Cowboy Bebop’s Jazzy Tank continues to Outshine It’s Competition

After the end of the first of the Anime Music Tournament Championship Rounds, one of the pieces that have managed to demonstrate its staying power has been none other than Cowboy Bebop’s “Tank!”

With its cool jazzy tones along with a wickedly awesome sax solo that manages to mesmerize, the song basically hearkens back to what may be some of the best anime of all time, taking the bounty hunters in space concept and implementing it in a way that makes the characters seem really down to earth and human. The music also goes a long way towards giving the chaotic feeling that comes with their adventures, but they mix in quite a few poignant pieces in the soundtrack to keep the emotions flowing heartily.

Give the song a listen and let us know why you think it’s one of the best anime songs or if it’s simply overrated:

Tim Morrison Plays Vogel im Kafig from Attack on Titan on Ukelele

Given how popular Attack on Titan’s music has become, it’s not a surprise that there have been a host of Youtube artists who’ve been looking to put their own interpretations or transcriptions of the anime’s music. Today’s delivery is by Tim Morrison, who gives us his take of “Vogel im Kafig” from the first soundtrack, so give it a listen and let us know what you think about it.

Otakon 2013 Brings in Composer Yoko Kanno and Chiaki Ishikawa as Guests

Otakon 2013
Otakon, the annual anime convention held in Baltimore near the tail end of summer, has hit its 20th year milestone and is celebrating that in style! This year’s production has already featured some big names like TM Revolution, the singer who paired up with Nana Mizuki to perform Valvrave the Liberator’s “Preserved Roses” opening theme! But arguably the most sought-after performance will be none other than the Otakon Sunday concert which will feature Yoko Kanno and Chiaki Ishikawa!

Right now, it’s really hard to tell what will go down. According to the site, it says that Yoko Kanno will be performing something called “Piano Me” which will consist of Kanno on solo piano. But beyond that, the details are sparse. As most anime fans know, Yoko Kanno is responsible for composing music to anime writing the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack as well as, more recently, the soundtrack for Sakamichi no Apollon, better known as Kids on the Slope in the West.

Chiaki Ishikawa will also get a chance to showcase her skills as she opens up the concert. For those not aware, Chiaki Ishikawa performed the evergreen opening song to Bokurano, titled “Uninstall” as well as the ending theme to Majestic Prince, through a song titled “Sayonara Tteiu”. In the past, she’s also worked as a part of See-Saw on the .hack franchise.

Given all that’s out there, I’d say that this year’s Otakon experience beats out the Anime Expo experience by a stretch, as fun as the latter was. Because of that, we’ll look forward to seeing how things go down and the impressions thereof!

Little Witch Academia 2’s Kickstarter in Full Swing, Adds Soundtrack Release

Little Witch Academia Kickstarter
If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on in the world of anime Kickstarters, you’ll know that the Kickstarter for Little Witch Academia opened a mere three days ago, but has now succeeded in getting fully funded in a matter of six hours and continues to be going strong as it has now doubled the amount it originally wanted to get funded at as its funding now exceeds $325,000.

For those who aren’t aware of what this Kickstarter is all about, here’s some background: earlier this year, Studio Trigger released an anime short titled Little Witch Academia as part of the Anime Mirai 2013 event meant to showcase new talent amongst Japanese animators. This anime focused on a group of girls going through a Witch Academy not unlike Harry Potter’s Hogwarts where they learn to fly on brooms and perform magic. While it got a warm reception in Japan, fans overseas were really excited about it and left comments on the youtube video of the short saying they wanted more, prompting the director to look into Kickstarter as a funding possibility.

Obviously, with this success on the Kickstarter stage, there will be calls for amazing stretch goals and Studio Trigger has delivered on that front, saying in their latest update that if the Kickstarter reaches over $500,000, those who’ve donated for the Limited Edition Blu-ray will receive a soundtrack!

Now this news should resonate with anime music fans because composer Michiru Ooshima is behind these efforts. Her previous works included the amazing soundtrack to Sora no Woto as well as the original Fullmetal Alchemist and the Tatami Galaxy soundtracks. Suffice to say, with those titles under her belt, her efforts on Little Witch Academia have proven themselves worthy since the music was the next best aspect of it after the animation. So for those looking to get the soundtrack, rest assured it’ll be worth every penny!

Anime Expo 2013 Convention Report is Up

Our coverage of Anime Expo is already up! Although we had previewed Anime Expo a few weeks ago, after 3 days of fun at the annual Los Angeles convention, there’s much to report, from the loot that we purchased, to the people we met to the panels we went to, to even the concerts which were really impressive even if the hype leading into them wasn’t too high.

If you go through to read the post, you’ll find that the best part is easily the opportunity to meet anime director Makoto Shinkai, who was there to promote his latest work titled Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words), which featured an outstanding soundtrack composed by Kashiwa Daisuke, whose piano work, while minimalistic, was very soothing and deliciously introspective on the whole.

So do come by to read of the fun that we had. There were many anime bloggers at the convention and it was really difficult to go anywhere without bumping into someone I knew. On top of that, we hope that you’ll stay tuned, because in addition to this general report of the convention we put out, we’ll also be having the concert reports up in short order. Look forward to that!

Time of Eve Kickstarter Continuing to Shine

Time of Eve, also known as Eve no Jikan, has been pulling strong through its Kickstarter Project. The goal for the Kickstarter was to raise $18,000 towards releasing the entirety of the movie in Blu-Ray format for a worldwide audience. Given that we’re about halfway through the campaign, Time of Eve has managed to raise nearly $107,000, which is considerably more than its goal amount. In doing so, it’s also succeeded in passing the stretch goal of $50,000, which allows the Eve no Jikan movie to have an English dub. Currently, there are no further stretch goals down the road, but nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what comes down the pipeline seeing that there are still 15 days left.

