I’ll start with a bucket-load of honesty. Again. I avoid music themed anime the same way I avoid apples. No, wrong. It’s worse. Although I despise apples, I may crave one every once or so. But on the other hand, I haven’t watched a single music-related anime from start to finish. No, that’s a lie. I’ve watched Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. But nothing else. That’s the only one. The sole reason I watched it was because I came across Igawa’s performance of Chopin’s Étude Op. 25, No. 11 and I loved it. But that’s a topic for another article. Oh and do I have lots and lots to say. So, after I watched what I consider to be the zenith of music themed anime, I wouldn’t want to watch 12 or 24 episodes of good or plain mediocre performances. No, not just musically. The clunky 3D animation is a huge turn off for me, I just can’t stand it. So, Lapis Re:LiGHTs was my second ‘first’ music anime. On the bright side, the featured music genre is not classical music, it’s idol music, aka. J-pop…
DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers ahead. May also contain eggs, milk, soy, nuts and the tears of your enemies.
The Opening Theme. Sung by all the characters, like all of them. “Watashitachi no STARTRAIL” by Lapis Re:LiGHTs Stars
I mean… There are 20 people or so singing… Btw, it’s not an exaggeration, I counted them on the CD jacket. It’s a kawaii style that showcases the characters. Each character or group of characters is singing a certain section, until we reach the chorus that is usually tutti [italian for all]. It’s cutesy, it’s meant to help us identify in an instant this kawaii magical slice of life setting and understand that the characters are the ones singing. There are hundreds of songs like that. It’s not that I dislike it, it’s just that I’ve listened to it a number of times already, you know? And the thing is that even the ‘characteristic’ turns and sections are yet again cliches. It’s not bad, it’s just something I wouldn’t deliberately listen to. At least, I don’t have a good enough reason to listen to it on its own. I have linked it with the anime (no, it’s not one of the unskippable OPs, it’s more like “let’s get into the mood” sort of deal) and that whole style can get old pretty fast. Especially for the non fans.
OST first impressions. by Houno Satoshi
The OST is fairly enjoyable and very eager to describe every emotion, every place, every detail. It has an impactful and grandiose orchestral sound that imitates the old-school animation fairytale themed soundtracks. Its main merits are that it makes a nice contrast when compared to the more laid back tracks and that it works well with the story being set in Waleland (kinda like Britain).
Oh my Disney. That scene where Tiara is singing with only a piano as her accompaniment was very nice and made me melt a little bit on the inside. More importantly though, it made me raise my expectations. But instead what I got to see was lack of imagination. I saw a missed opportunity. We have a nice setting, a nice theme, a nice concept and they were not taken advantage of. Yes, the characters are idols. Yes, it’s all about J-pop. But J-pop is and can be more than mere cliches thrown one after the other. The music motifs could have been inspired by different eras, they could have featured a number of ethnic elements, they could have blended extremer elements together and create something more interesting that could catch the viewer’s attention. The songs could have been something more. But that’s not all. So far, I’ve watched the first four episodes. The concerts are a rare sight and are featured at the end of the episodes, making me think that they were an afterthought rather than a main part of the story. And that’s a shame.
Find Houno Satoshi here:
The Ending Theme. Better than the OP. “Planetarium” by LiGHTs
The ED has the same concept as the OP. However, as there are less people singing in “Planetarium”, they are more easily distinguishable and hence, their ‘acquired’ different vocal timbres are better understood. Here, each member’s individuality is more prominent. It works well with the characters and the setting. I like it more than the OP.
The way I see it, Lapis Re:LiGHTs is a very good way to promote each voice actress, her individuality and talents. So, technically speaking, it’s either the first project to showcase on one’s portfolio or just a project to add into an existing portfolio. So, apart from an arguably pleasant to watch anime, it’s a form of promotion and a marketing strategy. The songs I’ve listened to so far aren’t anything special. And from that alone, I know that it’s not the songs we need to pay attention to, rather the performers’ ability to act and sing.
- Average OP that gets old fast. There are a lot of people singing, which makes their voices a bit indistinguishable (although, that’s probably the point)
- OST that has a grandiose ‘Disney’ sound.
- The featured tracks were a missed opportunity as they could have been so much more.
- ED that suits the setting well.
- This anime is mainly a portfolio for the artists and a way to make hardcore music themed anime fans contempt.
- So my answer to the question I set at the excerpt of my article “Is the music as beautiful and praiseworthy as the stone?” is “No”.