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