We have come a long way from the silent film age. It has become by far the most underrated element of movies, tv shows, and video games.

To fully understand take any impactful scene from a movie.   Mute the sounds from the scene notice how it “sounds ” different. You should then take a different song and play that in the background. Make sure it’s a different genre from the original song. You again experience something different.

It’s incredible how much a well-placed track can affect the mood, genre, atmosphere, etc.

Anime is benefits in the exact same way. If you think about the greatest fights, best romances, or awesome environment, they all share great music.

An entire subculture of AMVs would not even exist without music, AMVs are a huge part of the fandom.

If you look back it almost at the best moments the awesome music made the scene. Goku turning Super Saiyan Three for the first time is even more epic because of that awesome theme music. I invite you to rewatch any awesome scene and pay attention to the music.

Now that we have looked into music and anime that brings me to today’s topic. After thinking about sound use in anime, I figured out that the music was more impactful than the anime. Because the music alone is impactful with the anime, but the reverse is not true.

To prove this I am going to go over the music used in animes.

The best scenes in these animes use a specific song, the combination of the two is the heart of my analysis. Even intros from different animes have had a similar impact on me.

Also, the analysis will contain spoilers so look at the table of contents to figure out what parts to read and avoid

Escaflowne Dance of the Curse and Guilty Crown Bios

Our first example comes from two animes. You are probably wondering why a show like Escaflowne is in the same conversation as Guilty Crown.  Despite what is better, both shows share a similar use of their main theme.

Escaflowne uses Dance of the Curse as the main theme while Guity Crown uses Bios. The uses are similar because both appear only three times in each show. People will remember something if it’s said three times which is why speechwriters use this technique.

Both songs have similar melodies and used in scenes with high stakes and a character receiving power.

Discussing each instance of the song’s use shows the emotions it provokes. Plus, we can see exactly how the music impacts the scene.

Each instance will list what happened before the song plays. A description of the scene followed by the impact of the song.

Escaflowne Dance of the Curse

Awesome Anime Music Escaflowne's first fight

First Appearance of the Escaflowne: Escaflowne Episode 2

What Happens in the Scene

After the Zaibach  forces attack his home, Von flees to a chamber with Hitomi and the dragon’s heart he previously obtained. He cuts his hand to cause blood to drip on the heart of the dragon. The Guymelef (mech) know as Escaflowne hears Vons call and appears. An epic chorus plays while Escaflowne rises from the ground. Once Von is in Escaflowne, Zaibach ‘s Guymelefs enter the chamber and surround him. Dance of the Curse starts playing after Von walks towards the Guymelefs to engage in battle and your heart rate increases due to the excitement.

The Music’s Impact

There is so much tension building from the entire process of Von using Escaflowne. We the audience first see what Escaflowne is and the music signifies its importance. When watching this scene you want Von to go and attack the Guymelefs this song basically says “let’s get ’em” and this creates excitement.

The song ends abruptly, which teases the audience and indicates that there is more to come.

Awesome Anime Music Von escapes the Zaibach forces

Von Flees on Escaflowne  to lead the Zaibach Forces Away from the Crusade

What Happens in the Scene

Allen’s floating ship called the Crusade is carrying Von, Hitomi, and Allen’s crew away from Asturia. They are evading the Zaibach‘s forces who seek the Escaflowne . Zaibach‘s Guymelefs can fly and chase the Crusade. Once they land on the ship its obvious that things are not going to end well. Von realized this and got into Escaflowne and jumps out of the Crusade so the Guymelefs will chase him.  You see the first time Escaflowne changes into a dragon.

The Music’s Impact

This was another first for the show but this time it’s Escaflowne ‘s dragon form. Playing the song as soon as Von jumps off the Crusade is perfect because you feel more invested. Dance of the Curse’s slow beginning works well here because during that part of the song you are seeing Escaflowne transform into a dragon. You and Escaflowne are getting ready for what is about to happen. The song’s chorus plays while Zaibach‘s Guymelefs chase Escaflowne. This works well because the opening builds the tension and the chorus provides the oomph the rest of the scene. It almost appears as if the song is giving Escaflowne the ability to flee.

