🔖 5 min read

Anime, a beloved form of entertainment originating from Japan, has enthralled audiences globally with its unique storytelling, vibrant characters, and captivating visuals. Central to this immersive experience is the incredible world of anime music, a sonic journey that has evolved over time, drawing inspiration from diverse musical styles and technological advancements.

The Evolution of Anime Music 

The history of anime music traces back to the early 20th century when Japanese animation was in its nascent stages. During this period, anime music was influenced by traditional Japanese musical forms, incorporating elements of folk music, classical instrumentation, and theatrical performance. The synergy between animation and music laid the foundation for the emotional depth and resonance that anime is known for.

A pivotal point in the evolution of anime music is the emergence of Studio Ghibli. Renowned for its enchanting animations and emotionally stirring soundtracks, Studio Ghibli has played a significant role in shaping the landscape of anime music. The studio’s collaboration with orchestras has given birth to iconic performances, such as the Studio Ghibli Orchestra, where the magic of animated worlds comes alive through the rich sounds of classical instruments.

The rise in popularity of Live Anime Concerts

In recent years, the convergence of classical music and anime has given rise to spectacular groups like the City String Ensemble. These orchestra groups bring the magic of beloved animated worlds to life, with live performances that transcend the screen. Audiences have the opportunity to experience the emotional depth of anime music in a whole new dimension, blurring the lines between the animated and real worlds.

From the roots of traditional Japanese music to the orchestral brilliance of Studio Ghibli and the live enchantment of anime concerts, the evolution of anime music is a testament to its enduring impact on global audiences.

Getting to Know City String Ensemble

Anime music, with its diverse genres and emotive range, has captivated fans globally. One ensemble that has taken anime music to new heights is the City String Ensemble, a London-based group that infuses classical charm into the vibrant world of anime melodies. Originally established at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, City String Ensemble has evolved from a string quartet to a full-fledged orchestra. Their unique approach involves recording classical renditions of popular songs, including anime themes. Their “candlelight concerts” around London have become a staple, creating an enchanting atmosphere for audiences.

City String Ensemble’s musical journey is documented through their EPs. “Twenty Twenty,” their debut release in 2020, marked the beginning of their venture, while “Throwback…to the Millennium” (2021) showcased their versatility across genres. The group’s evolution is evident in their transition from quartet to orchestra, reflecting their commitment to exploring diverse musical landscapes.

From String Quartet to Orchestra

In 2022, City String Ensemble unveiled their latest CD, “Best of Anime,” a compilation featuring classical interpretations of iconic anime openings. This collection includes covers of powerful themes like “Guren No Yumiya” from Attack on Titan, “Gurenge” from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, and “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

What sets City String Ensemble apart is its ability to blend tradition with innovation. Their arrangements stay true to the original compositions, yet they strive to bridge the gap between classical and popular music. Notably, the ensemble’s live drumbeat production adds a dynamic layer, capturing the energy of the original anime songs while preserving their classical essence.

Blending Tradition with Innovation

As a group, City String Ensemble writes arrangements that are entirely faithful to the original songs while attempting to break down barriers that separate classical performance from “popular” music genres. The ability of City String Ensemble to produce their drum beat live is a distinctive feature in their performances, replicating the original songs’ energy while maintaining the ensemble’s classical roots.

Delivering exceptional performances with passion and enthusiasm, City String Ensemble is more than welcome to perform for private events and sold-out concerts. 

City String Ensemble’s music can be listened to on Spotify. They are also found on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.  

The Global Impact of Anime Music

Anime music has evolved into a captivating fusion of cultural influences. Moreover weaving together traditional Japanese sounds and global musical trends to create a unique sonic tapestry. At the forefront of this musical phenomenon is the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli, where orchestral arrangements breathe life into animated landscapes. Studio Ghibli’s orchestral masterpieces have become a cornerstone of anime music, captivating audiences worldwide through immersive concerts and live performances. The magic of the Studio Ghibli orchestra transports fans into the heart of their favourite animated tales. Moreover the symphonic renditions of classics like “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro” resonate across concert halls.

The global impact of anime music extends beyond the borders of Japan, as evidenced by the soaring popularity of anime music live events and Studio Ghibli concerts around the world. These gatherings serve as a testament to the universal appeal of anime soundtracks. Therefore transcending language barriers and cultural differences to forge a shared musical experience.

Live Anime concerts, featuring a repertoire that spans the rich spectrum of traditional Japanese instruments. These include the like the shamisen, taiko drums, and shakuhachi, which showcase the genre’s commitment to preserving its cultural roots. Simultaneously, collaborations between Japanese composers and musicians from diverse backgrounds contribute to an evolving musical landscape. Therefore fostering a global exchange of ideas enriches the anime music scene.

The global impact of anime music is not confined to a singular genre; it’s a dynamic interplay of styles. Anime soundtracks seamlessly incorporate elements of Western classical music, jazz, rock, and electronic dance music. Therefore creating hybrid soundscapes that resonate with a broad audience. This musical fusion transcends cultural boundaries, offering a shared experience that unites fans from different corners of the globe.

City String Ensemble: Best of Anime Concert

City String Ensemble is more than happy to perform your favourite anime openings and Studio Ghibli Orchestra soundtracks at their upcoming concert. City String Ensemble: Best of Anime happening on December 3, 2023, at 7:30 pm, with doors opening at 6:30 pm. 

The ensemble will perform the ultimate celebration of live anime music in this concert. Moreover serving as the long-awaited album release event that they never had after publishing their Best of Anime EP in 2022. The event will take place at EartH Theatre, a converted art deco cinema in Dalston, London. The concert is expected to run for approximately 2 hours with a 20-minute interval. Expect performances of classic anime openings from Cowboy Bebop, Demon Slayer, and Attack Titan. Additionally the covers of Studio Ghibli concert soundtracks from Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and many more!

Event Details and Guidelines

For a more enjoyable experience, the bar will be open throughout the performances and the interval. There is an age requirement to enter, with an age restriction of 16+ years old. Those under 18 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult (21-plus years old). We recommend presenting a valid ID upon entry to ensure customer safety and compliance with legal age requirements.

City String Ensemble has also something special ready for you! The attendees will have a chance to participate in selecting the songs to be featured in a segment of the concert. Whether you’re a seasoned anime music enthusiast or a newcomer to the anime world. City String Ensemble is eager to present the enchanting essence of anime through its live anime music and performance artistry.

To purchase tickets to the event, you may buy them here


About Rachel Christopher

Rachel Finn is a London based writer who enjoys exploring the many ways that Sushi can be made whilst at the same time sneaking in a little miso soup here and there.