Do you like rock music? Generated with a lot of electronic instruments like synthesizer, guitar, percussions, drum, trumpet, and accompanied by various sonorities? This soundtrack is definitely for you!
It is IMAHORI Tsuneo (Gungrave, Trigun) who signed Hajime no Ippo musics, a boxing anime serie of 76 episodes, produced by Madhouse Studio (2000-2002).
Maybe, his name does not tell you much, but this guy is a genius. He was the guitarist of The Seatbelts, a Japanese blues/jazz band, led by the famous KANNO Yôko, better known for Cowboy Bebop's compositions. He also worked with KANNO, as guitarist, on many soundtracks such as Arjuna or Wolf's Rain.
So, in terms of originality, we can say that we are really lucky. All tracks are original, creative and well composed. Of course, some of them are catchier and stand out from others. My favorites are:
"Irradation" (n°1), really awesome recurrent theme used for the training sequences (jogging, sprinting). I love this composition, in particular the electric guitar played by IMAHORI, and also the drum.
"In the mirror" (n°3) is a music played on electric guitar, which sounds like those of Trigun; "Desert life" (n°4) is a very jazzy composition with trumpet and drum
"Naked fang" (n°12) is probably one of the best and memorable tracks of this anime, used in all the best parts of fight scenes. The guitar is crazy, its tempo is quite fast and it gets the adrenalin pumping. Simply incredible and epic!
"Silent eyes" (n°14) is an electric guitar solo, with a slow tempo to get a break. It also sounds like a music of Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. It's strong and energetic at the same time.
"Motherhood" (n°15) is a sad and nostalgic theme, played with a clarinet solo. "Shadow" (n°18) theme is used for the shadow boxing scene.
"At last" (n°21) is so powerful and amazing! It reminds me once again of those of Trigun.
Regarding the strangest music, we got "Dread"(n°22), which actually is the Mashiba's theme. It could very well be used for horror movies (or horror video games such as Silent Hill!).
Finally, don't forget to mention the opening, "Under star" (n°26) sung by Shocking Lemon, and ending theme "Yuuzora no kamihikouki", by Naoya Mori, both in TV version.
To sum up, this OST is an excellent surprise and I recommend it to all rock fans. It also is a very good opportunity to discover the great composer IMAHORI Tsuneo. If you liked this album, you should also listen to the OST 2: it is a killer!