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New compilation resounds Japan’s booming anime & manga industries of the 80s

‘Anime & Manga Synth Pop Soundtracks 1984-1990’ consists of 8 brightly futuristic tracks from an era of cultural opulence

  • Adrianna Cheung
  • 28 July 2022
New compilation resounds Japan’s booming anime & manga industries of the 80s

London-based reissue-focused label Time Capsule is releasing a new compilation titled ‘Anime & Manga Synth Pop Soundtracks 1984-1990’ this August. The compilation will include eight trailblazing instrumental synth-pop tracks created to soundtrack Japan’s booming 1980s anime and manga industries.

The compilation features tracks by Kazuhiko Izu, who accompanied Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga comic Domu, Kan Ogasawara’s track for the 1985 period manga Yume No Ishibumi, Takashi Kokubo’s proto-techno track Kiki (Jungle At Night) for the 1984 anime film Shounen Keniya (Kenya Boy) and more.

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Towards the end of the Shōwa period in Japan, the country experienced a brief period where societal changes combined with economic growth exposed its citizens to a whole new world of possibilities. This newfound cosmopolitan lifestyle also influenced the realms of music and video games, hence the birth of city pop, Nintendo and Studio Ghibli.

Anime and manga were established as significant forms of entertainment for all generations of the Japanese public. The music that came with this cultural boom also went hand in hand with the creation of the two, where many composers benefited from the approach of an open budget, where even comics could be released with an accompanying soundtrack known as an ‘Image Album’.

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As we listen to the brightly futuristic tracks and their instrumentals in the compilation, we’re brought into the mindset of its composers and musicians who, at the time, believed in a utopian technological future where anything was possible.

Peek the compilation’s tracklist below:
1. Kan Ogasawara – Honowo
2. Ichiro Nitta – Shadow Rhythm
3. Kazuhiko Izu – Act 2 Scene 26
4. Yoshinobu Hiraiwa – Into The Jungle
5. Takashi Kokubo & Nobuyoshi Koshibe – Kiki (Jungle At Night)
6. Kan Ogasawara – Utage
7. Open Sesame! – Scrab
8. Keiichi Oku – Ryoko’s Theme

‘Anime & Manga Synth Pop Soundtracks 1984-1990’ will be released strictly on vinyl on August 26; pre-order it here.

Adrianna Cheung is Mixmag Asia’s Culture Curator, follow her on Instagram.