Animusictourney, Quarter Finals

Triangler song

One of the biggest problem I have with the Anime Music Tourney is the inability to make people discuss the thing before just voting on whatever. It’s half the reason I troll there, but more importantly it’s clear at this point that a lot of voters just don’t know all the songs, and have little incentive to know by this point of the game as every song remaining has been up for votes several times already. There’s nothing they can even do to read about the songs before voting on it, unless they take it upon themselves to do the research. And like that is going to happen.

Well, it could. I just think that is kind of besides the point. It’s like trying to find out why two anime are different without watching them.

The blog comment is just a terrible format for multi-branching discussion, I’m sure some would agree… So instead I will run through some info.

As of the quarterfinals, the top 6 seeded/ranked songs are present. The others are a 9th rank and a 58th rank. At 25% this is pretty much within a standard deviation or so, but since we have only 8 slots, it’s not a meaningful comparison. It’s kind of neat to see we arrive at 25% at all given how low this percentage was earlier in the game. Which is to say, well, yeah, the people who are voting are still the same people who are nominating. Which is also to say if you picked your bracket based on rank, you would do very well. Reading the bracket results, it seems people generally get the idea with only a couple people not having a horse at all for the final 4. I am kind of glad that Secret Base lost, so there’s that. Also if Challonge support 2^n-1 scoring system, I think we might actually have a real contest, as in it’s entirely possible for the current first-place individual to lose.

Anyway.

So, a toast to classic anisong old fogie BigN, a little drill-down for our quarterfinalists.

Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari vs My Soul, Your Beats

Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari is a pretty neat song from 2009. It being seeded at number one is not a big surprise to me, even if I fail to predict most of these other ones. But what I fail to predict is that it’s this popular. I know both ryo and Yanagi Nagi are tops, I own their CDs. The song has its own Wikipedia entry (Magia being the only other in the QF). Kids dig this stuff. Heck, it’s kind of the idea behind my latest fave fhana, once you remove ryo’s impeccable arrangements and add more soul to it.

And that’s kind of the thing. It feels like Miku. Which isn’t a slight at all, but it’s distinctly lacking some of the qualities that I enjoy in pop music (I really dig Michie M’s latest album, for an example of this). This quality is made up by the fact that it has a pretty kickass use in a neat anime, however. Disclosure: It’s on my PMP pretty much all the time.

My Soul, Your Beats is the quintessential Angel Beats theme song. I am going to assume Jun Maeda and Lia came together to create something closer to what you hear from earlier entrant Tori no Uta, except with less of a low-budget, trance assembly touch. Why would they want to do that? Well I guess people like it. Also, it makes a rocking arrangement with a few changes. It also sounds just like Toki o Kizamu Uta but you already know this right?

Prediction: My Soul, Your Beats has an awkward melody that is hard to execute. It takes a Lia or LiSA to do it right, and honestly I’m not sure if this crowd appreciate this kind of thing. Supercell wins.

Toki o Kizamu Uta vs. Wareta Ringo

Skipping around a bit, Toki o Kizamu Uta is actually just like My Soul, Your Beats, being the only other song with the exact same singer, composer, arranger and lyricist. It’s got more of tha tfancy arrangement people like from ryo’s style, which is probably why it got this far. Also, the CLANNAD MAN CAN? I don’t even want to know. For me, the buck stopped when Lia did Tori no Uta. From that point on it’s really just the same old thing with better arrangements and presentations. Nakige is nakige is nakige. Disclosure: it’s one of the ringtones I carry around (and only used as an alarm clock tone).

Wareta Ringo is actually the odd one out of this group, being by far the newest song (full version was out only in 2013). I’m disappointed at the full version mainly because it sounds as if someone stitched 2 copes of the TV cut together. It doesn’t diminish how the original version is poignant and beautiful, if too simplistic. Could really be arranged better. It’s also a little one-note. Anyway I don’t want to pick too much into it. Rather, it’s kind of just a flaw of the tournament structure with how various versions were managed. It think if we do this again, there are a lot of things which could be done a lot better. For a debut seiyuu type, Wareta Ringo is a really solid hit. Taneda Risa, what’s she done since? It’s too early to say, and I think it boils down to the solid anime the show came from. Solid by some estimation–my reaction is decidedly mixed, despite really enjoying the setting and the end. I guess Wareta Ringo’s success and popularity boils down to “All’s well that ends well.” Disclosure: On my PMP.

