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Witch Hunter ROBIN Original Sound Scores

The score to the anime series Witch Hunter ROBIN was split into two albums: Original Sound Score 1 and Original Sound Score 2. The music was composed by Taku Iwasaki, who is also known for writing the music to the Samurai X OVAs.

Anyone who has seen the Witch Hunter ROBIN series knows that most of it has a dark element to it. Much of the music matches perfectly with this gothic-type setting and some key pieces make use of rich, deep choir which tends to add incredible depth to the compositions. The anime also had a futuristic feel to it, having highly advanced computer systems. This was also reflected quite well in the score, through the use of beats and synths resembling trance and techno styles as well as some jazz influence. This review will not be track-by-track, but will pick out most of the songs to get an overall feel to it. I’ve included a handful of low bitrate mp3 samples of some the of tracks from each of the two albums.

Original Sound Score 1
Composer: Taku Iwasaki
Producer: Keiichi Nozaki
Catalog No.: VICL-60931
Release Date: 09/21/2002
Production: Victor Entertainment

Track List
01. Robin
02. Plot
03. Tactics
04. Sneak
05. Kyrie
06. Marvelous
07. Discord
08. Dragnet
09. Underground Passage
10. Inspection
11. Harry’s
12. STN
13. Open Your Eyes
14. Dancing Type
15. Flame
16. Shadow
17. Outrageous
18. Large Crowd
19. Flashback
20. Allay Pain
21. Silence
22. Shell (TV size)
23. Half Pain (TV size)

The very first song of the first album contains a song who’s melody was surely engraved into your ears if you’ve watched the series… “Robin”. The main character’s theme, it was seldom heard in its entirety, but the first 30 seconds of it was played in almost every episode. A soft beat is introduced further into the song, as well as some light choir in the background. It’s definitely worth listening to completely. The first dark piece comes up next in “Plot”. This is a good example of how dark this score can be. It starts off really dismal, enters a beat, and ends even more dismal than when it started. Songs like this one make for an enjoyable soundtrack, even without watching the anime. A little further down the track list we come across “Kyrie”. This is easily one of my favorite tracks on this album. The song has a dynamic beat with a powerful and haunting choir echoing throughout. “Marvelous” brings in mystery to the score. The melody sounds lost, and the eerie-sounding piano projects that even more. We get hit with energy in “Dragnet”. Here is where you get to sample some trance-style synths as well as some rock elements. This song makes for great chase music. With “Inspection”, you get to hear some smooth jazz-style with the familiar choir vocals popping in and out.

» Listen to samples! Robin | Kyrie

“STN” is a highlight when it comes to the smooth music on this album. Great stuff here, this is carefree and provocative, futuristic-sounding jazz. Some of these songs you just have to hear to fully understand. Robin’s theme is reincarnated in “Open Your Eyes”, this time with piano as the main focus. This is actually a very beautiful rendition of her theme. “Dancing Type” will be sure to get your head bobbing for a bit. A great rock theme with organs playing the melody through chords. “Flame” can also be considered an alternate theme for Robin, since it’s usually played when she displays her powers. This song is a great attention-grabber and has very nice sweeping strings overlaying the rock-style in the background. “Allay Pain” has the ending theme’s melody. Of course, one of the best ways to give emotion to a song is through solo piano. While simple, this piece does a decent job at portraying pain, confusion, and sadness. The last two songs on the album are the opening and ending themes to each episode. The lyrics for these was written by Hitomi Mieno and the songs were performed by Bana. “Shell” is a great rock theme and almost reminds me of some of the rock style songs by Do As Infinity. “Pain”, in contrast, is slow and melancholy, and ends the episodes nicely.

» Listen to samples! STN | Allay Pain | Shell

Original Sound Score 2
Composer: Taku Iwasaki
Producer: Keiichi Nozaki
Catalog No.: VICL-60932
Release Date: 11/21/2002
Production: Victor Entertainment

Track List
01. Say Goodbye
02. Desperate Struggle
03. Assassination
04. Look Back
05. Surprise Attack
06. Genetic
07. Smuggle
08. Emit A Flash
09. Solomon
10. Lie
11. Grave
12. Duty
13. Factory
14. Pass
15. Expire
16. Witch
17. Enigmatic Person
18. Erosion
19. Suspicion
20. Tragedy
21. STNJ Counter
22. Decision
23. Shell (Guitar Version)

The second album starts off on a sad note with “Say Goodbye”. Lush and sweeping strings instantly set the mood of hopeful sadness in this piece. “Desperate Struggle” describes the next song perfectly. Fast-paced and steady, this is an “edge-of-your-seat” type of song, keeping you fixated on the events unfolding. “Assassination” sounds very determined and cold. Strings bring out the melody of the song and mysterious synths dominate the background as the song progresses. Another energetic song, “Surprise Attack” is also a head-bobber. This song starts off very rock-heavy and then brings in hot synths and strings. “Genetic” resurfaces the dark, haunting choir and sorrowful strings that distinguish this anime’s score, as well as in the more upbeat “Solomon”. If you like this style of music, those two will become instant favorites. These types of pieces are definitely the hallmark of this series. A new melody is introduced in the depressing song “Grave”. A soft and persistent piano flows into full chords gently under the abyssal strings as the song develops. I would describe this one as a “all is lost” piece.

» Listen to samples! Surprise Attack | Grave

The following three songs, “Duty”, Factory”, and “Pass” are the smooth style songs again. They very closely resemble a type of jazz that isn’t often noticed. “Witch” is yet another gripping song that makes great “emergency” music. The strings seem to bounce incessantly and are only interrupted by driving percussion and intimidating rock elements, keeping you focused. “Erosion” doesn’t really have a melody and is more of an ambient-style song. The composer seemed to piece together lingering sound effects to create an ominous and deadly mood. The melody in “Suspicion” is one you hear quite often towards the final episodes of the series. The song, starting off slow and quiet with piano, transforms into a hypnotic aura of dark, mysterious music through the use of beats and strings. “STNJ Counter” has something sounding like a type of lead controlling the melody while electric guitars keep it moving, along with quiet hot organ chords. “Decision” is a very royal and proud sounding song. The mood is definitely calm and accomplished. Strings are the focal point here, along with subtle brass acting as support. The album ends with an extended electric guitar version of “Shell” (the opening theme).

» Listen to samples! Duty | Witch | Suspicion | Decision

Over all the score was incredibly well done. The albums stay very consistent throughout and they do a fine job at staying balanced with the different styles it uses. This is a soundtrack that is very enjoyable even without having seen the actual anime series (although it does help to associate events with songs). If you’re into dynamically moody, dark, haunting, and sorrowful songs that aren’t the reserved type and actually have some beat to them, you will really want to check this music out.

By Dragon627

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