Weekly Anime Music Releases – April 1

This week’s anime music releases contains a light dash of anime soundtracks, mostly in the realms of Toshio Masuda’s music for Kamisama Hajimemashita‘s second season and a smattering of artists for Mekakucity Actors that includes some well-known artists like Teddyloid and ANANT-GARDE EYES. But that’s to be expected since we’re in an anime music doldrums. The last season just ended after all and the new season hasn’t shown much of its true colors yet. So we’ll have to see how that goes. With that light load in mind, here’s a look at what’s coming out this week:

Anime Openings and Ending Themes

Tamayura Movie Theme Song

Tamayura ~Sotsugyou Shashin~

Album Name: Kore kara
Artist: Maaya Sakamoto
Purchase at: CDJapan
When Maaya Sakamoto performed the opening theme for the Tamayura OVA, I absolutely loved her cover and was hoping to see more of her. And with the release of the Tamayura movie, it looks like we will! The anime focuses on four girls, one of whom is very interested in photography and you all get to see them explore life, mature, and come closer to achieving their dreams. All signs indicate that this movie will be more of the same, and that should give us a beautiful serene song from Maaya Sakamoto.

Nanoha Vivid ED Theme

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

Album Name: Suki datte Ienakute
Artist: Yukari Tamura
Purchase at: CDJapan
I do like Yukari Tamura’s voice as Nanoha in the Nanoha series, so her appearance here is likely going to be a treat. While she doesn’t hold quite a candle to the vocal prowess that Nana Mizuki can deliver, she does a good job of singing in character, so there’s much to like here, assuming all the past Nanoha shows are of any indication. Or so we hope.

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Kamisama Hajimemashita2 OST

Kamisama Hajimemashita◎

Album Name: Kamisama Hajimemashita◎ Original Soundtrack Otodamashu
Artist: Toshio Masuda
Purchase at: CDJapan
There’s not a whole lot that needs to be said about Toshio Masuda’s skills as a composer seeing just how well he’s been able to deliver on soundtracks for shows like Mushishi. His works carry a sort of atmosphere that’s just really absorbing and he’s also capable of drumming up some good melodies for shounen anime like Naruto. While I haven’t seen Kamisama Hajimemashita, I do have a lot of faith in Masuda bringing out yet another solid effort, and that means you shouldn’t take him lightly when he decides to write music for shoujo anime.

Unlimited Fafnir OST

Unlimited Fafnir

Album Name: Unlimited Fafnir Original Soundtrack -Dragons High-
Artist: R・O・N
Purchase at: CDJapan
The simple fact is that I’m not really too familiar with Unlimited Fafnir and I’m not really too interested in exploring it. Ditto goes towards the soundtrack, which is composed by R・O・N, whose real name is Ryuta Iida. This guy has worked in anime before, having written the music for Shinrei Tantei Yakumo and Togainu no Chi, but again, these are some low-rated shows, so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot to come out of their soundtracks.

Mekakucity Actors

MEKAKUCITY ACTORS

Album Name: MEKAKUCITY M’s 1: MEKAKUCITY ACTORS VOCAL & SOUND COLLECTION
Artist: Jin, ANANT-GARDE EYES, TeddyLoid, Ishifuro, Ryosuke Nakanishi, sasakure.UK
Purchase at: CDJapan
Mekakucity Actors‘ soundtrack comes with a bevy of artists whose portfolio of work is pretty excellent. The first one on that list is ANANT-GARDE EYES, who composed a large chunk of the soundtrack for Angel Beats. Then you have Teddyloid, whose penchant for electronica is widely respected, especially after all that fame he garnered through Panty and Stocking‘s OST. Suffice to say, there’s a risk that too many cooks spoil the broth, but if you were checking out this album anyway, it’s probably going to be a diverse mix that’ll match your tastes quite nicely.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 25

March 25’s anime music continues to be a torrent of full-length albums or soundtrack releases. Gear up, because this week brings with it some pretty big guns. By far and away, the most exciting release is KanColle‘s soundtrack. While I thought the opening and ending themes were decent, the BGM takes it to a whole new level and makes it a very solid release that we’ll hopefully put into the review pipeline. A smattering of other composers also deliver, like Tsuneyoshi Saito for yet another edition of Fafner. Aside from that, we also have Yuki Hayashi delivering some solid tunes for Gundam Builders Try. So, with all that good music in tow, here’s a look at what’s coming out this week:

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

KimiUso Classical

Your Lie in April

Album Name: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso Twinkle Little Star
Artist: Yuna Shinohara, Taiji Koga, Eriko Kawachi
Purchase at: CDJapan
If you’ve been following our post series on Your Lie in April, you’ll find that we’ve been utterly absorbed by the anime’s approach to classical music. So now, if you want to sit down and be held in thrall by the many beautiful classical pieces that surface in the show, this album will be for you. You’ve got the likes of Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven all popping their heads to deliver many a melodic delight that’ll have you coming back for more.

