Music in Anime Creates Emotion?

Almost a day ago, Irina posted “Creative vs Technical Merits of Anime” (here) and I hadn’t read it until someone else linked to it on Twitter. Why I hadn’t read it baffles me considering anything Irina posts is bound to be wonderful and generate discussion and what have you (there’s so much that goes into those posts that anyone should read them any chance they get—go click that link, dammit!)…

Anyway, her post got me thinking about the creative and technical aspects of anime, and a few distinct moments came to me. I’ll list them below and then explain why they’re listed.

  • Naruto—The Great Naruto Bridge, Zabuza and Haku: The Music: Sadness and Sorrow (I don’t know the composer, sorry)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle—The Music: Merry-Go-Round of Life, by Joe Hisaishi


zabuza and haku
tears for days

Naruto…why Naruto? Well, if anyone remembers this particular portion of the anime, it’s emotional. Naruto is fighting Haku, and trying to defend Sasuke, and he’s pretty much dying. Yeah, well, Sadness and Sorrow doesn’t have any lyrics—it’s all instrumental, and it’s peaceful. The piano is sad, it’s full of sorrow (so, like, the title?), and it’s bringing out the emotion of the scene in a way nothing else could. Sure, characters could speak, and they could move how they’re supposed to and whatnot, but this aspect of the scene, the music that’s playing softly over the moving parts of the anime, the pleading characters and the actions they’re taking, add an element of emotion that nothing else could. While I know some people don’t resonate with music as much as I do (it’s kind of my thing), I think there’s a lot of weight in this particular piece to show the emotions of the characters, the dramatic elements of the scene, and how it’s affecting the characters involved. Without that piece of music, I don’t believe the scene would have had the same effect. Put lyrics into that portion and the emotions change. The take-away of how Naruto is acting, how Haku’s acting, how Zabuza’s emotional state is currently, and what results from the scene in general, doesn’t have the same effect on the viewer.


howl's moving castle
I love Howl’s Moving Castle…

Howl’s Moving Castle… Granted this is my favorite Studio Ghibli film, and my favorite Miyazaki film, but I don’t think that takes away from Joe Hisaishi’s work, especially with Merry-Go-Round of Life. It’s the first song we hear during the film (and the theme song of the movie), and while the animation is superb, and the voice cast does a fantastic job with their roles, I think Merry-Go-Round of Life adds an element to the animation and movie in general. Sure, we open with Howl’s castle clunking and hissing as it moves through the fog, but the soft piano playing while we get all the other sounds at the beginning of the film adds a calming element to the opening. With bright colors, superb lighting effects, and quality movements from our characters and the other aspects of the film, Merry-Go-Round of Life truly adds a deeper element to the love story in Howl’s Moving Castle. The song plays toward the end of the film as well, when the castle has crumbled and Sophie gives Howl his heart back (SPOILERS!!), and I truly believe that add element gives the story more life. If there was one thing I could say about this it’s that Merry-Go-Round of Life and all the other music from Joe Hisaishi gives the film an added emotional boost. While there’s emotion in the voice acting and story in general, Merry-Go-Round of Life is soft and full of everything that can’t be said between any characters.


So yeah, that’s all for this post. If you have any other scores or specific songs that you enjoyed from anime (tv shows or feature films, even shorts) that you enjoyed and thought added an element to the story that nothing else could I’d love to hear what they are!


Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

3 thoughts on “Music in Anime Creates Emotion?

  1. A lot of the longer running shounen anime have soundtracks that really end up feeling nostalgic. 800+ episodes of One Piece and the music is basically playing me like a puppet – I know exactly what emotions I should be feeling based on the music alone.


  2. I’ve always been driven to the music in audiovisual mediums. Be it movies, videogames, or anime, music is a *huge* part of my investment in a thing. And a particularly good soundtrack or score is always one of the first things I notice. I’m not sure I have a particularly acute affinity for recognizing what makes music good, itself. But there’s something particularly awesome about when a track hits that sweet spot and drags out the exact emotion the scene needs. Great examples.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man this is so true the music in naruto and the battles is amazing. It makes me sit on the edge of my seat. Since i got into anime a few years ago it feels like I am only getting started and am now planning on doing some cosplay.

    Liked by 1 person

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