Still slipping a little, since the first four polls again are completed, but what the hey. This is my second favorite named bracket, by the way.
Hacking To The Gate (Steins; Gate OP)
Kanako Itou is another one of a set of singers that seems to resound with me in regards to their voice. When it works, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t, it make me wonder why background music didn’t try hard enough. Biased, I know. This is a solid song for her, but it lacks emotion, really.
19sai (xxxHolic OP)
This is one a little off the beaten path, both with Shikao Suga’s delivery of the song, and how the song builds up to a nice powerful climax in the chorus, which I fell that the song earns. Unfortunately, this might have been off of the beaten path for enough people, so…
Which Did I Want to Win: 19sai
Which Did I Think Would Win: Hacking To The Gate
Why? Song style, and familiarity. “19sai” is an odd duckling of a song (not too crazy though) that’s pretty good, but it doesn’t help that xxxHolic doesn’t have the immediacy or popularity that Steins; Gate does as well.
Call Me Call Me (Cowboy Bebop insert song)
This song is pretty majestic when combining it with the imagery applied with Cowboy Bebop when this was used in episode 24. That being said, taking it out of context, you have a pretty okay Steve Conte song in the guise of Zero 7? But okay is not what I’m looking for here, especially when comparing one Yoko Kanno-produced song with another.
Kiseki no Umi (Record of Lodoss War OP)
Bias alert: This is one of my favorite Yoko Kanno-related songs period, so I’m probably going to find a fault with any song that comes up against it. And it hits many buttons in the right way for me: the 3/4 time signature, random melodic tribal choral stylings, Maaya Sakamoto, and so on. When the choral in the instrumental breakdown leads to the chorus, life grows wings. Though Sakamoto is not at her best here, the song supports her nicely.
Which Did I Want to Win: Kiseki no Umi
Which Did I Think Would Win: Kiseki no Umi
Why? “Awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness.” That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, especially since it managed to beat off a titan from a well-known show at that.
Free Bird (Haibane Renmei OP)
As the song moves from the building, ritualistic power of the first half to a rehash of the main theme piano-wise, it’s hard not to think the song loses it’s punch there. But this is Kow Otani here, so even with the simple retread of the main melody, there’s always something else behind it that makes you want to listen to it. You wouldn’t think that its mellow tones would work, but I think it also helps that it’s the OP to one of the more acclaimed works out there.
Gotta Knock A Little Harder (Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door ED)
This is the Yoko Kanno bracket, I guess. Even though you hear Mai Yamane’s soul here, you’ve heard better from her and Kanno (particularly “Blue” and “The Real Folk Blues” kick this song to the gutter), so while this is solid, it’s not really that inspiring, and I think it bites off a little more than it can chew with Yamane’s emoting to make this something someone can listen to all the time.
Which Did I Want to Win: Free Bird
Which Did I Think Would Win: Free Bird
Why? Song style. “Free Bird” says a lot in so few tones, whereas “Gotta Knock A Little Harder” knocks a little too hard.
Don’t say ‘lazy’ (K-On! ED)
This song is the one that everyone knows, because everyone’s at least seen the first season in some aspect. This isn’t the best of the EDs and OPs associated with K-On! in my opinion, but by far this one is the most well-known of the songs. It’s a good rock song music-wise, though it’s a little too much for Youko Hikasa here. But it doesn’t help that for those who’ve watched, the accompanying animation was awesome. Unfortunately, I think this is also going to be a song that steamrolls over many other songs out there.
Zero!! (Hataraku Maou-Sama! OP)
I was feeling the opening seconds of the song, but when the actual theme came out, I was disappointed that the song squarely falls into that “typical poppy anime opening” category. Such that I just want to listen to the first seconds again, and ruminate about what could have been. Minami Kuribayashi deserves better. ;_;
Which Did I Want to Win: Don’t say ‘lazy’
Which Did I Think Would Win: Don’t say ‘lazy’
Why? Better song, full stop. I’m not saying it’s a great song, but “Zero!!” just doesn’t cut it.