Awesome Anime Music Von vs Allen

Von and Allen’s Final Battle Escaflowne Episode 26

What Happens in the Scene

Von defeats Dilandau and before he can deliver the finishing blow, Jajuka intercepts it. Jajuka then tells Dilandau to transform into Celena which is the sister of Allen. After killing Jajuka Von moves again towards Dilandau’s Guymelef where Celena is now inside. Allen intercepts Von and tells him that is his sister and her crimes are his. Allen who cannot convince Von to not kill Celena challenges him to a final duel.

The Music’s Impact

We hear the whole song during this fight. This is fitting because before that we only heard parts of the song. The opening of the song occurs at the same time Allen and Von lock up swords. Once the song picks up the delay is over and the battle begins. During the intense chorus parts, you hear Von and Allen shout one-liners at each other. Each strike and blow are in sync with the music which emphasizes them. Allen’s crew looks on and comment that this fight is to the death and without the song it would not feel that way.

From the moment the song starts you know this fight is going to be epic and that’s the biggest impact it has.

Final Thoughts

The slow nature of the song works because the Guymelef’s have slow movements.

Which means the song does not outpace the fighting but enahnces it.

Also, each instance of Dance of the Curse has a triggering event:

1: Von makes Escaflowne walks from its pedestal and draw its sword.

2: Von jumps out of the Crusade while inside Escaflowne and transforms into a dragon.

3: Allen throws his sword and catches it in midair.

In all three instances this slow intro gives you and the characters enough time to get ready for what is about to go down.

The best moments in Escaflowne where any scene that involved the soundtrack. Episode four of Escaflowne is something that I have never forgotten to this day. It is due to that catchy theme music. After my long hiatus from anime, I was unable to remember the show’s name. But that song came back to me and conveniently the song’s main lyrics consist of the word Escaflowne. That speaks volumes of how great this song is. This song always gives me goosebumps.

Guilty Crown Bios

Awesome anime music Shu uses the king's power

Shu gains the Power of the King Guilty Crown episode 1

What Happens in the Scene

Shu happens upon an item that a girl named Inori was carrying. His mission is to bring it to the Funeral Patrols leader named Gai. on his journey, he gets caught in the middle of firefight which ends up destroying the item and releasing it on him. The song starts to play with Inori telling Shu to use her.  You are then treated to a series of flashbacks and images. At the end, Shu wakes up from his trance with red focused eyes and he grabs the void from Inori.

The Music’s Impact

From the very beginning of Shu receiving the King’s power the opening chorus, it gets you so excited. Bio’s chorus plays during the entire part of Shu removing the void and creating a light to the sky.  The song shows Shu’s beginning with the voids. Shu uses Inori’s void to wipe out the mechs the sound suddenly stops. Just like Escaflowne it teases you and makes you want to keep watching for the next use of the song.

Awesome Anime Music Shu escapes from the GHQ Isolation Facility

Shu escapes from the GHQ Isolation Facility Guilty Crown Episode 4

What Happens in the Scene

The funeral patrol rescue Shu and another inmate name Yahiro. But the enemies surround Shu and Yahiro, at the same time Inori is rushing towards the building where Shu is. Yahiro’s void is able to manipulate gravity and assists Shu in both stopping the Endslaves and getting to Inori. Shu asks Inori if he can believe in her, a quick nod from Inori occurs then the awesome part begins.

The Music’s Impact

This time the music starts playing towards the middle of the song. It also plays the chorus for a longer period of time. The opening melody also plays until Shu has fully taken hold of Inor’s void. Afterward, the chorus plays throughout and like before gets cut off midway. By doing this it prepares the you for what is about to happen and builds tension in the scene. We know at this point that Inori’s void is super powerful so when Shu grabs it you know its going to be awesome. The high points of the chours are synced with Shu’s attacks adding some additional gravitas to the action. Each time the song is played it symbolizes something. In this case the forming of a bond between Inori and Shu.

Awesome anime music Shu regains his power

Shu Regains the power of the King Guilty Crown Episode 19

What Happens in the Scene

Shu learns that his mother is in the Funeral Patrol’s headquarters and is under assault by GHQ. He convinces Arisa to help him find his mother. On the way there Shu sees that the headquarters is on fire. He jumps out of the vehicle and runs the rest of the way there.

Shu’s mother has the last Void Genome, the same device that Shu used to gain his power originally.

