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[Analysis] Yoko Takahashi - A Cruel Angel's Thesis by Animenz

Attention all anime fans! Are you ready to immerse yourself in the captivating world of anime soundtracks? Prepare to be blown away by the incredible talent of pianist Animenz as he takes iconic songs, like the unforgettable "A Cruel Angel's Thesis," and transforms them into breathtaking piano arrangements with his unique classical style.

These arrangements ensure that these beloved OSTs stay fresh and captivating for years to come, allowing you to relive the storylines and hinting plotlines through the mesmerizing melodies. Join us on a musical journey that transcends time and experiences the magic of Animenz's anime piano arrangements. Get ready to be amazed!



Yoko Takahashi: The Voice Behind Iconic Anime Theme Songs

a Japanese girl wearing blacking looking the camera Yoko Takahashi MyMusicSheet
Yoko Takahashi

Yoko Takahashiis a Japanese singer and songwriter known for her contributions to the music industry, particularly in anime theme songs. She was born on August 28, 1966, in Tokyo, Japan. Takahashi gained widespread recognition for her iconic song "A Cruel Angel's Thesis," which served as the opening theme song for the popular anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" in 1995.

The song became a significant hit and is still widely recognized and celebrated as one of the most iconic anime theme songs ever. Aside from her work on "Neon Genesis Evangelion," Yoko Takahashi has also performed theme songs for other anime series, including "Martian Successor Nadesico," "Memories Off," and "Golden Boy."

She has released numerous albums and singles throughout her career, showcasing her versatility as a singer and songwriter. Takahashi's music often combines pop, rock, and electronic elements, and her powerful and distinctive voice has made her a beloved figure in the anime music scene. Her contributions to the industry have earned her a dedicated fan base both in Japan and internationally.


Photo Credit: Last.fm

A Cruel Angel's Thesis: A Powerful Anthem of Neon Genesis Evangelion

an anime poster with green and orange background along with the characters Neon Genesis Evangelion MyMusicSheets
Neon Genesis Evangelion Poster

A Cruel Angel's Thesis is a song composed by Hidetoshi Sato and performed by Yoko Takahashi. It serves as the opening theme song for the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, created by Hideaki Anno. The song was released in 1995 as part of the soundtrack for the anime.

Composed in the key of D minor, A Cruel Angel's Thesis has a distinct and energetic sound. The song combines elements of pop, rock, and electronic music, creating a catchy and memorable tune. It features strong guitar riffs, upbeat synthesizer melodies, and dynamic vocals. Lyrically, the song touches upon themes of self-discovery, loneliness, and the struggle to find one's place in the world.

The lyrics are in Japanese and reflect the introspective and philosophical nature of the anime series. The song's title itself, A Cruel Angel's Thesis, suggests a contrast between angelic and cruel aspects, reflecting the complex and often contradictory themes explored in Neon Genesis Evangelion. A Cruel Angel's Thesis became a massive success in Japan and gained international recognition as well. Its popularity can be attributed not only to its catchy composition but also to its association with the groundbreaking and influential nature of the anime series. The song has been covered and remixed by various artists and has remained a beloved and iconic piece of anime music since its release.


Neon Genesis Evangelion Original Soundtrack

 

A Cruel Angel's Thesis

from Anime Neon Genesis Evangelion

anime poster of a boy looking straight with another face looking down the poster is is shades of blue Neon Genesis Evangelion poster MyMusicSheet
Neon Genesis Evangelion Poster

- Artist: Yoko Takahashi

- Released: October, 25th, 1995

- Anime:Neon Genesis Evangelion

- Label: Starchild

- Music: Shiro Sagisu

- Genre: Jpop

- Key: C Minor

- Length: 4'05"





 


Discover the Masterful Artistry of Animenz, the Anime Piano Virtuoso

Animenz is the talented Anime Piano Arranger and Steinway Artist! With over a decade of experience, this classically trained pianist has been enchanting audiences with exquisite piano arrangements of Anime Openings, Endings, and Soundtracks since 2010. If you're a fan of anime music, you won't want to miss the captivating playlist this artist has curated, featuring a collection of their remarkable anime piano covers. Animenz started his YouTube channel on January 14th 2010, and now currently has almost 500 million total views with 2.1 million subscribers. He uploads his content regularly and currently has 221 videos.

