Write-in Poll: Who are Your Top 10 Anime Composers?

I’ve been talking on and off about needing a new project to sprinkle in amidst the reviews, and quite a few of you think that it’s about time I delve into the composer side of the equation. After all, these are the people responsible for all the amazing (or bland) melodies that add the extra bit of impact to the scenes they accompany, reveal a character’s inner turmoil, or immerse us within some grand spectacle. So let’s cut to the chase: who are your ten favorite anime composers?

A few ground rules: when I say anime composers, any composer who’s written any music for anime (including OPs/EDs/insert songs) qualifies. That was easy, wasn’t it? Basically, the only vocalists that are permissible for this are those who actually compose music. Obviously the extent to which you enjoy their music is important and will probably be the primary criterion by which you assemble your list. You can also consider other things like their quantity of work they’ve done. But when you put together your list, do rank order them from most favorite to tenth favorite. Nothing more needs to be done, but you are welcome to add comments about why you chose X person.

Lastly, do try to come up with ten. I specifically stress the word try, because it’s perfectly OK if you aren’t able to come up with that many. If you’re stuck, it does help to look through some of your favorite shows and see who composed their music, but if all else fails, just list one, or two, or five. That’s totally fine. This is mostly to satisfy my brimming curiosity anyhow. Yes, I will use the results for an upcoming article series that focuses upon composers and not to attempt at an objective measurement of who exactly are the ten best anime composers out there. Do fill this out by December 31, 2010. I’ll be scattering reminders every so often!

For what it’s worth, it’d be terrible of me if I didn’t include my own Top 10 list, so here goes:

1. Joe Hisaishi
2. Yoko Kanno
3. Michiru Ooshima
4. Shiro Sagisu
5. Akira Senju
6. Yasuharu Takanashi
7. Yuki Kajiura
8. Taku Iwasaki
9. Toshihiko Sahashi
10. Masumi Itou (also goes by Hikaru Nanase)


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.

44 thoughts on “Write-in Poll: Who are Your Top 10 Anime Composers?

  • December 6, 2010 at 1:27 am

    My favorites definitely also include Yuki Kajiura, Joe Hisaishi, Yoko Kanno, Taku Iwasaki, and Hikaru Nanase. Kajiura is probably my all time fave though.

    Anyways, I’m surprised at how many names I recognize on this list. I’m even more surprised that I can associate them with certain anime. Credits to this site! ^ ^

  • December 6, 2010 at 1:29 am

    in no particular order:

    yoko kanno (*mostly due to her GiTS work)
    jun maeda
    supercell/ryo (*though mostly due to his pre-bakemonogatari work)
    choro club
    elements garden (*mostly due to Nanoha songs)
    tanaka kouhei (g gundam, gunbuster)
    ken muramatsu (kurenai, umi monogatari, sketchbook)
    kikuya tomoki (hidasketch)
    ooshima michiru (xam’d, tatami galaxy)
    hashimoto yukari (kanamemo, toradora)

  • December 6, 2010 at 4:14 am

    You know, lumping in song composers with instrumental composers is giving me a headache since I have lots of favourites either way 😉 I ended up splitting the list 60% to 40%.

    1.Kajiura Yuki
    2.Nanase Hikaru
    3.Oshima Michiru
    4.Muramatsu Ken
    5.Mitsumune Shinkichi
    6.Ryo Kunihiko

    and the guys/girl who mainly compose & arrange proper songs:
    8.Fujita Junpei (part of Elements Garden)
    9.Okubo Kaoru
    10.Anze Hijiri

    I can’t really give ranking numbers to them, though Kajiura is far and away my No.1…

  • December 6, 2010 at 6:32 am

    In no particular order:

    Maeda Jun (some great Angel Beats tracks)
    Yuki Kajiura (.hack//sign and Kara no Kyoukai soundtracks were awesome)
    Supercell (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari)
    Yoko Kanno (Darker than Black)
    Haga Keita (FSN Visual Novel OST)
    Nobuo Uematsu (Guin saga)
    Hitoshi Sakimoto (Valkyria Chronicles)

    Can’t think of any others at the moment (x.x)

