The Infinite Zenith

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Gochuumon wa Dsagi Desu ka? BLOOM Original Soundtrack set for release on December 25, 2020

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” –Edith Sitwell

Five days ago, the track list to Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? BLOOM‘s soundtrack was made known, and in keeping with tradition, the soundtrack itself will release on Christmas Day. This time around, BLOOM‘s soundtrack will retail for 2750 Yen (34.01 CAD) and consist of a single disk with thirty-five tracks. The incidental music in GochiUsa is impressive, featuring a wide range of pieces that capture the different tenours that are seen throughout the series. From the use of accordion to create a distinctly French sound for the wood-framed town, to gentle piano and string pieces that create a sense of melancholy, and everything in between, the music of GochiUsa is an aural treat for the ears. BLOOM makes extensive use of newly-minted incidental music to convey atmosphere unique to content from its latest season, but incidental music from earlier seasons also make a return. The end result is a smörgåsbord of songs that are well-chosen to represent the mood and atmosphere of a given moment: GochiUsa had always excelled with creating a highly compelling atmosphere, and in BLOOM, the series continues to make use of its incidental music to greatly augment every moment that Cocoa, Chino, Rize, Chiya, Sharo, Maya and Megu spend together. From deciding which high school to attend, putting on a culture festival, wandering town on a day off and spending Christmas together, music in BLOOM adds considerable depth to each scene.

  • As with previous soundtracks, BLOOM features a beautifully-sketched cover featuring a standout moment from the fourth episode, when Rize and Sharo don Cocoa and Rize’s uniforms while attending the culture festival the latter two are hosting at their high school. Compared to previous soundtracks, the colouring is a bit deeper, and contrast between light and dark is more apparent, perhaps a callback to the third season’s new themes. Of the anime I’ve seen, GochiUsa has some of the most radiant smiles I’ve seen, and the only other series where a seeing simple smile can evoke such joy would be Yuru Camp△, which, serendipitously, is set to air come January.

It has become something of a tradition for me to make an effort in translating all of the track names into English: with GochiUsa BLOOM, this tradition continues, and this time around, I’ve opted to both provide the Hepburn romanisation of the track names in addition to their English titles. The aim of this is to provide readers with an idea of what every track is about: the name of a song gives considerable insights into what sort of tenour it conveys, as well as the context in which said track is used in. For instance, many episodes open with the third track, Today’s Also Relaxing, a gentle piece that makes use of flute to capture the gentle and calm atmosphere around the wood-framed town on an ordinary day. The Christmas tracks similarly weave together instruments evoking a Christmasy-character together with the accordion and strings to blend two concepts together, which convey the sense that it really is Christmas in the wood-framed town.

As with my previous translation efforts, I’ve taken a few liberties here to ensure that the English titles read consistently, while at the same time, preserving their original Japanese meaning as well as I can. For track seventeen [1], おしとやかにごきげんよう, I’ve opted to render ごきげんよう (Hepburn gokigenyō) as “salutations”. The phrase ごきげんよう is used as a greeting and as a goodbye depending on the context, akin to how the English phrase “good day [to you]”. However, as a track name, “good day [to you]” feels a little cumbersome, and in this context, since “salutations” can similarly refer to a phrase used as a greeting or goodbye, I found that to be a cleaner translation. Onomatopoeia are also tricky to translate: the Japanese language is rich in onomatopoeia that require a strong level of familiarity to pick up. For instance, things like ドキドキ (Hepburn dokidoki, representing the sound of a pounding heart) do not translate literally into English, and instead, it is the context that gives the onomatopoeia meaning (e.g. it is used frequently in situations where characters experience elevated heart rate, so anime fans will be instantly familiar with it). As such, GochiUsa track names that are onomatopoeia often give me difficulty.

Track seventeen is one such instance [2]: ドロドロ (Hepburn dorodoro) is literally the sound of something viscous and syrupy flowing. The English idiom, “sticky situation”, could be used to capture the contexts that this track is used in, since it broadly refers to an awkward, difficult or embarrassing scenario. Finally, things that have a cultural context can also be tricky to translate. The piano version of the ending theme, Nakayoshi!〇! Nakayoshi!, I’ve opted to translate its name literally: nakayoshi refers to very close friends, and in the context of GochiUsa, “dear” is probably the best way to characterise it. The circle, maru, is usually used to indicate a correct answer, so that’s why I’ve opted to go with “correct” in the English translation (although this is, technically, unnecessary). The last track is titled 優しさのお返し [4], and お返し (Hepburn Okaeshi, literally “Return Gift”) is a custom where the recipient of a gift will reciprocate with a gift of their own to the giver. This custom is said to strengthen the bonds between the individuals, and can be thought of as a scaled-up version of the Western practise of buying chocolates or wine to a party host. A literal translation here would sound a little unusual, and since the song is referring to a desire to repay kindness with kindness, I’ve opted to translate the track as Reciprocating Kindness. While perhaps a little less romantic than the original Japanese would suggest, the meaning is retained well enough for the track.

