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April 14, 2013

Why Anime is Amazing: Because DAT MUSIC

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before -- both online and in real-world conversations -- but just so it’s on the record I’ll go ahead and say it again.  In my opinion, no character (least of all my own) is complete without a theme song to call their own.

Not being much in the way of composition or technology, I can’t say I’ve made my own songs to blast in my headphones (though I have a couple of melodies in mind for certain heroes).  So in exchange, time and time again I find myself relying on the glory of YouTube and the music stocked there -- not necessarily from bands like Gamma Ray or Stratovarius…not always, at least.  No, I find myself making full-on Word Documents full of links to music from games.  The lack of lyrics in most songs is a boon in a lot of ways; I’ll give my characters theme songs (game-related or not), but it’s downright natural for me to look for a certain song to help me write a certain scene.  How well it works out for me is up for debate, but I’d like to think it at least makes the process easier.

And really, the same can be said for the music from anime.  So let’s take a moment to extend some praise -- yet again -- to that sacred medium yet again, shall we? 

And by sacred I mean stuffed to the brim with speedlines and mechs.  Not that that’s a bad thing; if anything it just makes the medium more legitimate.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I hold anime in high esteem…conceptually, at least.  I won’t pretend like it’s the greatest storytelling medium around -- every medium has its strengths and weaknesses -- but there are some really good products out there if you’re willing to look for them.  Especially now, or even now if you prefer; a lot of people, fans included, will give anime a lot of crap and say it’s not as good as it used to be.  That’s up for debate, as is everything that exists and inevitably appears on the internet.  But if you’re the sort who thinks that Cowboy Bepop is the only good anime ever created…well, you might want to adjust your sensibilities a bit.

I admit that I don’t watch as much anime as I used to (and even when I was at my wildest I wasn’t exactly doing marathon runs), but I’ll still check out an episode or two if I can.  Considering that there’s now a Devil Survivor 2 anime -- which as discussed has a habit of making me stiff in the trousers -- I’d say that it’s likely I’ll see what’s being offered this season.  But even if I don’t get around to watching a series, that won’t stop me from heading towards music like a moth toward a bug zapper.  So without further ado, I’ll go ahead and present some of my favorite anime tracks…that I can remember at the moment.

Because I’m starting to wonder if I’d do anything to get out of making a post for The Manly Song Repository.

Tiger and Bunny: “Power for the Future”

And speaking of manly, let’s start things off with a wild tiger. 

It’s my understanding that Tiger and Bunny is a series heavily focused on superheroes (and having seen a whopping one episode, I’d assume that’s true).  If that’s the case, then I’d say this song is a fitting addition.  Overflowing with confident swagger and unrestrained passion, it’s the kind of song that just makes you want to get up and fight.  Or barring that, just tie a towel around your neck and run around the room.  Preferably with pants on.

Gundam 00: “Hallelujah”

Aaaaaaaaaaaand on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have this little number -- which I’m starting to think has a remarkably ill-fitting title.

Truth be told, I originally didn’t put much stock into Gundam 00 when it aired on the SciFi channel (or I guess SyFy, for whatever boneheaded reason).  It just seemed like a bunch of morose pretty boys and pointless tertiary characters mucking about, with only the occasional giant robot fight to remind you that, yes, this is a show about giant robot fights…except when it isn’t.  But I stuck with it -- because giant robot fights -- and found myself rewarded the longer I watched it.  I wouldn’t say it’s because of this song in particular, but damn is it haunting; it’s the perfect song for making any scene hyper-tense, and demands that you look over your shoulder every five seconds before that stalker lays into you with a carving knife.

One Piece: “Mother Sea”

If you’re not 100% familiar with the context of the series or the song, then avoid the comments.  They either won’t make sense, or will spoil one of the most heart-wrenching moments I’ve encountered yet in fiction.

That little bit of advice aside, I’m a big fan of this song (particularly the first third or so).  It’s a sad piece, no question, but it’s about more than just getting those tears flowing.  There’s something hopeful about it, as well; something along the lines of reminiscence, and keeping those good times close to your heart.  Touching stuff, indeed.  And I would expect no less from a series that willingly features eight-foot-tall musical skeletons with afros and mach-speed sword skills.

Corollary to “Why Anime is Amazing”: Because One Piece.

Reborn: “VS Varia”

I actually think that Reborn has one of my favorite anime soundtracks in general, and I’d gladly recommend listening to songs like “Standing Friends” or “Tsuna Awakens” if you can spare the time.  But for the moment I’ll go ahead and name this one for the sheer ability to make listeners go “Oh shit, here he comes!”  The tension, the dread, the towering nightmare that this song brings to the table is enough to leave you breathless if you’re not careful.  If you find yourself struggling to breathe, just remember: it’s only a cartoon.  It can’t hurt you.

Well, unless you buy the manga and get a paper cut.  Or you happen to show off the first volume to a nearby girl and she -- being ill-versed in the formatting -- opens the back cover instead of the front and finds a context-less picture of a middle school girl in her underwear.  Oh, sure, zero right in on the underwear instead of the flame on her head -- real mature, Traci.  Classy.

Thank you for not killing me, Traci.  It would have been easy, I know, but thanks.

Gurren Lagann: “Ten wo Tsuke”

I…I don’t need to say a single damn word, do I?

Samurai Champloo: “Battlecry”

It’s not cheating to post the opening to a song instead of BGM, is it?  Well, it isn’t now -- and I can’t bring myself to divorce the song from the show itself.  It’d be easy to give the show some period-appropriate sounds, but Battlecry makes a name for itself and the show at large by infusing a unique spirit and creative vision.  It’s the perennial “making a statement” -- memorable on every level, with sounds you just can’t bring yourself to forget.  Even if it does have lyrics (or if hip hop isn’t up to your speed), it’s hard not to get lost in the beat.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand there goes a Street Fighter reference. 