    Gah, I wish I could include video game composers as well. There are some awesome video game soundtracks out there too. That would at least double, if not triple, the list of favorites 😡

  • December 6, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Oops, forgot to include three more:

    Joe Hisaishi (studio ghibli works)
    Shiro Sagisu (Evangelion)
    Taku Iwasaki (Gurren Lagann)

    I sometimes find it kind of sad how anime music is overlooked by many people, because all things considered, there has been some awesome music in anime. Or maybe it’s just the people I know that underappreciate anime soundtracks ^.^;

    Nothing against K-ON and other popular anime, but I find it that a lot of people I know only listen to OP and ED themes of popular shows, and nothing beyond that. I wonder if I’m in the minority or not. Meh, me and my random ramblings…. 😛

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Wow this is fun. Okie, here goes

    1. Yasuharu Takanashi
    2. Joe Hisaishi
    3. Hitoshi Sakimoto (his RxJ OST stuck with me xD)
    4. Toshihiko Sahashi
    5. Yoshihisa Hirano
    6. Michiru Ooshima
    7. Yoko Kanno
    8. Iwasaki Taku
    9. Akira Senju
    10. Yuki Kajiura (in terms of anime song composition, she’s one of my favs, with FictionJunction and Kalafina after all. But in terms of soundtrack, I don’t find her that impressive)

    Argh, it’s a real shame leaving out people like Shiro Sagisu and Nakagawa Koutarou. Those two produce really good works at times but just aren’t consistent enough. Then there’s people like Yuuji Yoshino and Haketa Takefumi… 10 just seems too little for me… XD

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

    In order.
    – Iwasaki
    – Kajiura
    – Sawano Hiroyuki
    – Maeda
    – Kanno
    – Sahashi
    – Shibasaki Hiroshi (abingdon boys sch. composer)
    – Masuda Toshio (Mushishi, Naruto, Mahoromatic)
    – Noriyasu Agematsu
    – Hirasawa Susumu

    and of course Dave Rodgers- *is shot and dragged away*

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:34 am

    I would also like to point out that Joe Hisashi did a marvelous work that’s not related to anime: Departures/Okuribito. What I like about his work is that they don’t particularly stand out unlike Yoko Kanno (which is my top favorite composer, FYI). Most of them are subtle kind of music that always perfectly suits the respective show.

    Yoko Kanno’s music however, stands out. Be it fantastic like Escaflowne, jazzy like Cowboy Bebop, Euro-techno like GITS or galactic like Macross Frontier, her music is outstanding.

    Personally, I would like to honorably mention Toshio Masuda for his outstanding work on Mushishi (yeah, his individual episodic themes epitomizes each episode content itself) and also his arrangements on NHRV.

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:49 am

    >> elements garden

    this. But it’s like, there are some people who are consistent and who are not. And I’m too lazy to look up who it is when it just says elements garden.

    My own 10, in fuzzy order:
    jun maeda
    naoki sato
    kenji kawai
    taku iwasaki
    ryo kunihiko
    probably a tie between hisaishi, sagisu, muramatsu, kouhei tanaka, satoru kousaki, and someone i probably forgot.

  • December 6, 2010 at 11:15 am

    And here’s mine ^_^

    Joe Hisaishi
    Iwasaki Taku
    Kanno Yoko
    Kunihiko Ryo
    Yoshimori Makoto
    Kajiura Yuuki
    Shiro Sagisu
    Michiru Oshima
    Hikaru Nanase
    Kawai Kenji

  • December 6, 2010 at 11:41 am

    >>naoki sato

    I was tempted to put him down but I’m not familiar with his stuff beyond E7.

  • December 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    1. Iwasaki
    2. Hirasawa Susumu
    3. Kanno
    4. Kajiura
    5. Joe Hisaishi
    6. Otani Kou
    7. Toshihiko Sahashi
    8. yasuharu takanashi
    9. Kaoru Wada
    10. Kunihiko Ryou

    Surprised I’m first one to say Otani Kou and Kaoru Wada. I was almost tempted to put down Haruomi Hosono but I’m only really familiar with Night on the Galactic Railroad OST from him…and his work in ymo but that doesn’t count.

