Sound Decision
Always the chicken...

by Jonathan Mays,
The following was a real conversation between myself and a very, very stupid University Food Services employee last Saturday.

"Could I have a chicken sandwich?"


"Uh... why?"

"We don't have any more."

"I see a chicken sandwich—*points*—right there."

"That one's for me once I get off the shift."

"Er... okay. Maybe you could go grab a few more?"

"I don't know."

"You... don't know?"

"They're not easily accessible."

"I'm confused."

"I'm sure we have more in the back, but I'd have to go locate them, and I don't know where to check."

"Perhaps someone could help you find them."

"Do you know where I should look?"

"No, I don't."

"Should I go try to find them?"

"... yeah... "

*leaves, returns two minutes later, empty-handed*

"No dice?"


"You couldn't find any more chicken sandwiches?"

"No, I did."

"And... ?"

"They're assembling them in the back."

"Dude, it's a piece of chicken. The buns are out here. How much is there to assemble?"

"I don't know."

*enter Food Services employee #2, with chicken*

"YAY! They're heeeeeeeere!"

"Ah, there we go."

"Say it with me! YAAAAAAAY!"


"Gee, I'm so happy!"

"... "

"Now I can make you happy, too!"

"Hey, man, could I just have the sandwich?"

"You wanted chicken, right?"

I love college.

This segue is poor, but this week's music may be even worse.

Giant Robo —Animetrax

Yes, there's opera. But don't run away just yet. Even if "L'Elisir d'Amore: Una Furtive Lagrima" doesn't turn you on, something in Masamichi Amano's magnificent repertoire is sure to absorb you in the timeless story that is Giant Robo. The first anime appearance of Poland's Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Giant Robo's music is raw, uncensored orchestral and choral power. It's much darker and more pensive than most animusic, but the rewards are well worth a leap of faith.

Full orchestra, loud chords, dramatic pauses—the first impression you'll get from Robo's music is that you're embarking on a journey of legendary proportions. Whether or not you enjoy the ride depends on if you're willing to buy into the drama and extravagance. Awash in self-awareness (read: Latin), the music is a sure turn-off if you don't take well to histrionics. If you thought the Eva movie drama was too much, Giant Robo might drive you over the edge. On the other hand, if you like music that takes itself seriously, that defines film scenes with overstated scores and excessive melodrama, it's hard to top Giant Robo.

Best used as: drama queen.

Slayers Try Treasury Vox —Animetrax (2002-05-28)

It's time to answer one of anime music's eternal questions: Why does everybody love Megumi Hayashibara? In recent years she's been overexposed, and her recent performances haven't been up to par, but this domestic release of the 1997 vocal collection revisits some of Hayashibara's finer days. After years of anticipation, Slayers Try VOX finally makes some of her best music available in North America. Alas, she makes up a little less than a third of the offerings here, and the other seven tracks are pretty feeble.

“Breeze” is by far the best of the ten; acoustic guitar + sax + Hayashibara = fanboy melt. Slayers pieces have never been known for their artistic vision, but this one's refreshingly original. Better yet, she doesn't have to hold any long notes (opera-like projection is not her strongest quality). The other two pieces aren't quite so remarkable, but they're still another nine minutes of better-than-average Megumi music. Seven other songs do indeed exist on this CD, but they don't matter. This soundtrack isn't about the grating vocals of somebody named Akira or Hikaru; it's all about Megumi.

Megumi Maniacs: this one's essential. Everybody else: it's a toss-up. But if you need another reason to buy it, do it for the Engrish! Don't be worry/Painful day like this time is good for you...

Best used as: Hayashibara Heaven.

Princess Nine —Animetrax

Franz Schubert's Trio No. 2 almost salvages the Princess Nine OST. But even Schubert's best isn't enough to divert attention from a below par Masamichi Amano score, an uninspired collection of weak "variations" on the show's theme. From the very beginning there's a sour taste here, as the opening song is ruined by muddy synthesizers and a pair of vocalists who just don't blend at all. From there, his music only gets worse. For many of the twenty-two tracks, lethargic, predictable melodies reign supreme. It's pedestrian orchestral music, and you expect so much more from a guy like Masamichi Amano. If only he'd stretched for more variety...

Original music aside, the Schubert performances are very impressive. Showcasing the Warsaw Philharmonic, one of the trio pieces is arranged for full orchestra, and it's hard to imagine it sounding any better. There's a reason Masamichi keeps going back to Warsaw for his compositions. Unfortunately, the trademark Amano vision simply doesn't emerge here. If you're an Amano devotee, try something like Battle Royale. If it's Princess Nine you love, spring for a Schubert CD instead.

Best used as: target practice.

That wasn't too much fun. Save the cash. Next week should be better.

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