30 Dec 2011

Anime of 2011: Music

Last year, Shaft dominated most of the OP and ED nominations, with an award for Arakawa Under the Bridge (Best OP). Tatami Galaxy's ED got top honours for being unique. Other notable OP/ED nominations include K-ON! and Hanamaru Youchien. Best Overall Soundtrack went to Angel Beats! for having quite a few nice songs, my personal favourite being "My Song" which Yui sang before she disappears. The Best Overall Song went to Asian Kung Fu Generation's Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat. Read on for this year's winners!

Best OP
Runner Ups

Bleach OP 15 (Harukaze - Scandal)
Song by Scandal.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Os-Uchuujin - Erio o Kamatte-chan)
This list would not be complete without a Shaft OP, so here it is! The graphics and animation is quite interesting in this one, though not as crazy as Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei or Arakawa Under the Bridge. The high-pitched singing is not for everyone though, especially diabetics.

Ano Hana (Aoi Shiori - Galileo Galilei)
I like the timing on this OP. The style they used to represent the child versions of the main characters and the spirit of Menma is a neat touch.

Fate/Zero (Oath Sign - LiSA)
This OP showcases the superb animation ufotable is capable of. Also, the song is sung by the lead singer of Angel Beat's Girls Dead Monster.

Usagi Drop (Sweet Drops - PUFFY)
Cute visuals with a sweet song by PUFFY (or otherwise known as Puffy Amiyumi in the west). Does a great job capturing the feel of the series, warm and fluffy :)

Hanasaku Iroha (Hana no Iro - nano.RIPE)
Animation studio P.A. Works is just showing off in this OP. Awesome animation, character illustrations (by Kishida Mel), background art, and CG. The video I posted here served as the ending of the first episode.

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing (Buddy - Sakamoto Maaya)
GONZO puts all their top CG talents into creating this great looking OP.

Guilty Crown (My Dearest - supercell)
Hey, it's a new supercell song! They can do no wrong (so far). Also helps when they have Production I.G. handling the animation and redjuice doing the character designs. The build-up that starts around 45 seconds into the OP was beautifully executed.


Darren's and Vic's Pick: Nichijou OP 2 (Joujou Yuujou - Hyadain)
Very catchy, upbeat tune. I picked this over the first OP because the animation syncs more with the music and lyrics. We have an unanimous winner here!

Best ED
Runner Ups

Last Exile (Starboard - Kuroishi Hitomi)
The song and visuals gives it the feel of an epic fantasy.

Beelzebub ED 3 (Nanairo Namida - Tomato n' Pine)
The different drawing style is quite a refreshing change here, as well as the simple song.

Beelzebub ED 4 (Papepipu♪ Papipepu♪ Papepipupo♪ - Sasaki Nozomi)
There's no way I wouldn't include this super catchy song and dance routine in this year's award. Go watch the full MV here.

Ano Hana (Secret Base ~ 10 years after version - Ai Kayano, Haruka Tomatsu, and Saori Hayami)
This song holds so much meaning for the anime, where the characters finally meet up after 10 years. Also, this song was sung 10 years ago, and the group that originally sang this song (an all-female band, Zone) broke up in 2005. 10 years after that song was released, AnoHana was produced and Zone held a reunion tour.

Guilty Crown (Departures - EGOIST/supercell)
EGOIST is the in-anime band that Inori is in. A very close contender for best ED this year...


Darren's Pick: Fate/Zero (Memoria - Aoi Eir)
A backdrop showcasing images of the past of all the Heroic Spirits summoned in the show, set to an awesome song by a mysterious singer. The pictures help to fill in some gaps in the characters' back story. It was quite a straight forward decision for me.

Vic's Pick: Mawaru Penguindrum ED 3 (Haiiro o Suiyoubi / Ash Wednesday - Triple H)
This might be cheating a bit, but the ending of episode 18 is possibly the best ending I've seen this year. I'm a sucker for episodes that transition nicely into the ED/credits, and this takes the cake for even including the episode title as an important part of that scene. It was a tough decision deciding between this, Guilty Crown, and AnoHana. In the end, Penguindrum edge a little bit over AnoHana due to it's execution.

Best Song
Runner Ups

Secret Base ~ 10 years after version (AnoHana) - Ai Kayano, Haruka Tomatsu, and Saori Hayami
As mentioned above, this is a touching song that works very well with the material it was paired with.

Connect (Madoka Magica) - ClariS
ClariS has been pretty good so far, with last year's OreImo OP and now this year's Madoka. They will be doing the ED for next year's Nisemonogatari with supercell. Seems like they will continue to be featured in really good anime!

Departures (Guilty Crown) - EGOIST/supercell
One of the best slow songs this year. The young singer chosen by supercell does an excellent job as Inori's singing voice.

My Dearest (Guilty Crown) - supercell
Stretches her strong vocals in this song as well.

Haiiro no Suiyoubi (Mawaru Penguindrum) - Triple H
Like Secret Base, this song will forever be tied to the strong emotional feelings derived from scenes in the anime where the song appeared.

Various Insert Songs (Star Driver) - Their respective seiyuus
When sung with just pure vocal power and no instruments, the songs really shine.


Darren's and Vic's Pick: Memoria (Fate/Zero) - Aoi Eir
It took a while, but Darren managed to convince me that this is the best song that came out of anime this year. Aoi Eir's powerful vocals represented the Heroes very well, especially the knightly Saber.

Best Soundtrack
Runner Ups

Slice-of-life shows typically have strong soundtracks to complement them, and this is no different.

Hourou Musuko
The surprising use of song classical music made a lot of sense once I heard it. That moment in episode 1 was made really memorable because of that.

Mawaru Penguindrum
They managed to get enough budget to have more songs sung for the ED as well as to use them as insert songs. It really paid off in the end as the instrumental version of Haiiro no Suiyoubi, along with the other instrumental tracks, gave it a very grand feel.


Darren's Pick: Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing
The soundtrack for this epic was very well made to complement the scale and scope of the series.

Vic's Pick: Madoka Magica
This was the soundtrack that stuck with me for the entire year (since it premiered in January). The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful and provides a very ominous vibe to even the lightest moments.

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