Platina Jazz’s Rasmus Faber Composes Asterisk War Anime Soundtrack

Asterisk War
At Anime Boston and Sakura-Con this past weekend, Aniplex announced that they would do an anime adaptation of Asterisk War, a work based on a Japanese light novel series written by Yuu Miyazaki. The anime follows a boy named Amagiri Ayato who participates in a battle for supremacy and is set to air Fall 2015.

But the most important revelation (to us, anyway) is that Asterisk War‘s soundtrack will be composed by Rasmus Faber. Rasmus Faber’s anime work has been confined mostly to excellent jazz arrangements of anime themes through his Platina Jazz albums. He’s arranged themes as varied as Dragonball Z‘s song “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind‘s theme, but for Asterisk War, Rasmus Faber goes back to his roots as a house artist. Check out the trailer for the anime below, which features some of his music:

From the video, you can definitely hear the electronica playing a prominent role in the combat sequences, giving the scenes a feeling of intensity while also fitting the anime’s futuristic setting. But those heavy beats are also accompanied by some synth strings which give those scenes a sort of grandeur and excitement you wouldn’t normally get from pure electronica alone.

While that snippet provides a small taste of what’s to come, Rasmus Faber’s excellent credentials as a musician gives me hope that, in spite of the anime’s trashy setting, Asterisk War will sound good musically. At least, that should be the case if the anime’s director, veteran Manabu Ono does a good job in utilizing his music. And from our side, we wish Mr. Faber well in his original anime music debut!

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.

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.

Remembering Origa, an Anime Singer

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For many of those who’ve heard Origa sing, it was like love at first sight. There was a beautiful clarity to the way she sang, her voice always carrying this soaring, otherworldly quality that was absolutely entrancing. Alas, her voice has been silenced and she died at the young age of 44 on January 17, 2015 from lung cancer.

Given just how much of an impact she’s had within the world of anime music, we thought it was fitting that we pay Origa a tribute for all the beautiful music that she given us. The post certainly touches upon some of her most well-known material, most notably from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and its various sequels. But she’s done more than just that and you’ll find her wonderful voice present on slightly more obscure anime series like Fantastic Children and movies like Princess Arete. She’s also performed songs found in video games like Aion ~The Tower Of Eternity~ and FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, but her reputation will lie most prominently based on the works she did for anime. [Read more…]

Ghibli Music News: Wind Rises Soundtrack Review Published, When Marnie Was There Gets English Theme Song

Wind Rises Anime Movie

Wind Rises Soundtrack Review

We’ve recently reviewed The Wind Rises soundtrack which features Joe Hisaishi‘s compositions for Hayao Miyazaki’s final anime film about Japan’s aircraft pioneer, Jiro Horikoshi. As we’ve noted in the review, much of Hisaishi’s music is firmly focused on Jiro’s journey, starting from his time as a little boy with a love for airplanes, to his life as an engineer, designing aircraft like the Mitsubishi A6M Zero which would be used in World War II.

One thing that stands out is just how beautiful Hisaishi’s music is. There are times where he’ll create the lightness that comes with flying airplanes. In other times, he’ll weave musical flourishes that capture the grandiosity of Jiro’s vision. Finally, the tragic relationship between Jiro and his wife Naoko materializes through many of the melancholy pieces on the Wind Rises Soundtrack. So give our review a read and let us know whether you think this is an excellent way to see out the collaboration between Joe Hisaishi and Hayao Miyazaki.

Priscilla Ahn Marnie Ghibli

Ghibli Film When Marnie Was There‘s Priscilla Ahn Theme Song

Studio Ghibli announced that they would be working on a new movie titled When Marnie Was There, an adaptation of a novel by Joan Robinson which features 2 female leads, Anna and Marnie. When this announcement came, people wondered who would be chosen to perform the theme song and that honor goes to American artist Priscilla Ahn, who will perform “Fine on the Outside,” a song she wrote when she was in high school.

