I find in talking to people from all backgrounds that music is one thing that unifies us. Music is universal! And often, when we watch movies or TV shows, we as an audience can be swayed or influenced by the soundtrack chosen. It may even be the most memorable part of the show!!
Now saying this, one of the things that endears me to a show is powerful or unique music. After many years of watching anime, I have found that some of the most beautiful music and OSTs have been from anime. So here is a list of some beautiful OST that I feel should be listened to- or at least given a shot.
Again, these are in no particular order- or I may have been shot by some for some off the numbering.
1.) Nodame Cantabile
This anime is centered largely on the characters playing actual music in the show. And boy is the music gorgeous! It consists of both classical pieces that you may have heard- Beetoven, Liszt, Brahms, etc- and also original scores from director and composer Suguru Matsutani. And I mean, this show devotes like 8ish minutes to playing Rachmaninoff. That's like so bad ass!
and the show is just great too okay?
2.) BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad
I have a special love for both this anime and it's soundtrack. With a show about a band, you need to have good music and this show has it in spades. The english dubbed version of the songs is also wonderful. The music consists of a mixture of rock with some rap influences. It's an interesting mix.
What I love most is that the music evolves with the band in the show, with some of the best pieces being played during the culmination. I actually have the whole OST and listen to it all the time. It feels like a very current "indie" rock band. I am particularly fond of "By Her," "Face," and "Moon on the Water."
Also, the evolution of the main character is wonderful.
If you listen to anime OSTs at all you would probably have heard of Yuki Kajiura. While I love many of her works- Sword Art Online, Madoka Magica- I hold a special affection for the music from .hack//sign. It was the first place I heard her music, and where I fell in love with her work.
And while one might say "No, for sure the best work of hers is *insert anime here*" I stand by my opinion for one reason alone. I have never seen an anime in which the music is more intertwined with the actual story than this one. The music truly makes you feel something. I mean, come on, when you hear the first steerings of the switched up "Aura" theme that you knew something was up. And that listening to "Fake Wings" for the first time and just feeling.
I STILL FEEL THE EMOTIONS. So pretty. (Also I dare you to try to watch .hack without the score. I DARE YOU.)
Now, if you clicked on this video you may have noticed that WAIT this intro is completely in English! It's not even "Engrish!" You would be right. "The Sore Feet Song" is a wonderful example of why the soundtrack for Mushishi excels. Many of the OSTs on this list have big, powerful sounds. A great soundtrack doesn't have to be so "big." Toshio Masuda created a wonderful reflection of the show: peaceful, serene, quiet, thought-provoking, methodical. It's beautiful in it's quietness. And lovely.
5.) CODE Geass
Oh the entertainment and sweeping emotions of Code Geass. This show was a ride from start to finish, and the music was right there to help strap you in for the ride. It's full of amazingly memorable soundtracks, full of epic songs you will recognize for ages to come. I mean, who can forget "Zero Requiem."
6.) Angel Beats
I have a lot of feelings about Angel Beats, for a plethora of reasons. The music doesn't help. At. All. Jun Maeda provided a mix of upbeat and sorrowful soundtracks which helped to balance the other. The opening soundtrack is wonderful, and let's not get into discussing "My Most Precious Treasure" for reasons aka me sobbing.
But the best part of the show was "Girl's Dead Monster."
THAT'S RIGHT THE SHOW HAS IT'S OWN BAND. Kick ass. All the songs they play throughout the show are great in their own right- from "Crow Song" to "My Song"- and deserve to be listened to. Japanese or English, they are superb.
7.) Cowboy Bebop
Yeah yeah, we all new it was coming up here. How could you not include the work of Yoko Kanno somewhere on this list. And it would have to be from one of the most loved anime EVER to anime. The soundtrack is wonderful, and distinct in it's variety. The opening theme is one everyone remembers, and let's not even bring up "Blue." Ugh. I still have feelings over "Blue."
TEARS ALL OF THEM.
And everyone should watch Cowboy Bebop anyway- it's a classic. The soundtrack doesn't disappoint.
There you have it folks, some OSTs for you to listen to and expand your horizons! Please don't be intimidated or "weirded out" by the language barrier for some of these! Music from different languages is another great way to experience a culture. Give it a try!