  • December 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    1. Joe Hisaishi – Everything I’ve heard from him since forever has been amazing. Not much explanation is needed.
    2. Toshihiko Sahashi – A flexible composer who can compose wonderfully regardless of the style. I’ve ranted about him before.
    3. Michiru Ooshima – She’s risen up considerably in the ranks of my favorite composers in the past two years. What with her recent work in Sora no Woto, Gokusen, and Tatami Galaxy, the spot is well deserved.
    4. Takeshi Senoo – Aria! No more needs to be said.
    4. Akira Senju – A composer I note for his beautiful melodies. I can’t content myself sitting down and listening to his compositions for too long, though. His style is his style, but it can get boring after a while. Plus, he can’t write action scores.
    5. Taku Iwasaki – From RK (probably his most beautiful score) to stuff like kuroshitsuji, he likes to experiment with interesting styles. He can be a mixed bag, but I’ve learned to expect his work with a good degree of anticipation.
    6. Hirano Yoshihisa – His style is unique. If you took a classical composition and mixed it with pure chaos, you’d get his music. He’s done some awesome stuff with Himitsu the Revelation, Strawberry Panic, and many others.
    7. Nami Kubota – Her most notable works are the Kannazuki no Miko score, the Kaleido Star score, and the several ARIA songs (Undine, Euphoria..). It’s a pity she doesn’t seem to compose for anime too frequently, but what I have heard is wonderful and most certainly top-notch.
    8. Ken Muramatsu – I’m not sick of his style yet! Kurenai was an awesome almost entirely piano album which I will always love.
    9. Yuki Kajiura – I don’t really know why she’s so far back on this list. For some reason her style of music doesn’t click perfectly. Regardless, there’s still a great deal of music from her which I listen to when I’m in the mood.
    10. Tenmon – One man who can create what he does with only a keyboard and some synth technology. That’s impressive.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Toshio Masuda – (While his Mushishi score was all sorts of awesome, I feel like the music worked closely with the show, and would not have necessarily stood out so well by itself)
    Nanase Hikaru – While I am in no doubt she can compose awe inspiring work, in most of her scores the really good tracks are mixed in with other, not so impressive pieces.
    Naoki Sato
    Kaoru Wada

    Some of these are not necessarily placed because their music is of inferior quality or appeal, but because they haven’t put out much work. It can be noted that most of the composers I enjoy have some classical influence. I have not listened to much Yoko Kanno so the absence of her from my list is due to my inexperience with her compositions.

    Well! I would have listed even more stuff, but the post is long enough as it is. xD

  • December 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm


    7. Nami Kubota – Her most notable works are the Kannazuki no Miko score, the Kaleido Star score, and the several ARIA songs (Undine, Euphoria..). It’s a pity she doesn’t seem to compose for anime too frequently, but what I have heard is wonderful and most certainly top-notch.

    I think you mean “Mina Kubota”.

    1. Mina Kubota
    2. Yoko Kanno
    3. Joe Hisaishi
    4. Taku Iwasaki
    5. Jun Maeda
    6. Yuki Kajiura
    7. Kenji Kawai
    8. Makoto Yoshimori
    9. Ken Muramatsu
    10. Hideki Taniuchi

    Probably a crapload that I forgot.

  • December 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I only know Yuki Kajiura….
    (probably because I never really tried knowing the composers….)

    He creates good music.

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    1. Yoko Kanno
    2. Kenji Kawaii
    3. Susumu Hirasawa
    4. Masaki Kurihara
    5. Kou Otani
    6. Tsuneyoshi Saito
    7. Toshio Masuda
    8. Takefumi Haketa
    9. Taku Iwasaki
    10. Yuki Kajiura

    Bonus composer: J.A. Seazer (for the heavy metal-Vienna Boys Choir music in Utena)

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Not very familiar with many of the Anime Composers since I just started watching anime again after my 1 year hiatus, but Jun Maeda and Shinji Orito… except Girls Dead Monster of course…

  • December 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    1) Yuki Kajiura
    2) Tenmon
    3) Yoshihisa Hirano
    4) Kenji Kawai
    5) Joe Hisaishi
    6) Shiro Sagisu
    7) Akiko Shikata
    8) Jun Maeda
    9) Ryo (supercell)
    10) Yoko Kanno

  • December 7, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Comments briefly. Also, if you didn’t rank order it, you might want to do that or else I’ll just magically assume you rank ordered even if you said in no particular order :p

    I do hope this composer profiles series will broaden the knowledge. I know it’ll be fun for me since I get to go through all their soundtracks and showcase their best material. Wikipedia doesn’t do this, so it’ll actually feel like original stuff!

    It’ll be interesting to see whether Hashimoto gets anywhere. I’ve been feeling her out and I think she’s been improving? Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.

    aaaaaaand Tenmon barely missed out on my end. Yeah, there are too few spaces…

    Yeah, I figured it’ll be tough on your end since you’re pretty darn versed in the J-pop composers and that’s an area I haven’t fully explored. Well, I know Nijine from Hatsukoi Ltd…. so I guess that’s a start.

    That’s sorta what we’re all about here since I don’t think this stuff gets talked about nearly enough. But it’s a good challenge to change that. And fun too. Well, things that I’m passionate about tend to be fun to work on anyhow. So ramble on! You’re in good company. At least on here.

    You’re not the only one. I was trying to figure out who would fill out that last slot. Tenmon, Sawano, Hirasawa, and Nakagawa barely missed the cut.

    I’ll see what I can do. About the shooting and dragging that is…

    I’ve also been meaning to give Hana-Bi a listen. Sorrow-kun seemed to like it and was sorta keen on reviewing it. I think I even saw a copy in my local CD shop… hmm.

    I’ll use my powers of vote tie-breaking to arbitrarily grab Hisaishi since he was listed first. Unless you want the honor of doing it yourself. :p

    Iwasaki at number 2 isn’t surprising…. guess I should see whether he composed anything new for Kuroshitsuji2?

    A few other places where I placed this poll did yield some Ootani Kou. Not so much on Kaoru Wada though and by all accounts seems kinda underrated.

    I’ve been seeing Mina Kubota’s name come up a lot… guhhh maybe a watching of Kaleido Star is about due. And yeah, most of my list tends to be.. surprise surprise… classically oriented though I suppose Hirano should’ve been on there too. Ah well….

    I’ll say it again, Senoo needs to compose more anime tunes.

    Well, Kajiura is female, so

    She’s becoming pretty popular as far as a pick goes too. Hmm… I think Baka-raptor will be pleased with how this polling looks so far.

    Tsuneyoshi Saito does need more love doesn’t he? Especially since Fafner and Dennou Coil were both excellent.

    Maybe I’ll assimilate you into the anime music borg… there may be no turning back!

    Maeda definitely looks cool with sunglasses on. Fact.

  • December 7, 2010 at 2:42 am

    1. Kanno Yoko
    2. Joe Hisaishi
    3. Senou Takeshi
    4. Orito Shinji
    5. Haketa Takefumi
    6. Kawai Kenji
    7. Tenmon
    8. Kousaki Satoru
    9. Fujita Junpei
    10. Oshima Michiru

    Some really, really tough choices.

    Annotated list:

    #1. Yoko Kanno needs no introduction. Absolutely spectacular body of work. The John Williams of anime. Her work for Genesis of Aquarion will forever be one of my favorites. I would go into detail if her entire opus wasn’t filled to the brim with notable projects like Cowboy Bebop and Macross Frontier.

    #2. If Miyazaki fills our minds with wonder and magic, then Joe Hisaishi fill ours ears. My favorite works of his are Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

    #3. Aria, one of the most beautiful soundtracks of all time. Senou Takeshi created an immersive musical experience that fits the world of Aqua perfectly.

    #4. Orito Shinji. His work with KeyAni deserve tons of recognition. One of the fine composers in recent anime history.

    #5. I was recently reintroduced to Haketa Takefumi somewhere ;). Someday’s Dreamers tender and playful soundtrack, full of playful melodies and Irish jigs, is an anime experience like no other. Aoi Hana’s music also deserves some recognition.

