a guest Oct 21st, 2019 88 Never
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- Kokkoku’s OP Flashback was a visual spectacle with a catchy, repetitive, and mesh of multiple styles of music. The melodic and harmonic content sounds a bit dark and ominous but still remains catchy and hype. The use of harmonized vocals and various instruments give the song immense depth. The song contains elements of trap, house, pop punk, and rap music all meshed to give it a unique and interesting flavor that sounds different compared to the musical landscape of today. It is structured like a modern pop song, but escapes from sounding like one due to the clever usage of breaks, building, mixing and mastering, giving it an incredible production value which is a cut-above the rest.
- There is a constant build of instrumentation and complexity with strategically placed break points so the repetitive nature doesn’t get tiresome. A great example of this is the buildup from 0:34-0:42 where “crazy now” is repeated whilst getting quicker and quicker along with the accompanying music until there is a crash or explosion sound that drops out into a fade with a relaxed and harmonious chorus section following soon thereafter. What this does mentally is it builds up an expectation of energy -- you expect something epic after the buildup, but then by subverting that expectation with the fadeout it keeps you engaged and on your toes. This allows the song to repeat the chorus at least one more time without the listener getting tired of hearing it.
- After the brief chorus there is a visual kick on screen which is accompanied by a vibracious and thick kick-drum and bass lick. A quick envelope effect (the swoosh sound) brings back the snare and bass drums, the bass guitar and the lead singer (now accompanying the children choir). Afterwards a build up and then loud crash symbol leads the song into a culmination of noise and energy making this the busiest and most energetic portion of the entire OP.
- The end of the OP actually ends with a quick and dirty edit of the original song by going into the final chorus but stopping it about a quarter of the way through at the word “Flashback” and then repeating it into a quick fadeout, thus ending this masterful OP. With all that in mind, the biggest takeaway from this OP are the stunning visuals matched up perfectly with music -- as well as the amazing production value. The use of filters to transfer into different sections went great and the slight reverb on the vocals matched well with the intense reverb on the instruments, specifically the synths and guitars. The distorted guitars throughout almost made it sound like a totally different instrument. The EQ and synths were layered so that nothing sounded too loud or out of place, leading to the cohesion of the song in full.
- This brings me to the visual aspect of the OP, which is just as impressive as the musical aspect. The OP has a very unique style with flashy and bright colors contrasting to dark and menacing looking backgrounds. The credits flash on screen, each with their own standout color palette and a sprawling urban landscape behind it, giving a richness to credits that I have not seen many times before. Flashback has ever-changing visuals whether it be in the background or foreground. The stoppage, rewinding, and start of time throughout the OP represent a main theme of the show being time travel. At the very beginning of the OP, background images morph into a rewind symbol while a girl is standing in the forefront which is very easy to miss unless paying close attention (0:03). At 0:41, the beat drops as someone grabs a heart and all the instruments fade out. This brief stoppage of a heartbeat is likened to the now calm music before it inevitably starts back up again -- much like when the person loosens the grip on the heart letting blood flow again. There are many minor details scattered throughout Flashback that even upon multiple viewings, I am sure to have missed things.
- Flashback stands out not only because it’s dark, full of energy, visually and sonically stimulating whilst being incredibly catchy but also because the production is more in line with the times. Most OP’s play it safe with minimal instrumentation or boring production but Flashback is a bold song with perfectly matching visual representation. Flashback is a progressive choice that is showing a subtle inclination towards production practices that are more in line with what modern technology can handle whilst being visually interesting, innovative and intriguing throughout the entire run time -- all while playing to its motif of time travel.
- After enjoying the fantastic OP that is Kokkoku’s, lets now talk about Incompetence from Tokyo Ghoul √A. The title says it all for this OP. The visuals are extremely minimalistic and barebones with almost nothing going on for the entire run time. The vocals do not match up with the instrumental at all. The drums are not rhythmic and seem to be all over the place which does not mesh with the light and angelic singing on the track. The production value is not quite with the levels being uneven. Sometimes the piano is at the forefront, and at other times it is the drums -- when in actuality, all of the instruments (including the vocals) should be at nearly the same levels unless there is a good reasoning behind it. It seems to have symbolic undertones in regards to the masking and unmasking of the protagonist with flashy colors and flowers in the back half of the OP, but it somehow still manages to look uninteresting and boring.
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