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Goin’ Japanesque!

Appeal of “Sound Horizon” Musicians Who Created the Theme Song of “Attack on Titan”

Sound Horizon Café displays props and costumes used on their live stages and serves dishes and cocktails that are inspired by their music. (The photo was taken in 2015 at Sound Horizon Café. The display was for limited period only and the period has ended already.)


Have You Heard of Sound Horizon?

Writer’s Photo

Do you know the music artists called “Sound Horizon”?

They do not exactly have a high profile in general public even in Japan. Therefore their name is less likely known in foreign countries. However, they receive overwhelming support from a certain segment of the market. This group makes inroads into top groups on Japanese music hit charts every time they release new CDs to the market.

Perhaps somewhat more people may recognize the name of “Linked Horizon”.  “Sound Horizon” is another name of “Linked Horizon”, who has produced the theme song of “Attack on Titan”, the hugely popular anime. They use the name “Linked Horizon” when they work in collaboration with others, and they use “Sound Horizon” when they work independently.


“The Music Is for the Story, and the Story Is for the Music”

Writer’s Photo: At Sound Horizon Café

If you would like to know about the world of Sound Horizon, the quickest way is to listen to their music. “Revo” is the founder and the only official member of the Sound Horizon today. Being a composer and lyricist, he produces all the music by himself. His music contains stories, and one disk of CD often constitutes one story.

If you listen to their music, you will notice it is clearly different from “ordinary” popular music. There are narratives and words between songs, and many people might feel it is closer to an opera than a song. Is it exactly like a musical? Not quite, either. It is a unique world that only Sound Horizon can create and let you experience.


How You Interpret a Story Is up to You

Writer’s Photo: At Sound Horizon Café in 2015 (During a Limited Period)

Their music reflects fantasy stories, in which they focus on most invariable themes for humans such as “life and death” and “love and hate”, occasionally interspersing historic elements.

In addition, gimmicks and small stories are hidden everywhere in their music, and it is another appeal for the listeners to find them.

Analysis and interpretation is all left to the listeners, and there is absolutely no “right answer”. Many fans keep pondering even several years after a CD is released, and theit style is similar to the Sherlockian, the enthusiasts of Sherlock Holmes series who love and analyze his stories.


Lyric Sheet Shows Obsession for Perfection

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

It’s not just the music, but the package and even lyric sheet that play a role in composing their world view.

For example, this is the lyric sheet included in the first, limited edition of “Märchen”, which took the theme from the seventh story of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. It is no longer just a lyric sheet; it is better to call it an illustrated book. Their world view with extreme persistence in detail is also an attractive point of the Sound Horizon.


Media Mix

Writer’s Photo, Left: “Old Testament Märchen” by Shina Soga  Right: “New Testament Märchen” by Yasuyuki Torikai

The year 2014 marked the Sound Horizon’s 10th anniversary since its major label debut. Responding to this fact, collaboration projects have emerged one after another, adopting their music into comics and novels.

“Old Testament (Kyuuyaku) Märchen” and “New Testament (Shinyaku) Märchen” have created an extremely rare instance in which two mangaka each produced comics based on the same album, with different interpretations and viewpoints respectively.

If you are interested, it might be another good way to enter the Sound Horizon’s world through these manga.

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About the author

I am an otaku that likes rare and unusual things. My hobbies are martial arts and touring historical sites, shrines and temples! These days, I want to learn more and more about the world. I am currently studying Ancient Western History.

View all articles by Momoi