Music in anime is very important to me. It helps me understand the message the creators were trying to get across. Connecting with the characters is easier, envisioning the story and it’s meaning beyond as well. Soundtrack stays with me longer than the words or actions between the characters. A good one leaves a residue of a feeling I had while watching. Here’s why I think music breathes life into dreams and how it affected me.
No life without music
One of the most important things in my life is and has always been music. My personal taste in music is mostly metal and rock music with some classical additions. However, when it comes to movies, TV shows or anime – everything goes! Songs I wouldn’t normally listen to, now seem very appealing.
Fair warning though, if this post may seem overly emotional to some. Sorry, but there’s no way I can write about music without incorporating how it makes me feel. Should also mention that I have no musical background and education. What guides me when it comes to music is how it makes me feel and whether or not I can find something more in it than just a catchy tune.
What makes a great anime soundtrack?
Good soundtrack in general helps me envision the story better, connect to it more and understand it better. Watching the story unfold with a good soundtrack to back it up is always a nice experince. Anime usually try to use a very catchy song opening and ending and those may not really present the anime best or somehow relate to the main story. In case they gain popularity, so does the anime and it’s one more thing pushing it forward and making it more recognizable. When the music is in tune with the anime then I get sucked into it and can’t forget about it. I have liked a lot of songs from a lot of different anime, but the first time I really got deeply captivated with the whole soundtrack was with Death Note.
Death Note holds a deathly grip on my soul
Opening song, called “The World” and ending “Alumina” by Nightmare are often considered as one of the best in history of anime. Personally, I don’t like these two, but I obsess over the rest! I think I was drawn to it because of the rock-ish sound. The way these songs would accompany the story was planned to perfection. Just by listening to the soundtrack I remember the chill running down my spine during some more dramatic moments. Reaction in my stomach while watching certain characters die is something I won’t easily forget. Most definitely gave me so much to think about, a sort of moral hangover if you like. The atmosphere it radiates is simply put thoughtful, painful and liberating at the same time. This was actually the anime and soundtrack that pushed me forward and finally got me into writing my second blog.
See you later, Space Cowboy!
The second anime that really needs to be placed in this post is Cowboy Bebop. As mentioned before I rarely stray far way from metal or classical one, but this one was a treat for my ears! This anime has a multiple of soundtrack versions performed by band Seatbelts. They were specifically formed to create this soundtrack and they did a great job! Opening song “Tank!” and ending song “The Real Folk Blues” are both very high on the lists of best ever anime opening or ending songs. Most certainly agree with this and the jazz part of the soundtrack is what really gets to me. In particular, the ending theme encompasess the anime as a whole. I can’t say it had the same meaning or effect on me like Death Note, but it pushed me further down the road of getting into Japanese language.
Howl’s Moving Castle and the emotional piano music. “Sekai no yakusoku” is still one of my favourite songs. As I wanted to sing it along and understand what’s it about, I learned it. This was the first one and later it just became a habit. When I find an anime song that I particularly like, I learn the lyrics in romaji and sing it along. Or just sing it while cooking, or going for a walk,… So by then I knew something had to be done about it, but procrastinating is my specialty. Took me a couple of years to give in and finally start learning Japanese. As much as I love the sound of Japanese, the anime soundtracks were the ones that did the trick for me. Joe Hisaishi simply never stops to amaze and the soundtracks he created for Studi Ghibli are otherworldly!
During writing this post I remembered the most hilarious scene that included an instrument, of sorts. Think back on Kill la Kill. Nonon Jakuzare and her transformation into a musical beast? One that uses ridiculous amounts of sound waves and super loud attacks that attack the life fibers in her dress? Fight scene between Ryuuko and her was simply amazing and comical! Laughed so hard, I had to keep from falling off my chair!
The soundtrack for Kill la Kill is not my usual cup of tea, but I got easily hooked. They use the same songs over and over and the fighting scenes really benefit from them. By the song you already know who you will see on the screen next. My guilty pleasure is Garnidelia’s “Ambiguous”, the opening theme used from episode 16 onwards.
One lifetime is not enough
Honestly, one blog post is way too short to actually say everything I have to say. There are so many more amazing soundtracks that I felt connected to. Aside from the classics such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Naussica of the Valley of The Wind and a couple more from Studio Ghibli, I have a couple more favourites. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a couple of amazing themes, especially opening theme “Again” by YUI. Shingeki no Kyojin uses war theme better than any other anime I watched. The war hymn opening theme of season one “Guren no Yumiya” has amazing choral opening, sends shivers all over! One Punch Man opening theme, “The Hero!! Set Fire to the Furious Fist” gives a similar feeling of a fight that never ends.
Anyone else likes these as well?
Thanks for reading!