Welcome to the first installment of Beat Addiction! Beat Addiction is our Japanese music feature series, which just separates out the music content from the rest of the site’s content.
First up in Beat Addiction, we’re taking a look at the original soundtrack from the popular anime Kill la Kill.
1. Before my body is dry (Vocals: Mika Kobayashi)
4. Blumenkranz (Vocals: Cyua)
8. Suck your blood/ Benjamin Anderson & mpi
11. Light your heart up (Vocals: エイミー・ブラックシュレイガー)
15. I want to know (Vocals: Benjamin Anderson)
18. Till I Die (Vocals : CASG(Caramel Apple Sound Gadget))
Kill la Kill’s soundtrack is Sawano’s fourteenth anime work, and his common themes shine through one again. Sawano is particularly known for his use of English and German vocal tracks for main themes; which were notable in the soundtracks for Guilty Crown and Attack on Titan. He also likes to include a bit of rap here and there and dabbles in electronic music. While unconventional for anime, these big themes have features of ‘epic’ music, typically seen in Hollywood blockbusters – using large orchestras to create a sound that is big and gets the adrenaline flowing.
The two biggest tracks on the album are Before my body is dry, the theme used for when Matoi Ryūko activates her godrobe Senketsu; and Blumenkranz, used as the main theme for Kiryūin Ragyō, Kill la Kill’s main villain.
Before my body is dry is the main vocal track, and is very identifiable with its chorus of “Don’t lose your way”, which has become a major tagline of the series. The song itself seems to act as a conversation between Ryūko and Senketsu, with Kobayashi’s sections reflecting Ryūko’s character, and the rap reflecting Senketsu. It’s an imaginative approach to telling the story of the anime within the song, and it works really well. The lyrics aren’t quite fluent English, but they do at least make sense, which is an important point for an anime that is hitting it off with the international market. It shows that Sawano has made an effort, unlike whoever wrote the lyrics for Gatchaman Crowds’ opening theme, which is a complete mess of nonsense.
Blumenkranz is more of an electronic piece, and feels mythic and otherworldly. The middle B section is where this track hits off though, where the music and vocal chant makes it very chilling. When you hear this in the show, you know that something is about to go down. With Ragyō’s costume and character design making her feel like some sort of goddess, this theme fits her very well.
The majority of the instrumental tracks on the album have a naming convention that takes a twist on the anime’s title, which is a cute thing to do. While all of these tracks are excellent, the most memorable are the main confrontational themes against Kiryūin Satsuki: 鬼龍G@キLL and Kiる厭KiLL. These have the ‘epic’ sections mentioned earlier, and stand out more in the show than some of the quieter tracks.
No matter what anime Sawano is contracted to do, he keeps pulling out some epic performances. He’s quite young too, being only 33, so hopefully we’ll get to experience a lot more of his music to come.
In terms of Kill la Kill though, he’s got everything just about right. If you are into anime soundtracks this is one that you won’t want to miss and is definitely worth a purchase.
Kill la Kill Original Soundtrack is available from CDJapan and other Japanese music retailers.