Technically this a review of Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou’s soundtrack, but much of the music is the same, and the soundtrack to the sequel actually contains many pieces from the first season that weren’t included in the original score.
The music, much like the series itself, is for the most part, gentle with a bittersweet and nostalgic quality to it. This is evident in the opening track “Kimi ga Yobu Namae”, which begins with a delicate piano arpeggio and continues on with a pleasant melody played in the upper registers of the piano. The tone quality of the piano used in this soundtrack is particularly enjoyable, with a very rich tone well-suited to the kind of music it plays. Furasato no Nioi is another highlight of mine, a lazy accordion melody played over a piano accompaniment. I thought that it was a very suitable addition to the scenes it was used in.
Daidaiiro no Toki is a very simple but lovely piano melody, which again makes use of the very gorgeous tone of the piano used here. Ito Hakanashi reminds us of the spiritual element of this series – it’s quite a beautiful piece of music played by multiple harp-like instruments I assume are Japanese.
Now, there are a few “interesting” pieces in this collection. Chuukyuu no Omotenashi is one of those, with an unrecognizable instrument (some kind of accordion in the low registers, maybe?) playing over an accompaniment of jaw harps. It’s quite…er…unique and amusing, though it isn’t something you’ll be repeating when listening on its own. The jaw harp makes its reappearance in Ohitsujiza no Kaikin playing over a soft piano melody in what is a very, very strange juxtaposition.
Haru wo Shiraseru Mono, also labelled as the Zoku Natsume theme, is probably my favourite piece from the score. This may be due to the fact that it is used at several poignant moments in the series and it really embodies those scenes with its touching melody.
In terms of the songs, the standout for me is certainly, as I said in my review of the series, the ED song from the first season, Natsu Yuuzora. Very rarely is there an ED that I listen to completely after each episode, and this was one of them. It perfectly embodies the spirit of the show with its wistful, bittersweet tone that makes full use of the singers soft voice in the high registers. Certainly one of my favourite anime songs.
This soundtrack always remains rather low-key, and perhaps will not appeal to those who are looking for something that is consistently interesting and captivating with lots of thematic material and development. But as a score, I think it added quite a bit to my enjoyment of the series.
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