Tracklist

  1. いつものRabbit Houseです♪ (Itsumo no Rabbit House desu♪, It’s the Usual Rabbit House♪)
  2. うぇるかむかもーん!(Uerukamu kamon!, Welcome, Come On!)
  3. 今日ものんびり (Kyō mo nonbiri, Today’s Also Relaxing)
  4. 賑やかフェスティバル (Nigiyaka fesutibaru, Bustling Festival)
  5. 良い感じだね~ (Yoi kanjida ne~, It feels good, doesn’t it~)
  6. 青山先生はここですかー!? (Aoyama-sensei wa koko desu ka?!, Is Aoyama-sensei here?!)
  7. はじまりのショータイム (Hajimari no shōtaimu, Showtime At the Beginning)
  8. 天空カフェテリア ~solo piano ver.~ (Tenkū Kafeteria ~solo piano ver.~, Heavenly Cafeteria ~solo piano ver.~)
  9. 今日もお疲れ様♪ (Kyō mo otsukaresama♪, Thank You For Your Work Today♪)
  10. いつもそばに (Itsumo soba ni, Always At My Side)
  11. 夢色のじかん (Yumeiro no jikan, A Time of Coloured Dreams)
  12. 10年後の私達 (10 Nen-go no watashi-tachi, Us In 10 Years’ Time)
  13. きらめきの魔法 (Kirameki no mahō, The Magic of Glitter)
  14. 木組みの街のハロウィーン (Kigumi no machi no Harouīn, Halloween in the Half-Timbered City)
  15. トリックオアトリート!~ようこそ魔女の館へ~ (Torikkuoatorīto! ~Yōkoso majo no yakata e~, Trick or Treat! ~Welcome to the Witch’s Home~)
  16. 千夜のおばあちゃん (Chiya no obā-chan, Chiya’s Grandma)
  17. おしとやかにごきげんよう (Oshitoyaka ni gokigen yō, A Graceful Salutation) [1]
  18. 捜索中…! (Sōsaku-chū…!, Searching…!)
  19. たすけてぇ~~ (Tasukete~~, Help me~~)
  20. ヒュ~~~ドロドロドロ (Hyu ~~~ dorodorodoro, Hmm~~~A sticky situation) [2]
  21. やめてぇぇ~~~!!! (Yamete~~~!!!, Stop It~~~!!!)
  22. まちなさーい! (Machinasai!, Hold it right there!)
  23. なかよし!〇!なかよし!~solo piano ver.~ (Nakayoshi! Maru! Nakayoshi! ~solo piano ver.~, Dear Friends! Correct! Dear Friends!~solo piano ver.~) [3]
  24. 決戦の火蓋 (Kessen no hibuta, Decisive Battle)
  25. 悶々と (Monmon to, Worrisome)
  26. 先輩は私が守るっ!! (Senpai wa watashi ga mamorutsu!!, I’ll Protect My Senpai!!)
  27. 今日だけお嬢様 (Kyō dake ojōsama, Just Ladies Today)
  28. 覚悟はいいかっ!? (Kakugo wa īkatsu!?, Are You Ready?!)
  29. 怪盗ラパン参上! (Kaitō Rapan sanjō!, Phantom Thief Lapin Visits!)
  30. ウサギ警部の過去 (Usagi keibu no kako, Rabbit Inspector’s Past)
  31. 木組みの街のX’mas (Kigumi no machi no X’mas, X’mas in the Half-Timbered City)
  32. ほんわかクリスマス (Honwaka kurisumasu, Gentle Christmas)
  33. 木組みの街に降る雪 (Kigumi no machi ni furu yuki, Snowfall in the Half-Timbered City)
  34. みんなでいっしょに!! (Minna de issho ni!!, Together With Everyone!!)
  35. 優しさのお返し (Yasashisa no okaeshi, Reciprocating Kindness) [4]

  • This is one of the shorter posts I’ve written in a while, coinciding with today being Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. In a curious turn of events, it also happens to be the Dongzi festival, a time when the Chinese celebrate the arrival of winter and togetherness. Traditionally, tang yuan are enjoyed, but for me, the family custom is to enjoy bai qui je (white-cut chicken) and char sui for dinner. The weather today was a far cry from that of yesterday’s: it’s been a moody overcast sort of day today, and the snowfall warning remains in effect, so it’s time to hunker down and welcome the arrival of winter in style.

While precedence suggests that most of the tracks will be quite short (around two or so minutes), and it has been the case that GochiUsa soundtracks have trended towards fewer songs (the first season’s soundtrack consisted of a total of forty-eight tracks over two disks, and season two’s soundtrack had thirty-nine tracks), quantity is certainly not a measure of quality: I am rather looking forwards to hearing all of the new songs from BLOOM in their original glory on Christmas Day. As with my previous translations, the English titles I’ve provided are approximations at best. With this being said, it should make it easier to identify one’s favourite songs on the GochiUsa BLOOM soundtrack. At the time of writing, we’re now down to the finale, which airs on Boxing Day. GochiUsa BLOOM has been a most welcome addition to this anime season; the series is consistently impressing and improving through its story, character dynamics and visuals. Amidst all of the things that GochiUsa nails, it is easy to forget that the incidental music is another one of GochiUsa‘s strong points: augmenting the atmosphere considerably to create a sense of adventure, warmth, reminiscence, melancholy and tension, GochiUsa‘s soundtracks have always been spectacular collections of music that capture emotions from a broad spectrum, adding considerable depth to an already-impressive series.

Yuru Camp△ Original Soundtrack set for release on March 21, 2018

“There is one thing I can still do with a broken arm. I can…play my harmonica.” –Les Stroud, Survivorman

It’s been a while since I’ve done a soundtrack-related post – the last one was for GochiUsa’s second season soundtrack, which ended up being an enjoyable listen. For this season, I introduce the Yuru Camp△ soundtrack; with its diverse array of instrumental motifs and incidental pieces that draw out the anime’s cathartic atmosphere, the soundtrack for Yuru Camp△ is one that I’ve been looking forwards to. The soundtrack becomes available for purchase one day after the Vernal Equinox, releasing just ahead of the finale, which will air on March 22. The album will retail for 3456 Yen (42.62 CAD), consists of two disks and totals 49 tracks. Interspersed with the incidental music will be nine drama performances, alongside the opening and ending themes.

  • The album artwork for Yuru Camp△ singularly captures the entire spirit and atmosphere of the entire anime: a warm friendship developed from a mutual interest in camping and the love of scenery under the beautiful landscapes afforded by night. One of the things about Yuru Camp△ that I was not anticipating was its focus on food and enjoyment of said food. While Nadeshiko’s particularly well-known for her reactions to food, it turns out that everyone in the main cast similarly enjoys their food at least to the same calibre as Adam Richman of Man v. Food.

I’ve translated the track names to English for ease-of-access: unsurprisingly, this blog’s readers are predominantly English-speaking, so it’s useful to have the English names for each of the tracks. As with my previous translations, I remark that my translations are done using a combination of my rudimentary familiarity with Japanese, a Japanese dictionary and where required, a Chinese dictionary. Consequently, not all of the translations are guaranteed to fully retain the original Japanese meaning. In the Yuru Camp△ soundtrack, I’ve opted to translate some tracks literally, while others, I’ve kept only the phonetics. For the track ドッタンバッタン, the katakana translates literally to “Dottanbattan”, which is an onomatopoeia that describes a chaotic situation, so I’ve opted to go with “Frenzy”. ワクパラ (“Wakupara”) similarly has no easy translation to English: I believe it’s a contraction of ワクワクパラダイス, which translates to “Exciting Paradise”, so this is what the English title is given as. I’ve gone with a simple phonetic translation for the track ハテナノナ. Finally, for the 野クルの時間 (“Field Time”) tracks, わちゃ (wa-cha) is an Osakan way of referring to “many people speaking to one another”. The closest English translation is conversation, and given the atmosphere in Yuru Camp△, I think “chit-chat” is probably the most appropriate. There are three of these tracks, each with different iterations of the phrase わちゃ, so in English, I’ve gone with a similar translation using variations of “chit-chat”.

Disk One

  1. ゆるキャン△のテーマ (Yuru Camp△Theme)
  2. オリジナルドラマ その1 (Original Drama Part 1)
  3. SHINY DAYS (TV SIZE)
  4. オリジナルドラマ その2(Original Drama Part 2)
  5. キャンプ場のテーマ~本栖湖~ (Campsite Theme ~Lake Motosu~)
  6. 野クルの時間(わちゃわちゃ!) (Field Time (Chit-chat!))
  7. ソロキャン△のすすめ (Solo Camp△Recommendation)
  8. ゆるやかな時間 (Laid-back time)
  9. オリジナルドラマ その3(Original Drama Part 3)
  10. キャンプ場のテーマ~麓~ (Campsite Theme ~Fumoto~)
  11. おしゃべりとマグカップ (Conversations and mugs)
  12. ごーいんぐマイウェイ (Going my way)
  13. 夜明けの深呼吸 (Deep breath at dawn)
  14. ワクパラ! (Exciting Paradise!)
  15. オリジナルドラマ その4(Original Drama Part 5)
  16. キャンプ場のテーマ~高ボッチ、イーストウッド~ (Campsite Theme ~Takabocchi, Pine Wood~)
  17. 野クルの時間(わちゃ…) (Field Time (Chat…))
  18. ごーいんぐユアウェイ (Going your way)
  19. ゆるりの掟 (Laid-back rules)
  20. たじたじのた (I knew it)
  21. オリジナルドラマ その5 (Original Drama Part 5)
  22. ふゆびより (弾きがたり ver.) (Fuyubiyori, Performance version)

Disk Two

  1. オリジナルドラマ その6 (Original Drama Part 6)
  2. キャンプ場のテーマ~四尾連湖~ (Campsite Theme ~Shibireko Lake~)
  3. キャンプ行こうよ! (Let’s go camping!)
  4. 富士川賛歌 (Fujikawa Hymn)
  5. ストレンジブルー (Strange Blue)
  6. 野クルの時間(わちゃわちゃわちゃっ!!)(Field Time (Chit-chat chit-chat!))
  7. へろりんぱ (Lenticular)
  8. オリジナルドラマ その7(Original Drama Part 7)
  9. キャンプ場のテーマ~陣馬形山~(Campsite Theme ~Mount Jimbagata~)
  10. 踊ろよフォークダンス (Let’s dance to that folk dance)
  11. うんちくかんちく (Punctuation)
  12. リトルクルーズ (Little cruise)
  13. ハテナノナ? (Hatenonona?)
  14. オリジナルドラマ その8 (Original Drama Part 8)
  15. キャンプ場のテーマ~朝霧高原~ (Campsite Theme ~Asagiri Plateau~)
  16. オリジナルドラマ その9 (Original Drama Part 9)
  17. ふゆびより (TV SIZE) (Fuyubiyori, TV version)
  18. ため息ひとつ (A single sigh)
  19. でこぼこんぐ (Bumpy)
  20. ドッタンバッタン (Frenzy)
  21. ハプニングー (Happening)
  22. どろどろばあ (Mushrooms)
  23. 南国ファンタジー (Southern Nation Fantasy)
  24. 万歳山頂 (Banzai Summit)
  25. キャンピングinボッシブル (Camping in possible)
  26. なでしこはかく語りき (Nadeshiko is speechless)
  27. しまりん団子のテーマ (The Shimarin Dango Theme)

  • The page quote comes from Les Stroud during the Plane Crash episode, where he was simulating a broken arm. Stroud rarely enters his survival situations without his harmonica; he reasons that being able to play music and do something to stave off boredom is highly important in a survival situation. Occasionally, he uses the harmonica to make enough aural indicators of his presence to drive off other animals, and sometimes, he plays the harmonica simply to celebrate a good meal. While the girls of Yuru Camp△ never play any music during their camping trips, as a post related to music, I figured that it would be to pick a quote from Stroud relevant to music.

I again stress that my translations are only approximations of what I think the English titles to be. With eleven of the twelve episodes to Yuru Camp△ in the books, I’ve found an immensely relaxing anime that has done much to provide warmth during this uncommonly snowy and lengthy winter. I do not think I am mistaken when I say that reception to Yuru Camp△ has been universally positive: simple in its thematic elements, Yuru Camp△‘s main strength is a staple of most enjoyable slice-of-life anime. In its execution, Yuru Camp△ presents the ordinary as exciting and showcases the joys of different perspectives by pouring an exceptional amount of detail into the settings and situations. I’ll be returning shortly after the finale to do a full discussion on all of the components that make Yuru Camp△ so enjoyable, and close things up by mentioning again that even after Yuru Camp△‘s finale airs, there’s still an OVA that will be released with the first BD version, detailing life at the Outdoors Activity Club prior to Nadeshiko’s arrival.

Your Name (Kimi no na wa) Home Release Set for July 26

“Anyways, this is a good movie. I was genuinely moved by the displays of courage and sacrifice in the name of what they felt was right. So Mitsuha and Taki can have their moment, I’ll give them that, because at the end of the day, you win some, and you lose some. And today, they are about to win some, big time! The Blu-Rays are about to come out, and we are about to take them on a test run! Believe! Believe that!” –Kylo Ren on the announcement

Update: The release date of July 26 has been officially announced as of May 10. 

