Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru/Tamayura OP Single – Down Town/Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara – Review

Album Title: Down Town / Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara
Anime Title: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru; Tamayura
Artist: Maaya Sakamoto, Tatsurou Yamashita, Takayuki Hattori,
Yumi Arai, Depapepe, Kazuhiko Kato, J.A.M.
Catalog Number: VTCL-35092
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: October 20, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. Down Town Maaya Sakamoto, Tatsurou Yamashita,
Takayuki Hattori
2. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara Maaya Sakamoto, Yumi Arai, Depapepe 3:55
3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai Maaya Sakamoto, Kazuhiko Kato, J.A.M. 3:12
4. Down Town (Instrumental) Tatsurou Yamashita, Takayuki Hattori 3:59
5. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara
Yumi Arai, Depapepe 3:55
6. Kanashikute Yarikirenai (Instrumental) Kazuhiko Kato, J.A.M. 4:08

Review: If there was any doubt, Maaya Sakamoto shows through Down Town / Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara that she’s still got the vocal chops to deliver some fantastic covers of songs released in the 1970s. “Down Town,” in particular, is an absolute delight from the get-go. The instrumentals, with the bass, an animated brass section, and the sprightly piano backing up Maaya Sakamoto’s expressive vocals all combine to weave an upbeat, carefree atmosphere that evokes the razzle dazzle of the metropolis’s titular area and in so doing, brings forth a track that tops out my list of favorite OP/EDs for this Fall season.

As you can probably infer from the above, all of “Down Town’s” components work well to bring out the fun and excitement that flow out from its depiction of the city’s entertainment district. The nightlife comes alive through Sakamoto’s delivery: her tones are a mixture of calm and cool and are enticing enough that it would get me to to explore the jazz clubs that dot every block and every street corner cafe on account of the latent energy that bubbles forth from her. The subtler elements that arranger Takayuki Hattori tosses into the picture, from the whimsical three-note piano sequence during the chorus to the intermittent car horns, only add to the fun while the song’s faults, like the repetitious lyrics, is overcome by the jazzy instrumentals and the light vocals. The pull that “Down Town” exerts upon me is irresistible: just leave my regards to the humdrum of Main Street as I head off to Broadway!

“Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara” doesn’t make for a great transition since it’s a 180-degree turn from “Down Town,” with a rhythm that departs towards the slower-pace of the country. The acoustic guitar duo of Depapepe, who’ve done some excellent music for Honey and Clover II, play the soft, relaxing accompaniment while Maaya Sakamoto’s soothing vocals are reminiscent of Natsumi Kiyoura’s performance of “Kaze Sagashi” from Sketchbook ~full color’S~. That is, both pieces convey a laid-back, rustic aura conjured through the guitars while the vocalists’ heartfelt delivery succeed in enveloping me with their warmth. In Sakamoto’s case, it gets me to buy into Tamayura’s youthful vibe as it reinforces the message of cherishing the dreams and wonderful memories of one’s childhood, pointless though they may appear to be.

The album wraps up with “Kanashikute Yarikirenai” which takes you into a quieter setting. While all three tracks exude nostalgia, “Kanashikute Yarikirenai’s” sounds much more forlorn. A melancholy air hovers about it as the blues vibe coming from Sakamoto’s longing tones and the bass and piano’s slow tempo draw me into the song’s expression of sadness and loneliness wonderfully. Even if wistfulness and regret are the last thoughts that this album leaves us with, it’s nevertheless a poignant way to go.

It never hurts to do covers of tried and true songs, especially when they still have the staying power that all three songs on this on this album possess. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have competent singers like Maaya Sakamoto take the reins. For her part, Sakamoto continues to demonstrate why she remains one of my favorite seiyuu vocalists by using her voice to bring out the pizazz or evoke the upbeat, tranquil aura of the countryside in the openings to Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru and Tamayura respectively. They might not eclipse some of her earlier works, but out of all the OP/EDs I’ve listened to this season, they stand out as being my two favorites.

Rating: Very Good

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru OP – Down Town

Tamayura OP -Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara


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.

19 thoughts on “Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru/Tamayura OP Single – Down Town/Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara – Review

  • October 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Expected out of Sakamoto Maaya… she is a really good singer and I enjoy most of her songs…

    That can’t be said about the anime itself… even though I haven’t tried it out, I heard its a mixed bag.

  • October 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I’m glad you brought up Sketchbook in the context of Tamayura (and “Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara”). I guess I’m just a fan of these contemplative shows that try to bring the experience of aesthetic engagement (mostly drawing and painting in Sketchbook, mostly photography in Tamayura) to their viewers. I think the gentleness, and simplicity of the music really complements the mood of quietly enjoying the world that surrounds us.