Animenz’s most popular video was posted on YouTube on February 12th 2015 with more than 90 million views is yet again an anime OST called “Unravel – Tokyo Ghoul OP [Piano]” from the anime Tokyo Ghoul.

an anime figure with suite and bow tie with white hair holding sheet music Animenz's YouTube Profile MyMusicSheet
Animenz's YouTube Profile

With a passion for music spanning more than 20 years, this accomplished pianist resides in Japan, where they have established their very own recording studio. Each video showcases their exceptional talent on a Steinway D-274 Grand Piano, capturing the pure essence of their performances with the utmost precision, thanks to state-of-the-art microphones.

The goal of this Anime Piano Arranger is to elevate anime music to the level of "Classic music" that will be cherished not only in the present but for centuries to come. By infusing their arrangements with a touch of classical brilliance, they aim to create a timeless connection between the world of anime and the rich heritage of classical music.

Immerse yourself in the captivating melodies and skilful interpretations that Animenz has to offer. Prepare to embark on a musical journey that transcends time, as they breathe new life into beloved anime compositions. Whether you're a fan of the original soundtracks or simply appreciate the artistry of piano music, this artist's arrangements are sure to captivate and delight you.


Cover of A Cruel Angel's Thesis by Animenz


Elevating the Art: Animenz's Transformative Approach to 'A Cruel Angel's Thesis

The song is an iconic song, for both anime and non-anime lovers equally. Having said that if there is anime OST, then Animenz would have or will be soon covering it on his piano. He describes that this song was a bit challenging but he still managed to make it his style, adding the orchestra style in the arranging.

The video was uploaded on YouTube on May 23, 2020, and it has 7.7 million views on the song. The original song is in key signature C minor and Animenz’s song is also in C minor. Where the original song is faster around 128 BPM, the Animenz’s song has 76 BPM. The time signature is 4/4.


Refrain

The song starts with the lyrics and after fifteen seconds of the powerful high-pitched voice of Yoko Takahashi, other instruments join the song. This part of the song calling the protagonist to rise up and to have become a legend.

In Animenz’s song, he starts off with arpeggios. He said that usually while playing this song in front of a Live audience, he does make some changes while playing but kept this arpeggios part the same as he loved this part. Then he takes a short pause and starts with the first verse.


Verse 1

The original song starts with the beats of drums which is a memorable part, and with that, there are lyrics again. The song where the protagonist is Shinji Ikari, falling in love and earning for it. Shinji desperately needs to be loved and to the point where it causes him to take wrong decisions.

The singer hopes for Shinji to get better in love and find happiness. The song and the soothing voice of Yoko Takahashi bring out the essence and feelings of Shinji more promptly. The song has the same beats till the last stanza of the first verse where the singer also takes a bit of a higher pitch and then there is a pause to take the chorus of the song.

Animenz’s takes a bit faster note. There is still the essence of the original composition but the bits of his own added varieties. He starts with a slower tone, and then the next time pitch and volume of the song has been increased. Then again he keeps up the beat till he reaches the chorus of the song.


Chorus

The singer sings this in a higher pitch and the background sound seems to be in similar beats. The song here talks about the plan of the series. Then it talks about Shinji in the finale of the Eva-1 [spoilers ahead] in space and becomes a ‘God-like’ legend. Hence for shading the part where the boy will go forward and become a legend.

Animenz’s song is very upbeat and can be a stand-alone piano piece and itself. The song is arranged here that way and then added the left-hand accompaniment as Animenz didn’t quite understand the ‘mysterious guitar solo’ part even though he has listened to the song many many times. The hand synchronization is highly commendable and the way his fingers play on the piano is a treat to the eyes and ears.


Instrumental

There is an instrumental part before going to the next verse. It has similar beats following as the earlier but in the middle, there is a short part where it feels that the song has gotten slower but then it gets back on the similar beats fast.

Because the Animenz wasn’t about the original harmonics of the song so he added his own piano solo in this part, he used jazz to lyrical style here. He tried to be as minimalist with his approach, in doing so he did it by reducing two bass notes in the left hand as he wanted the attention to be on the upcoming choir.


