Posts Tagged With: anime

Guilty Crown

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Guilty Crown is an anime television series created by Production I.G and first aired in 2011. The story takes place in the year 2039 and is about a young boy by the name of Shu Ouma who obtains “The Power of the Kings” which allows him to draw out another person’s “heart” and use it as a weapon called a “void.” If a void is destroyed, the person who the void had originated from is destroyed as well. Eventually Shu gets caught up with a resistance group known as “Funeral Parlor” which wishes break Japan away from the international organization GHQ.

10 years prior to the story on Christmas Eve of 2029, the “Apocalypse Virus” spreads throughout Japan, but the international organization GHQ conducts martial law and restores order. Ten years later, 17 year old Shu Ouma comes into contact with Inora, the singer of the band Egoist, and accidentally obtains “The Power of the Kings” and gets involved with Funeral Parlor. The anime progresses to show the story of Shu’s involvement with Funeral Parlor and his lost past.

The music in Guilty Crown was composed by Hiroyuki Sawano. The anime’s opening and ending themes were written by Supercell, an 11-member Japanese Pop music group. The opening theme of the anime is “My Dearest” and is sung by Koeda. The ending theme “Departures ~あなたにおくるアイの歌~” is performed by the anime’s fictional band known as Egoist. Chelly, who was picked by Ryo of Supercell, provided the vocals.

Guilty Crown’s music really adds to the emotional impact of the anime. The opening scene of the anime’s first episode (see the above video) is a powerful one. The insert song, Euterpe which is sung by the character Inori who’s  part of the anime’s fictional band Egoist, plays as Shu watches the music video for the song featuring Inori (lead singer of Egoist) unaware of Inori carrying the void genome in her hands and running for her life. The music helps parallel and contrast the opening events of the first episode that are occurring: Shu appears calm and bored as he watches/listens to the music video of Inori singing while Inori is busy running for her life. The music in the anime helps to add to the emotional tension that occurs throughout the anime along with the feeling of momentous triumphs.

Sources:

http://www.minitokyo.net/GUILTY+CROWN

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guilty_Crown

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroyuki_Sawano

http://animeost.info/5402/guilty-crown-ost

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercell_(band)

Written by Joey Vongpanya

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Video Game/Anime Music Covers on YouTube

Go on YouTube and search “video game music covers” or “anime music covers.” “Video game music covers” will give you about 700,000 results, and “anime music covers” will give you about 90,000 results. You can even go on Google, which will give you millions of results including websites and forums on people’s top favorite video game or anime music covers.

In “Sounds of the Game,” Lisa Wong Macabasco talks about how bands like Select Start have started a new genre of music. This new genre of music is video game music. This article even mentions the NESkimos – a rock outfit based in Florida, Minibosses – one of the first game music rock bands, Piano Squall – a pianist who regularly performs game music covers at anime conventions, and OneUp Mushrooms – a jazz-inspired ensemble. You can find all these bands on YouTube.

Above is the video of Select Start’s Sonic the Hedgehog cover. The video was uploaded on August 26, 2007, currently with over 6,000 views. It has many positive comments. Select Start is a six-member ensemble band from Gainesville, Florida, dedicated to performing video game music covers. The group features the cello by John Cheng, piano by Christine Lee, violins originally by Robert Lee and Hoyin Kwan (now Kanako Sueyoshi and Elaine Li), guitar by Dave Yasensky, and the flute by Austin Harley. Select Start has other covers such as The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, and Mario theme songs. Sometimes they add new melodies to the original, but they usually stay faithful to the original. They also perform at local music venues in Florida and at anime conventions.

Do you recognize Jimmy Wong? He sang “Ching Chong! Asian in the Library Song.” The above video is his “Super Mario Bros Theme Song!! A Capella Cover.” It has over a million views and over 25,000 likes. He uploaded it on March 13, 2011. It is pretty amazing. He uses his own voice to make the snare, kickdrum, hi-hat, different kinds of bass, harmony, different kinds of tenor voices, and even Mario’s voice. This must take a lot of careful editing to put together. Overall, the comments are positive. Also, Mario covers are very popular. Search “Mario music covers” on YouTube, and you get over 60,000 results.

