NieA_7 Soundtrack

September 25, 2009

Ah, another old anime series which brings back memories, NieA_7 (pronounced as nii-eh-ah under seven). Well, that is actually inaccurate because I don’t really remember much about the show except what it was in very general terms. But one thing which I do remember is its soundtrack and background music during the series. Not that I could remember if every song was played in the show, but at least there are memorable ones which made lasting impressions.
The series’ soundtrack is divided into 2 albums. The first album which is composed by Yoshio Owa is entitled NieA’s Loco and was released during the year 2000 containing 15 tracks of background music. The next album called NieA’s Blues is released shortly after the first and contains a further 16 tracks. However both tracks do not contain any TV versions of the opening and ending songs like most anime soundtracks usually do. Listed below are my favourite soundtracks in alphabetical order:
1) Comfortable Feelin’
2) Holo Holo
3) Molokai Shores
4) Olomana Blues
5) Papa Street
6) Paradise Branch
7) Pua Eno Hana
8) Ukulele Blues
If you noticed that all the listed 8 songs above are from the NieA’s Loco album. This album in particular is very blues, ragtime and jazz orientated. The pace of many of the pieces is slow and easy to listen like as though you are walking through the peaceful countryside of big USA. At least it gives me that impression. If I had to pick which of the 8 is my favourite then it would be Ukulele Blues, which is a rather catchy blues tune used as the ending theme for the final episode of the series. Until today, I’m still not sure if there are 2 ukuleles plucking. I tried to imitate the song with my guitar using my play-by-ears approach but sadly it didn’t come close. Maybe for the first 5 seconds.
But thankfully, there are 3 other pieces in that list which I managed to successfully play with my guitar, albeit it may not be accurate but at least it sounds close to me. The first piece which I conquered was the slow guitar solo Molokai Shores. I don’t know how long it took me but I’m sure it was worth every painful ear straining session. Just like the name of the song, it gives an impression of strolling along the sandy beaches of a Hawaiian island (I think). Sometimes this piece is that slow so much so it may sound like a lullaby but it didn’t put me to sleep, that’s for sure. Next tune which I successfully learned is Holo Holo. Hmm… Sounds like another Hawaiian piece. The slow pace of this guitar solo piece is easy on the ears as with the plucking of the strings. Even if this is a slow song, I feel that I have to play with expression in order to feel its full effects. Finally Pua Eno Hana took me a little longer to learn because I couldn’t really hear really well some of the notes which to me at that time sound ‘conflicting’. This piece gives an impression of the slow and easy going lives of a small town.
Papa Street has a more Latin and Flamenco flavour with the bumblebee-like picking accompanied with accordion and bass. This piece can be considered as slow-moderate and is nothing to those fast paced Spanish guitar picking you hear these days. The other pieces in my favourite list lean more towards ragtime blues. For instance Comfortable Feelin’ is another slow easy going piece and because of the ‘lazy’ play of the song, it gives a very laidback feeling. Then there is Olomana Blues in which the piece reminds me of a slow journey back to the countryside. Another relaxing and nonchalant guitar picking piece accompanied with harmonica (or is it an accordion?) to listen to. Paradise Branch is a livelier piece though it maintains its casual blues tune.
I once liked the piece Nia, which is another slow nylon string guitar picking accompanied with piano in the background. Somehow over time I didn’t like that piece anymore though it is still okay if I listen to it once in a while. Like A Hula Blues sounds like a typical Hawaiian blues piece because the main instrument in use is that Hawaiian string instrument (don’t remember the name. Damn). Mana sounds a little hollow because the way the Hawaiian string instrument is played and I kinda find it a little echo-ey. Love Never Change starts off with a violin solo before the other instruments come into play and feels like a song for the lonely (at least that was my first impression). Another violin driven piece accompanied by guitar in the background is Come Stay With Me. Lag Rag experiments with the banjo and the fun picking style gives a feeling of the typical countryside farm or ranch impression. Then there’s the slow whistling blues piece As Is.
As for the second album, I have only heard samples of them and I can summarize is that the tracks contained here are from famous American blues and jazz artistes. For instance, John Lee Hooker, Floyd Dixon, Howlin Wolf and Jim Lockhart among others. Thus the songs on this album are vocal and if you have listened to the early days of music, you have an idea on how these country blues pieces of the 40’s sound like. I don’t blame people for mistaking and being confused when they see this album. An anime cover with western blues tracks? But the final track in this album is a violin solo version of Pua Eno Hana so it isn’t totally a 100% blues track.
Well, after listening to these easy going songs, it’s not like I feel interested to further listen or go into the blues genre. Nor have I decided to rewatch the anime series again. Besides, this series and its soundtrack album can be considered old and because it isn’t that popular enough, it is already out of print. But with the few tracks in hand, I know that I can have a soothing relaxing time. Just close my eyes and listen to the music that plunges my mind into peace and calms my soul. I don’t know if that is the blues way of talking…



April 14, 2006

Now, let me see if I can remember anything about the anime NieA_7 (pronounced NieA under seven). An anime that I’ve last watched ages ago. Well, it wasn’t that interesting. I mean the storyline was just average and overall I didn’t really get the whole picture of the story.
It’s about a time where planet Earth is inhabited by aliens (yes, aliens from outer space). And both races seems to cohabitate with each other. But these aliens look the same like human beings except for the fact that they have some strange looking antenna on top of their head. However, there seem to be some discrimination as well as you will find later in the series.
So we focus on this particular alien, the introvert Mayuko Chigasaki. A very poor student who lives in a typical Japanese bathhouse in Enohana, as she struggles to make ends meet in her daily life. Then there’s her roomate NieA. A freeloader with an I-don’t-care attitude and I-must-have-it-my-way and a huge appetite (she likes to eat especially stealing and eating Mayuko’s). Because NieA doesn’t have an antenna, she’s considered to be a lower caste among the aliens (under seven, that is) and she is treated with discrimination and stereotypes as a second class citizen along with Mayuko. But with NieA’s irresponsible behaviour which doesn’t concern of the consequences of her actions, you’re gonna have some laughter over there of how she deals with the situation.
Basically, most of the episodes see how Mayuko and NieA get along with each other. With such contrasting personalities, you’ll guess that they’ll be at each other’s neck, squabbling and bickering most of the time. But poor Mayuko, she has to bear with NieA’s nonsense most of the time. And it’s quite a pity to see how Mayuko struggle with her life too. I felt a little sympathetic for her.
Also, most of the episodes sees how Mayuko and the rest of the bathhouse workers try to rejuvenate the bathhouse. For example, trying to hold a video game contest just to attract kids which will in turn bring their parents to the bathhouse. But that didn’t materialize as you know, the electricity bill shot way up. And with that kind of income, you can’t really sustain a bathhouse.
Then there’s the part where the alien mothership always looms in the sky. I wonder what it meant when it started to disappear. Is the mothership leaving all the aliens behind? What happened? Don’t really get it.
In the last episode we could see NieA finish constructing her giant UFO. Only to be flying for a few seconds and then crashing into the bathhouse. Aiyoh… More headache for Mayuko as you’ll see her having a tough time fixing up the damage. So pitiful of her lah.
But one salvation point of this anime is that it really has good background musics. Especially the parts where there’s acoustic guitar pluckings. Yeah, I really love those slow and easy pickings. And there were some which have that blues and jazz tune. Sounds good too.
Overall, it’s not that I’d like to watch this anime again. But mainly I’d do so just to here those background musics and for some hillarious comical moments. Other than that, I might give it a second thought. What about nostalgic purposes? Maybe in 10 years time.

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