The choice of Priscilla Ahn’s music is a bit of a surprise since the song will be entirely in English. However odd this may be, it isn’t without precedent. When Studio Ghibli released Whisper of the Heart, they used Olivia Newton-John’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” albeit with both English and Japanese lyrics. Many of the pieces used in The Secret World of Arrietty also featured English-language lyrics written by Cecile Corbel.

Given the grand tradition of Ghibli theme songs, however, we are very much looking forward to what Priscilla Ahn delivers upon and how well it’ll mesh with the movie itself.

L’Arc~en~Ciel Live in US Theaters March 22

larcenciel2014lvj-front
Since L’Arc~en~Ciel started their music careers back in 1991 in Osaka, Japan, they’ve rocked on to stardom with numerous anime opening themes. Their discography includes hits such as the opening theme to DNA², “Blurry Eyes,” but they’re better known for songs like “Ready Steady Go,” which served as the opening theme to the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime series.

The band is made up of hyde on vocals, the guitarist ken, tetsuya, who plays the bass, and yukihiro on drums. In addition to performing the above-mentioned opening themes, they’ve also performed live at many overseas venues. Their first performance in North America was at the anime convention, Otakon, in 2004. They also did a New York show at Madison Square Garden on March 25th, 2012.

With this anime history in tow and their impact on worldwide audiences, it’s fitting that L’Arc~en~Ciel reach out to as many of its fans as possible. So on March 22, 2014, L’Arc~en~Ciel will be broadcasting its concert around the world, where fans can watch the event at select locations in movie theaters of certain cities. Below, you can find a list of cities that will be hosting the event:

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City/Theater/Time:
1. Los Angeles, CA – Century City 15 – 3:00 (PST)
2. Orange, CA – Orange 30 – 3:00 (PST)
3. San Diego, CA – Mission Valley 20 – 3:00 (PST)
4. San Francisco, CA – Bay Street 16 – 3:00 (PST)
5. Seattle, WA – Pacific Place 11 – 3:00 (PST)
6. Chicago, IL – River East 21 – 5:00 (CST)
7. Houston, TX – Willowbrook 24 – 5:00 (CST)
8. Baltimore, MD – Columbia Mall 14 – 6:00 (EST)
9. Boston, MA – Burlington 10 – 6:00 (EST)
10. New York, NY – Empire 25 – 6:00 (EST)

Tickets are being sold for $20 and if you live within easy reach of these theaters, you can go ahead and buy them on Fandango. As a note, everyone who attends will receive original post cards. If you’re one of the first 50 people to attend, you will get limited edition glow sticks. You can find more information about the concert by going to the main L’Arc~en~Ciel concert broadcast website.

Weekly Anime Music Releases: Space Brothers Soundtrack, AiRI, and more!

Another week brings us a new spate of music for people to look forward to, seeing that it’s Wednesday. Well, this Wednesday’s batch is much smaller than last week’s, but there are quite a few gems to look forward to make your listening experience really enjoyable.

  • First off, for some, imagination is greater than reality, and that turns out to be the name of AiRI’s single where she sings the ending theme to Gundam Build Fighters. “Imagination > Reality” looks to be entertaining as you more or less get a power pop song to blaze away and nab at your attention. And if you’re not familiar with AiRI, you might know her from the ending themes to Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere.
  • Tomohisa Sako sings of a colorful world in his latest single, “Colorful World”, which serves as the ending theme to the Meganebu anime, a high school club that revolves around people who wear glasses.
  • DATE TIME, by the group known as Mineral★Miracle★Muse, but is mostly made up of seiyuu like Haruka Tomatsu, M・A・O, and Erii Yamazaki also will see their CD released today. “DATE TIME” serves as the first ending theme to the “Samurai Flamenco” anime and that only means you can expect another single for this anime down the line.
  • Finally, we’ve really been looking to the release of Toshiyuki Watanabe’s compositions for the long-running Space Brothers anime. Much of the work takes on an orchestral bent that is epic and really carries you through much of the anime’s action. For those who might not know, this soundtrack came pretty close to winning a spot in our Anime Soundtrack of the Year polls and is very much worth checking out.

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:

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 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.

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