Random Ramblings: Recycling Thematic Music in Anime


log-horizon-shiroe-and-akatsuki

Double the Database…

I have yet to finish the first season of Log Horizon. This doesn’t excuse my small concern on the reuse of the opening and the obvious budget cuts for season 2. I love MAN WITH A MISSION, but why are we to recycle the catchy theme known from the first season? Why not have a newly recorded track release with a similar feel to database? Maybe something new to mark a change in tone?  To be perfectly honest, the song and opening are fine, but it still bothers me quite a bit. Was log horizon not successful enough to budget a new song’s rights or was database too good to get rid of? Whatever the reason, the show still holds onto it’s style of “fighting the good fight” as if we were thrown directly back into the world we knew in love. Nothing has changed dramatically since we last heard it and it signifies not a change, but a continuation of what is at stake. LIVING IN THE DATABASE DUDE.

Now my point here is that not only is this a smart decision by Satelight/Studio Deen and the show’s producers, but a very common practice within the industry. Log Horizon might be the only show I know of that recycled the exact same song although the idea is the same. Here I’ll share a few examples of show’s that have similarly done the same with their selection of opening themesongs to grab the audience back into the world they remember previously.

Good examples:

Mushishi:

Nearly a decade after the original release of the critically acclaimed Mushishi TV adaptation of the also critically acclaimed manga of the same name a new season was announced slated for Spring 2014. I was very interested in what opening theme the producers were going to choose for this new season. There was almost no way the rights for Ally Kerr’s song were to be any bit close to the price they were in 2005 thanks, in large part, to the success it garnered in Japan once it was heard in the first season. So what do they do? We need a good theme, similar to the first season, and a song that gives a lot of emotion with a calming embrace. Enter, Lucy Rose:

It’s as if the first season never ended. We get to know immediately that things aren’t changing and the Mushishi you know and love is back. We’ve got you covered fans. Ginko is the man and we know you love that sultry indie intro too. Great choice by Artland.

The Flow Chart v1:

A classic example of reusing a band to convey a show’s dominance above the rest during that era, Code Geass and FLOW go hand in hand. Although the two songs in question are separated by seasons, the openings speak for themselves based on their position in the “Lelouch of the Rebellion” timeline. We are greeted with COLORS as a introduction to the series. These characters are young and just starting to develop relationships. The tone and excitement throughout the track carries over into “World’s End” for season 2, but instead of being at the beginning of the timeline we are nearing the end of the journey. Take a listen:

This song still gets me really hard. It marks the end of the journey for these characters, but reminds you of a time much more carefree. Such as when COLORS used to play. The similarities are seamless but the meaning behind the placement of each track couldn’t be any more important. Just to let you know, I really don’t like Code Geass. Yet, this is a staple example of thematic opening songs done right to connect directly with how the viewer should feel. FLOW kicks ass. See them in concert if you can. They’re amazing.

Bad example:

The Flow Chart v2:

Now this is pretty hilarious. You’d think after reading that first bit about FLOW in this post that I would think highly of everything else they were involved with. You’re mostly right. I do love these two songs, yet the choice of including them not only angered a lot of people, but revealed a lot about the intentions of reviving a series solely for the money.

Eureka Seven is one of my all time favorite shows. “Days” is probably in my top 5 openings of all time. It’s catchy, it gets you right into what’s going down, it has a break before the hook to show you the small melodrama about to ensue, and it’s by fucking FLOW. You can’t get any better than that. Now the downside to that is the choice to throw in the same concept as in codegeass’ lifespan. Start with a band, end the series with that band. Except, like Mushishi, there is a large gap of years since the last iteration. Eureka Seven AO was loathed by fans of the original. New setting, new characters, and almost no proper progression to what we all wanted; Eureka and Renton meeting up with their son. Now this may be fanboy belligerence, but it was little to late to revive any hope that the series was going to work out once “BravBlue” was introduced:

The similarities between the two songs are almost too much. It’s like a mockery of what we wanted. The build up to the hook is EXACTLY THE SAME AS DAYS. Also, the tone is super saturated as if we should start crying for these characters. The problem is that I don’t care for these characters enough to be sucked into this process. Code Geass had done it right. You have the same characters endure things througout the show and end with a similarly bittersweet themesong to close it out. BravBlue doesn’t work because it leaves a large gap between expectations. You may call this entitlement but I call it fake promises. When a studio tries it’s hardest to tell you “Hey look! We got the same band you all loved from the first series!” that proves the pointlessness of this sequel. The process doesn’t always work out and Eureka Seven is proof of that.

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So now that I’ve explained a bit of how thematics of themesongs can effect the emotions of a fan I can hope you enjoyed this Random Rambling. It’s nice to see these certain things become a prominent force within the industry. Some other notable examples I left out were fairly self explanatory: Black Lagoon, Kuroko no Basket, Free!, a lot of KyoAni titles, and miscellaneous shounen series

Hopefully more of these posts will come out when I get the idea to do them. It’s a lot of fun doing breaking down the small stuff that really invoke the feelings the show is trying to convey whenever someone sits down to watch. See ya’ll next time.

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About Kefka
Writer for NeoParadigm City. Aspiring Jpop gravure idol. Look out Shakira.

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