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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Weekly Anime Music Releases – February 25

February comes to an end and that means spring is but a mere 3 weeks away! That brings with it a new anime season with new shows to check out and old anime to wrap up and see how things end. What you should also look forward to are new anime soundtracks that are due once a series finishes. While there isn’t a whole lot of that here, they’ll come sooner rather than later and when they do, it’ll be fantastic indeed since this current season has quite a few that are worth checking out.

So with that in mind, this week is a pretty action-packed anime music release week. :

Anime OP/ED Singles

Yurikuma Arashi OP Single

Yurikuma Arashi

Album Name: Ano Mori de Matteru
Artist: Bonjour Suzuki
Purchase at: CDJapan
Yurikuma Arashi fans should be pleased to know that the opening theme to the anime, “Ano Mori de Matteru” will finally be released at long last. The song has that soft, seductive feel to it that meshes really nicely with the anime’s subject matter. Furthermore the manner in which the lyrics are delivered, that is to say, a sort of rap mixed in with the cooing eroticism, is really pleasing to the ear and should delight many a fan.

Death Parade Flyers OP

Death Parade

Album Name: Flyers
Artist: BRADIO
Purchase at: CDJapan
Out of all the opening themes from shows airing this winter, nothing quite compares to BRADIO’s opening for Death Parade: “Flyers”. Its atmosphere is just really fun as the music makes you want to get up and dance. Although the macabre nature of the anime is at odds with the partying love fest that the OP theme packs in spades, it’s still a song that easily stands out as being, if not the best, the most entertaining one on offer.

Koufuko Grafitti ED Theme

Koufuku Graffiti

Album Name: Egao ni Naru
Artist: Ryo (CV: Rina Satoh) & Kirin (CV: Asuka Ogame)
Purchase at: CDJapan
In terms of songs sung by an anime’s seiyuu, I suppose you could do a lot worse than Rina Satoh’s and Asuka Ogame’s delivery in “Egao ni Naru” for Koufuku Graffiti. Given the show’s content, it’s not a surprise that the central focus of the ED theme is on the joys of cooking and you’ll be able to hear both seiyuu gush over how much fun it is to cook and consume their creations. The song itself is pretty saccharine sweet, but I suppose you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Shirobako OPED Theme

Shirobako

Album Name: TREASURE BOX / Platinum Jet
Artist: Masami Okui, Juri Kimura, Haruka Yoshimura, Haruka Chisuga, Asami Takano, Hitomi Ohwada
Purchase at: CDJapan
Now here’s something pleasant and uplifting. In a show that started about dreams and is now showing some of the more surprising aspects of the anime industry, Shirobako is a breath of fresh air that has an OP/ED single that is light and fun. The opening theme, “Treasure box”, is pleasant with Masami Okui’s voice leading the way with her warm vocals and makes for an endearing song. The ED, “Platinum Jet”, features Shirobako‘s main cast singing an energetic theme that is as fun as the anime itself and together, makes the album worth checking out.
[Read more…]

Weekly Anime Music Releases – February 18

With the Winter anime season really knee-deep in all that it has to offer, the number of anime music releases is resembling a missile barrage. And I’m not saying that just because Kantai Collection‘s OP theme is going to be released this week either. Be sure to look out for that as well as Akame ga Kill‘s soundtrack, featuring the work of composer Taku Iwasaki. There are other things too, but you’ll have to go through the list to find out exactly what can catch your eye:

Anime OP/ED Singles

KanColle OP Theme

Kantai Collection -KanColle-

Album Name: Miiro
Artist: AKINO from bless4
Purchase at: CDJapan
KanColle‘s release is probably one of the high-profile releases to be coming out this month given how it’s pretty much taken over the doujin scene out in Japan. So it’s to be expected that the KanColle fandom will be up in full force over this single, especially when it features the famous AKINO who sang the opening theme to Aquarion EVOL. My stock on it isn’t so high though since she seems to perform better with Yoko Kanno, but this just might wind up turning a few heads.

KanColle ED Theme
Album Name: Fubuki
Artist: Shiena Nishizawa
Purchase at: CDJapan
This week will see not just the OP theme, but also the ED theme to the Kantai Collection -KanColle- anime. Note that this will pretty much be Shiena Nishizawa’s entry into anison and she’s backed up by a composition that thunders forth with interesting sections where she’ll have some tough passages to navigate. I can say I like this a lot better than the OP theme though, so it’s at least decently worth checking out, especially since the lyrics are by micco, who has done a lot of good work for the laid-back band Marble.

Aldnoah Zero ED Theme Eir Aoi

ALDNOAH.ZERO

Album Name: GENESIS
Artist: Eir Aoi
Purchase at: CDJapan
The adventures of Inaho and Slaine are ended with “GENESIS,” the latest single by singer Eir Aoi, who has had a pretty illustrious career performing music to shows ranging from Fate/Zero to Kill la Kill. Compared to a lot of other anison artists, I’m not really too hyped about her and can’t really say I rate her too highly. With that said, she generally delivers a decent effort, where decent is mostly a sort of loudness that really lacks much nuance in her interaction with the lyrics. For those of us who care about music, we’ll just write it off as a damned shame. [Read more…]

The Best Anime Music of 2013

attack-on-titan
2013 was a pretty good year for anime and anime music, with a wide variety of styles to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of orchestral, bombastic flair, or are looking for a lighter side of life, there were many soundtracks and anime theme songs that were up to bat.

