Last week I shared some favorite themes and music featured on some popular anime shows, and it was suggested I do a follow up. This included something from the action fantasy, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
This is also a good opportunity to mention something common in many anime series, but not so much in western series, where the themes change from season to season. I like having a consistent theme throughout a series, but I can also see the appeal of picking something that helps set the tone of a particular season. Plus, more musical artists get a chance to share their talents on popular shows.
Full Metal Alchemist, for example, has five full opening and closing themes (you can check out the full five openings here), but for the sake of this article, let’s take a solid listen to the final season, “Rain” by Sid, that features some really nice guitar interludes:
Some musical groups have been featured on more than one show, and that includes ALI (Alien Liberty International), who I highlighted last week for their closing track of Jujutsu Kaisen. A song, I should mention, was only the first season’s closing track, as Jujutsu Kaisen changed the ending to the more serene, reflective “Give It Back” by Cö shu Nie:
This piece is a big difference from ALI’s hap-hap-happy “Lost in Paradise,” for sure, but that wasn’t the last from ALI. They more recently put out the frenzied theme to the anime based on the manga Beasters, a story of the culture divide between herbivores and carnivores in a world of anthropomorphic animals. Really, this what the Disney mess Zootopia should have been. Either way, the theme is all over the place and a party waiting to happen. The horn riffs alone are terrific:
Another cool element of good musical theming is making sure key characters have their own themes to match their screen presence, and anime series are no exception. Let’s look at a pair of very different songs for very different characters, just to illustrate this point.
First, “Leorio Paladiknight’s Theme” (the 1999 and 2011 versions) from Hunter X Hunter…
and Giorno’s Theme, “Golden Wind, OST Vol. 1 Overture” from JoJos’s Bizarre Adventure, composed by Yugo Kanno, whose latest work is on the Netflix horror CGI (based on the video game franchise) on Netflix, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness:
Finally, since I began my list last week with the opening theme for Cowboy BeBop, I’ll end this list with the closing theme that really complemented the noir elements of the show. It was arranged by Yoko Kanno and performed by the Seatbelts. It also shows off the amazing bluesy voice of singer Mai Yamane.
I leave you with “The Real Folk Blues,” and hopefully a new appreciation and curiosity of the music behind the anime series: