The Ichijou Festival commenced already here, with the first set of polls already closed, and this last half pretty much done with one day to go. That being said, this was an interesting bracket after the last few brackets that have been pretty strong. And by interesting, also in the sense that I haven’t heard several of these songs before now.
My Soul, Your Beats (Angel Beats! OP)
This is not a strong song in several aspects, and it despite a pretty nice piano lead-in, to me it doesn’t distinguish itself well enough that if placed at the opening of other anime adaptations of Jun Maeda-related works, I would not be surprised to see it fit there nicely. And not really pique my interest at all. But this did not have to be a song to face win it’s matchup against…
Laterality (Jormungand PERFECT ORDER ED)
If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that I didn’t actually link to the “right” ending song here. I’m much more a fan of the other ending and two other openings for the two seasons of Jormungand than I am with this song, which while trying hard to be an intriguing mix of jazz and rock, doesn’t mesh too well when the full experience comes together. Points for trying to do something different though. “Ambivalentidea” still stomps this into the ground.
Which Did I Want to Win: My Soul, Your Beats
Which Did I Think Would Win: Laterality
Why? Familiarity in both show and song.
Complication (Durarara!! OP 2)
A pretty solid string-laced rock song with a rap interlude in the middle of the song, but some of the vocals can be a little too grating for me. Compared to other works of that nature in this tournament, this isn’t as good. Fairly innocuous though.
Red Fraction (Black Lagoon OP)
This is a gunshot-laden rock-tinged I’ve Sound piece that brings nice memories of Black Lagoon to my mind. Even with out the visuals, it’s a pulsing track that throws some interesting variations on the same trance-like music that has been I’ve Sound’s usual body of work. And I really do enjoy that transition between the main stanzas and the chorus. Even the Engrish throughout isn’t grating, though hard to understand.
Which Did I Want to Win: Red Fraction
Which Did I Think Would Win: Red Fraction
Why? Familiarity. In my limited scope of knowledge, the opposite result of my prediction makes me think that either the Engrish was too much in “Red Fraction”, or Durarara!! was just that popular a show that it dragged along anything with it. Because looking at the PV for the song, really?
Sprinter (Kara no Kyoukai ED 5)
Boy, does this song actually give off the feel of sprinting with its tempo, and if you listen closely, you hear a lot of musical elements from the background find their way into this song. Of Kalafina’s works, this one isn’t too memorable despite this song’s different feel compared to their usual body of work. But it’s still nice to listen to.
The Sore Feet Song (Mushishi OP)
This is also a song that’s nice to listen to. A song with just guitars as accompaniment, Ally Kerr makes the song come off an easy listening folk song. And it definitely a turn off the beaten path for an anime theme song.
Which Did I Want to Win: Sprinter
Which Did I Think Would Win: Sprinter
Why? Familiarity. Kalafina is hard to beat in general, so we can say that at least the “The Sore Feet Song” gave it a good old try.
Aoi Shiori (Ano Hana OP)
A nice alternative rock song by Galileo Galilei that built to a satisfying climax when the chorus hits after that one choir-like note . The back-and-forth between the two singers in the second verse comes off a little odd (especially in the background of that PV), but nothing that the rest of the song can’t shake.
Spirale (ARIA the Origination OP)
This tried to something different in both the initial ambience to this track as well as how Makino Yui’s voice was implemented compared to the other two ARIA openings that she sings. Too bad this is the weakest of the three openings. The main problem for me is that the voice does not mesh with the background music well. If you substituted another’s voice, like Akino Arai, in that song, I do feel like the song would hit its stride much better, as the arrangement by itself would be something I have no problem listening too by itself.
Which Did I Want to Win: Aoi Shiori
Which Did I Think Would Win: Aoi Shiori
Why? Better fusion and familiarity. Both songs try to meld things together, and “Aoi Shiori” does a better job of this than “Spirale”. Not to mention a boost that I think the former gets by being related to that show where everyone cries.
Nornir (Mawaru Penguindrum OP 1)
Etsuko Yakushimaru and her interesting breathy vocals come again here, with a nice instrumental intro, and an interestingly confusing interlude in I guess the song’s third “act”. And again we get a long song here, which depending on the person, can be too long. Definitely something different here again, though I’m more of a fan of “Shounen yo Wara ni Kaere”, and at times, Yakushimaru’s voice comes off as not being strong enough to match the intensity of the song.
Chiisana Tenohira (CLANNAD After Story insert song)
As I haven’t gotten to this point in the show proper, I can’t say that this song will hold as much significance for me. But the fact that the song directly references the simple, childish, yet powerful “Dango Daikazoku” puts an added element of emotion to me. Again, I wish Riya’s vocals here were stronger than they are here, but it still works. That being said, for people who haven’t watched the show this might be a little overwrought.
Which Do I Want to Win: Push
Which Do I Think Will Win: Nornir
Why? Originality. “Chiisana Tenohira” keeps it relatively short and sweet compared to the magnum opus-like setting of “Nornir”. But it might be a little too sweet. “Nornir” is challenging, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
Ringo Mogire Beam (Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OP)
Another opening with Kenji Ootsuki and the Zetsubou Girls, and compared to the first two series, this one is not that good as a hard rock song. While it’s always fun to hear Yuu Kobayashi rock hard (as well as Miyuki Sawashiro do the same in character), the melody, call and response nature of the “duet, and liberties taken in this song don’t work so well here.
Sakamichi no Melody (Sakamichi no Apollon OP)
From the folk guitar intro leading into a march led by a nice trumpet and string accompaniment, it’s hard not to fault the song at the start, but moving in a completely different direction in the chorus is jarring, but not bad. I know that Yoko Kanno could have done better with that transition, but still. Though if the song solely consisted of that initial main theme, I would have no problems with it whatsoever.
Which Do I Want to Win: Sakamichi no Melody
Which Do I Think Will Win: Sakamichi no Melody
Why? Familiarity, recency bias, song quality. Oh man song quality.
Uragiri no Yuuyake (Durarara!! OP)
An unapologetic rock song with a triumphant sound when it gets into the chorus. Sometimes that’s all you need. Short and sweet.
Sign of Love (House of Five Leaves OP)
And this one is unapologetic electronica by immi. So I guess this is a matter of which genre you feel less offended by.
Which Do I Want to Win: Uragiri no Yuuyake
Which Do I Think Will Win: Uragiri no Yuuyake
Why? Simplicity. Familiarity. And Roll out louder!
Uchuu Senkan Yamato (Space Battleship Yamato OP)
lol 70s. A manly passionate battle theme for the namesake ship. Too bad I think this might be the song’s farewell voyage.
Youkoso Hitori Bocchi (NHK ni Youkoso insert song)
A simple rock song that evokes to me the same rock stylings of The Pillows, but I don’t think they sang about loneliness like this one does. Solid, but not memorable.
Which Do I Want to Win: Uchuu Senkan Yamato
Which Do I Think Will Win: Uchuu Senkan Yamato
Why? IMPACT! A song that rouses spirits is always easier to listen to than a song that douses them.
This one was a hard bracket to appreciate, and I’m hoping that the new bracket will be improved in that regard.