My anime buddy came back from his trip to Japan last weekend so we were able to meet up for our first anime-and-food session for 2017 yesterday.
As he did on a previous trip to the country a few years back when he visited the city of Oarai in tribute to the anime "Girls Und Panzer", my friend did another anime-based pilgrimage...this time to the city of Hirosaki up in Aomori Prefecture due to last year's lovely "Flying Witch" (ふらいんぐうぃっち). Unfortunately I can't relay any of his fine photographs of the place but perhaps this video up above will do.
At the time, there was some a major snowstorm whipping through the area which was broadcast on NHK News and when I mentioned to my family that my friend was up there, one of them basically stated "Is he nuts?!". To be honest, my friend also wondered about his judgement when he first reached the city and saw the snow falling fast and thick, but he was able to do everything that he wanted to achieve including visiting the places depicted in "Flying Witch" and engorging on everything with apples in it and that included curried rice with apple chunks.
Of course, the session included the anison and this time, he pulled out a song that I hadn't heard before although the anime title itself rang a bell: "Gunslinger Girl" which came out in October 2003. My friend actually purchased the Blu-Ray for the first season (the second season was apparently horrible), and he described the story line about these teenage girls undergoing tragic fates only to get the RoboCop treatment and become cybernetic assassins (yes, it is an anime, isn't it?) ultimately facing another tragic fate.
After that description, I said that I wouldn't be too interested in watching the series but I have to say that I was very taken with the opening theme, "The Light Before We Land" by Scottish band The Delgados. I mean, to say that this song is hauntingly beautiful is an understatement. After hearing that intro a few more times, I've basically trained the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up and salute. Plus, listening to the song and watching the introduction of these adolescent killers has put a capital 'P' onto the word pathos.
"The Light Before We Land" would also be just the song to finish off some sort of revisionist Western where pretty much every character gets killed off with the one survivor limping off into the sunset. And there's even a feeling of a 007 theme in there as well. The song, by the way, is a track on The Delgados' 2002 album "HATE".
Well, when you have such atmosphere for the opening theme, I gather that the ending theme has to pack a punch as well. And that would be "Dopo Il Signo ~ Yume no Ato ni" (After A Dream) which is a Toshihiko Sahashi（佐橋俊彦）and Nanae Mimura（三村奈々恵）arrangement of an original work, "Après un rêve" by French composer Gabriel Fauré with lyrics by Keiko Ueno (うえのけいこ). The singer was simply listed as op. (pronounced Opus).
Heck, that ending sounds like something that would be played in some sort of Mafia-based movie during a montage of killings. Perhaps I've been watching "The Godfather" a bit too much.
Forgive me...after hearing these two songs, I think I wanna look out the window at the rain for a few hours.