    In contrast “Downtown” is lively, and more superficial (as befitting, Hotori, perhaps). It really is more evocative of going someplace and having fun. I’ve been enjoying this song on my walks out to get something to eat, or while carrying groceries back home.

  • October 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    i kinda still prefer the original from KiKi’s Delivery Service. Uemura Kana’s version of “Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara” is not bad too and i thought hers is more heartfelt and soothing.
    actually i don’t remember much of what sakamoto-san has done, except for the OP for Rahxephon 🙁

  • October 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I also remember Sakamoto Maya the most by Vision of Escaflowne Yakusoku wa Iranai and Hemisphere and Tune the Rainbow by Rahxephon. Down Town took me by surprise. It’s so different from her other material I was used to. It’s more lively and playful compared to a more nostalgic and serious songs of Rahxephon and the like, yet as mentioned by Joojoobees Down Town is too fitting for SoreMachi. Another successful hit.

  • October 24, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Mixed bag means it could be good, could be bad, but hopefully you’re referring to SoreMachi when you say this. Tamayura is solid the whole way through and that one certainly deserves a look!

    I really love the categorization that you put forward of the “contemplative arts” and how well it lends itself to such soothing music. Heck, even the BGM for Tamayura is damn good with all that piano music coming in that makes it so positively relaxing. The OP for Tamayura helps get people settled in, that’s for sure!

    As for “Down Town” I’ve done what you’ve done. Listening to it while walking in the city sure adds an extra spring to my step!

    I’ve listened to the version on Kiki’s Delivery and I’d be pretty hard-pressed to identify either as being better.

    As keikakudoori mentions, Escaflowne is definitely one of her better ones and I also liked that one OP she did from Lodoss War (shows how long I’ve been involved in anime)… Triangular from Macross Frontier is also her’s, but it’s quality… not so much.

    Compared to the other works she’s listed, this is one of the more energetic works I’ve heard from her. She creates this vibrant aura that’s so addicting that I haven’t been able to turn away from its offerings. A great song that covers stuff long past rather well to introduce it to a new generation!

  • October 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I don’t know, but “Down Town” doesn’t really resonate with me. I like “Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara” and its country-side feel though.

  • October 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I initially thought Down Town was covered by ROUND TABLE as flashed in the credits. Silly me. 😛 I still adore the uptempo sound though.

    BTW, was J.A.M as in Project JAM or J.A.M of Soil and Pimp Sessions notoriety involved? Because if it’s the second one, I’m all in.

  • October 26, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Yeah, that was a bit confusing initially too, but it looks like Round Table is doing most of SoreMachi’s soundtrack while Hattori is taking care of Down Town’s arrangement.

    As for your second question, it’s JAM of Soil and Pimp Sessions. Time to go all in then! :3

  • October 27, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Oooh I like Tamayura Op.
    I didn’t plan on watching the anime, but now I’m thinking of picking this series up. The OP gave me a pretty good relaxing, upbeat vibe.

  • October 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I have listen to the whole single and I love it… as expected since it’s very smoothing.

  • October 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    More reason to check out Tamayura: Junichi Sato, ARIA’s director, also directed the show. It’s almost K-ONish except that there seems to be a point to it all beyond the tea/cake eating that people charge that show with.

    Smooth and soothing… especially with Tamayura’s OP to really carry it through the day! :p

  • November 3, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Thank you for reviewing Maaya’s new single. I love both Soredemo’s and Tamayura’s OP Songs. I thought Down Town is such a delightful and playful number that brought something different than the usual fare of anime songs we usually get to hear. My favourite of the two OPs she did though is Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara. I love the rustic country vibe and the acoustic guitars. I don’t know why but it reminded me of Mimi wo Sumaseba and Shizuku’s version of Take me home, Country Roads. xD So random.

  • November 5, 2010 at 12:51 am

    So glitzy and wonderful that it just makes you want to take off doesn’t it? 😀 I also agree with the comparison between Tamayura’s OP and Take me Home. Both pieces have that small, rustic hometown vibe that’s so charming and inviting!

  • Pingback:Fall 2010 Anime Music Rundown – Part I | Chikorita157's Anime Blog

  • April 23, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Are you going to review the OST, perchance? ROUND TABLE doesn’t make background music for anime often, but I think it’s worth checking out. It reminds me of their songs for Aria, and also there are a handful of good brass and piano compositions, varying in genre and feel 😀

    • April 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

      I’ve actually heard about ROUND TABLE being responsible for the OST but I just haven’t found the time to be able to listen to the soundtrack and offer any opinions on it. For now, it’s sitting on the back burner, but thanks for letting me know of what to expect. Maybe I just need to finish the show first and figure it out from there.

  • Pingback:2010′s Anime Music in Review – Intros/Outros Edition

  • Pingback:Weekly Anime Music Releases - April 1 - Anime Instrumentality

  • Pingback:Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 30

Leave a Reply