|Album Title:||Aoi Hana Original Soundtrack – Sweet|
|Anime Title:||Aoi Hana|
|Release Date:||August 26, 2009|
|1. Hajimari no Toki||Takefumi Haketa||1:49|
|2. Asa no Sakamichi||Takefumi Haketa||2:13|
|3. Hikari ni Michita Jumoku||Takefumi Haketa||1:58|
|4. Koukou Seikatsu||Takefumi Haketa||1:55|
|5. Hirusagari no Benchi||Takefumi Haketa||2:48|
|6. Shiokaze ni Nagarete||Takefumi Haketa||1:23|
|7. Komorebi wo Kakeorite||Takefumi Haketa||3:32|
|8. Katamukikaketa Hizashi||Takefumi Haketa||2:44|
|9. Gekou wa Kimi to||Takefumi Haketa||1:37|
|10. Ochokochoi||Takefumi Haketa||1:20|
|11. Kirai Janai Kedo||Takefumi Haketa||1:04|
|12. Hikkomi Shian na Watashi||Takefumi Haketa||2:00|
|13. Uchiaketa Hitokoto||Takefumi Haketa||2:14|
|14. Senritsu no Kanata he||Takefumi Haketa||2:05|
|15. -passive-||Takefumi Haketa||1:53|
|16. Nostalgy||Takefumi Haketa||1:29|
|17. Egurareru Omoi||Takefumi Haketa||2:21|
|18. Kokuhaku||Takefumi Haketa||2:13|
|19. Hagayusa no Naka de||Takefumi Haketa||1:34|
|20. Kanawanu Omoi||Takefumi Haketa||1:50|
|21. Madogiwa no Hanatachi||Takefumi Haketa||2:04|
|22. Monoomoi ni Fukette||Takefumi Haketa||1:39|
|23. Date||Takefumi Haketa||2:09|
|24. Kazoku Danran||Takefumi Haketa||2:10|
|25. Konwaku||Takefumi Haketa||2:17|
|26. Seiri no Tsukanai Koto||Takefumi Haketa||2:14|
|27. Afurederu Namida||Takefumi Haketa||1:39|
|28. Shin’yuu||Takefumi Haketa||2:51|
|29. Uketometai Shisen||Takefumi Haketa||2:24|
|30. Koigokoro||Takefumi Haketa||2:20|
|31. Engekisai||Takefumi Haketa||2:48|
|32. Arashi ga Oka||Takefumi Haketa||1:48|
|33. Wakakusa Monogatari||Takefumi Haketa||3:13|
|34. Aoi Hana (sweet ver.)||Takefumi Haketa||1:29|
|35. Centiphoria (sweet ver.)||Takefumi Haketa||1:38|
Review: One thing that I find particularly delightful about Takefumi Haketa’s style is its subtlety. The soundtracks of his that I’ve listened to tend to be from shows which are heavy on the dramatic content, and that focus oftentimes leaves one unaware of the music that lurks just below the surface, reinforcing the mood on screen. Aoi Hana is no exception when it comes to this and like Haketa’s other soundtracks (notably Someday’s Dreamers), one comes to appreciate Haketa that much more after listening to Aoi Hana’s music as a standalone entity because of how Haketa brings the music to life as he effectively conveys the many feelings that the characters experience as they build up their friendship and relationships.
Indeed, Haketa is to be praised for delivering such a fine album. Though many of the pieces are characterized by simplistic melodies, less is more as each track is crafted with care to deliver the appropriate impact. The first track, “Hajimari no Toki,” establishes the soft, quiet atmosphere that the soundtrack embodies through a pensive melody that drives one to recall and cherish that precious moment in one’s life. It might not be the type of piece that will grab one’s attention, but it does set the tone for what’s to come.
