Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2005


Artwork by Qinni (thanks!).

The further I progress into the 2000s, the more familiar the shows look and the more music I seem to have accumulated from those series. That’s no accident given how much more I watched from the second half of the decade and so, the lists start becoming really long and it is in 2005 where I really have issues figuring out which soundtracks I’d consider my favorite because there’s just too many to choose from. I’ve reformatted this year’s selections somewhat to make it easier to read if you’re skimming through. Hopefully, that helps with the deluge of shows that I’m showcasing.

Same goes for OP/EDs for that matter. Fan favorites like Air’s “Tori no Uta” can be heard since 2005, but there are a handful of other good ones that deserve mention. Do be warned though. This list is huge. Ridiculously so. I’d listen to a few and then come back otherwise you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of awesome tracks on here.

Note: Youtube videos are spoilered, clips contain the entire track, and with that, let’s go!

Blood+
Blood+ is a good place to start as any because it’s one of the few (I’m guessing) anime soundtracks composed by Western composers. And notable composers at that. I still remember the moment I spotted Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer in the opening credits and how my eyes bulged out as I began to expect a soundtrack of grand proportions. Both of them are widely known for their film scores and here, their work does not disappoint. The standouts like the “Grand Finale” are absolutely fantastic, but the track that really takes the cake lies in “Diva” which never fails to raise the goosebumps with its hauntingly beautiful melody. Just don’t try to whistle along unless you can hit those high notes.

Grand Theme

[audio:Blood+ – Grand Theme.mp3]

Diva

[audio:Blood+ – Diva.mp3]
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
A lot of people say that Mai HiME was their favorite Kajiura soundtrack, and I’d largely agree with that sentiment. However, the soundtrack to Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is really solid and though it wouldn’t top Mai HiME, it certainly comes close. Here, Kajiura dispenses with her usual style to create that mysterious atmosphere through the violins and chorus parts. Still, it’s the tracks ringing with emotion like “Guess How Much I Love You” that win me over alongside with action-y tracks like “Break the Sword of Justice” that bring to mind some of her video game music in the Xenosaga series.

Break the Sword of Justice

[audio:Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle – Break the Sword of Justice.mp3]

Guess How Much I Love You

[audio:Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle – Guess How Much I Love You.mp3]
Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid
Sequels generally mean same composers and rehashed music, but for what its worth, some of the newer tracks that showed up in FMP:TSR were pretty impressive on the whole. The main theme in particular struck me as being more memorable and part of that is attributable to me liking the military themes in this series as well as the overall darker atmosphere that Sahashi puts forward. Even his more emotional tracks like “Looking Back” are able to take the main theme of the series and work it in such a way as to bring about an air of calm that works as a way to get you to be introspective. And of course, “Counterattack” takes the theme and delivers a grandiose fanfare that leaves you feeling damned inspired to fight on!

Looking Back

[audio:FMPTSR – Looking Back.mp3]

Counterattack

[audio:FMPTSR – Counterattack.mp3]
Victorian Romance Emma
Beyond the idea of maids done right, this Victorian Romance Emma features some excellent music by Ryo Kunihiko, whose compositions capture more brimming love than an aim to recreate Victorian English music. You do hear quite a few harpsichord tracks here and there, but the recorders are what set this soundtrack apart, especially in the ending sequence that brings out the sort of music you’d expect out of a country fair. Still, with a solid opener in “Silhouette of a Breeze” and the piano stuff like “Emma,” which captures her quiet, introspective, but dignified demeanor, this soundtrack was a love at first listen.

Silhouette of a Breeze

[audio:Victorian Romance Emma – Silhouette of a Breeze.mp3]

Emma

[audio:Victorian Romance Emma – Emma.mp3]
ARIA the Animation
I really don’t know how else to put it. ARIA’s music is pure magic, bringing together waves upon waves of relaxing sentiments that makes you want to run away from the hecticness of day to day life to paddle around in a gondola and experience life through rose-colored glasses. The music certainly helps in that regard with the Choro Club and Takeshi Senoo bringing in both light, bouncy fare like “AQUA” that sets the main theme of the entire ARIA franchise to stunning, heartfelt tracks like “Mangetsu no Dolche” with its cello melody that really succeeds in bringing unto the listener the feeling that they’re privy to a scene that is wonderfully precious. And lest I forget, there are quite a few tracks propped up by Eri Kawai’s serene voice, and listening to her singing makes her passing feel that much more of a loss.

