Winner: Blood Blockade Battlefront
Honorable Mentions: Snow White with Red Hair, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Second Season, Rokka no Yuusha
This was not the strongest year for music in anime, though the top pick for this year was every bit as easy this year as it was last year. Unlimited Blade Works’ second OST was much stronger than the first, with intense tracks like “Overcoming the Myth” and “Blazing Ashes” matching Ufotable’s brilliant animation and then some. Visual Novel remixes such as “Sword of Promised Victory” and “EMIYA” were featured prominantly, brought out with strong application and mixing, which when combined with Hideyuki Fukasawa’s traditional instruments makes for what may be my favourite soundtrack from the series thus far. Snow White with Red Hair’s soundtrack was warm, inviting and even heart-warming, with gentle instrumentation that straddles the line between calming and sleepy very effectively. Rokka no Yuusha’s soundtrack excelled as both the backdrop for the initial uplifting Tolkienesque action fantasy and eventual character-fueled battle Royale rife with mistrust and betrayal. It may have sounded a bit inconsistent to some, but I personally like an OST that can keep up with the series it’s attached to.
The winner here, though, is undoutably Blood Blockade Battlefront, and given this is the first thing that Taisei Iwasaki has been creditted for, that is a major accomplishment. From the low-key, soothing jazz that permeates the more relaxed and dialogue-based scenes to the kinetic and exciting instumentation that flairs up during the plentiful action scenes, Blood Blockade Battlefront has it all, demonstrating a level of competence and self-control that the story and even the visuals were not able to. It’s a treat for the ears when listened to on its own and does wonders for the anime when viewed alongside it. Though I’d take the narrative of Blood Blockade Battlefront with a grain of salt, my enthusiasm and approval for the soundtrack has no equal this year.