When students of the Anime Academy watch the dramatic series Noir and .hack//SIGN, their discerning ears are instantly captivated by the beguiling music. Kajiura Yuki is the very talented composer for these and other anime, and with a domestic release of her music in the United States it seems she is on her way to international stardom.
Born August 6th, 1965, Kajiura grew up in Germany. Because of her father’s job, she stayed there until junior high school before returning to Japan. After college, Kajiura began work in the programming field as a Systems Engineer. But music was her true calling, so in July, 1992 she left the technology world and joined the group See-Saw as the keyboardist and songwriter. Two albums later Kajiura was ready for her solo career as a composer.
She began by composing for other artists and scoring various commercials, games, animation series and movies. Her first foray into the world of anime was in 1996 for the soundtrack for Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning, where her music played a pivotal role in the story. In 2001, Kajiura and See-Saw singer Ishikawa Chiaki began work on one of her most recognized soundtracks: the score to the anime television series .hack//SIGN.
Kajiura Yuki performed her first concert in the United States at Anime Expo 2003, where enthusiastic fans were treated to music performed by Kajiura, vocalist Emily Bindiger, guitarist Nishikawa Susumu and violinist Konno Hitoshi. During the concert, Kajiura revealed that she uses the themes and characters of the anime to compose her soundtracks; for .hack//SIGN, she concentrated on feelings of freedom and the thoughts of Tsukasa. She also admits watching the completed series and getting attached to the character of Sora, who she regrets not having the opportunity to write a theme for.
The animation director for the .hack project, Mashimo Koichi, has worked with Kajiura on several occasions and has strange praise for the talented artist. “Kajiura is the consummate musician,” Mashimo says. “For her, music is everything.” When asked to describe Kajiura, his choice of words is surprising. “Terrifying and extremely clever,” he once revealed in an interview. When talking about her work in an article in NewType, Mashimo confesses to purposely raising the volume of the background music for the series because it was such a perfect fit. “You can be listening to one of her songs thinking it’s a nice, heartwarming piece, when all of a sudden that darkness sneaks up on you. Kajiura’s work is almost venomous. I mean that in a good way, of course”.
Terrifying or not, there is no denying Kajiura Yuki’s talent and her popularity. The soundtrack for .hack//SIGN sold over 500,000 copies in Japan, and See-Saw continues to be popular by selling 200,000 copies of the ending theme to Gundam Seed. Kajiura began her career in the United States in July, 2003 with the release of her first solo album, Fiction. With remixed and remastered songs from Noir and .hack//SIGN, as well as new, original songs, Kajiura is poised to reach a whole new audience.
.hack//Legend of the Twilight
Aquarian Age: Sign for Evolution
Heat Guy J
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed