Influence of Classical Music in Anime

Anime is a wonderful form of art and artistic expression, and it has been said before that Anime is essentially a collection of many different art forms collaborating to make one unique, individual form of art. The genre of Anime aside, each production and creation of separate Anime’s or individual episodes is an art form in-itself, no matter how grand or poor the outcome. There are many different aspects of Anime that draw international fanbases, from animation style, to story-plot, to character design(s). However If you’re a devote fan of Anime, then it is very likely you are just as fanatic of the marvelous musical production that can make all the difference in the final product of an Anime. “Sound production” is yet another art form that heightens the artistic approach and final product of Anime (or any type of film/movie for that matter). Sound production in Anime actually encompasses all aspects of sound within Anime including: Voice acting , soundtracks and opening/closing themes, and sound effects/musical scores (background music).

By focusing on the specific impact of classical music in Anime production, I briefly examine the complex musical production process of how our favorite Anime’s create the wonderful sounds and music that enhances our theatrical experience. In Anime, classical music from legends such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and more have made appearances or been central parts of various Anime films and series. The influence of classical music in anime soundtracks and musical scores has been tremendous in the creation of Anime soundtracks and music, from the use of classical instruments to designing the music/soundtrack style around a classical music “vibe”. Fullmetal Alchemist musical composers Akira Senju/Michiru Ōshima and Assassination Classroom’s musical composer Naoki Satō are prime examples of this. Not to mention Yoko Kanno.

Several Anime have been created with heavy classical music themes about music and musicians. A list of several shows like these from different time periods is in the video below.

With classical music in Anime, it is often used during specific scenes to set or compliment the mood or setting of the scene, although it may also be a major component of the OST too. Adaptations of classical music have been made for Anime soundtracks as well, such as “Lord Orochimarus Theme” by Toshio Masuda in the hit show Naruto, which takes a small portion of the famous classical piece Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, and creates a very impactful song in the series. The best explanation of the use of classical music in film is best described in the video below, “This is what classical music does best, it helps build a style (mood, setting) and whatever the style ends up being is up to the creators to figure out”.

I hope you have enjoyed my view on the influence of classical music in Anime, and I plan to further explore this topic in the remaining semester. I also plan on discussing further Sound Production processes in more posts to come, so until then, stay tuned!

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