HeartCatch Precure: “Cure Moonlight’s Theme”

Hold on.  Let's do something a little different for this one.  Don't go closing the window just yet.

“heartcatch precure ost 2 track 19”.  That’s what my fingers hammer into YouTube’s search box on a regular basis, and with good reason.  Every time I listen to this song -- THE SONG -- I can’t help but think to myself, “Holy shit.”  This has to be one of my favorite songs to date, regardless of medium -- and as I understand it, it’s from one of the most unlikely sources.  It’s from a show about pretty-looking magical girls -- in the same vein as something like Sailor Moon, if I’m not mistaken.

And similarly, I’ve heard that it’s one of the most badass things ever created…and having seen a few clips, I can confirm that for myself.  For the most part, at least.  Who says frills can't be manly?

In any case, the entire reason for this post is to point your attention to this soundtrack.  Note that I said soundtrack, not just song.   Granted the song is a damn heroic and blood-heating onslaught of rock, but poking around a few other songs leads me to believe that there are not only other songs like it sprinkled throughout (heroic and villainous), but even those that lay off the guitars manage to offer up high quality and high-passion efforts.  It’ll require investigating, I know, but I’d say it’s worth it.  And I’d say you should do it soon; there’s a possibility that the songs could get taken down -- like they have before -- and you’d have to listen to a pitch-shifted version.  And that’d be a shame.  So go.  Go, and be free.  Free to ROCK.

And that’ll just about wrap things up on my end…save for one song I’d be a fool not to bring up.  Hope you’ve got some crackers on hand for the amount of cheese coming your way.  And sing along if you know the words.

Got some songs you want to recommend?  Leave a comment, if you would.  Share your music with the world.  It’s what Luffy would want.  Well, that or some meat.  

(Huh.  Think I might add this post to the Repository after all.  Consider it a “bonus track”, I suppose…) 


  1. I'm going to probably be part of a majority here, but the music in Bebop is the best music I've heard in anime. The Seatbelts are the shit.

  2. Guess it's time for me to recommend more JoJo stuff. Now that the first (of hopefully many) seasons is over, the soundtracks are starting to come out. A lot of people like Overdrive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4458fC7mDsc and Burning Colosseum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3tlJeTf7kg&list=PLdgzOaakVaScCnE6OB-mv4WMnS0NuRKdE&index=19

    On the other end of the spectrum though, even though it's not an original piece, I find that II mare eterno nella mia anima is used to both great and heartbreaking effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72mWNRs5jBw&list=PLdgzOaakVaScCnE6OB-mv4WMnS0NuRKdE&index=17

  3. Dude. Shigurui. Go watch Shigurui. It's got this in it:


    Also, the music overall is pretty boss, like the stuff you posted here.

    But those damn kids man. They send shivers down my spine...

  4. I've always thought competitive gaming anime like Saki and Yu-Gi-Oh! were good at using theme songs that match how epic their portrayals of the games are while not being too ridiculous. Cases in point, Yusi's theme from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gulH70iDAys And here's a song used whenever the protagonists are winning in Saki: Episode of Side A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3D1K5Vcp5k

  5. Yeah, I'll gladly admit that Bebop has some fantastic songs -- but it's been a while since I heard any of them, so I couldn't think of one off the top of my head (besides the obvious one, Tank!) Methinks it's time to change that soon enough.

  6. Oh man, Yusei's theme is seriously reminding me of King of Fighters. Now I need to play KoF 11 and have a ball with Ralf Jones.

    And yikesy mikesy, that Saki track! That one's going in the file.

  7. Oh jeez...I need to get around to watching JoJo one of these days. Considering that it's the one and ONLY anime my brother's watched of his own free will (besides Naruto, because he's a bit...obstinate when it comes to anime), I'm assuming there's some serious appeal -- and awesomeness -- to be had.

    That aside, though, Overdrive is now going to be stuck in my head until next January.

  8. Shigurui...? Man, I've never even heard of that one before. And here I was, thinking that I was in or relatively near the loop.

    This will require some deeper investigation. I've officially begun stroking my chin to express my rising levels of intrigue.

  9. It's a samurai anime without idiotic speed lines and super Saiyan rip-offs. It's also based on historical events. It may not be the most realistic thing out there, but it's cruel, well-written and has an EXCELLENT score.

  10. Duly noted. Consider it on my radar; if it's got a samurai or two in it, then it's bound to have swords. Swords beget sword fights. And I do enjoy a good sword fight. Manly stuff, indeed.

  11. Holy shit this is fantastic! Man, I GOTTA find this anime somewhere and get it into my eyeballs immediately!

  12. Damn. Beat me to it. But worth mentioning the openings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgJO39ScKLk Are pure James Bond-esque gold.

  13. It's a Jojo's Bizarre Adventure thing. This is a benchmark to the flamboyant poses and barbie aisle color schemes frequently used in the series. That said. When you watch episodes you quickly learn that Joseph Joestar is an undeniable example of bad assery.

  14. Yeah, I've heard that the show -- or the franchise, rather -- is pretty fabulous; it's just that this is pretty much the first time I've seen it extensively for myself. It's a real shock to the system.

    Also, I've heard of Joesph in passing (and one of the games, in his older form), but now I've definitely got an interest in him and the series as a whole. This will require a deep and thorough investigation...perhaps alongside some hot dogs.

    Nah, better hold off on the dogs for now. Might make a mess.

  15. ...I would use the word "fabulous" to describe what I just saw, but that seems horrifically inadequate. Absolutely, horrifically inadequate.