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.

Still Sis Testament Devil
Album Name: Still Sis
Artist: Kaori Sadohara
Purchase at: CDJapan
And hey, we’re still on Shinmai Maou no Testament, except instead of looking at the opening theme, we’re now looking at the ending theme, “Still sis”. Once again, there’s not much to speak of here. Kaori Sadohara is a seiyuu on the show as well as a member of sweet ARMS which sang the opening theme and our opinions hold that based on the fact that they’re using seiyuu to carry the opening and ending themes, there’s nothing glorious or amazing to expect. Keep those expectations low.

Booklet_mitsuori

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

Album Name: Hitosuji no Hikari
Artist: CustomiZ
Purchase at: CDJapan
Just based on the album cover, what we’re looking at appears to be some sort of a boy band. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a boy band, but it’s just generally not the best recipe for quality performances of quality music. Anyway, in “Hitosuji no Hikari”, all they’re doing here is singing the ending theme to the Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, a series which is apparently one of the better action-packed mecha anime series to come out recently, but given the trajectory of mecha anime, that really doesn’t mean a whole lot. Either way, this album was supposed to be out a month ago, but it got delayed. No small loss there, methinks.

Shounen Hollywood OP Theme

Shounen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49

Album Name: HOLLY TRIP
Artist: Shonen Hollywood
Purchase at: CDJapan
With a title like Shounen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49, you can pretty much tell that you’re up against a boy idol band, which means a lot of promotional tie-ins like this single, “HOLLY TRIP”, which also acts as the opening theme for the anime series. The band, Shounen Hollywood, is essentially made up of male seiyuu Ryota Ohsaka, Tetsuya Kakihara, Daiki Yamashita, Shouta Aoi, and Kensho Ono who voice the characters in the anime. I doubt there’s anything to this group that you haven’t heard before from boy bands, so, once again, don’t go in looking for too much in the way of quality and you’ll be just fine.

Magic Kaito Kid

Magic Kaito Kid

Album Name: Ai no Scenario
Artist: CHiCO with HoneyWorks
Purchase at: CDJapan
I feel that it’s unlikely that this album containing the A-side “Ai no Scenario”, used in the Magic Kaito anime, is on many people’s radars. The people behind the HoneyWorks group have done anime including Brother’s Conflict as well as Ao Haru Ride. The singer, CHiCO, has also worked on Ao Haru Ride, but that’s been about the extent of her releases. Which is to say, there aren’t too many high hopes riding on this release. Given the popularity of the shows they’ve worked on, they’re not getting a whole lot in the way of exposure and will most likely be forgotten in a few years.

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

Best Sawano Songs

Various

Album Name: Best of Vocal Works [nZk]
Artist: Hiroyuki Sawano, Mika Kobayashi, mpi, David Whitaker, Aimee Blackschleger, Cyua, CASG, Benjamin Anderson, Aimer, mizuki.
Purchase at: CDJapan
Of all the anime composers, I don’t think anyone’s stock is flying higher than Hiroyuki Sawano. His work has been well-received, in the vein of shows like Gundam Unicorn, Guilty Crown, and, more recently, Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill. While his works are met with mixed reviews, there’s no denying that he’s stamped his mark on the anime industry. So what this album seeks to do is take in the best of his songs that can be found on the respective soundtracks and pull it together into a disc that’ll make for an enjoyable listening experience. You’ll find the likes of “βιος”, favorites like “The Reluctant Heroes”, and “RE:I AM”, all sung by the singers he’s worked with. So for any fans who have enjoyed his work, this album is one you’ll definitely want to get your hands on.

Higurashi Vocal Collection

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Album Name: WHEN THEY CRY… THEME SONG COLLECTION
Artist: Various
Purchase at: CDJapan
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni gave us gripping storylines and memorable characters all wrapped up in an exciting mystery that invites its audience to try to solve the show’s central mystery. But what the anime also gave us was a lot of great music. From the iconic “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” to the ending theme, “why, or why not”, or even the heartfelt delivery of “you -Visionen im Spiegel”, this album drips with absolute quality. Based on all of the albums and singles that are coming out for February 4th, this one earns my highest recommendation.

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