Music is a major part of anime, even if a series’s focus lies elsewhere. Whether it’s awesome themes, heartfelt insert songs, or character singles that tell us more about our heroes, it’s an essential part of the shows we love. And sometimes, it’s even more than that.
In some shows, music is a powerful weapon — or a powerful protection. From series that have been running for years to next year’s installment in the World Witches universe, here are a few anime series where music is key.
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross is the granddaddy of music-based anime, with idol singers standing alongside fighter pilots in intergalactic battles. That hasn’t changed over the decades, either: just as Lynn Minmay led the charge in Do You Remember Love?, idol group Walküre is singing strong in Macross Delta.
Music is just as essential to the Macross series as space battles and love triangles, so naturally the soundtracks are a thing of beauty. With composer Yoko Kanno at the helm for multiple series, there were some genuinely epic final episodes. Just take a look at Rank and Sheryl’s duet, mashing up tunes from across Macross Frontier and beyond.
Hey, look, it’s that show everyone keeps telling you to watch! And for good reason: Symphogear blends the best of magical girl beauty, hardcore action, and killer music. Literally, in some cases.
The armored heroines of the multi-season series actually sing as they battle, using the power of music (and their Symphogear armor) to counteract the effects of the alien force known as Noise. One of the coolest things about the songs in Symphogear is that the vocals aren’t studio perfect: they really do sound like they’re fighting and singing at the same time. It’s incredibly cool, and gets your heart pumping during those battle scenes even more.
Fans of the World Witches series (including Strike Witches and Brave Witches) will be familiar with the animal-eared, propeller-legged heroines of the project’s alternate universe. Usually, these Witches are out there fighting with heavy artillery. But in Luminous Witches, an idol group takes to the air with the power of music.
The series is coming in 2021, with a one-episode OVA dropping beforehand to introduce us to the group. The new group is pretty much the World Witches universe’s equivalent of USO shows: traveling far and wide, bringing music and entertainment to people in wartime. Because sometimes protecting is just as important as attacking.
Anime is full of other shows with music at their hearts. What are some of your favorites?