Music has always been an underrated proponent of GO culture, but it is neither overlooked or any less important. A lot of memorable songs, whether from anime, film, television or video games, have graced our ears over the years, left a lasting imprint in our memories, and for some, forever secured a place in our hearts.
A few of our staff members will each share with you the song, while not necessarily their all-time favorite, that have shaped who they are today and helped solidify their fandom. These are the songs that come to my mind when they think about geek or otaku culture. These are their GO anthems.
Read about and listen to our GO anthems, as well as details on how you can participate in a future Reader Spotlight, after the break!
Song: Hare Hare Yukai
Artist: Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara and Yuko Goto
From: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
After further reflection, I must admit that I don’t have a personal GO anthem. There hasn’t been one particular song that has been profound and life-changing enough to claim as my own. But looking back over the years and scanning through all of the wonderful and notable songs that has made a name for themselves within our culture, there has been one, specifically within anime culture, that really stood out. It’s neither my favorite anime tune of all-time or close to being the best, but it is awe-inspiring how it was able to take a culture by storm.
And that’s “Hare Hare Yukai”, or most famously known as the ED song from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
During the height of the anime’s popularity, the quirky ED garnered attention across the globe and became a phenomena simply known as ‘The Haruhi Dance’. It’s no surprise that the dance caught fire and won the hearts of many fans the way it did. Along with being sweet and energetic, it most importantly boasted charming and dance-able choreography, which perfectly capitalized on the kawaii exposition of J-pop that girl groups were finding success with. Parodies and memes of the dance spawned in inordinate amounts across the internet from not just passionate otaku but also casual audiences. Even other anime couldn’t help but join in on the fun.
To this day I still find myself finding enjoyment in surfing through different variations of the dance from time to time. It’s like a guilty pleasure I can’t get rid of. (Plus, it helps remind me of the days of its first season, when, you know, the franchise was actually good.) Still, nothing beats the original.
Song: “I Have the Power”
Artist: Erika Scheimer and Noam Kaniel
From: He-Man and She-Ra: Secret of the Sword
My anthem has got to be “I Have the Power” the theme song from the five-episode arc “The Secret of the Sword” that served as the start of the She-Ra: Princess of Power series. A very brief snippet of it can be heard at the end of every She-Ra episode, going something like “for the honor of love, we have the power so can you.”
When I was a kid, most of my friends were into GI Joe or Transformers, but for me, it was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I had every toy, every vehicle, every playset (except Eternia, curse you mom and dad). Today, as a father, I’ve made it my duty to share the show with my daughters, but of course, I started them off with She-Ra first. After watching a few episodes of the Filmation series, I realized that it’s actually a much better series than He-Man. The characters, writing, everything is better, and every episode doesn’t just seem like a thirty-minute toy commercial. When we watched “The Secret of the Sword” on Netflix Instant, it opened with the full theme song that we had heard that snippet of a million times, and now, it’s one of their favorite songs. So for me, nothing better sums up the spirit of GO culture than turning your children onto the stuff that you loved as a child, and for me, that’s best summed up by that, admittedly, less-than-awesome anthem.
Song: “Star Wars Main Theme”
Composer: John Williams
From: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
As a pretty big Star Wars geek, is it any surprise that my theme would be the classic main theme by John Williams?
What can I say, John Williams’ score was just the perfect piece of music to capture my heart. To start off, the brass section is just a powerful opening to introduce the scope and scale of the story that George Lucas was going to tell in the original film.
This is the most iconic piece of music not just in cinema, but all of geek culture to me. There has not been anything else to date that even comes an inch close to how I feel about this theme. Just a classic on so many levels.
Song: “You & Me & Pokémon”
Artist: Elan Rivera and PJ Lequerica
From: Totally Pokémon Pop!
I am sure many people got their first real taste of the Otaku from Pokémon—I am no exception. Pokémon has stuck with the majority of us and is still popular among the younger generation where it cultivates their little brains to be ripe for manga, anime, and video games when they become older. I knew my Otaku anthem would be Pokémon-related from the get-go. However, why I chose this particular song is a different matter.
As a young boy I collected box tops and sent in my collection to receive a CD titled ”Totally Pokemon Pop!”. As such, the songs on this CD hold a special place in my heart. My favorite of these songs is “You and Me and Pokémon”. I could not find the song from the Totally Pokemon Pop! album, but I was able to find the exact copy in the Pokémon 3: The Movie soundtrack.
Song: “Overworld Theme”
Composer: Koji Kondo
From: A Link to the Past
My personal pick for a Geek anthem would have to be the “Overworld Theme,” first composed for The Legend of Zelda on the NES, but with my personal favorite version being from A Link to the Past. Composed by legendary composer Koji Kondo, also responsible for the Mario’s theme, he apparently created the entire arrangement in a single day and has been the key piece of music for the entire series for over 25 years.
The reason why it’s my Geek anthem has to be its immediately recognizable sound and its ability to recall vivid images of past journeys through Hyrule. There are only a handful of themes in gaming that have the power to stand alone as great pieces of music without its accompanying game. The “Overworld Theme” accomplishes that and more, bringing back memories of creeping into dungeons, discovering the Master Sword, diving into the dark world, and finishing off Ganon to save the lovely Princess Zelda. Few pieces of music have such a power over imaginations as the “Overworld Theme” does, easily cementing its place as an anthem for ages to come.
Song: “Main Title (Gotta Find That Dragon Ball!)”
