|Album Title:||Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou Ongaku Shuu “Ito Uruwashiki Mono”|
|Anime Title:||Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou|
|Artist:||Makoto Yoshimori; Hiroshi Kamiya; Kousuke Atari;
LONG SHOT PARTY; Callin’
|Release Date:||March 18, 2009|
|1. Kimi ga Yobu Namae ~Yume no Tsuzuki~||Makoto Yoshimori||2:45|
|2. Atatakai Yuki Keshiki||Makoto Yoshimori||5:00|
|3. Furusato no Nioi||Makoto Yoshimori||3:01|
|4. Kimyou na Genjitsu||Makoto Yoshimori||3:32|
|5. Tanuki Daruma no Blues||Makoto Yoshimori||1:55|
|6. Hitotsu Zutsu Yukkuri to||Makoto Yoshimori||2:23|
|7. Yume Utsutsu||Makoto Yoshimori||2:07|
|8. Daidai iro no Toki||Makoto Yoshimori||3:18|
|9. Itsumo Soba ni||Makoto Yoshimori||3:07|
|10. Ito wa Kanashi||Makoto Yoshimori||5:15|
|11. Chuukyuu no Omotenashi||Makoto Yoshimori||2:20|
|12. Joukyuu no Omotenashi||Makoto Yoshimori||4:21|
|13. Kirameite te Gomen||Makoto Yoshimori||2:51|
|14. Ohitsujiza no Kaijin||Makoto Yoshimori||4:27|
|15. Kitsunebi no Hashiru Mori||Makoto Yoshimori||2:54|
|16. Ten Kakeru Chikara||Makoto Yoshimori||2:58|
|17. Kokoro wo Kimete||Makoto Yoshimori||3:37|
|18. Sakura no Saku Koro ni||Makoto Yoshimori||5:11|
|19. Haru wo Shiraseru mono ~
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou no Theme
|20. Ayumi Yori Yuuki||Makoto Yoshimori; Kamiya Hiroshi||4:21|
|21. Natsu Yuuzora TV Version||Kousuke Atari||1:44|
|22. Ano Hi Time Machine (TV SIZE)||LONG SHOT PARTY||1:31|
|23. Aishiteru ~Natsume Yuujinchou Ver.~||Callin’||1:47|
|24. Nyante Kotta!||Makoto Yoshimori||0:04|
Review: After listening to this soundtrack as well as snippets from Makoto Yoshimori’s compositions from Koi Kaze, it’s apparent that he has a penchant for putting unconventional pieces in his soundtracks. Natsume Yuujinchou’s Soundtrack exhibits this tendency through pieces like “Natsu Mado Hirakettanashi” (which sounds like a swarm of mosquitoes) and “Oushi Za no Kaijin” (complete with strange moans). In Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack, “Ohitsujiza no Kaijin” and “Kitsunebi no Hashiru Mori” share the dubious honor for the weirdness award, but thankfully they do not lower the soundtrack’s overall quality. On the whole, this album is more enjoyable than Natsume Yuujinchou’s and deserves a chance because the emotionally-charged tracks are better-executed, resulting in a wonderful listening experience.
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack starts off on solid footing with a piano arrangement of “Kimi ga Yobu Namae.” This track preserves the general atmosphere of the original piece and succeeds in engaging the listener’s emotions through an aura of loneliness packed with a dreamlike feel. The solo piano part expresses this through a slow, deliberate melody with moments where the listener becomes aware of the silence and tranquility. Although repetitive, this piece lays the groundwork for tracks like “Yumeutsutsu” which has an ethereal quality as though to depict a traveler wandering from one dreamlike realm to the next. As you listen to “Yumeutsutsu,” pay attention to the part where the tempo speeds up. This section feels an outpouring of emotions from a dreamer’s heart as it gushes forth to commingle with other people’s thoughts and dreams.
“Atatakai Yuki Keshiki,” in contrast, is filled with warmth as this piece channels the calmness of day-to-day life into the track. The tempo is unhurried to illustrate the characters going about their daily routine at a leisurely pace while they enjoy the world around them. Naturally, a few surprises pop up during the course of the day, which this track conveys rather nicely (if a bit jarringly) with a shift from the tranquil, languid tempo to an upbeat, staccato melody around the 2-minute mark. This lighthearted section makes this track feel much more animated and works in its favor by the time it reaches the coda because the reversion to the slower-paced theme feels just a bit brighter and more optimistic.
