|Tegami Bachi Original Sound Track Nocturne ~a destiny~
|Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee)
|April 21, 2010
|1. Canon of AMBER GROUND
|2. LETTER BEE
|3. Tsuioku no Aria ~ Recollections
|4. Niche & Steak
|5. Connor Culh
|7. White Desert of Jose
|8. Lag & Niche
|9. Seirei Kohaku
|10. Prayer Hill
|11. Tears of Sylvette
|12. Tsuioku no Aria ~ Recollections (Harpsicord version)
|14. Heavy-Metal Enemy (Shuugeki Gaichuu)
|15. Town of Kyrie ~ Dead End
|18. Boushitsu ~ Goos & Noir
|20. Shoot Down!
|21. Nocturne ~ a Destiny
|22. Canon of AMBER GROUND Full version
|23. LETTER BEE ~ Strings Harpsicord version
Review: More often than not, listening to a soundtrack without having contextual knowledge requires firing up one’s imagination to figure out exactly what moods or settings the show’s composer is trying to capture through the music. Ryo Kunihiko is probably one of the better composers at this task since he has proven time and time again of being able to seamlessly blend his compositions to fit the scenes. In Victorian Romance Emma, his tracks depict the quiet, romantic atmosphere of the plot as well as the show’s English setting really well. It’s no surprise then, that, fresh from his work on the Aion MMORPG soundtrack, Kunihiko has little difficulty in bringing out the sense of adventure that Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee) evokes through the anime.
Before I go on, do note that I have neither seen nor read Letter Bee. Anything written here is purely speculation on my part combined with some heavy inference based on the track titles. If my descriptions reveal ignorance, well, you will know why.
Anyhow, I bring up Kunihiko’s work on Aion because the first thought I had was how much Tegami Bachi’s score reminded me of an RPG soundtrack. Its grand main theme, titled “LETTER BEE,” encapsulates the scope of the anime through a strong, attention-grabbing introduction featuring an orchestral melody that depicts a growing sense of excitement and adventure. Though there are moments where it moves into a more somber section to highlight the importance of the titular carriers’ task and the hardships they face on their journeys, it never loses sight of the awe-inspiring sights and sounds the carriers experience as they go about their work. The exhilaration carried throughout the piece is not unlike an RPG’s main theme, which gets the listener pumped about experiencing and interacting with the game’s world as the story soon unfolds.
The similarities don’t end there either. You hear music reminiscent of battle themes in “Heavy-Metal Enemy (Shuugeki Gaichuu)” and “Shoot Down!” The former builds its menacing tone through screaming electronica and synth tones which support the bass guitar’s rhythm well enough though the track could certainly be improved if the tension were cranked up a few notches. “Shoot Down!” is the better of the two. Its introduction moves at a frenzied pace, conveying the imminent danger, before bringing the strings to the fore to play a series of grim chords that could be taken out from an action flick. Or, if you need a video game comparison, think Metal Gear Solid. To be sure, it’s not quite as developed as Harry Gregson-Williams’s score for the MGS series, but its dissonance works well enough to heighten the intensity of the action sequences.
And what about the character/town themes? That’s one area in which this soundtrack really excels. Although Niche and Steak’s eponymous theme is a mix of melancholy and shyness that grows more playful and open as the piece progresses and Connor Culh’s unwieldy melody is a perfect semblance of the character’s rotund, clumsy manner, it’s the theme depicting the duo of Lag and Niche that really does it for me. The animated melody has the feel of an Irish dance that issues forth exuberance and eagerness by the truckload. It’s energy imbues the soundtrack with life and just listening to the lively music makes you want to join them on their travels and share in the wondrous sights and sounds that they come across.
Niche & Steak[audio:04 Letterbee.mp3]
Lag & Niche
One good example of such a place would be the “White Desert of Jose” which I presume to be an actual location in the series. In listening to it, you’d hardly be able to picture it as a dry, uninhabitable desert because of how the electric guitar and the piano combine really well to breathe life into the area. It’s almost as though the desert flowers were blooming right before your eyes, leaving you completely awestruck by the vibrant colors that meet your gaze. And of course, it goes without saying that the the underground world of AmberGround, with its mysteries and wonders, is depicted beautifully through a slow chant that makes you feel as though you’re walking upon hallowed ground, especially when the female chorus augments the mood through their ethereal voices.
White Desert of Jose[audio:07 Letterbee.mp3]
Canon of AMBER GROUND (Full version)
Through it all, the emotional fare like “Nocturne ~ a Destiny” will come in to fulfill the needs of the show’s more introspective moments, but make no mistake about it, Letter Bee’s soundtrack’s forte is in its ability to convey the excitement the characters must feel with each and every assignment. The path the characters tread may be dangerous at times, but it’s a rewarding trek the whole way through, and Kunihiko’s latest score certainly reflects that well.
Nocturne ~ a Destiny[audio:21 Letterbee.mp3]
Rating: Very Good