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Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou Actually Not Bad


In my dark and depressing pre-20 anime per week days, I would usually scoff at those who listened to anime and game OSTs – why listen to some pew pew soundtrack when you could be listening to… oh, Puff Daddy or DMX or uhh Ayumi Hamasaki. Y’know – cool people music.

Ah, those were the days. Since then my music collection has slowly been overtaken by an abundance of [nipponsei], and I’ve even uploaded some Youtube videos of me playing those same songs I used to scoff at.

Times have changed, and I’ve really started to appreciate the amount of talent that goes into this kind of composing. Still, I believe there’s a difference between the music that goes into the likes of K-ON and that of Gundam, specifically it how well it translates to classical orchestra music.

Which is why I was thoroughly surprised with Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou, the concert by the Tokyo Philharmonic on April 29 that was just released on CD. The music from Haruhi was largely… teenybopper and/or rock, both of which I wouldn’t imagine translating well into classical.

Surprisingly enough, the adaptation is quite good! Some tracks remind me of Hisaishi’s work in Totoro, others sound like it could’ve come out of some classic Disney movie. Well, the instrumental tracks, at least. Several tracks have Hirano Aya and Chihara Minori blaring away, and while some of you will probably love these alternate versions, their inability to hit or hold the right notes is a bit hard on my ears.

Check out orchestral Mikurun-run and a Hiranofied God Knows!

June 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm
  • June 24, 2009 at 6:16 pmAnime Junkie

    As someone who used to play in a school band when he was young, I can tell you that all you need is a good arranger to re-arrange the song to suit the instruments in a band/orchestra and you can play literally any piece with with a band/orchestra.

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:22 pmKannagiFan

    Sometimes it’s not about listening to good quality music, but just reviving nice / happy moments. That’s why many people, including myselg, often listen to anime OPs / EDs. It reminds you of an anime you enjoyed and the good moments you had with it :)
    Another factor is that when you listen to a song several times (like OPs / EDs), it gets into your head, so you want to hear it more, when you are on the bus, or after you finish watching a series… it can help you get into a state of concentration / calmness.
    Just trying to give a normal person’s, not necessarily melomaniac like you, point of view :)

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:25 pmyuuji

    yea some songs really gives me the fuzzy feeling..like “oh so this was how i felt when i watched that show” and stuff..

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:29 pmRCP9U1

    Nice music.

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:54 pmjakul

    “when you could be listening to… oh, Puff Daddy or DMX”

    wow… I just lost all respect for you.

  • June 24, 2009 at 7:26 pmKyuu

    MMmmmmm Violin Yuki….

    Anyone else think the Orchestral version of God Knows would be better off without Hirano Aya?

  • June 24, 2009 at 7:39 pmChihiro

    I’ll be sure to check this out.

  • June 24, 2009 at 7:58 pmmagnumslinger


  • June 24, 2009 at 8:03 pmDelwack

    I agree with kannagifan, it’s more for the emotional evocation than anything else. Sometimes this process happens to me backwards; I listen to something and get the feeling associated with the show but can’t remeber exactly what show it was from. This promts me to do a ‘just where did that come from’ hunt, usually followed by an ‘oh yeah, that’s right’ epithany.

    Back on topic, pretty good pieces, thanks for sharing.

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:03 pmhelen

    Yuki’s head is too big in the picture…

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:05 pmraqhalzine

    Wow. I must say your piano skills r not bad…

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:14 pmJaney

    Awesome… I always believed any poppy j-pop track would sound great if played by orchestra. There are plenty of nice tunes.

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:19 pmRaiyo

    The “Mikurun-run” arrangement was really quite nice! Hirano Aya’s voice in “God Knows”,on the other hand, was a little jarring; it seemed out of place and I felt it didn’t with the music at some parts. Yuki looks awesomely cute here though~

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:20 pmKaris

    Yeah, Nipponsei’s files tend to have a lot of MBs, so I only download LonE files, plus use BonkEnc to get the best quality music with much lower bytes.

