Otaku USA Magazine
INTERVIEW: PHOENIX Eden 17 Composer Takatsugu Muramatsu Talks Writing Music for Tezuka’s Masterwork

The new anime PHOENIX Eden 17, with its stories coming from the iconic manga series Phoenix by Osamu Tezuka, had its music composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu, whose musical credentials include working on Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie was There, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and the upcoming Phoenix: Reminiscence of Flower. Muramatsu spoke to Otaku USA about his early love of music, how he discovered Phoenix, and what he’d like his American fans to know about him. And you can check out the music for PHOENIX Eden 17 here.

You’ve been composing music since you were really young. Can you tell us about your early interest in music and how it turned into a career?

I was exposed to animated works from a really early age – Dragon Ball, Tom and Jerry, etc. From there, I started listening to anime music, playing it on the piano and performing. Then, one day, I started composing music every day, like a diary about what happened each day.

What was your introduction to Tezuka’s Phoenix?

I came across the manga in the library when I was in elementary school. At first I was hooked on Tezuka’s other work Black Jack, and then I remember reading Phoenix with a passion.

How did you approach writing the music for PHOENIX Eden 17?

For PHOENIX, the musical direction was a space opera in outer space. We aimed for a mysterious and dynamic sound. Although the sound itself is centered on an orchestra, we developed distinctive synth sounds for particular scenes. We aimed to create music that would bring to life the sounds of a devastated Earth and the unique characters like Com and Zudarban. And finally, the core of the series is wrapped up in a big way with Libera’s ending theme song “Kizuna Forever (Eternal Bonds).”

Can you tell us about working on Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There?

When Marnie Was There was my first feature-length animated film. I went to Ghibli many times to write the themes for each character. The realistic world in which Anna lives, and the world at the mansion where Anna meets Marnie. It was sometimes difficult to create a worldview that went back and forth between these worlds, but I was drawn to the fantastic world and created it all at once. I am happy that When Marnie Was There has been loved by audiences all over the world.

Is there anything else you’d like your American fans to know about you?

I am excited to be able to bring my sound to American anime fans. I will continue to do my best to create a sound that delivers a thrilling and exciting emotional experience for everyone — please look forward to it.

Image courtesy of Disney+ ©Beyond C


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.