Sawano Hiroyuki – &Z (Aldnoah Zero)

These days, I feel like Aldnoah Zero is remembered in very mixed terms – not hated and not forgotten, certainly, but rarely with any kind of love. At best, perhaps a mild intruige of possibilities offered but never fully realised.

 

But in one aspect at the very least, I feel it excelled – Sawano Hiroyuki’s stellar soundtrack – in many ways marking a transition from his ‘gateway’ trademark anime soundtracks for Kill La Kill and Attack on Titan, to when his focus started to become increasingly ‘song’ centric as opposed to purely soundtrack-based. Arriving at similar junctures, the bulk of works from both Aldnoah Zero and Seraph of the End both ended up filling out his ‘O’ album – and of them all, &Z – the 2nd OP from Aldnoah Zero – is by far my favourite.

 

I always envisioned the song very much within the context of the show itself – this soaring, quasi militaristic anthem-like paen to humanity at its best and worst. Full as it is with its references to keeping your chin up, the pointlessness of war, and the simple question: will it ever end? Building to this chanted, almost gospel-like majesty toward the end, &Z is the apotheosis of Sawano in full-on anthem mode. These sweeping odes to celestial future-topias would return in his OP for the retweaked Gundam Unicorn, and for my money, while his bombast is perhaps better seen in material like Kabaneri and Thunderbolt fantasy, it’s the hope and optimism here that holds some of his greatest charm for me as a composer.

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5 Replies to “Sawano Hiroyuki – &Z (Aldnoah Zero)”

  1. True. Really had a mixed feeling with this anime. Though I love the animation style. But the soundtracks are really gold. But my favorite is AmaLee’s english version of it. The lyrics was really amazing.

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    1. Yeah – I really enjoyed the visual style of the series, the mech suits especially had this really interesting sleekness to them. I’m generally not a fan of English covers of Japanese songs because it’s hard to get the words to fit the rhythm, but I guess it helps that a lot of Sawano’s tracks are sung in English anyway.

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      1. Agree, some english anime songs does not really fit. I only like Nathan Sharp and AmaLeeandLie’s versions. (Given also that they sang anime’s songs when it is dub on english.) The animation is really enjoyable. I rarely like mech animes but Aldnoah and Blue Steel brought me back to it.

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      2. Arpeggio of Blue Steel is really fantastic – I’ve been keeping up with the manga and it’s interesting as it takes a very different route from the anime

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      3. I haven’t read with the manga. Thanks for tipping me it was awesome now I want to catch up with it.!

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