Jason Chen and Scott Yoshimoto did a Pokémon cover music video, which is featured above. They even warn that the video contains cheesy acting, which it does but it makes it funny. They even brought back the use of Gameboys. It was uploaded on February 28, 2010, with over 150,000 views and over 3,000 likes. It has a lot of great directing and editing done by Scott. Many people might not even consider Pokémon an anime, but it is the most influential anime in the United States according to Japan Powered. Who doesn’t know what Pokémon is, and who doesn’t the Pokémon theme song? There are over 6,000 results on Pokémon music covers on YouTube.

The above video is of Sherry Kim and Josh Chiu’s collaboration cover on the anime Angel Beats! Brave Song. Sherry plays the piano, and Josh plays the violin. They are even in two different places. This particular video was uploaded on January 13, 2012. It has over 8,000 views. Sherry is known for piano covers of video games, anime, and other popular music. Some of her most popular covers include music from Maple Story BGM, Bleach, and Naruto. Sherry’s hometown and current location is Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, Josh is known for violin and piano covers on video games and anime especially Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Naruto. He is from the United States.

Are you looking for more video game or anime music covers? Take a look at OverClocked Remix (www.ocremix.org), which is a website archive of arrangements and re-interpretations of gaming music. Fans and amateur composers create these covers. OverClocked even has its own YouTube Channel. OverClocked Remix is basically an organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form founded in 1999. The website features thousands of free fan arrangements, information on game music and composers, resources for aspiring artists, and a thriving community of video game music fans. And YouTube and Google are always great ways to look for video game and anime music covers.

Video game and anime music covers are truly an art form just like what OverClocked Remix says about video game music. There are a lot of video game and anime music covers out there. It just takes a little bit of research on Google or YouTube. Some of these amateur composers do their covers by using sheet music, but some of them even do their covers by ear. It is amazing how these covers sound exactly like the original, and it is even more amazing how an amateur composer can make the original their own by doing something special with it. I did not know how important music is to video games and anime until I started working on this blog. Music is truly important to video games and anime in so many ways.

Do you have a favorite video game or anime music cover?

Sources:

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/magazine/issue-10-music/sounds-game

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTB-P5Bt3_Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1qHDaJ_eI8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6B9NVWP4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFo7_52yNc0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbkNsCKkdS0

http://ocremix.org/

http://www.youtube.com/ocremix

Written by Camille Garcia

Categories: Camille Garcia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cowboy Bebop

Like what the website of Japan Powered says, the United States is not as large of an anime market as Japan, but anime has left its mark on popular culture in the US. Japan Powered provided a list of the top 10 most influential anime in the US, and Cowboy Bebop is #3. Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese anime series developed by Sunrise in 1998. The director was Shinichirō Watanabe, the screenwriter was Keiko Nobumoto, the character designer was Toshihiro Kawamoto, the mechanical designer was Kimitoshi Yamane, and the composer was Yoko Kanno. Cowboy Bebop is known for its believable adult characters, its gangster feel, and its amazing jazz score. It even has a Wild West science fiction theme, and it is set in the year 2071. Cowboy Bebop basically follows Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Edward, and Ein (the cutest dog ever in an anime!) while they seek out food and fugitives for bounties on their spaceship called the Bebop. Cowboy Bebop was even adapted into two manga series and a film. Cowboy Bebop was definitely a commercial success worldwide especially in Japan and the US. It has received major science fiction awards and praise for its characters, story voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. Cowboy Bebop ran from October 23, 1998 to April 23, 1999, with 26 episodes.

