Featured Articles

The Music of Akira

Akira wouldn't be quite the classic it is today without its distinctive music. Learn more about its fascinating composer!

by hoyvinglavin64
Nov 4, 2015 3:39 AM | 671 views

28 years after its release, Akira still stands tall as one of the essential anime films. Its vision of post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo still horrifies, its complicated metaphysics still baffles, its astonishingly detailed animation still amazes. Akira’s become the film many people think of when they think of “anime” outside of Miyazaki and Pokemon. It’s become an influential film, but remains a unique one. Katsuhiro Otomo has directed only one animated feature since, the similarly beautiful but more forgettable Steamboy. In musical terms, Akira is even more one of a kind: it’s the only film period scored by Tsutomu Oohashi and his Geinoh Yamashirogumi orchestra.

Tsutomu Oohashi
Oohashi is no ordinary musician. He’s a distinguished scientist who runs a musical collective on the side, under the pseudonym Shoji Yamashiro. A Doctorate of Agriculture from Tohoku University, he has taught at multiple universities and studied environmental science, information science, anthropology, molecular biology, production engineering, and artificial life among other topics. His controversial paper on the “hypersonic effect” published in 2000 put forth the theory that ultrasound frequencies above 20kHz can effect subconscious physiological and psychological reactions even though they can’t be consciously heard by human ears. It’s unclear if this theory was put into practice in his earlier musical work.

Akira Ecophony Rinne
Oohashi’s musical group, Geinoh Yamashirogumi, is filled with hundreds of other non-professional musicians from all walks of life. Formed in 1974, the group’s non-traditional musical experience has led to intense experimentation. Their 1986 album Ecophony Rinne incorporated computer-generated sounds into traditional Japanese and Indonesian musical styles (a sample track). This album got the attention of Otomo, who put them to work on the score for Akira.

Akira OST
The sound of Oohashi’s Akira compositions is at once ancient and futuristic, able to transition from accompanying profane violence to spiritual transcendence. Synthesizer effects add power to traditional instruments. The vocal chorus combines the feel of a religious chant with comic book-like sound effects. Whether getting you pumped or terrified the music is an essential component of one of the most thrilling experiences in all animation and cinema.

Related Articles

Interstella5555: The World's Longest Music Video

Interstella5555: The World's Longest Music Video

Discovery was the second album ever produced by the world renowned French band Daft Punk. After completing the album, the duo resolved to make something more of Discovery and the result was Interstella5555, one of the top animated films of 2003 and one of the most unique movies of all time.

by NicWat10


Vocaloids and the Anime Inspired by Them

Vocaloids and the Anime Inspired by Them

Vocaloids have transformed the way music is being created, how characters are brought to life, and how some companies are viewing their intellectual properties. They've also influenced and inspired the creation of 'Vocaloid anime'. It's time to delve into the world of Vocaloids!
Music Worth Jamming to from Redline

Music Worth Jamming to from Redline

Redline is one of the most flat-out entertaining films to come out of anime in recent memory. There's a whole host of reasons for this, but for now we're concerned with the beautiful music behind it. Here's a small sampling what you should jam to from the film.
The Opening of Tokyo Ghoul: Unravel

The Opening of Tokyo Ghoul: Unravel

Tokyo Ghoul is a romantic tragedy that follows the young Ken Kaneki who is born human but is transformed into a man-eating ghoul. A twisted story of morality, humanity and friendship, its opening theme song beautifully captures this complex narrative.
Gantz Opening: Get Your Adrenaline Pumping With the OP

Gantz Opening: Get Your Adrenaline Pumping With the OP

The Gantz opening gives us a glimpse into the action of the anime, while introducing some of the main characters… and revealing more about their personalities than you realized.

by Littoface


Related Database Entries

Anime: AkiraSteamboy
Manga: Akira
People: Otomo, Katsuhiro