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All the Announcements from Anime Expo 2024
Sounds of the Sea: One Piece Musical Symphony Premiere

by MrAJCosplay,

ANN's coverage of Anime Expo 2024 sponsored by Yen Press and Ize Press!

Photography by MrAJCosplay

The One Piece anime has gone on for so many years at this point. There are so many elements of the anime's production that have stirred emotion in fans worldwide, myself included. The One Piece Symphony at Anime Expo 2024 was a great opportunity to highlight how the show's music and leitmotifs are so ingrained into the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. Being in a stage hall filled with people cheering at the top of their lungs over iconic tracks performed live by the anime's composer himself Kōhei Tanaka was nothing short of a magical experience.

While some moments hit harder than others, there was not a single dull moment during this three-hour performance. The symphony was arranged in a way where it felt like we were playing the anime's greatest hits with scenes from the anime playing alongside musical accompaniment. We started with sections dedicated to almost every character on the main crew and then branched out into overarching parts of the show's journey. Some of the crew's most iconic moments and hit major emotional beats of the series were covered. Everything was here from the promise that Luffy, Sabo, and Ace made as kids until the iconic reveal of Gear Five during the Wano arc. When something sad happens, the music swells. When action happens, the trumpets blast.

Kōhei Tanaka offered some thoughts and insight every few performances. It was heartwarming hearing him crack jokes about how he would be 80 years old if the series went on for another ten years or how some iconic songs like Binks no Sake were written and composed in just two weeks. This was followed up with the interesting revelation that the song was not used for about three years despite the quick turnaround. Oda is so forward-thinking that he likes to have a lot of things prepared in advance!

Finally, the symphony had some musical numbers accompanied by Kōhei Tanaka who is known for singing some of the most iconic songs to grace to the franchise. People probably first heard his work with the One Piece opening song We Are, which hands-down got one of the strongest reactions from fans during the performance. It turns out that Kōhei Tanaka was never meant to originally perform that song despite it being so synonymous with his ties to One Piece. Kohei was initially there to provide a placeholder voice, but ended up being kept in and since then has performed other songs for the series that were specifically composed to match his voice type. These include the fifteenth, nineteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-sixth opening themes.

However, the Symphony didn't end on some big, bombastic note. Rather the performances were closed by the song Family, which highlighted the silly, lighthearted side of the crew. The whole experience was enough to bring me to tears. One Piece has grown to such a point that it practically defines generations. We would not be here without the source material but all the little bells and whistles that have enunciated the anime's production cannot be understated. Music is just one part of a much larger puzzle but the fact that one part can still invoke so much passion and emotion is wonderful.

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