Thank the gods for Taku Iwasaki, once again, as he delivers the BUNGOU STRAY DOGS Original Soundtrack 01. It’s the good old Iwasaki compositions we know, this time with less emphasis on the electro and all the more emphasis on the woodwind players. The saxophone strongly leads us through this album and it’s the best decision they could have made for an ost like this.
The tracks that caught my attention the most in terms of new elements are:
- Track #01 Good for Nothing performed by Lotus Juice who always brings across the Iwasaki atmosphere instantly since he’s usually making an appearance in his works in some way; by now Iwasaki without Lotus Juice just won’t feel right. It’s a rough staccato mix of saxophone and rap, a perfect way to start the album, an impact from the first note.
- With track #12 Run, Atsushi! (走れ敦!) we are back to Iwasaki’s beautiful string ensemble that I love so very much, quick-paced and dramatic in a sense.
- Track #17 Leaping Wings is performed by the Kaze LaLa Choir and it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard so far. The women’s graceful voices create such a soothing atmosphere and it’s something I didn’t expect to be in this series/on an ost like this. It has a completely Western touch and maybe that is why it fits in so well (because of the setting of BSD).
- In #18 Eye of the Tiger, Lotus Juice performs once more. He is supported by rocking electronic guitar and synthesizer. This track uses a theme melody I can never get enough of, thus it easily became one of my favourite tracks.
I assume Iwasaki and his crew will also take it upon themselves to create the soundtrack for the second season of Bungou Stray Dogs in Fall Season 2016 and I’m already thrilled to hear more jazzy tunes from one of the Japanese masters of composition. In fact, I was even missing the one track that had become my favourite in a matter of seconds – the PV song. It also did play in the series itself so I’m certain it will be on the next ost. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but for now I’m just extremely grateful for these new compositions and will continue to indulge in their beauty.
Now that, after 5 years of waiting, the Durarara!! animation has been blessed with a continuation and therefore the conclusion of the complete story, naturally Makoto Yoshimori, the composer of the first Durarara!! score, has done himself the honour and contributed more atmospheric tunes for the second and final season.
What struck me as most impressive about the evolution of the score is how Yoshimori has managed to maintain the atmosphere from the very first track in 2010 to the very last in 2015. And yet it has undergone a lot of change befitting the characters. In the first season of Durarara!! we were confronted with Ikebukuro and its inhabitants getting entangled in all kinds of unbelievable plots. It’s an introduction – a prelude to later, even crazier events – and therefore the show feels a lot more high-spirited. The music adds a lot to that. It’s lively and nonchalant and psychedelically crazy. In comparison the soundtrack of the second season feels a lot darker in many aspects. The three parts of the Durarara!! x2 anime are the climax of the series all the way down to the conclusion: those are the moments when all the truly shocking and menacing twists and turns happen, when the characters we got to know grow up or crumble and become something else entirely. Thus, on the second and third score we find considerably fewer tracks with an easy-going atmosphere to it and it only makes sense. The fast-paced tracks have a different feeling to them and though they might still be upbeat, they lack the touch of ease and nonchalance that we experienced on the first season’s OST. Only with the fitting music the atmosphere can truly be brought across to the viewers. Yoshimori has managed to create a perfect symbiosis between music and anime but despite that, his style still remains distinctive to the very last note. This is why the Durarara!! score is one of my favourite works out there: in my opinion it perfectly captured the mood that Ryougo Narita described in his novels, it is what supports the animation the most (right after the voice acting) and simply by listening to the soundtracks you can experience the adventurous, bizarre story of Durarara!!.
Continue reading “The development of the DRRR OST”