Anime, Reviews

10 Years of Makoto Shinkai & Tenmon: Promise Project (Review)

January 22, 2010 | | 5 Comments Share thison Facebook 10 Years of Makoto Shinkai & Tenmon: Promise Project (Review)on Twitter

Makoto Shinkai is an artist and anime director who some have called “the new Miyazaki.” His anime films, and short films, have left a lasting impression on Japan in the last ten years. Also, a bit of trivia: Shinkai was a graphic designer for Falcom during the time they developed Ys & Ys II Eternal.

In the same way that Miyazaki and Hisaishi are an inseparable team, it seems Shinkai found his star music composer: Tenmon (full name Atsushi Shirakawa). Tenmon actually worked with Falcom as well, years before Shinkai joined Falcom. Tenmon is responsible for many soundtracks in the Brandish series, apparently. But you’d never guess that when comparing those soundtracks to the anime soundtracks written for Shinkai’s work.

Now, put together the instantly-memorable visuals from Shinkai with Tenmon’s beautiful, new-age-ish orchestral work, and leave Hiroaki Yura and the members of Australia’s Eminence Symphony Orchestra to do their own “best of” image album. What do you get? Something beautiful, that’s what you get.

For more on my thoughts about this wonderful, out-of-left-field project from the Eminence Orchestra, just keep reading… after the jump!

Those jumps freak me out. It’s like doing the time warp. (singing) Let’s, present, the TRACK LIST agaaain!!

01 “One More Chance, One More Time” (Instrumental)
02 “Omoide wa Tooku no Hibi” [Memories are Distant Days]
03 “Kanae no Kimochi” [Kanae’s Feelings]
04 “The Place Promised in Our Early Days Theme”
05 “Futari no Keikaku / Kibou to Akogare” [Their Plan / Hope and Aspiration]
06 “Sayuri”
07 “The Place Promised in Our Early Days Theme” (Piano Version)
08 “Futari no Kattou” [Their Differences]
09 “Kimi no Koe” (Instrumental) [Your Voice]
10 “Through the Years and Far Away”
11 “Mikako kara no Tayori” [News from Mikako]
12 “She and Her Cat Theme”
13 Bonus Track – “She and Her Cat Theme” (Piano Version)

Through these tracks, we get a more than a mere “sampling” of Tenmon’s compositions for Shinkai’s last ten years of work. Yes, the big songs are there (including vocal themes, now made instrumental). But we also dig deep into early projects, like the short film She and Her Cat. But all the big names are here too. Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, even 5 Centimeters Per Second.

Each track has a different size and scope among the musicians performing. Some are as simple as solo piano. Others are just piano and one or two violins. Some have a full string ensemble. A couple of tracks bring on the full symphony orchestra. There’s a great range of performing size on this album, and each one fits the original composition perfectly.

That’s a word I find myself using over and over in trying to describe this album to friends: “perfect.” That doesn’t mean it’s the best CD ever recorded. But for what the project was meant to achieve, for what I would personally want it to be, it matches exactly. Nothing is missing, everything about it feels right. To quote Thom Yorke of Radiohead, it’s “everything in its right place.” It’s perfect.

Now, even with Promise Project accomplishing its mission, there are some audiophiles who might not like this album. Or maybe, they’d only like it under certain settings. This is a very slow, introspective kind of album. Some will call it relaxing, but I don’t think it’s unfair for someone else to call it “boring.” There are very few moments on the album where you actually get a fast enough tempo to fully engage the listener. One track that definitely does accomplish this is “Through the Years and Far Away” (track 10). There’s a spirit of adventure on this track. Another upbeat piece is track 5, “Futari no Keikaku / Kibou to Akogare.” Using the string ensemble to set the rhythm with a constant 8th-note “bumpbumpbumpbump” really helps to lift the mood of what is an otherwise “too regal to breathe easy” kind of tune.

If you’ve followed Eminence Orchestra’s previous work, as I have, it should come as no surprise that the quality of this album is excellent. The only two questions you need to ask are as follows:

1) “Am I a fan of Makoto Shinkai’s films and the music in them?”

If yes, you’re done your search. Go buy this album. If no, ask the second question:

2) “Am I willing to pay out money on music I’m not familiar with, all because I know the orchestra performing the music is talented and the source material has been praised by a variety of publications?”

If yes, then again, go buy this album. If “maybe” or “no,” then I’d recommend either getting familiarized with Makoto Shinkai’s films (they’re excellent, in my opinion), or else checking out audio samples of Promise Project before considering making a purchase. But you shouldn’t be surprised when you find that you totally dig the arrangements. After all, one of the four arrangers on this project is Shiro Hamaguchi, an incredibly talented man whose work includes multiple symphonic orchestra arrangements for the Final Fantasy series. Head to Eminence Online to order your own copy of Promise Project!

And, for comments, we at OSV would love to know what other games or anime you’d love to see Eminence Orchestra do a dedicated project for.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


We like it when you talk to us

Add your comment below and subscribe to this conversation here. Spam will be moderated.



Make it fancy?

« Next Post

Previous Post »

More like this Post