Various Artists

One Piece Memorial Best

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The anime series One Piece celebrated its tenth anniversary in part by releasing this album, a collection of 31 different pieces of theme music used over the course of the show. It's commonplace in the world of anime to replace opening and closing themes regularly with each new season of a show, which often results in the eventual release of such a compilation. With the long lifespan of this series, however, that results in a massive set. The music itself evolves over the course of the album, showing the progression in styles in Japanese pop along the way. Early themes are rife with synths and bubblegum melodies. With a few years of progress, the sound starts to develop a little more complexity, still drawing in pop stars, but starting to emphasize those who incorporate new elements into their sound, from original rock to Brazilian idioms and eventually electro-dance, emotional deliveries, and ultra-slick harmonizing à la Tohoshinki. Fans of the series may enjoy the album for its own specific content, but this may also serve as a CliffsNotes version of modern Japanese pop -- a quick sampling of songs and bands popular over the course of a decade in one of the fastest-moving trend-changing markets available.