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Old 2007-11-20, 21:21   Link #1
SeijiSensei
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Best Anime Scores ("Soundtracks") of 2007

The best anime programs not only display remarkable graphic and story-telling abilities, but often have extraordinary soundtracks as well. I've been listening to some of my OST albums recently and thought I'd open a thread to discuss the best soundtracks of the year. My goal is to stimulate nominations and discussion after which I'll post a poll with the top-ten nominees, probably sometime in mid-December.

I have two nominees to throw into the mix, with widely differing styles of composition.

The first is the soundtrack for Oh! Edo Rocket by Honma Yusuke. Honma joins in with the overall anachronistic "alternative-history" themes of this show by composing a score based on 1940's big-band jazz with occasional ventures into 50's and 60's progressive jazz. In a show where people from 1860 use technologies from 2007, why not have a score with music from neither period? Listening to this score has made me wonder how much of it is drawn from the US Occupation period after the end of World War II. Was the big-band sound of people like the Dorseys the soundtrack of reconstruction Japan? BTW, the band recruited for these tracks is really hot.

My other nominee is the score by Saito Tsuneyoshi for Dennou Coil. Saito's work for this show captures both the childlike surface nature of the story and its darker, more perilous side as well. His wide range of instrumentation just adds to the power of this score. I've listened to this soundtrack numerous times now, and it doesn't get old.

Notice that I haven't mentioned either the OP or ED to these series; I'd like to focus this discussion on the scores themselves. For instance, the score for Seirei no Moribito earned a runner-up nomination from me, even though I disliked both the OP and the ED for that show.
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Old 2007-11-20, 23:28   Link #2
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I haven't got any OST lately but I do have many favorites from older series, which are not 2007 >.<
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Old 2007-11-21, 00:45   Link #3
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Definitely Byousoku 5 Centimetre. I get really emotional just by listening to some of the tracks.
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Old 2007-11-21, 02:12   Link #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
Definitely Byousoku 5 Centimetre. I get really emotional just by listening to some of the tracks.
Is that 2007? Time just flies ^_^
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Old 2007-11-21, 03:07   Link #5
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For Me:

Darker Than Black by Yoko Kanno/Abingdon Boys School

Pretty slim pickings this year, but for me it's a toss up between Tengen Toppa, Darker Than Black, Heroic and Gundam 00 and Dragonaut, which are both making a pretty strong coming. Overall I have to go with Darker Than Black, almost on the strength of Howling alone, but also because of the awesome background music and relaxing ending Tsukiakari by a person I had previously never heard of, Rie Fu (quiet a good lower register voice that lacks that Idol Popish pitch I don't care for). The fact that I still listen to Howling almost daily and some other songs that have come out more recently I've already forgotten or taken off the playlist really says something about how I enjoyed the OSTs headliner song. The song really came out of nowhere and hit me when I thought Anime Vocal Tracks were going down the road of becoming almost strictly Idol Pop affairs. I'm very grateful to T.M Revolution for showing me how wrong I was and to Yoko Kanno for continuing to shine.....though I still don't like her gibberish language tracks very much.

Last edited by Kaioshin Sama; 2007-11-21 at 03:17.
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Old 2007-11-21, 03:16   Link #6
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Here are five that come to mind for me. It was originally going to be three, but then I kept thinking of more.
  • Hikaru Nanase's score for Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica
    For a show with a musical theme, it's no surprise that the soundtrack absolutely stands out among Hikaru Nanase's best works. It covers a huge range of instruments and styles in a number of both themes-and-variations and standalone pieces that cover the complete emotional spectrum (or colour spectrum, if you follow the track names). The fact that it's a 2-CD 55+ song soundtrack for a short, 12-episode show just goes to show the amount of emphasis the producers and composer put on the music in the show's production.

  • Akifumi Tada's score for Touka Gettan
    The word that comes to mind, for both the show and soundtrack, is "exotic". I never knew that you could combine traditional eastern influences, modern melodies and harmonies, latin big brass/dance, and much more, and have it all make some sort of sense, but the composer manages it quite well. Often beautiful, often fun, and always interesting would be how I'd describe it, and it's all very wonderfully orchestrated. Definitley worth picking up, IMO.

  • Mina Kubota's score for Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora
    This soundtrack, in the spirt of the show's spiritual predecessor Kannazuki no Miko, really sweeps you away into its fairytale world with its beautiful melodies and fully-orchestrated accompaniment. The composer really knows how to use an orchestra to evoke feelings in the listener, especially with the strings. Whether it's kindness, love, fear, mystery, tension, or even the feeling of "grandeur", all are rendered quite beautifully. This soundtrack definitely has a "classical" feel to it, both in the compositions and orchestration (reflecting the show's both "classical" and "timeless/eternal" motifs), which definitely appeals to me a lot.

