It is fairly unusual for me to notice the music in anime unless it really stands out. This is not a bad thing in itself, because not noticing it can be a sign of it blending in very well with the anime itself. Sometimes the music can also stand out so much it actually becomes distracting (which is my biggest concern with the Hunter x Hunter (2011) remake).
But every now and then we have anime with such gorgeous music that I directly look up the soundtrack. It is the kind of music that stands out without detracting from the experience. The music may not always be put to good use by the studio at times, sadly, but it still remains kickass in its own way.
This year had some great new anime OSTs I wish to share with you, one track at a time.
Mirai Nikki – Vol 3, Track 5
Composer: Tatsuya Katou
Technically, Mirai Nikki is an anime from last year. It did however, being 26 episodes, continue in the start of this year. Not to mention that this particular tune, which I call the “time to kick some ass” track, first appeared in this year if I am not mistaken.
Appearing up during the final episodes, this track really fit the mood and got me all pumped for Mirai Nikki. It is one of those moments where just everything works. Shit got real and this track helped. The whole soundtrack is pretty good too, but it is this very song that I will remember.
Eureka Seven AO – OST: 01 – Astral Ocean
Composer: Koji Nakamura
Eureka Seven AO may have been a horrible mess as both a stand-alone and a sequel, but I will always remember its music. It was rarely put to good use and often felt tacked on in certain scenes, but listening to it on its own is amazing.
The music in this sequel has a different approach than in Eureka Seven, which had more focus on being funky and electronic. This time it is more about violins and “seriousness”. It works just as great and gives the franchise a new flavor. Shame it was wasted on such a bad series.
Other notable tracks
Eureka Seven AO – OST2: 06 – Johansson’s Book
Eureka Seven AO – OST2: 23 – Secret III – Exposure
Eureka Seven AO – OST2: 29 – The Awakening
Hyouka – 薔薇色世界の扉
Composer: Kouhei Tanaka
The music in Hyouka is superb, sometimes even borrowing from Johann Sebastian Bach. I have heard rumors that the composer was really fond of Hyouka and one of the reasons it was made in the first place, but I cannot confirm this. His music is wonderful though, to put it lightly.
Other notable tracks
Hyouka – 灰色かつ省エネ
Hyouka – 薔薇の花びらが舞うように
Tsuritama – Tsuritama March
Composer: Kuricorder Quartet
This is a happy and quirky soundtrack, to say the least. Tsuritama March reminds me of the good times when I watched Tsuritama, something so bizarre as a fishing anime with aliens.
Other notable tracks
Tsuritama – DUCK Honbu, Outou Seyo! ~kin-mirai-hen~
Tsuritama – Boukenshatachi ~Tomodachi to Issho ni~
Shin Sekai Yori – OST: 01 – Kage no Denshouka Daiichibu
Composer: Shigeo Komori
I do not get it. Why has Shigeo not done more music in anime?! Except doing the ED themes from K-ON!, he has only done the music to Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi.
Someone, give this man more work. I get the chills when I hear the music in Shin Sekai Yori, that is how good it is. I love every single second of the soundtrack. I think this is the best anime music from 2012.
Other notable tracks
Shin Sekai Yori – OST: 03 – Quiet Village
Shin Sekai Yori – OST: 17 – Battle Mode PA #2
Shin Sekai Yori – OST: 21 – Sad Song
These are from every anime OST that hit me this year. We music from series such as Humanity has Declined, Nisemonogatari, Rinne no Langrange, Sakamichi no Apollon and Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere that were great.
For me, this year has been fantastic when it comes to anime music.
Excellent! More people to notice the wonders of anime BGM. Of those on the list, I’d say Hyouka and Tsuritama have proven themselves rather nicely, especially the latter’s quirky melodies that are so fun to behold. Though you didn’t list it, Tari Tari was nice and I am looking forward to seeing how Zetsuen no Tempest pans out.