As is our usual tradition, we’ve provided a writeup of what we thought was the best anime music of 2013. Some of you may find the results of this list to be surprising, especially since 2013 was the year in which Attack on Titan let loose its fury upon the anime fandom. But alas, it did not win best anime soundtrack; that prize went to the lesser-known, but far better Tanken Driland, an anime based on a mobile game, but received a big boost by being scored by Yoshihisa Hirano. Yoshihisa Hirano also managed to pick up the best anime composer award, not only for his work on Tanken Driland, but also his work on the Hunter x Hunter movies, Phantom Rouge and The Last Mission. Hirano’s consistency is a shining point and his versatility is a big bonus, since he composes rock, electronica, and throws in a bit of jazz in addition to his usual classical style to top things off.

When you look at the theme songs, many of the winners weren’t from the big shows that caught people’s attention. The award for best opening theme went to Red Data Girl‘s “Small Worldrop”. This single by Annabel shines in its simplicity and her delivery gives it much heart and nuance to settle us in nicely. Probably to the relief of many anime fans however, Attack on Titan‘s “Guren no Yumiya” did manage to snag the runner-up position.

On the ending theme side, our staff’s love for KOKIA’s music once again reared its head and we found ourselves falling for Space Battleship Yamato 2199‘s “Kioku no Hikari”. KOKIA’s voice is flawless in its delivery and we loved the way it flows and recedes in perfect harmony. And again, simplicity won out for the runner-up position, which went to The Wind Rises‘s “Vapor Trail”. Sung in 1973 by Yumi Matsutoya, we felt that it captured The Wind Rises‘s sentiments beautifully and was a perfect way to close out Miyazaki’s career.

So, go read our full impressions and let us know what you think of our selections. Any other anime soundtracks or theme songs you think are more deserving? Comment away!

Weekly Anime Music Releases – February 11

Valentine’s Day approaches, signalling the discontentment of many singles and a deluge of anime singles. Granted, most of them aren’t too great and once again, the veterans like JAM Project and angela lead the way. So nothing for the cult of the new to dig in, which is just as well. That just means an opportunity to conserve the cash flow. So with that, here’s the list:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Durarara ED Theme

Durarara!! X2

Album Name: NEVER SAY NEVER
Artist: THREE LIGHTS DOWN KINGS
Purchase at: CDJapan
Durarara!!‘s ending theme rushes at you like a wild storm, using a distorted voice backed by some rocking tunes. This is a bit of a departure from the more mellow R&B stuff that you’ve heard from the first season’s ending themes, but if nothing else, at least this flies out in your face and leaves you some of idea of the sort of lingering thoughts the anime wants to internalize. I’m not sure that this is as good as the other themes we’ve heard out of Durarara, but if you don’t mind that reckless sort of energy and warbled vocals, I suppose you can’t go too wrong here.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso ED2

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Album Name: Orange
Artist: Seven Oops
Purchase at: CDJapan
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, also known as Your Lie in April, has generally done well in the music department, though I’ve been hearing a bit of a blowback in that the second opening and ending themes are nowhere in the same ballpark as the first. I suppose a band that goes by Seven Oops doesn’t really inspire much confidence, but the song isn’t half bad, if just a bit on the generic side. The piano is mellow and the vocalist has a sense of clarity in her delivery. Granted, it’s not as good as the first ending theme, since the crime of being generic may just be a bit too much for people to bear, and that’s just as well since you’re not missing much by skipping over this album.

Fafner OPED Songs

Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS

Album Name: Exist
Artist: Angela
Purchase at: CDJapan
Fair or not, whenever I look at the characters in Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS, all I can think of is Gundam SEED, and that’s never a flattering comparison. This sort of disdain is a bit of a shame since angela isn’t that bad a singer and in EXODUS, she delivers a solid effort that includes good intonation, a few sharp cries that aren’t too grating. The ending theme is pretty poignant, with a backing violin that helps to bring out the emotions. So of the albums getting released, this one’s on a higher tier than the others because angela’s vocals are actually a step above most everyone else’s. [Read more…]

Anime Band Flow Makes In Concert at AnimeNEXT

flow Anime Band
Aside from JAM Project, FLOW is probably the only other male J-pop band that’s done so many songs for so many different anime. And for fans looking to catch them in a live concert, you’ll be able to find them hanging around Somerset, New Jersey between June 12 through the 14 at the AnimeNEXT convention held at the Garden State Exhibit Center.

FLOW, the group made up of members including vocalist Keigo Hayashi, guitarist and vocalist Koushi Asakawa, guitarist Takeshi Asakawa, drummer Hiroshi Iwasaki, and bassist Yasutarou Gotou have all been around since 2000 and they’ve done some pretty notable anime works over the years, starting with “Go!!”, the 4th opening theme for Naruto, but really struck it big with “Days” from Eureka Seven and the famous “Colors”, the opening theme for Code Geass which has their signature “Jibun wo” lyric.

Their current activities right now consist of the single “Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye”, which was used in Samurai Flamenco, and “7 -seven-“, which saw them collaborate with Granrodeo to perform the ending theme to the The Seven Deadly Sins anime. Other than that, they’ve been touring around anime conventions around the world to promote their music and meet their fans which, judging from the songs of theirs that came up during the Animusic Tourney, shows that they have quite the large fanbase.

More information about the concert and other going-ons at AnimeNEXT can be found on the website. Those who have looked back upon anime like Eureka Seven, Code Geass, and Naruto should derive much enjoyment from their performance.

Remembering Origa, an Anime Singer

origa-stars
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…]

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