Sound Decision
The Next Big Thing

by Jonathan Mays,
With new anime licenses seemingly every week these days, you'd think just about every profitable genre of anime had been explored, right? Indeed, we have everything from action to shonen at our domestic fingertips, but there's still something missing. Something big. There's a ton of it out there, and the potential to rake in the green is unimaginable. Take note of this, anime companies:

License more bad anime. Really. I'm serious.

Few activities are as entertaining as watching the worst of the worst, and there simply isn't enough bad anime on domestic shelves right now. I know CPM's been trying for a while, and ADV picking up Divergence Eve is a step in the right direction, but there's still a lot of room for improvement. We need classics like The Gigolo, or maybe even Butchigiri, series so bad that even the animators who made the shows disowned them.

Better yet, we need an anime company with enough business sense to devote itself entirely to releasing the worst anime ever created. Every release would sell like hotcakes; I'm sure of it, especially if they included extras like Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary tracks. Just imagine the fun at those late-night anime marathon parties! It's hard to make fun of good stuff like Haibane Renmei and Junkers Come Here, and you can only laugh at Mad Bull and MD Geist so many times. Until somebody steps forward and makes a firm commitment to releasing only the worst awful, stinkin' garbage from Japan, we'll be left with a great void in the domestic anime community.

This week we have a second release, a remix, and a TV spin-off. Who could've imagined the music would be so good?

Hellsing #2: Ruins —Pioneer

Fact: one can never have enough Hellsing music. Aware of this, Pioneer wisely made another twenty-two tracks of Hellsing goodness available stateside. It's more of the same, but that's just fine because the first album was really ridiculously good. Rock, jazz, and garage bands that don't suck are the cornerstones of Hellsing's brilliant compositions. The unique blend continues in this second installment, offering Hellsing addicts another 70 minutes of pure aural ecstasy.

There's plenty more Engrish gibberish on this one, so you'll have no trouble making derisive cracks with your friends, but outside of the boosted humor potential, very little exists to distinguish Ruins from its predecessor. The wild 70s sound, the near-dissonant harmonies, the Kr4Zy Punk—it's all back and as scintillating as ever. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd go for "Soul Rescuer." The way it plays with balance and sound direction reminds me of David Bowie's works, as it deftly recreates the classic rock mood. "Primary Colored Suicide Bombing Love Song" also deserves mention—but only because it has a very amusing title. Fans of the first OST: don't even think about passing up this masterpiece.

Best used as: bloody encore.

Serial Experiments Lain Cyberia Mix —Pioneer

It's possible to make a good remix after all. Cyberia succeeds where many, many animusic remixes have failed, delivering a techno/trance soundtrack that's not grating on the ears. Near-perfect balance and a minimum of karaoke echo propel this CD to the top of the remix category, and I don't think it'll be knocked from the peak anytime soon. Few soundtracks will have as wide an appeal as Lain Cyberia Remix is sure to enjoy.

A double dose of "Duvet" anchors this solid release, but the other ten tracks are equally arresting. The heavy bass presence throughout the soundtrack is careful not to detract from the vocals, a welcome change from the path of most remixes. Creativity is the catalyst in this impressive collection, as boa works everything from whispered lyrics to the sound of a rewinding tape into the original pieces. It's trance without the trash, a must-buy for any music lover.

Best used as: dance fever.

X TV #1 —Pioneer

Your weekly serving of angst and over-the-top drama comes in the form of the X TV OST. On the plus side, creative rhythms and a hints of rock and jazz elevate X's music above that of most shoujo fare. But while the music makes an effort to stretch beyond shoujo boundaries, the result isn't too memorable or entertaining. It may be perfect for the show itself, but on its own, this music isn't nearly engaging enough to invite repeat listening.

It's not a total loss. "eX dream" is one of the better opening songs to come out this year, and after listening, you'll probably want to so hunting for more songs with Myuji vocals. The second track, "Sadame," is notable for its majestic power and uncommon triple meter. Beyond that, however, there's nothing to remember from this one. Delicate pieces like "Odayaka na hijou" are more reminiscent of lame Final Fantasy music than anything else, and where a show like Mahoromatic achieved a quaint charm, X simply falls flat. The tunes aren't bad; they're just boring. This one's a rental at best.

Best used as: best of the mediocre.

And now, I bid you adieu. See ya next week!

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