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.

Weekly Anime Music Releases – March 25

March 25’s anime music continues to be a torrent of full-length albums or soundtrack releases. Gear up, because this week brings with it some pretty big guns. By far and away, the most exciting release is KanColle‘s soundtrack. While I thought the opening and ending themes were decent, the BGM takes it to a whole new level and makes it a very solid release that we’ll hopefully put into the review pipeline. A smattering of other composers also deliver, like Tsuneyoshi Saito for yet another edition of Fafner. Aside from that, we also have Yuki Hayashi delivering some solid tunes for Gundam Builders Try. So, with all that good music in tow, here’s a look at what’s coming out this week:

Anime Soundtracks and Albums

KimiUso Classical

Your Lie in April

Album Name: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso Twinkle Little Star
Artist: Yuna Shinohara, Taiji Koga, Eriko Kawachi
Purchase at: CDJapan
If you’ve been following our post series on Your Lie in April, you’ll find that we’ve been utterly absorbed by the anime’s approach to classical music. So now, if you want to sit down and be held in thrall by the many beautiful classical pieces that surface in the show, this album will be for you. You’ve got the likes of Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven all popping their heads to deliver many a melodic delight that’ll have you coming back for more.

KanColle OST

Kantai Collection -KanColle-

Album Name: Kantai Collection -KanColle- Original Soundtrack “Kankyou”
Artist: Natsumi Kameoka
Purchase at: CDJapan
I don’t think anyone expected KanColle‘s OST to be so good. After all, the show’s premise is pretty silly, and the lack of character development only makes things worse. In a way, the OST saves KanColle from complete mediocrity. Natsumi Kameoka flexes her musical muscles and shows she’s capable of slinging orchestral melodies in a measured and confident manner. The strength that her compositions bring to light are very much the time to listen and this soundtrack is a strong contender for soundtrack of the year.

Fafner Exodus OST

Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS

Album Name: Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS Original Soundtrack vol.2
Artist: Tsuneyoshi Saito
Purchase at: CDJapan
What’s been said previously for volume 1 of the Fafner EXODUS soundtrack still holds true here. Once again, Tsuneyoshi Saito, with the backing of the Warsaw Philharmonic, will be unleashing yet another beautiful orchestral soundtrack. And for fans of piano concertos, rumor has it that the one on this disc is fairly solid and worth listening to.
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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 – 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…]

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