Cowboy Bebop is very well known for its music. Each “session” or episode follows a different musical theme, and even the episode titles are from well-known albums or song names. Some episode titles are even genre based. For example, episode 14 is titled “Bohemian Rhapsody,” episode 15 is titled “My Funny Valentine,” and episode 17 is titled “Mushroom Samba.” The music for Cowboy Bebop is arranged and performed by Yoko Kanno (pictured above) and the Seatbelts (pictured below). Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger, and musician. She is well known for her work on soundtracks for many games, anime films, TV series, live-action movies, and advertisements. She is also a great keyboardist. Yoko Kanno also assembled the Seatbelts. The Seatbelts is a Japanese blues and jazz band. There are actually Japanese, New York, and Paris musicians in the band. The Seatbelts also have guest vocalists such as Mai Yamane.

For episodes 1-25, “Tank!” (featured in the video above) is the opening theme song written by Yoko Kanno and performed by the Seatbelts. It includes an alto saxophone solo played by Masato Honda. It also combines a double bass and bong drums. It is basically an instrumental piece, but it does have some spoken male vocals by Tim Jensen. Jensen’s final lyrics are “I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Ok, three, two, one let’s jam,” which leads into the instrumental part.

For episodes 1-12 and 14-25, “The Real Folk Blues” (featured in the video above) is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts featuring vocals from Mai Yamane. The lyrics were written by Yuho Iwasato, and it was sung in Japanese. For episode 13,  “Space Lion” is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts. For episode 26, “Blue” is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts featuring Mai Yamane.

The Cowboy Bebop anime series has many soundtrack albums by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts. Cowboy Bebop is the first album created for the anime series. It was released on May 21, 1998, with 17 tracks including “Tank!” In 2006, Cowboy Bebop was actually voted by IGN as the greatest soundtrack for an anime. Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless is the first mini-album. It was released on June 3, 1998, with 8 tracks including “The Real Folk Blues.” Cowboy Bebop No Disc is the second album. This album includes different styles of music such as heavy metal, Japanese pop, swing, and scat singing with the usual blues and jazz pieces. It was released on October 21, 1998, with 18 tracks. Cowboy Bebop Blue is the third album, which features more vocal pieces. It was released on May 1, 1999, with 17 tracks. Ask DNA was a mini-album released on July 5, 2001, with 5 tracks. Future Blues is the main soundtrack from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. It has other musical styles such as country western and Arabic music. It was released on August 29, 2001, with 18 tracks. Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! contains previously-released material with three new songs from the 2005 Cowboy Bebop game. It was released on December 22, 2004 with 12 tracks.

The Nihon Review by Kavik Ryx does a great job in analyzing Cowboy Bebop. Kavik Ryx says that the soundtrack is “brilliant Kanno Yoko jazz style,” the animation is “fluid like water,” the characters are “quirky, dynamic, and just plain likable,” the style is “amazingly unique,” and the one drawback is “could have gone on longer.” And I could not agree more with Kavik Ryx. It is so interesting how important music is for anime especially for Cowboy Bebop. Did you even know that the episode titles were based on albums, song, or genres? That is pretty amazing.

Resources:

http://www.japanpowered.com/articles/top-10-influential-anime-america

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Bebop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Cowboy_Bebop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoko_Kanno

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seatbelts

http://www.nihonreview.com/anime/cowboy-bebop/

Written by Camille Garcia

Categories: Camille Garcia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Samurai Champloo

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Samurai Champloo is an anime series created by the company Manglobe. The anime was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe who was also the director of the anime series known as Cowboy Bebop. Samurai Champloo was Watanabe’s first attempt at an anime TV series since Cowboy Bebop and provides great a mix of martial arts and sword action, the Japanese Edo period, and hip hop music, styles, and culture.

The anime series follows the story of two swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, and a young woman by the name of Fuu. Upon being harassed by a group of samurai, Fuu is saved by Mugen and Jin. Mugen believes Jin to be a worthy opponent and begins attacking him. During their fight, a magistrate’s son is killed and the two are captured and are to be executed. Fuu ends up saving them and have them travel with her to find a certain samurai.

