Well, to do this right let’s get some facts out there first.
1. Eminence is the premier, world-wide, anime/game orchestra in that for this purpose they have came together to perform. At least that’s how they hold themselves out to be. First in the market? In any event, despite their hokey website you can find out more about them using the usual means. Like, Eminence is actually short for Eminence Symphony Orchestra.
2. They are based in Australia. Yea, sort of far away–but the good thing is probably just that; it’s cheaper to raise a pool of international musicians in Australia than in Japan (or even in the US)? And it’s not too bad to travel to Japan or other east Asia locations for their shows, if you’re already on that side of Earth.
3. Actually what’s more notable for me is that Eminence is a high profile group that would play anime music. Game music has gotten its spotlight and is still getting more, but outside of Japan I’m out of luck with those nice, Kanno-esqe BGMs short of something like the RO2 show in Korea…or an Eminence performance.
Still, that leaves us American sods in the dust, until now anyways. We were lucky to have PLAY and the FF concert series, for whatever that’s worth. I do think the geek market is ready to support this kind of thing. So was Otakon 2007 responsive?
In short, yes.
I’ll say this, now that I’ve gotten home from Otakon: the actual playing was rather lackluster because of various reasons–atmosphere, level of expectation, fatigue, lack of practice, windy stage…and so on. But what really hits home isn’t that they’re capable of, but what they actually do! A bit of show and tell? Some preliminary videos on youtube for your sampling.
This one really got me going: Hisaishi’s Kimi wo Nosete from Castle in the Sky. Of course all of their Hisaishi pieces are home runs, even if they’re rough from having to reduce the arrangement to fit what they have. The Legend of Ashitaka is a good example, from Mononoke Hime.
I’m not a huge Kajiura fan, but it might work for you. They performed quite a few pieces from her. Most memorable for me was canta per me, and their rearranged version of Anna ni issho Datta no ni from Gundam Seed.
But what really did me in was Eminence’s rendition of “Beyond the Clouds” from…yep, you may have guessed it – Makoto Shinkai’s Beyond the Clouds, a Place Promised. Tenmon is really, by all means, an indie composer who works the otaku circles. To pick a song from them really means something–not only it’s a beautiful piece, but it’s the kind of thing that sets your emotions aflame, knowing where your weak spot and punch it with super professional symphonic powers!
Thankfully that wasn’t all there is to them. This crowd also knows how to have fun too.
Anyways, that’s it for Otakon 2007. For you that just means you’ll have to suffer a week or two more of me talking about it on the blog, LOL.
Oh, before I forget, a tentative play list. This is from memory and I definitely missed a few (which are noted). There were no official set list because they didn’t get it together until LAST NIGHT. Help me fill it in? You can find a thread here (some anecdotes included during the MC session. Most notable to me is how Eminence’s recording session was LOL geek when Sakimoto showed some of the footage to the orchestra ahead of time, where as a normal orchestra would sit in silence.). And here for panel stuff.
2. Romeo x Juliet song (??)
3. Canta per me (Noir – Anime)
4. Not sure where this is from
5. Odin Sphere Main Theme
6. Mononoke Hime theme
7. Laputa theme (Kimi wo nosete)
8. Totoro theme
9. Ferris Wheel – Lia, composed by Sakimoto.
9. Romeo x Juliet song – They gave the title but I can’t remember, it sounded like Orgesomething.
10. Anna ni Issho Datta no ni
11. Beyond the Clouds (Tenmon, from Shinkai’s film)
12. Romeo x Juliet Song
13. Romeo x Juliet Song
14. Romeo x Juliet Song
15. Hako no niwa (Rakugaki Oukoku 2)
16. Can’t remember
17. Thanatos (Evangelion)
19. Radical Dreamers.
20. Super Mario Brothers medley
21. Scars of Time (CC)