Monday, March 12

What I've Been Listening To: Geek Edition

Some of my friends think I'm really into anime, and no matter how I try to explain to them that I'm not really into anime, they don't believe me.
Honestly they have no reason to.
I read too many cosplay blogs, have too many pictures saved on my hard drive, and know too much about the genre/culture to get away with saying "I'm not really into anime."
I like it, okay? I started watching Toonami in the sixth grade never really grew out of that phase of my life. I spent whole summers roleplaying as my favorite characters in AOL chatrooms (I miss this so much!) and the first things I ever downloaded were AMVs (I remember exactly what they were!). My mother very graciously took me and a friend to Anime Weekend Atlanta one year, and any artistic skill I have today was honed by fanart. I can still draw every single Sailor Senshi from memory.
I'm 25 now and while I don't spend my every cent on manga or rare UFO dolls, I do still like the genre and often get a little fangirl itch for cons and cosplay and sweet, sweet merchandise. Keeping all this in mind, this post is by far the geekiest thing I have ever done. Even geekier than my short-lived seventh grade mailing list The Sunday Shoujo.

This is one of the first songs from an anime title that I really enjoyed. I probably had it on my brick of an mp3 player for years. Despite the song, I didn't like Iria: Zeiram the Animation. It's about a really cool alien, but was overall too action-based for my taste.

I first heard this song, the Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (the show's fifth season) opening, on a $25 VHS fansub I bought at my local comic shop. It was a really terrible bootleg and my dad was horrified that I would spend $25 (a small fortune for a 12 year old) on a video tape that was clearly made by some fanboy in a basement. Little did he know that this song alone made that purchase worthwhile.

Serial Experiments Lain is another show I wasn't really a fan of, but I really like the opening song. Fun fact: The gal singing, Korean pop star BoA, has the same birthday as I do.

I also did not love The Vision of Escaflowne (it went from a cool tarot card fantasy into something about bureaucracy and robots), but this song was so good that I went out and spent probably $30 on an import CD of the soundtrack. Yoko Kanno, who is renowned for being an amazing composer and musician, worked on this one.

I started watching Chobits, a show about a mystical robot (seriously) a few years ago. It was cute, fun and kind of slice-of-lifey, which I enjoy, but I never finished it because it started to turn into something about the Internet and evil robots. The first opening song will always be cute and fun, though.

Despite not caring for Cowboy Bebop, I have seen every episode. In high school I would leave Adult Swim on all night until I got sleepy. This song reminds me of staying up late and chatting with boys on the Internet. The opening song is pretty awesome, too. This is another OST produced by Yoko Kanno.

Finally a show I enjoyed all the way through! Lovely Complex is about a tall girl and a short boy who fall in love. It's cute, funny, and totally made me cry. I have no idea what they're saying in this song, but it really touches my inner boy band fan.

I've talked about this show before, but it bears repeating: I love Kuragehime. A bunch of socially outcast geek girls form a bond with the beautiful, crossdressing son of a rich politician and fight for their right to live like nuns. Obviously I love it. The opening sequence is really fun to watch (lots of pop culture references), plus the song is nice. The closing song is also great.

A few weeks ago I finally saw Kiki's Delivery Service in the original Japanese. Disney usually does a pretty good job dubbing Studio Ghibli films (and the dub of Kiki's was one of Phil Hartman's last roles! He voiced the cat.), but they often try to scrub all of the Japanese out of them to make them more palatable to American children. Removing this song from the beginning of the movie was a crime.
Ghibli movies always have great soundtracks because, for the most part, they are done by Joe Hisaishi. I regularly listen to music from My Neighbor Totoro and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind while practicing yoga. It's that good.

Susumu Hirasawa did a lot of the music for Satoshi Kon, who wrote really amazing and weird things before he died. Paprika was an absolutely gorgeous movie and you should really check it out if you haven't yet. I highly recommend it for stoners. Highly. Kon's highlight reel also includes Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent, which are much more creepy and dark than Paprika, but also have great music.

FLCL is a weird show enjoyed by anime fans and normal people alike. From what I understand, the show was created by a bunch of animators who wanted to do something fun and different to blow off some steam. In typical Gainax fashion, I have no idea what this show is about (A robot? Baseball? A factory?), but what I and everyone else ever loved was the music. The show heavily featured music by rock band The Pillows, and honestly, the use of the band and how good they are was vindicating for me and probably a lot of other anime fans. As someone who was once made fun of for singing the Ranma 1/2 theme on a school bus, FLCL and The Pillows make me feel like I was just ahead of the curve the whole time.

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