In light of that, we do encourage you to give this film a try if you’re interested in a science fiction kind of story. On top of that, the Eve no Jikan soundtrack was released about three years ago. With anime music by Tooru Okada, the soundtrack comes across as a minimalist work. Perhaps overly so because it can be hard to listen to this music on a standalone basis. Nevertheless, we definitely recommend giving it a go. It can certainly be worth your while in any case as the nostalgia factor comes in as well as the wonderful ED theme by Kalafina.

Anime Music Best Song Contest

Some of you may be aware, but we’ve been quietly putting together a Best Anime Music Tournament. As you can read from our latest entry, the tournament will focus entirely on anime opening and ending themes where people will nominate their favorite anime songs, be it from an opening, ending theme, or even an insert song. Once the song votes are tallied seeded, people will then vote on the tracks they like best in the format of a head to head competition. It’s pretty simple when it comes down to it!

For the time being, what we’re looking to do is figure out whether the guidelines we have in place are good enough. As you can imagine, there are a lot of ways in which to do this, and what we currently have is just one way of going about it. If you have other thoughts or ideas, we’d love to hear from you to see how to best improve things.

So head over to the site and make a comment! Once we’ve compiled all of the feedback, we’ll create the guidelines and open up the nominations thread so that people can come in to put in the songs they feel are worthy of being represented in this tournament.

A Double Dose of Suisei no Gargantia

Today, we see two entries, both of which focus on one particular anime series: the currently-airing Suisei no Gargantia, better known as Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet.

Our first post focuses on the Gargantia ending theme, titled Sora to Kimi to Message, an anime song by ChouCho which might not be a heavy hitter, but it comes across as being wonderfully pleasant. ChouCho has this really soft, soothing voice that helps you feel at ease as she sings of a personal sort of love, a sentiment I vastly prefer to the euphoric outpourings that invest the J-pop world. Having love ballads like this are a rare gem and feel all the more precious. The B-side isn’t bad either, though it is just a bit indistinct from the opening single.

The second post is more on the actual music implementation in the Gargantia anime. Taro Iwashiro’s use of strings is absolutely sublime as they’re able to convey the sense of loss wonderfully. Although death can be associated with a personal melancholia, what this post posits is that the melancholia focuses on the event as a whole, that the game has changed with Captain Fairlock’s passing. The way it progresses from sadness to growing confidence makes this an awesome experience, showcasing what good music could do to boost an anime’s stock and get its audience more invested.

Rocking up some karuta

We’ve been on a tear lately with our publishing and for good reason: there’s a lot of interesting anime music in store that we want to share and thought that you would find awesome!

Our first review is of the Chihayafuru 2 Original Soundtrack. Once again, composer Kousuke Yamashita does the music for this anime and while we really loved the first season’s soundtrack (judging by how it deserved our award for Anime Soundtrack of the Year), we unfortunately have to say that this one doesn’t quite meet with our expectations. That said, there are some lovely pieces and that it does end well with the lovely ending theme titled “Akanezora” sung by seiyuu Asami Seto. I’m not sure why more songs aren’t like that as it’s become one of my favorite ending themes this year.

The next one is of the awesome Nana Mizuki and TM Revolution team-up combo. Yup! I’m talking about none other than the magnificent Valvrave the Liberator OP single titled “Preserved Roses.” As you might expect from such a teamwork, this piece flat-out rocks and it’s a grand spectacle. The problem then becomes that it really doesn’t have much soul to back it up. Nana Mizuki and T.M. Revolution don’t quite put in sterling performances and the result is that it’s nowhere as awesome as it could be. I wouldn’t really recommend this album too much since it veers on the side of being only slightly above average.

So that’s a wrap for this week’s edition. Hope to be able to turn out more anime music reviews for your perusal!

A Composer Profile and Some Awards

Hope you’ve been keeping up with our updates over on the anime music blog side of things.  As summer comes, we’re going back into gear with updates about the music scene and what you should be looking for once the summer conventions begin to roll around.  In the meantime, here are a few updates that you can check out over on the Anime Instrumentality Blog:

First off, we’ve finally gotten around to writing up the Anime Music Awards for 2012.  This year’s voting rolls resulted in quite a few close matchups, though at the end of the day, the esteemed soundtrack to the Tsuritama anime managed to take home the top honors.  From the composer standpoint, Yoko Kanno took home the honors there, no surprise given how well her work for Aquarion EVOL and Kids on the Slope was received.  Opening and ending themes are always a bit controversial, and Kids on the Slope’s “Sakamichi no Melody” earned its place as did the ending theme to Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, titled “Yume no naka no Watashi no Yume” and sung by the wonderful Masumi Ito.  We even have an extras section, but won’t reveal it here, so read the post to check it out!

Secondly, we may be continuing on with our anime music composers series.  This time, we’re taking a look at composer Jun Maeda, the man who’s perhaps best known for scoring all the theme songs and BGM for visual novels like Kanon, Air, Clannad, and Little Busters! as well as original anime like Angel Beats!  Most of his works have gotten a lot of widespread appeal, especially for those who are sentimentally inclined as he’s worked on quite a few beautiful songs in conjunction with singers like Lia.  So regardless of how you perceive him, he’s definitely worth checking out since his body of work is decently large and, all in all, pretty unforgettable.

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