  • Yasuhiro Misawa's score for Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
    A surpising entry from a newcomer to the anime music scene (though he's been doing game work for a long while). I think it's the simple but catchy melodies and beautiful orchestration that really make this work. It has a way of sticking in your head, and really bringing out the fun, nostalgic, and bittersweet qualities of the show. Lots of theme-and-variation work (along with a lot of call/response phrasing) in many different styles gives the whole soundtrack (and show) a really strong cohesiveness. It doesn't have the variety of some other soundtracks, or demonstrate a huge range for the composer, but it suits the show just perfectly and makes for a very enjoyable listen.

  • Tenmon's score for ef - a tale of memories.
    The CD won't be out until next year, but the anime's airing now. It's definitely a soundtrack to watch for -- beautiful melodies, nice accompaniment, and just perfectly complementary to the show. I particularly like the piano work. I'll probably be able to say more when I listen to the CD (it's a different experience from listening to the music in the show), but so far it's definitely my most-anticipated OST CD release of the fall 2007 shows.
So anyway, those are the ones that stick out for me at the moment (though I'm still probably forgetting some). At this point, I'd gladly recommend and vote for any of these CDs.
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Old 2007-11-21, 22:10   Link #7
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My Otome Zwei music by Kajiura Yuki. As crap as the story was in my opinion, Kajiura's music is awesome.
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Old 2007-11-22, 00:21   Link #8
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I have not heard anyting that I found really great this year. I believe the only OST I got this year is Seirei no Moribito's first OST (I think another one has been released since then, but I don't have it yet) by Kenji Kawaii, which is pretty good, not amazing either.
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Old 2007-11-22, 00:57   Link #9
Ichihara Asako
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Takanashi Yasuharu's work for both Mononoke, and Terra e, is excellent. Both are some of my favourites for the year. I love ALL of his work, in everything he's ever done. Always great epic scores.

Dennou Coil is right up there. It took me by surprise, actually. Very much enjoyed it, as I did the series. Totally offbeat series, and soundtrack both greatly under appreciated. The Mushishi of 2007.

Both Seirei no Moribito OSTs for sure. But then, Kawai Kenji's work is always awesome.

Sola, with it's mix of epic and soothing OST, and the gorgeous OP and EDs absolutely needs a mention, too. I could go on, but I'd rather keep it to a shorter list of my top favourites. ^_^;
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Old 2007-11-22, 09:10   Link #10
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Heroic Age: Satou Naoki jump you to the infinite Star Way with this epic masterpiece, with plus of Deianeira songs interpreted by Ishikawa Yui on CD2. Are two Original Sound Albums. The second have new songs and some of the first album with coral addiction.

Claymore: Masanori Takumi make a good jog with different combinations types of songs. Mistery, Terror, Battle and Goddess themes.
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Old 2007-11-22, 09:56   Link #11
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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann : Iwasaki Taku is absolutely amazing in this series. Match perfectly with times of tense, funny, emotional,and fighting spirit in the series. "Libera Me" from Hell and Omae no XXX de Ten wo Tsuke! are both my favourite songs as of now in any anime soundtracks. It also feature sci-fiction (anti spiral theme) , cool (Viral theme), and various other combination that makes the whole album looks like a complete "real" album instead of an anime OST.
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Old 2007-11-22, 17:48   Link #12
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For me the best score of 2007 would be Taku Iwasaki's Gurren Lagann followed by Kawai Kenji's Seirei no Moribito and Takanashi Yasuharu's Terra e. Iwasaki started to diverse his range and it payed off, Kenji has really came back in a good way the last few years and the Terra e ost is just epic.

I was very disappointed by Yoko Kanno's Darker than Black and Satou Naoki's Heroic Age, I expected a lot more from them and I really hope Kanno lifts her game for Macross Frontier. I'm not exactly expecting anything on the level of Macross Plus but if it's Darker than Black quality.... than yuck.

While I've found this year to be pretty amazing in terms of quality anime shows, in terms of soundtracks nothing has really stood out except maybe Gurren Lagann.
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Old 2007-11-26, 13:22   Link #13
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sola was a big surprise. I listened to that one non-stop for about a whole week.
Same goes for the Manabi Straight! OST. Nice, subtle themes. A little melancholy and nostalgia - but mainly a OST that feels like School Life. Good Job.
If it wasn't such masses of new music being released, I'd surely listen to those two occasionally now, too.

