Composer of the Month – Joe Hisaishi

Overview: When Joe Hisaishi’s name is mentioned, the first thing that may come to mind is his work with Studio Ghibli, and, more specifically, with Hayao Miyazaki. Hisaishi’s music has an immersive quality, one that draws the viewer into Ghibli’s gorgeous visuals and Miyazaki’s spellbinding stories, bringing the films to life. While his collaborations with Miyazaki make up the list of his better-known works, it unfortunately ignores a huge chunk of his anime compositions that much of today’s fandom may never encounter. We are, of course, referring to titles like Galactic Whirlwind Sasuraiger and Genesis Climber Mospeada (though they may be familiar to fans who got into anime during the 1980s).

The other dichotomy to consider when dealing with Hisaishi is his stylistic transition from synth, rock, and electronica to scoring anime using an orchestra. We will go a bit into that shift in the main article, but for the purpose of this synopsis, we can say that regardless of the medium in which he chooses to work, Hisaishi has done an excellent job, thereby forging a strong reputation that stretches across the past three decades. And there are still no signs of him slowing down!

In case you’re here to only listen to the soundclips and not read any of the text, below is the master list of all the pieces featured in this profile entry in order. It’ll save time if you don’t want to have to click through each and every track.

Master List

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Fantasy Comes Alive – Concert Report

Setlist:

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Track Title Game/Anime
1. Break the Sword of Justice Tsubasa Chronicles
2. Time’s Scar Chrono Cross
3. Granado Espada Medley Granado Espada
4. Kyoudai Fullmetal Alchemist
5. Vampire Killer Castlevania
6.Vamo’alla Flamenco Final Fantasy IX
7. Succeeded Wish Valkyria Chronicles
8. Prime #101, Prime #07 Echochrome
9. Hikari no Senritsu Sora no Woto
10. Never Meant to Belong Bleach
11. Cruel Angel Thesis Neon Genesis Evangelion
12. Aimo ~Tori no Hito Macross Frontier
13. Life’s Merry-Go-Round Howl’s Moving Castle
14. My Neighbour Totoro My Neighbour Totoro
15. Tactics A2 Medley Final Fantasy Tactics
16. Main Theme Odin Sphere
17. Touch Romeo x Juliet
18. Penelo’s Theme Final Fantasy XII
19. Eyes on Me Final Fantasy VIII
20. Tetris Medley Tetris
21. Megaman Medley Megaman
Encore – A Song of Storm and Fire Tsubasa Chronicles
Encore – Cruel Angel Thesis Neon Genesis Evangelion
Encore – Succeeded Wish Valkyria Chronicles

Frankly, I did not have very high hopes for the Fantasy Comes Alive concert. I remember the disastrous experience of the Video Games Live performance where I heard more of fans cheering than proper music. A flip through the programme booklet revealed that it was not even a whole orchestra playing the pieces. As an orchestra freak, I was honestly very disappointed.

However, this was one of the times when I couldn’t be happier that I was wrong. With a repertoire from some of the most well-known games and anime (Final Fantasy, Neon Genesis Evangelion, My Neighbour Totoro and Fullmetal Alchemist, just to name a few), and a surprisingly excellent group of musicians from the local university, the performance was one that I will never forget. [Read more...]

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