Anime Soundtracks: Best & Favu Composers... desu?


My question is this: do any of you people I know not have any favourite music from anime, and/or composers? If so, post. If you aren't terribly articulate then, rejoice, for you can just post the music. Simple. That is, if you want to, of course. Fret not if you aren't me, for I am also not you. That aside, this post is kinda-sorta related: The Anime/Manga I Bought Today Was...

My first anime was Star Ocean Ex .hack//SIGN. Yuki Kajiura. Some of you may know of her music from Heaven's Feel-up, Garden of Sinners, etc. Her stuff gets a bit too familiar than is good if you've seen one too many of her shows, but as it happens SIGN for me was her best work and both the bg music/vocals are so distinct it's hard not to recognise her music. From then on, music and anime have been as one in my mind, for music is the gateway to memories/nostalgia, if not thine soul. And, thus, I give thee, land of the twilight, under the moon / aura eviiiiiil / the world / Key of the Twilight
And this ending credits theme from the 5th Garden Sinners movie.

After that, I got into shounen anime, as many a teenage idiot. Naruto had some memorable tracks for sure, but it was a more obscure shounen that introduced me to another amazing composer, only this one has waaaaaaay more range than Kajiura: Taku Iwasaki, a man so cool he wears sunglasses indoors, apparently. His best work is probably Kenshin's OVA, or Now & Then, Here & There. But he's also done more bombastic things like TTGL and Jojo pt2. For me though, he will always be the Get Backers guy. Makube X / Awakening and Rage / Bloom

Next was Yoko Kanno. I can't remember which series I heard first, as she's done so much and oft raises the anime above itself, such as with Terror Resonance and that ferris wheel scene vocal track. Shite anime, great OST. Ghost in the Shell SAC had some of her best work but it was probably Bebop as she and Watanabe like working together. The music that stays with me, though, is Wolf's Rain. The 'Shiro' non-vocal track, mainly due to the death-filled OVA finale, but there were also numerous vocal tracks and this probably the best, tho the vocalist takes a lot of credit. Strangers / Shiro, Long Tail's /
some other time (GITS SAC)

And then we come to the holy grail of anime music: Death Note. An OST fueled by macabre emptiness and depression (and guitar riffs), that made the series utterly riveting alongside its direction. I dare say it wouldn't be a 10/10 of mine, if not for the music. An 11/10 audio rating if there ever was. Some tracks were only used once, and just about every one outstanding. These tracks - and their titles - speak for themselves: Death Image / Horror / Toward the Climax

And, I nearly forgot Berserk and Kon's composer,
Susumu Hirasawa: the man of surreal hell and dreams, made music. He's put out very little anime music yet always created 1 new piece for each Berserk anime. Chiyoko / Run / Guts

I'm too lazy to go through the rest of my history. In recent years though, it's been two composers: Sawano and Ushio. Sawano's music is pulse-pounding, cinema fare obv most famous for Attack Titan. I first came across him in Guilty Crown, which was a terrible anime that sounded a lot better than it was to watch. I really like this recent Gundam Hathaway work, tho, as there was more range than his usually rather limited scope (some 80's throwbacks. some techno-trance) that makes a lot of his music overly familiar. ESIRNUS (different song @2m20) / Tracer / Earth / CC... 12yl

Ushio is a newer, less known composer, and has become my current favu. His strength is in ambient music, such as in Silent Voice where his music was built around a deaf girl, but he's also done anime such as Devilman Crybaby which is the tonal opposite of that. Suffice to say, he has great range. Ryo track sounds like it should be in Hotline Miami.
China / Secret, Green, Steps / Buddy, Ryo / Pathetique, yeah. That's me done. Farewell~
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Pretty much anyone else I would have mentioned has already been covered, so I’ll just be incredibly boring and say Kenji Kawai. Much as I like Oshii’s GitS films, when I think about what part I remember most from them, it‘s actually just the incidental scenes of the camera sweeping around the city, with Kusanagi lost wordlessly in thought and Kawai’s Making of Cyborg theme playing in the background. I could comfortably watch that all day and not get bored.
I'd forgot Kenji Kawai. Your avatar, or rather the anime she's from, is my strongest memory of his work: Patlabor 2. The fighter jet tension sequence. One of the most suspenseful scenes I've seen, aided in no small part by the music.

But yeah, in the main it's his GitS movie opening chanting, and the wordless montage part where Motoko walks around the city I think you're referring to. This?

I've seen so much anime Kawai's done I don't realise it's his music. He's something of a chameleon outside of his iconic GitS/Patlabor tracks. I didn't realise he'd done Irresponsible Captain Tylor when first watching. He even did the Gantz live-action OST, with his end credits track being one I'm especially fond of.
Seems you got all the classics there except no mention of Joe Hisaishi?

A more recent composer that is starting to make waves is Kevin Penkin. I first heard his stuff on Tower of God, but people rave about the Made in Abyss OST (haven't listened yet because I want to experience it with the show, but haven't got round to it yet)

Yuki Kajiura. Some of you may know of her music from
Demon Slayer. That was the first time I heard her stuff and thought to look it up, but looking at her credits she's done loads of shows that I've watched including the aforementioned .hack//SIGN (although it's been ages since I watched it and have forgotten what it was like) and the one bit of the Fate franchise that I've watched in Zero. The only way, at the moment, to get the Demon Slayer OST legally is from foreign CEs, AL cut it for some reason (cost I guess)!

One composer that has very much acquired my intrigue in recent years has been mabanua, known for his work on MEGALO BOX and NOMAD: MEGALO BOX 2. It's not only different but also one that makes you want to revisit the music even if you're not watching the anime. The soundtrack for NOMAD in particular shares a lot of Spanish/Latin/Mexican influence with its tone and music style.

He's definitely someone to keep in mind for future anime projects.

Death Note is brilliant, I hadn't heard music like that before and it helped me discover new things generally. Very sad that Hideki Taniuchi's career was ruined after he got arrested over weed...

Kenji Kawaii is the master at atmosphere.

Nujabes, Fat Jon et al. for Samurai Champloo is obviously legendary and helped lift that entire anime to another level.

The Pillows on FLCL is another example of bringing in already succesful artists to soundtrack the anime, with great results.

Mari Iijima's work in Macross, it helped kickstart her entire musical career which has now spanned decades. An early example of anime and real life idols working together. The instrumental soundtrack by Kentaro Haneda is also nothing to pass over. Macross in general features music as a key theme, and that has led to a strong show across all of the subsequent series as well. In particular, Macross Plus, an early effort by Yokko Kanno, is brilliant and ahead of its time.

The Soul Eater soundtrack is essential for building the atmosphere around that series. OST by Taku Iwasaki, but including all the OPs, EDs, and featured hip hop (mostly Lotus Juice, who is always welcome) it works very well.
Spotify over Youtube
I like linking to official sources. I only clicked on 2 of your links, but 1 was unofficial and 1 was official. I know it's only like 0.005p per play, but better than nothing.
Don't recall noticing it was Kajiura
There is another artist listed on MAL, Go Shiina. Doesn't seem to have much presence on Spotify. The biggest other name on his MAL page is God Eater.
they erased an actor from Judgment/Yakuza at the last minute over drugs.
Fun fact, he (Masanori "Pierre" Taki) is also part of a band called Denki Groove who made the OP for
Devilman Crybaby
It disappeared from Spotify for a while after the incident, but is back now:
Good thread!

I'm really bad at picking up on background music unless it's really unsubtle (Sawano's vocal tracks are great for that, as are classic Kajiura songs) so I often don't notice the composer. Which is weird because I'm a massive collector of soundtracks. The Megalobox OST is a great call because that one was impossible to ignore while watching the show; it lifted all of the intense scenes up so well. I didn't like the more mellow, artistic music in the second season quite as much because I'm a simply soul who likes their music dramatic!

The Macross Frontier stuff was also Yoko Kanno, if I recall correctly, though it was a mixed bag for me with May'n's songs easily the best part. I'm not as fond of Kanno's overall output as many but Macross Plus, as mentioned above, was a standout. It was one of the rare OSTs to be readily available in music shops in the UK back in the old days, along with - strangely - the Lodoss soundtracks and a couple of other experiments.

Kenji Kawai's best work, for me, was the music he did for Seirei No Moribito. One of the OSTs went out of print by the time I watched the show and realised I liked it so I had a devil of a time tracking it down across Japan. It was worth the wait.

In the interest of contributing a new name to the thread, I'd like to nominate J.A. Seazer's soundtracks for Revolutionary Girl Utena/Shoujo Kakumei Utena. They took the music in a completely different direction to pretty much any other show at the time and his weird, weird sense of atmosphere is one of the reasons it's such a classic. I still sing along with the show in spite of myself. There are loads of individual battle songs and they're all gorgeously melodramatic. I have a type. Most Ikuhara shows seem to incorporate strong soundtracks.

(While slightly off topic, since it's a theme song, this thread has reminded me to pick up the excellent Kageki Shoujo!! ending CD in my next order. I had been wondering whether it was by a musical composer since it's such a good fit for the style of the show and it turns out that it's Tsuneyoshi Saitou. I'd never really noticed/rated his work for anime before - he's turned in a fair number of scores - but it seems that he's composed quite a few actual Takarazuka Revue songs in his time too. Perhaps I should pay him closer attention in future.)

Oh hey a music thread.

I'm a fan of Yuki Kajiura as well going back to her See-Saw days, particularly with that .hack stuff. The Madoka Magica OSTs generally come around a lot in my playlists as they are really good.

Hiroyuki Sawano I've also been big on, as you can't really beat a Sawano drop. Got some of his stuff from AoT, Gundam, Promare and 86. As much as Narrative is a terrible movie, the theme song is great

I've really liked the work Kevin Penkin has done since he broke through with Made in Abyss. And I'd agree with Grav that mabanua's stuff is rad. He also did the OST for BNA. And speaking of Trigger, shout out to Michiru Oshima for Little Witch Academia (other works include Patema Inverted, Bloom Into You, Night is Short, and Ride Your Wave). Like this is just utter magic -

Elsewhere I really like the folks over at MONACA, like Keigo Hoashi, Keiichi Okabe, and Hidekazu Tanaka. They do a lot of stuff with Bandai Namco so they encompass both Aikatsu and Tekken for me. For Aikatsu they also used people from onetrap and Digz Motion Sounds and other production companies and impressively managed to keep the same style of sound throughout, even while transitioning to a live action show with Planet (although a shame the vocal song compositions in Planet don't hold a candle to the rest of the franchise); but I know a lot of these composers do a lot of work for similar shows and games like Idolmaster and such as well.

Spotify is region locked apparently, but hey, the transformation sequence them is a banger, they opened the live concerts with this too as the idols come on stage
Great thread, I'll be revisiting regularly to try out music and composers I haven't come across yet.

Will do my bit and pimp out Masaru Yokoyama, my personal favourite and some examples of his beautiful work on
Your Lie in April
Scum's Wish
He also recently did Horimiya's music which I haven't sat down to listen yet, but picked up immediately as his style and enjoyed a lot when watching the anime.

Being an Eva nut, it goes without saying I am currently very much enjoying Shiro Sagisu's work throughout all of Eva, ending with the great soundtrack on the final movie. Regarding Eva, a lot of the vocal tracks are also excellent, especially Utada's on Rebuild and others including the incomparable Kom Susser Tod and Thanatos-If I can't be Yours.

Ushio with his best distinctive style is also excellent. I've really enjoyed RADWIMPS work on Your Name & Weathering with You. Sawano is brilliant and his style has just reminded me of one great track from Re:zero, whose composer I will now be listening out for:

And I don't really need to say anything about the universally acclaimed greats Yuki Kajiura and Yoko Kano of course.
I've been listening to a lot of Yuki Kajiura's stuff recently-another relatively unknown composer is Tamiya Terashima who did the fantastic ost for Maho Shoujo Tai Arusu (Magical Girl Squad Alice).
...I loved the dubstep OST for Parasyte: The Maxim by Ken Arai (I have the CD cuz I got the Animatsu CEs) 😅 I like a fair bit of stuff by virtually every composer mentioned so far by others as well :)
A couple of wildcards...

Toshihiko Sahashi for channeling Mike Post's theme for the A-Team in Full Metal Panic
and Shiroh Hamaguchi for bringing a John Williams grandeur to Kiddy Grade, a soundtrack that really opened my eyes to anime music.
The ost for Vivy-Flourite Eye's Song Has been getting a lot of play time from me lately. I especially like Ensemble for Polaris.
I've been a huge fan of Yuki Kajiura since Noir, my all time favorite Girls with Guns anime. Cante per me and Salva Nos are beaten into your brain in every episode, but they are extremely welcome to hear over and over, as you know that once they start playing, sh*t is about to hit the fan, lol! Her most recent work was the OST for Fena: Pirate Princess; you can still recognize her familiar sound right away... 👍

I've downloaded and played repeatedly probably every FictionJunction and Kalafina concert video on YouTube over the years, and still have not grown tired of Kajiura's music. She and FuctionJunction recently performed a live studio re-mix of 16 of her old songs, with her new lead singer Joelle, who has now replaced Wakana, while Kaori, Keiko, and Yuriko sound better than ever as they've matured.

Yuki Kajiura Live Vol. #1 REPRISE (YouTube Playlist)

🥰 🥰 🥰
I'll add these here as well - a few of my most favorite anime soundtrack live performances on YouTube, to keep you all busy for a few hours with your eyes as well as your ears! These videos add some great live concert video footage to your music listening - Featuring Kalafina, Kenji Kawai, Joe Hisaishi, Radwimps, and TRUE...

Kalafina - "Oblivious" from Garden of Sinners:

Kenji Kawai - Ghost in the Shell OST Live (crappy low-res video, YT must have removed the original):

Joe Hisaishi - Studio Ghibli 25th Anniversary Concert Live at Budokan:

Radwimps: "Sparkle" Live from Kimi no Nawa (Your Name) Orchestra Concert:

TRUE - "Sincerely" and "Letter" from Violet Evergarden:
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Not anime but I've been listening to Hans Zimmer's ost from the new remake of Dune. Gotta say most of what he composes is excellent, seems he's the new John Williams.