Prediction: Depends on purely how many fans of Shin Sekai Yori. I don’t really see anyone voting it beyond the anime, besides a few people who dig guitar picking. Toki o Kizamu Uta is just a more well-rounded song. But this is where Jun Maeda helps as much as he hurts. In TBN terms, I call this a push. If I had my way both songs would lose but alas. If we go by seed, Wareta Ringo is ranked 4 places under Toki o Kizamu Uta, so there you have it.

I mean, if there is a BIAS in the music selection by nomination, you can’t get a more clear indication when you listen to seed #1 and #2. I guess we should’ve known earlier.

Tank vs. Lion

I enjoy Tank. It’s probably a small understatement but there’s just too much history I have with the song. I am pretty sick and tired of the song at this point. When Yoko Kanno played it at Otakon I was glad because it’s a frigging piano-only rendition and gosh, it just sounds different without the brass. Which is great, because that really gets old. And I still like What Planet Is This more. It’s also sufficiently bebop enough to escape the problem most people have with jazz, I think, which partly contribute to its approaching-timelessness. I think ultimately this is a case where the song is good, inoffensive, no Japanese lyrics to weird people out, and comes from a great anime. And if you didn’t know, Tank is the oldest song in the QF.

[Note that this YT video has over 2.5 million views, which is probably more views than all the YT videos of all the other songs I linked combined.]

Lion is best contrasted with Tank as works from a new phase in Yoko Kanno’s career. It’s written, composed and arranged by the same (LOL Gabby Robin) and it really shows. To talk about the definitive version, it’s the duet between Sheryl and Ranka. It’s also best to look at it as the opening act of a musical that is Macross Frontier in disguise. Well, it’s the second OP, but that’s where things are in high gear. I think you have to listen and understand the duet version of What ’bout My Star? to really fully get this song…or watch Macross Frontier, for that matter. It’s not unusual for songs to be written for an anime at least via the lyrics, and it’s not even that unusual for songs to be created for the anime from scratch, but Macross Frontier and its music are one and the same. It’s pretty obvious that the composer is picked as a core part of the project so she can contribute to how it shapes, which is really unusual.

The difference that I was referring to earlier is that Kanno has moved into a role of producer. She has produced stuff in her earlier days, no doubt, but Tank is a much more pure product of a soundtrack, and Lion is, well, a mainline, mainstream pop song. It’s a different way of approaching music, its context and role, and how to present it. (Aside: this is why Maaya Sakamoto fared so poorly in this tournament–a shock in a way, but I think this is the reason.)

Prediction: Tank. Just because AniOST nerds don’t appreciate pop music as witnessed by this entire tournament (unless it’s like, omg, supercell piano soloooo). Disclosure: I only have Lion on my PMP right now, but I always copy a bootleg of Supersonic Tanabata on my PMP so I guess I have Tank (and another copy of Lion) there too. It’s a disclaimer of sorts also to note that I’ve heard both songs live, so that … cancels things out? More like brag point AMIRITE.

Hacking to the Gate vs. Magia

Say what you want, Chiyomaru is one of the most talented producers in the anime-manga-game space today. Also, anyone went to Backstage Pass? Want to relay the stories you have to share? Joke aside, Hacking to the Gate is pretty much where a singer-gunslinger put on her blasters and shot the moon. It isn’t a pretty job but Kanako Itou does a very thorough job emoting the nuances to arguably a fan-favorite OP. Well, like Maeda, Chiyomaru has a goal and goes for it, and this song does a good job of it. I don’t have a good grasp on Hacking to the Gate but it is a lot of fun to listen to live and at home.

Coming into the tournament I thought Kalafina/FJ will dominate because they’re always kind of popular with the AniOST crowd, so it’s with mixed feelings that I see Magia at the QF. It’s good because it probably deserves to be here as a representative of the Kajiura-Kalafina oeuvre, but if we had half as many of these entries at the round 1 level we could’ve have had a much more educational and diverse group of songs in the tournament. I mean, I hate to say it, but Kajiura’s music do sound the same! So why bother with so many entries?

