Weekly Anime Music Releases – February 4

February comes, and with that, we’re about 6 weeks away from spring. But that doesn’t mean much in the quality of the releases since most of the OP/ED themes are pretty poor. The albums are something to think about though, what with Hiroyuki Sawano plying his trade and a very awesome collection of Higurashi no Naku koro ni vocal music. Of the anime music releases, that is, far and away, the biggest highlight and is definitely worth getting. So with that, here’s the list:

Anime OP/ED Singles

AldnoahZero OP Theme

ALDNOAH.ZERO

Album Name: &Z
Artist: Hiroyuki Sawano, mizuki, Yu “Masshoi” Yamauchi, Toshino Tanabe, Hiroshi Iimuro, Yasuo Sano, Tetsuro Toyama
Purchase at: CDJapan
Starting with his work on ALDNOAH.ZERO, Hiroyuki Sawano has been digging his toes deeper into the opening and ending theme pool. From the first run of ALDNOAH.ZERO, we got “A/Z” which featured mizuki performing the ending theme to the anime. And now, we have “&Z”, which is now the opening theme and also features mizuki on vocals. Given his compositional talents, this song is an easy step up compared to most other opening and ending themes and should be checked out, regardless of whether you’re a Sawano fan or not. Obviously, keep this on a higher priority if you enjoy his works.

Durarara x2 OP

Durarara!! X2

Album Name: HEADHUNT
Artist: Okamoto’s
Purchase at: CDJapan
The Durarara!! franchise has always had some interesting music to throw at anime fans and this incarnation of the franchise, Durarara!! X2 is no exception, pulling in the talents of the rock band, the Okamoto’s to perform the anime’s opening theme, “Headhunt”. The group had prior anime work, namely, performing the 18th ending theme for Naruto: Shippuden after forming as a band in 2010. The group’s members all adopted the name Okamoto in honor of the artist Taro Okamoto. In this latest single, “Headhunt”, don’t expect any type of rock that would deviate from convention, but it’s pleasant music all around.

Testament of Sister Devil

Shinmai Maou no Testament

Album Name: Blade of Hope
Artist: sweet ARMS
Purchase at: CDJapan
Shinmai Maou no Testament, known in English as The Testament of Sister New Devil, is as junky a title as you might expect and probably won’t inspire too many people to give this particular album a look. And that’s just as well since sweet ARMS is a seiyuu group made up of Iori Nomizu, Kaori Sadohara, Misato, and Misuzu Togashi. We’ve never been too hot about seiyuu groups who sing for shows unless their vocal talents are worth looking at. And from where we stand, there isn’t anything for us to care too much about here. [Read more…]

Weekly Anime Releases – January 28

Finally, we get to the end of January. The last week. With the Winter 2015 anime season gone fully under way, many of the opening and ending themes are starting to turn into a deluge. In this iteration, we’ve got the likes of music from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure as well as long-running fare like Fairy Tail and Kuroko no Basket. But don’t underestimate the soundtrack front either, since we’re getting heavy hitters like Mushishi. Terraformars is a bit more in the air, but Shusei Murai’s done good work, so it’s at least worth checking out, even if you didn’t love the anime. With that, here’s the list:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Saekano OP Theme

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend-

Album Name: Kimi-iro Signal
Artist: Luna Haruna
Purchase at: CDJapan
To be honest, it’s been interesting to see Luna Haruna’s career trajectory and how she went from an amateur fashion model to becoming a full-fledged anison artist with her first effort on Fate/Zero‘s ending theme. Her latest work is for Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend-‘s opening theme, but I can’t really speak much to it, mostly because the premise puts me off and Luna Haruna isn’t a huge must-see in my book. She does manage to make a splash and is continually able to find work, so that’s got to count for something.

