When did you first become interested to music?
Anzai : The first piece of music that got me interested
was one for NHK's [Nihon
Housou Kyoukai - or Japan Broadcasting Foundation, I think...;
station that is equivalent of US' PBS]
TV program for children called "Uchuujin Pipi" [Pipi
from outer space].
was interested in music very early in my childhood, as my father
was a studio violinist. Later I began having interest in electronic
sounds through people like Outer Limits.
a composer, I composed for the first time at age of 17, when
I created a piece for electronic music instrument manufacturer
Roland for the demonstration event of their MC-8 instrument.
How did you get the job for Urusai Yatsura?
The director (Mr. Hayakawa) of the hard progressive rock band
"Cross Wind" that I was involved in when I was around
20, was assigned as the music director for Urusai
Yatsura. I was then a fan of Urusai
Yatsura, so I asked him to allow
me to compose music for it. This was the beginning of my work
Yatsura, and I composed for its
TV series during its first one and half years, and have since
then also created pieces intermittently for works such as Music
overall I was responsible for its music until the 1990s, though
it was not fully continuous. If I combine the number of pieces
from TV 1, 2, Only You, Music Calendar and others, the total
would be somewhere between 120 and 150.
Who was your favorite Urusai Yatsura character to write music
Although the instruments used for it was very primitive and
thus it sounded inferior, I liked the theme for "Ten-chan
Toujou" [in English, maybe "Ten-chan's Entry"].
What are some of your favorite memories working on Urusai
Back then synthesizer-made BGM for
TV program was regarded as taboo, for it dissolves in with sound
effects. So when I introduced the techno sound to the anime
ignoring this belief it was well accepted, I was truly thrilled.
We did not expect to sell at all with our first record for Urusai
Yatsura, so I was completely caught off guard when the record
company phoned me on its release date, telling me it is selling
at rocket speed!
biggest trouble came during production of Only You. There were
three composers working for Only You, Masamichi Amano, Izumi
Kobayashi and I. In order to share the newest equipment Fairlight
(the ancestor of sampler, which costed 12 million yen back then)
we tried dividing a day in three eight hours period, each in
which one of us would work on Fairlight, another in studio with
an instrument and another taking a rest. However, Masamichi
Amano alone went overtime, and the schedule became completely
in mess. We all ended up with sleep deprivation. After this
he was nicknamed "Panic Amano".
This episode is shown on his Japanese webpage too; It
"After finishing work with Fairlight, I took back the completed
tape to the studio, only to find Mr. Amano shaking his hairs,
his eyes bloodshot and looking as if dying, recording his flute.
However, he was never successful! After so many tries, he exclaimed
"Ah! No wonder this flute doesn't make the right sound;
there's a hole in the middle of its tube leaking air!"
cannot convey the humorous tone in which he says this...]
How did the Urusai Yatsura's TV music differ from the Urusai
Yatsura's movie music?
In the early Urusai Yatsura TV series, I and Shinsuke Kazato
were responsible for its music; Mr. Kazato worked with instruments
and I was using synthesizers. Nevertheless I often accompanied
him with the synthesizer part too. The responsibilities were
similar in TV's Urusai Yatsura 2, but we began using the newly
introduced Fairlight and composed more instrumental music rather
than just background music as before.
I wrote above, Kobayashi, Amano and I, all in their
20s, were assigned to the music for the movie. Fairlight was
the central piece of musical production here. In the TV series,
the music was not created in accord with the animation, but
for the movie we composed it following the script to match the
timing with the video.
Your favorite Urusai Yatsura song
Kagefumi No Walz (from Only You) [Maybe
Why do you create music and what inspires your music?
Music echoes inside our brain. It floats around like electromagnetic
wave, and the composer transforms that into real world sound
using the filter of musical theory he/she has acquired. In my
case, the music doesn't gradually forms its shape in my head,
rather it appears at an instant. I record that in real world
time frame onto a score or computer data.
Please take us through the steps of your process to create music
The basic steps are summarized above. As soon as the image of
the whole piece appears, before it escapes I jot it down on
a memo or create a MIDI data. After core part is completed,
the rest is processing technical issue (For example, expression
of the strings or its depth) scientifically. It depends. For
things like TV which has deadlines, I might complete about 50
pieces within a month period. However, I create one album by
approximately 6 month to 18 month term. Since Kyrie was the
first album, it involved lots of experimentation (and many change
of equipment), it took about 3 years. I hope to continue creating
one new album per year
fantasize about female fantasy novel writers!"
