Music has been very important to me, having played 7 years of violin/viola and listening to all types of music through my short life, and so of course it’s been very important to my anime watching as well (I’m also much more critical of music than anime in general. Go fig). Yet I haven’t felt comfortable with really talking about it, as it seems harder for me to explain as something just a little bit more than just a concept. It’s something I feel, and it’s kinda strange/hard to say stuff more than “I like it because it makes me feel X/sounds good”. But I’m tired/bored, so I figure why not try it out? So this week the Hidamari Sketch OST came out, and I feel like starting out my music writing chops with this, what I feel to be a solid effort by a “new” composer.
Tomoki Kikuya seems to have only started working on music for anime since 2006 when working on the catchy ending song for Magikano. Hidamari Sketch seems to be his second anime-related work as the main music director also produced the music for Tona-Gura! (which I haven’t seen so that’s irrelevant for the rest of this post). I’ve already written about Hidamari before, and my feelings haven’t changed much for it yet after only 6 episodes. I feel that the music, both the background and the OP/EDs, supplements the show pretty well, and while most of the music isn’t portable-able (imagine what you’d listen to on a generic mp3 player while going about the day; That’s what I mean), it’s a good effort from Kikuya.
Overall the style of the music felt like a combination of Kei Haneoka and Masaki Kurihara, both of whom are known for their music for other school-related anime. This makes me think that there’s some sort of light and bubbly J-school style out there that’s used to represent school life, since they almost never seem out of place with the setting. Anywho, Kikuya seems to explore more than the other two composers, who tend to remain to a single theme music-wise. While his music for Hidamari seems to have a jazzy undertone overall (starting from the cool “a sunny place” onward), he backs off of that for slower, “Eastern” sounding meditations with “Ame no Nichi ni”, a march called “March” (lol), and music that could belong in a Western, among other things.
Many instruments made their way into the soundtrack, from xylophones to saxophones to voice-ophones, strings, pianos, guitars, and whatnot. These were integrated pretty well into the songs on the soundtrack, which shows nice range and a willingness to experiment, which is always well and good (though if it’s not broken, don’t fix it :P). The OP “Sketch Switch” is a bouncy, pop-y number which captures our main characters having fun, while the ED “Mebae Drive” seems like a more introspective piece that’s easy to listen to and has quickly grown on me with every listen.
The music’s overall mood always felt positive, which I thought really reflected how Hidamari actually is. I feel it’s been done in such a solid way, so I obviously think that this album is worth a listen for others. I really do hope more music comes from Tomoki Kikuya in the near future, and that Hidamari Sketch continues to charm me as I watch it. We could always use more of both. :3