Guest Author - Ching Kin Min
銀魂 BEST (Gintama BEST) is the first compilation CD album featuring opening and ending theme songs used in the anime Gintama broadcasted from the first episode in 2006 until Sep 2008.
For those of you who do not watch Gintama, and are unfamiliar with Japanese music, the songs are all anime-style rock. Japanese rock is a different genre compared to western rock, and anime rock is another subgenre in itself. All the songs in this album are catchy, though some of them may sound similar to each other - which may not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on your musical tastes.
Track 1 - Pray by Tommy Heavenly
This is the first “Gintama” opening theme song, used in episodes 1-24. An attention-grabbing electric guitar riff opens this hard rock number. “Tommy Heavenly” is a female singer, who also happens to be the lead vocalist for the well-known band, “The Brilliant Green”, which incorporates classic British rock influences in their songs. “Pray” is one of the better songs in this album in my book.
Track 2 - 風船ガム (fuusen gamu) by キャプテンストライダム(Captain Straydum)
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 1-13. 風船ガム has a somewhat medium tempo, with a bright and light feel to it. It’s also one of the less heavy songs in the album. “Captain Straydum” is a band with a male vocalist.
Track 3 – Mr. Raindrop by amplified
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 14-24. “Mr. Raindrop” has a medium tempo. It’s the only song in this album that’s entirely in English, uses simple and short lyrics, and has just two very simple chord progressions. All the other songs in this album have the more complex lyrics and chord progressions usually associated with Japanese songs. “Mr. Raindrop” is bright and cheerful… though its simplicity and repetitiveness might turn some listeners off. “amplified” is a Hong Kong band with a male vocalist.
Track 4 - 遠い匂い (tooi nioi) by YO-KING
This is the opening theme song used in episodes 25-49. It's a moderately fast song, with a bright and cheerful feel to it, typical of mainstream Japanese pop-rock. “YO-KING” is a male singer.
Track 5 - 雪のツバサ (yuki no tsubasa) by redballoon
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 25-37. It has a fast tempo, with a melancholic feel throughout the song. “redballoon” is a rock band with a male vocalist.
Track 6 - キャンディ・ライン (Candy Line) by 高橋 瞳 (Takahashi Hitomi)
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 38-49. It has a kind of punkish/blues feel to it. “Takahashi Hitomi” is a female singer with a rather bright and high-pitched voice.
Track 7 - 銀色の空 (gin iro no sora) by redballoon
This is the opening theme song used in episodes 50-75, and the second song by “redballoon” on this album. Compared to雪のツバサ , this one has a bright mood throughout the song.
Track 8 - 修羅 (shura) by DOES
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 50-62. 修羅 is a head-banging, punkish number. While most songs in this album have a “feel-good” mood, this one oozes attitude. 修羅 is one of my favourite tracks. “DOES” is a band fronted by a male vocalist.
Track 9 - 奇跡 (kiseki) by シュノーケル（SNOWKEL）
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 63-75. This one has a moderate tempo, and maintains a bright mood throughout the song. “SNOWKEL” is a band with a male vocalist.
Track 10 - かさなる影 (kasanaru kage) by Hearts Grow
This is the opening theme song used in episodes 76-99. It has a moderately fast tempo with a bright mood throughout the song. かさなる影 grabs listeners’ attention right from the start, as it begins immediately with the chorus, which is in stark contrast to most of the other songs, which start with an instrumental intro, followed by the verse. “Hearts Grow” is a band with a female vocalist.
Track 11 - SIGNAL by KELUN
This is ending theme song used in episodes 76-87. Like かさなる影, “SIGNAL” starts off immediately with the chorus – thereby drawing in listeners right from the get-go - and is a moderately fast number with a cheerful mood. “KELUN” is a band fronted by a male vocalist.
Track 12 - Speed of flow by THE RODEO CARBURETTOR
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 88-99. It starts off with a catchy bluesy guitar riff that also appears in other parts of the song. This song has a somewhat medium tempo, and it has a melancholic, even dark, feel throughout. The fact that there are blues elements in this song – something that is rare in Japanese rock - makes it distinctive. “Speed of flow” is one of my personal favourites. “THE RODEO CARBURETTOR” is a band with a male vocalist.
Track 13 - 曇天 (don ten) by DOES
This is the opening theme song used in episodes 100-125. Like DOES’s other song 修羅, it’s a punkish song full of head-banging attitude, and 曇天 is right up there among my favourites.
Track 14 - sanagi by POSSIBILITY
This is the ending theme song used in episodes 100-112. This one is a medium-fast number that has a bright mood throughout, and it incorporates rap elements in the verses. If you like rap rock, this could be your thing. “POSSIBILITY” is a band fronted by a male vocalist.
Track 15 - This world is yours by プリングミン (PLINGMIN）
This is the ending theme used in episodes 113-125. It has a moderately slow tempo with a happy mood – it makes you feel that your world is all sunshine and rainbows. This one combines classic blues rock guitar riffs (a little reminiscent of a 12-bar-blues song) during the intro and the chorus with modern sounds. “PLINGMIN” is a band with a female vocalist.
If you don’t like rock, you will probably not like this album. If you do like rock, but have never listened to Japanese rock, you may not like it either. But why not give it a try to see if such a genre suits you? It may open up your mind, as it did mine. Having no knowledge of the Japanese language is not necessarily a bad thing, because you can focus on the music itself.
As for Gintama and/or anime rock fans, you should get this album, because it’s packed with 15 full-length theme songs – and therefore well worth your money.
You can buy this CD at the Amazon website.
(Amazon US)GINTAMA BEST
(Amazon UK)Gintama Best
I borrowed this copy of Gintama Best CD from a student of mine.