Anime are entertaining, anime are moving and anime are great to relax. But do they also have musical value?
I say yes. There are a lot of great shows out there that try to not only have a good story line or interesting characters, but also to use music in order to create an overall thrilling atmosphere. Of course, there are also many shows that focus on music entirely, but I want to introduce five of the best soundtracks found in common anime.
So relax in your seats and allow me to present to you enchanting orchestras and vibrant vocals. Enjoy!
Oh, Angel Beats, the show that makes me tear up even to this day. The show is an outstanding masterpiece and the music is at least as good if not even better than the anime itself.
Angel Beats’ main strength are its piano pieces. They are so beautifully composed and integrated into the story that you cannot help it but get a little bit melancholic every time you hear them. Jun Maeda did a great job writing them. Not only are they beautiful by themselves but they also fit the anime really well, thus supporting every single scene.
Also, this show has its own girl’s band called Girls Dead Monster. You might wonder how good a band could be that only plays a minor role in the main story. But trust me, you will fall in love with them. The band appears a few times in the show and every time they rock the stage. Their rock music is actually good and at least I would totally listen to them if they were a real band.
To this day I wish I could play the piano only to perform the opening song My Soul, Your Beats at least once. For now, all I can do is listen to it over and over again while I think back to the beautifully tragic story of Angel Beats.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika
How could I start describing Madoka Magica to someone that hasn’t watched it? Let me just say it’s a show that surprised many viewers, not only with its suddenly dark content but also with the valuable lessons it tries to bring across. The soundtrack fits this show perfectly.
There are a lot of eerie chants and certain leitmotifs that keep reappearing throughout the different tracks and also inside the show. Here, we have female composer Yuki Kajiura who also worked on Sword Art Online, Pandora Hearts or Fate/Zero. In other words, someone who clearly knows what she’s doing.
Usually I prefer orchestral soundtracks since they convey emotions much better without using distracting lyrics. Still, I enjoyed the vocals of Madoka Magica’s soundtrack since they accentuate the unexpected side of the show. On top of an orchestral arrangement there are strong guitar and bass elements combined with Latin choirs. Together they make an epic mix that will catch you and won’t let go of you.
The soundtrack of Mushishi is one that perfectly fits the concept of the show. For those of you that don’t know, Mushishi is a rather relaxing story to watch that doesn’t rely on action-filled scenes to attract viewers. Rather, it shows the lone journey of a man that tries to understand his position in life through studying Mushi, simpler life forms found in the woods.
The music really accentuates the depth of the show. It’s hard to pinpoint what creates this sensation but even without knowing the content of the show, the music already makes you think of mythical forests with secrets hidden inside them. The composer of this masterpiece is Toshio Masuda and I have to say he did a great job. He’s also the mastermind behind the soundtrack of Naruto so it’s no wonder that Mushishi’s musical performance is outstanding.
The OST reaches from slow-moving piano or guitar pieces to more intense ones. The whole soundtrack is great to relax to and could even be used while studying or working since it calms your whole mind.
Check the soundtrack out and also give Mushishi a try if you haven’t already. You can thank me later.
Attack on Titan
Shingeki no Kyojin
If I had to describe Attack on Titan’s OST in one word, I would just call it epic. It’s a truly orchestral masterpiece that shows the whole range of human emotions displayed in the show. It shows power and dedication as well as beautiful tragedies that will touch you no matter what.
If you are a fan of the show, you simply have to check the complete soundtrack out. It’s a combination of different elements, starting from grand-scale orchestral music combined with electronic elements, up to German lyrics and an impressive choir. These tracks seem to have it all.
Composer Hiroyuki Sawana also worked on hits like Guilty Crown or Kill la Kill. Personally, I see the soundtrack of Attack on Titan as his masterpiece. Every song evokes an emotion, sometimes deep sadness, sometimes rage. Being able to make such captivating music for only one single show is truly admirable.
As a personal tip, let me tell you that working out to the OST of Attack on Titan is amazing since there’s no better motivation than imagining you’ve got Titans to kill.
The soundtrack of Cowboy Bebop is the very first one I have ever bought and I still listen to it to this day. Composed by Yoko Kanno, these tracks show how much music can influence a show. Even though Cowboy Bebop’s story is set in a fictive future that includes space travels, it doesn’t have a “futuristic” soundtrack – instead it’s one of the best jazz soundtracks out there.
Everyone that I have talked to about Cowboy Bebop has mentioned its phenomenal soundtrack. And I mean everyone, even people that usually don’t care about “background music” or have no musical knowledge whatsoever. Kanno put together an entire jazz band called Seatbelts just for this show. This effort is noticeable and is the main reason why Cowboy Bebop became so popular.
Don’t be put off by the fact it’s jazz music. I have personally never listened to this genre before in my private time and I was still able to enjoy it. The opening song Tank! is not only musically outstanding but also an addictingly catchy tune that won’t go out of your head.
For people that are not into space adventures I would recommend you to just listen to the soundtrack by itself. It’s great for any situation – commuting on the train, relaxing in your room or hanging out with friends. It’s uplifting and won’t fail to put you in a good mood.
At this point I want give a quick shout-out to Studio Ghibli. I didn’t include it on this list since it would most likely take up every single spot on my Top 5. Musical director Joe Hisaishi is simply a genius. The music of all Studio Ghibli’s movies has an extraordinary talent to move the viewers to tears. Their tunes are iconic and people all over the world are able to recognize the main themes of movies like Spirited Away and Co.
This being said, this is the end of my personal Top 5 list. It was hard to restrict myself to five choices since there are so many others out there, so tell us which ones we missed out on. Do you notice anime soundtracks at all or are they just background noise for you?
Let us know in the comment section down below.