How was it working on CB Chara Wars and working withHow
was it to work with Go Nagai?
I have kept in touch with Nagai-san since working with him on
the anime "Shuten-douji." CB Chara Wars is a SNES
game, a comical shooting game that features all characters created
by him. I created music for the game in MIDI, and passed it
on to the programmer to turn it into actual soundtrack. Most
of the pieces had humorous tune to it, since the producer told
me to correct it after I wrote it in serious style. When I took
my music to the meeting with Banpresto, the company that was
in charge of its sales, the personnel [He
did not specify what this person's job post was...]
at first listened to them and said "This comic tune won't
work. Please change it to more serious ones," and so I
responded "That's not what I was told. If that is so, then
I won't work on this anymore!". However, the producer later
came by, listened to the songs and commented "I think it's
perfect; this comical feel of it..." And so things were
settled that way. I laughedin my heart at how ashamed Banpresto
personnel looked then!
Please share some of your thoughts on the following.
Man Anime: I really enjoyed this
work. The anime was enjoyable by adults too, and its style of
humor was similar to that of Urusai
Yatsura. Originally, the
music for the series was written by the person who wrote the
ones for the Bomberman game. However, the producer did not like
music she turned in, and about a month before it aired he called
me up and told me "I'd like to replace the whole soundtrack,
want you to create pieces as early as possible." Since
the actual work for the first episode was to end two weeks ahead
of its actual airing, as you can expect I could not complete
it for the first episode, and the actual switch took place after
the fourteenth episode. I was also working on Legend of Basara
at the same time, and I was often confused between the comical
tunes of B-Bidaman and serious ones of Basara. It turns out
that the SFX director for the series was Mr. Tsuruoka, with
whom I worked for the anime movie "Odin" 12 years
prior to this job. Despite being aired at early time of 7:30
in the morning, the show had good ratings.(I played the game
Bomberman quite often with the staff at the record company)
Actual title was "B Bidaman Bakugaiden". The first
"B" stood for Bomberman, but the actual anime was
loosely based on a comic that had a bit different background.
Bidama is glass marble balls -- "Vidro" is the word
for glass in Portuguese (who first brought glass to Japan),
combined with "tama" - balls - with modified pronunciation.
The product was a collectible marble-like toy that could be
played by some customized rule. Unlike the game which was made
independently, (I think) the comic and anime was made as part
of marketing for this product.]
was a job for Columbia. In the beginning the series was broadcast
on TV, but in the middle it was switched to be released on video
only. My father performed violin for the TV series, and his
picture can be found on the TV series soundtrack CD. It was
around this time that the deep sound generated by mixing the
use of a synthesizer and a sampler was becoming popular, and
I used this technique in B'tX Neo. At the same time I was working
for comedy radio drama "Metameta Gakuen Academinyan"
(Written by Satoru Akahori) too, so the schedule was really
the recording for this series I added more sampler, namely Roland
S-770 and Akai S-3000. Thanks to these I could use many more
orchestra sounds simultaneously.
Between our recording, I checked out the recording for voice
by the voice actor/actresses, and got envious of them having
so many girls. The music director and I agreed "Soundtrack
recording involving only guys is dull!" So we decided to
include one new song with a female vocal. For this job we selected
Aki Hata that I got to know via the net. (This is aside, but
she drinks a lot!)
no Shishi: This is the second
job with Go Nagai. It included many combat scenes, so I often
had hard time making contrast between different pieces. The
ending theme is my favorite. In the future I plan to record
my favorite works again and release it, and I wish to include
this ending theme along with Bt'X Neo theme. The series was
originally supposed to reach 3 to 4 volumes, but the recession
began in Japan and it ended with only 1 volume due to lack of
soundtrack includes a vocal song, but the lyrics are in made-up
language (Like Adiemus' lyrics). The chorus was performed by
Mami Kikuchi, who I often work with, by repeatedly recording
over the previous ones. All the parts were formed using Fairlight
III's sequencer. The last track was made using a Macintosh program
called Music Mouse; this program generates a sound within the
specified scale when you move the mouse, and so you can easily
make minimalist music with it. Along its melody I added the
percussion sound of Kurzweil 250 by hand.
