Listening to the new El Cazador soundtrack reminds me how Yuki Kajiura can hit left and feint right. But after doing it so many times, I no longer care about the feinting as much as how she does it. And oddly enough she only impressed me once since Aquarian Age TV, in Mai-Hime. I still don’t quite get why people get so riled up about her .Hack or Xenosaga, for praise or scorn.
But listening to Naoki Satou? It’s totally like a 10yr old listening to John William for the first time. And so far, every time. It’s not that he does anything really original or anything like that, but ever since I first heard him through X TV‘s soundtracks, it feels at first so powerful, that like Kajiura’s earlier works, the music drives the imagery by itself. We don’t need anime or animation to tell a story, if it’s going to be like that.
But unlike MADLAX’s “lol still pan + YAMANI” nonsense that lots of Kajiura fans like, different directors did it differently with Naoki Satou. X was probably a more conventional take about sweeping destinies crossed in a forest of revenge, much like Noir. And the musical presentation came across similarly. But not so in Eureka 7.
Eureka 7 was the place where I first took a good and hard look at his stuff. It was incredible at times, but yet it left a weak impression. Maybe it has to do with how musically Eureka 7 was all over the place, or maybe because the direction was trying to tell a story about people instead of trying to present a moving slide show with a nice soundtrack. The soundtrack albums themselves were epic enough but it didn’t quite give off that orange, legendary glow.
It is much like The Heroic Age. The two soundtracks for the show that are out now helped me understand a bit better what I’m experiencing. As far as music in the show goes, unlike E7, Heroic Age was mostly typical of “lol grand space epic” sort of thing. Some of the main themes and pieces that are repeated on the soundtrack got a lot of prominent use in the show. Some of the music stood out but it wasn’t remarkable. Yet listening to the soundtrack themselves tells a different, similar, but much more engaging epic. The music definitely does not go all over the place like E7 but yet listening to the album arrangements was just a delight.
In fact, it makes me sort of sad that so much of the great stuff from the second OST is just obscured by the silly show, and sort of wished that a show with slow-moving space battles and lofty racial politics can afford some stillness and sing us a few new tunes. The key is in the arrangement, I guess.
The Heroic Age has fast moving space battles as well, so that might be what’s taking up all the sound space? Maybe Naoki Satou needs to write for the next Simoun-like show. That’ll be beyond legendary.