“At the End of the Melting Dream” by Yoichiro Yoshikawa

The off-kilter opening theme to the 1994 “Iria” anime series sounds like a pop hit from another solar system.

Though it was released almost three decades ago, Tetsurō Amino’s Iria: Zeiram the Animation still holds up quite well thanks to its unique-looking art and character design, some solid action sequences, and a spunky titular heroine who’s hellbent on destroying the galaxy’s most dangerous life form. That, and it also boasts a pretty great opening theme.

Composed by Yoichiro Yoshikawa, “At the End of the Melting Dream” is a funky little number highlighted by Yayoi Goto’s expressive vocals. I especially love the song’s opening moments, which are filled with trippy synths and flaring guitar notes that feel perfectly in-line with the anime’s exotic, futuristic setting. Indeed, while the song’s undeniably catchy, there’s also something off-kilter about it, be it the stuttering rhythms, the little embellishments sprinkled throughout (like those Prince-ish guitar riffs), or that odd little piano melody on the bridge, that makes the song feel like a pop hit from another solar system.

In addition to the Iria soundtrack, Yoshikawa has composed music for several other anime titles including New Dominion Tank Police, Green Legend Ran, and Baby Steps. Outside the world of anime, he’s spent the last four decades as the musical director for Sankai Juku, a highly regarded butoh dance troupe. As for vocalist Goto, her career wasn’t nearly as prolific. I can only find one other credit to her name, as backing vocalist on a single song on Flowers. Dreams & Love Poem, the 1992 album from Japanese pop group Le Sang D’un Poete (listen to the song on Spotify).


Read more about Iria and Yoichiro Yoshikawa.
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