The 2016 Anime Summer Season is upon us and with that comes the inherent excitement for new shows. The fishing for whatever show is good that will inevitably happen every 3 months and it tends to turn out to be very fun most of the time! This week however, while I do want to take another look at the new season, I want to do so from a bit of a different perspective and look at Anime Soundtracks.
Soundtracks are something I’m generally rather passionate about. I listen to them quite often in my free time, I’ve talked about them on twitter quite often and I find them to be one of the biggest aspects of how a show can influence my emotions while watching. In this weeks write-up I want to take some time to take a look at the Anime Soundtracks I’m excited for in the upcoming season as well as highlighting a few that have been very strong already, so let’s get right to it!
91 Days: It’s been a while since Kaida Shougo has been around in the Anime industry and even then he’s only actually composed for Anime twice before. Although having debuted as a composer only 9 years ago, Kaida has over the years accumulated an impressive amount of things he has composed for, consisting of 22 Live Action movies, 15 TV Dramas and several other things and even 2 tracks for Post-/Mathrock band “toe”.
Sadly it’s relatively hard to find out much about most of his works as a composer for TV Drama and Live Action Movies and while his TV Anime works aren’t the most impressive to me either, they seem to be very different in tone from 91 Days. The few snippets of more serious tracks that were to be found however give off very diverse vibes. While his work with “toe” is rather laid back yet somehow still suspenseful in relatively typical “toe” vibe, some of his work on the movie Hyakuen no Koi is more reminiscent of classical rock something that could fit 91 Days quite well.
It’s still hard to call how exactly the 91 Days’ Anime Soundtrack will look like but what I heard of Kaida’s work so far has pleased me a lot and I am very excited to find out more about it and see in what direction he will take this one!
Amaama to Inazuma: On the complete opposite of Kaida’s high-scale orchestra and Rock music lies Toda Nobuko’s (also occasionally going by the name of Toda Irone) rather subdued and quiet, charming style of Soundtracks. Only working on her second ever Anime this season, if the first, Isshuukan Friends, is anything to go by, Sweetness and Lightning should have a quiet, subdued, yet absolutely gorgeous Soundtrack fitting its comfortable yet slightly dramatic mood.
One Week Friends was a series heavily reliant on the atmosphere created by Toda’s score for the series. She was an absolutely perfect fit for the show with her quiet piano, guitar and violin melodies, occasionally backed up by other instruments laying a strong ground for the calm and simply nice atmosphere of the show. That was only enhanced by Iwasaki Tarou’s grasp on the shows visuals. and how to use Toda’s music to its fullest. He will also be returning for Amaama to Inazuma making this even more of a sure hit to come!
Amanchu: From one atmospheric Slice of Life to the next one. Amanchu is for the most part known for being originally written by the Mangaka behind the critically acclaimed ARIA series which is why a lot of people seemed sad to know that the ARIA composers would in fact not return. However the two man group of guitarists known as “Gontiti” might in fact almost be an even better fit this time around! Gontiti have been around for years, releasing their debut album “ANOTHERMOOD” in 1983 and they’ve since put out more than 40 albums as well as several Soundtracks, one of them being for another hugely acclaimed Slice of Life Series: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.
YKK’s Anime Soundtracks is almost solely played by the two men on their guitar without any extravagance and a mainly very quiet atmospheric style that Amanchu will likely hugely benefit from. Atmospheric acoustic guitar work is one of my favorite things in Soundtracks and Gontini seem to not only have their grasp on that, but also on the more uplifting, energetic tracks. It’s definitely going to be one of the highlights in terms of Soundtracks for this coming season.
Fukigen no Mononokean: Yasuharu Takanashi has been one of the most respected composers in the Anime industry over the past years with a lot of relatively big roles under his belt. His work on Fairy Tail, Log Horizon and my personal favorite ShiKi have not only shown his skill in creating all kinds of great Soundtracks but have also gathered him a decently big fanbase, possibly making him the most well known modern composer outside of Hiroyuki Sawano. Shiki especially has shown his brilliance in creating atmosphere.
That said however, Fukigen no Mononokean is a show that doesn’t necessarily need either of those. Takanashi’s experience with Comedy so far seems rather limited and although he does seem to have some experience with it through Carnival Phantasm and Beelzebub, it’s nowhere near his experience in Action and other genres. I’d probably say I’m less excited about this, but more interested in how Takanashi will turn out in the end.
