Fun With Numbers: Composers With Blockbuster Chops (Part 2: 2 Shows)

Continued from this post, here’s the list of composers who have managed the very impressive feat of writing soundtracks for two non-sequel megahits.

Two Important Notes About The Classification: First, I only included non-sequel anime when looking for head writers. This means nothing with some manifestation of a 2 in the title. Ditto for Gundam or Macross franchise entries after the original. My rationale is that it’s a lot harder to make a prime-time anime from scratch, even with popular source material, than it is to continue living in a house someone else built. I count A Certain Scientific Railgun and Mononoke as spinoffs rather than sequels, as the series they spun off of are considerably less well-established franchises.

Also, I did not credit any composer if the credit was split 3 or more ways and I was unable to discern a clear head of the project. Notably, Jun Maeda, Shinji Orito, and Magome Togoshi split music credits for Little Busters, Air, and Clannad 3 ways. Not crediting stuff like this is tough, but giving solo songwriting props to all of them feels like over-distributing credit.

Composers With 2 10k+ Anime:

Hiroyuki Sawano

First Credited On: Soul Link (2006)

10k+ Series: Blue Exorcist (2011), Attack on Titan (2013)

Less Notable Work: Crescent Love, Zombie Loan

Recent Work: Kill La Kill

Jun Maeda

First Credited On: Moon (game-1997), Air (anime-2005)

10k+ Series: Kanon (2006), Angel Beats (2010)

Less Notable Work: N/A

Recent Work: Little Busters (2012)

Kenji Kawai

First Credited On: Maison Ikkoku (1986)

10k+ Series: Patlabor (1989), Fate Stay Night (2006)

Less Notable Work: Musashi Lord, Corrector Yui

Recent Work: 009 Re Cyborg (2012), Higurashi: Outbreak (2013)

Kotaro Nakagawa

First Credited On: Kiko-chan Smile (1996)

10k+ Series: Code Geass (2006), Inu x Boku SS (2012)

Less Notable Work: Geobreeders, Fushigiboshi no Futagohime

Recent Work: Devil Survivor 2, C3-Bu

Maiko Iuchi

First Credited On: Newcomer Nurse Miho (game-2002), A Certain Magical Index (anime-2008)

10k+ Series: A Certain Magical Index (2008), A Certain Scientific Railgun (2009)

Less Notable Work: Dog Days

Recent Work: Tokyo Ravens

Makoto Yoshimori

First Credited On: Koi Kaze (2004)

10k+ Series: Natsume Yuujinchou (2008), Durarara (2010)

Less Notable Work: Gakuen Alice

Recent Work: Hamatora

Ryosuke Nakanishi

First Credited On: Mars Daybreak (theme song-2004), Majikoi (2011)

10k+ Series: Kuroko’s Basketball (2012), Hataraku Maou-sama (2013)

Less Notable Work: N/A

Recent Work: Imocho, Sakura Trick

Seikou Nagaoka

First Credited On: Kabuto (1992)

10k+ Series: Tenchi Universe (1995), Strike Witches (2008)

Less Notable Work: Chiisana Kyojin Microman, He Is My Master

Recent Work: Total Eclipse (2012), Gothicmade (movie-2012)

Shinji Orito

First Credited On: Shizuku (game-1995), Kanon (anime-2002)

10k+ Series: Please Teacher (2002), Kanon (2006)

Less Notable Work: N/A

Recent Work: Little Busters (2012)

Shiroh Hamaguchi

First Credited On: Ehrgeiz (1997)

10k+ Series: Big Windup (2007), Girls und Panzer (2012)

Less Notable Work: Jewelpet, Kiddy Grade

Recent Work: Tari Tari (2012)

Tatsuya Katou

First Credited On: Spider Riders (2006)

10k+ Series: Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere (2011), Free (2013)

Less Notable Work: Miracle Train, Kampfer

Recent Work: Buddy Complex, Sekai Seifuku

Yuugo Kanno

First Credited On: Da Capo (2003)

10k+ Series: Da Capo (2003), Library Wars (2008)

Less Notable Work: Gin-Iro no Olynssis

Recent Work: Psycho-Pass (2012)


Compared to how easy it was to do for writers, it’s been hard to play cheap-shot and find the skeletons in some of these composers’ closets. That said, those with an “N/A” (Jun Maeda, Ryousuke Nakanishi, and Shinji Orito) are privileged. Nakanishi only recently finished serving his time as an junior staffer and was fortunate enough to write for breakout hit Kuroko’s Basketball 6 months after his full-show debut, and the Maeda/Orito Key pairing cut their teeth in games, only getting anime credits after their smash hit VNs got adapted. I’d be willing to bet there’s less notable titles on the visual novel portion of their resumes.

Also interestingly, Shiroh Hamaguchi and Makoto Yoshimori paired up with Seiji Mizushima and Takahiro Omori for both of their hits. It’s interesting how much connections and/or synergy can play a role in the industry; I just finished reading a 2003 Newtype USA feature on how Shoji Kawamori and Hokkaido-based digital pioneer Satelight teamed up.* There’s a lot of cool origin stories out there, and finding some evidence of them is a fun bonus.

*I’ll post scans of the article at some point if I can get past some technical obstacles (i.e. a scanner that is too small). It’s interesting as shizz and contains a cost estimate via Michiaki Sato for how the costs of digital animation shrunk by a factor of 20 during the late-cel era, which is a neat sidebar to my earlier post on the digital transition. The more I learn about anime, the cooler it seems.

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