AQUA

[audio:ARIA the Animation – AQUA.mp3]

Mangetsu no Dolche

[audio:ARIA the Animation – Mangetsu no Dolche.mp3]

Santa Claus no Sora

[audio:ARIA the Animation – Santa Claus no Sora.mp3]
Air
I’ve already mentioned Air and the music for the VN is probably my second favorite after Clannad’s awesome soundtrack. There’s a reason for this blatant favoritism: the gap between Clannad and Air is pretty wide and I’m not sure I can point out to many of Air’s tunes that are immediately memorable but don’t strike you as “generic dating sim music.” Well, there is Jun Maeda’s “Summer Lights” that’s always going to be a fan favorite. The piano melody is nothing complicated, but the way it conjures up the image of the countryside summer (cicadas not included!) through its breezy feel is catchy and wonderful the whole way through. Yes, there is also “Tori no Uta” on top of that if you want something that’s really memorable. I’m sure that was pretty much everyone’s first introduction to Lia’s voice.

Summer Lights

[audio:Air – Natsukage.mp3]
Sousei no Aquarion
Sometimes, anime directors make the darnedest things. I’m not sure if this series was supposed to be a joke, a parody, or something borne out of madness, but drawing those comparisons between those unification sequences and sex is far-fetched, but if it’s meant to be played for laughs, then it sure as hell succeeded. Anyhow, Kanno once again showcases her talent for diversity while doing a heck of a job with what she pulls forth. It’s almost like how she conducts herself in Wolf’s Rain because of how it mixes all those musical genres and have it be pretty solid on the whole. Oddly enough, I don’t find myself listening to the first soundtrack a whole lot; the second one is where the songs that really catch my attention are located. “Shinwa Teki Gikou Sonata” nails the kind of fast-paced piano music I really like to hear. If it’s grandiosity, then look no further than “First Love, Final Love” which brings out that finale that fills you with the sort of feeling you’d get out of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah. Maybe that’s just intentional since the main character is supposed to be that messianic figure reincarnated.

Shinwa Teki Gikou Sonata

[audio:Sousei no Aquarion – Shinwa Teki Gikou Sonata.mp3]

First Love, Final Love

[audio:Sousei no Aquarion – First Love Final Love.mp3]
That should be it for the BGM. Page 2 is where you want to go for them OP/EDs.

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

26 thoughts on “Reminiscing over the Decade’s Anime Music – 2005

  • March 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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    *cough* Eureka 7 *cough*

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  • March 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm
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    Air’s soundtrack is indeed great! I really loved it and I’m glad it’s included.
    And Nana Mizuki is always nice. I’ve liked almost all her OP/EDs.
    Great list.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm
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    Now this is strange. There surely are lots of osts on your list but most of them I’m not familiar with.
    Blood+ musical score is indeed fantastic though it is still sounds quite generic for me cause I also listen to western movie osts. Plus it often reminds me of Gladiator music in several movements.
    For Black Cat, the crossover music with opera vocal is interesting but, like you said, the anime sucked -_-

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  • March 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm
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    Tsubasa Chronicle is my favorite Kajiura soundtrack. Maybe Mai Hime gets more credit because the show was better.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm
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    Natsukage (Summer Lights) is one of my favorite tracks of background music ever. It really embodies what Air is all about and made the anime, and excuse the cliche, come to life. I liked Farewell Song better than Tori no Uta and people think I am insane. Aozora was a great vocal track on top of that. The beautiful melody and emotion in Lia’s singing is indescribable.

    I remember vaguely hearing that Hans Zimmer did the music in Blood+. I’m a huge Hans Zimmer fan. His work in The Lion King is some of my favorite. I was a huge music soundtrack junkie back in high school so all this talk about scores and background music is right up my aisle. All my friends think its super nerdy, though. Gladiator and Pearl Harbor, in my opinion, are some of Zimmer’s best works. Mark Mancina’s Grand Theme, however, just totally blew my mind and gives me epic goosebumps. The bold energy and rhythm of the track, along with soaring melodies, paints such a amazing picture. I can definitely tell its the work of an experienced Hollywood composer, which Mancina totally is. I definitely have to check out Blood+ now.