The only songs I really noticed in Tari Tari were the insert songs. I tried listening to the full OST, but didn’t really feel anything. Maybe I should give it another try?
Thanks for liking it! I find it super hard to write about music. It’s mostly “So, eh, I like this”. 😛
Isn’t that one using lots of classical music, or am I mistaking it with another series perhaps?
The good news is that I’ll be talking about Tari Tari’s soundtrack real soon. As for Zetsuen no Tempest, nope, that’s all Michiru Oshima all the way. You might be thinking of Thermae Romae though and that had oodles of classical tossed around.
Oh, looking forward to it then 🙂
KoiChoco and Moretsu Pirates have good OSTs because it has Elements Garden. Girls und Panzer will be another one because their OST is absurd enough to be good music. And of course, Symphogear takes first place in my heart; nothing is better than Elements Garden: the Anime.
This unbiased review is brought to you by an Elements Garden fan.
I had no idea about Elements Garden until you told me about them on Twitter. Their music in Kimi to Boku (if I’m right?) is nice. Didn’t really stand out except for one tune, but it really fit the mood.
I’ve now listened to some music from the series you mentioned (along with Elements Garden music not from anime).
You know what? I love it. Thank you for sharing 😀
So nice to see Hyouka in the list, I love all those classical pieces the anime uses 😀
Yes, those are quite nice 🙂
I pretty much agree with everything you included in the post. But I’d also add some Rinne no Lagrange and Zetsuen no Tempest tracks. And the IFO-RA272 ‘Nirvash’ spec-M2 track from AO since that’s my favorite from AO’s OST.
I actually mentioned Lagrange! I didn’t listen to the whole soundtrack, however, so I decided to not make a bigger mention of it. It does seems rather nice, though. Almost makes me wonder if I should watch it… have you seen it?
Haha! I was trying to choose between that one and “Astral Ocean”, but I decided to go with the latter on a whim.
I have seen it. It’s pretty light most of the time. You can even say it’s slice of life mecha at times haha. I liked it mainly because of the characters and the humor. There is a story but it not the strength of the series imo. It’s not bad though, and it was executed pretty well. The soundtrack and visuals were also very good. The animation quality is not that good at times (the project obviously has low budget) but I really liked the art style (especially the color scheme) so I didn’t mind.
As to whether it’s worth watching, I think the 1st episode can pretty much represent the series in terms of the overall feel of the series except for the fanservice (it’s toned down after episode 1) and some of the more serious parts later on. So I think you should watch the 1st episode to decide. The most memorable aspect of the series for me is the humor though. I mean, I like its humor all the time, but I just love how they incorporated it in the serious and the plot-moving parts.
With that said though, I think the ones who genuinely liked it like I did are in the minority. 8/10 for me. I hope that wasn’t too long. haha
Shin Sekai Yori, Hyouka, and AO had some great tracks. The music in Shin Sekai Yori knows how to create the eerie atmosphere, while the music in AO amplifies the action happening on screen (track 25 is my favorite. It works so well even if the show stinks) and Hyouka’s music just fits it to T. Some others this year that impressed me were Natsuyuki Rendezvous (Ken Muramatsu is one of my favorite composers), Jormundgand, Aquarion Evol, Sakamichi no Apollon and Chihayafuru and Guilty Crown, though technically those two began in 2011 and ended in 2012. Still, they had some great tracks.
Great music indeed 🙂
I actually haven’t heard any by Ken Muramatsu (except Rendezvous, which I didn’t even notice). He’s most known for Sketchbook, it seems.
My favorite of his is actually Umi Monogatari (I haven’t even seen Sketchbook yet). The show wasn’t particularly great, or at least not comparable to other Sato Junichi works, but the soundtrack for it was awesome. It’s one of my favorite soundtracks ever.
Listening to it as I write this… it is rather nice. Umi Monogatari is actually a series that I have been interested in (for some reason it slightly reminded me of Aria). I guess I’ll scale down my expectations a little.