Hip-Hop and Anime : “Chouwa Oto” — Origins : Spirits of the Past

The best part of Hip-Hop is that inspiration can come from anywhere. The talents of beat makers and producers are only limited to their imaginations. Hip-Hop and anime have been in a long distance relationship for some time, and rightfully so and while watching some of my favorite animes, I always find myself on YouTube, researching their opening and closing themes. I fully appreciate the way that other cultures hear sounds and interpret their meanings. When reading the lyrics, the songs of animes have some of the most gripping themes, not usually seen in American cartoons.
What a talented producer can do with a sample from some of the best animes is what spawned this idea. It is easy to create from a region with which you are familiar with, but I have seen that the most awesome compositions span cultural identities. Anime Inspiration is here to bring you some of my favorite sounds from around the anime universe.

While watching Origins: Spirits of the Past I was IMMEDIATELY taken with the opening song, “Chouwa Oto” by Kokia. Kokia is a Japanese singer-songwriter whom possesses a hauntingly eerie soprano voice. Through the opening credits of Origins, her vibrato punctuates the action on the screen, capitalizing on the details of the illustrations. Origin is set in a future where through gene manipulation of plant DNA, the forest has become a conscious entity and exercises its will of controlling humans by controlling the flow of water.
The manipulation of the plants was done on the moon, and when they became realized, took the forms of dragons, splitting the moon in half and descending to Earth. Kokia’s aria, which translates to “Harmony Sound” is the landscape of this attack. Her voice stays calm and serene as devastation is wrought on the planet. Her voice is joined by a piano, guitar, strings and percussion at the impact on Earth. As the plant dragons take control, higher soprano voices chime in on the hook and reprise, with an operatic voice adding the upper register, creating a disjointment with the two layers. The ending result is an auditory chaos that mirrors the destruction on screen.
The story is one of fanciful optimism, with the fate of the world on the shoulders of children, but the ballad is a beautiful example of the use of voice and instrumentation. I would love to hear a re-imagined version of this track.


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