Love Live Sunshine: To the possible surprise of many of you, the reason Love Live is on this list is not in fact that I generally tend to be a fan of idol songs, in fact although I do tend to enjoy them they’re usually not exactly my type of music, but rather because of a change in composers. Where the Background Music for the original series was composed by Fujisawa Yoshiaki, this is now changing for Sunshine and it all will instead be done by Katou Tatsuya, a man that in recent times has been incredibly popular in the Anime industry. After not being the composer for the Fate/Kaleid Liner series anymore he has now taken over Yoshiaki’s job on Love Live.
Katou of course isn’t popular within the industry without a reason and that really shows in his music. His recent Anime Soundtracks have been extremely diverse and fitting to their respective series and seem to always be crafted with a specific aspect in mind. They feature all kinds of instruments ranging from silent piano melodies to bombastic orchestras and even some hints of techno and rap music. Free: Eternal Summer and Shokugeki no Soma‘s Anime Soundtracks specifically showcase this extremely well with a wide range of styles especially in the latter.
Speaking of which, Katou is also still composing the Shokugeki no Soma: Ni no Sara Soundtrack and it’s going to be absolutely brilliant!
Mob Psycho 100: Jumping to the next extremely prestigious composer, Kenji Kawai is back for another series! There’s at this point very little to say about one of the most prolific composers in the industry. Initially gaining widespread recognition for the Anime Soundtracks of the Ghost in the Shell movies and the creation of the most iconic of the “Emiya” themes for the first Fate/Stay Night Anime adaptation, Kenji Kawai since hasn’t stopped getting roles on Anime ranging from Girlfriend BETA, to Subete ga F ni Naru and Joker Game just last season and all of them still stand out.
Although they’re nowhere near as iconic as Emiya or the Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Main Theme, his modern works are all still more than solid and he’s still absolutely one of the best in the industry. Mob Psycho is now his next station and with a strong director that showed he knows how to use Anime Soundtracks in Death Parade this should be an absolute blast!
orange: I would’ve probably seen Kuromukuro as a bit of fluke in Tsutsumi Hiroaki’s career had I not watched orange‘s first episode yesterday. Kuromukuro surprised me with its bombastic Soundtrack during its fight scenes and its rather nice background music during the Slice of Life scenes. Having watched orange now, I realize that simply ignoring this was kind of idiotic. The show’s first episode was incredible in many ways and its music was certainly one of them.
Opening up on extremely nice and comfortable guitars and throughout the series perfectly complimenting the show perfectly. One specific moment that stuck with me is a scene where music simply stops in the middle of playing in order to enhance a moment of shock, which is down to brilliant sound editing on Hiroshi Hamasaki’s side of things, known as the director for Steins;Gate which had similarly strong use of Sound Effects and music.
Orange so far had a very comfortable sound to it and although almost at all times perfectly blending into the background and never standing out, it managed to create the exact right atmosphere for every scene. Tsutsumi seems to be one of the latest talents in the industry and I’m sure it’s more than worth to keep an eye on whatever he will end up doing!
Qualidea Code: Bungou Stray Dogs may have not been Taku Iwasaki’s strongest work so far and although I certainly did still like it was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. Iwasaki has for a very long time now been the go to odd-ish composer that somehow just never seems to fit in with everyone else. His very techno-heavy style of composing music has worked absolutely brilliant in recent times on shows like Gatchaman Crowds and Noragami, taking him from being someone that was cool in Gurren Lagann to one of the most respected people in the industry.
Iwasaki’s music has become absolutely iconic and with each Anime Soundtrack he attracts new fans to his stuff and with each Soundtrack he somehow manages to redefine himself and find new aspects of his style to emphasize and I find that absolutely brilliant. I may not be looking forward to Qualidea Code, but I absolutely cannot wait to get to hear Iwasaki’s score for it.
So that’s the Anime Soundtracks I deem to be interesting! There’s a lot of shows to come out this season and a surprising amount of them are featuring very talented or interesting composers which makes me really excited!
So what Anime Soundtracks are you excited about for the coming season? Is there anything I’ve missed that I should be paying closer attention to?