I open with the remark that there has been no official announcement yet: this information is relatively recent, and its authenticity is unverified. Derived from a lower-resolution photograph of a promotional poster that was handed out with some stores accompanying purchases, it seems that Your Name will be available for purchase on July 26, 2017. Continuing with translation of the poster finds that there will be four tiers of the film available for purchase: the basic DVD will cost 3800 yen (46.56 CAD) and the standard edition BD will be 4800 yen (58.81 CAD). The special edition BD will include two bonus disks (likely containing the behind-the-scenes and other materials), plus a special booklet and artwork. This one will retail for 7800 yen (88.21 CAD). Finally, the ultimate collector’s edition BD will go for 12000 yen (147.02 CAD). The ultimate collector’s edition is notably less than the price of Battlefield 1: Ultimate Edition, which costs 165 CAD, and two dollars more than picking up Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 1 Premium Pass separately at current exchange rates: at the top-tier, consumers will get five disks in total (two for the movie, and three for behind-the-scenes features), plus a one-hundred page booklet and all-new visuals. Of note is the fact that there is going to be a 4K version: a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels, such a version of Your Name will look fabulous on screens ranging from 4K monitors to the iPad Pro tablets.

  • Unlike Girls und Panzer Der Film, as I’m no longer a student, I cannot spend a full day writing a larger review: that post took twelve hours over the course of a day to write, and taking a day off work for an anime movie review makes no sense. With this in mind, having seen the movie previously, I’ve got a very good idea of what to write about going into the projected BD release date: I will aim to have the review (likely eclipsing even Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s review and discussion in size) out on the same day that my copy of Your Name arrives.

This news comes five years after I learned of the K-On! Movie‘s release, which was also set to be in July. The three month timeframe between the announcement and actual release is consistent with the K-On! Movie, as well as Girls und Panzer Der Film (which was also announced roughly three months before release) both cases, so while the July 26 release date is presently unconfirmed, I imagine that official news will be appearing quite soon. Further to this, the soundtrack for Your Name released on July 26, 2016, a month before the movie itself premièred in Japanese theatres. Finally, I’ve heard that Your Name‘s theatrical run in Japan drew to a close last week. The sum of these observations point in a direction to support the authenticity of this news; should Your Name indeed be released on July 26, the wait for this movie, however arduous it has been for the past several months, will have been worth something. At the minimum, Your Name will not be as elusive as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3. It will be fantastic to be able to watch Your Name in proper HD on my own screens.

Girls und Panzer Herbst Musikfest 2015 Album Releasing on February 10, 2016

“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.” —Pablo Casals

My German skills have not rusted out: translating to “Autumn Music Festival”, the Girls und Panzer Herbst Musikfest album features songs performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra during the November 3, 2015 event at the Yokosuka Arts Theatre in Kanagawa. The soundtrack will retail for 4104 Yen (an abysmal 49.62 CAD) and will be available for sale starting February 10, while the Blu-Ray set featuring the live performance will be released on February 24, 2016 and retail for 8424 Yen (101.86 CAD). The live performance in Kanagawa featured orchestral versions of ChouCho’s “DreamRiser” and “GloryStory”. The ending song, “Enter Enter Mission” and even the “Anglerfish Song” will be performed, as well — the audio album will feature forty-three songs over two disks. The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Japan, being founded in 1911 (the same year the M1911 entered service) and has performed several concerts in anime and gaming related music, including Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou.

GirlsUndPanzerHerbstMusikfest

  • Dressed in a sparkling evening gown, Miho looks absolutely breathtaking, and a close look at the front row shows that her friends are quite excited to watch her step onto the stage. From my end, I’m looking forwards to hearing this album: I had not known that there was a live album, much less one performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

A brief inspection of the tracks below will quickly show that this orchestral performance will feature some of the most iconic songs from the original Girls und Panzer soundtrack, from the gentler pieces reflecting on Miho’s everyday life at Ooarai to the tenser pieces played during the battles (and everything in between). There also appear to be some vocal tracks, marked “monologue”, where Mai Fuchigami provides a short talk. Translating most of the track names is quite unnecessary, given that the English translations for each track already exists, but I’ve taken the liberty of providing them here for completeness’ sake. Some of the translations have been restructured to read more naturally in English. I’m looking forwards to hearing how each of these songs will sound when given an orchestral treatment: Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou illustrated that some songs sound majestic when performed by a full orchestra, while other songs remain less suitable for such arrangement, and in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, an orchestral accompaniment allowed the OVA’s soundtrack to properly capture the tenor the anime required to convey its message.

