Great Anime OSTs: Turn A Gundam

Sound is key. Like all parts of a production, with bad sound design you’ll end up with a bad show, and the soundtrack is a key part of that design. Every good anime has at least a passable OST, and every great anime has at least a good OST. But some shows go beyond that, not settling for an OST which simply tonally fits, but one which constantly astounds the viewer, one that remains in the heads of those watching, one that elevates every scene. An OST which makes you want to save it to your phone. This project is for looking at those OSTs, and breaking down why I love them. This time, we’re focusing on Turn A Gundam.

Turn A Gundam’s OST was composed by Yoko Kanno, well-known as a master in anime composition. Kanno has made fantastic OSTs in the more than twenty years she’s been composing for anime, and yet Turn A Gundam stand out as one of her best. It’s a soundtrack which varies wildly, changing with the many settings in the show. It’s got more archaic tribal music for local rituals and tribes, industrial music with heavier chanting for its cities and battles, and more melodic music for space and the moon. Kanno shows off a good bit of her famous stylistic range in Turn A, and some of her songs here are the best she’s ever made.

Moon stands out as a particularly strong song. The vocals are fantastic in spite of their lack of meaning, but as a tone piece it works perfectly. First playing when Loran declares that the rest of the Moonrace should return to Earth, it reflects both the glory of Earth and a sort of soft nostalgia for the Moon which resides within Loran. It serves as a wonderful song on which to close an episode, while reflecting the emotions Loran feels. On top of that it’s just a nice song to listen to, even outside of the show.

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Days is another great song. Starting off mostly peaceful, it reflects the way life is lived on most of Earth. As the song progresses more instruments are added and the song becomes more complex and tense, taking on a tone which is closer to that of a battle song. This obviously reflects the change actually made on Earth. The days became less peaceful after the invasion of the Moonrace, and this song is just a reflection of that.

Air Plant is a real short song, but it’s a good one. The tone is somewhat melancholic, but still fitting for everyday scenes. If I remember correctly it’s used most often when talking about the war but not during the war. I also love the way it sounds, especially from 00:35 onwards. The use of the guitar is great, and it’s just a fun song to listen to, especially when it shows up in the anime.

Air Plant was somewhat melancholic, but Moon Flower is definitively so. It really reflects the feelings of Kihel and Dianna during the war, especially Dianna. The soft sorrow that the war is even happening is strongly conveyed, though there’s also a sense of hope in the song, which reflects the hope that the two groups will be able to come together and make peace. Again, it’s a very beautiful song, which both makes it pleasing to listen to while also echoing the beauty of the Earth being fought over.

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For a totally different mood, Modern Life is a thoroughly happy song. It’s exactly what it claims to be — a song about the happiness still in modern life in spite of the war. This song plays many times while Loran, Dianna, and Sochie are going about their days, and it fits perfectly. Contrasting with the many sad songs in this OST, it adds a bit of well-needed levity without feeling out of place at all.

Bauxite just sounds cool. I can’t even remember what kind of scene it shows up in, but I can tell from listening that I really like it and probably enjoyed the scenes where it played.

These are only a fraction of the great songs on this OST. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad track on it, and I have many other I enjoy listening to. Turn A is fantastic in too many ways to count, but the brilliant OST plays a major role in making the show as memorable and enjoyable as it is.

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