There was something badass going on in the world of late 90’s/early 2000’s anime soundtracks. A decent amount of anime had these anthemic, sweeping rock songs in their soundtracks. Often, these songs were sung in English and performed by non-Japanese singers. I don’t know if this was because Yoko Kanno was out in full-force during this time period and giving us Steve Conte-fronted goodness, or if more anime studios were going for crossover appeal with Western audiences.
Whatever the case, these songs are all awesome, and the story of how some of these English language songs and collaborations came to be are actually very interesting. Originally, I was just going to do a quick listicle, but I got carried away reading about these various performers. It seemed like a disservice not to share all the fruits of my research, so here is part one of my surprisingly long list of favorite English language anime rock performances.
Today’s the big day, folks! It’s Welcome To Hell Zone’s birthday! I’m really proud that I’ve maintained my little slice of the web for a year. I might not have maintained it consistently…but I’m still proud!
I should be doing something mega-special, right? Well, honestly, me resurrecting my blog from the depths of depression hell is probably the biggest tribute I can give. I’ve been slacking lately, but I’m back, baybeeeeeeeeeeee!
I recently started watching 2004’s Monster after seeing it listed on “Best Anime” lists for years. It’s been on my to-watch list forever, and I had been putting it off simply because it’s 74 episodes and I figured that was too big of a commitment. I mean, I hesitate to watch stuff that’s 26 episodes long. I like the feeling of finishing a show and moving quickly on to the next one, you know? It clunks up my completionist goals if I have to commit to an anime for more than, like, ten hours.
I’m about twenty episodes into Monster (my attention span is doing good this time, guys!) and I love it. It’s an atmospheric, perfectly paced psychological horror with some dashes of historical fiction and medical drama thrown into the mix. Maybe a bit of magical realism, too. Oh, AND it’s a mystery. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. The only thing that could make it better would be having some lesbians in there. Which, who knows, there’s still a chance – I have 54 episodes left, after all!
Not to sound like a cranky old get-off-my-lawn anime fan (again), but I can’t help but watch this and think, “damn, they don’t make them like they used to.” I generally keep up on seasonals, and I really can’t remember the last time I saw anything with a creepy atmosphere or drawn-out pacing quite like that of Monster’s, or like any of my other favorites from this late 90’s/early 2000’s era, for that matter. I’m talking about eerie, semi-experimental shit like Serial Experiments Lain, Ghost Hound, Ergo Proxy, Paranoia Agent, and others of its kind. Where have all the good psychological horrors gone? Where are all the mature, existentialist seinen series that I love so much?
I guess I should start by defining what it is about these series that I love so much.
You ever get really nostalgic about anime series you watched in your formative years? You know, your OG shows? The ones that got you into the medium in the first place? I’ve decided to take a look back at some of the earlier series I got into back when I was younger, and reflect on how they formed my anime tastes. They will be chronicled in this monthly series, Anime Roots. Check out last month’s post here.
You know how a song can bring you back to a certain place and time? Or even a certain smell can remind you of something really specific from your childhood? Well, I think an anime can do that, too. Anything you have any strong sentimental attachment to can really take you back, and if you’re like me, you’re a sentimental sap about everything, so this happens to you a lot.
I logged back into MyAnimeList for the first time in a million years and started idly scrolling through my past entries. I was surprised to find that each name of each title flooded me with very specific memories. Some of them took me to good places – I’ve watched a lot of weird titles with friends at sleepovers, or even enjoyed a series with my little sister. Others took me to bad places – there’s a block of time where I finished, like, six series in one week because I was cooped up in my room during a major depressive episode. I think I even skipped a mid-term in favor of watching Oriemo during that period, if that gives you any idea of where my bad brain was at at the time…
If you don’t mind, let’s take a self-indulgent trip down my anime memory lane! Imagine a little wavy flashback transition here as we dig into my nerd past…
You ever get really nostalgic anime series you watched in your formative years? You know, your OG shows? The ones that got you into the medium in the first place? I’ve decided to take a look back at some of the earlier series I got into back when I was younger, and reflect on how they formed my anime tastes. They will be chronicled in this series, Anime Roots.