11 One (or Two!)-Shot Anime Composers We Love

The working title for this post was effectively anime composers we wish wrote more anime music, but we didn’t want to give off the impression that we’d want Yoko Kanno or Joe Hisaishi to score everything under the sun (or maybe we do!). Because of that, me, Yu, and Pointblanket took some time to sit together to talk about some of our favorite anime composers who haven’t gotten much of a chance to strut their stuff on the anime music scene. Especially when the stuff they’ve strutted is easily top notch.

So with that, here’s our list of favorite 1-2 shot anime composers, people that we’d really like to see more of. Some of them are attainable while others are a pipe dream. Come sit down and listen to us prattle on for an hour. If you don’t have the time, just read through the bottom section. You can even listen to the music they’ve made that have won us over!

Composer blurb by last name:

Ken Arai – Finding a composer who can put together some hard-edged dubstep without coming across as being hopelessly dull or annoying takes a lot of work, but Ken Arai is one who is willing to do so. The rhythms and loud beats come out strong in his work for Parasyte: the Maxim, especially in “I AM’s” menacing aura and even if it’s not my kind of thing, dubstep fans should definitely give it a go.

Parasyte – I AM

[audio:Parasyte – I AM.mp3]

Cecille Corbel – Oh how unlikely it will be, but how wonderful too, if the composer for The Borrower Arrietty gets a chance to write more anime music. She does well in channeling pastoral themes, throws in a good amount of Celtic flair, and has some lovely vocals to match.

Arrietty – The Wild Waltz

[audio:Arrietty – The Wild Waltz.mp3]

Tsuneo Imahori – A blast from the past, for a composer we really wished got more jobs. In Trigun, you get the hard-boiled Western vibe that the show embraces. Ditto with Gungrave, no surprise, given the show’s focus on gangsters and the ensuing tragedy. But while those two soundtracks do right, his Hajime no Ippo OST also deserves mention, especially for his homage to the music you’d hear in Rocky.

Trigun – Philosophy in a Teacup

[audio:Trigun – philosophy-in-a-tea-cup.mp3]

Gungrave – B.G.

[audio:Gungrave – BG.mp3]

Natsumi Kameoka – Her works on the Inazuma Eleven series don’t do her enough justice; she brings a lot to the table, especially in calling forth epic music. Her work carries an atmosphere that leaves me in awe, especially in the fanfares and battle themes that she writes for KanColle.

Kantai Collection – Crumbling Battlefront

[audio:Kantai Collection – Crumbling Battlefront.mp3]

Souhei Kano – Although we don’t know whether his disappearance from the anime music scene was driven entirely by him working on Fractale, we do miss the eclectic music he made for the series. Tracks like “Kono Kouryoutaru Yo no Naka de” are serene and even deliver with some folk music and airy vocals that are altogether fitting. His character themes are solid too.

Fractale – Kono Kouryoutaru Yo no Naka de – The Last Rose of Summer

[audio:Fractale – Kono Kouryoutaru Yo no Naka de – The Last Rose of Summer.mp3]

Kaoruko Ohtake – Lounge-y jazz music is the type of material that fits Bartender like a well worn glove. The music that Kaoruko Ohtake writes for Bartender can be exciting and energetic, but where she shines is in the way the music nudges you to take in life’s quiet moments, all while nursing the perfect drink to match your mood.

Bartender – NO NAME

[audio:Bartender – NO NAME.mp3]

Masayuki Sakamoto – Sakamoto’s music for Kemono no Souja Erin speaks to faraway lands from long past, and the long drawls make you yearn for the rustic setting depicted in the show. I particularly love the town themes in Erin.

Kemono no Souja Erin – Kodai no Kamigami

[audio:Kemono no Souja Erin – Kodai no Kamigami.mp3]

Masakatsu Takagi – Here’s a composer who won’t be on this list for too much longer since Mamoru Hosoda loves working with him. At least, if Wolf Children or Bakemono no Ko are of any indication. Takagi’s forte lies in crafting piano music that captures the mood of what’s on screen, breathing life into the work with his melodies.

Wolf Children – Kito Kito – Dance of Your Nature

[audio:Wolf’s Children – Kito Kito – Dance of Your Nature.mp3]

Yo Tsuji – A composer that should sit in people’s mind if their tastes lean towards French Gothic music that’s scattered throughout the Dantalian no Shoka soundtrack. Yo Tsuji has a very good grasp of theme and he incorporates it nicely there.

Dantalian no Shoka – Koka wo Kuchizusamu Sobokusa to Tansei na Omomuki

[audio:Dantalian no Shoka – Koka wo Kuchizusamu Sobokusa to Tansei na Omomuki.mp3]

Yutaka Yamada – Best known for writing the music to Tokyo Ghoul which channels a sense of drama and suspense through its music. His piece, “Licht und Schatten” stands out for its ability to convey a deep pain and tremendous struggle through its main motif.

Tokyo Ghoul – Licht und Schatten

[audio:Tokyo Ghoul – Licht und Schatten.mp3]

Yuuji Yoshino – The world of Spice and Wolf comes to life through Yuuji Yoshino’s music. His melodies would blend right in with the type of stuff you’d hear at Renaissance Faires, but he also does well in capturing the mood of the scene, especially when it turns a bit melancholy. He’s also worked on the .hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet soundtrack, but that doesn’t quite represent the best he can do.

Spice and Wolf – Hikaru Wadachi

[audio:Spice and Wolf – Hikaru Wadachi.mp3]

And during the course of the program, one of our listeners mentioned a name that we didn’t consider but many might want to learn a little more about. So without further ado:

Kiyoshi Yoshida – Probably the only work of this composer that I’ve listened to is the music to Kaiba. “Tree Song,” in particular, is quite the standout, especially in the way it weaves an intriguing, mysterious, melancholy atmosphere.

Kaiba – The Tree Song

[audio:Kaiba – The Tree Song.mp3]


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.

2 thoughts on “11 One (or Two!)-Shot Anime Composers We Love

  • February 11, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Another composer I’d add to this list is Yuya Mori. His only anime work so far is Seitokai Yakuindomo which had a lovely wind ensemble score.

    By the way, Souhei Kano would like to compose more soundtracks. He talks about it on Twitter occasionally. But right now he’s kind of stuck composing music for wind orchestras and arranging music for concerts. Maybe he just doesn’t have the right connections.

  • March 5, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I’d suggest Hisaaki Hogari, composer of the Kokoro Library soundtrack. In my opinion a masterpiece.


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