Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Music has long played an important role in anime. Writing and performing the opening (OP) and ending (ED) themes of popular anime has served as a springboard to a lucrative recording career for many J-artists. To further increase the fervor of fans for certain anime titles, the seiyuu or voice talents have sung in character albums, launching singing careers for them as well.

In recent years, music by western composers and artists has become prominently audible in anime soundtracks, ranging from classical to pop to alternative music.

If you've been mesmerized by Kimiko Itoh's haunting "Follow Me" from Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, is actually set to Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo's second movement from Concerto de Aranjuez. Jazz versions of this tune were made popular by jazz legend Miles Davis and the James Last Orchestra.

Listen very closely to the whimsical ending theme "DuDiDuWa ~ LaLaLa" by Kotoko from The Adventures of Tweeny Witches. It is just a modern remake of the classic waltz "Beautiful Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss.

The dramatic background score of Gankutsuou/The Count of Monte Cristo comes from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Manfred Symphony" and Gaetano Donizetti's tragic opera "Lucia Di Lamermoor." Classical music lovers would readily recognize Robert Schumann's "Traumerei" as among the piano pieces that Eugenie Danglars performed in her first concert.

From classical to modern… Because of the success of anime in western countries, even popular composers and artists from the




have contributed to the making of anime soundtracks and themes. A perfect example is award-winning composers Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina, who wrote the brilliant score for Blood+.

Jean-Jacques Burnel, composer, vocalist and bass player of the British New Wave/Alternative Rock band The Stranglers, not only wrote the score for Gankutsuou/The Count of Monte Cristo, he also wrote and sang the OP and ED themes of this now classic anime, namely "We Were Lovers" and "You Won't See Me Coming", respectively.

British music icon David Sylvian wrote and sang the haunting ED theme "For The Love Of Life" for the anime suspense/thriller Monster. Popular Eighties New Wave band Duran Duran's debut hit "Girls On Film" was used as the OP theme for the Japanese release of Speed Grapher. Recently, the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit "Dani


" was used as the theme song for Death Note Movie 2: The Last Name.

Presently racing up the charts is "Inori ~ You Raise Me Up" by Korean American R&B singer



. The song itself was written and composed by Rolf Lovland of the Irish band



, with lyrics by Irish novelist Brendan Graham. Even popular British soprano Sarah Brightman is all set to release "Be With You: Itsumo Soba ni", the theme song for the latest Pokemon movie.

Anime and music… It's a collaboration that is sure to enthrall anime fans and music lovers alike for years to come.

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