    #6. Kawai Kenji is obligiatory. He has simply done too much including his score for the Ghost in the Shell movie and Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni. This guy is so old-school, he composed for Ranma 1/2 for crying out loud. More recently, I enjoyed his work for Higashi no Eden very much.

    #7. Tenmon, oh Tenmon. Five Centimeters per Second was simply one of the best soundtracks ever. I wasn’t too impressed by his work for Ef, but that still doesn’t change the fact that Tenmon has some serious skills. He would be ranked higher if he had a larger body of work.

    #8. Kousaki Satoru is a bright recent talent to surface. Though not as well known as some of the giants in the industry, you would never imagine that by looking at what he’s done: a laundry list of successful projects including Haruhi, Lucky Star, Working!!, OreImo, and Star Driver. His outstanding work in Bakemonogatari really caught my eye.

    #9. Fujita Junpei, for his soundtrack to H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ was incredible. It created a beautiful motif to go with the show that really worked well. Recently, his work for B Gata H Kei was pretty cool, too.

    #10. Oshima Michiru is more known for Full Metal Alchemist, but I’m recognizing her here on my last spot for her work on Sora no Woto. There’s a very specific scene that made a huge impact on me from that show, in one of the later episodes. Rio and Kanata walk though a town, and forgoing animation the show just cuts like a slideshow for around a minute, showing the two walking around the city during a monologue by Rio. This beautifully kerned scene really showcased Sora no Woto‘s beautiful soundtrack.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Iwasaki Taku – WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK HE IS. Gurren Lagann‘s soundtrack was just teaming with badass. Asian rap, a piano arrangement, and opera what else do you need?

    Ken Muramatsu – While his opus is very limited, Kure-nai was very good.

    Kajiura Yuki (Fiction Junction) – The .hack series and MADLAX come immediately to mind. More focus on OP/ED songs than scores, which is why I didn’t rank her in my 10. Regardless, the scores she did compose were very solid.

    Daft Punk – Technically eligible, providing the music for Interstella5555. One of the greatest House artists of all time, Insterstella5555 features the legendary album Discovery, which has changed the world of electronic dance music. Excluded for the sake of decency 😛

  • December 7, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Yuki Kajiura
    Nobuo Uematsu (he did some anime too! :P)
    Kenji Kawai
    Yoko Kanno
    Toshio Masuda
    Kohei Tanaka
    Shiro Hamaguchi
    Yasuharu Takanashi

  • December 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    My OST collection comprises now 54 big albums (or playlists, which combine small albums within one anime/game/movie). So the numbers of such albums per composer are the following (+ total number of songs):
    1. Yuki Kajiura – 6 (366)
    2. Hideki Taniuchi – 5 (230)
    3. Taku Iwasaki – 5 (193)
    4. Takanashi Yasuharu – 4 (347)
    5. Toshihiko Sahashi – 3 (282)
    6. Sato Naoki – 3 (116)
    7. Michiru Ooshima – 3 (112)
    8. Hiroyuki Sawano – 3 (82)
    9. Shiro Sagisu – 2 (116)
    10. Akira Senju – 2 (77) etc.

  • December 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    @zzero What’s up with that it’s not like he doesn’t have a large body of work…

    As it stands I’m only really familiar with his work on Casshern and Inuyasha.

    I almost put down Kiyoshi yoshida because I love the piss out of the Kaiba OST…same w/ Audio Highs for Gintama.

  • December 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    @zzero I tend to gravitate towards small ensemble OSTs rather than grand, sweeping orchestral arrangements. Tanaka and Oshima are the exceptions in that list; though Oshima’s work for solo piano and small ensemble stuff in xam’d and tatami galaxy are excellent. I am really fond of Hashimoto’s solo piano stuff too. I think Kikuya Tomoki is a god of small ensemble arranging.

    Elements Garden and ryo are melodic beasts in their own right too.

  • December 8, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Comments, briefly.

    I like your description for Hisaishi. I’ll probably have to rip that quote off or do a variation on it or something because that describes Hisaishi’s skills perfectly.

    No fair stuffing the ballot box. I’ll group you in with the A-P people since I do like to draw a line across communities :3

    I somehow didn’t realize that Taniuchi was so popular since he hasn’t gotten enough love from me. Guess I’ll have to rectify that soon.

