Anime music reviews? Are you serious?
Ok, let me explain.
Long story short, some anime is stupid and some of it is… great. Great? Yes, great enough where it sometimes changes the very way films around the world are made.
You see, to put it simply, not every anime is designed for kids. However, that also leads into the next inevitable anime stereotype: the needless exploitation of female genitalia and the general hyper sexualized portrayal of people (mostly women). And if it isn’t that, it’s the over the top insanity that is Dragon Ball Z and other series like it.
I’m here to tell you that it’s ok. Believe or not, there are many animes meant to be seen by actual adults with actual intelligence. Yes! There are animes that will and do appeal to our complex and grown up tastes! Not everything is Pokemon, Speed Racer and Hello Kitty.
Just as there are cartoons meant for more mature audiences in America (i.e., Family Guy, The Simpsons or Southpark), there are animated films and/or series from Japan that are made for people like us. Anime can be made in any genre. It can range from simple sci-fi films and shows to programs and full lengths that are so layered with metaphors, complex allusions and imagery that you may never fully figure it out (like the Lain series). Some are surreal and some are superb cinematic breakthroughs. Examples: Akira (film), Wolf’s Rain (series), Princess Mononoke (film), Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (series), Cowboy Bebop (Series), and Satoshi Kon’s Paranoia Agent (series).
If you’re curious about finding good anime and need a hand avoiding the crap that is all-to-easy to find, scope out review’s by Sage or JesuOtaku. They’ll give you a fairly good idea of what’s good to pick from and what you should ignore.
Now, to get back to the original point… When an anime series or film is made to be serious, complex and to otherwise not be your standard Saturday morning sugar rush, you need a good soundtrack to back it up. Now, I most likely won’t review the really cartoony soundtracks, like something you’d hear on the Slayers series, but I will focus more on the soundtracks that show the most depth and that belong to more sensible films or shows. You can’t talk about influential and decent anime without talking about musicians and artists like Yoko Kanno, Yasushi Ishii, Joe Hisaishi or Susumu Hirasawa.
So… that’s the preface for this new series of reviews. They won’t pop up here often, as I don’t own too many, and several that are superb are long out of print. However, what I will showcase will hopefully be decent enough to serve as a standalone musical venture rather than just a standard soundtrack. In other words, something good enough where you can own the album(s) without needing to see or own the movies they came from, unless you want to.