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!

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.

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