During the recording process, my body began aching badly due
to hard schedule. So I tried acupuncture treatment before going
to studio, but that delayed my arrival more than 3 hours; the
staff really frowned on me for this.
Near the end of mixing down the computer system malfunctioned,
and caused a mayhem by automatically triggering auto fader.
Finally after it was done I tried to go back home in Yokohama,
but it was snowing heavily and I was forced to stay in Tokyo
workroom for several days.
first job at Columbia. In addition to Itihasa, this was also
written by Waka Mizuki. Originally, Masamichi Amano and I was
supposed to collaborate for this job, but somehow I ended up
working on my own.
Masamichi Amano attended the first meeting with Waka Mizuki.
At that time, I was working at a FM radio station nearby, on
a live program with the band Cross Wind. Later, I remember asking
the director from Columbia about the meeting, and he responded,
exclaiming "Waka Mizuki is beautiful! She is the best looking
The album was the first Japanese record ever to use the Fairlight
dominantly. Part of the work was written during the flight to
Hokkaido I was on for a job. I intended it to be in 6/8 meter,
but I was confused due to severe turbulence and when I looked
over the score after leaving the plane, I found it instead in
3/4. Juma's theme is based on a piece that I was thinking of
including in my solo album.
of BASARA: This was animated version
of a long comic series. The soundtrack is written by I and Toshiyuki
Omori, whom I have met in a college student band, but hadn't
seen for 20 years till then. [(Implied?) Just like
the series,] Most of its music has
a grand mood to it, and as in B'tX Neo there are many pieces
that I like. I became a big fan of the story after reading through
the comic, and the images for the music emerged very quickly.
So despite really tight schedule, I was able to write with ease.
The theme for Basara was written with an image of the main character
in a desert at sunset. Unfortunately, the anime was broadcast
only for 3 months and the story terminated abruptly. I really
hope that the sequel could be made.
On the last day of mix down, I became ill. I was on blink of
falling unconscious from the fever around midnight. The members
of staff began discussing that there's some noise in the songs
but due to the illness my hearing was failing and I could not
identify it at all. Finally they told me "Anzai-san, you
are of no use!" and so I was left with no choice but to
What was your experience working on Bakuen Campus Guardress?
Guardress was originally published in V-Jump, an offshoot game
magazine from the major manga magazine "Shonen Jump".
It was written by Satoru Akahori and in total 4 video volumes
and 5 CDs were released. I wrote both the progressive rock and
farcical music. For its soundtrack album, I wrote music for
two songs sung by voice actors. They both had very outrageous
lyrics: one for gay fighter character and the other for a slave
character that was tormented by a sadist queen. The director
actually called up record company to reassure that the lyrics
do not violate broadcast laws. The director was originally supposed
to play the slave, but he chickened out and instead it was done
by the synthesizer programmer that happened to be there. The
voice actress for the queen, Rei Sakuma, at that time was performing
the voice for a main character of a NHK's program for children.
To the studio where its recording was going on, someone sent
the script that included phrases like "Call me Lady Queen!
(Insert whipping sound)", and the staff there were not
amused. The song for the gay fighter includes in middle a scene
where he destroys the keyboard and guitar; this is parody of
Keith Emerson in the band The Nice as he destroys an organ.
We mimicked such effect by turning the keyboard on and off rapidly
while jamming it. While we were doing this the
maintenance staff for the organ (Specifically, Hammond B3, a
very expensive vintage organ) was there, and it seemed that
if we treated it harshly we would be charged extra cost, so
we used few short moments he was away to do that performance.
video volumes were released every 3 months, so the whole project
took about an year. During this year I built the studio in my
home. Thus the music in the video was recorded in Tokyo studio,
but the same piece in the CD was mixed in [Implied?:
Yokohama studio. This was the first job done at Yokohama studio,
when the smell of the paint was yet not gone. So during it I
often had to open soundproof door for ventilation to avoid becoming
soundtrack CD had few more tracks with vocal, and these were
done by Megumi Maruo, who had played side keyboard in Cross
Wind which I used to be in.
As the worst memory, I would name the party after the completion
of the project. The people who attended it included Satoru Akahori
and all animators, but since the animators were poor we decided
to hold it at very cheap Yakiniku [Korean/Japanese
style BBQ; the word itself is Japanese]
restaurant. The director had told us beforehand "It is
cheap [so the animators can eat a lot of meat], but the food
is really bad" and it was indeed horrible Yakiniku restaurant;
probably the worst I've ever been to. If I took cooked meat
off the grill and then settled down I could actually see the
meat discoloring real-time. I felt sick for a while after eating
Tell us about your fascination with analog synthesizers?