Ayase who is a pilot of an Endslave and bound to a wheelchair decides to use the power herself. Before she gets a chance to inject herself with it, the GHQ forces attack the building. As she is about to use the Void Genome Segai (GHQ member) stops her. They get into a brawl and the Void Genome falls down some stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, Shu Appears and grabs the Void Genome. Shu injects himself with the Void Genome and uses his friend’s Voids to defeat the GHQ forces and rescue everyone.

The Music’s Impact

This is the last time we hear the song and it symbolizes rebirth and redemption. Shu at this point abused his power and ultimately had it stolen from him. Before Shu injects himself, he explains why he is doing this.

Bios‘ opening ties perfectly with Shu explaining what he must do because of its quieter tone.  Once Shu fully regains his Void power the chorus plays which emphasizes this. Another nice touch is each part of dialogue has the song lowered. This part of the song also has dialogue so it does not clash and emphasizes the conversation.

Because the first two instances played different parts of the song, this brings everything full circle by playing the whole song. By doing this it helps you reflect on what Shu has gone through and on some level the audience as well.

Final Thoughts

For an anime that is very mediocre Guilty Crown has an amazing original soundtrack. I listen to Bios in the mornings before work and during the last few mins of a workout to give me the extra boost before the end.

Waiting to hear the show plays Bios was the main reason I stuck with the show until the end. I wonder if the producers were thinking the same. It is odd how they use within the first four episodes and waited until episode 19 to play it again.

From a pure spectacle, this might be the best song used for background music during any action sequence in anime. It’s too bad they wasted it on Guilty Crown.

Clannad The Place Where Wishes Come True

Let’s shift the tone from action-adventure to more romance and drama.  I want to discuss Clannad because its soundtrack has impacted me the most. There are so many great emotional songs to choose from. My favorite is The Place Where Wishes Come True.

Throughout all Clannad After Story uses this song during the emotional scenes. The two types of scenes where you hear this song are either happy or sad. During the sad scenes the whole song plays and it only partially plays during the happy ones. I am not sure what the reason is but I thought it was interesting observation.

Due to the number of times that song plays in Clannad After Story I am only going to discuss four instances. Two from sad moments and two from happy moments.

Awesome anime music Tomoya proposes to Nagisa

Tomoya proposes to Nagisa After Visiting his dad Clannad After Story Episode 12

What Happens in the Scene

Tomoya’s company denied him a promotion because his dad was arrested. As a result, Tomoya and goes to visit him alongside Nagisa. Tomoya at this point is very angry because his dad has always been ruining his life from day one. Now add this incident to the equation. After not getting a satisfying response from his dad Tomoya leaves the holding area in rage.

He storms off and approaches a wall and beging to hit with his bare knuckles which start to bleed. Nagisa grabs Tomoya in an effort to stop him. They both end up hugging and slowly sliding down the wall. At the same time, you can hear The Place Where Wishes Come True playing.

The Music’s Impact

The timing of the song alone is important because it occurs when Nagisa console Tomoya. For a part of the scene, there is no dialogue instead the song in the background is telling the story.  A common feeling at this part is calming down and just acting at the moment. Which makes sense because Tomoya asks Nagisa for marriage in the most random of times. Without the song’s presence there would be no emotional weight behind the dialogue. In fact, if you remove the dialogue entirely and keep only the song you lose nothing from the scene.

Awesome Anime Music Tomoya recieves Akio's blessing

Tomoya asks Akio for Nagisa’s hand in Marriage Clannad After Story Episode 13

What Happens in the Scene

Tomoya needs Akio’s (Nagisa’s dad) blessing to marry Nagisa. When Tomoya approaches Akio to ask him something, Akio agrees to hear Tomoya if he can hit one of his pitches with a baseball bat. This is a difficult task because Akio is the best baseball player in the neighborhood.

Tomoya spends days and nights in both rain and shine taking batting practice. Tomoya up to this point is unable to hit any of Akio’s pitches. Akio sees Tomoya training in the rain and tells him he has one more chance.  Tomoya is able to make contact and sends the ball flying. He then runs to Akio, falls to his knees and asks for Nagisa’s hand in marriage.

The Music’s Impact

There is an immediate connection between this usage of the song and the previous. The timing is key because it occurs right as Tomoya falls to the ground and asks for Nagisa’s hand in marriage.

He worked himself to the bone to make this happen the song makes you feel the same. It almost as if you are sharing this happy moment with him.

