Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online
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Sword Art Online Kv
Special Interview with Yuki Kajiura ~Featuring Sword Art Online~
NOTICE -Message from Aniplex of America-
We regret to announce that the “Yuki Kajiura LIVE featuring Sword Art Online” concert on January 14, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre is cancelled due to visa issues. Ms. Kajiura, the artists, and everyone involved in the show were looking forward to performing for the U.S. fans which makes it particularly difficult and disappointing for us to make this announcement.
Ms. Kajiura has expressed her disappointment and regret in a message to her fans in the blog post. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by these unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances.

Yuki Kajiura Live is a live concert series comprised solely of music created by Yuki Kajiura.
It has been held 12 times since 2008.
The 13th concert “~Featuring Sword Art Online~” was held on March 21, 2016.
It marked the first Yuki Kajiura Live devoted exclusively to one series.
The impressive concert recreated the world of Sword Art Online through music.
We sat down with Kajiura just before the concert to ask about the concert’s highlights.

Experience the full force of Yuki Kajiura’s groovy sound with the fantastic live show!

――This latest concert marks the 13th Yuki Kajiura Live. What exactly does the Yuki Kajiura concert mean to you?

It’s my reward. I think of what I do as making songs, but playing a live show doesn’t feel like work at all. From my perspective, composing music is something that I alone can enjoy, but when I play my music live I can see so many people in front of me sharing my enjoyment. When I hear the applause of the crowd it’s almost like heaven. When those of us playing on the stage are happy and we can make the audience happy too, it’s a real reward for me.

――Why did you decide to dedicate this concert to the music of Sword Art Online?

At the Yuki Kajiura Live concerts, we choose all kinds of different pieces to play. When we conduct audience surveys, we receive a lot of requests to create a concert with music from just one franchise, and so we’ve decided to make this one “~Featuring Sword Art Online~” since the Sword Art Online soundtrack, Sword Art Online Music Collection, has just been released.

――The Sing All Overtures concert was held to great acclaim in February 2015 and your Sword Art Online music was played there too. How will this concert differ from the 2015 version?

At the Sing All Overtures concert we played for around 30 minutes near the start (the video footage is included in the Sword Art Online Music Collection). This time we want to make it a little bigger. That 30-minute opening performance persuaded us that we could really play it live and this time we’re going to do it for real. This concert is going to be even bigger and better than Sing All Overtures.

――The score for Sword Art Online uses a variety of different instruments. Will you be using all of them in the live show?

As we’re going so far as to perform a live show, we want to try adding some things to the arrangements of the shorter songs, creating new arrangements to make the melodies more prominent. As much as possible we want people to hear us playing the music just as it sounds on the soundtrack. We don’t want to add any unnecessary arrangements. The music was created to play alongside the video, but we want to create new arrangements that people can enjoy hearing live.

――What about the set list itself, what sort of tracks will you be playing?

The Sword Art Online Music Collection includes all 131 tracks created for Sword Art Online so far, we want to try and pick the ones that people are keen to hear. There will also be a few that I think I’ll enjoy playing.

――Which might those be?

“Tonky” (“Tonky no Tema Kyoku”). It’s a track that was only used once within the show but I enjoyed composing it so much. “Let’s play ‘Tonky’ live! Let’s play ‘Tonky’ live!!” I kept saying over and over again (laughing).


Kajiura’s game-loving past lives again in melody

――Let’s talk a little bit more about the background music for Sword Art Online itself. What was your thought process when composing the background music?

The score for a dramatic piece always has a meaning. There are sad scenes and battle scenes, and you have to give each of them meaning. I compose music so that you can understand the mood within three seconds of the tune starting. Especially with Sword Art Online, as far as possible I approach the composition honestly; I make the melody clear. Therefore whatever the arrangement it’s hard to crush the original sentiment. That’s why we’re paying particular attention to the band arrangements for the live concert.

――Changing the composition of the original tracks and the instruments, creating new arrangements - do you think that might hurt the essential nature of your sound?

The truth is my music is rhythm based. For example, if the track features strings, the song definitely has rhythm, and you can’t recreate it just with an orchestra. My live shows are performed with a band. When you introduce the band’s groove, that’s my ideal condition for playing.

―― Sword Art Online is set in a VRMMORPG. What experience have you had in creating the kind of music you hear in the gaming world?

When I was a student I loved playing role-playing games. It was the era when everyone was captivated by Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. When the opportunity came up to work on Sword Art Online I was so excited to be able to create game music. When I heard about the game’s FullDive setting I was even more thrilled. Kirito and co. go through some tough times in Sword Art Online, but I wanted to recreate that same feeling I had when playing games all those years ago to bring out the excitement of visiting the town or the rising emotions in front of the World Tree. It was such a fun experience to create the music for the towns and the music for the battlefields. When I was composing, I was thinking, “I’m sure the music for the town was simpler…,” remembering how it all used to sound when I played games.

――I’m sure your love for games has made its way into the music for Sword Art Online.

When we were putting the Sword Art Online Musical Collection together I listened to all the tracks again. It was my first time re-listening to the whole of the score, taking another look at each of the sections and the complete piece. It brought back so many memories from when I was composing the music.

――The audience will be remembering so many scenes during the live performance too.

The live show will be around 1/3 vocal tracks and 2/3 instrumentals. It would make me so happy if people start to remember the scenes from the show while we’re playing the music specially written for Sword Art Online. I feel as if people will end up saying, “ Sword Art Online - that’s such a great show,” once the concert is over. The band for the live show is the same as for the original recording and includes so many fantastic musicians. I’m so excited to be playing myself, too. We’re going to fill the room with the music of Sword Art Online, so prepare to make a “FullDive” into the musical world!


Yuki Kajiura
Yuki Kajiura is a composer, lyricist, and music producer. She has handled soundtrack composition for TV shows, commercials, movies, anime, and games among many other fields. Kajiura’s music is so unique that it’s become known as the “Kajiura Sound.”


Yuki Kajiura Live Vol. 13 “~Featuring Sword Art Online~”
March 21, 2016 - Tokyo International Forum Hall A
March 26 & 27, 2016 - NHK Osaka Hall

Sword Art Online Music Collection
First Press Limited Edition (4-CD set plus bonus Blu-ray)
4,500 yen plus tax

Regular Edition (4-CD set)
3,800 yen plus tax

The CD set features 131 tracks composed by Yuki Kajiura for the Sword Art Online TV anime (seasons 1 and 2 plus Extra Edition) including previously unreleased music.