Composer: Peter Berring
From: Dragon Ball (English Dub)
In 1995, I got properly introduced to anime, Akira Toriyama and the greatest theme song ever created thanks to Funimation. Cry blasphemy if you must but to me Makafushigi Adventure! isn’t even on the same level of catchiness as Funimation’s English opening.
This is my GO Anthem.
Perhaps the main reason for that is because the song takes me back to my first bout with having such a fervent passion for something. It was the difference between saying, “I want to see this” and “Oh God, can this just be my oxygen?” I’d wake up at 5 a.m. on Saturdays just to catch an episode. I’d talk at great lengths about it to my friends at school who had no idea what the hell I was talking about, and were too busy showing me copies of risqué Spawn comics they snuck away from their older brothers. I didn’t care if they ignored me, I was hooked, at least for the 13 episodes I got to witness before the Z wave made its way and everyone suddenly loved Goku.
Now every time I find some new game, comic or anime to obsess over, I can hear that theme song play in my head.
Song: “Batman: The Animated Series - Main Title”
Composer: Danny Elfman
From: Batman: The Animated Series
As a kid born in 1990 my childhood was taken over by the animated series that would appear on Fox Kids and WB. Many of them at the time were comic-based series, with all sort of Marvel heroes being adapted like Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and eve the Black Panther. Although Marvel did have the lead as far as quantity went, I think when looking back there was one series that surpassed them all as far as quality goes: Batman: The Animated Series.
Coming off the success of the 1989 film by Tim Burton, Warner Brothers animation put out a series that would go down to be one of the most celebrated animated series of all-time, and when watched now it’s still wonderful—not from the nostalgic standpoint, but because the writing and animation on that series was simply superb. Not to mention that it had a theme song that would become almost synonymous with the character.
The theme from Batman: The Animated Series (view its opening form) was taken from Danny Elfman’s score for Tim Burton’s Batman movie, and it was a tune that just seemed to work perfectly with Batman and Gotham City in every imaginable way. It goes from ominous to exciting and back again, a perfect outline of Batman starting out in the shadows, swooping down to engage his villains, and then moving back into the shadows. It’s definitely the one theme that stuck with me most through the years.
Artist: Shikao Suga
It’s pretty apparent that I’m a victim of having earworms quite often. I don’t know if I’ve stressed this enough or not but I’m a big sucker for good quality sound, so picking one entry as my GO Anthem has to be one of the more challenging Spotlights.
Yet, I did find a song that resonates true with me to the very lyrics sung by Suga Shikao, a song that still gives me a bit of chills and plenty of butterflies in my stomach when I hear it. It’s a song I thought was perfect for my 19th year, a poetic and lyrical representation of confusing times and transitions at that age. Clearly timed advanced while the song title remains but it’s a good reminder of what my thinking was like back then. Sure, 19-sai is perhaps more personal than any other choices I could have made, but I don’t think Final Fantasy battle themes or any of the Chrono Cross themes could match in terms of relating to my youthful sheerness.
The only parts missing are probably the supernatural, spiritual phenomena that’s supposed to come with this song, but I won’t pamper for more than reality and its opportunities. And, I’d rather not have noodle legs designed by Clamp.
Song: Pokémon (Dance Remix)
Artist: Vicki Sue Robinson
From: Pokémon 2.B.A. Master
I’d like you to picture, if you would, a van full of high school students, unaccompanied, up since six AM, hurtling down the interstate at eighty-plus miles an hour. The seven of them have been in school all day and are only just leaving for Washington DC, leading their four car caravan on the anime club’s second convention expedition. Running on caffeine, sugar, and adrenaline, they switch to an ancient Pokémon CD that the driver held on to from her childhood, and the car dissolves in to chaos and glow sticks and a lot of head banging. No one cares that all the passing vehicles are staring, or that the attempts at seated dancing are making the car sway dangerously.
Damn, it feels good to be a geek!
There’s not another song I could think of that holds so many concentrated geek-otaku memories for me, both from my childhood and my teen years; even today, I still pop in that CD and jam out in my car, reliving the glory days.
Song: “Superman Theme”
Composer: John Williams
From: Superman: The Movie
The task of choosing a GO Anthem proved to be slightly more difficult than I initially thought. I have lots of personal favorites running the gamut of all genres and it was hard to choose just one. However, I felt the need to choose a theme that most anyone can easily recognize. After all is said and done, I’ve landed on the triumphant theme to Superman: The Movie.
I chose this theme because it’s one that many generations can identify. It’s distinguishable horn intro can easily get you to join along. There’s no humming this tune. It’s always a boisterous fanfare that gratifies the senses. Not only does John Williams do an amazing job with this original score, but he continually creates great scores for many geek films: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter, just to name a few.
We hope you enjoyed reading about and listening to our anthems. Please let us know what you think!
Reader Spotlight opportunity
What is YOUR personal GO anthem? Share your answers and get featured in a future Reader Spotlight.
Here’s how you can participate: In 5-10 sentences, explain why a particular song is your GO anthem. Provide the name of the song, its composer/artist, and where it’s from. Email your answers to email@example.com. In the subject write ‘GO Anthem’ and be sure to provide your Tumblr handle somewhere in the body. If you don’t have a Tumblr, just provide your name.
The deadline date is yet to be determined, but we’ll announce it in the near future.
Hope to hear from and you and thanks for taking the the time read!