Anime Music Review: Spirited Away Soundtrack

Okay, so let’s all talk about how I’ve been listening to the Spirited Away soundtrack for the last two days straight. It’s no wonder (to me) that the movie won a Japanese Academy award for best song (“Always with Me”) in 2002. In addition, the “Day of the River” piece received the 56th Mainichi Film Competition Award for Best Music, the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2001 Best Music Award in the Theater Movie category, and the 16th Japan Gold Disk Award for Animation Album of the Year. The music was composed by Joe Hiyashi and performed by the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra with Hiyashi conducting.

Here is the best song. Sound quality isn’t bowling anyone over…. Props to you if you understand what is being said/can read the subtitles.

I’m a big fan of the following things in general:

  • orchestral pieces
  • slower, calmer, melodic songs
  • songs with great flow

These three things are harder to come by than you would think. All of the songs in this soundtrack are excellent and a lot of them are slower. In addition, Hiyashi does a really great job incorporating Asian (I’m using Asian because I’m unsure of the orchestration he has going) sounds into a traditional orchestra. It’s really hard to do that without sounding gimmicky, but Hiyashi pulls it off.

You can’t help but think of the movie when you listen to it. How many movie soundtracks can you guys remember? The Rocky theme? Jaws? I think for the typical person you don’t get too many more than that. I even know which scenes the Spirited Away songs are coming from (and in all honesty, I haven’t seen the movie that many times, and not since a long while ago) which is always a good sign. The music is good and it definitely fits the movie.

If this is the type of music you are interested in, you should definitely check it out!