Sunday, January 28. 2007
So anyone who's anyone these days is following Death Note, the hit-manga-turned-hit-anime about a college student who finds a notebook that kills anyone whose names are written in it. Though some people will tell you they're only reading the manga, I'm here to tell you that watching the anime is totally a better experience because it has the power of incredibly dramatic music! They finally put out the soundtrack to the anime, not just the live-action movie, and it really is great, but it gets so intense, it's almost (almost) silly. I am serious here - this is the sort of OST that makes eating potato chips a matter of life and death. If you're looking for the most dramatic songs yet used in the anime, Kyrie is the sad, tense choral melody used when Light is being particularly evil; and Low of Solipsism is the dramatic song used in the potato chip incident. Both of them are heavy-handed orchestral themes with plenty of choir action in there. And then there are so songs that are so extreme, they haven't even been used yet (so far as I know) in the anime - such as Death Note Theme and the Sephiroth-killer Domine Kira, or as I like to call it, "One-Winged Light". There are plenty of other gems in the soundtrack that I'm sure I'll discover in their full right after a few days of listening, such as L's Theme and Shudder (Senritsu), both of which utilize a nice grainy electric guitar and a piano, and have pretty awesome melodies.
Overall, I'm quite impressed with the audio quality that Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi have come up with here. It's not only an incredibly atmospheric soundtrack, setting the mood perfectly for the show - it's also quite listenable and with some songs that can really literally make anything intense. So next time you eat potato chips, you know where to turn.
Update: I have gone back and uploaded all the old fileden stuff to Dreamhost, so if you had any problems about downloading files from us before, there should be no such problems now - things should be consistent and blazing fast, too. If the RSS feed seems out of order, that's an unfortunate side-effect of all this. To celebrate our ability to host more stuff now, I've also uploaded a 30-second demo from the Death Note anime soundtrack:
Thursday, January 25. 2007
So it's been known for a little while that the Haruhi DVDs in Japan were going to come with a special version of the ending theme with the entire dance - you know, that one that's been performed by Gundams, miscellaneous cosplayers, troupes of Japanese street dancers, and so forth. Well, it's finally here! I was linked to it on a DivX-based site, which requires you to install the "DivX Web Player." (Yeah, I know, sounds like a pain in the rear end but it was actually quite painless and worked pretty well. I'll keep you updated if something goes wrong on its account.)
Anyway, it looks pretty nice and I'm wondering how long it'll be - minutes? Days? Is it already too late? - before someone puts a video with them (or their stop-motion model figures) performing the full version of the dance!
OverCoat edit: Need less suspicious .exe installers? Try youtube!
mDuo13 Edit: Youtube link updated.
Tuesday, January 23. 2007
Last night I finished one of the best anime I've seen recently. It's called Mushishi, a very mystical, fantastic anime about these things called Mushi. In a way you can call them spirits, or tiny little angels and demons. Some of them are good and some of them are bad, and sometimes they affect humans. Some humans can even see the Mushi, and a Mushi-shi is one who hunts Mushi. The story revolves around a Mushi-shi called Ginko, a man with white hair and a single green eye who is always smoking a strange cigarrette. The anime itself is not actually a single story, but 26 different stories about Ginko and Mushi, all of which I enjoyed. A pleasant surprise was the music, which sets itself apart from most soundtracks by not sucking.
Here is a small sampling of the music.
The moods it creates are about half of what makes Mushishi so good - the other half would be the art. They did a pretty good job showing all these different unique kinds of Mushi and this nature that surrounds Ginko, and the music completes the feeling of mysticism and intrigue. The wonderfully relaxing OP theme is "The Sore Feet Song" by Ally Kerr, a Scottish singer-songwriter. His website can be found here. However, the rest of the music is by a Masuda Toshio, not to be confused with Masuda Toshio the director. Masuda also composed music for another anime you may have heard of, Naruto. Or Mahoromatic. Or Digi Charat. Or Ai Yori Aoshi. Maybe Excel Saga. Though those anime, maybe not Naruto, but definitely Excel Saga, have an almost entirely different sound. The kind I mostly do not like to hear :(
What I do like to hear, though, is music like this. It's a relaxed and doesn't get too active, just like most anime music I enjoy, but like the series, much of the music is serious rather than playful. I find the music very pretty but it can get pretty ominous!
Speaking of anime with soundtracks I love, check out what I discovered on YouTube:
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou with Ally Kerr's song over it. Works pretty well!
Ally Kerr's song is fantastic, and Masuda's work fits the show like a glove. I fell asleep listening to OST 1 last night! I recommend it for standalone listening as well. Also, everyone should watch Mushishi someday :) it is a neat experience.
Wednesday, January 17. 2007
So here we are: looking forward to the Spring 2007 anime season. Do you want to know how I look forward to new seasons? I check for new entries on Yuki Kajiura's profile page - if there's an anime on there I haven't heard of, it must be new. (Yes, I'm probably obsessed.) And so what did I find recently, but a new anime El Cazador (Full name: El Cazador de la Bruja, translation: Witch Hunter) with animation by Bee Train and music by Yuki Kajiura. The director, Koichi Mashimo, has already called it the third installment in his "girls with guns trilogy" which is funny because my first reaction when I heard the plot was "Oh, so it's Noir meets Trigun". Indeed, it takes after Noir and Madlax in pretty clear ways, as the plot summary makes clear:
The story predictably centers on two female characters: Ellis and Nadi. In the premise, Ellis is a murder suspect and finds herself on the run from an underground society called "Hunters" (possibly, the reason for the series' title). At some point, she meets a bounty hunter Nadi who is initially after the bounty on her head but eventually decides to help her pursue the truth about her past. Although by doing so, Nadi calls the Hunters' wrath upon herself, as well, she accompanies Ellis to her hometown. In a recent interview, Mashimo has revealed that Ellis is in fact a "witch" and her DNA has been modified by an entity (organization?) called "Leviathan", confirming his previous cryptic comments on the series.Source: Bee Train Fan Wiki
So the outlook is: if you liked Madlax and/or Noir, El Cazador sounds great. It seems that Mashimo is being sure to hit a variety of locales: Noir took place mostly in France, Madlax mostly in southeast Asia, and this one will be somewhere in the Wild West or South America. If you couldn't deal with the convoluted, style-over-substance plots of the first two series, you'll probably hate this show, too... but I'm telling you right now, the soundtrack is probably going to seriously rock.
