Anime Vice News

Almost Otaku: Does the Music Make the Anime?

Of course it does!

 *SNIFF * There really is no need for promise. 
 *SNIFF * There really is no need for promise. 

sotyfan: Can the soundtrack make the anime? From what you have seen and heard does the music impact your thoughts on the anime? What's your favorite anime song and what series has the best score in your opinion?

Funnily enough, I actually just wrote something about this at Comic Vine.  I think music’s crucially important but, given the lack of memorable scores at the movies these days, it seems like something that’s easy to neglect. Yes, the soundtrack makes the anime, as it makes every movie. Just compare the versions of DEATH NOTE. The show had these great, minimalist, hypnotic piano leitmotifs that added undercurrents of dread, suspense and obsession to everything. More importantly, they immediately reminded you who these characters were. The movie? You had a pretty forgettable score and then two RCHP songs which, while great on their own, seemed pretty slapdash in their inclusion. Musically and lyrically, they had nothing to do with the story.

In short… you can have a great plot, but it’s a good score that gives it pathos.

My favorite anime song? Hmmm... some of these might be embarrassing.

I’ll fess up. “No Need for Promise”, the theme to VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE, gets me all mushy inside.  


I’d say that the score for that whole show stands out as probably the best in total of anything I remember. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve watched it and the “ES-CA-FLO-NE!” choral chant and Falken's violin theme is still stuck in my head. It'll be there forever!

PRINCESS MONONOKE’s score did wonders to add a sense of timelessness and grandeur.    


If you count it, I have to add all of INTERSTELLA 5555 because Daft Punk’s DISCOVERY is so rad.  


As always, keep the questions coming. I’ll answer anything in this column. Well, within reason.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of   HYBRID BASTARDS!  &   UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here  & here.

Gozertcon Sept. 3, 2010 at 3:10 p.m.

Umm yes.  A good soundtrack can make me give a show a shot where the story and art might turn me away at first.  Ruin Soldier Louie (I believe the name is) got me to try it out for the opening Theme alone.  (I'm goofy like that. ;) )  
ESREVERon Sept. 3, 2010 at 3:55 p.m.
Just wanted to say that the first show I could think of that the music was gorgeous was .hack://SIGN. I still listen to that soundtrack pretty regularly. Fake Wings was one of my favorite tracks on that album.  

Music is very important to me in a show. Scenes in Clannad and Angel Beats! wouldn't of had as much as an impact if there wasn't a memorable score behind it. 
Ghost in the Shell, .hack://SIGN, Clannad, Angel Beats!, all had amazing soundtracks, imo.
plantsvszombiesrulezon Sept. 3, 2010 at 10:07 p.m.
Samurai Champloo is a good example. the beats in the show tied in perfectly with the action and animation and made it a completely emmersive experience
ShadowKnight508 moderator on Sept. 3, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.
The music does help make the show, in my personal opinion. The music from Angel Beats!really caught my attention when I was watching the series back in May/June of this year. From the great opening theme (Your Soul My Beats! by Lia) to the numbers that the Girl's Dead Monster band performs in several of the episodes, the music in Angel Beats! made a already great show even better in my mind. 
  This one (My Song) really got me when I first heard it. A sad, deep song filled with the pain, anger, and sorrow of one girl who experienced a tough life back when she was alive.
macker33on Sept. 4, 2010 at 12:48 a.m.
It can make a huge difference,just think what would happen evangelion if it had crappy music,it makes a big difference samurai x trust and betrayal too.
Gregomastaon Sept. 4, 2010 at 7:53 a.m.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad and  Teppin Tonga Gurren Lagann both had soundtracks that made those good animes into great animes. 
sickVisionz moderator on Sept. 4, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.
The music is just the icing on the cake for me.  I can't think of a show where it's been a make or break factor for the series.  Some of it is great, most of it is forgettable and some of it is terrible (that lame Bleach song with the soul singer ruins every non-comedy scene they use it for) but none of it has ever been the defining factor in what made me  love or hate a series. 
If the story, writing, characters and animation are lacking, I'm probably not going to stick around to see if the music can win me over.  If all of that stuff is great, they could have terrible tunes and I'd probably sit through it without notice.  All of the shows that I love but can't remember a single tune from probably fall into the terrible or forgettable music category.
nintendonickon Sept. 4, 2010 at 8:53 a.m.
One of my favorite anime songs.  

