By which we move into my favorite named bracket of the bunch. Polls are moving quickly, and I’ll try to follow as they go along. In this case, Polls 1-4 and 5-8 are here for voting on as the first set of polls from Bracket Alpha are moving into the wayside.
Tank! (Cowboy Bebop OP)
This is pretty much no fair this round. A classic track that everyone knows as the opening of one of the most well-known and (dare I say it) influential anime out there. Yoko Kanno with her band the Seatbelts getting down with their big band jazzy selves. And it’s awesome. Funny thing is that the song (as well as the OP imagery) makes the show seems a more like a hard-boiled detective show rather than the bounty hunter-stravaganza it actually is. And this should be a song that breezes through easier competition, such as
Shinjitsu no Uta (Inuyasha ED 5)
Also from a relatively well-known work, this ED is one of my favorites as Do As Infinity does a nice job with this merging of traditional Japanese themes and the more pop-rockish music that has been prevalent for the past couple of years. The initial hook of the song always gets me in a good way. But it doesn’t pump me up as much as Tank does.
Which do I want to win?
Girls und Panzer Tank!
Which do I think will win? Tank!
Why? Critical acclaim, Both in terms of the show and the music.
Storywriter – (Eureka Seven Insert Song)
This song is fun to listen to, and if you’ve watched any of the show (I only watched the first couple of episodes myself), imagining LFOs flying in the sky is not hard when listening to this song, which I think was the point. Supercar’s alt rock here definitely gives the feeling of being light in the air from its main guitar riff “theme”, and it’s hard not to get caught up in that.
LEVEL5-judgelight- (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OP 2)
Trance comes back again, this time in the guise of fripSide’s second OP for Railgun. It’s solid work, but doesn’t do much with what’s there besides the key change in the chorus.
Which do I want to win? Storywriter
Which do I think will win? LEVEL5-judgelight-
Why? Recency bias. If the first season Eureka Seven was fresher in people’s minds, I think this would be a fairly close race. But it definitely helps that the second season of a certain scientific Biribiri is still going on. A shame.
Days of Dash (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo ED 1)
An energetic pop song, and Konomi Suzuki sells it nice. But that’s about it, as the music seems too pre-packed theme.
One Life (FLCL OP 1 and insert song)
This song is a slower rock jam from The Pillows and the general theme stays the same in this one as well. But there’s an air of authenticity there, especially when the song reaches the chorus.
Which do I want to win? One Life
Which do I think will win? One Life
Why? Familiarity in both song and show, not to mention authenticity. While Sakurasou has recency bias associated with it (and why I won’t be surprised if it does pull victory off, it does not have the notoriety that FLCL does. And it doesn’t help that “Days of Dash” sounds like very other generic anime ending that you would hear in most shows nowadays. While “One Life” doesn’t really break a mold in its music style, it definitely breaks one in opening/ending themes.
Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku (Revolutionary Girl Utena insert song)
OPERA ROCK. This is a notable theme in its own right, although it’s more obscure than some of other such songs because Utena has been more of a cult favorite more than a universally acclaimed show. But there was no mistaking that a duel was about to go down when the title words were uttered in those hallowed voices under a rocking song. J A Saezer was one crazy dude.
Fly Away (Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt insert song)
If the song was this “Fly Away”, I’d be more likely to vote for it. If it was this “Fly Away”, I would be less likely to do so, though these are all still good songs. This specific “Fly Away” was the ‘Panty and Stocking transformation-kick ass and chew bubblegum/have sex’ theme, and this electronic/dance song was a nice jam during the show’s run. By itself without the visuals to help, it becomes more pedestrian.
Which do I want to win? Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku
Which do I think will win? Fly Away
Angels on stripper poles Recency bias, familiarity, accessibility. But to be honest, it’s kind of hard to get behind Opera Rock anyway. And it’s a damn shame that this is the song from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt that gets in the final 256. What about “D City Rock“, PEOPLE?!?!?
Shounen yo Ware ni Kaere (Mawaru Penguindrum OP 2)
You can tell that this is off of the beaten path by the rocking glockenspiel that provides the background for the song, not to mention the change in the song’s tone and style halfway throughout the song. And it remains relatively good to listen to, though Etsuko Yakushimaru’s voice is a little too light and airy for some parts of the song. I easily bob my head to the song though.
Kuusou Mesorogiwi (Mirai Nikki OP 1)
I’m a little disappointed that this is the Yousei Teikoku song chosen for this tournament, since there are other anime themes that they done that are better than this. Such is the breaks when the popular anime is the one that gets play. It’s also not the best intro to the Gothic Rock that mostly defines Yousei Teikoku’s work, but it’s a solid work that’s not too special.
Which do I want to win? Shounen yo Ware ni Kaere
Which do I think will win? Shounen yo Ware ni Kaere
Why? Song quality. With a more inventive song, as well as a bland effort from Yousei Teikoku, it’s kind of hard not to see Mawaru Penguindrum’s OP2 making it through to the next round. But then again, I’m pretty sure that Mirai Nikki‘s the more well-known show. Here’s hoping people aren’t being silly geese here.
Tsurezure Monochrome (Tsuritama OP)
This is a song for fun in the sun at a beach. With the driving beat and psychedelic organ setting up the song, it’s hard not to like this song by Fujifabric. Got to pick and choose when to listen to this song though. Watching Tsuritama‘s OP sequence with the music on make it a killer app, as the dance is fun to watch.
Be Starters! (Mayo Chiki OP)
From the start, it was hard for me not to think “Generic J-Pop anime OP”, from Kitamura Eri’s voice (sorry) to that “pre-processed” sound associated with it, though I like some of the concepts used in the chorus.
Which do I want to win? Tsurezure Monochrome
Which do I think will win? Tsurezure Monochrome
Why? Song quality. That “authenticity” thing pops up again, but it’s what can have me be fine listening to a song like “Tsurezure Monochrome” over and over again, but skip the OP of Mayo Chiki without a passing glance.
Colors (Code Geass OP 1)
JIBUN WOOOO~ I still find it hilarious that you could merge this with “DAYS” and there would really be no problems with that. That being said, “DAYS” is the better of the two songs. Which wouldn’t bode well with this song if you were taken them by themselves. As this is related to Code Geass, and it’s meme power, well…
Hybrid Rainbow (FLCL Insert Song)
This is my favorite of the songs from FLCL (of which there is a fair bit), because of the slow rocking rise to the climactic chorus. Yes Sawao Yamanaka, I CAN FEEL THAT HYBRID RAINBOW. The passion there is too much not to deny.
Which do I want to win? Hybrid Rainbow
Which do I think will win? Hybrid Rainbow
Why? Familiarity. “Hybrid Rainbow” is a very strong song, and while “COLORS” might have the power of Code Geass behind it, FLCL is no slouch either.
Euforia (ARIA The Natural OP 1)
I think this is a little bit of where voter bias comes in, where you know that I guess a fair bit of people have watched ARIA (which is awesome!). That being said, this is not a great song for Yui Makino’s range (vocal and musical), as the R&B influence doesn’t mesh well with her soft vocals well. This came off as biting more than one could chew.
RE: I AM (Gundam Unicorn ED 6)
This song doesn’t try too hard. And it doesn’t need to, as Aimer’s vocals fit nicely with the this rocking tune. The music is not as good as, say, “Ash Like Snow” in expressing desperation, but it doesn’t need to be in this match up.
Which do I want to win? RE: I AM
Which do I think will win? RE: I AM
Why? Song quality. It sets up and executes better than “Euforia”, full stop.