I wouldn’t have known where to start if I hadn’t refreshed my memory with all the well-known and the lesser-known songs of both artists. Truth is that I prefer the sound of Ryokuoushoku Shakai, the artist featured in the ending theme of this season’s second half. I really enjoy listening to warm low vocals coming from an alto’s comfortable range. But more of that later… I kept thinking what kind of turn this arc would take and I knew that a calmer sound would make sense. It’s not just the calm that comes before the storm; this is the calm that comes after it has passed…
DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers ahead. May also contain eggs, milk, soy, nuts and the tears of your enemies.
The Opening Theme. A laid back vibe or the POV of a shoujo? “Star Marker” by KANA-BOON
Good, good, good. It’s time for the main dish… This time, it’s something refreshing and light that makes you feel contempt. It’s almost too optimistic and upbeat. And there’s this kind of arrangement that includes the piano in a way where it emits this slice of life vibe. If I knew about Boku no Hero Academia but didn’t follow the latest season, I wouldn’t have guessed that it would have an OP with this kind of jumpy/skippy quality. Of course, it makes perfect sense when thinking that it comes after a spectacular battle with a big win and an equally big loss. So it had to be something with a more laid back vibe. Our heroes are children after all. They need some time to relax and quite frankly, all of us do too. I’m about to sidetrack again, so I’m doing my best to stop myself. It’s a no brainer that I have to mention at this point Naruto’s opening theme, “Silhouette”. That’s the sound of a shounen anime, isn’t it? “Star Marker” on the other hand, gave me this gender neutrality, with quite a lot of feminine elements. Now, the turn is during the pre-chorus, where we get into the manlier and more self-reflecting auditory territory. In the visuals, it’s when we see Todoroki-kun and Kacchan. In the sound, it’s when we stop listening to the cymbals. What brings this duality together is our protagonist, Midoriya who gives us this steadiness and resolve that pairs rather well with the re-introduction of the cymbals and the steadily ascending line of the vocals.
Yeah, right… but what about the action? The way I see it, there will be action. There will most likely be something more light-hearted. Perhaps something in the lines of the tournament of a couple of seasons back. Perhaps some happy and laid back fan-service?
Fine, but what what about the highlight of the song? The highlight is how well it managed to capture the profile of the second part of season 4. And don’t start thinking “yeah, but you’re a girl, how could you possibly know?”. Rest assured… my tastes in anime fall on the masculine side of the spectrum…
The Ending Theme. Back to our usual vibe… “Shout Baby” by Ryokuoushoku Shakai
Following from where I left off the introduction, I was expecting the ending theme to have a bigger punch and give us the sound we are used to listening when thinking of Boku no Hero Academia. This is a more classic super hero song, with more compact dynamism that is emitted from start to finish. This dynamism came though the long in duration and high in register notes of the vocals. Again, we are hit with a reflective essence that exists in the background. But the prominent features of the ending theme are the really, really catchy synth sound we hear during the first few seconds, the classic vibe and structure of this kind of J-Pop, the usual resolve of our protagonists and the more compact arrangement that almost makes it catch the viewers’ attention as if it were an OP. Not to mention… what an emotionally strong way to end the visual sequence. Making Midoriya say kawaritai [to change, to be transformed].
TL;DR (It’s MHA, I know you have read it…)
- The OP is not as exciting as usual, which is a nice breeze of fresh air between all the fighting and all the bad guys.
- I really enjoy listening to Nagaya Haruko’s voice, the singer of Ryokuoushoku Shakai.
- I was expecting the high notes in the ending theme and I got really happy when I heard them. The ending was definitely better than what I expected and my expectations were high.