Kantai Collection (KanColle) Music Reviews

KanColle Anime
For a series that should have been at least as good as Strike Witches, Kantai Collection, also known as KanColle, has severely underperformed in pretty much all but one aspect: the music. We’ve finally been able to review all of the aspects of KanColle‘s music and have been won over not only by the ending theme, but also completely floored by just how good the anime’s soundtrack is.

Granted, not everything was sunshine and rainbows. When we looked at KanColle‘s opening theme, Miiro, and saw that it was sung by the formidable AKINO of bless4, we braced ourselves for powerful power-pop that would have us enthralled by AKINO’s enthralling singing on top of a catchy melody. Unfortunately, that did not come to pass and it remains the weakest component of KanColle‘s music.

But when you looked at KanColle‘s ending theme, Fubuki, the song created a bit of confusion since Shiena Nishizawa’s energetic performance made it more suitable for an opening theme. Which is to say it was energetic, catchy, and emphatic! Definitely a solid debut for Nishizawa and we hope to see more of her performances since her delivery, while nothing jaw-dropping, is pretty competent.

But the anime’s crown jewel by far is none other than KanColle‘s soundtrack itself. Composed by Natsumi Kameoka, KanColle‘s soundtrack is thrilling, mixing in some of the most glorious orchestral pieces I’ve heard lately. It does everything right, from the wonderful character-centric themes, to pleasant depictions of the setting and of day to day life, to even battle music that packs quite a punch. It’s not necessarily the kind of fare you’d expect out of a show meant to please fans of a popular web game, but in hiring Natsumi Kameoka and having her compose the score, they really hit it out of the park. KanColle‘s soundtrack is a real treasure, one that commands your attention if you enjoy orchestral anime music at all.

Death Parade Music Reviews

Death Parade
Death Parade is an anime about people who have died and are sent to the sinister Quindecim bar. There, they must play a game ranging from darts to billiards where, in the course of playing, they will be judged by the barkeep, a solemn man named Decim so that their eventual fates are revealed. Although the anime ended less than a month ago, if there’s anything that separates Death Parade from all the other shows, it’s that music is excellent.

Recently, we got a chance to review some of the music. We listened to Death Parade‘s opening theme, “Flyers” by a band called Bradio and we came out of it very impressed. The music has a rock quality to it that’s exciting and the dance rhythm they throw around is absolutely thrilling. When you tie that in with the dancing in the visuals that play during the opening, it makes for a fun atmosphere that’s certainly different from the kind of atmosphere you’d expect out of Death Parade.

Rather, when you check out the Death Parade soundtrack, that’s when the music becomes much more appropriate. Here, the music can be a lot more somber, especially with that delicious piano track at the very end titled “Moonlit Night”. The other tracks range from quieter, more introspective piano music to wild chaotic affairs that really hit the jazzy vibes really nicely. Composer Yuki Hayashi demonstrates a great amount of range in his music and you come out of the soundtrack experience feeling pretty gratified with what he comes up with.

In the end, Death Parade’s music is an overall positive experience, one that takes in a diverse range of themes and melodies to return a wonderful listen. While the opening theme might be the star of the show, it’s the soundtrack, with its weighted emotions, that leaves you with the memories that the show carries around all the way to the end.

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.

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.

A Journey Through Space with Yamato and Majestic Prince

Space+Battleship+Yamato+2199+yamato2199overture
Space Battleship Yamato and Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince have much in common beyond just orchestral music and anime that are set in space. So for those who haven’t looked at our reviews for awhile, we’d like to present our two latest soundtrack reviews that you can look forward to! So with that, here’s a snippet of what we thought about Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince and Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

The first of our reviews is none other than Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince. The latest anime work by Toshiyuki Watanabe, anime fans can definitely count on the rich orchestrals that make Majestic Prince such an exciting listen because of how consistent the album is in general, making this one a worthy mecha album. Definitely check out our review to hear the samples and if this is what you’re looking for, go ahead and grab it off of CDJapan.

The next CD that we wound up reviewing is the almighty soundtrack to Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which incorporates a lot of retro elements like disjointed melodic snippets and discordant passages that were present on Hiroshi Miyagawa’s score for the original. The music for Yamato 2199 also incorporates some new music by Hiroshi Miyagawa’s son, Akira Miyagawa, but if there’s anything that’s tried and true, composer Akira Miyagawa retains the old, classic music that made the original Yamato such a memorable experience. So yes, for old fans, you can definitely hear Isao Sasaki belt out his rendition of the Yamato opening which captures the awesome space odyssey feel and the anthems will really come off as being inspiring. Unfortunately, some of the more repetitive and uninteresting tracks weigh this album down and so, it’s not quite as consistent as it could be. Again, check out the samples and if you think it works for you, this is also another album you can get off of CDJapan.

Time of Eve Kickstarter Continuing to Shine

time-of-eve
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.

A Double Dose of Suisei no Gargantia

gargantia-episode-08-600x337
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.

Cuteness Contained – Yuru Yuri and Nisemonogatari Music Reviews

Today’s reviews include anime music from two shows: Yuru Yuri and Nisemonogatari.  The first review covers the opening theme of the first season of Yuru Yuri while the second review covers Nisemonogatari, which also includes touching upon the very enjoyable “Platinum Disco.”  Both albums feature works that are sung by the anime’s respective seiyuu, with the former including the likes of Yuka Ootsubo, Rumi Okubo, Shiori Mikami, and Minami Tsuda who play roles on Yuru Yuri.  For Nisemonogatari, you have music from Satoru Kousaki and anime music sung by Yuka Iguchi.

Sometimes, the moe slice of life genre is all about being over-the-top silly and fun, and the rambunctious nature of shows like Yuru Yuri reinforce that.  The energy can be reinforced through the OP and ED themes and of those, we find Yuri Yura Rarara Yuru Yuri Dai Jiken, the OP to the first season of Yuru Yuri is a stellar example of a silly, but ultimately very fun opening theme.  Check out what kevo has to say about it in his review.

A show that was slightly off the beaten path, but featured plenty of cute moments comes in the much-heralded Nisemonogatari, the sequel to Bakemonogatari.  Whereas Bakemonogatari showered us with the cuteness of Kana Hanazawa’s performance on “Renai Circulation,” Nisemonogatari’s cuteness overload comes in the form of “Platinum Disco,” with Nisemonogatari’s soundtrack included.  Although the voice of Yuka Iguchi might not compare as strongly to that of Kana Hanazawa, there’s no doubt that the moe moments are still there, especially when they’re coupled with the dance movements on the OP theme’s video.  Satoru Kousaki’s minimalist fare is a mixed bag however, and that kind of drags the album down on the whole.  Come check out what Aftershok has to say about the album!

Also, let us know what you thought of them in the comments!

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