I need some coffee.
It seems that I’ve been slacking on the blog these past few… months. Let’s fix that shall we?
Welcome back folks. Here again with the Top 1000 anime songs list, a regular feature since the start of this blog back in July of 2016. These list of 1000 songs has been split into mini-parts which have themes (an idea I came up with because otherwise it might be a bit of a mess, although that will still most likely remain the case). For an update on the list entries up to this point, visit the Top 1000 Songs page of the blog.
Today, I have another show-based list. This time, I’m doing all songs from the Trigun soundtracks!
First, some background. I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to try it this time and eventually make it a more regular thing. Let me know what you think.
Trigun was the brainchild of Yasuhiro Nightow back in 1995. It started life as a manga, published in the “not long for this world” Shonen Captain magazine. It reached 3 collected volumes before the magazine was discontinued in 1997. The manga continued when publishers at Shonen Gahosha approached Nightow in 1998 about working for their seinen magazine, Young King Ours. Trigun was continued as Trigun Maximum, and the story skips forward two years and the overall tone darkens. The 14th and final volume of Maximum was published in 2008, with multiple re-releases being done in various languages by companies such as Dark Horse Comics. Trigun‘s manga was adapted to anime in 1998 by Madhouse and directed by Satoshi Nishimura. While the initial Japanese broadcast on TV Tokyo failed to reach a large audience, the response in America was far better after it was aired on Cartoon Network in 2003.
Now for the business. Music. The soundtrack for the show was produced by Tsuneo Imahori, one of the lesser known but very talented anime music composers. Imahori has worked on shows like Hajime ni Ippo, Wolf’s Rain and Gungrave. The soundtrack for Trigun was split into 2 CD’s, Trigun: The First Donuts and Trigun: The 2nd Donut Happy Pack. There was a 3rd CD Spicy Stewed Donut released only in the US.
And now, to the songs!
UPDATED: I am now adding some more songs, this time with explanation only when I think it’s necessary!
#890. “NO-BEAT” performed by Dr. Donuts
#889. “BIG BLUFF” performed by Dr. Donuts
Tsuneo Imahori’s music is very much based on and around the main guitar line. Much like other anime composers such as Nujabes and Taniuchi Hideki, both of whom are also favorites of mine, Imahori’s work begins with a simple theme or line of notes and is then developed, branched off of and resolved into a song.
In the case of Imahori, he tends to stray further from the main theme faster than either Nujabes or Taniuchi Hideki. This probably has to do with his concentration on a single instrument and his creativity with that sound. He really knows how to use the guitar to its highest potential and he will milk its sound for everything it has. This gives him freedom that other composers might not have.
We see the experimentation with the flute mostly in this song. It acts as the creative outlet around a constant guitar line. However, the guitar line also begins to stray off it’s beaten path, although it does return to the main theme to resolve at the end.
#888. “BLOOD AND THUNDER” performed by Dr. Donuts
Again, we see Imahori’s creativity with the guitar to create this wonderfully wandering guitar line that holds a constant line that ground the song and allows the other instruments to be creative. This time, we get more of an idea of the wideness of the musical repertoire. We have a crazier electric guitar line, there is a variety of percussion, and the synth begins to change.
Overall, this song does a lot for me in terms of helping to complement the desert atmosphere of the show. A lot of the earlier portions of the show take place outside in sun baked desert locales. This song really makes me think of the retro car drives through the desert landscape.
#887. “KNIVES” performed by Dr. Donuts
SORTA, KINDA SPOILERS UP AHEAD. “Knives” is the name of the main antagonist of the show. So when I listened to this song on the soundtrack, I was thinking that it was a song that was meant to encapsulate the feelings which that character portrays.
However, after listening to it, I really hope that this was not the intention. And from the moments in the show when I remember this song being used, it doesn’t seem to be. “Knives” served as BGM for some of the more higher energy fight sequences in the show. The run-and-gun fight sequences are reminiscent of Old West movies mixed with a kind of new-age steampunk vibe when the strange tech gets involved. For that purpose, this song does a really good job of being energetic enough to compliment a fast-paced fight sequence, but not loud or distracting enough to divert any attention away from the visual aspect. Two check marks, two thumbs-up.