The Madoka hype is unavoidable. Magia is dark and fierce and runs like a deer across a dark back-country road. Deer because it is a little messy if you ran into one, and also it’s pretty slim and graceful, not so much like most other animals you may run over. I’m just glad there is only ONE Madoka song in the QF so we don’t end up like Saimoe 2013. Hah. For what it’s worth, my favorite Madomagi Kalafina track is Mirai, with the caveat that I’m pretty sheltered from Madoka Rebellion so this is subject to change.

Prediction: I think and hope Magia will win. I think Hacking to the Gate is great anison, but Magia is just better. Kajiura is much better at actually producing music, even if Chiyomaru may be the better idol/franchise Producer. Disclaimer: I probably have a copy of Magia on my PMP because it’s in the last Kalafina album. And luckily I have heard both songs live (neither were performed with a live band, which I felt is also important enough to note). Also this is the only upset I’m predicting, because Magia is 5 and Hacking to the Gate is 4. Not really an upset in my book…

… And that’s that. Go vote! You have until Saturday night midnight Pacific time!

PS. Sprinter is still the best Kalafina song. The. Best. It’s hard to understand it unless you’ve heard it live, I think.

PPS. Yes I’m still thinking about loot for bracket winner. Maybe I’ll just give in and reward also the 2nd place winner. Let’s see.


7 Responses to “Animusictourney, Quarter Finals”

  • DarkFireBlade25

    Bleh, if only Sky Clad Observer was the anime opening for Steins;Gate. Hacking into the Gate just feel like it is in the uncanny zone of not as good as it but not bad either, but the comparison is there. Oh well, I suppose.

    I’m actually very, very surprised with wareta ringo. I didn’t think it would fit most of the english speaking anime space’s tastes considering what got in front before.

  • Chris Siebenmann

    I’m kind of puzzled here, so I’ll put it as a question: why should people necessarily be reading about the background of the songs before voting? The polls have always asked simply ‘which song do you like better?’, not ‘which song do you think is better’ or anything stronger (which simplified my voting life a fair bit). Background may play into what (some) people like more but it also may not.

    (It definitely hasn’t for me. I’ve voted purely on which song I like hearing more.)

    • omo

      Hmm, to answer your question in a direct way, it is because the point of the exercise is not just to have a bunch of people vote. It’s so people can be exposed to the music. Listening to it is the first step and really probably the only “should.” Everything else is gravy (including the voting part).

      In my opinion music by itself is not the complete mode of its consumption, so reading about it or knowing some background to the songs, to me, goes with “listening” as a part of the whole package.

    • Chris Siebenmann

      Perhaps it’s showing my out-of-touchness that I’ve just been assuming that most people listened to the songs before voting (or at least listened to anything they weren’t already familiar with); after all, the music is conveniently right there and they’re pretty much all nice songs. Probably this is way too optimistic of me. I don’t suppose there’s any way to get ‘how many plays’ information for the embedded songs on the voting pages?

      (And I suppose not everyone will be voting in a situation where they can listen to music; I’m lucky there.)

      As to the mode of consumption, we’ll probably have to agree to disagree there. For me the music is it and knowing about the background and the artist involved can actually be a turn-off (creators are not always nice people who make things for high-minded reasons that I approve of). For anime/jpop/etc I find that often I don’t even want to know what the lyrics mean because they can be, well, uninspiring.

    • omo

      I don’t even think we disagree here. It’s more about modes of consumption. You are saying it should fit a certain role, and to that end I don’t really disagree because that’s about as much engagement you have with it. But to me that is also insulting and demeaning and all that–it certainly isn’t what you SHOULD be doing.

      Your point about lyrics is pretty much what I’m getting at. It’s obviously a part of the song and in some cases very important. But if you want to ignore it, that’s fine. But I think clearly it’s better to actually know more about the songs so you can understand it (and more importantly, evaluate it) better.

      But ignorance is bliss and all that.

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