Saekano ED Theme
Album Name: Colorful.
Artist: Miku Sawai
Purchase at: CDJapan
Hot on the heels of Luna Haruna’s OP theme for Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- comes Miku Sawai’s ending theme for the same anime. Miku Sawai has been a relative newcomer, with most of her works coming in the form of ending themes and her debut work being “Nakimushi” for the Kimi to Boku anime. Given her status and small portfolio size, I’m not sure she’s really popped on people’s radars just yet and with her role on a relatively unhyped show this season, looks like she’ll have to wait to really get that big break she’s been looking for. [Read more…]

SCANDAL Band Concert at Anime Central

scandal_band
The Anime Central anime convention has announced that the all-girl J-pop band SCANDAL will be performing in concert. Right now, the schedule is such that SCANDAL will be performing at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois on Friday May 15, right in time for the celebration.

As far as longevity goes, SCANDAL certainly has a good amount of that. A group made up of bandmates Haruna Ono on vocals, Mami Sasazaki as the lead guitarist, Tomomi Ogawa as the bassist, and Rina Suzuki on drums/keyboard, SCANDAL has been around since 2006, forming when they met at the Caless school which teaches dance and vocals. Their anime works have gotten a good amount of recognition, including the theme songs “Shōjo S” and “Harukaze” for Bleach and “Shunkan Sentimental” for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. You can also find their works on the Star Driver anime with the ending theme song “Pride”. That said, I can’t really claim to have paid much attention to their works, but from my understanding, they’ve been able to build up their fanbase.

Either way, their concert at Anime Central marks their only stop in the USA on the SCANDAL World Tour (which comes with the title of “Hello World!”). Before that, they have had a performance at the California convention AM2 and been a part of the Japan Nite US Tour which came to 7 US cities. If you’re looking to catch them in concert, just go and head on over to register for an Anime Central ticket. And that’s it! You’ll also have the opportunity to get premium seats with a better vantage point as well, but none of that information has been posted yet. If you’re looking to see them perform on other concert venues, you’ll find that they will arrive in Mexico, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Weekly Anime Releases – January 21

The third week of January has brought on more anime music, mostly opening and ending themes associated with new shows. Cross Ange continues to bring on new material and you’ve got a few more hits from anison artists like ZAQ. On the soundtrack front, we’ve got two CDs hitting the shelves soon: the classical music anime Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (which we’ve blogged to some degree) and the less-spectacular Girl Friend BETA soundtrack. Anyway, you’ll be able to find the releases below.

Anime OP/ED Singles

Cross Ange-Shinjitsu no Mokushiroku

Cross Ange

Album Name: Shinjitsu no Mokushiroku
Artist: Yoko Takahashi
Purchase at: CDJapan
Yoko Takahashi is an interesting case since she’s not a name that many people will know of, but she has a vast body of work throughout the years, including a very very heavy hitter in “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” for the Evangelion anime. So once again, she reprises her singing role on “Shinjitsu no Mokushiroku”, which is set to be the opening song to the second season of Cross Ange. With composer Toshiyuki Omori to back her up, it’s hard to think that the results will be anything but solid.

Junketsu no Maria-ZAQ

Junketsu no Maria

Album Name: Philosophy of Dear World
Artist: ZAQ
Purchase at: CDJapan
Junketsu no Maria is an interesting title in that you don’t see too many series that revolve around the Hundred Years war. Either way, this show focuses on a witch who disrupts some of the events that take place during the period and draws the attention of the Heavens. As for the single, you’re seeing yet another performance from ZAQ, who entered my radar when she did the opening theme to Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!. And incidentally, “Sparkling Daydream” was also her first single where she was the performing artist. Since then, she’s gone on to do songs for HIGH SCHOOL DxD so her latest effort might be worthwhile.

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso soundtrack

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Album Name: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso ORIGINAL SONG & SOUNDTRACK
Artist: Masaru Yokoyama
Purchase at: CDJapan
Oh Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. If there’s anything to be said about this show, it’s that the classical music portion of the anime is absolutely fantastic, featuring the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Saint-Saens. There were many moments throughout where I was enthralled with the onscreen performances and the musical selection, and if you want to learn more, head over to the Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso posts on the blog. Now, if we look at the music outside of the classical side, you’ll find the steady hand of Masaru Yokoyama at the wheel. His work for the boobalicious Queen’s Blade is solid and enjoyable, a surprise if you look into that show just a bit more.