#886. “BLUE FUNK” performed by Dr. Donuts
Trigun as a show behaves, at least early on, like any of those daily or weekly serialized Old West shows that used to air all those years ago. Shows like Gunsmoke or Rawhide or Bonanza or Bat Masterson, all of these shows had a beginning, middle and end in each episode. There’s an intro to the important details, we meet our main characters who learn of the problem to be resolved, it gets resolved, end and credits. Trigun has more than a few of these kinds of episodes, and the similarities are much more striking as the settings are often reminiscent of the aforementioned shows.
More evidence of this can be seen in the soundtrack, such as this song “BLUE FUNK”. This song is most definitely the kind of song which backs the ending of an episode, as everyone recaps the hi-jinks that have occurred. This song serves that exact purpose in this show as well, although there is another song on the soundtrack which also serves that purpose.
#885. “PHILOSOPHY in a Tea Cup” performed by Dr. Donuts
Upon first listen, this song sounds a lot like a later song on this soundtrack “Stories to Tell”, a song which, while nice, is a bit too boring and uncharacteristic when taken with the content of the show (that includes the much lighter parts). “Stories to Tell” just didn’t do anything for me, and the beginning I thought that the same would be true for “PHILOSOPHY in a Tea Cup”. However, about 30 seconds in, my mind was changed. Suddenly, we got this basic piano transforming into a lounge piece accompanied by a cello, cymbals and rushing drumkit SFX. It became a much more interesting sound overall, and something that made me think of the quick nature of the transitions from peacefulness to heart beating action in the show. However, it doesn’t degenerate into hardcore action either. It turns into a Bossa piece with a major chord progression, and the lightheartedness is maintained throughout.
#884. “Sound Life ~LEM” performed by AJA
#883. “風は未来に吹く” (Kaze wa mirai ni fuku, The wind blows to the future) performed by AKIMA & NEOS
This song serves as the ED for the song. It backs a very simple credit sequence showing the brooding figure of Vash the Stampede sitting on a sand dune as the wind blows around. This is definitely the kind of song that only I would like. It is horribly repetitive in terms of instrumental and vocal structure, but the “gimmick” as it were is endearing to me. That is really all I need. Objectively, there shouldn’t be much to this song, but it’s heart, tone and idiosyncrasies reach out to me and attract my attention. This is the case for many a strange song which only I like.
#882. “H.T” performed by Dr. Donuts
After all these years, I still don’t know what the hell “H.T” means. And I’m not sure I care. It’s the opening theme and it’s probably the most iconic part of the show. There is really not much too it. There’s just a simple guitar riff with high energy and screaming, with creative percussion in the background. It’s fun and effective.
#881. “Never could have been worse” performed by Dr. Donuts
#880. “YELLOW ALERT” performed by Dr. Donuts
#879. “Perfect Night” performed by Dr. Donuts
#878. “Nerve Rack” performed by Dr. Donuts
#877. “Zero Hour” performed by Dr. Donuts
#876. “The lowdown” performed by Dr. Donuts
So I think “Zero Hour” and “The lowdown” really do a lot to make it clear to the audience watching the show that at some point Trigun changed. In much the same way that Maximum the Hormone made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Death Note was never going to be the same again after their opening. However, unlike with Death Note where the show proceeded to violently circle the drain as the show went on, Trigun‘s evolution was much more interesting to me. Not only did the events begin to change, but so did the world, in small and subtle ways. As the overarching story began to surface, we learn more and more about the world and our main characters, and the past begins to catch up with them. Up to a point, the adventures where high-wheeling, crazy rescue missions or helping good people beat bad people and so on. Now, the truth begins to surface and something akin to a surreal fear begins to settle. These songs do a terrific job of encapsulating the feelings which invade the show as it starts to change from light-hearted fun fest to dark and brooding reality warp.
#875. “Hash Hash” performed by Dr. Donuts
I just like this song because it sounds SO MUCH like a Led Zeppelin song.
#874. “Scattered Rain” performed by Dr. Donuts
With this final song on the list, we get to a tune which uses an instrument to illustrate the evolution of an emotion within people. This song serves as a way to translate the feelings within the characters as they deal with a tragedy, the helplessness they feel, their inability to control their lives, and the eventual resolution of those feelings into a resolve within themselves that they must set in order to move on. All of this in a single song. While we each deal with emotions like these in our own way, the movement from one phase to another and each phase itself is portrayed rather well within this song.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand there you have it. Another part of the list done and out of the way. Thanks again for reading and have a great day!