VIDEO RELEASE: “Celestial Born” Patreon request

As the Sailor Moon musical end, one of our Patreon supporters requested a special arrangement of the stellar “Celestial Born” Outer Guardians’ song from the musical Le Mouvement Final. Enjoy this quintet version and perhaps we’ll record a full SeraMyu tribute album!

Takayuki Negishi, composer

Best Music from Takayuki Negishi

It’s his birthday! Composer and synthesizer operator Takayuki Negishi is comfortable working with magical girls, action-adventure boys, and card games all around! Best known for his Cardcaptor Sakura and Cardfight!! Vanguard OSTs, Negishi’s combination of pop styles, jazz chords, and classical orchestration have created memorable musical moments in anime history! Check-out our top 5 tracks from his discography:

“Sakura Theme II” (Cardcaptor Sakura, 1998)


We LOVE this pop-disco theme for the ever-so-energetic Sakura. Equal parts beautiful and inspiring, the uptempo rhythm section backs the sweet string melody as the titular character learns to control her newfound powers. Hope Negishi returns for the new anime!

“Power of Psyqualia” (Cardfight!! Vanguard, 2011)


Final Turn! You know when this them begins, you’re in deep doo-doo. The powerful pulsating opening rhythm opens up the gates of Hell to unleash the demonic strength of the blaring horns and high intensity strings. Perhaps the best moments in Cardfight history!

“Aoyama-kun daisuki!” (Tokyo Mew Mew, 2002)


At 2:00, Ichigo’s young love theme is rich and dynamic, passing through several moments of lush string harmonies, cello and viola riffs, and unexpected by inspiring chord changes. Negishi borrows the “gentle ending” affect from his work on Cardcaptor Sakura.

Shukusei no monotachi (Tokyo Majin, 2007)


Negishi’s re-working of Vivaldi’s “Winter” with added harpsichord solo and Aeolian orchestra break creates the hellish atmosphere for Animax’s supernaturally super-powered teen action-drama. And what a great budget to have live instruments interpreting the classically sinister score!

“Which will win? Lupin vs. The General” (Lupin III: Dead or Alive, 1996)


Right at home in the famous Lupin universe, Negishi’s jazz training shines through in this high 70’s battle/chase music paying homage to Yuji Ohno. Listen to his masterful juggling of harmonized saxophone passages, sweeping strings, and full band powerful octaves!

Happy Birthday, Takayuki!

UTAU!

UTAU! Set List for 4/22 Concert

It’s here! We’ve narrowed down our favorite anime openings and endings for our upcoming UTAU! Anime Karaoke and Trivia concert on April 22. Songs include:

“BLUE BIRD” from Naruto Shippuden
“Crossing Fields” from
Sword Art Online
“Dearest” from InuYasha
“MY SOUL YOUR BEATS” from Angel Beats
“Purachina” from Cardcaptor Sakura
“Smile Bomb” from Yu Yu Hakusho

We’ve included links to videos of the songs and lyrics so you can brush up before your big number (lyrics will be provided at the show).

Download the Set List

** Due to the small space size, our ensemble will consist of only 5 instrumentalists including piano and percussion.

If you have a request not on our list, you can bring sheet music with the following requirements:
– 5 copies
– piano/guitar music with lyrics and chords on the top

We will do our best to play it, but no promises!

Hope to see you there on Sat. 4/22!
Reserve Seats

Credit: Michael A. Mariant

5 Favorite Songs of Stephen Schwartz

Today is mega-successful composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s. The New York native is best known for his musical theatre works, the Wicked composer has had a part in creating fantastic music for animation.

Here are our favorite tracks (in no particular order):

“Deliver Us” (The Prince of Egypt, 1998)


The very theatrical opening to DreamWorks animated classic is as powerful as it sounds. Even if you’re not religious, you’ll enjoy Schwartz’s blend of Israeli folk style with modern musical theatre writing of the time.

“Colors of the Wind” (Pochahontas, 1995)


“Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” – ‘Nuff said. Schwartz has an unbelievably delicate touch with his lyrics in Disney’s mature cartoon from the 90s renaissance.

That’s How You Know (Enchanted, 2007)


Simplicity is very effective in this clever tune from Disney’s self-aware “princess fairy tale.” Schwartz with composer Alan Menken poke fun at their own works within the genre and the combination is “enchanting!”

God Help the Outcasts (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996)


Esmeralda’s somber and haunting tune in one of Disney’s darkest features still brings us to tears. The lyrics smartly question the power of prayer from the viewpoint of a nonbeliever – love it!

Defying Gravity (Wicked, 2003)


Quite possibly his most popular tune! The amazing Act I closer to the very popular musical lives up to its namesake. If you were part of the MT crowd, you know this was the “Let it Go” of its day.