KanColle OST

Kantai Collection -KanColle-

Album Name: Kantai Collection -KanColle- Original Soundtrack “Kankyou”
Artist: Natsumi Kameoka
Purchase at: CDJapan
I don’t think anyone expected KanColle‘s OST to be so good. After all, the show’s premise is pretty silly, and the lack of character development only makes things worse. In a way, the OST saves KanColle from complete mediocrity. Natsumi Kameoka flexes her musical muscles and shows she’s capable of slinging orchestral melodies in a measured and confident manner. The strength that her compositions bring to light are very much the time to listen and this soundtrack is a strong contender for soundtrack of the year.

Fafner Exodus OST

Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS

Album Name: Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS Original Soundtrack vol.2
Artist: Tsuneyoshi Saito
Purchase at: CDJapan
What’s been said previously for volume 1 of the Fafner EXODUS soundtrack still holds true here. Once again, Tsuneyoshi Saito, with the backing of the Warsaw Philharmonic, will be unleashing yet another beautiful orchestral soundtrack. And for fans of piano concertos, rumor has it that the one on this disc is fairly solid and worth listening to.
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LiSA Sings “RallyGoRound” Opening Theme to Nisekoi Anime

LiSA RallyGoRoundSeason 2 of the Nisekoi anime will be airing in less than a month, but not every detail has been released just yet. In their latest announcement, anime music singer LiSA will be performing the opening theme to Nisekoi, titled “RallyGoRound” with LiSA announcing the news on her Twitter account.

For many fans, this announcement will be very well-received. LiSA has had a long history of performing music for anime, most notably as the singer for Yui, a character from Angel Beats, who was a part of a school band named Girls Dead Monster. Her power pop style and flashy flair have won many people over, especially in her delivery on “Oath Sign”, Fate/Zero‘s opening theme, and “Crossing Field”, the opening theme to Sword Art Online. In addition to all those singles, she has also shown up at conventions like Anime Expo where LiSA performed live in concert.

Her musical delivery tends along the brash and bold side, making her a great spectacle on stage, but she isn’t quite as solid on nuance. Nevertheless, her fanbase remains huge and should be pleased to hear her perform her 8th single. Those looking forward to getting LiSA’s latest single will have to wait until May 27 for a CD release of “RallyGoRound”. Until then, they can catch Nisekoi season 2 when it airs on April 10.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 18

March 18’s anime music releases are all full-length albums or soundtracks that are worth taking a look at. It helps that many of the composers up to bat this go-around are familiar too. You have Naoki Sato writing music for Assassination Classroom, Kunihiko Ryo is also back with Akatsuki no Yona, and then you have the continuation of Akame ga Kill with Taku Iwasaki. So needless to say, a lot of big names to consider. Here’s a look at what’s coming out this week:

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Psycho-Pass OST2

PSYCHO-PASS 2

Album Name: PSYCHO-PASS Complete Original Soundtrack 2
Artist: Yugo Kanno
Purchase at: CDJapan
Is there anything I can write about for Psycho-Pass 2‘s OST that I haven’t already said when I reviewed Psycho-Pass‘s soundtrack? Yuugo Kanno is capable of delivering a brilliant theme/motif that ties all the tracks together and his skill with the Psycho-Pass franchise is particularly adroit. All of the big moments are captured well in his music and his ability to nail the orchestral and electronic instruments work in this awesome sci-fi epic thriller.

Assassination Classroom OST

Assassination Classroom

Album Name: Assassination Classroom Original Soundtrack
Artist: Naoki Sato
Purchase at: CDJapan
When it comes to hard-hitting action, you can always count on Naoki Sato to deliver the goods. The guy has had a long history of strong anime soundtracks, most notably when he composed the music to Eureka 7. Aside from that, you can always find him on shows like Moyashimon, but arguably, his best work may be on the mecha anime Heroic Age. So with those shows in mind and how good their scores are, you should be expecting a decent level of quality for Assassination Classroom‘s soundtrack.