    Break the Sword of Justice is a classic but I love Guess How Much I Love You. The sweet airiness to the score is really nice. Not gonna comment too much on Aria because I can go on for DAYS about the music. You missed Round Table feat. Nino’s rainbow, though. It’s one of my favorite ending themes of all time. The quaint yet ridiculously catchy melody and serene peace of the lyrics (and awesome acoustic guitar) perfectly emulates the mood of the series.

    I’ve listened to the OST of Victorian Romance Emma, never saw the show though. I found the scoring very creative. Emma is one of the best piano tracks in 2005.

    Finally, Sousei no Aquarion. I absolutely love First Love, Final Love (favorite track of the whole OST). The magical touch and reserved grandeur of the piece is riveting. When the Aquarion main theme is introduced in the middle of the track, I feel goosebumps all over my back as it develops into a soaring chorus. This is music. This is art. Absolutely sublime from beginning to end.

    Eternal Blaze is my favorite Nanoha OP, as well. And I, too have not yet touched Phantom Minds. Isn’t it great how that works? 😛

    Finally, Moonlight Love is my favorite PPD vocal song. It’s just so whimsical and cute. Wow that was a long response (which I had to type again because I lost it half way the first time) but I feel strongly about music and these tracks totally rule. 😉

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  • March 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm
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    Awesome, lots of good songs that I haven’t heard in a while.

    “Break the Sword of Justice” motivates me to get up and do something. Air’s soundtrack is amazing! The songs are so memorable and does imprint the visuals from the anime into my head. I liked “Tori no Uta” so much that I found the sheet music for it and played it on the piano, it would have been way better with the vocals too though. :/

    As for songs from 2005, Karasu’s theme from Noein is pretty good. I still need to get around to watching that series though.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 11:36 pm
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    Ah i see Air here. I like it a lot, Summer lights, very smoothing the piano. Plus its Jun maede were about about here! to me hes god like in soundtracks him and Key as a whole.

    Another sountrack that caught my attention was the Aria one,Mangetsu no Dolche. another smoothing piano song with violin =)

    btw im the type that love soundtracks with Piano. makes you feel relaxed.

    Nice review!

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  • March 26, 2010 at 1:08 am
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    @Taka
    Dammit! I knew I forgot something important and it was bound to happen sooner or later. Sadly, E7 isn’t something I listen to a whole lot and the only tracks that I’m even remotely familiar with are Nirvash Type Zero and Sprinting Spirits. :\

    @Yi
    Nana Mizuki does have this emphatic tone that’s really easy to enjoy, and she has this presence that I really like. Definitely my favorite singer of the now!

    And yeah, Air is pretty good and there’s more to it than just “Natsukage.” Better than Kanon at any rate (IMO).

    @Canne
    Your thoughts does make me wonder whether anime composers are consistent like their Western counterparts. In my case, I’m just happy whenever anime composers can hit the level that their Western counterparts are capable of serving up. Doesn’t lessen Blood+’s awesomeness though!

    @Baka-Raptor
    Please tell me you tossed a track up for Yuki Kajiura week. Or at least, go vote on it once the voting thread is posted. Seems like it’d be right up your alley anyhow 😀

    @Kevo
    Wasn’t Lia singing Aozora without accompaniment at some point? That’s where you really get to see how expressive she is and we do see that she’s capable of putting forth really heartfelt performances.

    And yes, Blood+ is really awesome, mixing in creepy/haunting stuff along with a good serving of epic. As for me, I’m really fond of Zimmer’s work on Gladiator and I did pay attention to it to be able to pick out that snippet of Gladiator from Pirates of the Caribbean. So yeah, really nice to be able to meet others who have a good command of film scores. Blood+ is also a really decent series. The characters start to lose their luster close towards the end, but I enjoyed the ride for what it’s worth.

    I also think I said this in one of the prior Decades Posts in that you can never go wrong listening to Round Table feat. Nino. And yeah, I do like the calming atmosphere that Rainbow is capable of putting forth. Of course, if I were to delve into ARIA’s soundtrack, I’d be rambling on with no end in sight.

    Emma was a solid show the whole way through and the second season stumbles just a bit, but I could live with that. Also, another plus for maids who are actually realistic rather than fanservice fodder. The score is pretty awesome and I’ve yet to be disappointed by a Kunihiko work.

    I remember the first time I heard First Love Final Love, my thoughts immediately jumped to John Williams since that early phrase sounds like a Star Wars motive. But it develops well on its own and becomes one of the most memorable finale pieces that I can think of.

