INTERVIEW: Ranking of Kings Music Composer MAYUKO

© SousukeTOKA,KADOKAWA/Ranking of Kings animation film partners

Ranking of Kings continues to sweep the anime community with its incredible animation, storytelling, and stunning soundtrack. Milan Records has released the anime series original soundtrack digitally. Anime Trending had the opportunity to talk to music composer MAYUKO and her creative process behind Ranking of Kings‘ soundtrack.  

MAYUKO (Image Source: Milan Records)

Could you talk about how you were approached to work on the soundtrack for Ranking of Kings? Were you familiar with the manga before working on the music? 

I read the original story in one sitting once it became a hot topic across social media. About two years later, I was very surprised when my manager informed me that I had been offered the job for Ranking of Kings.

What was the creative music process and working relationship with WIT Studio and other creative staff members? 

Everyone’s love for the original work is amazing. I felt their commitment to making the show good and conveying the excellence of the original work at every turn. I was very impressed by the completeness of the storyboards I saw from the very beginning, and as for the music, I could clearly see what they were aiming to do through their precise details and instructions like, “This kind of music for this scene,” etc.

Ranking of Kings -Main Theme-

The soundtrack features a variety of bold orchestral sounds and peaceful tones for emotional moments. How did you decide on these moods? Were you aware of what anime scenes the soundtracks would be used for? 

At the first meeting, I was given a spreadsheet about which song to use in which scene. Some of the compositions were specified to some extent. For instance, for the scene in which Bojji appears, I was told that the composition would be short, but that I should use certain instruments. There are also songs that I decided the rules myself, for example with Miranjo, using a female chorus, triple time and the bell sound. And then since Daida has a “cool” image, I used synthesizer sounds to bring the whole piece together. 

The album that is now available features a ton of stunning soundtracks. Could you talk about the creative process behind “Ranking of Kings -Main Theme-” and “Bojji Daiboken”? 

“Ranking of Kings -Main Theme-” took three days after I started working on it. The intro and chorus were done first, and after two days of simmering, I sang it out loud and the middle part was connected and completed. The sopranino recorder, which is the main instrument of “Bojji Daiboken,” only appears in the latter half of the song, which is one of my favorite parts. In “Bojji Daiboken,” I used low strings and a fast tempo to show him walking briskly, and the marimba and sopranino recorder to express this quickness. When I write a song, I put on headphones and then sharpen my senses to create it all at once, so I actually don’t remember many details. LOL!

Bojji Daiboken

Composing music and live recordings have been challenging during the pandemic. How did you navigate it for Ranking of Kings

Since my usual style of songwriting is at home, there was really not much that changed. Instead, whenever concerts and live performances were cancelled and I saw the sadness and frustration of fellow musicians, I quietly thought to myself, “I want to write good songs and help, even if just a little, to enliven the entertainment industry.”

Any fun or memorable stories while working on the soundtrack? 

The directors gave us the OK for the songs after I had given them the first dozen or so to listen to, and I said, “I guess we’re going in this direction!” I felt confident that I could do it. Director Hatta’s comment, “It’s fun to listen to,” was very reassuring. Since I spent more than half a year on the show’s production, I had to buy new sounds for battle scenes along the way, and at nights I would spend hours thinking about Ouken and listening which was a very valuable experience.

Any final comments to fans as they listen to the Ranking of Kings soundtrack? 

The soundtrack is the result of me putting everything I have into it, so I hope you will find your favorite! 

Ranking of Kings is now streaming on Crunchyroll. The soundtrack is streaming via Milan Records on various digital platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and more. 

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