Seirei no Moribito was epic, as was the music.

And a honorable mention for the Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei OST - it worked perfectly for the series and had a beautiful main theme.

The El Cazador soundtrack is notable for being one of Kajiuras better works nowadays.

Edit: Of course, Tenmon was amazing with his Byousoku score, but the ef one didn't impress me at all, to be honest.
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Old 2007-11-26, 18:47   Link #14
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Definantly Animatrix Beyond, heres a link to the actual score if anyone is interested. I got it from the composer btw, I have his permission to share it.

http://forums.matrixfans.net/showthread.php?p=498234

enjoy
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Old 2007-12-02, 10:49   Link #15
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To nominate one soundtrack which hasn't been mentioned yet:

- FLAG, Second Season (Yoshihiro Ike) felt like an amazing atmospheric soundtrack to me, and it's definitely one of the best works of Yoshihiro's already amazing record.

Apart from that, I agree with the soundtracks for El Cazador, Toward the Terra, Seirei no Moribito and Ooedo Rocket.
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Old 2007-12-03, 07:17   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
[list][*][*]Akifumi Tada's score for Touka Gettan
The word that comes to mind, for both the show and soundtrack, is "exotic". I never knew that you could combine traditional eastern influences, modern melodies and harmonies, latin big brass/dance, and much more, and have it all make some sort of sense, but the composer manages it quite well. Often beautiful, often fun, and always interesting would be how I'd describe it, and it's all very wonderfully orchestrated. Definitley worth picking up, IMO.
I completely agree with you here. The music can be quite unusual but it works for the show. It's addicting I must say.

But the best OST of the year for me is Seirei no Moribito. I love traditional music and Kawai Kenji beautifully captured the atmosphere of the series with a certain dignified feel. It made it so easy to blend into the world and the story. The series wouldn't have worked so well otherwise. Just listen to Nahji no Uta and its instrumental version, Omoi Haruka. Some of the best folk music ever to complement a show!
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Old 2007-12-03, 07:21   Link #17
frustra
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for me, the soundtracks of:

Nodame Cantabile
ef
Gurren Lagann
Seirei no Moribito
Clannad (so far)
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Old 2007-12-04, 12:37   Link #18
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Kenji Kawai for Seirei no Moribito
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Old 2007-12-04, 13:39   Link #19
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I plan to continue collecting nominations until December 15th. Then I'll narrow it down by the number of times a score is mentioned in this thread. For instance, the score for Seirei no Moribito will clearly make the finals.

My preference is to use "approval voting" which the vBulletin software makes easy. In approval voting, you get to vote for as many of the candidates as you like (some people think this would be a good idea in US primary elections as well). Since there are, I believe, a maximum of ten options available, nine of the nominees will pass on to the final stage so we can include the option "other(s)" as well.

Of coiurse, I'm open to suggestions about the selection and balloting process.

About Nodame Cantabile: I might have included this show in my nomination list, but I thought the best parts of the score were the performances of the actual pieces by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, etc. In that sense, I saw NC's score more as a compilation than an original work. Even having watched NC a couple of times, I can't recall if there is a soundtrack beyond the classical performances and the OP/EDs. Can someone remind me?
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Old 2007-12-04, 20:20   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
About Nodame Cantabile: I might have included this show in my nomination list, but I thought the best parts of the score were the performances of the actual pieces by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, etc. In that sense, I saw NC's score more as a compilation than an original work. Even having watched NC a couple of times, I can't recall if there is a soundtrack beyond the classical performances and the OP/EDs. Can someone remind me?
Well there was an original score by Matsutani Suguru, but for me nothing stood out other than the Nodame Rhapsody and the comedic pieces(barely). I guess it wasn't meant to eclipse the orchestral pieces anyway.

As for my own vote...most of my top mentions have already been mentioned, in Manabi Straight!, Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Toward the Terra, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, being first, second, third and fifth respectively.

I'd like to draw attention to Apo Mekhanes Theos(Kishin Taisen) Gigantic Formula's soundtrack since virtually no one gave the series any attention when it came out during Spring '07 (which was probably too awesome a season for it I guess). Although it suffers from the obligatory mainstream OST affliction of 'few awesome tracks and other mediocre ones', those which stand out, stand out. For a relative nobody in the anime music scene(I've never heard of Sawano Hiroyuki before this), that is some impressive synthesizer-assisted orchestra there.

Last edited by Ottocycle; 2007-12-05 at 23:50. Reason: Misinformed series timing, I put a 2006 series in. Oops.
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