Disk One

  1. 戦車道行進曲!パンツァーフォー! (Panzerfahren March! Panzer Vor!)
  2. 「これからの毎日が、本当に楽しみ!」Monologue (From now on, every day is really going to be fun!)
  3. 新しい朝の始まりです!~こんな普通の学園生活って素敵です! (A new morning begins, a normal school life such as this is wonderful!)
  4. 横暴は生徒会に与えられた正当な権利です! (The Student Council has the right to tyranny!)
  5. 生徒会、悲壮な決意とともに進みます! (Unto the student council’s heroic decision!)
  6. 戦車の知識では誰にも負けません! (With our knowledge of tanks, absolutely no one can lose!)
  7. 戦車を可愛くデコレーションしちゃいます! (The tanks’ cute decorations!)
  8. 戦車、乗ります! (Riding a tank!)
  9. 学園艦は今日も勇壮に海原を進みます! (The academy ship boldly sails the ocean each day!)
  10. 「どこまでやれるかわからないけど、精一杯やってみよう!」(Monologue) (I don’t know how far we can go, but let’s put in our utmost!)
  11. ブリティッシュ・グレナディアーズ (The British Grenadiers)
  12. いざ!試合にのぞみます! (Come on! I want a challenge!)
  13. 敵戦車進軍してきます! (The enemy tanks approach!)
  14. 「もう少し戦車道続けてみるね、お姉ちゃん」(Monologue) (Sister, we’ll try to continue on the path of the tanks)
  15. リパブリック讃歌 (Battle Hymn of the Republic)
  16. 開会式です!~栄光の戦車道全国大会始まります! (It’s the opening ceremony, the glorious National Panzerfahren Tournament begins!)
  17. 私、いやな予感がします! (I have a bad feeling about this!)
  18. アメリカ野砲隊マーチ (U.S. Field Artillery March)
  19. 「いつか私も、私の気持ち、ちゃんと話せるようになりたいな」(Monologue) (Someday, I’d also like to be able to voice my feelings properly)
  20. これが友情ですね! (This is friendship!)
  21. 理由があります… (There’s a reason…)
  22. 秋山優花里のアンツィオ校潜入大作戦です! (Yukari Akiyama’s infiltration at Anzio Academy!)
  23. Le Fiamme Nere (The Black Flames)
  24. フニクリ・フニクラ (Funiculi Funicula)

Disc 2

  1. 金平糖の精の踊り~カチューシャ (A fine dance of confetti- Katyusha)
  2. 大洗女子学園チーム前進します! (Advance, Ooarai Girls’ Academy Team!)
  3. ポーリュシュカ・ポーレ (Polyushko-polye)
  4. 「落ち着いて考えよう、今私に、私たちにできること」(Monologue) (I should think clearly now, what can we do?)
  5. あんこう音頭 (Anglerfish March)
  6. 「私はもう、戦車道はやめないよ」(Monologue) (I, too, won’t stop on the path of Panzerfahren)
  7. 昨日の敵は今日の友です! (Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend!)
  8. エーリカ (Erika)
  9. 乙女のたしなみ戦車道マーチ! (Maidens’ art, Panzerfahren March!)
  10. パンツァー・リート (Panzerlied)
  11. 息を殺して待ちぶせします! (Waiting with bated breath)
  12. 戦車道とは女子としての道を極めることでもあります! (Panzerfahren is an art for girls to master!)
  13. 緊迫する戦況です! (A tense situation!)
  14. 戦線は膠着状態です! (Stalemate on the front!)
  15. 戦車道アンセムです! (Panzerfahren Anthem!)
  16. Enter Enter MISSION! (Orchestra Ver.)
  17. DreamRiser
  18. GloryStory
  19. Enter Enter MISSION! (Herbst Musikfest 2015 Ver.)

  • The artwork above would not be an unreasonable outcome of Hibike! Euphonium colliding with Girls und Panzer, mirroring the theme in the BD. Looking at the previous post, some sixteen days have elapsed since my last post. I think this is the longest no-post streak I’ve had in all four years of blogging, and the reason for this is that I’ve been busy with all manners of graduate school and preparations to transition onwards into industry. With that being said, I’ll still try to blog where time permits: I’ve finished watching Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai and finished Battlefield: Hardline‘s campaign, so those posts will make their way into “published” status within the next few weeks.