There's another Bee Train + Yuki Kajiura anime for this spring, the third season of Tsubsa Chronicle, a show whose plot I've learned to despise, but whose soundtrack continues to expand with amazing music. (More on that later.) In any case, the series will pick up where it left off and with any luck it won't get renewed for another agonizingly progress-less season, but one has to worry about these things. It seems impossible that they'd change composers, though, so if you're a Kajiura fan, keep an eye out: this should be good.
There are some other upcoming anime worth noting, though not for their music. There's "Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula", a mecha anime with designs by people from pretty much every mech anime ever. Take a gander at the list: Ikuto Yamashita (Evangelion, Blue Sub #6), Yutaka Izubuchi (Patlabor, RahXephon), Yasuhiro Moriki (Nadesico, Crest of the Stars), Takeshi Takakura (Appleseed), Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne), Shinji Aramaki (Bubblegum Crisis), Shingo Takeba (Pilot Candidate), Kunio Okawara (Gundam series), Kimitoshi Yamane (Gundam Seed, Cowboy Bebop), Kazutaka Miyatake (Macross Plus, My-HIME), Kazumi Fujita (Zeta Gundam), Kanetake Ebikawa (Fullmetal Panic, Eureka 7), and newcomer Katsushi Murakami. Apparently each of them is designing one mech to represent one country in a massive battle for dominance in a post-apocalyptic world. Or something like that.
There's also "The Skull Man", an adaptation of the 1970s manga of the same name, done by (how appropriate is this?) Studio BONES. Music is by Shiro Sagisu, who did BGM for Evangelion and Bleach. Wikipedia summarizes the plot thusly:
There are mass murders and catastrophes all over Japan, committed by a masked/caped psychic madman called the Skull Man, and his shape-shifting aide Garo, who can turn into various powerful mutant monsters. The calamities caused by the Skull Man are investigated by the Tachiki Detective Agency, with the help of a young man named Tatsuo Kagura, the son of a yakuza in the Kagura Clan.
Anyway, that's enough babbling about what's to come. I suppose I should mention something that already happened. Namely, Redcavalier and I got real hosting and we moved. You can now access the blog from either http://nekomimimusic.redcavalier.com/ or http://nekomimimusic.mduo13.com/. I may add more later. Anyway, we got an amazing deal from DreamHost so we figured we may as well try it out. Over the next few days I'll be going over all the songs we've hosted and uploading them to this web space since we have so much bandwidth and it's so much faster and more reliable than what we've been dealing with before now! This also means we have plenty of opportunity to host new songs, so more than ever - if you have anime remixes, mashups, arrangements, live performances - let us know! (It's best to contact either mduo13 or overcoat on our gmail addresses... "overcoat" and "mduo13" at, well, you know where.)
P.S. if you're a fan of Taku Iwasaki, apparently he did the soundtrack for a movie that just premiered in Japan, entitled "Origin ~Spirits of the Past~". Unfortunately, I don't know anything about it. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, January 15. 2007
Lately, I've had the chance to watch a not-so-recent series called Mahou shoujo lyrical Nanoha. Obviously, it is yet another magical girls show and it might scare most anime viewer with its extreme cheesyness. But fear not, young otaku, it's actually better than it sounds.
Takamachi Nanoha is a young girl (about 12 years old?) who lives a normal life with her family. Suddenly, one day, she meets a small ferret who gives her a magical jewel and tells her that they must find the magical jewel seeds before they destroy the world. Up to now, that's pretty cliché and rather uninteresting, but what is interesting with Nanoha is everything around the story. The animation is very well done. There is a scene in episode 1 which probably stands as one of the best scenes I ever saw in an anime, animationwise. The characters themselves are really well detailed and well... loliness = win in my book XD.
Fortunately for the story, it evolves into rather unexpected ways. It even goes into science-fiction territory at some points. Yet, when you reach episode 9, you can pretty much predict what is going to happen until the end. Another interesting element in nanoha is the way the characters fight. Fights in Nanoha usually have a bunch of big explosions and special moves, reminiscent of mecha anime. Some battles even last for more than half an episode (especially in the second season). In a sense, this is the beauty of Nanoha: it can cater to many kinds of audience.
Nanoha is very conservative with it's music, with more classical music and, at some times, piano reminiscent of the Melody of Oblivion soundtrack. Sorry, there's not much for the electric guitar and drum freaks. Both first and second season openings are performed by Nana Mizuki, and both endings are performed Yukari Tamura. While the openings are really good (especially the second one), I do believe that the endings are a bit too childish though, at least for my taste.
There is not much more to say about Nanoha. It's a rather cheesy anime which has some nice moments. As I usually describe it to my friends "It's a mecha anime where the mechas are disguised as little girls and fight for love, justice and freedom". It's definitely worth your time if you can laugh at it, instead of finding the whole "becoming friend with the whole world" principle annoying.
(Btw, did I say that it was lolicious?)
(Oh and, Mahou shoujo super robot taisen)
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