Wake Up Girls Best

Wake Up, Girls!

Album Name: Wake Up, Best!
Artist: MONACA (Hidekazu Tanaka, Keiichi Hirokawa, Kuniyuki Takahashi, Satoru Kosaki, Keiichi Okabe)
Purchase at: CDJapan
I don’t recall Wake Up, Girls! getting a huge reception over in the West and I’ve absolutely no idea how well it fares against other idol anime (by which I mostly mean Love Live and idolm@ster). From what I can tell, however, Wake Up, Girls! takes an earnest approach in its depiction of idols and while it might not have the full glamour or innocent fantasies of what it means to be an idol, it has heart. And that has to count for something, depending on how you find their music.
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Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 11

March 11’s anime music releases are pretty slow. There are only 3 CDs really worth thinking about. That actually compares favorably to most weeks since I usually only care about 3 CDs anyway, so the fact that there’s 3 CDs worth your time means we’re hitting par for this course. So when you have the likes of a ryo-led Noisycell to boost the Death Parade anime, some pleasant Galileo Galilei on Magic Kaito‘s ED theme, and, of course the GARO the Animation soundtrack featuring the MONACA dudes, you can’t call this week a failure at all! Here’s a look at what’s coming out this week:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Death Parade Noisycell

Death Parade

Album Name: Last Theater
Artist: Noisycell
Purchase at: iTunes
Ryo is back once more, not the one who plies his trade with supercell, but a completely different one with NoisyCell, which features a male artist instead of his usual act of having a female vocalist at the helm. The song itself is decent, with a rocking feel, especially in the chorus which seems to cry out in protest. That said, it’s not too notable, and is certainly not as catchy as you’d hope for.

hikarinoakariost.info @tsuba20

Magic Kaito Kid

Album Name: Koi no Jumyou
Artist: Galileo Galilei
Purchase at: CDJapan
Galileo Galilei hops on the scene with a passable song that isn’t as good as some of their other works, namely, the opening theme to Ano Hana. But the soft rock feel is definitely alive in Magic Kaito Kid‘s “Koi no Jumyou” where the vocals by Yuuki Ozaki continues to be as mellow as ever without ever getting overly excitable. They’re definitely the type of band I enjoy in any case.

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Garo the Animation OST

GARO the Animation

Album Name: GARO -Honoo no Kokuin- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Artist: MONACA (Ryuichi Takada, Kakeru Ishihama, Keiichi Okabe)
Purchase at: CDJapan
MONACA’s history has waffled between bland atmospheric fare to interesting atmospheric fare, with a few doses of variety thrown in for good measure. GARO‘s soundtrack features an eclectic crowd that includes the composer who did Working! and Nier, which should easily excite your musical palette. So while this release won’t be at the top of my radar, I think it’s still worth taking a peek at on the off chance that this is one of their better offerings.

Kalafina Sings the Ending Theme to Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Kalafina Kajiura
Kalafina, the group of singers founded by anime composer Yuki Kajiura and include members Hikaru, Keiko, and Wakana, will be performing the ending theme to the Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works anime. This won’t be the first time the group has collaborated with UFOtable, the animation studio behind the Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. The group had worked with them on the Kara no Kyoukai anime, performing such songs as “oblivious,” “fairytale,” and “Seventh Heaven” as well as singing “to the beginning,” the opening theme to Fate/Zero.

For Kalafina, the release of “Ring Your Bell” will be the 17th single that the group has released. In addition to working with UFOtable, the group has gone on to do a variety of theme songs for a variety of anime. For example, they gave a spirited, folksy delivery on Sora no Woto‘s “Hikari no Senritsu” and the grimmer delivery on Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s “Magia.” More recently, they’ve sung the opening theme song to Aldnoah.Zero, titled “heavenly blue.”

So what can we expect from this storied group? Probably a bit more in the way of melancholia since that’s what they’re best known for. Many of their songs have a lamenting tone in which they harmonize well together to deliver a memorable experience. While their sound is pretty unique, they’ve been singing this kind of music for awhile now and it might be getting tiresome for those who want Kalafina to expand to new territories. But for those who love that sense of familiarity that the group brings to the fore, you can look forward to the release of their latest single.