Awesome Anime Music Tomoya and Ushio have a heart to heart

Tomoya hugs Ushio Clannad After Story Episode 18

Before starting I would like to note that is the hardest episode of any anime for me to watch.

What Happens in this Scene

After Nagisa dies in labor Tomoya avoids their child for five years. After that time he is “tricked” by Sanae to go on a trip with her. Tomoya and Ushio travel by train. During the trip Tomoya scares Ushio with his rage causing her to flee to the bathroom.

Ushio explains to Tomoya that Sanae told hed she can only cry in the bathroom. Besides that Tomoya up this point has been rude to Ushio.

Later on, they travel to a field of dandelions.  Ushio loses her toy and looks for it while Tomoya explores the area from a safe distance.

After an emotional conversation with his grandmother, Tomoya returns to Ushio to the field. He informs her that they need to go and she will get a new toy. Ushio wants that toy because it was the first one that Tomoya got for her.

Tomoya approaches Ushio and asks her if she wants to live with him. Despite how mean Tomoya has been up until now Ushio still wants to live with him. She in return asks is it okay to let it out because the only other place she can cry is in daddy’s arms. What follows is an emotional hug between father and daughter and lots of crying.

The Music’s Impact

The Place Where Dreams Come True has a second part that plays during this scene. It plays right after Ushio starts crying in Tomoya’s arms. When the main chorus starts it feels like the song is crying with the characters and creates all of the intensity in the scene.

There is a small tell in the song that occurs right before the main chorus plays. It’s though that you experience this feeling of emotions bottling up and then they’re releasing them during the chorus. Which is exactly what is happening in this scene. The music is what delivers the emotional bomb that is this scene.

Awesome Anime Music Tomoya discusses Nagisa

Tomoya talks about Nagisa with Ushio Clannad After Story Episode 18

What Happens in the Scene

After the evens of Ushio and Tomoya embracing in the field, they travel back on the train. Ushio has asked Tomoya questions about her mommy (Nagisa). Tomoya who still has not gotten over her death refused. But at this moment, Tomoya was ready to accept reality and talk about it.

While Tomoya starts telling Ushio about Nagisa he starts thinking about her. It is at this moment that it all dawned on him that Nagisa is gone and he starts to cry. Ushio starts to cry with him.

The Music Impacts

The song continues to play from the moment Ushio and Tomoya hug in the field. While Tomoya starts to talk about Nagisa you can still hear the song in the background but it’s not as prominent.  Right as Tomoya realizes that Nagisa is gone the chorus becomes louder and stays that way during the montage.

The montage has the scene of Nagisa hugging Tomoya. Afterward, it transitions to the scene where Nagisa dies in labor and the hand falls down. One moment they agree to live together and in the next, it ends suddenly. The song playing in the background the whole time adds to the whole feeling of letting the emotions go.

You can imagine any point in your life where you held such emotional weight and had to lead it out on someone or something. You can easily testify that the feeling is so rewarding when you let it out.

Final thoughts

Attending an interesting lecture on the importance of sound in media inspired this article. Looking at sounds in different made me realize how important sound they are. In fact, due to the length of this article, I am going to discuss the music behind openings in another article. I understated how long this article was going to be.

There are so many other great uses of music in anime that I encourage to look for it in the next show you watch. So now what songs made your favorite anime moments that much greater? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading as always have a great day.

Escaflowne Dance of the Curse pictures

  1. Feature image Escaflowne Ep 14 at 18 mins 34 seconds
  2. Escaflowne Ep 2 at 18 mins 29 seconds
  3. Escaflowne  Ep 4 at 21 mins 25 seconds
  4. Escaflowne  Ep 26 at 9 mins 56 seconds

Guilty Crown Bios Pictures

  1. Guilty Crown Ep 1 at 20 mins 01 seconds
  2. Guilty Crown Ep 4 at 19 mins 15 seconds
  3. Guilty Crown Ep 19 at 17 mins 53 seconds

Clannad The Place Where Wishes Come True Pictures

  1. Clannad After Story Ep 12 at 21 mins 28 seconds
  2. Clannad After Story Ep 13 at 10 mins 02 seconds
  3. Clannad After Story Ep 18 at 18 mins 36 seconds
  4. Clannad After Story Ep 18 at 21 mins 24 seconds
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Welcome to MyMediaChops a blog created by a lifelong passionate anime fan. I love to write about my favorite anime including Gungrave, Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Bleach, and so many others.