Overall, the Herbst Musikfest album looks to be amazing, and of note is the fact that the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing the quieter everyday life pieces from Girls und Panzer. This decision is non-trivial: life at Ooarai is clearly intended to be quite busy, as the students go about their studies, but these activities are comparatively relaxed when Panzerfahren and the emotional tenor surrounding each match is considered. The dichotomy within the environments is appropriately captured through the soundtrack; without the calm slice-of-life pieces, the anime would not have been able to effectively use music as a contributor towards build tension during the major battles. As such, when coupled with action themes and historical pieces, the original soundtrack was a fantastic album: orchestral variants of these songs means that Herbst Musikfest is an album that is definitely going to be worth listening to. It’s worth reiterating that the BD of the performance itself will be released two weeks after the album. While it’s definitely not Girls und Panzer Der Film, whose home release date is still unknown at the time of writing, this is something to tide audiences over (somewhat) whilst waiting for said film.

Pavane for Nagato Yuki: Remarks on the musical score in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

“We should always remember that sensitiveness and emotion constitute the real content of a work of art.” — Maurice Ravel

Composed by Maurice Ravel in 1899 and published in 1900, Pavane for a Dead Princess is a widely-known impressionist piece for its simple, yet moving attributes that drew inspiration from the Renaissance Pavane, a form of slow dance that became popular in the 16th century. Despite its curious title, Ravel stated that, rather than any sort of dead princess, the title was merely for show, and that the song was intended to evoke imagery of and nostalgia for Spanish customs. In other words, it would be the sort of song that a young princess might dance to. Ravel disliked the song for sounding unimaginative, but the song quickly picked up in popularity, and an orchestral version was performed in 1911: the inclusion of horns led audiences to find immense beauty in the song’s simplicity. Pavane for a Dead Princess is used as Yuki’s main theme in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan for several reasons. Viewers familiar with music would have picked it up when the first of the anime’s trailers began playing, but there has not been a satisfactory explanation as to why the decision was made to choose Pavane for a Dead Princess as Yuki’s main motif. In choosing Pavane for a Dead Princess to act as Yuki’s theme, Jun’ichi Wada and Tatsuya Kato craft a very specific atmosphere in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan to characterise Yuki, as well as her relationships with Kyon and the others around her. Music lends substantial meaning to scenes, expressing emotions that cannot be readily illustrated through dialogue, and consequently, using Pavane for a Dead Princess entails using the emotions conveyed in the song to emphasise a particular atmosphere in the anime.

  • That this post was published on a December 18 is no coincidence: the date appears to hold some sort of significance in and out of the Haruhi universe. Today, the website was altered to display an error message, and later, a bookmark representing Kyon’s means of restoring the universe. While the novelty has long worn off, it’s not surprising to see that there still remains interest in the franchise. On that note, I will step in at some point in the future to provide my insights onto why it’s unlikely that The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi will receive a third season.

Ravel lamented that performers played through Pavane for a Dead Princess much too slowly, suggesting that the song is supposed to be more nostalgic than saddening. The variant heard in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, then, depicts Yuki as someone who’s not inclined to rush, who does things at her own pace. As the first episode begins, under the pink light of the evening sun, Yuki has dozed off when Ryouko comes to wake her for their literature club meeting. She’s very shy and hesitant around Kyon; this is mirrored in the song, which initially begins with two hand-horns in G and sounds as though the waters are being tested. As Pavane for a Dead Princess continues, flutes and oboes join in, and after the main theme is reiterated, strings and harps begin playing, as well. The song gradually transitions from pianissimo to fortissimo, becoming bolder and having a richer sound, but the tempo remains quite consistent throughout Pavane for a Dead Princess: though it is subtly forceful in parts, the song never becomes abrupt. This is mirrored in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Yuki, though becoming increasingly forward in expressing her feelings for Kyon, becomes bolder, but she never pushes things too aggressively or demandingly, preferring to do things at her own pace. Consequently, Pavane for a Dead Princess is intended to illustrate the different facets of Yuki’s state of mind concerning Kyon: she’s filled with a sense of longing and wistfulness, and although over time, she becomes more comfortable with expressing these feelings, she does so slowly. So, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is intended to be depict a love story that progresses one step at a time, in spite of the spirited intervention from Yuki and Kyon’s friends.

  • While the section above aims to provide an reasonably detailed answer into why the choice of music is suited for The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, the remainder of this post deals with The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan OST as a whole. Following its predecessor, the soundtrack was released in an unusual fashion, mirroring the eccentricities of Haruhi. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense, since it follows that fans of the series willing to buy physical BD volumes would also likely wish to buy the soundtrack, although it does leave out individuals who merely wish to purchase the soundtrack on its own.