So for Kalafina fans, you can look forward to the latest single, which is due to be released on May 13, 2015. In the meantime, you can look forward to the latest addition to the Fate/Stay Night franchise, which is set to air in the spring anime season.

Kantai Collection -KanColle- Music Thoughts

KanColle Musicians
The Kantai Collection anime, better known amongst fans as KanColle, has taken the fandom by storm. The anime, which came out of an online browser game, has proven to be very popular. In the game, players command a fleet of warships that have their basis on historical warships and send them off to fight battles.

With such success, it was inevitable that this franchise would get turned into an anime where it was released during the Winter 2015 anime season and is currently still ongoing as of this writing. And if there’s anything that can be agreed upon regarding this series, it’s that it has some pretty good music going for it. That’s not a small feat either: one thing our writer found out when she went to Comiket was there were a lot of KanColle doujin music groups setting up shop at the event.

So when you look at the KanColle anime’s music, here’s what’s on offer:

KanColle OP ThemeFirst, we have the KanColle opening single, “Miiro,” sung by AKINO of bless4. Now if there’s something to know about AKINO, it’s that she has a huge voice that’s very fitting for power pop. She can project, get in your face, and then some. Unfortunately, when she does so here, it becomes a bit overwhelming. What hurts this song further is that it’s awfully repetitive, without any adornments that would make it a compelling listen. Verdict: it sucks and is completely forgettable.

KanColle ED ThemeFar better is KanColle‘s ending theme, “Fubuki,” sung by newcomer Shiena Nishizawa. For a debut single, Nishizawa’s voice shows a great amount of promise: the piece is very catchy and it’s hard not to like the sustains leading into the intense lyrical flurry that engages your thoughts of how well Nishizawa can navigate those passages. I also like how it flows; the song never feels static and bland because there’s always some shift to hold my attention. So it might not knock your socks off, but it’s at least worth a listen.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 04

This week’s set of anime music releases are much more tilted towards albums and soundtracks rather than the usual coterie of opening and ending singles. I mean, there are still quite a few, but it’s just not as numerous as the sort of barrage you find halfway through an anime season. Thank goodness for that I suppose.

So with that in mind, this week is a pretty action-packed week. We have the likes of LiSA and Konomi Suzuki coming out with releases. In the soundtrack realm, Log Horizon 2‘s OST will definitely be worth a look. Finally, we have some old stars in Yui Horie to sing up Dog Days” and StylipS bringing us something from Gundam Build Fighters Try. Here’s a look at what’s coming:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Gundam Build Fighters Try

Gundam Build Fighters Try

Album Name: Mayomayo Compass wa Iranai
Artist: StylipS
Purchase at: CDJapan
StylipS feels like one of those cutesy all-girl bands that you come to know and love because they feature some of the more enjoyable anison singers this side of sphere. Their body of work has been pretty formidable, what with the likes of “Miracle Rush” from Saki Achiga-hen, as well as “Prism Sympathy” from Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya. StylipS, which is made up of voice actresses Arisa Noto, Maho Matsunaga, Moe Toyota, and Miku Itou certainly don’t seem to lack for energy, even if the music can get a bit static after awhile. Either way, they perform the 2nd ED theme to Gundam Build Fighters Try where they’ll deliver some more of their infectious energy once more.

Dog Days 2 ED

DOG DAYS”

Album Name: Stay With Me
Artist: Yui Horie
Purchase at: CDJapan
Yui Horie has performed a lot of anime music over the years. My first exposure to her voice was when she sang some of the insert songs on the Love Hina anime before moving on to the popular “Scramble” from School Rumble. The last instance in which I was exposed to her clear voice was on Bakemonogatari‘s “Super Sweet Nightmare,” which didn’t really gather too much in the way of plaudits but did well with other people. I suspect “Stay with me,” the ED theme to Dog Days” will go the same way. And for her loyal fans, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Seven Deadly Sins Takigawa

The Seven Deadly Sins

Album Name: Season
Artist: Alisa Takigawa
Purchase at: CDJapan
Alisa Takigawa isn’t exactly a household name, whether it’s in the anime world or out. And that’s a bit a shame since her voice does show a bit of promise in “Season,” the second ending theme to the Seven Deadly Sins anime. There’s a certain strength in her voice that makes her worth a look even if it’s not exactly the kind of song that would really grab at your attention. But at least it’s about on par with a lot of other anime songs out there.
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