    Orchestral is not much of my taste, but i like it.

  • June 24, 2009 at 8:46 pmName (required)

    dude listen to the Shadow of the colossus soundtrack


  • June 24, 2009 at 8:55 pmExia

    I got a “fuzzy heart warming feeling” when I listened to this orchestra version of god knows.

  • June 24, 2009 at 9:08 pmmegalith

    Mikuru’s song did justice to this. I can’t stop playing it. :)

  • June 24, 2009 at 9:31 pmjeffng9

    hm~ nice nagato yuki pic~!

  • June 24, 2009 at 9:33 pmMeery

    As surprising at it may be, really, who cares? When Yuki’s on the cover, does it matter what’s inside? *Holds CD with Yuki cover and goes into Fuuko space-out mode*

  • June 24, 2009 at 9:35 pmYuri Rocks

    Well, this was a mixed bag for me. I liked the orchestral adaptations, but I honestly felt that Aya’s voice is more suited to pop, and less to classical. Singers with classical training can sustain cleaner notes, and Aya’s voice wavered a bit too much, she was overpowered by the orchestra, and at times she went flat.

  • June 24, 2009 at 10:58 pmahelo

    epic mikuru run

  • June 24, 2009 at 11:27 pmewok

    that mikuru-runrun was EPIC

  • June 25, 2009 at 1:00 amrin

    Anime & Game OSTs may just be background music in the show or game they were made for, but sometimes when you listen closely to them by themselves, you would be amazed at how well some of the pieces were arranged or composed. I especially enjoy orchestrated versions of pieces, such as Hikari & Passion from Kingdom Hearts, and the whole orchestrated collection of pieces for Phoenix Wright. The Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou was beautiful! Thanks for sharing~ I was so surprised at how different yet how well Mikuru-run was composed hehe XDD And Hirano Aya sounded awesome in God Knows <3

  • June 25, 2009 at 1:21 amkadian1364

    I just listened to these today, and I share the sentiment many have about the vocals. I wished they had went with instrumentals for the melodies or classically trained singers. The pure orchestral tracks were great.

    I remember a somewhat renown video game music composer saying music made 60-70% of the gaming experience (pretty hilarious bias there), but the point remains that music is eternally linked to our memories and trigger instant emotional responses.

  • June 25, 2009 at 1:34 amPeanutbutter003

    I am in despair that the gensou videos weren’t linked to my youtube channel. ;(

  • June 25, 2009 at 3:24 amEnthusiast

    As someone who have played the violin since 4th grade (and still continuing), I’ve always listened to OST tracks. To me, it’s how all these individual instruments who are playing their own thing come together and create something that can make your heart beat faster, make you relate more to the character, or just leave a particular feeling in your mind. I dunno, the relationship between melody and harmony is something I’ve always found interesting.

    I have to admit though, orchestral music has been dying over the years and it’s been relegated to BGM for the most part now. Nonetheless, there are outstanding composers that make even BGM tracks sound amazing as a standalone piece (i.e. Yoko Shimomura, Nobuo Uemetsu, Kow Otani, koji Kondo,John Williams, Hans Zimmer, etc.)

  • June 25, 2009 at 4:56 amRe-Hikari

    Lost my music was probably the most horrible on my ears there XD But I thought Minorin’s singing was fine. She’s obviously not a top notch artist, but her voice kinda suited the whole orchestral feel =3

    Oh, and the instrumentals were decent *nods*

  • June 25, 2009 at 5:09 amdonbob

    All those Yuki fanboys here not caring about the topic at all >_>

    I for my part don’t listen much to j-pop-like anime OSTs, so I probably would have missed out on this. I really like this one, since I’m into orchestral music. So thanks for the hint. ^^

    And yes, Aya’s voice at times really seemed out of place. I just think her voice would have needed more strength for this, and some parts could have been handled better.
    On another not, just because it’s live it doesn’t have to be bad, but sadly only few (popular) musicians can perfom live as well as their Mixers can handle their sounds on recordings.

