This year marks the 20th birthday of Hiromu Arakawa Fullmetal Alchemist, and Milan Records has released 11 original soundtracks from the animated franchise across all streaming platforms. This is the first time that the tracks are available outside Japan. To celebrate the occasion, we had the special opportunity to speak to FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD music composer Akira Senju.

Credit Noboru Morikawa

It’s been more than 10 years since FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD. Now that many people around the world will be able to experience music again, what are your first thoughts?

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the final version of Fullmetal Alchemist, and even though the responsibility was greater than the other versions, it was such a satisfying project in which I was able to give my all. This is definitely epoch-making work for me, something I’ve only done a few times in my career. It was a work in which I was able to express everything I had done until then. Please enjoy the world of Fullmetal Alchemist through music.

This is probably the first time they find out about the separate anime soundtrack for many international fans. What soundtracks or melodies should we pay attention to?

Even though the project goes back over 10 years for me, I wanted to give the music a timelessness that doesn’t age even after many years. I hope you will discover another world of Fullmetal Alchemist in this music.

It will be a nostalgic experience listening to the soundtrack albums. Did you have time to listen to the music again before its digital release?

I listened to the music for this interview again, and I still think it’s not old even if you listen to it now.

© Hiromu Arakawa/FA Project

How were you initially approached to work on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD soundtracks? Did you know the manga and the series before working on the music?

When I received the offer from the producer of the production, I read the original work that had been published so far and was so impressed that I accepted the offer. It had been a long time since I had worked on an anime series, and I knew there had been a previous series, but I still felt a responsibility to do so because it would be a full series that would run concurrently with the original work. . I didn’t listen to any of the previous music to avoid preconceived ideas, nor did I think to use it as a reference.

Before composing for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD, you have mainly composed music for drama and live-action films. What was that transition into composing anime music while working on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOODthe soundtrack ? Were there any unique challenges?

As long as I’m a Japanese composer, I’d like to make music for anime titles that represent Japan. Although I am not an anime composer, I am given a big project every few years. I believe that being able to receive offers at the most opportune times is largely due to the accumulation of works in other genres. There’s nothing particularly unique about anime titles, but it depends on what you want from the music.

Anime and game production has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Has this been the case for composing anime and game music? Was there anything you wanted to be available when you were working on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD?

What has changed technically is the convenience and speed of pre-production. Recording became more efficient with the development of simulated sound. The choice between live instruments, simulated instruments and programming just got easier. I recorded a session with a large symphony orchestra and choir as well as with the computer, which is still a luxury today. I would still like to record the same way even now. I would like to be able to have a network between the images and the musical pre-production.

A final comment to fans around the world?

I think music is responsible for expressions that cannot be put into words. For me, this work is over 10 years old, but it is definitely a masterpiece. I tried to give the work a sound that will not age regardless of the years that pass, with a spirit that is both universal and timeless. I present parts of the Fullmetal Alchemist score in my concerts, but I would like to hold a Fullmetal Alchemist concert one day.

the FULL METAL ALCHEMIST soundtracks are now streaming everywhere digitally.

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