Verse 2

Just after the instrumental piece the singer again starts to sing about Shinji. Some talk about the anime and his character in the anime. Singer also sings about wishing Shinji to have his own happiness. This also talks about Shinji’s relationship with the characters of the anime, while the biblical-themed story continues. The song again has a bit higher pitch before starting the chorus.

In Animenz’s version, he follows a similar approach as the previous verse. The atmosphere is a bit faster than the original song and the way his fingers dance on the song is admirable. This is one of the best versions of the song on piano ever made. The song is again played lightly on the piano.


Chorus

The original song also starts as the previous chorus and with the same energy and beats the singer continues to sing the part. The lyrics have many references to the ongoing story from the anime. Shinji had behaviour to escape and abandoning pattern. But this time singer is praising Shinji and leaving his behaviour. Yet again ending in the part where the singer sings about Shinji becoming the future legend.

In Animenz’s this part is played with an amazing finger movement and the arrangement feels magical. With the gliding of the piano from right to left and differentiating the next piece. This has the same atmosphere and environment built as the original song. On YouTube, this is most times a repeated part of the song. Then the song has a similar feeling as the previous chorus.


Bridge

There is a bridge in the song with a small stanza. This line has the singer telling Shinji that there is help. Again, raising Shinji to God status, and talking about making history. After this comes the final chorus.

Animenz’s version is also short as the original version. The speed and the song’s tempo are decreased in this part. The keys are played softly. And with the song the Animenz picks up the speed of the piano. Then he plays the short part with his right hand only. Then continues with both hands. Then goes on to play the final chorus.


Chorus

Then comes the final chorus of the song. This is the short chorus as compared to the other chorus of the song. It talks to stay true to the desecrated symphony and not to betray the memories.

During the final repeat of the chorus, Animenz introduces an alternative harmonization in the left hand, strategically building towards the song's climax. At this moment, Animenz envisions the addition of a striking Tam-Tam, enhancing the impact of the composition. Following this turning point, the artist brings back the atmosphere reminiscent of the song's beginning. In a captivating twist, the right-hand arpeggios resurface, gradually ascending like an angel until they reach the highest possible piano key, C8.

Notably, this marks the first time the Animenz has utilized the C8 note in any of their arrangements (as of the posting of the song). These artistic choices contribute to the dynamic and emotive qualities of the arrangement, elevating the overall impact of the song.


Refrain

This is the final part of the song. The final refrain again talks about the boy drifting and going to the galaxy and shining with the stars. Henceforth the boy will become a legend.

Animenz’s plays this part of the song softly and continuously to repeatedly play it. The main part of the song is repeated and played around nine times throughout the song, but while listening or for Animenz to play it repeatedly never got boring.

Finally, the song ends softly on the final keys played at the right-hand side of the piano and the final note played by the left hand at the left-most side of the piano.


Also, check out the live singing of Yoko Takahashi posted on YouTube by Japoin TV.



In conclusion, the world of anime soundtracks has been forever transformed by the extraordinary talent of pianist Animenz. Through his breathtaking piano arrangements, he has taken iconic songs like A Cruel Angel's Thesis and infused them with his unique classical style. These arrangements not only breathe new life into beloved OSTs but also ensure their lasting captivation for years to come. By joining us on this musical journey, you'll experience the magic firsthand and be transported back into the storylines, reliving the emotions and discovering hidden plotlines through the mesmerizing melodies. Prepare to be amazed as Animenz's hands dance effortlessly across the keys, painting a vivid musical picture that ignites your imagination. Whether you're a devoted anime fan or simply appreciate the beauty of piano music, this adventure is one you won't want to miss. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Animenz's anime piano arrangements and let the melodies speak to your heart like never before. Get ready to be captivated, to feel the music deep within your soul, and to unlock the timeless allure of his extraordinary talent. Step into the world of Animenz and let the melodies carry you away on a journey you'll never forget.


If you love this arrangement, you can check the arrangement here. There are other Animenz arrangements which are definitely worth checking out.

If you like this song or any other song, there are many more sheet music you can find on MyMusicSheet or mymusicsheet.com


Until next time, Happy Music!






 
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