  • June 25, 2009 at 5:49 amoutcast

    It’s a recording right. so she they can’t even hold tones even when rerecording? Or did they only have one take?

  • June 25, 2009 at 6:26 amAzure

    The Mikuru tune sounds great! it’s always great to hear a clash of my career and my hobby together. Of course, it’s no Mahler Symphony, but it still sounds beautiful, and it gets a different crowd excited about orchestra music, which is totally awesome and makes me happy. =)

  • June 25, 2009 at 7:43 amNalface

    The Koi no Mikuru Densetsu music gave me the same vibe as Star Wars (at the begining) and Jurrasic Park (half way through).

    However, God Knows sounded really off with the vocals. Almost sounds like Aya sang that without any accompanying bg music, and her vocals were just slapped onto the awesome bg music.

  • June 25, 2009 at 5:43 pmmaltesers

    Ah, i’ve seen/heard the conductor and main violinist perform here in sydney a few times. No wonder i haven’t heard from them in awhile, they were busy recording this album. Love my orchestral music =]

  • June 25, 2009 at 8:23 pmTrejon

    the orchesta of mikurun-run its awesome, it gave me chills

  • June 25, 2009 at 9:36 pmlee

    where can i buy the it

  • June 26, 2009 at 12:33 amAnt

    Haha, this is great. Thanks for the heads up.

  • June 26, 2009 at 3:51 amSheska

    Two words my friend:


    She’s a brilliant composer. I’ve always appreciated and loved anime music, from rock and Jazz to piano pieces, it’s a majestic creativity that’s very hard to find anywhere else.

  • June 26, 2009 at 4:18 pmvaniba

    I liked the orchestral Mikurun-run.

  • June 26, 2009 at 5:38 pmAwesome.

    Hands down, so damn awesome. I especially loved the Orchestra version of God Knows. So damn great in so many levels. I’m being sure to get the CD. It looks like it’s worth the buy or download (if you know where to look).


  • June 27, 2009 at 12:12 pmGWOtaku

    Wow, this is a great discovery. Thanks for posting about this. As a fan and as a lover of classical, it’s stunning to see an attempt at something like this even if the final product isn’t perfect. I’m going to have to find this…

  • June 30, 2009 at 9:13 pmRina

    I agree with you. The orchestral adaptations are not bad at all. I was surprise when I was listening Beach Vacances in classical. But, it wasn’t bad. Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra did a great job!

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:00 pmLunarCrusade

    Just finished downloading this album 2.5 hours ago and when I listen all the songs..this is my opinions:

    Whoa, there’s a different feeling when I heard Koi no Mikuru Densetsu..from cute voice turns into an EPIC ones. I love it. ^_^ (Good. There’s no Mikuru’s voice..I’ll die of laughing if Yuuko-san sings in this song. XD)

    The BGM’s remake is OK, better than in the anime.

    Lost my music? I must say..err..Haruhi’s voice (whoops, I mean Aya-sensei :P) is not suitable for classical tones. Original version is MUCH BETTER. Same for God knows.

    Hare Hare Yukai hell yeah EPIC too (2nd EPIC, eh?). Nothing bad from Hare Hare classical remake like this. I relieved there’s no vocal here. (just imagine if there’s vocal in this song! mwahahaha..maybe I’ll imagine about the dance too XD )

    Last..Yuki, Muon, Madobe Nite. I never heard the original version before, but when I heard to this classical remake..OMG..I don’t know Minori-san voice is quite compatible with classical tones! Yes, this is the 3rd EPIC..My heart was really moved by this song. ^_^

  • July 3, 2009 at 11:06 amErika Danger McHamperson

    It has YUKI on it, who cares what it sounds like. |:

  • July 9, 2009 at 2:20 pmRanmaSyaoran

    I’ve been playing this through my beloved bose sound system… Listening to it many many times on my mp3 player… It’s *_________*