You know it’s all about the music.

January 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Anime & Manga, Music, _random rants | Leave a comment

Of course, it would be stating the obvious that a big factor in anime is the quality of the music – even to the extent that the MAIN good thing about the series is the music. And no, I’m not even talking about Macross Frontier, even though that would be the most logical choice.

gintama - bleach parody

What I found out is that the majority of shounen shows out there (Shounen Jump ones in particular) generally have good opening and ending songs (the BGM is decent too, but nothing that stands out too much for me). This isn’t a huge surprise since those series are generally very high-budget and since they have connections to companies like Sony, they either snag really big name artists or bring some good quality indie bands out of obscurity.

naruto pic

Shounen anime is what made me transition from an anime song fan into a big J-Pop fanatic, and as much as it is a stigma these days to profess love of anything relating to *cough* Naruto, the opening and ending themes weren’t half bad. Well, looking back, I’d say they were either hit or miss, but since I got into the series a few years ago, it was a good introduction into the anisong and J-Pop world. Rythem was the big winner for me – their ending song “Harmonia” made me fall in love with their laid-back acoustic pop and smooth vocal harmonies. Amadori, little by little, and Ore Ska Band were interesting discoveries as well; pity the former two don’t release that many songs. Though I tended to lean toward female artists more, Naruto introduced me to the likes of Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Snowkel, which I don’t actively follow, but still enjoy their works. I’ve only watched the first Naruto movie, but I got a bit into YUKI after hearing the ending theme “Home Sweet Home.” While I gave up on the series and never bothered picking up a Shippuden episode, I still loved the songs that aluto and HALCALI provided (though I first discovered HALCALI from Eureka 7’s songs…ahh, yet another shounen show…)

bleach pic

For me, an even more extreme example of liking the songs tied to a series without really getting into the series would be Bleach. I know a few characters and concepts only because I have friends who follow it, but the premise never really appealed to me (I do sort of want to watch it now because of seiyuu and peer pressure, but that’s beside the point). I went through a massive UVERworld and Younha phase mainly because of Bleach. After reading an artist spotlight article in Newtype USA back when it was still up and running, Hoshimura Mai joined the ranks of my favorite artists with her beautiful ending song “Sakura Biyori.” There was also YUI; I discovered her through her Taiyou no Uta theme song, but it was really the opening and ending she did for Bleach that began my obsession. Oh, and no set of Bleach songs would be complete without Rie fu or Aqua Timez.  My friend showed me “Hitohira no Hanabira” and now I want to follow Stereo Pony as well. On a side note, Ore Ska Band and Asian Kung-Fu Generation were also tapped for songs here. JUNE was remotely interesting…but I didn’t really notice him until…

d.gray-man pic

D.Gray-man. Oh, “Pride of Tomorrow” was just sinfully catchy. D.Gray-man gets my vote for having the best overall OP/ED of all shounen anime. Most of the songs are standard J-Pop at its most solid, polished level. The T.M.Revolution-fronted abingdon boys school had a stunning debut with the first opening, “Innocent Sorrow.” Paired off with a.b.s. was NIRGILIS, who provided a very dark wintry song for the first ending. I’ll admit that my favoring D.Gray-man songs does have a bit of bias behind it, especially since I was re-discovering some artists I used to love (Sowelu and Kitade Nana back from when I watched Fullmetal Alchemist) and getting further into a few new ones (Rie fu, UVERworld, and Hoshimura Mai came back as well!). Stephanie was a pleasant surprise as well…I personally would have preferred Tainaka Sachi a bit more, but “Changin'” was really nice. I wasn’t much into access after hearing them in the first season of Code Geass, but after “Doubt & Trust”, I’m inclined to look into them more.

hitman reborn pic

After meeting a few people at Anime Expo who were cosplaying from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, I made this series my main fandom for the late summer/early fall season. The openings and endings for this series were a fresh change from the D.Gray-man songs. They were a bit more rockish and lighthearted. LM.C was definitely the big star of this set with “BOYS & GIRLS” and “88” – both so irresistably catchy that I couldn’t help but want to bob my head everytime in an attempt to rock out to them. Cherryblossom provided infectious girly rock with the  cute “Cycle” and crackish “Dive to World” (they’re also back with “Sakura Rock,” a slightly more serious work as the series moves in a less comedic direction). Mitsuoka Masami was an interesting choice – as her delicate voice is not something you’d normally back up with rock accompaniment, but “Last Cross” made it work. SPLAY‘s songs were simple but enjoyable, and Kondo Takashi and Iida Toshinobu restored my faith in male seiyuu vocals with “Sakura Addiction.”

Gintama pic

After getting hooked on the silly awesomness that is Gintama, it was natural that I’d lean toward the songs as well – and discover a slew of new artists. And yes, they were relatively new – most of Gintama’s songs are done by indie J-Pop bands; while most of the songs are geared toward a more mainstream audience, the “indie sound” is still very present. Tommy heavenly6 was probably the only mainstream artist of this batch. My personal favorites were the themes performed by redballoon and DOES. I noticed Hearts Grow back when I listened to the Naruto Shippuden songs, but only really started noticing them after “Kasanaru Kage.” I was pleased to see Snowkel make a return with “Kiseki” as I was extremely fond of “Namikaze Satellite” (again, it all goes back to Naruto!). Kelun was decent as well, and monobright definitely got my attention with “Anata Magic.” Pity not much is known about ghostnote, because I’d want to hear something beyond “I, Ai, Ai.” Another artist I’d definitely like to see more of is Plingmin, since I just love girly rock.

Ahh, and there are still many more shounen shows out there to be watched (or at least listened to). I’ve heard that One Piece (gotta count the movies too!) has pretty good songs…(Bump of Chicken, anyone? XD). Not sure if Meitantei Conan counts as one, but that series was a big promoting ground for the likes of Kuraki Mai, Aiuchi Rina, and Garnet Crow…


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