    Also Samurai 7 which is probably one of the most traditional Japanese soundtracks I’ve heard. Esp. that percussion. I’m personally not a huge fan, but it’s good to listen to once in awhile.

    This might drive me a little nuts, but do you have a specific Elements Garden composer? I may have to profile them as a group if you don’t :p

  • December 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Wow, I don’t think I have ten! But I do have two that I’m absolutely in love with–

    1) Takanashi Yasuharu


    2) Yoshihisa Hirano

    Arianna Sterling

    (By the way, this is off-topic, but is there any way I could be added to your blogroll? You’re on mine 🙂 )

  • December 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    @Arianna Sterling
    Certainly. Added! And yeah, Hirano and Yasuharu certainly deserve some traction :p

  • December 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Hmm I cant be objective at all with this and its more tied in with my emotions but my favourites are:

    1. Yoko Kanno – I had an year where I didn’t listen to any music at all because somehow I had lost that feeling of enjoyment I got from it. Then on a whim I decided to listen to the Cowboy Bebop OSTs and it just moved me. I also love the GITS Stand Alone OST

    2. Joe Hisaishi – He is just wonderful, I remember closing my eyes at some point during Ponyo just to listen unlike my friends who had closed their eyes cause they had fallen asleep (I was the only one who had actually wanted to see it they just tagged along 🙂 )

    3. Tenmon – For his very emotive pieces and my favourite is “Kanae’s feelings” from 5cms per second.

    4. Mina Kubota – Her melodies feel warmly familiar I hope to hear more from her in the future.

    5. Taku Iwasaki – For Witch Hunter which is probably the series that got me into listening to the soundtracks more closely

    6. Kiyoshi Yoshida – I think you were spot on with your review of the Soundtrack of The Girl Who Lept Through Time. “Natsuzora” was an amazing opening and very fitting for the movie.

    7. Yuki Kajiura – I think in terms of skill she should be further up my list but honestly I haven’t emotionally connected to her pieces and I’m really not sure why. Maybe I should go listen to them more closely.

    I can’t really think of others I want to add to the list but maybe Satoru Kōsaki? For Haruhi Suzumiya movie but I haven’t been paying attention to the music in Ore no Imoto. Also Shinkichi Mitsumune comes to mind but its been a while since I have listened to his stuff.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your posts on the composers.

  • December 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Really? I think Oreimo’s soundtrack is really noticable. There’s really creative uses of all kinds of styles of music…

  • December 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Ah yeah what I meant was I’m really not sure about OreImo because I have been watching with the sound really low or off since I have been having hearing problems. So I have also been skipping the OP which is something I never usually do. The EDs in it look promising but ill have to rewatch the series after I have this Ear Treatment done ^^.

    • December 10, 2010 at 12:56 am

      @kc (and kevo sorta)
      I think Satoru Kousaki has been drawing a lot of influence off his buddies at Monaca since it seems to draw a lot of the ska elements from Okabe’s work on Working!! But yes, stylistically, Kousaki is quite versatile and his pop works are stellar (somewanwanwan, staple stable, renai circ, etc).

  • December 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    1. Kotaro Nakagawa – Even though I have developed a more pure orchestral sense lately I still love my favorite Nakagawa scores. There is something beautiful about his way of using synthesizers right and his heavy emphasis on quality insert song vocals.
    2. Michiru Ooshima – Anime wise she has a moderate list of good scores but also has a number of amazing scores to live action drama and movies in Japan. Nobody from Japan does proper romantic european style music like Ooshima.
    3. Yoshihisa Hirano – While he tends to use a lot of similar styles in his big orchestral/choral works, they are great and I can’t wait to see the rest of Break Blade.
    4. Toshihiko Sahashi – He does a lot of combination works and sometimes goes into certain modes I can’t stand like his disco stuff but he has written a lot of quality symphonic works over the years and I look forward to his first foray into the video game world with Majin.
    5. Naoki Sato – While he has done some really bad scores for some live action films lately, he has a number of quality scores under his belt and deserves a place in the top 10.
    6. Yuki Kajiura – I have knocked Kajiura down my list from where she would have been years ago because I can no longer stand to listen to some of her more synth-driven scores (noir, madlax, etc). I still love her use of vocalists and her scores for Tsubasa, Pandora Hearts, and Elemental Gelade.
    7. Nanase Hikaru – I just LOVE the score for Zettai Shounen and also enjoy the music from Phantom on occasion. I did not know he went by Masumi Itou as well.
    8. Joe Hisaishi – Hisaishi is a bit low on my list because I don’t find as much love for the majority of his works as many others. I absolutely adore his work on Ponyo and Castle in the Sky but many of his most popular anime soundtracks leave me dry.
    9. Masamichi Amano – Giant Robo scores are very good and Ninja Resurrection kicks ass.
    10. Kousuke Yamashita – Many of his scores are rousing orchestral and quite fun to listen to.

