Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Review! The Best of Anime CD

In 1998 Rhino Entertainment released The Best of Anime, a compilation of opening theme songs from various anime series' that spanned the '60s to '90s.

The above advertisement was from the pages of Animerica, and the very first I'd heard of the CD. As advertised, it contained 16 songs from various anime and the track listing is very impressive.

A few of the songs are not in Japanese, with Rhino opting for the English language versions of Astro Boy, Gigantor, Speed Racer, and the theme from Sailor Moon. I found this to be a nice touch and, personally, I enjoy those particular songs in English more than the original Japanese versions, most likely due to some heavy nostalgia.

The songs chosen are great, and there's not a weak one among the selection. "Sentimental Over The Shoulder" from Megazone 23, "Active Heart" from Gunbuster and Devil Hunter Yohko's "Full Moon Light," instantly recall scenes and openings from their respective anime. "Just Beyond the Time" from New Dominion Tank Police is phenomenal with its driving guitar riff, and the theme from New Cutey Honey is among my favorites, just for the song's sheer energy.

When the The Best of Anime was released, two versions were available to buyers, one with Cutey Honey on the cover and one with Speed Racer. Also, when the disc was removed from the tray, the image underneath was different for the two (see above).

Even better, the images of Cutey Honey and Speed Racer were actually animation cels that were separate from the included booklet (above).

It 1998 anime hadn't yet reached the unimaginable mainstream heights in the US that it would by the early 2000s, so it's even more incredible that, not only something like this was released, but that Rhino really gave it such care and respect. The booklet included with the CD was evidence that Rhino really went all out. Not only is their an awesome introduction by Fred Patten in the booklet, but he also gives interesting details about each of the shows in the liner notes.

If you're even remotely considering debating picking this one up, I'd highly recommend it. Copies can still be found on eBay, with ones in excellent condition often selling for $15 and under. 

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