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Oct 6, 2018 11:46 PM

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(Often romanized as "Kow Otani," but I've always known him as Ko, so I don't want to start calling him Kow now)

For me, this one goes right back to the beginning: my first anime, Tenchi Universe, was partially scored by Ko Otani. The next year I watched Outlaw Star: also Ko Otani. I listened to his Shadow of the Colossus score years before picking up the game. Haibane Renmei has some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard in anime. And now, thanks to this club, I'm finally exploring all of his music I can find. I'll make this brief and expand it later, after I listen and relisten to more. Despite my limited exposure, I think Ko Otani may actually be my #2 most respected Japanese composer, after Joe Hisaishi.

Gundam Wing: One of the first anime I laid eyes on in 2000, but I only ever saw a few minutes of it. I do plan to watch it eventually, because the exultation written by its fans is of such a nature that it's worth watching "just to know." I read old comments in this club praising the score, and expected it might be mainly slow-paced, with a focus on drama and tension, like much of Michiru Oshima's work on FMA 2003. I couldn't have been more wrong. The first soundtrack is a blast; the first five tracks are a raging current of boundless energy. I never expect soundtracks to do this; when you sit down to listen to a whole album, you might get a big theme or an action cue at the start, but after that you can normally expect a series of slow, strange, or boring tracks. To have five action cues in a row, and every one of them be great, is amazing. So far I've listened through OSTS 1 and 2 and most of 3, with 4 and Endless Waltz to go.

Track 1:
The rest:

Tenchi Muyo! Midsummer's Eve (English title Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness)
My early favorite, discovered prior to seeing the film, via a batch of Tenchi music. A common case of anime undeserving of its score, IMO.

The opening track, appropriately called Startica, remains one of my favorite compositions in anime. The title refers to the Startica festival, an alien Japanese-style natsumatsuri held on the planet Jurai. The track begins softly with festival music, and adds choir and orchestra which gradually become louder (the original musical meaning of "crescendo") and reach what could seem like a climax around two minutes in... and then the big drums come in, and it gets even bigger for a glorious 40 seconds.

Mayuka's Theme (Voluptuous Version) is ideal music for a night out under the stars: can confirm, recently experienced that. This is a benchmark for mystical ambience.

And a new favorite from that recent night walk revisit: Christmas Dream (Midsummer's Eve Variation). Just... good grief do I need to give more play time to Ko Otani, aaaaaaaaaaaaah

Outlaw Star: My first time having any exposure to this since watching it, along with many others, when it premiered on Toonami in 2001. On first listen, I picked out these grand tracks as instant favorites:
Much of the soundtrack has a similar ambience to the Tenchi movie; I approve. I look forward to reaching the score to the very memorable series climax.

Haibane Renmei
The perfect combination: a great show that deserves its great score! Alright, listen: even if as a rule you don't listen to soundtracks before you watch the anime, listen to this instrumental OP, Free Bird.
I say that because I think Haibane Renmei is the kind of show people tend to let languish in their PTW for years, and may ultimately never get to; that was why I made sure to get in and watch it.
Another favorite, Refrain of Memory:
The beauty of the music is enhanced by how delicate it feels; it's a precious thing which could fall apart at a touch. This is an immaculate level of perfection in matching music to story.

Shadow of the Colossus
His most widely known work. My longtime favorite is the credits music, The Sunlit Earth:

"The music feels like you might have saved someone you loved, but you couldn't save everyone you loved."

Eyeshield 21
Haven't seen the show. It's cool to hear some influences from black American music in the score - some urban sounds, but also black gospel organ. "Oujo White Knights II" would make a fine ESPN montage.

Shakugan no Shana
Haven't seen the show [2]. Haven't listened to all of the soundtracks yet either, but I quite like the track Vérité.

Gunslinger Girl - Il Teatrino - (Ko Otani only scored this second season.)
Haven't seen the show [3]. As expected for a generally tragic story, the soundtrack is mainly melancholy, with occasional action. The track Mesosiderite / メソシデライト near the end is my favorite on first listen.

Haven't seen the show [4]. It has a hybrid traditional/modern horror theme, with some frenetic scales which... actually remind me of gothic metal a little bit (old Sirenia).

And now I discover that he scored the 2018 ONA Calamity of a Zombie Girl, which I'd seen described as hilariously bad. Now I'll definitely have to watch it. :D
Modified by nDroae, Dec 26, 2018 10:19 PM