Winter 2016 Best OSTs

Winter 2016 has finally come to a close (tell THAT to the weather!), so Bobbie lists his favorite OSTs and ones to look forward to next season:

1. 昭和元禄落語心中 (Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū)
English Title: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Composer: Kana Shibue

This is hands-down the BEST series of this season. And who IS this woman making the music?! It’s amazing! Young newbie anime composer Kana Shibue brings a 20th-century “old-school” flair to an old-school show with a Yuji Ohno-like (Lupin III) score. Love the use of Japanese instruments for the rakugo moments, but she shines in her hard-bop big band underscoring the historical period and attitude of the main character. Shibue is definitely a composer I’ll be following!

WATCH: Crunchyroll Logo

2. 僕だけがいない街 (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi)
English Title: ERASED
Composer: Yuki Kajiura (Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online)
Favorite Track: I Have to Save Her / Yuki Kajiura

She’s back! Yuki Kajiura does it again with a heart-wrenching score to a heart-wrenching anime. Soft piano melodies reflect the simply-sounding, yet internally complex, emotions felt by the young main characters. It’s a haunting instrumental-only score with strings, glockenspiel, celesta, and flute. Kajiura’s strings have always been exciting: rich counterpoint, interlaced dissonant harmonies, and tons of counter-melodies over a pulsating bass drum. It’s perfect for the mystery of this anime and its delicate topics.

WATCH: Aniplex, Crunchyroll LogoFunimation Logo Hulu Logo
BUY: Box Set I with Original Soundtrack

3. 亜人 (Ajin)
English Title: Ajin: Demi-Human
Composer: Yūgo Kanno (Birdy the Mighty, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Psycho-Pass)

Wow – amazing orchestral themes in this very popular anime! Kanno knows how to combine an odd collection of instruments (i.e. organ, rock band, and brass) for a demonic, frightening theme! There’s something to be said about writing full orchestra in octaves with little harmony: it’s amazingly effective for this anime about new races, discrimination, and self-identity. I wasn’t a huge fan of Psycho-Pass, but this has made me a convert!

WATCH: Netflix
BUY: Ajin Original Soundtrack

4. 灰と幻想のグリムガル (Hai to Gensō no Grimgar)
English Title: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Composer: R.O.N ([K]NoW_NAME)/Ryuta Iida (Aquarion Logos, Psychic Detective Yakumo)
Favorite Track: seeds / [K]NoW_NAME

A bad-ass soundtrack of mostly guitar-heavy tunes (and English(!!) rap) and a few soft piano/string moments. R.O.N is a combination of Shiro Sagisu’s chording and phrasing and Taku Iwasaki’s American pop manipulation. This OST would kill any live concert, but I truly wish there was more of it and it was louder during the actual show (though I can understand that having lyrics over dialogue can be confusing).

WATCH: Funimation Logo Hulu Logo

5. Dimension W
Composers: Gō Shiina (The Idolmaster, God Eater), Yoshiaki Fujisawa (GATE)

With probably the best opening this season, Dimension W has a strong sci-fi/adventure score. Shiina is definitely a game composer – using minimalism and reverb in his music for atmosphere and a futuristic vibe. Fujisawa most likely brought in a few more instruments, melodic structures, and rhythmic variations to punctuate the action. But that OP is OG, for realz!!

WATCH: Funimation LogoHulu Logo

Honorable Mentions:
Active Raid
Dagashi Kashi

Stay-tuned next week for my Spring 2016 preview edition!