The best of all, I love the analog synthesizers' many volume
controls and indicator lamps, which give it very science-fiction
look! Besides, the sound can be controlled freely and it is
really fun to create sound with it. There are many digital models
which simulate analog features, but it is not the same. Digital
synthesizers sound disjoint, but analog synthesizers' sound
feels continuous. When I was child, analog synthesizer was introduced
as a dream musical instrument by TV and books, so I feel it
is the basis of my musical experience.
one that I feel most proud of and like the best is recently
acquired large sized synthesizer called Moog IIIc. The stability
of its pitch is horrible but its sound is very rich. Under any
setting its sound is bold, and I can easily make sounds of ELP,
Yes, Tangerine Dream or Isao Tomita that I got absorbed in during
junior high period. Just sitting in front of the machine can
make me very excited.
Each analog synthesizer has its own distinct characteristics,
so there is no particular dislike. If a machine's sound is thin,
it becomes important when such sound is wanted.
What are the pros and cons comparing analog to digital?
Digital synthesizer sure has pitch stability and quality of
the tune that far surpasses analog ones. If a work has to be
created in short period of time, it is very effective. However,
DSP is not always perfect. For example, if 8 voices were combined
into unison with their pitch shifted differently, and if I try
adjusting such filters by controllers, the tone change often
cannot catch up with rapid movement of the controllers. These
problems still need improvement. In addition, depending on DSP
the timing of the sound differs bit, and together with the delay
from MIDI, it is not possible to make very tight rhythm.
But if digital and analog synthesizer were considered different
instrument, that brings another way to look at them. Rather
than using them as replacement for analog synthesizer, if digital
synthesizers were utilized in sound creation as "digital
synthesizer" I believe it would lead to new concepts.
How did you come up with the idea for "Kyrie?"
From the album Kyrie I stopped creating TV anime music, and
began seeking ways to work as solo artist. There is reason for
this; my ex-wife is the author of very famous novel, which was
made into anime and video series. In the beginning I was creating
all of its music, and consumed large part of the 90s writing
for her works. But as her income increased she began behaving
strangely. Eventually she began to have an affair and left me,
insisting that it was all my fault. So we ended up divorcing,
but because the whole course of event was just so horrible,
I sued her. In the trial, however, she stated that "I was
the one who actually gave work to Fumitaka Anzai when he was
jobless during the 90s." This completely shocked me; it
was she who pleaded to me with tears, to write music for her.
this trial I had come to realize, that it doesn't matter who
writes the music for an anime; the opinion of the original author
is the top priority and that of the composer has no importance.
Disillusioned, I decided to restart my music life from zero,
pressing "Reset" button on my life. I personally really
like movie soundtracks like Star Trek's. But I felt that if
I kept working for anime, I would always be stuck there and
never move on to such jobs that I want to do.
Kyrie is an album which I put together the concept that I had
been building in the past; I had always contemplated what would
be appropriate subject for my first solo album. I attended mission
school since junior high, and in the school chapel had always
played organ. The Gregorian chant that I heard during the first
mass (1971) after entering the school astounded me, and through
playing the organ the classic theory of figured bass became
natural concept to me. Later I had formal education of classic
music theory, and then I was able to realize what kind of logic
was behind the organ score that I played in the church.
Taking in such background, Kyrie was made by combining two elements
of my musical basis, analog synthesizer and church music. I
was actually creating some demos between my work from early
90s, but at that time the studio in my Yokohama home did not
exist, so the sound quality was inferior. The original and the
completed version differs completely in its tune, and that was
due to introduction of Protools. Kyrie
utilized very many sounds with analog synthesizer as its centerpiece,
so regular recording console could not do satisfactory mixing,
and it was also limited to 24 tracks. Using Protools, I could
record 48 tracks and automate all effects, which finally enabled
me to create the sounds the way I wanted.
I did work for few TV programs' music while producing Kyrie,
but those became my last job for anime. Maybe if one of the
director whom I know well asked me to write again, I might compose
anime music, but since I declared to them also "I won't
do any more anime music," so far I have not done any such
Ironically, the copyright of past works on anime is still paying
for my life support, at time when Kyrie and my solo other albums
are not selling much.