Rinbu Revolution (Revolutionary Girl Utena OP)
This is a classic, so strong feelings are associated with it regardless. And it’s Masami Okui, which you don’t hear a lot of by herself nowadays. But it’s dated. So many synths!
Northern Cross (Macross Frontier ED 8?!?!?)
This is pure unadulterated power, and the type of song that suits the vocals of May’n the best (and now that I think of it, Mizuki Nana as well). And it shows how well Kanno just “pushes” songs into a higher gear than if someone else tried to tackle this idea by themselves. It’s a contained powerhouse.
Which Do I Want to Win: Northern Cross
Which Do I Think Will Win: Rinbu Revolution
Why? Nostalgia, which is a first. You had to get far into Macross Frontier to get one of the better OPs and EDs in that show, but “Rinbu Revolution” hits you from the start, and doesn’t let you go. And I feel like more voters have watched Utena than Macross Frontier, so hey.
Curry Song (Minami-ke insert song)
This song. It’s a silly, silly song, and it loses its power when you don’t see Daisuke Ono’s mastery as Hosaka in singing the song, with Minori Chihara’s Chiaki joining in. A tour-de-force, this is not. But it is brief.
JOINT (Shakugan no Shana II OP 1)
Mami Kawada comes out for the I’ve Sound “sound” this time around, but the song doesn’t have the fierceness or poignancy that most songs in that electro-tinged style tend to have. It’s not bad, but not memorable.
Which Do I Want to Win: Curry Song (For the lols)
Which Do I Think Will Win: JOINT
Why? People aren’t easily amused. And song quality. For all its novelty value and the verve that Daisuke Ono puts into it, it’s not a great song systemically. It’s a default win here for “JOINT” sadly.
Tsuki no Mayu (∀ Gundam ED 2)
This one is so not fair, it’s not even funny. Bias alert: Another one of my favorite Yoko Kanno songs, and this one comes off like a hopeful funeral march? Aki Okui’s voice fits well into the controlled desperate urgency that music entails. It’s a pretty powerful song.
See VisionS (To Aru Majutsu no Index II ED 2)
Another Mami Kawada song on this bracket. And it’s my favorite song of the To Aru franchise OP/ED-wise, because it couples that fierceness and poignancy that other I’ve Sound “sound” works tend to go for one of the other. This is a pretty good pop song (especially in doing “more” than an anime-related pop song would try to do), and in any other bracket. This would be my pick 9/10 out of ten. Too bad it goes against a behemoth.
Which Do I Want to Win: Tsuki no Mayu
Which Do I Think Will Win: Tsuki no Mayu
Why? ’Awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness.’ Let’s just say I’m not a fan of whoever set up this draw, since both songs are pretty good. But “Tsuki no Mayu” is epic. “See VisionS” is barely in the same playing field. This is probably the only bracket so far where I really like both tracks, and I’m sad that one has to go.
Groovin’ Magic (Diebuster OP)
And now for something different, more groovy, and more whiplash-like. It’s infectious in just the right way (such a fine line between that and driving someone insane), and Nino’s vocals help push this song to an indeterminate happy land. That being said, why couldn’t “See VisionS” go up against this song?!?
Beauty of Destiny (Persona 4: The Animation ED 2)
It’s kind of hard to take this song seriously with hearing heavily Japanese-accented English both rapped (I mean, really, Lotus Juice?) and sung here, but a good effort is made here. Too bad a good effort is nowhere near good here.
Which Do I Want to Win: Groovin’ Magic
Which Do I Think Will Win: Groovin’ Magic
It’s competent Song quality. Why did neither of these song face off against “See VisionS”?
Until next time, vote for who you like until the polls closed. And I’ll put “See VisionS” on repeat until the next post. ;_;