Monday, September 20, 2010

Reviews in Review: The First One

When I was a sophomore in college, I got my first taste of anime in the form of an nth-generation copy of Locke the Superman (Chôjin Rokku) and the prerequisite screening of Akira. One thing led to another, and by the time junior year came around I was already making the monthly hike to our city's anime club and watching Maison Ikkoku, The Rose of Versailles, and Kimagure Orange Road with friends.

In the beginning, it wasn't enough to simply watch anime. I felt the need to express my opinions in hopes that people would look to be selective with their viewing choices. This was primarily influenced by the presence of magazines such as Animerica and Protoculture Addicts, as well as the newsgroups during the infant stages of the Internet. Producing the college club's newsletter never really measured up to a big following, but the seed had been planted, and soon I was sending reviews to Animerica.

I had no idea they'd actually publish one.

My first review was for the soundtrack to the first Tenchi Muyô! movie, Tenchi Muyô In Love. Yes, back when Geneon was Pioneer, and Pioneer was actually in existence in the U.S. The review was buried in Vol. 4, No. 11 (around October 1996), the issue with the giant smiling head of Goku from Dragonball Z on the cover and Kyoko Otonashi's "Guide to Better Holiday Living".

Considering this was my first review, I'm almost embarrassed to post it again. Here it is, ad verbatim (until I can make a scan of it):

Music From The Anime Movie

RELEASED THRU: Pioneer LDC/Sonic Images
LENGTH: 53:23 (22 tracks)
PRICE: $16.95

From the outside, the case is bathed in metallic elegance, decorated with well-placed pictures from the movie, much like a miniature vinyl record. Musically, the overture "Prologue" immediately grabs the listener with the nightmarish tones of a lone chime among a fiery river of violins and brass, while "First Encounter with Achika" demonstrates a more touching motif, with clarinets resonating with the sweetness of a high school romance. Periodically between tracks, the two emotionally charged melodies clash, crescendoing (sic) up to a bitter conflict in "The Power of Love." The CD's only lyrical song, "Alchemy of Love," is an English-language power ballad duet between Nina Hagen and Rick Jude that personifies the separation and union between Tenchi's parents. These may no be J-pop, Minmei-esque songs, but Christopher Franke's compositions, brilliantly performed by the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra, are pieces that I hope to see featured in American philharmonics and orchestras someday.

Geoffery Tebbets
It wasn't my proudest moment, especially with the misspelling of my name, but it was a moment.

Admittedly, I was probably the least talented on the Animerica staff at colorful prose to describe anime and their soundtracks, but it got my foot in the door. It's been almost 15 years since I did that review, but the thing that scares me the most? The page before it had a listing of the "Top 10 Manga in Japan", and #2 on the list was the ninth volume of Meitantei Conan.

My God, Meitantei Conan is older than my fandom.

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