Take a moment and pull up your favorite anime, your favorite fight scene, your favorite movie and game. What do all of these have in common? They will all share a key moment in which you the viewer will experience an edge of your seat moment, the tug of a heart string when disaster happens or it will cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. What is the culprit behind these engaging moments? More often than not it is the composition. You don’t often think about the musical composition of an anime or for a movie for that matter. We often simply watch an anime or movie due to our interest in the material or for it being related to series that we greatly cherish and enjoy. Music is the silent protagonist or antagonist in a picture and will often go unnoticed by the larger public. It isn’t until we actually stop and take a moment to listen that we understand why we love a specific scene.
Take my favorite slice of life romance Toradora for an excellent example (You can also view this anime from the following countries: NORTH AMERICA, SCANDI, IE, GB, NL) of how empowering music can be to an already powerful moment. The moment in particular if when Taiga is greeted by Ryuji in her apartment during the Christmas period after he left a Christmas party in order to be with her. It was a tender moment and one that was entirely full of expressible passion and anguish. The composition Ameiro Rondo is an absolutely powerful piece that plays during this moment and it can invoke such an emotionally charged reaction from its viewership that it is hard not to feel the pain that the characters feel during this moment. Another composition that is a grand example of powerful composition is the piece Lost My Pieces. Much like Ameiro Rondo, Lost My Pieces plays in roughly the same scene as the aforementioned moment between Taiga and Ryuji. This title is a giveaway of the emotional struggle that the characters are facing; in particular what Taiga is experiencing. I cannot frankly imagine this exact scene without the emotional impact that the music adds to the weighted words. This is just one gorgeous example of a section of music that is just beautiful.
Now music doesn’t always benefit an anime or movie as it can often drown behind the action or the dialogue. In that sense the music is muted, dull or lacking and is easily forgotten; it becomes something that you don’t consider inspiring or empowering. The right amount of composition versus the on-screen action is something of a tedious game that only a few anime, at least in my own opinion, have been able to achieve. Anime like Toradora, No Game No Life, Love-Live, Durarara or Another all have excellent compositions, but they are all not perfect. There is re-use of select key tones or they are just simply too highlighted; as in the case with Love-Live or K-On! where the main composition is directed towards the actual performances. If you find that the anime feels muted and lacking then you can probably guess it is a lack of effort in the musical department.
While this is general not a topic someone thinks about when watching an anime or a show in general it is one of importance to the actual piece. It is a fun analytical look and I highly recommend that you all give this a try next time. Actually sit there and listen to the music, note how it makes you feel and how it causes you to react to the given situations. You will be surprised by how much of an influence music can have on us even when you aren’t actively thinking about it. Granted this is one of those topics that will be hit or miss for the interested party, but when you think about it, it is actually a crucial part of our viewing experience and it is one that is very much in tune with anime overall. I hope this encourages you all to maybe look at anime in a bit of a different light and I strongly hope this adds another layer of enjoyment to your anime viewing experience!