YeshuahClarkon Sept. 4, 2010 at 7:27 p.m.
Music is a key element. It's a  Breakthrough
Renachanon Sept. 5, 2010 at 11:38 p.m.
It really depends. Some series can get away with forgettable music, but having horrible music.... the rest of the series better be VERY good for it to not chase me off. And I mean actually bad not.... um, there are some dub bad!songs that I actually find catchy, so I like. But just music that makes it hard to watch will turn me away.
.hack I love the music of all of it (one of the few things period I have soundtracks for), and Air Gear 
definitely got a lot out of the music.  So much of the mood and world gets set with the music, Chain sounds like flying to me which is what you so need for that series
Music making me stay with a series that isn't that good..... most of the time I would say no way, but I can think of an exception. I love the manga Reborn! and the mangaka does the most beautiful art, really. ....and that makes the anime REALLY stand out for it's only so-so art and sometimes iffy animation. But I love the music in it! The background music sells the show for me, and the op and eds are icing on the cake.
lorexon Sept. 6, 2010 at 3:21 a.m.
I think music is very important in anime today. With so much of it available the right music can set one production from another. One example of a show with great music is Tsubasa Chronicle. An example of the great music in that show is Hear Our Prayer by Yuki Kajiura.
ds23439on Sept. 6, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.
honesty yes it does
Bigheart711on Sept. 6, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
Music is very important to an anime for me, but not too important though. The 2nd opening to Death Note, one of the FMA:B themes (SCANDAL's Shunkan Sentimental), and El Cazador De La Bruja's opening theme (even though I'm still embarrassed about listening to it...) are some of my faves.
damswedonon Sept. 6, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.
Firstly, can anyone tell me where the bass girl picture for this article came from. 
Secondly (and more on topic). My taste in music is so messed up that I can find one find one Anime's soundtrack to be awesome and yet I could find another similar soundtrack and Anime to be absolutely obnoxious. That being said some of my favourite show introductions are from Anime E.g. Ghost in the Shell SAC 1st gig, both of theschool rumble themes and of course The Digimon theme (the only theme song to just pop into my mind for no reason).
KaiokenKidon Sept. 6, 2010 at 9:28 p.m.

I really think Inuyasha has some of the best opening and closing songs ever.
var_gladon Sept. 7, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.
mmm.. for me the music just becomes a part of the whole, I don't think I've ever consciously noticed that the music of an anime I'm watching is good, but if it isn't then that can really bring the whole thing down. The prime example of that for me is hellsing ultimate.. now I love the manga, and I want to love hellsing ultimate... but those  damn dramatic strings just don't fit at all.. wich makes an otherwise aweosme series really.... mediocre.
chellysaidwhaton Sept. 7, 2010 at 5:56 p.m.
I loooooooooove anime music. if the opening and closing songs are good, my opinion of the show goes up. vampire knight's music and songs are crazy amazing. gurren lagann's music is fun and totally sets the mood. loveless was the most stupid show i've ever seen but the opening and closing were memorable and re-listen-able. some of the bleach songs make my ears bleed. i guess it all depends. i love most of the fullmetal alchemist and brotherhoods songs but the score is in general very good. i don't know, music helps me get into the mood of the show and if the music is bad or forgettable, so is the show. death note? amazing music, that one show i watched and cant remember? not so much.
Sire_Don Sept. 8, 2010 at 1 a.m.

I think  a good OST is truly important to anime.  I remember the first time I heard both the beginning and ending to Cowboy Bebop, I thought "Man, I'd watch this just for the music".  In turn, the musical scores within the show were equally mesmerizing.  At the same time there are some shows who have entrances or endings that become severly forgettable.  I remember when they kept playing the same run of DBZ over and over again, but the beginning soundtrack was awesome, then they finally got the following sagas and (for whatever reason) changed the themes (to something terrible, I might add).
Vigorousjammeron Sept. 13, 2010 at 8:27 a.m.
just like everyone else has said... the music is an important piece.
it's not the only thing you need, though.... it doesn't "make the anime", but it is an important part, just like the art is an important part, and the animation, and the voice acting, and the storyline.
discraceon Sept. 14, 2010 at 5:38 p.m.
I dont think Gurren Lagaan would have had the same effect on me if it  handnt been for Row Row Fight Da Powah! Also in general, i love Openings and Endings to anime, they are like the bread for a sandwich with the actual anime episode being the filling in the middle and the soundtrack is the mayonnaise.

Dig Deeper into Interstella 5555

A anime musical which is the visual realization of Daft Punk's "Discovery album", about four Alien Musicians who are kidnapped from their galaxy by the Earl of Darkwood who plans on using their talent for his scheme to rule the universe.

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