Very late with this one, as the have already closed, though I was a little busy with other things, namely having a good time at Otakon 2013. That being said, let's get into the swing of things again.
Toki wo Kizamu Uta (CLANNAD After Story OP)
This is a pretty solid song that holds some nostalgia value for me as a song that I could listen to over and over again, which is what I couldn't say with other works for Key shows. Lia's voice works well here, especially in the chorus as it melds well with the hopeful tone of the music, as well as that piano in the background.
You Won't See Me Coming (Gankutsuou ED)
This is probably a song about the Count's role of revenge, and it's very cheesy, which I think works with the show proper. That being said, outside of the show, things don't work quite as swimmingly here, as the track doesn't do much from being to just about the end, and the ending doesn't rescue it, though I can totally imagine the Count singing this with jazz hands, so that's good for something. That revving up during the chorus is fun as well.
WHICH DID I WANT TO WIN: Toki wo Kizamu Uta
WHICH DID I THINK WOULD WIN: Toki wo Kizamu Uta
WHY? Song quality, song style, and ranguage. I think the song being in English will be a knock with some voters. "Toki wo Kizamu Uta" is constructed better in regards to it's competition, and it's more "pleasing" to the ears as well.
Shiki no Uta (Samurai Champloo ED 1)
Jazz + traditional Japanese influenced style makes this song hard to forget, as well as the sing-speaking tone of MINMI. The chorus, and the initial bridge that comes backs and weaves itself through the song takes a simple, interesting track into a magical work. Well, the piano there helps as well.
Boku no Invitation (Polar Bear Cafe OP 1)
This one isn't bad either, and it's choral chorus and driving beat makes this a song I can listen to over and over again. This is nice pop from JP, and it's fun to hear English (words and abbreviations) sprinkled throughout the song.
WHICH DID I WANT TO WIN: Shiki no Uta
WHICH DID I THINK WOULD WIN: Shiki no Uta
WHY? Familiarity and originality: "Boku no Invitation" is a very solid song, but after the initial "this is different" feeling, it's hard not to realize it as another type of pop song that you could hear in other anime works (Take Off from Ao no Exorcist comes to mind). If this song was against a lesser song, I would go for it, but "Shiki no Uta" is unique, and too good as well. It helps that Samurai Champloo is a more recognizable anime at that.
The Light Before We Land (Gunslinger Girl OP)
When the main beat drops after the initial strings and vocal workupgets. Me. Every. Single. Time.Although the song moves back into normal rock fare from that powerful intro, The Delgados do a great job here at keeping the emotion up until the last note.
Poltergeist (Ghost Hound OP)
This gives off a Big Band flare, though the I never actually get that much of taste of it. That said, it is nice and spicy jazz. If you're into that.
WHICH DID I WANT TO WIN: The Light Before We Land
WHICH DID I THINK WOULD WIN: The Light Before We Land
WHY? Familiarity, in both song style and show. "Poltergeist" might be too off the wall for some people to handle. "The Light Before We Land" is familiar territory, but good territory.
No Thank You! (K-On!! ED 2)
This was my favorite of the K-On set of OPs and EDs, as the vocal power of Youko Hikasa matches the intensity that the band can bring at the finest. The buildup into the chorus and then the chorus itself seem darkly exultant, and it's harder rock than most in anime.
Katayoku no Tori (Umineko no Naku Koro ni OP)
The first taste of Akiko Shikata for many people. And the liberties that she takes with music are some of the most interesting that you'll hear today, with sometimes seemingly atonal choral harmonies and European influences abounding the music. It's powerful stuff. It also kind of helps that it's bound to a work that sort of fits the music tone in Umineko
WHICH DID I WANT TO WIN: No Thank You!
WHICH DID I THINK WOULD WIN: No Thank You!
WHY? Familiarity, though I guess this turned out to be a double-edged sword. Akiko Shikata has stuff that's better and more accessible than this song (though it's definitely not bad), but Umineko for what it's worth is pretty popular. K-On! is popular too, but it also has a negative hit against it as well, and people might be more willing to bank their feelings on something that doesn't remind them of that show, even though "No Thank You!" is a perfectly good song. I think voting for/against a show is a silly thing to do, but it's something present in all of the song choices, and alas I find it a deciding factor in this battle. Of course, I might just be jealous.