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

(Photo Credit: Michael A. Mariant)

Top 10 2016 anime OSTs

Top 10 Animes OSTs of 2016

Happy 2017 Everyone! Hope you had a great celebration. We start the year off with our top 10 anime OSTs from 2016. The anime may not be best/most-popular of the year, but the music certainly is:

#10 Twin-Star Exorcists / Mikio Endō

Summer 2016


WATCH The hit action show of the summer starts of our list! Mikio Endō (K, Coppelion) is a newbie to the anime scene and at times it shows. But this action-packed score is so powerful that we couldn’t help but put it on the list. Looking forward to the OST release!

#9 SERVAMP / Kenji Kawai

Summer 2016


WATCHBUY Veteran composer Kenji Kawai (Fate/stay night, Ranma 1/2) brings his decades of experience to this fun, supernatural show. “Smooth” best describes his dynamic score which moves effortlessly from sweet “elevator music” to pumping action under a synthetic melody. Kawai has certainly embraced the electronic-synth age as he continues his craft.

#8 Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Season 3 / Yasuharu Takanashi

Spring 2016


WATCHBUY Season 1 & 2 weren’t the best in terms of music (or animation, for that matter). But season 3 is differently moving in the right direction. Yasuharu Takanashi’s (Naruto Shippuden, Fairy Tail) familiar magical girl score may still pale in comparison to the original – save for a few stand-out tracks. Arisawa certainly expanded his music language with each new season and we’re hopeful Takanashi will do the same.

#7 AJIN / Yugo Kanno

Winter 2016


WATCHBUY Psycho-Pass composer Yugo Kanno brings a complex score to the sleeper hit of the winter season. Combining acoustic orchestral writing á la God of War with the Japanese new-age electronica, Kanno’s suspenseful tunes accurately reflect the traumatic and desperate lives of the Ajin such as the perfectly demonic “Main Theme.”

#6 Bungō Stray Dogs / Taku Iwasaki

Spring 2016


WATCHBUY The music chameleon Taku Iwasaki (Kekkaishi, Soul Eater) is back with a solid soundtrack for a solid anime. Bungo’s score’s strength lies in Iwasaki’s unique approach to electro-acoustic music, blending genres and unusual timbres with pulsating EDM beats and guest rappers. Fun fact: season 2 is his favorite score to date!

#5 D.Gray-man HALLOW / Kaoru Wada

Fall 2016


WATCHBUY Kaoru Wada (InuYasha, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) is a master of manipulation! He creates unforgettable themes and transforms them throughout all his scores – and HALLOW is no exception! Listen to Allen’s theme as a battle tune, romantic interlude, suspenseful moment, or creepy encounter – it’s genius! So happy to hear throwbacks to his original music from the 2006 anime as well!

#4 Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju / Kana Shibue

Winter 2016


WATCH A newcomer to the anime scene, gifted pianist-composer Shibue offers a nostaglic score imbued with jazz idioms and improvisational musical dialogue that fits perfectly with the show’s time period. We’re very excited to hear what she has coming next!

#3 Erased / Yuki Kajiura

Winter 2016


WATCH If you weren’t expecting to cry this year, tough luck! Aniplex’s tearjerking thriller had some of the best storylines and OSTs of the season! Yuki Kaijura (Sword Art Online, Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle) is really at her best here; her score piano-driven score is sensitive, emotional, nuanced and will ALWAYS MAKE YOU CRY.

#2 Natsume Yūjinchō Go / Makoto Yoshimori

Fall 2016


WATCH Yes, yes, YES!! It’s BAAACCCKKK!! Makoto Yoshimori (Baccano! Durarara!!) creates a fitting warmth and gentle soundtrack for this very sweet and humbling anime. Certainly a pianist at heart, he has a delicate touch in orchestrating for his small chamber group of strings, clarinet, harp, piano, and traditional Japanese instruments. Would love to do a concert of all his beautiful music from the Natsume series.

#1 My Hero Academia / Yuki Hayashi

Spring 2016


WATCHBUYThe most popular anime of the year? Probably. The most epic shounen score of the year? Definitely! Yuki Hayashi has been creating strong OSTs recently (Haikyuu!!, Death Parade, One Piece Film: Gold) and this one is no exception; he’s becoming a powerhouse in the shounen genre. So, get pumped, get inspired, and rock out with your … superpower out to this powerful soundtrack! Check out our version of the thrilling “you say run.” Highly recommended.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know on social media!

Shoumi, the Magical Conductor

Meet the Magical Conductor, Shoumi!

Happy Birthday to our very first original character: Shoumi, the magical conductor! Originally a flautist, the New York native dreams of becoming the conductor of a professional symphony orchestra. Check out her stats:

Shoumi, the Magical Conductor

Name: Shoumi (笑美 / しょうみ)
Birthday: November 30
Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Height: 5’2″ / 158cm
Blood Type: B
Favorite Japanese Food: Sukiyaki
Favorite American Food: Tacos
Profession: Symphony Conductor
Instrument: Flute
Magical Power: Manipulation
Favorite Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Shoumi can manipulate the space and people around her using the power of music – a perfect skill for a conductor! This character was drawn by the very talented Joko JMC!

Join her and iTSO in our end-of-season concert JUST MAGIC: Music of the Magical Girls coming to New York and San José, CA in May 2017!