The Lunar New Year: (4) Music in anime
However, I feel that people have overlooked a gem of the characterization of anime characters; that is, their character music.
This statement reminded me of James Joyce. It’s quite far-fetched, right?
James Joyce was the seminal author of the 20th century. He transmogrified the modern novel with his writing especially with his final two novels. Many of us may disdain him: in our literature classes, or our English classes he has always been a scourge. His works are not fluid: they are not page-turners. More often than not they are mired in some form of stream-of-consciousness, which makes it a lot more difficult to interpret. He was a genius to me, though, not because of his latter works but of his Dubliners and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. There were studies and researches made, however, which stated that Joyce wrote the way he did especially in his latter novels because he was going blind. He had bad eyesight, even from a young age, and his sense of hearing compensated for this. It can be noted that his novels are impressionistic novels; in addition, there is always a musicality with the words that he uses, and this is very evident in his Finnegans Wake (but this musicality is not to be equated with poetry, because his works have none). Sound is very important when one searches for meaning in his novels: this is exemplified with thick critical works entitled Joyce’s Grand Operoar: Opera in Finnegans wake and The Role of Thunder in Finnegans wake. All this comes from a novel with mostly portmanteaus.
I believe the same goes with anime. Music is very important (or aids, at the very least) in the procuration of meaning. Music may be ignored in anime, but as can be seen, it can be a mercurial messenger of ideas. I think this is very evident in Honey and Clover, where the Waltz ED of Suneohair reflects the lives of the friends in search of meaning in their lives. The music in Shinichiro Watanabe‘s anime, Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, are also pivotal cogs of the plot’s development. The flashback scene of the first episode wouldn’t have been as evocative as it was without the Memory of Yoko Kanno. Likewise, an insight on Fuu can be seen on Who’s Theme, by Minmi (which was the ED after a Fuu-themed episode).
They may seem like superfluities, but I could never imagine Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo without a soundtrack. Or Honey and Clover without Suga Shikao songs. Can you?