Hajimari no Toki
[audio:01 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Before we get to the pieces that pack the emotional punches, the one track that is worth highlighting is “Hikari ni Michita Jumoku,” which uses an acoustic guitar and rhythm section to convey an upbeat atmosphere. What makes this piece noticeable is the way it instills a sense of curiosity and wonder within the listener. Through the interplay between the guitar and piano, the melody comes across as being playful, reinforcing Haketa’s skill in composing those light, pleasant melodies.
Hikari ni Michita Jumoku
[audio:03 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Given Aoi Hana’s plot, it’s not long before we reach the many emotional tracks scattered throughout this album. “Koukou Seikatsu’s” lovely piano melody starts it off on the right track through its depiction of burgeoning love. The piano part that starts after the introduction uses the slow, repetitive melody effectively to create a feeling of yearning that grows with the addition of the violin and harpsichord until it reaches a state of contentment. “Komorebi wo Kakeorite” picks up that feeling a few tracks later with a tentative introduction depicting a person’s shyness, but one that gradually fades away, as it’s replaced by confidence. The euphoria then comes about halfway through the track, showering the listener with hope and optimism and one cannot help but root for the characters as they seek out that happiness through their relationships.
[audio:04 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Komorebi wo Kakeorite
[audio:07 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Up to this point, this album has built itself up really well. However, there is one aspect of this album in which people can reasonably disagree over and it would be Haketa’s reliance on arranging one theme across different tracks. Of the arrangements, “Komorebi wo Kakeorite’s” theme is the one that shows up most often. I counted at least five other tracks that uses that particular melody, and one should be warned that if one isn’t fond of “Komorebi wo Kakeorite’s” theme, I can understand if this issue leaves one a bit dissatisfied with the album’s presentation.
That said, I don’t think Haketa’s use of arrangements is a bad thing because each piece carries its own distinct flavor. Whether it’s by changing the tempo and instrumentation to create an introspective moment like in “-passive-” or by shifting over to a minor key like in “Nostalgy” to create a feeling of bleak despair that is then lightened by a touch of hope, Haketa differentiates each track by sculpting the piece so as to convey a different emotional state. In that respect, it feels as though Haketa takes the time to explore the depth of what the melody has to offer and in doing so, creates that common thread to connect each piece, tying it together into a complete entity without being too repetitive.
[audio:16 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Besides, to focus too closely on the arrangements is to miss out on some of the other tracks ranging from those that depict a graceful waltz to those piano pieces that are just peaceful and serene. “Date” adopts both characteristics, using a rhythm perfectly suited for a waltz as it conjures an aura of elegance and grace, that makes one feel at ease as one shares the joys the characters experience as they are able to let go and enjoy their day, free of any worries. And then there’s an arrangement of Handel’s “Water Music” in “Wakakusa Monogatari,” which has an aura of royalty about it. Haketa doesn’t take any creative liberties with the piece, leaving it mostly intact, but nevertheless, it’s fitting in the feelings of love and joy that it expresses.
[audio:23 Aoi Hana.mp3]
[audio:33 Aoi Hana.mp3]
As the album comes to an end, we are treated to a rendition of both the opening and ending themes. “Aoi Hana” is, as expected, a solid track and through this piano arrangement, the emotions, which seemed so subdued in the OP, feels much more expressive, providing a much richer experience as a result. Finally, we reach “Centiphoria,” which never captivated me to begin with. But in this rendition, the acoustic guitar that plays throughout this piece expresses its soothing feelings beautifully through a simple, no-frills melody that keeps me enchanted, making for an excellent way to end the album.
Aoi Hana (sweet vers.)
[audio:34 Aoi Hana.mp3]
Centiphoria (sweet vers.)
[audio:35 Aoi Hana.mp3]
If you can’t tell by now, much of Aoi Hana’s soundtrack is characterized by slow piano and guitar music, and because of this, its music might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Furthermore, the massive number of reused themes might be problematic for those who expect every track to be unique and stand out on its own. But in my case, I found myself delighted with what Aoi Hana’s music has to offer. The subtlety in emotions that each track carries is wonderfully sublime and listening to this album all the way through yields a calming, serene experience.
Rating: Very Good