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Samurai Champloo’s musical score is mainly composed of hip-hop. The first Samurai Champloo soundtrack, Samurai Champloo Music Record: Masta, was produced by DJ Tsutchie and the hip hop duo known as Force of Nature. The album consisted of 18 instrumental tracks and a ballad sung by Kazami, an R&B singer. Another album, titled Samurai Champloo Music Record: Departure, was produced by the late DJ/Producer Nujabes and an American MC/producer known as Fat Jon. Sometime later, Samurai Champloo Music Record: Playlist (which featured 18 tracks created by Tsutchie) and Samurai Champloo Music Record: Impression (which featured 23 tracks created by Nujuabes, Force of Nature, and Fat Jon) were released. The opening and ending themes of the anime also feature Shing02 and MINMI.

The music in Samurai Champloo is a great combination of chill, relaxing beats and hip hop and really helps add to the intensity of the fight scenes in the anime. The music also really adds to the aesthetic style of the anime and gives it more of a modern twist and feel to it. Though the anime is set in the Japanese Edo era, elements of hip hop culture (such as rapping, people acting like gangsters, and Mugen’s character design) can be seen and the hip hop music is well appropriated for this purpose. This is definitely an anime for those who enjoy action and hip hop music.

Sources:

http://2dteleidoscope.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/tsukikage-ran-vs-samurai-champloo-artificial-pasts/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinichir%C5%8D_Watanabe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_Champloo

http://animamundifestival.blogspot.com/2011/07/animated-chat-2011-shinichiro-watanabe.html

Written by Joey Vongpanya

Categories: Joey Vongpanya | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The World Ends with You

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The World Ends with You (which is also known as It’s a Wonderful World in Japan) is a role playing game made for the Nintendo DS handheld system and was developed by Square Enix, the same team who had created another Square Enix title known as Kingdom Hearts, and Jupiter. The team had hoped to create a new game that was different from the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises.

The setting of the game takes place in a fictional version of Tokyo’s Shibuya shopping district. As life goes on in the Realground (RG), those who are the chosen dead are taken to an alternate plane known as the Underground (UG) where the Reapers’ Game takes place. Dead players get the chance to obtain the prize: they can either be brought back to life or choose to transcend and become Reapers. The Composer is a god-like entity that maintains Shibuya while the Conductor tasks other Reapers to obstruct the players. Those who fail to complete a mission will have their existence erased.

The story revolves around a boy named Neku who at first has no recollection about how he died and learns the rules of the Game from his partners Shiki, Joshua, and Beat. It’s later revealed that Joshua had shot Neku and Joshua is actually the composer. Neku is given one last challenge: to shoot Joshua and determine Shibuya’s fate.

The soundtrack for the game was both composed and produced by Takeharu Ishimoto, a Japanese synthesizer programmer and video game at Square Enix. Much of the music in the game uses elements of different genres such as rock, electronic, and hip-hop. Since the beginning, the creators had wished to use a large variety of genres to compose the game’s soundtrack. The different genres would serve to fit the different moods that the different events and areas would give its players. The pre rendered movies were purposely removed and flash styled sequences were put in their place so there would be room to include over thirty songs in the game. In total, approximately ¼ of the game’s ROM is filled up by music.

The music definitely adds a lot to the feel of the game so making room for more music was a good call in my opinion. Much of the music in the game really adds to the atmosphere of the game’s battles and many of the songs are upbeat, fast paced, and catchy which really helps keeping players pumped and sucked into the game. The music also helps add to the emotional impact of the game’s storyline. The game’s soundtrack does an amazing job in combining the elements of different genres to create a distinctive soundtrack that helps to make the game what it is. If for anything, the game is definitely worth checking out for its music.

Sources:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132401/postmortem_square_enixs_the_.php?page=2

http://www.tehvidya.com/2011/07/i-quit-twewy/the-world-ends-with-you-cover/

http://ds.ign.com/articles/867/867129p1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Ends_with_You

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeharu_Ishimoto

Written by Joey Vongpanya

Categories: Joey Vongpanya | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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