Here are the polls for the at the time of this post:
Sorairo Days (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann OP)
This is another one of those songs where I feel sad for whoever faces off against it, but unlike "Tank!", this is not an exciting song at all. It's Power Pop, and while the Power takes it a little differently from the standard songs you tend to listen to in anime, it's not that much different.
Catch You Catch Me (Card Captor Sakura OP 1)
A bouncy poppy song, but one with more energy in it's instrumentation and Gumi's vocals than in most songs of that nature going on today. It's hard to be annoyed by the chorus, despite how cheery it is.
WHICH DO I WANT TO WIN: Catch You Catch Me
WHICH DO I THINK WILL WIN: Sorairo Days
WHY? Because people are stupid geeseRecency bias. Gurren Lagann still has a foothold in the minds of people today. Card Captor Sakura is dated, though it's namesake is still a Good Girl.
Down Town (Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru OP)
This one should be fun as I doubt that most voters have seen the entirety of both shows (I know I haven't, though I should). When I hear this song, I think of Maaya Sakamoto having a lot of fun, and the breezy music feels the same way. It ends up being a bit too light and airy though.
Mizu no Madoromi (Fantastic Children ED)
This is the first taste of Origa in this tournament, and it's one of my favorite songs from her. Her vocals really fit the mysterious, archaic vibe the instrumentation gives off, especially when you hit the chorus. And it sounds better in Russian!
WHICH DO I WANT TO WIN: Mizu no Madoromi
WHICH DO I THINK WILL WIN: Mizu no Madoromi
WHY? Song quality. Both vocalists are pretty good. Both shows aren't too well known, so the push for me goes to how the song is built and works with the vocals. In this case, "Mizu no Madoromi" is just constructed better.
Namae no nai Kaibutsu (Psycho-Pass ED 1)
EGOIST appears in this tournament, this time with a song that that works well with her vocals (though I wince at the high notes in the chorus). A fast-paced merging of pop and some electronica leads to an entertaining piece, but I've still heard better songs set up in this mold (like "Borderland", which should be in this tournament, but it isn't because people suck. Really. :/).
Kin no Nami Sen no Nami (Aria the Origination ED)
This song is power. I'll just blockquote what I said about the song in 2008, because it still applies:
[Akino] Arai's voice, as soft and flowing as I remember it, definitely encompasses the feel of Neo Venezia that I get from ARIA: Calming, smooth, ethereal, beautiful and wonderful.
WHICH DO I WANT TO WIN: Kin no Nami Sen no Nami
WHICH DO I THINK WILL WIN: Namae no nai Kaibutsu
WHY? Goddamn recency bias/popularity. Psycho-Pass is stuck in voters' minds, especially as more is coming in the near future. This song never had a chance, even though it's the best OP/ED theme from ARIA, and I think it lights this one on fire in merits of the song. Not the show.
Hikari no Senritsu (Sora no Woto OP)
You could say this is typical Yuki Kajiura fare with Kalafina on the vocals, although you have a nice Latin-tinged influence added on to the song. But for me, typical Yuki Kajiura is still better than most stuff out there, and never hard to like the vocal harmonies of the trio for Kalafina.
Hiru no Tsuki (Outlaw Star ED 1)
Make me wonder why we don't hear Akino Arai's voice more often in anime songs, as this song is testament to that. Her voice, when it comes in from the minimal intro, drives this song to a powerful climax as the instrumental winds itself to her will. It's a simple song, but you don't necessary need bells and whistles to make a song sing. Beautiful stuff.
WHICH DO I WANT TO WIN: Hiru no Tsuki
WHICH DO I THINK WILL WIN: Hikari no Senritsu
WHY? Recency bias/popularity. Both are good songs, but Hiru no Tsuki's setup makes for a more powerful work overall. That being said, it's been a while since Outlaw Star has been in the fandom's consciousness, and Kalafina is still in there. So on it goes, I guess.
A Post on the Dio bracket will be soon coming. Until then, before time runs out!
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