  • December 11, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I have trouble recalling their names but here we go…
    1. Joe Hisaishi
    2. Kanno Yoko
    3. Naoki Sato
    4. Tenmon
    5. Yuki Kajiura
    6. Whoever composed Last Exile ost 😛
    7. Nobuo Uematsu
    8. Shiro Sagisu
    9. The one who composed Whisper of the Heart osts -_-
    10. Ooshima Michiru

  • December 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    1-10. Yuki Kajiura

    Honorable Mention: Yuki Kajiura

    Dishonorable Mention: That person I thought ripped off Yuki Kajiura on the Mai Hime soundtrack until I found out she was also Yuki Kajiura.

  • December 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

    iwasaki taku
    oshima michiru
    mizoguchi hajime
    sato naoki
    Takanashi Yasuharu
    Kawaii Kenji
    masuda toshio
    keichii ogawa
    Kaoruko Ohtake

  • December 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I want in on this too:
    1) Ko Otani
    2) Shiro Sagisu
    3) Yoko Kanno
    4) Yuji Yoshino
    5) Joe Hisaishi
    6) Yoshihisa Hirano
    7) Kotaro Nakagawa
    8) Yukari Hashimoto
    9) Kaworu Wada
    10) Shinkichi Mitsumune

    And Baka-Raptor, I don’t think you’re allowed to do that 😉

  • December 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    ^Wow it looks like writing “eight” then “closed parentheses” was a bad idea.

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  • April 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I’m picky so 10 is hard…
    (in order from most awesome down)

    1. Shiro Sagisu (OMG! I can listen to almost ALL his works which is saying a lot cause i usually only listen the the very best songs of ANY artist of ANY genre and wont even listen to the other songs for more than a few seconds. harsh, i know. btw Im a HUGE fan of Evangelion!)
    lol realized that after Shiro-han I dont have a particular order of favorites but the second person i could think of is…
    2. Toshiro Masuda – I really like his heavy fast paced pieces with the drums and and strings, and his slow saders songs have made me teary-eyed a few times while perusing naruto… SHADUP I didn’t out right cry OK!?!?! lol even eyeshield 21 made me teary.

    I dont know if this counts, but who ever wrights/composes the Seatbelts music from Cowboy Bebop is GRRRREAT!!! and on that note the person who did the music for Hellsing too lol i love that neo jazzy sort of thang…

    also whats-is-face who did GitS! that dude too.

  • September 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I can’t properly put together a list – the composer information isn’t so easy to come by in the credits. No-one mentioned Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack for Royal Space Force – it’s not in the “listen and enjoy” category but it is incredibly atmospheric.

    Thanks to the person who mentioned Haruomi Hosono. Besides Night on the Galactic Railroad he also composed the song “Kaze no tani no Nausicaä” used in the promo videos for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is on YouTube here.

    The soundtracks for The Cat Returns and Tales from Earthsea are also in my collection, and Whisper of the Heart OST is on my wishlist – are any of their composers listed?

    • September 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      @Arthur Marsh
      I don’t know whether Yuuji Nomi got mentioned, but he is indeed very solid. I like the whimsical nature of his music like some of the select tracks from Nichijou, but as you mentioned, his soundtrack for the Cat Returns is still head and shoulders above the rest of his output!

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