After taking a week off from writing, I realized how hard it is to rank composers for the next category. In fact, I believe it is the hardest of them all. My analysis on these musicians requires lots of research and evaluation. Nonetheless, I managed to get it done. During this process, I did find something interesting…
In my very first post, you have seen this quote…
‘As for myself, I have numerous amounts of BGM in my iPod shuffle and MD player. I like to add variety in order to prevent hearing the same vocals over and over until I want to rip my ears off’
This is why I have not chosen Fujisawa Mamoru a.k.a. Joe Hisaishi as part of my top 20. Before you put me in the electric chair, let me explain.
No matter how skilled the performer may be, it will not mean much to anyone if it doesn’t create a personal connection. Having a bond between you and the BGM (or just any music in general) is important. For example, when I listen to a piece or a song, I ask myself one simple question…
This does not mean I am degrading other composers just because they may have not met my standards. I know all composers put their heart and soul into their work. I could never take that away from them. Ever. I put personal correlation as a higher priority than a catchy tune. Memorable beats are nice in the short term. Nevertheless, I’m a guy who focuses on the long run more.
Joe Hisaishi is not part of my top 20. For the record, I think he is an excellent composer. However, I feel that his work does not provide anything special for me as an individual. His music works very well with the Ghibli movies but I don’t hear anything that stands out or shows me anything beyond what it represents. There is something about the Ghibli movies that does not give me the urge to re-watch once it’s done but that’s an entirely different issue. In the end, I fail to see anything in his music on the Ghibli films that can recommend me to put it in my iPod shuffle or MD player.
There are people who would say…
Even so, I still stand by what I said.
Why? It is so obvious. I am a university student which means I was not old enough to watch any of Hisaishi’s work in the 1980s. In the 1980s, he worked on 8 anime TV series that had at least a minimum of 20 episodes each. Ever since the 80s died, he has never worked on a TV anime series again. I have tried to find any copies or ways to watch an episode from one of the 8 TV series. Unfortunately, finding them is less likely to occur than a snowball surviving in hell. No, I am not going to use Youtube because the quality is terrible. Therefore, I am forced to go with what I have. At least I can say variety does exist in him.
Then, there are fans who would counter with…
I refuse to do so because BGM provide emotion to scenery. BGM always go along side with something whether it’s a happy scene or a tragic moment. In short, it is not the main course of a feast. It is an irreplaceable side-dish. New implications to the BGM are formed AFTER you know its true meaning. Once it is acknowledged, you pay homage to it with your own definition. It ties to the personal connection that I mentioned earlier. Let me remind you that we are focusing on anime or anime-related only. Orchestral pieces (i.e. Mozart, Chopin, Brahms etc.) or anything non-anime related are irrelevant in this issue.
Without further delay, here are the bench players.
|Asakura Noriyuki (Rurouni Kenshin, MAJOR)
He built himself a nice little rut. I don’t know why he keeps a low profile of himself by working on only 4 animes in total despite how he has been involved in the industry for more than a decade. It may be because he is busy managing his own music studio. Anyway, this composer’s greatest strength is transition. I don’t know how he does it, but he has this awesome technique to change the mood in an instant. From happy to sad or vice versa, he can do it within one composition. One of my favorite BGM from Rurouni Kenshin is titled ‘Days to Remember’. It starts off melancholy and ends the piece by providing a glimmer of hope. Asakura is usually known for throwing jazz and rock in his music, but I think his conversion method proved to be more valuable. Masuda Toshio, whom I mention in my previous post, can actually learn a thing or two from him.
|Imahori Tsuneo (Cowboy Bebop [guitar], Hajime no Ippo, Gungrave, Trigun, Wolf’s rain [guitar])
Imahori is a guitarist first and a composer second. Motivation, counter (as in counterattack) and the blues are the themes he uses. I love how he puts full use to the instrument that he cherishes. At this point, he has established what kind of style is applied to his pieces. Don’t expect variety from this man because he will continue to do what he thinks seems fit. Keep shredding your guitar, Imahori, because I highly doubt anyone will get tired of you soon.
|Hirano Yoshihisa (Sensei no Ojikan, Ouran Koukou Host Club, Midori no hibi, Strawberry Panic)
Despite how much people like Death Note, that franchise will not be included as part of Hirano’s contribution in this appraisal. Although my hate for the anime and manga is at its fullest extent, it does not justify why it is being excluded. The main reason why it is being banned is because the majority of the Death Note BGMs were composed by Taniuchi Hideki. This is why I detest assessing works that involves multiple composers on the same anime. It is not in equal terms. Hirano participated only 1/10 of the project.
Greater part of the animes he has worked on is concentrated towards a high school environment. Hirano has managed to convey atmospheres differently. For example, he made a tone that is sophisticated yet upbeat in Ouran Koukou Host Club. I believe he is determined to make a name out of himself in the future. For now, this is where he stands.
(Note: I do not hate Death Note because L died. I hate it because of HOW L died. Let’s face it. The Near/Melo arc is not the legitimate successor to the previous battle between L and Kira.)
|Hamaguchi Shiroh (Ah! My Goddess TV, Ookiku Furikabutte, Kiddy Grade)
Every time I listen to his music, I sense inner peace. The melody is laid back but not completely. The odd thing about his composition is that it works for everybody. Hamaguchi’s tracks are one of a kind because it establishes a direct bond between you and your life. The term, normal life, comes to mind when you take note of his BGM. He has a process of making a pitch simple with the absence of repetition.
|Oshima Michiru (Fullmetal Alchemist, Le Chevalier D’Eon, Hana Yori Dango, Lord of Lords Ryu Knight)
It is ironic when I found out that Oshima worked with Sahashi Toshihiko in Lord of the Lords Ryu Knight. Why? It’s because they have the same style. Similar to Sahashi, she shows her compassion for the orchestra in Fullmetal Alchemist.
If she never worked on FMA, would she be well-known as she is now? I ponder upon that question and decided to research more about her. Recognition for Oshima was seriously overdue when my study concluded that she has been in the industry for approximately 20 years (and still counting). The popularity of the anime may have been a factor. Out of 19 animes she worked in the span of those 20 years, Fullmetal Alchemist was by far the most popular anime. This proves that she is working within her own tempo. I do not believe she does it for the glory or the popularity. I think she truly dedicates her work for the fans no matter how big or small the base may be.
During my absence, I notice how testy the RC community has been with a certain post that has taken place within the last couple of weeks. I want to be clear about something before I close.
Referring to the Joe Hisaishi argument or any other argument at that matter, people may think I am selfish or even ignorant. In the end, I could not give a damn because I made my point by using all of my resources, information highway and experience. Furthermore, I have never disproved of Hisaishi’s work nor will I ever. I understand there are people who will disagree with my view in various topics. That is fine. If you think what I said is wrong, back it up. Don’t give me a simple stereotypical statement made by some ill-mannered jackass who has an IQ as low as Michael Vick. That’s right, I said it.
I write the columns in this blog because of what I learned from Comic Party with this quote I tweaked with my own ideals…
“As long as there is one reasonable person who shares your view, you should never give up no matter what others may think or say.”
Coming down the home stretch, One-Hit wonders will be next. 😛