Code Geass R2
by Rachael Carothers,
Click below for a clip of the song "Boku wa Tori ni Naru "
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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is currently one of the most popular anime series in both Japan and North America. It was recently announced that that Bandai Visual, the Japanese distributor of the show, has shipped over one million DVD and Blu-ray discs related to the franchise. On September 24, 2008, the second original soundtrack for the second season was released by Victor Entertainment.
The first of two new songs start off the album. “Boku wa, Tori ni Naru” (“I Became a Bird”) features soft, wispy vocals from Hitomi Kuroishi. While there are a few more ballad-type pieces in the song, it is more of a lullaby for most of its five minutes. The background music for the ‘lullaby’ parts sounds a lot like a music box. When the ‘ballad’ part kicks in, there are a few string instruments and soft drums added to a stronger vocal line. Despite the quietness, it is an enjoyable tune if you can stay awake through it.
Skipping to the end of the album for a moment, we have the other new track, “Continued Story.” Hitomi also provides the vocals for this song, which is slightly more forceful than “Bird.” However, there are a few instances where the song seems to repeat itself. The words may be different but the sound is the same. There are places where the song should have taken off into an epic crescendo. Instead it levels off into soft vocals with soft background music. As a result, the entire song feels boring.
In between our pieces of vocal bread lies the meat of the album, background music. These would be the songs that fill the show with that extra bit of emotion during important scenes. Keeping that in consideration, most of the 28 instrumental songs on the CD are between one and two minutes long. Instead of yammering on about all 28 songs, I will pick out a few select pieces to discuss.
Appearing in the 9th slot on the album, “Guren” is an upbeat tune with lots of horns, cymbals and drums. With a fast-paced beat, it's a song that would most likely be used to either show a surprising upgrade to a Knightmare or help the audience gear up for battle. Just by listening, you can picture in your mind the Guren Mk-II racing around, trying to figure out how to beat the Lancelot. No matter what the song was used for in the show, all of the elements come together to form a short yet interesting tune.
Immediately after “Guren” comes “What's Justice?” In contrast to the previous song, “Justice” is much more epic in its execution. A violin and a bit of a vocal line join the horns and drums to show us that something extremely important is happening at this moment. With the sadness and loneliness that a single violin conveys, we can tell, without actually watching the show, that someone is on the brink of death. Considering the title of the song, that justice is not being served.
“Last Evening,” with a bit of ballroom flavor, flows into the 16th position. Strings and horns gently mix together to form a beautiful song worthy of a good waltz. It is the lack of harsher sounds, like drums or guitars that make this piece so lovely. Instead, the strings lightly take the lead while a single trumpet solo mixes up the sounds a little. This proves that no matter how much music changes, well-performed classics will always shine brightly.
Nunnally has her own track on the album, appropriately titled “Nunnally,” in the 25th spot. Running slightly longer than two minutes, the song is extraordinarily soft with nothing more than soft vocals and a piano for a majority of the tune. A soprano saxophone gives us an airy solo toward the end. While this would normally be considered a sleepy song, it has an inner beauty that captures the ear and makes you want to hear more.
At track 27, we have “Misconduct.” This face-paced song heavily features frantic strings, accusatory horns and deep throbbing drums. There's a feeling of spiraling out of control or someone running away from danger as the instruments revolve around each other. Even though it makes you feel like running away, it's the desperation in the song that keeps reeling you back in.
As a general rule, I'm not a fan of listening to instrumental soundtracks. Unless you are familiar with the originating show, the songs are very out of context. While it's still easy to decide if something is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ song, it's usually the accompanying storyline or animation that makes these types of songs ‘amazing’ or ‘terrible.’ Imagine, if you will, a gorgeous track like “Last Evening” paired up with a battlefield visual. The clashing emotions are likely to make you hate the song and that part of the series. Looking at the album as a whole, none of these songs are terrible. It's easy to guess which parts of the series were matched with which songs, allowing you to get a fulfilled feeling out of the album. However, unless you really enjoy listening to background music, there isn't much here for a casual fan of the series.
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