It’s more entertaining than you may think. It definitely makes you wanna watch more. There is absolutely a lot of work put into it. And it all shows…
DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers ahead. May also contain eggs, milk, soy, nuts and the tears of your enemies.
The Opening Theme. A motif that makes all the difference. “No.7” by Jibaku Shounen Band
During my teen years, one of my ‘main’ music genres of choice was metal and subsequently, quite a lot of its subgenres. Nu never was my jam, really, so I kinda skipped it as a whole. Well, SOAD was kind of an exception but only to the level of merely knowing a few of their songs. But the thing is that if you take a slightly closer look into metal and hip-hop, there is more in common than you may think. So, it started growing on me, not only to the point where I don’t hit the little X button at the top right corner of my browser or tab or whatever, I actually enjoy what I’m listening to. Well yes, I’m quite picky with my music… Obviously.
This opening features all the good elements of its influences. It starts off with a tiny intro in the lines of ‘background blahs’ but then it goes straight to the main point. And I really, really enjoy the motif, the fact that it starts on a weak beat and that it ends with triplets. And don’t get me started with the instruments… It just rocks.
Another thing I enjoy quite a bit is the witty use of the dissonant sound of a tone, played and sustained by two different guitar strings. That’s on 00:16 and 00:26. And the thing is that the first third of the OP is instruments only. Which means that the escalation becomes steadier and more distinct.
The second 30″ section is the ‘narrating the story’ bit that keeps a low profile, but leaves room for development and in turn leads us to the action. Now, the chorus takes a J-pop kind of turn, which holds everything together. What could possibly be a better way to wrap things up, other than repeating the catchy motif?
OST first impressions. by Takaki Hiroshi
We have an introduction to the story that is narrated by a harpsichord, which is accompanied by VST strings from a point onwards. But the cherry on top, is nothing other than Hanako’s reply “ha-a-i” by vocalizing F-Eb-F. Well, if a ghost replied to my calls, I most definitely wouldn’t want him/her to reply by (almost) singing. That would give me the creeps, just like it gave our co-star, Nene. Well, isn’t that attention to detail. And the lead out of the scene is quite an ascending sequence spanning four octaves. And its role is none other than increasing the stress and suspense while our protagonist, Hanako-kun is introducing himself.
The highlights of the OST, then… I found the instrumentation fitting with the theme and context of the story. I really liked the arpeggios, that were used in quite a few instances and in a number of different ways. There was romanticism, playfulness, simplicity and perhaps even some negativity with a hint of regret. This is achieved by choosing the right instruments combined with the use of appropriate articulation in each occasion.
But that’s not all. Also, featured are the accordion-xylophone combo, plus some bells along with various other percussion instruments thrown in there.
The soundtrack as a whole seems to be following a baroque-inspired phrasing and development which shows throughout. Obviously, it’s not some out-of-the-box thinking, but it definitely helps in building the acoustic profile of each and every character and of course, the setting.
Now, for the action track. I really like how its motif is short and sweet, with an ascending pattern and gets repeated throughout but doesn’t become tiring. I like how an additional voice that plays the original motif is added on top of the existing one a third (as in the interval of a third) apart, which makes the scene more stressful. But to me, the best part is when the main motif becomes the rhythmic accompaniment and on top we are presented with the real melody. I’ll stop writing here, as I’ll hit play again. Do the same, you won’t miss out. Check out the fight scene… Well, while you’re at it, check out the entire thing…
How could this not form good impressions? The directing, the voice acting, the casting, the sound effects, the mixing, the instrumentation, the arrangement, the vibe created around each and every scene that is complimented by the mood set because of the composition… What’s not to enjoy?
Find Takaki Hiroshi here:
The Ending Theme. A bittersweet smile. “Tiny Light” by Kito Akari
The ending theme is performed by singer and seiyuu Kito Akari, who gives her voice to Nene from Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, as well as Iwanaga Kotoko from In/Spectre. The voice part pairs really well with the piano and creates a symbiosis of two contradicting emotions; melancholy and optimism. And perhaps this is why this ending theme gives me a slice of life vibe. But that’s exactly what makes the auditory profile of the anime a whole lot brighter. As for the background, the harmonic progression puts to the foreground some really nice colors in certain parts, which add some complexity to the composition.
TL;DR (I know Hanako-kun isn’t ‘hot’ right now, but I liked it…)
- More or less, everything falls into the cliché category. However, everything is really well executed.
- I like that the voice actors are featured in the OP and ED themes.
- It definitely exceeded my expectations.