    Finally, I also second Moonlight Love as being the best theme from PPD.

    @Reltair
    A lot of people have told me that the composer for Noein is pretty solid and I’m bound to check it out sooner or later. It’s also a series that’s supposedly interesting too. Oh well, time will tell!

    @Fabrice
    Jun Maeda’s involvement in Angel Beats (for obvious reasons) is one of the reasons why I’m checking out the show next season. I’ve always maintained that he’s the best of Key’s composers and I’m hoping he delivers once more!

    Like I mentioned, I could go on for days and days talking about ARIA. Definitely give the show and the music a listen. You’ll like it a lot!

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  • March 26, 2010 at 10:59 am
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    The BGM for E7 is decent. It’s more notable for all it’s techno and rock insert songs. Storywriter, Tiger Track, Niji, Get it by your hands, etc.

    What I also think is highly notable (possibly more notable than the BGM or techno) is the OP and ED themes. I loved the crap out of every single one.

    Also I haven’t seen any of the anime on the list cept FMP:TSR. I am teh fail

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  • March 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm
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    Ah, all the good stuff, finally someone who took notice of Blood+’s music! No surprise on most of the music introduced (for the instrumental) here except Sousei no Aquarion. Didn’t watch it myself but apparently it is pretty bad, but I might give Kanno’s music a go.

    Not too much comment on the OP/EDs, I don’t really get catchy tunes >_>

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  • March 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm
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    Whoa! I never knew Hans Zimmer worked on the Blood+ soundtrack. He was the reason I first got into OSTs, through Pirates of the Caribbean. I definitely mustn’t miss out in Blood+ OST then. =D

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  • March 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm
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    My favourite song from Honey and Clover was actually Hachimitsu. Somehow the singer just drew me into the song and the lyrics fit so well. I usually skip the opening though, cause the crab popping out never fail to make me jump…

    This post also brings back a lot of memories for me. Mizuki Nana’s Eternal Blaze is also the first song I ever heard form her, which did spark off my rather short-lived fan period for her, mostly due to her vibrato and voice.

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  • March 28, 2010 at 10:34 am
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    @Taka
    I do remember that waaaay way back before I began to relax my tastes somewhat, E7 didn’t really grab at me precisely because of the techno and rock. Now that my tastes have widened (I did enjoy DtB2’s OST after all), I think E7 is due foe a listen soonish.

    Also, you should watch Aria. Or Emma at the bare minimum unless you can’t stand the lovey dovey stuff.

    @depthcharge101
    Yeah, I wouldn’t really recommend watching Aquarion unless you were drunk or something. The entertainment value skyrockets if you do. But Kanno’s score, like I mentioned, is very underrated, but also really good. Definitely give that a listen if nothing else! There’s plenty of variety though, so don’t expect all orchestral/piano stuff.

    @Jen
    Funny that I ended up listening to the insert song collection to HnC on my drive yesterday and I gotta agree that “Hachimitsu” is a very solid track. I just love that blend of folk and rock that fuses together really nicely.

    As far as Zimmer goes, he plays a smaller part (I’d put Mancina as the main composer), but you can definitely feel Zimmer’s contributions throughout many of the pieces. Do give it a go!

    And yes, Nana Mizuki… still delivers with good vocals, but a lot of it is starting to feel same-y.

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  • March 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm
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    Besides the techno, E7 has many tracks which sound generically beautiful, but not unique, a problem which Naoki Sato seems to combat with often. Sprinting spirits is one of the few which stood out to me.

    2005 was a decent year, especially with ARIA’s soundtrack, which definitely contrasts with most other soundtracks I’ve heard. It’s classical and jazzy at the same time. As for Sousei, I usually enjoy Kanno’s scores. She usually offers more complexity than your average anime BGM composer.

    I’ve never heard of Victorian Romance Emma before, but your samples sound nice. They seem to like making anime styled after European classics. At least they usually have good music 😛

    You’re certainly going to have your hands full with the 2006 soundtracks.

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  • March 28, 2010 at 10:42 pm
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    I think I tried to watch Emma at one point but it was airing at the time and I had yet to discover torrenting so I was just watching it on crunchyroll.

    Aria is on the list. It has to jockey for position with Monster, Higurashi, and Mai-Hime though.

