Music that makes a flower bloom

久しぶり It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Over the past three weeks, I’ve been working on translating as much as I can for the latest Haruhi novel. I’m at a good stopping point, so to begin updating this blog I’ve chosen to review the music of my favorite show this anime season: Hanasaku Iroha.

Planned as the tenth anniversary work by P.A. Works, Iroha is a show that uses a lot of music to convey the themes in the show. The five promotional videos even had their own single by nano.RIPE entitled Patricia. In addition to that single, two singles for the OP/ED and a Character Image album have been released on April 20th, May 11th, and June 8th respectively.

Opening Theme Single: Hana no Iro

Hana no Iro is the opening theme for Iroha as well as serving as the ending for the first episode. The single by nano.RIPE contains three songs, the title track, Virtual Boy, and Hana Nokori Tsuki. Hana no Iro is one of the types of songs that you’ll love or hate. The vocals at the beginning will polarize people, but the core of the song itself is generally well liked. The upbeat music contrasts with the tone of the first stanza used with the show, but reflects how Ohana will grow throughout her struggles. It’s a very touching song.

Virtual Boy is a nice short interlude between main tracks. The reverb is a nice touch to display the technological theme and the vocals sound well. Hana Nokori Tsuki reminds me a lot of Patricia with a more softer opening tune that ramps up in the chorus. I feel this is the strength of the band. The vocals sound immensely better when the singer is at a softer pitch than when she’s trying to be more energetic. Overall this is a solid single. Not something immensely great, but good.

Ending Theme Single: Hazy

Hazy is performed by the popular idol group Sphere. With Aki and Tomatsu featuring as two of the main four girls, it’s no surprise that their group would be chosen to perform a theme from the show. Contrasting to Hana no Iro, Hazy has been generally liked as a song as well as the ending theme. All four girls get half of a verse by themselves with Takagaki and Aki taking the first verse and Kotobuki and Tomatsu taking the second verse and all four singing the choruses. It’s a nice soft theme to close out the show on a high note. The unifying voices in the chorus/TV ver are an amazing sound and carry the song immensely well. The instruments take accompaniment but never overshadow the vocal tracks. I greatly like this song.

Contrasting to Hazy, the B-track Neo Eden is a much more pop-style song. It’s a much different style that had me doubting if I was listening to the same single when I first heard it. It reminds me a lot of the ending theme to Seitokai with the electronic beats going at the start of the song. The girls sing more together in this track in pairs rather than by themselves. I much prefer Hazy over this track.

The limited edition also included a DVD that contained the PV for Hazy. Its a standard Japanese style PV with the girls singing in a house. The only comment that I can make is the horrible choice for dress that they chose for Aki. It really stands out as plain compared to the other three girls’ outfits. I would guess that it might be because of her height.

Image Song Album: Yunosaki Relations

Just released last week was this album with ten different artists singing image songs for each of the main characters as well as the inn itself. Sora ni Chikai Basho by snow* was quite a surprise for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat techno leading into the more rock-style that showed the shift for Ohana moving to the inn. Minko’s Hatch by nano.RIPE was tolerable, but not one of my favorite tracks. Suisei Melody has an incredibly sweet and soft piano melody that fits Nako incredibly well as well as sounding amazing. CooRie did a wonderful job.

Yuina’s fluffy track by marble is probably my favorite track on the CD. It is standard J-Pop, but has a lot of sweetness mixed into it. It reminds me of a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, Haru no Mukou by Rey was much better in the show than on this CD as a song for Tohru. The strangest track on the entire CD belongs to Tomoe’s Saiminjustsu by Saori Atsumi which is a great song by itself, but doesn’t seem to fit her character with the country-style beats. It’s a strange song to add for her.

Omoki-Soujiyu is well suited in a strong piano melody with an older style of vocals by Rimi Natsukawa for Sui. Mousou STAY from Aira Yuhki matches Jiroumaru well in weirdness, thus it fits him well. Harurarara~♪ by yozuca* is a great song for Satsuki. The overwhelming positivity from the song mixed with the random English would fit someone from Tokyo well. Finally the song Yawarakana Jikan no Naka de by Masumi Itou ends the album well with another older style of vocals with a background track that gives off a reminiscence vibe.

I can’t help but mention the absolutely gorgeous album artwork enclosed. The gradual shift in daylight colors to a night sky is one of the more beautiful types of artwork I’ve seen. It really compliments the front cover very well.

Overall I enjoy all three CDs and would easily recommend them. Iroha has done an amazing job on music, even though they’ve stopped using one of my favorite ending themes in half the episodes. This is one of the few series where I feel safe purchasing all of the music as I know I’ll greatly enjoy all of it.

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