Garnidelia Album 1

KILL la KILL & The irregular at magic high school & Gundam Reconguista in G

Album Name: Linkage Ring
Artist: GARNiDELiA
Purchase at: CDJapan
“Linkage Ring” marks the first full-length album by the artist GARNiDELiA, who, as you can see above, has performed music to such series as KILL la KILL and Gundam Reconguista in G. After looking a bit more into the work she’s done, I’d have to say that her voice doesn’t deviate too much from standard fare J-pop that really makes her stand out since her voice sounds pretty similar to other artists that do the bellowing pop sound (think Nana Mizuki). The music that they have her performing isn’t too bad though, so people looking to get all of her music in one place might get some mileage out of this album.

Girl Friend Beta OST

Girl Friend BETA

Album Name: Girl Friend BETA Original Soundtrack
Artist: Kenji Kawai
Purchase at: CDJapan
One of the more puzzling aspects of the anime soundtrack business is how Kenji Kawai is able to still get jobs. His compositions have been pretty mediocre, often hitting the atmospheric tone to work well within the situational context of the anime, but leave much to be desired when listened to on a standalone basis. The anime that Kawai is scoring for, Girl Friend BETA, is hardly a compelling offering given that its source material lies in a mobile dating sim featuring lots of girls with varied personalities. I think I’ll give this album a pass.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – January 14

We’re already two weeks into January and already, the offerings look a lot more substantial. With the Fall 2014 anime season coming to an end, we’re starting to see the Winter 2015 anime season kick into high gear. So that means more opening and ending themes from new anime. But more importantly, it means that we’re starting to see soundtrack releases come down the pipeline. The pipeline is still a bit limited, but hey, something is better than nothing. So here are the anime music releases you can expect for the week of January 14:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Eden-Nana Mizuki

Cross Ange & Dog Days”

Album Name: Eden
Artist: Nana Mizuki
Purchase at: CDJapan
If there’s a standout artist that people will have their eyes on, it’ll probably be none other than Nana Mizuki. Nana Mizuki’s been a long standby on the anime music front, having done excellent work on the White Album opening as well as her work on Nanoha. Lately, she’s also been teaming up with the J-Rock star, T.M. Revolution to perform both openings to Valvrave the Liberator, most notably with Preserved Roses and Kakumei Dualism, neither of which were especially acclaimed by our reviewers. Nevertheless, given that this is Nana Mizuki that we’re talking about, this single should sell pretty well, especially when it tacks on the Cross Ange ending theme and insert song, the Dog Days” opening theme, and even the Animelo mix TV-CM Song!

Flying Fafnir-Trustrick

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir

Album Name: FLYING FAFNIR
Artist: TRUSTRICK
Purchase at: CDJapan
You have more or less a new band who will be performing the opening theme song for Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, which is adapted from a light novel by Tsukasa where the plot revolves around a boy who is thrown into a school where there are girls who have dragon powers. In other words, typical light novel fare. Either way, there aren’t too many high expectations riding on this single, but the group might be of interest. TRUSTRICK is made up of singer Sayaka Kanda and guitarist Billy. They’ve released their debut album “Eternity” on June 25, 2014 and as a note, Sayaka Kanda is the daughter of pop singer Seiko Matsuda and actor Masaki Kanda and has also voice Anna in the Japanese dub of Frozen.

Kamisama no Kamisama - Kamisama Kiss

Kamisama Kiss@

Album Name: Kamisama no Kamisama/Ototoi Oide
Artist: Hanae
Purchase at: CDJapan
No, I can’t claim to know much about the singer, who’s an unknown factor and whose other notable work has been for, surprise, surprise, the first season of Kamisama Kiss where she sang the theme song “Kamisama Hajimemashita.” And the little I know of the anime, Kamisama Kiss, is that it’s definitely a shoujo manga about a girl who is homeless, but finds a place to live at a shrine populated by Tomoe, a youkai, and Onikiri and Kotetsu, his attendants. The girl, Nanami, will become a god and grow closer to Tomoe.

