Anime Contemplation Carefully considering the world of Anime, episode by episode.

30Jun/100

The Music of Angel Beats!

The Angel Beats! anime has a fair amount of music associated with it - mostly thanks to the band 'Girls Dead Monster' within the series itself. The band had two vocalists, Iwasawa and Yui. When performing, their character voices where not used. Instead, professional artists sung the songs. Iwasawa's vocalist was marina and Yui's was LiSA.

My Soul, Your Beats!/Brave Song cover

My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song (Opening and Ending)

The opening song, My Soul, Your Beats!, was sung by Lia who has also sung other songs for other Key production - such as Air's opening theme - 鳥の歌 (tori no uta, Bird's Song). The opening is extremely upbeat, however the extended version is somewhat lacking in variety. The ending song, Brave Song, was sung by 多田葵 (Tada Aoi). Unlike the opening, Brave Song is much calmer. The combination of an upbeat opening and a calm ending suits the series perfectly. Both songs where released on an album which was creatively entitled My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song.

Girls Dead Monster released 4 CDs, in order of release they are;

Crow Song cover

Crow Song

Contains the songs Crow Song, Alchemy and My Song. All of these featured within the anime itself and where sung by Iwasawa/marina. My Song is very different to the other two as it is a ballad. marina is able to sing all of the songs perfectly and this is my favourite Girls Dead Monster album.

Thousand Enemies cover

Thousand Enemies

Contains the songs Thousand Enemies, Rain Song and Highest Life. Thousand Enemies features in the anime and was the first song that Yui sang. LiSA is a good vocalist, but I prefer Iwasawa/marina slightly more.

Little Braver cover

Little Braver

Contains the songs Little Braver, Shine Days and Answer Song. I felt that these songs where better than the ones on Thousand Enemies but still not as good as the ones on Crow Song by Iwasawa/marina.

Keep The Beats! cover

Keep The Beats!

This CD was released shortly after the end of the series and contains a mix of songs. It includes Yui versions of Iwasawa's songs, Girls Dead Monster versions of the opening and ending songs and 4 new songs - 23:50, Run with Wolves, Morning Dreamer and 一番の宝物 (ichiban no takaramono, My Most Precious Treasure). The first 3 songs are nothing special, just your standard Yui/LiSA songs. However, 一番の宝物 is a truly beautiful song which played over the end of Episode 10 ([spoiler]Yui's disappearance episode[/spoiler]). Unfortunately, I felt that the Yui version of My Song wasn't as good as the original version - it changed it from a beautiful ballad to a rock ballad. While it is still a fairly good song I much prefer the original version, especially considering the context within which it was sung.

Original Soundtrack Cover

Original Soundtrack

The OST release totals 47 tracks (including the opening and ending songs), it was great to hear the full versions of them and there are a couple that I don't actually remember featuring in the series. Fans of the song 一番の宝物 (ichiban no takaramono, My Most Precious Treasure) will be pleased to hear that a background music version and one sung by karuta are present. Both are beautiful pieces of music that I really like listening to. The music which first featured in PV6 is also present on OST release - theme of SSS, not Angelic Angel Beats as some people had called it.

27Jun/100

Twitter Feed

We've had a twitter feed for some time now but i've never announced it here, oops!

New post notifications are tweeted to the feed along with the occasional tweet about what i'm watching now and how far behind I am on actually writing these posts! So if you have a twitter account and wish to keep up with what's going on here, feel free to follow us. The feed can be found here.

For those that don't use twitter but still want to be notified of new posts, we also have an RSS feed that you can subscribe to with your favourite reader.

27Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 12 – Knockin’ on heaven’s door

Kanade's swooping attack

We start with a scene of Kanade swooping out of the sun towards a horde of shadow monsters, ready to fight. However, we don't actually get to see her fight them, instead we switch to the SSS headquarters where Otonashi, Hinata and Naoi decide to get their disappearance plan started. As they step out into the hallway though, GirlDeMo and all of the other lesser-known SSS members are outside waiting. Hisako speaks on their behalf, saying that they've had a lot of fun in this world and are ready to move on. After saying their goodbyes, they all disappear. It's amusing to think that it took Otonashi an entire episode to make [spoiler]Yui[/spoiler] disappear, but only a few minutes to make all of GirlDeMo and the lesser known SSS members disappear.

Having achieved this, Otonashi, Hinata and Naoi go outside only to discover that the shadows have spread everywhere. They fight them and are gradually joined by the other SSS members, each one demonstrating their signature attack. TK's is perhaps the most epic - he does a headspin grind down a railing (kicking the shadows) and then shoots another. Matsushita also returns from his training up in the mountains, but looks completely different. As there was hardly anything to eat in the mountains, he's now significantly thinner but also even stronger.

