The Anime Pulse #19: The Science of Fiction and Music

Ladies and Gentlemen.. welcome to another edition of The Anime Pulse. Anime news is very sparse as of late. Only one thing caught my attention, but I also have a bit of a mini-thoughts/review of some of the openings and endings that I have been enjoying now that most of them are out.  So let’s dive right in, shall we?

Mecha Ninjas from Outer Space?

Masashi Kishimoto, the man behind the Naruto franchise, announced that he already knows what he is going to create for his next manga. He says that he wants to do a sci-fi series with a main protagonist that the manga world hasn’t seen before.

That statement is quite a bold statement and that kind of worries me. Sure, there are a ton of cookie cutter protagonists out there, a lot of them falling into anime trope categories, but I’m kind of interested to see just how “original” this main character is going to be because I can’t really believe for one second that after the decades upon decades of manga out there, especially in the sci-fi realm, that he truly has created a one of the kind main character.

I know I’m being a bit negative here without seeing anything, but so many times has someone promised something great and unique and it ended up turning into a major disappointment because it didn’t live up to the hype, so to speak. I have no idea what kind of sci-fi setting that Kishimoto will choose, but if anything, I can only hope that it’s not in space and something more along the lines of time travel. Time travel is, by far, my favorite realm of science fiction… hence why I love Steins;Gate to death. Only time will tell what Kishimoto has in store for us, but he is aiming to make it better than Naruto.

That statement there scares me as well. He mentioned that Naruto being as popular as it is was nothing more than an accident. He didn’t plan on it happening and if anyone has any experience with this sort of thing in the world, they can tell you that some of the best stuff to ever happen was by accident. Most often, when you don’t plan on something being as amazing as it is, that’s when it truly becomes special and it is rarely ever duplicated. In fact, when you try to duplicate that greatness or exceed it, it ends up failing. Look at how many amazing movies received sequels because they just couldn’t outdo the original. It’s not always the case, but a majority of the time it really is.

So when Kishimoto states that he’s going to try to outdo Naruto, that means he’s going to try to make a happy accident better. Again… time will tell if this truly becomes better than Naruto, but if your goal is to surpass one of the best works in modern manga, then we have the right to reserve our excitement on such a bold promise.

Otaku Music Overload!

For the past month or so, all of the opening and ending themes for this season’s anime have been released and I have gotten the chance to listen to damn near all of them for the shows that I’m watching and this has got to be one of the best rounds of music I’ve heard in a while!

Of course, the song everyone wants to hear the most was the one to come out the latest. I don’t know if it’s to build anticipation, or if it they have to wait their turn in a release schedule, but it always seems the greatest theme of the season is the one to come out last. Like.. it’s not even coincidence… it’s every single time! Of course, I’m talking about “Mikazuki” by a newcomer to the anime/singing world… Sayuri. If you don’t know what that song is, it serves as the ending theme to Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace.

The full version sounds good, but I have a little bit of a complaint with it. The harmonic bridge between the second verse and the closing takes this really weird turn that just doesn’t fit or work at all. While the song is enjoyable and I’ve listened to it many times, I still shake my head when that part of the song hits. It’s almost like “BIOS” from the Guilty Crown soundtrack… where people edited out that one guy who talked through the song and practically ruined the vibe that Mika Kobayashi set… that instrumental bridge just doesn’t belong in that track.. like… at all.

Other than that, the other that is really standing out for me is “Renegade” by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION. This serves as the opening theme to Gangsta. and it brings a lot of “feel good” energy to the table It almost reminds me of an early 2000s electronica tune more than anything and it’s just pleasant to listen to. It doesn’t really pump you up, but it doesn’t leave you just using it as background noise either. It’s just a pretty enjoyable song to hum along to. Also makes for some good driving music as well as I can personally attest to that!

The other songs for this season are just kind of “okay.” A lot sound like generic anime J-ROCK songs and don’t really push the envelope hard enough to stand out. “ISOtone” by Natsumi Kon (Opening to Chaos Dragon) starts out in a way that grabs your attention.. hits an amazing, driving tone right before the verse, then just falls into standard rock song obscurity. It had the most promise, but it just kind of fell short.

GATE” by Kishida Kyoudan… yeah. The song is good and I know she really had a hit with the opening to Highschool of the Dead, but…. did she really have to steal so many elements from that song and try to pass it off as new? The opening symbols, the opening guitar riffs, some of the later sequences of notes all feel like they were ripped right out of the HOTD opening theme. At least we got that catchy “Whoa Whoa Whoa wo wo Whoa” part to look forward to in the song, right?

Delta Decision” by Ehkya (Ending theme to Chaos Dragon) falls into the same category as the opening where it starts off really strong then just feels like a generic rock song afterwards, but this one puts just that much extra effort to make it feel a little more than just average, too bad “Feed A” by OLDCODEX doesn’t. The opening theme to God Eater is about as generic as they come to the point where I just skip the opening now and not even bother listening to it.

Finally, we have “Speed to Matsatsu” by amazarashi which serves as the opening theme to Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace. This aims to be a techno rock song that repeats the same vocal notes over and over and over again, but damn does that repetition work! The song is driving enough to the point where you just can’t help but enjoy listening to it. Plus if you don’t have a wide vocal range, it makes for a great song to cover at karaoke or something. Pretty good job there!

That’s going to do it for me this week. If you want to be featured in the column, drop me line at joshpiedra@theouterhaven.net and shoot me your questions, thoughts, suggestions and what have you. You can also follow me on Twitter if you’re in the social media thing over @PulseIn

Until next time,

Ja ne!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.

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