“Sometimes life is like jazz,and goes in an unexpected direction.” – Nishimi Kaoru (Kids on the Slope)
Good afternoon Nerders. I want to ask you a question. What made you continue watching anime after seeing your first? Was it the story-lines? The over the top powers and abilities? Was it the art styles and animation? For me, it was the music. Doesn’t sound feasible to most but hear me out (haha get it?).
A little background on me. I started playing the saxophone in the 4th grade and didn’t stop up until 4 years ago. Jazz was the reason I kept up with it that long and a reason why I listen to music closely. Fast forward to when I started watching my first anime series. I had seen DBZ by this time but what hooked me was Cowboy Bebop. The intro “Tank!” had me attempting to figure out the notes and trying to learn the song for myself. It was bold and new to hear at that age. As I sat down to watch more, I noticed how the the jazz interacted with the action throughout the show. Watching Spike beat someone down while listening to the smooth sounds of trumpets and saxophones as they described punches and kicks with half and whole notes. It was beautiful and it was only my first episode. Eventually I ended up watching the whole series and became hooked with anime. I even bought the OST for that show (still have it).
I then started to wonder…”did other anime shows do this?”
When I first heard the music from Cowboy Bebop, I was still developing my musical ear. At that time I couldn’t appreciate the subtle way that the music told the story throughout each episode. I was literally obsessed with Cowboy Bebop most of my high school years. My freshmen year in college, Samurai Champloo came out. While I had been enjoying other anime series, Samurai Champloo hit me with something that I could identify with…hip-hop. I hadn’t heard many series or cartoons that incorporated Hip-Hop…well if you don’t count Static Shock (review coming sometime soon!).
Smooth, mellow, not too over-bearing and then hip-hop lyrics come out of nowhere. Combined with the nicely timed action scenes, I was all in on watching the actual anime. Music has a way of drumming up different kinds of emotions (see what I did there?) within us unconsciously. You can hear it in shows and movies. Music can express a bevy of emotions that will help with moving the story along. You can always tell when a character is going to die (miraculous build up that transitions into low, somber tones) or when a big battle is about to happen (erratic tones with driving drums or horns).
As I continue to watch and enjoy anime, I notice more and more about the music that is played in them. More than often I start trying to sing a song in a language I don’t know how to speak while grooving the oft used electric guitar (always wanted to learn how to play). I know every show and movie that’s out has music tied to it, but growing up, I didn’t get how important it was to anime. Music was important to me and anime grew into something that I grew to love as well.
Thank you for listening to me ramble about music and anime going hand in hand together. Have you ever really just listened to the music of an anime? Like really listen? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Until next time, Nerd Out!
P.S: I will end this post with one of my favorite songs off of the Cowboy Bebop OST. Enjoy!
*I do not own the rights to the music played here.