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  • March 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm
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    @Yu
    Who doesn’t like Sprinting Spirits? But yeah, I liked the few Sato pieces in Heroic Age though I really should check out that soundtrack in its entirety. I think it was the main theme that really blew me away and I do hope that his other compositions are just as solid. My main worry is if he composes one or two brilliant tracks but the rest are mediocre.

    Funny that I listened to a podcast that says if heaven has music, Aria’s would be it. So nice, peaceful, and relaxing all around. Sousei does hit that Western film vibe rather well and Kanno is always going to be a pleasure to listen to.

    Emma’s a solid series (I rated it an 8/10. Its sequel might be a touch lower) and one that features maids not as fetish material but fairly realistically. The author of the manga did do a lot of research into Victorian England and tried to make it all authentic.

    And don’t remind me about 2006. Thinking of the listening I’ll have to do for that makes me go orz but in a good way =D

    @Taka
    You do have your hands full with that kind of a star-studded lineup. I’d hit Monster first, but I’m biased like that. The rest are pretty awesome and you can watch it in whatever order you feel like, but if you’re depressed at all, Aria makes for a good picker-upper.

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  • March 30, 2010 at 8:36 am
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    Blood+…brings back so many memories. Silhouette of a Breeze!!!! Oh, it’s STILL in my ipod, time flies… ARIA’s music fits the atmoshpere of it very well, I also especially liked the ending song “Rainbow”.

    Very nice choices here!! : D

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  • March 30, 2010 at 11:43 pm
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    I’m on episode 15 of Monster and episode 5 of Higurashi…Monster is great but difficult to marathon. The first 4 episodes of monster were seriously amazing. Higurashi is bizarre.

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  • March 31, 2010 at 1:00 am
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    @cj
    Rainbow’s definitely a peaceful song that sets the mood just right. As for Emma, it feels like I’ve been listening to it since forever. Hopefully you’ve found others that might be worth looking into!

    @taka
    I can sympathize since Monster’s not a series that I’d marathon. It’s engaging all the same and has a lot of characters that I can sympathize and empathize with.

    As for Higurashi, think of it as a whodunit mystery that you need to solve and that each subsequent chapter/arc reveals more and more until you get a more complete picture that can put to rest some assumptions.

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  • March 31, 2010 at 3:53 pm
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    Didn’t I recall that there was a version of Natukage that had lyrics… Well, there is which was released in 2001 sung by Lia and the lyrics by Jun Maeda, the same composer of the same exact song.

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  • April 1, 2010 at 12:17 am
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    @Chikorita157
    Yes there was! I do have a copy of it somewhere around that I could pull up if I were to reference the track. Still, I prefer the instrumental-only version just because it’s one of the few pieces that doesn’t need vocals to bring about a memorable experience =)

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  • April 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm
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    Wow, a lot of great stuff came out in 2005! 2 of my absolute favourite soundtracks even [ARIA and Aquarion]. I thought Aquarion was kind of strange. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either, though I think the soundtrack is some of Kanno’s best work. It even features work by Hisaaki Hogari, of [very small] Kokoro Library fame, another one of my favourite soundtracks. They need to give that guy more work I tell you!

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  • April 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm
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    @overcoat
    Glad to see you! Yeah, 2005 was quite a banner year for anime music certainly with the two soundtracks that you cited. I think Kanno’s Turn A Gundam would still be my favorite, but Aquarion wins for having a very memorable grand finale theme.

    As for Kokoro Library, I gave it a listen awhile back, but it was very solid. If it’s as slice of lifey as the title implies, I’ll have to give it a go. And yes, Hogari does deserve more work after composing a soundtrack like that!

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  • April 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm
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    If you’re going to use my artwork as the header, it would be great if you could credit me as the original artist, since I am =). Thanks

    On the other hand, some nice soundtracks there. I don’t usually listen to soundtracks of anime, but I did really like the soundtrack of Honey and Clover. I think that was also a 2005 animation?

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  • April 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm
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    @Qinni
    Done and done. I had that picture for awhile but didn’t know who drew it. Thanks for stepping forward and letting me know since I like that particular picture quite a bit!

    You are right about Honey and Clover being a 2005 show, but the soundtrack didn’t jump out at me while I was watching the show. Doesn’t mean it’s bad since a lot of great soundtracks didn’t initially jump out at me. Maybe it’s high time I give it a shot!

    Reply
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