Atatakai Yuki Keshiki:
The weirdness starts with “Kimyou na Genjitsu” where the piece’s use of the bassoon along with the recorder part gives it a whimsical melody that fits an image of a clumsy, lumbering creature lacking in elegance or social grace. This piece could have easily maintained some level of normalcy except it inserts random sounds that resemble belching and flatulence and makes for an odd listen. “Chuukyuu no Omotenashi” continues the trend of tracks containing strange noises by using a low-pitched instrument arranged to what seems like a traditional folk song (you may want to compare this to the children’s song “Kagome, Kagome”) that mixes in sproinging noises to evoke a similar image. But neither of those two tracks match up to “Ohitsujiza no Kaijin” or “Kitsunebi no Hashiru Mori’s” oddities.
“Ohitsujiza no Kaijin” doesn’t immediately strike the listener as being anything more than a tranquil piano melody with a tinkling sound to provide some backup. But around the 0:30 mark, a metallic springing sound enters and its interplay with the piano leads to an interesting dynamic. The piano part pauses at random intervals whereupon the metallic spring lags and continues playing before also coming to a halt. At that point the piano will resume and you have an intriguing back and forth going on. While this approach is engaging, where this piece becomes weird is when the low growling part makes its entrance and graduates to a series of annoying belching noises. It’s this last part that makes the track difficult to appreciate and once the groans escalate, you’ll be compelled to hit the skip button.
Ohitsujiza no Kaijin:
“Kitsunebi no Hashiru Mori’s” percussion beat seems initially benign until the woodwind part rolls in and proceeds to go haywire as it revels in the chaotic air that it creates through a harsh-sounding, syncopated, staccato melody. Even after repeated listens, I’m not sure what to make of this track because everything about it feels random. The woodwind part continues its chaotic, dissonant jaunt and culminates in a shrill crescendo near the end that is very difficult to enjoy because it heaves a volley of sound at you. Though the piece sounds intriguing at first, the weirdness is disconcerting and doesn’t lend itself favorably towards repeat listens.
At this point, it may just be better to move to more enjoyable fare that comes from tracks that place emphasis on engaging the listener’s emotions. “Ito Hakanashi” fits the bill for being a heavy track as though it was carrying a massive emotional burden. The harp and koto’s slow, deliberate melody lends itself nicely to creating this heavy mood which is further enhanced when the flute makes its entry which, together, brings out an introspective mood. “Sakura no Saku Koro ni” also adopts a similar vibe through its slow melody that feels as though the subject of the piece was reflecting fondly upon the enjoyable times he’s spent with a dear friend. But underneath that layer of introspectiveness, you can sense a graceful buildup which materializes around the 4:00 mark where the piece becomes more emphatic as the subject comes upon a memory he cherishes greatly and treasures as the piece fades out through a gentle section that brings it to a wonderful resolution.
But if you’re looking for the track that makes this album absolutely shine, look no further than the main theme. I’ve no compunctions against declaring “Haru wo Shiraseru Mono ~ Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou no Theme” to be the best track on any of Natsume Yuujinchou’s albums. I particularly love how this piece manages to hit all the right spots as it conveys the depths of its emotions brimming with sentimentality that I can’t help but get goose bumps listening to it. By succeeding so well at conveying the heartwarming feelings at the end of each episode, don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling a sense of joy as you reflect back upon all that Natsume and Nyanko-sensei have gone through together and the deep bond they’ve formed as a result of their shared experiences.
Haru wo Shiraseru Mono ~ Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou no Theme:
Finally, we are treated to four vocal tracks. The first is “Ayumiyoru Yuuki,” a track sung by Natsume’s VA, Hiroshi Kamiya, which isn’t unlike the work he previously did on Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack. His voice is fairly mellow and the song has an ethereal quality to it that makes it fairly enjoyable. Kousuke Atari’s “Natsu Yuuzora,” manages to convey the air of a lazy summer’s day and LONG SHOT PARTY’s “Ano Hi Time Machine” sounds really upbeat. However, the song to really look forward to is Callin’s “Aishiteru” which is dripping with sentiment. The way Callin’s emotions flow out and the way her voice expressively channels the sense of longing through this poignant ballad is just a beautiful way to close out the soundtrack.
In spite of Makoto Yoshimori’s tendency to stick in a few strange tracks here and there, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack packs a lot of heart, from the beautiful, dreamlike “Kimi ga Yobu Namae ~ Yume no Tsuduki” to the poignant “Haru wo Shiraseru Mono ~ Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou no Theme.” The album radiates warmth and comfort through its instrumental tracks making this soundtrack worthy of consideration because of how well it draws you in and tugs on your heartstrings. While some of the weirder tracks may be a bit off-putting, if one understands the context of the tracks, they too, can be quite enjoyable. So if you liked the music in this album’s predecessor, I can only highly recommend giving this one a try.
Rating: Very Good