As I promised in my Tribute to Kalafina post, I’d be doing Kalafina song recommendations (5 posts, hopefully?). I’ve decided to categorize my recommendation posts based on colours. I know that Kalafina did already assign colours to certain songs in their The Best Red/Blue albums, but I don’t agree with many of those colour assignments (seriously, putting “Red Moon” in The Best Blue?), so I’m going to make my own!
A colour frequently associated with blood.
Associated work: Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
Colour justification: “Lacrimosa” has a “crim” in it, so I think “crimson.” Also, “blood-soaked world” is in a line in the lyrics.
Highlight: [1:56-2:29] “空の上の無慈悲な神々には/どんな叫びも届きはしない/ Lacrimosa…” (No screams of any kind will reach the merciless gods above the sky, Lacrimosa)
Notes: Not all the non-Japanese lines are Kajiura-go in this song! Kajiura quotes “Lacrimosa dies illa” from the Roman Catholic requiem “Lacrimosa,” best known for being adapted by Mozart. “Lacrimosa” itself means “weeping” in Latin, and is derived from “Our Lady of Sorrows” (a title of Mary, mother of Jesus), according to Wikipedia.
“Red Moon” (2010)
Colour justification: “Red Moon,” of course it’s red. Also, it makes me think of the moon in Soul Eater, which is pretty bloody.
Highlight: [6:21-6:39] Keiko’s Kajiura-go lines
Notes: This song is the epitome of Kalafina’s Gothic era, in my opinion. There’s a strong feeling of doom in this song, and Hikaru’s voice sounds especially defiant in it.
Associated work: Kara no Kyoukai: Tsuukaku Zanryuu (Garden of Sinners: Lingering Sensation of Pain)
Colour justification: Fujino’s wounds are bloodless, but the pain is real.
Highlight: [0:09-0:27] “静けさから歩き出すまだ見ぬ愛の景色へ/この痛みを信じたいの夜を越えて” (I walk out of the silence towards a scenery of love I haven’t yet seen/ I overcome the night by trusting in this pain)
Notes: This is one of very few Kalafina songs that cuts into the lyrics with minimal intro (no intro at all in the anime ED, I think), which is why the first stanza stood out as the most impactful to me. The video is from a very early live when Maya was still a member in the group. The clothing choice and overall feel of Kalafina’s early lives can’t really compare to what they are today, but “Kizuato” is a very underrated song that they no longer sing in lives that much, so this is the only version I could find.
Innocent, romantic, shoujo-like.
“Kimi no Gin no Niwa” (2013)
Associated work: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Hangyaku no Monogatari (Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion)
Colour justification: Madoka’s hair is pink, and so is Homura’s love for her, except one shade darker.
Highlight: [3:32-3:42] “静かに寄り添って/何処にも行かないで/窓辺で囀って/何をなくしたって” (Snuggle up quietly / don’t go anywhere / chirp by the window / what is it that was lost?)
Notes: With its light and swinging feel, this song feels quite playful compared to the usual Kalafina song. I like how it’s so playful it’s almost painful, when put in the movie’s context. I always get a bit of a blow from the lyrics when the song comes up in my playlist while I procrastinate.
Colour justification: “Usumurasaki” is literally “light-purple.” Purple is this weird colour in-between red and blue, but I find this song more provocative than soothing, so it’s red.
Highlight: [0:50-1:04] “瞼の裏にいつもあるうすいむらさき/私を染める” (the light purple that’s always beneath my eyelids / stains me)
Notes: Lots of dance/movement in this live, which is always fun. It’s interesting how it’s “light purple” rather than “deep purple” or something, because you don’t usually think of light colours as something that “stains.” Seemingly harmless but secretly invasive?
“to the beginning” (2013)
Associated work: Fate/Zero
Colour justification: The Holy Grail is a wine cup. Also “the sky that was tainted red”…
Highlights: [2:23-2:43/3:07] “のたうつ夢/命の意味/怯えてるこの世界を/澄んだ水の中へ帰したい” (writhing dream / meaning of life / return this frightened world / back into clear water)
Notes: Words cannot describe the epic feeling this song creates.
Colour justification: The passion in this song makes it red. It’s a dark shade of red because of the focus on Keiko + Hikaru’s darker voices, and Wakana’s bridge supplies all the classiness of “wine red,” despite the rock arrangement of the song.
Highlights: [4:23-4:45] “sorti mai amiwo asa dimora ikami tariwo iya meya diya arima sortai…” (*fangirls*)
Notes: “Ongaku” means “music,” and I wonder if this song defines what music is to Kajiura. Dark rock, energy, the idea of sound over language (with the abundance of Kajiura-go).
Metallic, decadent, cryptic, potentially ancient. At the same time, I associate metal with newness (especially because it’s also a relatively new genre of music), so there’s a weird sense of juxtaposition.
Associated work: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Colour justification: This kind of song is probably the closest to “metal” Kalafina can get. Rock music + lyrics about ancient magic, violin + electric guitar.
Highlights: [5:59-6:14] “静かに咲き乱れていた/古の魔法優しく/世界を変える力が/その手にあると囁く” (The ancient magic blooms wildly and gently in silence / “You hold the power to change the world in your hand” / whispers say)
Notes: If you listen carefully, you can hear motifs of one of the Madoka OSTs that play when the witch barriers appear. I love it when anime OPs and EDs contrast blatantly with each other, and Madoka Magica is a prime example. According to one interview, the Kalafina members could “feel it in the bones” during rehearsals that “Magia” was the song that was going to make their name, and it sure was.
“Hyakka Ryouran” (2017)
Associated work: Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu
Colour justification: “”Red rainbow” appears in the lyrics (seriously, Kajiura, why are your rainbows never rainbow-coloured). The song talks about blades, chains, hearts of iron, and of course, rust.
Highlights: [0:00-0:23] Intro
Notes: This was around the time people really had complaints about Kajiura’s music stagnating, and even as a fan, I couldn’t help but feel that at times. The intro alone doesn’t suggest that at all, and made me quite excited on my first listen (still the case in consequent listens). “Hyakka Ryouran” (百火繚乱) is a play on “百花繚乱” – an idiomatic phrase of the same pronunciation that translates literally to “a hundred flowers blooming wildly.” Kajiura changed “flower” to “fire.”
*Lyrics are taken from canta-per-me.net, though I made some of my own modifications with the English translations.
That took longer than expected to put together, so I hope you’ll enjoy! The process was certainly enjoyable, at least. Next up is a “Blue” post.