The 2008 Best Themes Post

I am totally stealing from CCY and cuchlann, and doubtless countless others, to bring you this post, a window into the mysterious workings of musical things in my mind. Expect it to make even less sense than usual!

Opening and ending themes and sequences oftentimes hold a special place in my heart, both musically and visually. A theme I like musically, even one used as marketing to help market the band’s single to a wider audience, will frequently cause me to investigate the rest of the musical unit’s oeuvre, sometimes resulting in the new acquisition of music to enjoy for music’s sake. Other times, a theme can come, in some way, to symbolize the whole of the series for me–the case of nirgilis’s Eureka Seven theme, sakura, for instance. Paired with a well-executed OP sequence, you can sometimes find me spending time I should be doing other things sitting around and watching the same 1:30 OP or ED over and over and over again.

At any rate, OP/ED themes often provide me with a chance to revisit the moods of series enjoyed in the past, and frequently introduce me to new musical units that I might not have heard through conventional means.

Here are some of my favorites this year:

eufonius – reflectia [true tears OP]

true tears remains one of my favorite series this year, second only, perhaps, to Xam’d (I seriously did not think there would be anything to challenge true tears this year until Xam’d showed up and clobbered me), and I still have a wave of melancholic happiness wash over me every time I hear reflectia (reflectier?). I know one of my car mix CDs had reflectia and euphoric field one after the other, and that was a truly epic CD indeed.

Snow* – Chain [Shigofumi ED] (yes, the link is OP and ED, I know)

Same CD also had Chain on it. The ethereal, haunting tones of Chain never failed during Shigofumi’s run to give me the cold chills up my spine at the end of an episode. Even the happy, silly, not-mentally-disturbing ones. That kind of power tends to stick with you.

Kiyoura Natsumi – Tabi no Tochuu [Spice and Wolf OP]

I might have been disappointed with the anime version of Spice and Wolf (and I eagerly await the release of the light novels to properly judge the franchise), but this OP made the whole endeavor worth it. I like the subdued yet powerful vocals; sadly, I have no idea what else Kiyoura Natsumi has done.

Base Ball Bear – changes [Toshokan Sensou ED]

I’d liked Base Ball Bear previously from their Ookiku Furikabutte OP, which was great, but changes was amazing and provoked me to further explore their discography. They are, indeed, awesome. I loved the show, and was sad when the episode ended, but the segue into changes always made me feel better. Much, much better.

BOOM BOOM SATELLITES – SHUT UP AND EXPLODE [Xam’d: Lost Memories OP]

You knew it was coming. The very first thing I said when I saw the artist and title for Xam’d OP was “this song better be as awesome as the band name and title are.” Not only was it awesome, I found myself stuck on the album, EXPOSED, for at least a month and a half afterwards, and I even ordered it last trip to CDJapan. On a random whim. I am glad I did.

Kugimiya Rie, Horie Yui, and Kitamura Eri – pre-parade [Toradora! OP] / Horie Yui – Vanilla Salt [Toradora! ED]

Seiyuu pop never usually tends to grab me, as it tends more towards the bland side of pop than the good side of pop. Not so with the Toradora! OP and ED. Maybe it’s just the dirty bass, maybe it’s just because it sounds suspiciously more fuzz-pop like Momoi’s sunday early morning (best song consisting entirely of anime titles ever), or maybe I’m just tossing out vaguely appropriate musical terms in an effort to impress (trying to figure out musical genres has never been my forte), but I feel the Toradora! songs are legitimately good.

Nishikiori Ken – Ano Sora o Yuke [Tytania OP]

All I really have to say here is that he shoves the sword through the spaceships in a moment of sheer logical impossibility possibly only in an OP sequence. It is awesome. That is all.

BONUS!

Sound Horizon – 冥王 – Θανατος [Moira] (the PV if you think you’re man enough to handle it)

This has nothing whatsoever to do with anime (well, kind of), but Sound Horizon’s newest album, Moira, was released in October (hence why I placed the order that ended up containing EXPOSED), and, well, it was awesome. Really, really awesome. I don’t think I’m quite in the audience for the PV version (or maybe even the live DVD due out in March), but I’m definitely in the audience for the music itself.

p.s.: That’s only the first track from Moira. The next is a Russian polka, with Jimang going nuts for seven minutes. Then Ike Nelson talks at you for six minutes. Then it’s totally opera for the next hour, with whatever instruments Revo thought would sound good for the track in question. It’s truly an impressive album, and at the few lyrics I manage to understand, my mind melts. Native Japanese speakers have trouble figuring out what’s going on in Sound Horizon albums, so don’t fret about the language barrier too much.

At any rate, I think I’ve been spending way too much of my time this year listening to music. Mostly because it keeps me occupied while at work, I suppose. Or else revisiting a hobby all over again. Or something.

Happy New Year anyway, though! I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to a retrospective (it seems too self-indulgent, even for a blog, which, by definition, is self-indulgent), but if I do, sometime this week! Maybe! Exclamation point!

(errata for this post located in the subsequent post)

7 Responses to “The 2008 Best Themes Post”


  1. 1 cuchlann 31 December 2008 at 12:50 am

    Nice. I totally forgot about “Changes.” It is the good stuff. And while the OP is good, I (predictably) prefer Spice and Wolf’s ED, with its upbeat tune and myth-apple imagery. I should really, really do a proper Spice and Wolf post eventually…

  2. 2 corroded 31 December 2008 at 4:38 am

    it’s rare to see someone post about anime ops and eds(i actually like a LOT of em) or maybe i just don’t read the right blogs…in any case, i’m surprised you didn’t put elisa’s hikari(nabari no ou ed) which was kinda epic..or even any cg r2 song :P

    anyways, good picks btw. oh and i do suggest listening to toaru majutsu no index and kannagis ops/eds. they are awesome!

  3. 3 omisyth 31 December 2008 at 5:03 am

    EXPOSED doesn’t really live up to the awesomness of Shut Up and Explode, but it’s still a great album in its own right. I love the way that Tabi no Tochuu (at least in the full version) kind of builds up throughout the entire song to reach a crescendo that’s a culmination of the rest of the piece. As you can tell, I have no idea about musical terms :P

  4. 4 OGT 31 December 2008 at 11:11 am

    @cuchlann: ROCKY CHACK’s Spice and Wolf ending was great, yes, but musically I preferred the OP, I think. Also I wasn’t ever able to find more ROCKY CHACK so I was bitter.
    ..
    @corroded: I never made it very far in Nabari no Ou and can’t remember the ED for the life of me; the only Code Geass R2 theme I liked was WORLD END (I despise Orange Range). Kannagi has good OP and ED, but, sadly, I don’t quite think they rank amongst the best of the year. For me.
    ..
    @omisyth: The more I listened to EXPOSED, the more I found myself kind of unable to listen to tracks outside the context of the album. SHUT UP AND EXPLODE is one of the best tracks, but the whole album, for approximately a month and a half, was a sonic experience I kept going back to again and again. I also like ON, but, sadly, prior to that they had a drastically different sound, which I don’t like as much.
    .
    I believe, actually, in Tabi no Tochuu, it is not crescendos (which are going on there, no doubt), but the effect described is musical tension building/releasing. The whole song is an exercise in mounting tension, and it’s grand.

  5. 5 corroded 31 December 2008 at 4:08 pm

    just to remind you:

    elisa’s hikari

    how about the toaru majutsu no index songs? they are actually good too :P

  6. 6 astrange 13 January 2009 at 12:13 am

    DId you see the translation of Roman? The entire album is pretty much totally clear to me after I read it. Not knowing any Italian/Greek/Roman/Arabic/Engrish I’m kind of stuck on the others, though.


  1. 1 Best Themes 2008 ERRATA, or, I Kick Myself « Anime wa Bakuhatsu da! Trackback on 31 December 2008 at 11:25 am

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