. The music takes on the overarching feel of the anime, but few tracks, on their own, are all too distinct. It feels like individual narrative flair that each track could have had was sacrificed for the collective’s overriding atmospheric pleasantries.
And that’s really too bad. Amanchu represents a lost opportunity to tell a compelling story through music. Its predecessor, ARIA, endeared its characters’ quirks and its setting through the Choro Club and Takeshi Senoo’s emotionally-engaging compositions. In a sharp contrast, Gontiti’s efforts on Amanchu, while pleasant and charming, doesn’t quite tickle the emotions, resulting in a listening experience that’s far less satisfying.