There are, of course, other songs in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan that merit discussion: the soundtrack has been included on each volume of the Blu-Ray Disks, each of which cost 6980 yen (75.73 CAD). I’ve got the track listings (plus their English translations for the songs) for the soundtracks for each volume up to and including volume five: each of the soundtracks consists of an assortment of instrumental background pieces used in the anime itself, as well as a pair of drama songs.

Volume One (Released June 26, 2015)

  1. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” (Pavane for a Dead Princess)
  2. Nagato no Omoi (Nagato’s Feelings)
  3. Koi no Kirakira (Sparkling Love)
  4. Tsuzuku Nichijou (Continuing Daily)
  5. Tsumari Sore wa (In other words, that’s it)
  6. Toritome no nai Hanashi (Rambling Story)
  7. Merry Christmas!
  8. Tsuruya-san no Shinken Shoubu (Tsuruya’s serious contest)
  9. Asakura-san no Osekkyou (Asakura’s lecture)
  10. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu”
  11. Drama “Christmas to Ieba Turkey!”

Volume Two (Released July 31, 2015)

  1. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” Kangengaku Version (Pavane for a Dead Princess, Orchestral Version)
  2. Nagato no Pinch? (Nagato’s in a pinch?)
  3. Nagato no Fuan (Nagato’s Anxiety)
  4. Dokidoki Harahara (Pounding Suspense)
  5. Kyon no Yasashisa (Kyon’s Kindness)
  6. Haruhi no Tsuyosa (Haruhi’s Strength)
  7. Sou, Sore! (So, that’s it!)
  8. Bouken no Tobira (Door of Adventure)
  9. Koi no Tobira (Door of Love)
  10. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 02~
  11. Drama “Suzumiya Haruhi no Nimotsu”

Volume Three (Released August 28, 2015)

  1. “Yuki wa Odotteiru” Piano Version (Dancing in the snow)
  2. “Tsuki no Hikari” Kangengaku Version (Moonlight, orchestral version)
  3. “Yuki wa Odotteiru” Kangengaku Version (Dancing in the snow, orchestral version)
  4. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” Keiongaku Arrange Version (Pavane for a Dead Princess, light music version)
  5. Bungeibu no Nichijou (Another day at the literature club)
  6. The Haruhi
  7. Nagato no Omoi (Tsuyosa) (Nagano’s feelings, Strength)
  8. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 03~
  9. Drama “Suzumiya Haruhi no Shinnyuusei Kanyuu Sakusen”

Volume Four (Released September 25, 2015)

  1. Tanoshii Bungeibu (A fun literature club)
  2. Tabi no Motarasu Mono (Things to bring on the trip)
  3. Tabi no Yoru (Night of the trip)
  4. Minna, Yaru wa yo! (I do, everyone!)
  5. Joshi dake no Himitsu (The girls’ secrets)
  6. Nagato no Omoi (Yasashisa) (Nagato’s feelings, tenderness)
  7. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 04~
  8. Drama “Pillow Talk”

Volume Five (Released October 30, 2015)

  1. Yozora (Night sky)
  2. Yureru Koigokoro (I love swinging)
  3. Shoushitsu (Disappearance)
  4. Katai Kuuki (Rigid atmosphere)
  5. Aru (Ushinawareta) (It’s lost)
  6. Ichizu na Koigokoro (A steady, loving heart)
  7. Kagayaku Yozora (Sparkling night sky)
  8. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 05~
  9. Drama “Nagato Yuki chan no Gal Game

  • On the whole, I’m loving the soundtrack, and I’m looking forwards to listening to the remainder of the pieces, especially now that the remaining volumes will deal with the Disappearance arc and Kyon’s gradual coming to terms with his feelings for Yuki. Tomorrow, regular programming will resume.

In general, the best pieces are those with a slow orchestral component; they tie in with the more emotional moments as Yuki and Kyon struggle to properly express their feelings for one another (or look within for the means and courage to do so). There are lighter songs with a faster tempo used for comedic moments within the anime, and some variants of the songs from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi do make a return. Together, they add a reasonable amount diversity to the soundtrack to augment the different scenes within the anime. Curiously enough, I predicted that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan would necessitate such a soundtrack, given that the manga exuded the very sense of nostalgia and wistfulness that is captured by Pavane for a Dead Princess, and this proved to be appropriate given The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan’s intended direction, enhancing the emotional tenor of all the moments to bring to life each chapter in the manga. The soundtrack’s remained quite inaccessible for the present, although those who stray off the beaten trail in search for an opportunity to listen will not find themselves disappointed. At present, three more volumes of the soundtrack await release, and I will return at some point in the near future to provide the translations for those songs, as well.