Playlist #9

~ Anime is an entirely different beast. A disparate art form from across the Pacific. In Japanese culture, manga and anime represent time-honored forms of fiction, originated in the mid 20th century, and built up out the country’s struggle – like any country and its people – to understand itself. Anime is often the animated and cinematic ensemble of manga adapted to the screen, where the creators, animators and writers can expound upon the art and messages crafted upon the page. Replete with its own style, unique to the time period and creator, pacing of story beats, drawn up from Japanese audience expectation, and underlying messages of companionship, heroism legacy, and love – anime is one-of-a-kind.

Image result for dragonball z gif

Like most millennials, I was raised on Pokemon and Toonami; Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, and Cowboy Bebop graced my eyes long before I could fully comprehend their stories or full episodic histories. Those early days built up a continued and lifelong love of anime. And animation, character and story aside, some of the most profound and meaningful music I’ve ever experienced has come from some of these shows. As unique as all the rest of the components of their style, a good anime soundtrack becomes a timeless listen. A core list of the greatest hits is presented here in this playlist:

Death Note ~ Yoshihisa Hirano Hideki Taniuchi – Perfect music for intellection, deduction, and cat-and-mouse games of mental escape artistry. The soundtrack takes me back to the dark world of Light and L’s battle for justice in an unjust world.

Attack On Titan ~ Hiroyuki Sawano – tunes for larger than life revelations and devastations. The soundtrack returns me to the epic realm of titans and their assault upon the walls of humanity’s safety and sanity.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ~ Maybe my favorite anime. The soundtrack, like the storyline, runs the full gamut of hope and despair, comedy and tragedy, small personal struggles and world-changing Godhoods. The soundtrack takes me back into the folds of this amazing world and into the lives of all its wondrous characters.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with the best openers of any anime

Naruto ~ A wide range of sounds emit from out of the ninja world, to somber piano to brutal metal riffs. The one unchanging aspect of this music is the emotion. This soundtrack takes me back to the generation-spanning fight of the ninja world and its principal characters – to find a companion willing to bear the pain of the world alongside them.

Code Geass ~ The music of revolution! And betrayal, and earth shattering revelations, and of course, of despair, sadness and pain. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion has it all. The soundtrack reminds me to “Live!” and to take the current of life’s seas when it serves, or else lose our ventures.

One Punch Man ~ Music for heroes. Enough said.

My Hero Academia ~ More music for heroes. Ultimate inspirational tunes for studying and battle alike. MHA will make you believe in yourself and the world again, and the unique power of everyone who calls themselves a hero.

Hunter X Hunter ~ Playlist for the hunt. Whimsical adventure music that takes deep and dark turns, just like the show it tracks. This soundtrack reminds me of those little detours in life, which momentarily take us away from the path we have chosen, and where we inevitably end up finding the things more important than what we wanted in the first place…

Berserk ~ Susumu Hirasawa – Music for the end of the world. This anime is dark and filled with complexity, passion and explorations of true good and evil. This soundtrack returns me to the past, before the sacrifice, before the dark fate of a hero. Maybe my favorite soundtrack of all due to its uniqueness, and its reminder of my initial watch of this sublime and magnificent anime. Watch Berserk! {and whatever you do, don’t spoil it for yourself}.