Shinsekai Yori was many things but one thing it wasn’t was a lightweight, fluff piece. Rarely do I see science fiction in a visual format, anime or otherwise, that can match the best of it’s print brethren. Shinsekai Yori was just such a work. After feeding the viewers a constant stream of secrets, reveals, and reversals-of-fortune, I was ready for a simple, straight forward final episode where the bad guys would get theirs and the good guys would heal their wounds and look forward to a better tomorrow. That was not to be; silly me, I’d forgotten I was watching Shinsekai Yori.
This past weekend my sister was throwing a Halloween party for the extended family and, two days before, she came to me and asked if I’d make a Halloween mix playlist for the party. I knew she was expecting something containing ~10-15 tracks of mainly the “classics” like Monster Mash and a few instrumental pieces like the theme music of Twilight Zone and Psycho; however, I immediately thought of the eerie music from Shinsekai Yori and knew I needed to include that as well.
This set off a search through my other anime soundtrack albums – which, admittedly, is on the thin side – and I harvested almost 2 hours of music to use. I thought someone might find this list of anime songs useful in constructing their own playlist so I’m writing this post to share.
Step three for awesome anime – after creating memorable characters and giving them a worthy stage – is to use every part of the production process to bring-out/enhance the positive aspects of the anime and hide the negative aspects. Getting the right seiyuu can be the difference between a character being a success or failure. Inappropriate music can ruin the climax of a series and nothing can make a whole anime series fail as assuredly as poor animation quality. In the right hands, a small budget can be overcome through creating the right animation style. Stellar OP/ED with it’s combination of music and animation can build excitement and anticipation for the anime and ensure viewers come back next week.
There’s other parts to an anime’s production – like script writing, cinematography, sound editing, etc. – that won’t gets awards here because I’m not knowledgeable enough in these areas to put any confidence in picking winners. Which is why I call this set of awards the Voice, Music, and Audio awards. I’m hoping, yet again, next year I’ll be able to include a few more areas of the production to these awards.
As I’ve said before, with competent execution, a shoujo anime is as good as a shounen anime and/or a slice-of-life anime and/or a sports anime and/or a science fiction anime and/or romantic comedy anime and so on and so forth.
Each genre, though, has a different tool box of tropes, clichés, common elements, and understoods at their ready disposal to craft an anime in that genre. Some tool boxes are bigger, more versatile, and just plain better than others; so, the trick for those people working with the smaller tool boxes is to know how to maximize the usefulness of their tools and know when to borrow from someone else’s toolbox. Chihayafuru is an example of a shoujo anime that also borrows liberally from the sports anime genre to augment itself and is much stronger as a result.
That said, I elected to not include some genre awards like Best Shoujo and Best Shounen series because I’ve not watched enough of the potential contenders to make an informed choice.