The following is an official translation of an interview conducted with composer Tsuneyoshi Saito regarding his work on the mecha anime franchise Fafner in the Azure. It was published in the liner notes of the now out-of-print soundtrack album ‘NO WHERE’, released by Geneon for the North American market.
The music composed and produced for Fafner in the Azure presents an unique viewpoint on the international traffics of anime production: Saito opted to record the soundtrack for the anime series abroad with the renowned Polish orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, for what he refers to be a willfully classical compositional process, and thus providing Fafner in the Azure with a sonic experience that references the symphonic scope of a Star Wars score.
(Note: the interview also featured producer Go Nakanishi from King Records.)
The extraordinarily persistent anime series and franchise Sound! Euphonium gained a new entry, in the form of a cinematic spin-off Liz and the Blue Bird by director Naoko Yamada, hot off the heels of her high-profile A Silent Voice manga adaptation.
Also marking the second time they’ve worked together, Yamada enlisted Kensuke Ushio as the film’s composer, evidently the beginnings of a thriving professional relationship between two young and already prominent practitioners of their respective art forms.
The following is a translation of the interview with the composer, published at lisani.
An instant crowd-pleaser, in spite of the disjointed international release schedule by Netflix, Violet Evergarden is a labour of love for the tight-knit Kyoto Animation team. In search of music that can reflect the quiet intensity of the melodrama on display, Japan-based American composer Evan Call was instructed to construct the sentimental anchor of the entire production.
The following is a translation of the interview printed in the Violet Evergarden Original Soundtrack booklet, conducted with the composer and series music producer Shigeru Saito.
I’m actually not sure how I should tell this story for you. Is this just a collection of conventional thoughts on films, or am I supposed to frame this more as another one of my Tale Time entries? (Haven’t done one those in a while huh…)
Going to the cinema and watching a film works in conjunction when it comes to me recalling experiences for a blog post. Experiences never exist in voids, they meld and influence each other. Perhaps this is why I find it so difficult to write straight up film or TV series reviews, whether I watched it alone at home, or with a group of people. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that half the fun of watching a Summer blockbuster copy-and-paste explosion fest is the environment of a filled-out cinema, with some 400 people reacting to the same things you are.
Kensuke Ushio is on the verge of becoming a household name in the western anime fandom, thanks to his exhilarating and sensitive contributions to numerous modern anime classics’ original soundtracks, namely Space Dandy (as part of LAMA), Ping Pong, A Silent Voice and the recently released Devilman: Crybaby.
However, Ushio already had a decade-old alter ego of sorts in his stage name agraph, which he adorns when producing and releasing his own solo albums, exploring the pure, unadulterated creative impulse within him. ‘the shader‘ is his third solo electronica album release.
The following is a translation of the interview conducted with the artist by Natalie Music.
You know…I went into starting this post with snippets of ideas for the intro: something snappy, a humorously depressing comment on 2017, and end it with a cheesy flavour of hope. But instead…I ended up with this.
I think I’ve sampled more albums than I ever did in 2017: more varieties of artists both old favourites and new discoveries, an increasingly diverse set of classical repertoires, genres and origins. That comes with good news and bad news, and I think the good news is kinda obvious already. But the bad news: I’ve listened to less albums COMPLETELY than the past two years, since there’s always something I want to jump onto prematurely.
Nevertheless, I think it’s best I keep up this tradition of massive yearly reviews, where I get to highlight the world of background music, and to continue bastardising this idiotic concept that such music ‘shouldn’t be noticed’.
Princess Principal was an action-adventure highlight of Summer 2017, and a big part of this resonance with the fandom was undoubtedly the high-octane musical identities afforded to the production by its arranger/composer duo of rising star Ryo Takahashi (ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, Classroom of the Elite), and prolific veteran Yuki Kajiura (Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, ERASED).
The following is a translation of the interview conducted with the two composers by Natalie Music.
Like it or not, trailers are an art form. And like any art form, the contested validity of their societal worth is often the only framework of discussion that floats among the mainstream. Contemporary culture’s love for ‘what comes next’, makes for a very horrible environment for any sort of expressive ‘fad’ to gain recognition, especially when such a culture is sandwiched with the famed slots of the ‘timeless few’, which have already been filled with the likes of Star Wars, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Tolkien.
Just a quick note, in regards to this new development. 2017 was a relatively spotty year for this blog: while my upload frequency has somewhat dropped, the quality and diversity of coverage I was able to afford has expanded. I’ve published and co-commissioned interviews and transcripts, extended essays, in addition to my usual collection of thought pieces, summaries and capsule reviews.
A short greetings, readers! This is not a blog post written by yours truly, unfortunately, but I did sorta have a hand in making this interview translation happen, and it deals with a subject that I’m evidently passionate about, as well as being shamefully underappreciated by fans (AND a fair share of creators/producers if I dare say so) of film & animation.
In addition to co-funding the translation by the ever so reliable karice, I was happy to lend my help on a few technical translations of musical terms.
You can support the translators who you see on WMC by pledging on Patreon!
Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
has attracted lots of attention as the first Lupin III TV series in 27 years. The individual responsible for its soundtrack is Naruyoshi Kikuchi. Though this is a spinoff with Fujiko Mine as the heroine and protagonist, it is precisely because the maestros
gave birth to “Lupin Jazz” that we are now keen to find out about the new blood that Kikuchi, the maverick of the Jazz world, has poured into the mix. And on the other hand, we have series director Sayo Yamamoto. Tag-teaming with…
Not sure where I heard it, but the perfect completed anime to favourite anime ratio is a clean-cut 10:1: meaning that now that I’ve completed over 200 anime in total (according to MAL at least), I get to update my favourite anime to a list of 20. And that’s good news and bad news.
Spielekonzerte (German for ‘game concerts’) certainly doesn’t sound like a new and flashy concept in the west, until you have the context to realise that it didn’t find its international attention until 2003 rolled over. Which was decades after the very first game concert ever held in 1987, led by the famed Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.