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Appleseed Alpha OST

Appleseed Alpha

Album Name: Appleseed Alpha Original Soundtrack
Artist: Various
Purchase at: CDJapan
What’s to say? The Appleseed franchise has been known for its cyberpunk mecha feel which carries over to its soundtrack quite nicely. Based on some of the previous soundtracks, you’ll hear a lot of electronica, all from a wide array of composers that it makes the listening experience varied. Either way, this will all feature music from the movie that aired last June and for those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s one of the most beautifully animated works yet, which is saying a lot when you’re talking about the Appleseed franchise.

Psycho Pass-Ling tosite sigure

Psycho Pass

Album Name: Best of Tornado
Artist: Ling tosite sigure
Purchase at: CDJapan
Ling tosite sigure’s theme songs for the Psycho Pass anime series have proven to be very popular, what with “abnormalize” really doing well with those who saw the first season and “Enigmatic Feeling” roaring in for the second season. Best of Tornado is essentially their compilation album and will include the two opening songs from Psycho Pass.

Sora no Method OST

Sora no Method

Album Name: “Sora no Method” Original Soundtrack Kiriyakochou Ongaku Sanpo
Artist: Tatsuya Kato
Purchase at: CDJapan
You know, Tatsuya Katou seems to get a lot of work these days. I’m never quite sure why. The stuff he does isn’t melodic by any stretch, and more often than not, his music serves as a background role than anything that would stand out on its own. So why anyone would listen to his music on a standalone basis is curious indeed. Anyway, he did compose the soundtrack to the Sora no Method anime which focuses on a miracle that happens in a town when a UFO appears above Kiriya Lake and a girl finds her wishes fulfilled.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – January 7

The coming New Year means a new anime season will be underway and that means more music for the rest of us. In this first week of January, things are going at a much slower pace in terms of releases in that we only have a paltry 3 CD releases to focus on. The expectation, of course, is that once more of the newer anime gets released, we’ll see more of the OP/ED singles get their chance to be heard. As for soundtracks, those aren’t expected to show up later into the month. So without any further ado, here are the releases you can look forward to:

Anime OP/ED Singles

Parasyte-Let Me Hear

Parasyte -the maxim-

Album Name: Let Me Hear
Artist: Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas
Purchase at: CDJapan
No, I’m not sure what prompted this band to name themselves after a Hunter S. Thompson novel, I do know they’ve been around for awhile, having done theme music for the second season of Kaiji as well as the more recent Hunter x Hunter anime. Their latest work on Parasyte -the maxim- features an opening theme that is about as despairing as the anime’s subject matter and should be a delight for the fans who really enjoy their J-Rock.

Seikentsukai no World Break-Hi no Ito Rinne no Gemini

Seiken Tsukai no World Break

Album Name: Hi no Ito Rinne no GEMINI
Artist: petit milady
Purchase at: CDJapan
One of the newer anime to be released in 2015, Seiken Tsukai no World Break will fall into the category of anime that takes place in high school where the characters have superpowers and will go forth to do battle against whatever enemies threaten the school. As for the single, there isn’t too much to work off of since this seiyuu idol duo of Aoi Yuuki and Ayana Taketatsu hasn’t been around as a unit for too long so it’s hard to figure out how well the two singers complement each other. Because of that, this single is probably targeted more towards seiyuu idol fans than anyone else out there.

tsukimonogatari-border-claris

Tsukimonogatari

Album Name: border
Artist: ClariS
Purchase at: CDJapan
Once again, the main highlight for this week’s set of releases is ClariS’s single for the Tsukimonogatari anime that’s set to have aired on December 31. ClariS will be singing the ending song for the anime, though it’s going to be interesting since the duo had reportedly broken up as Alice was looking to continue her studies, leaving only Clara as the remaining member. It also needs to be said that ClariS hasn’t done anything too amazing. Their debut single with Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga nai‘s OP Single – irony received a decent amount of acclaim, but as time wore on, Connect, their single for Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s OP was viewed as being more pedestrian. While this release for Tsukimonogatari might bring a return to form, based on their work, it’s highly doubtful that’ll come to pass.

