Four Memorable Insert-Song Scenes in Anime

The post at anime diet asked which is better: anime or manga, and I commented that anime offers something that manga cannot: Music. Now this post is not so much about rather or not anime is indeed better than manga (it is) as it is about reminiscing a few of the best scenes in which our experience of it, was greatly enhanced because an insert theme song was supporting it like wind lifting a bird soaring higher and higher.

The past episode of Macross Frontier with Sheryl’s concert leading to the end credit is one recent example. Searching through my iTune library, I found a few other scenes that had captivated me due to the background theme song.

Gundam SEED: Akatsuki no Kuruma by FictionJunction Yuuka

The Gundam franchise has certainly plenty of such scenes. The most memorable one for me is the escape of Kira Yamato & friends and the self-destruction of ORBS after the leader had sent his daughter off to the escape pod.

The song itself would’ve stood strong on its own, but coupled with this scene it became immortal. The slow and melancholic beginning aligns with the heavy mood of an impending invasion. Then the song grows stronger and stronger as the enemy presses on, and picks up speed as the shuttle increases its own speed in racing to outer space. I couldn’t not get this scene and the music out of my head for weeks.

Asatte no Houkou: Kasa by suara

This heartbreaking scene details a flashback to a painful memory of the main character’s past when she lost both her parents to a car accident and then became a burden to her brother. Even though I already knew of her past, my tears still could not be kept in its place when I watched this scene.

This is the song that introduced me to the artist suara. She then went on to a few other memorable songs in anime including her hit song Kimi ga Tame in Utawarerumono.

School Days: Kanashimi no Mukou e by Kanako Itou

Who can forget this jaw-dropping, face-twitching, WTF-is-wrong-with-these-ppl scene? As if being cancelled just hours before airing because some crazy duddete decided to play sharp objects near her dad’s neck wasn’t signaling us what was installed already, we all had already watched the Youtube clips on the game’s original gruesome endings and were looking forward to it. But yet, this scene shocked me beyond expectation—I still shook a bit every time I see a girl handling sharp objects.

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart.

The water bottle seems to whistle on and on to no end. Then a pause. The theme cues in. And the sound of flesh tearing. More whistling. The music fades for the dialog between Seikai and Kotonoha before it cues in the blood-gushing, gut-busting scene.

Gundam SEED Destiny: Vestige by T.M.Revolution

Every time I walked to a midterm or a final, I would played this song over and over again on my iPod. It pumped me up. Just like Kira in this scene, I was down from the last exam but now I was going to pick up my fight once more. Bakaneko, ikimasu!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little selection. If you know of another scene with an unforgettable background theme song, what are you waiting for: share it!

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7 Responses to Four Memorable Insert-Song Scenes in Anime

  1. Stripey says:

    Akatsuki no kuruma and Kasa are my top 2 favourite insert songs too! Glad to see insert songs get some love. 🙂

  2. Haesslich says:

    Akatsuki no Kuruma’s been a standby on the playlist for years. I think its BEST use was in the SEED Special #3, which ended with the full track – instead of fading out just before the self-destruct. And continued on with the Cagalli and Athrun shots in the credits.

    That, and Kanashimi no Mokou e fit the scene very well, with the drums at the end, and the lyrics matching the situation. Well, in a twisted way… but still, they matched. 😀

    For a recent example, I suggest looking at Episode 6 of Macross Frontier and its use of the ED theme, Diamond Crevasse – the lyrics also fit with the melancholy farewell mood as people prepare for battle and head out, knowing that not everyone may come home. Some songs stand well on their own, but sometimes you need the reinforcing visuals to bring the emotional impact up another level.

  3. Haesslich says:

    … as you already discovered a post or two ago. 😉 Nevermind – edit the above comment, please.

  4. faye says:

    I loved Akatsuki no Kuruma too. It’s one of the best I ever heard. The song Ranka sang in ep2 of Frontier was pretty good too, don’t know if it counts as an insert song though. ^^U

  5. Haesslich says:

    It does – it gets inserted into episode 7. 😉

  6. Shin says:

    The only thing that marred my liking towards Vestige was the fact it was used as my arch-nemesis’ intro theme. Other than that’s it’s a great song. My favorite now would probably be Kyun Kyun Watashi no Kare wa Pilot by Ranka (:

  7. bakaneko says:

    @Stripey, I am more of an audible type of neko. 🙂

    @Haesslich, I think the youtube clip above is the one you spoke of, although I like the original version more—it had the scene where Justice was falling behind, which added a little bit more tension.

    @faye, Ranka still hasn’t given a performance that moved me in any bit yet. OK, her little dance in episode one was the stuff that animated GIF was invented for, but her singing is nowhere as strong as Sheryl. Right now, it’s all Sheryl.

    Of course, that’s only because Ranka is just starting out, and I’m sure that the writers will improve her songs. Macross franchise is great that way in that it is basically a festival of songs with mecha fighting.

    @Shin, huh? Who’s your arch-nemesis? I must’ve missed the memo on that one. 😉

    The only thing I remember from Ranka’s Kyun-Kyun performance was her bikini catwalk. 🙂

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