I do not know for sure about this and could not confirm this,
but considering the anime series he has written music for, I
think he is talking about Mishio Fukasawa's "Fortune Quest"
series... Indeed this was very famous fantasy novel series for
teens during early 90s, and he did write music for it. This
is not mentioned anywhere on his webpage (as you can expect)...
so this is purely my speculation]
How did you create "Exclusive Sequences?"
I have been interested in music centered around ostinato
for a long time. For example, I included such element in Juma/Densetsu.
Therefore I thought of making this the theme of the solo album.
Ostinato-centered music is pretty common in today's techno scenes,
but most are not melodic. So in Exclusive Sequences I created
melodic ostinato music. Main theme is titled "Sad Sequences";
this was named for the agony during the trial against the ex-wife.
In particular, Interlude and Epilogue were composed during the
time of desperation, when I lost the parental right for my children
to my ex-wife, and attempted to escape from its pain through
I wanted to use acoustic piano for the piano ostinato, but because
there were no grand piano in my home studio, I used MIDI piano
sound. In attempt to give atmosphere of real performance, I
did not apply quantization and programmed it in such way to
leave the "hand-played" feel.
The title "Exclusive Sequences" also included implication
that I was becoming "exclusive" to life.
Please tell us about your upcoming "Mission Asteroid."
I am making Mission Asteroid from my interest on what kind of
output I would be able to come up with if I used digital synthesizers
rather than analog synthesizers to make trance music. Therefore
the synthesizers used are primarily Emu Xtream Lead, Roland
JP-8080, and so on. However, even though it is trance, I found
out that if I compose it, the music turns orchestral. So I named
these "orchestral trance music." Originally it was
planned to be out for sale in Sept 2001, but at the end of its
production, (just the recording of the narration and the mix
down is needed to complete) I decided to work with Annie Haslam
from British progressive group "Renaissance," and
the last step is not yet completed.
The title "Mission Asteroid" is taken from the game
for Apple-II made during the 1970s. The game was the ancestor
of adventure game sold in early 80s, and I remember getting
absorbed in playing it.
What advice would you give to those who want to create music?
As in the answer to previous question, I think the study in
music enriches one's skill of using own "filter" to
select from infinite sounds that one hears and turning them
into music. So it would definitely help to learn basic classical
and jazz theory. However, after reaching the point when one
has an idea of what he/she wants to do, it is necessary to destroy
them. Thus, the study in music is for destroying the existing
This is similar to destroying an old building and replacing
it with a new one. After placing explosives at appropriate locations
and demolishing the building, new building can then be built
there. Of course, it is possible to destroy the building with
one hammer, but that is not realistic. Besides, if one used
explosive without knowing well how the building was constructed,
it could end up blowing self. The study gives the technique
on how well one could destroy existent things.
There is one phrase that I really remember well from my music
theory course; I still recall it when I stumble: When I was
learning counterpoint (The theory for music as in Bach's Fugue
where melody lines sounds as if "chasing" each other),
the teacher told me "Listen at those two birds chirping
outside. The theory of counterpoint is a method to represent
the message and responses they send each other as music."
Any final thoughts?
After releasing the 3rd album Mission Asteroid and the collaboration
album with Annie Haslam (Planned to be called under project
name "Haslam/Anzai"; Scheduled to be released July
2002), I plan on making 2 silly sounding pops albums. These
will be based on the sorry sounds of Moog album that came out
in early 70s, and as far as sound goes, the best way to describe
it would be "The song made by the group Moog Cookbook turned
into my original." It will not bear my name, rather "Electric
Holiday Orchestra." The first disc will be original pieces,
and I plan to make the second Christmas album.
Further on, I am thinking of making a "healing" music
album featuring female chorus that sounds as if floating above
very thin rhythm.
Kyrie, Exclusive Sequences and others of my solo albums can
be purchased outside Japan through CD Baby and CD Street! Please
take a look at it!
Lastly, some words of wisdom to everyone:
1. Marrying an original author of anime will result in fiasco!!!
2. It is better to be dead than to marry selfish woman!!!
3. No matter how the person tries to remedy it, if everyone
around the person doesn't have good image of him/her, that person
by Shinsuke Fukada
would like to thank Mr. Anzai for chatting with us.