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.

Oddball Anime Music Combo – Norio Wakamoto Sings Madoka’s Credens Justitiam

Never one to pass up on an opportunity for silliness, this was one anime song cover we just had to share. Norio Wakamoto and Madoka together in perfect harmony is something that’ll be most dissonant, but enjoyable because of it.

If you’ve been keeping track of the anime fandom for any stretch of time, you’re probably no stranger to the effect that Puella Magi Madoka Magica has had. The anime, combined with Yuki Kajiura’s appropriately foreboding soundtrack, brought about a memorable experience that’s often talked about as a most excellent twist on the magical girl genre.

So to say that we love the music is a bit of an understatement, especially when tracks like “Sis puella magica!” draw us in with their melancholia, foreshadowing the fate of the magical girls in Madoka. But before the show even gets to its depressing stage, the anime serves up some more heroic tracks, none of which stand out more than Mami’s theme, “Credens Justitiam.”

In the original “Credens Justitiam,” you had a song delivered by the lilting chorus provided by Kalafina, which provided the song with a soaring quality that spoke of lofty ideals, giving it a sense of grace, and, of course, beauty. Here, we have longtime anime seiyuu Norio Wakamoto giving his rendition of “Credens Justitiam.” Wakamoto, known for voicing characters as The Emperor Charles Zi Britannia in Code Geass, Oda Nobunaga in Sengoku Basara, and the narrator in Hayate the Combat Butler.

His delivery contrasts with the original’s aspirational qualities, instead, coming off as being rather silly as his trademark deep voice rolls the “rr” sounds in the song and the way he harmonizes. Needless to say, it’s a novel and hilarious twist on a well-known song that’s become part of the anime music/Yuki Kajiura canon that’ll succeed at the very least in bringing a few chuckles or grimaces, especially when he narrates about magical girls halfway though this song or simply roars/groans all the way to the finish.

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:

Flier_back_final

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.

Rock Band FLOW to Perform at Anime Fest in Dallas

FLOW BandFLOW, a 5-man J-rock band have been around since 1998. This group, made up of the two brothers KEIGO and KOHSHI on vocals, guitarist TAKE, bassist GOT’S, and the drummer IWASAKI, has done many works for anime such as the opening themes to shows like Naruto, Eureka Seven: Psalm of Planets, Code Geass, and Samurai Flamenco. If these are anime songs that have really rocked your world, you will want to check out the performance that FLOW will be putting on at Anime Fest, an anime convention in Dallas, TX. So if any of you are going to be in Dallas between August 15th – 18th in 2014, that’s a concert you can look forward to.

For those of you who might not recognize their name up front or might not be familiar with their works, here is a sampling of what they’ve done previously. They’re probably got their way into the anime fan’s consciousness back when they released the song “Go!!!” which was used as the opening theme to the Naruto anime. Take a look:

From there, they went to do a couple songs for the Eureka Seven franchise. “Days” was one of those songs that got really popular when the anime was airing and FLOW went on to do another opening theme titled “Bravelue” for Eureka Seven AO. Here’s their work “Days”:

But out of all the songs they’ve written for anime, perhaps none of them is more iconic than Code Geass’s “Colors”. There’s something about that iconic JIBUNN WOOO opening lyric that really resonates with people and made the whole Code Geass experience that much more memorable. Definitely a song that most people are likely to be familiar with. After all, that energy is really infectious and one that stands tall in terms of what people are likely to remember from the show:

So with all the songs they’ve done, past and present, their concert appearance at Anime Fest should prove to be an entertaining one.

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