While this is going on, Yuri continues to explore the Guild. She reaches the Old Guild and decides to take a break, but the shadows suddenly sneak up on her and consume her - turning her into an NPC. We then see Yuri's life as an NPC - in class. However, she rebels and manages to break free with the help of Otonashi and the others who arrive at the Old Guild to save her. They continue onwards and Yuri eventually finds a room entitled "Computer Room 2".

Inside are many computers running the Angel Player software and a new character. However, this new character turns out to be little more than an NPC with special programming. The NPC explains that the shadows are the result of bugs in the world, when love develops. The original programmer of the Angel Player software fell in love with a girl in the afterlife but she disappeared. He waited a long time for her to return, but she never did and he lost his sanity. Therefore, he created a program to turn himself into an NPC. I think the NPC is the programmer, but i'm not sure - this is the only bit of the plotline I didn't really understand and it seems that i'm not alone in this sense.

The NPC offers Yuri the chance to use the computers to become the God of this world, which is what she has always dreamed of. However, she declines this opportunity - it would be cruel on the others. She then proceeds to shut down the computers, through the use of bullets. Effective, but i'm sure there's a better way to shut down computers...

Having shut down every single computer, Yuri sits alone. She sees a vision of her murdered younger siblings, they tell her that she's done "more than enough" and that she "doesn't need to be the only one suffering any more". Having heard this, she breaks down in tears and the end credits play.

The ending, like the Episode 11 ending, shows all of the Class SSS characters including the ones who have previously disappeared.

After the ending, Yuri wakes up in the school's Medical Office with Otonashi, Kanade, Naoi and Hinata by her bedside. It seems they've not disappeared yet.

Judging by the preview, the next and finale episode will be the 'graduation' of the remaining Class SSS members. However, the previews are easy to misjudge so we'll have to wait and see.

GirlDeMo say goodbye, the other SSS members are just about visible in the background

TK's epic headspin handrail grind attack

More random English from TK!

This is where we need TK's "Alright, lets go" line

BRB, attacking horde of enemies?

Yuri shuts down the computers running the Angel Player software

19Jun/100

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 1

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 1 Cover

In preparation for the upcoming release of volume 2 of the Spice and Wolf  light novel, I wanted to refresh myself of the storyline of the volume 1. As the first volume of the Spice and Wolf manga was recently released, I decided to read it in order to refresh myself.

The front cover has a "Parental Advisory/Explicit Content" label on it and I did initially fear that the manga might be full of Holo fanservice and ignore the original story. Thankfully though, the manga only has a few Holo fanservice scenes - primarily when Laurence first finds her in his cart. Normally in manga, the first 4 pages are in full colour. However, in this case the 4 colour pages are Holo's discovery instead, which I think was a very good choice. At the very beginning, there is a brief introduction to each character and a map of the area within which the story is set in. The artwork is absolutely stunning - it is perhaps the most detailed i've ever seen in any manga. This level of quality is maintained thorough the manga.

The manga stays true to the original story and doesn't skip any major parts and acutally explains some of the more difficult economic concepts in the story quite well. However, it only covers chapters 1-3 of the Volume 1 light novel - up to where Laurence goes off to make a proposal to the Milone Company. I presume that Volume 2 will cover chapters 4-6 - if/when Volume 2 of the manga becomes available i'll be sure to purchase it!

Available from Amazon.

14Jun/100

Clannad Introduction and Opening

Clannad Title Screen

Clannad (クラナド) is the anime adaptation of a visual novel of the same name. The story follows Tomoya, a 3rd year high school student who is bored with life. One day, he meets a girl called Nagisa during lunch and starts to get to know her. Tomoya agrees to help Nagisa restart the Drama Club and also starts interacting more with the general student population.

The storyline was written by Key (who have written many other visual novel titles and most recently wrote the storyline for Angel Beats!). Therefore, we can expect to have an outstanding storyline which will bounce us between happy and sad moments. Based on the initial storyline i'm not expecting much action, so this should be a nice relaxing series to watch.

The song used in the opening is メグメル ~cuckool mix 2007~ (megumeru ~cuckool mix 2007~) by eufonius. It starts off slowly, but soon builds up a nice speed and overall, is quite a nice song. The opening itself starts by showing a snowy scene, followed by a quick preview of each of the main characters (with the exception of Tomoya). The animation is both detailed and fluid, I hope this quality of animation continues through into the series itself.

A snowy scene with some sort of robot embedded in the snow

A girl running through a field, the animation in this is surprisingly fluid

Nagisa Furukawa

Kyou Fujibayashi

Kotomi Ichinose

Tomoyo Sakagami

Fuko Ibuki

Youhei Sunohara

Ryou Fujibayashi