Dark Aether’s Favorite Anisongs of Spring 2019 – SixTAY Days Edition (Day 3)

Bungo Stray Dogs

It’s that time again. Welcome to the another edition of my seasonal anisong roundup. New for Spring 2019 and as part of the SixTAY Days of writing challenge, I’ll be writing this article “live” by adding one new entry over the next several days (let’s say a week, though they may not be consecutive entries).

Change Log:

7/14/19: Introduction

7/16/19: Day 1 Entry and Change Log added. Testing Slideshow header.

7/18/19: Day 2 Entry added. Corrected title.

7/20/19: Day 3 Entry added. Slideshow covers added.

For those unfamiliar how I select these, here are my general guidelines and an example of the last one I did below:

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– As long as an anisong was featured during the seasonal run on any platform/service that is available for viewing, it can go on the list. This includes shows outside of their original run (i.e. Toonami, Netflix).

– More than one song from a given show is eligible. If the list is larger than expected, I may curb this or include an honorable mentions list.

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– Because there are usually a large number of shows I have not watched, I limit entries to shows I’ve actually seen (with some exceptions). For that reason, the credits pick is normally reserved for a previous anisong from the season before or an extra song from the current season.

Last season, I went with a completely different setup as I wanted to highlight specific anime moments that stood out along with their associated songs to add further emphasis.

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With a much larger pool of shows and anisongs this time around, there are quite a few favorites I’ll be highlighting in the coming days. Looking forward to sharing them with you!

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Song: Knock on the Core

Artist: [K]NoW_NAME

Anime: Fairy Gone

Probably best known for working on the music for Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (a personal favorite of mine), I made a joke early on in the season that I was legally obligated to watch anything with [K]NoW_NAME attached to it. Even though I’d be eating my own words all the way through the season finale (hint: it’s bad), the soundtrack remained the one salvageable component each week, notably its killer opening.

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[K]NoW_NAME’s vocalists are on full display here, mixing in a range of high end notes and intense chorus beats/lyrics accompanied by some incredible guitar and orchestra pieces. With its vibrant colors and beautiful visuals by P.A. Works (albeit with some mixed CGI for the Fairies), Knock On the Core is yet another solid opening and single for the group. Now if only I could say the same about the show in general…..

Song: Gurenge

Artist: LiSA

Anime: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

One of my favorite new shows of the season and exciting new shonen to receive the anime treatment this year, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a high water mark (pun intended) for the battle action genre with a matching opener to boot.

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I’ve highlighted LiSA a few times already on these lists who has worked on various high profile anime, including Sword Art Online and Fate/Apocrypha, so I’ll skip the usual introduction. In contrast to SAO: Alicization’s Adamas, Gurenge is probably closer to Fate’s Ash (my personal favorite anisong from her). Here, the song kicks off with a very somber piano and dark skies before transitioning into a ripping guitar 10 seconds in and converting to color.

Aside from LiSA’s vocals, what I most love about this song though is the tempo and rhythm. Even as the pace picks up, if you listen very closely (pro tip: use headphones), you can pickup the piano humming in the background. The song builds up and slows down briefly to highlight it before whipping out some thunderous guitar work to finish the opening out. There is not much more I can add about the visuals that hasn’t been said about the show itself (it’s drop dead gorgeous), but I love that the opener managed to squeeze some a little bit of the comedic side to balance out some of the darker aesthetics (this is a dark fantasy title after all) for those curious as to what “flavor” of shonen this is.

Song: Lily

Artist: Luck Life

Anime: Bungo Stray Dogs

Editor’s note: I couldn’t find a good version of the opening, so I’m using the actual music video.

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I had to give this entry some thought. Bungo Stray Dogs has always had some killer openings, courtesy of Granrodeo (Seasons 1, 3, and Dead Apple film) and Screen mode (Season 2, insert song for season 3); all of which are utilized in some fashion. Season 2’s Reason Living in particular stands out with the song being used on two different occasions during some very climatic battles.

This time, however, it was one of the endings that stood out. Luck Life’s Lily is utilized at the end of every episode just before the closing credits, but there were two episodes where it hit me the hardest. Previously, I wrote about protagonist Atsushi’s abusive childhood and his journey to free himself from those shackles.

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I won’t cover them in detail again, but in both cases, it was one of the stronger character growth moments in a series already filled with several unique personalities. By season’s end, I grew to appreciate Atsushi’s growth and the show’s complexity on abusive guardians; both of which are left with enough ambiguity without relying on tired tropes or romanticism for the abuser (i.e. a redemption arc).

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Luck Life, who has contributed endings for every season, stands out in contrast to the rock based openings, trading in the darker backgrounds and heavier guitar instrumentation for brighter color tones and uplifting vocals. With various characters having faced their own internal struggles (or ongoing), it’s nice to see each of them get a bit of screen time highlighting their individual arcs and other nods to past arcs. This song and ending hit a lot of those individual and emotional ques for me that it’s hard for me to summarize my exact feelings.

Instead, I’ll raise a glass. Well done.

This is part of a live anisong roundup. Check back for more entries in the days to come.

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