Lo-Fi Music and Anime: What’s The Connection?

I admit it. I’m addicted. I need help, but I don’t really want any. It’s a daily struggle—some days are better than others, and it can get pretty bad. This thing has ahold of me and won’t let go. Every year it just gets worse, and I keep on adding more to it.

What’s my addiction?

Music.

It’s something that I have to listen to every single day, in one form or another. I don’t play instruments nor have a particular interest in learning, but I do love listening to them! Since I was in middle school, I’ve been downloading and collecting music that I’ve enjoyed. Remember the Napster days? If you do, you understand!

Ever since I discovered Spotify a couple years back, I’ve been even more hooked. I signed up to their premium service and never looked back. What’s great is that I don’t buy MP3s or music CDs anymore since everything is streamed, so I actually save money! I have since deleted all my downloaded music—whether purchased or otherwise—and am strictly on the stream.

If you were to come to my workplace, music would be playing in the background the entire day. I have a few playlists I leave on shuffle that have thousands of songs ranging from jazz to piano, worship song instrumentals to video game remixes, anime instrumentals to who knows what else. I continue to add to these playlists weekly, as I keep finding more amazing tunes from around the world.

As I perused the enormous catalog of artists on the platform, I found new types music I’d never heard before. One of the genres I discovered was lo-fi instrumentals, and though I’d heard of this style before, I didn’t know it was so popular, listened to by a large group of fans. For those unfamiliar with the genre, it features a slow, hip hop beat. I’ll share my personal playlist at the end so you can get an idea.

I really love these soothing, sometimes soporific beats. They are relaxing and I listen to them (even now) when writing, reading, or having guests over. And as I added to my playlist, I kept noticing anime album or playlist covers. Retro anime was all over the music artwork, including Sailor Moon, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, and others I couldn’t recognize, so much so that one of the major labels, Chillhop Records, found itself in copyright violation for using a looped gif from Whisper of the Heart; their top live stream was taken down from Youtube. It went back up, but it goes to show that the anime studio (in this case Studio Ghibli) paid attention.

I decided to research about this correlation between anime and hip hop beats. An article on Medium has an explanation from a lo-fi producer on the connection. It seems what started it all is Samurai Champloo, whose music was produced by Nujabes and had a lot of hip-hop influence. The whole tone of this anime, which I really enjoyed, has that sort of “street” feel to it. For those that remember when it premiered, it was for hip-hop was Watanabe’s previous effort, Cowboy Bebop, was to jazz—and apparently, as strange as it is to say, made an even more profound impact in the world of music.

Long story short, the trigger was the classic popular anime, Samurai Champloo (2006)  – Medium

Other influences mentioned in the article were Toonami and the aforementioned Cowboy Bebop. As these producers made lo-fi music, they reached back to their past for inspiration, and what did they find? Anime and video games. So it’s not a surprise to see lots of these anime images all over the music.

I also found a short podcast episode that goes into some more details if you are interested. But if you’d rather just jump right into the music, you can check out my playlist below, which I developed after scouring Spotify for who knows how many hours over the past couple years.

Since I add a lot of different artists all the time, I wanted to list a few lo-fi ones that are specifically for anime fans, gamers, or Christians. Some have video game samples or dialouge from anime included:

  • aekasora – Simple Things
  • amphee – sunrise
  • BKNAPP – BOTW: Loops and Grooves
  • Chade Summerset – Otaku Supply, Vol. 1 and there’s Vol. 2 + Vol. 3
  • Elijah Nang – Lost in Japan
  • Helynt, GameChops – Super Lofi World
  • Isaac Wheadon – AuTm Tape & Sprng Tape
  • Jonas Munk Lindbo
  • Jonathan Ogden – Twenty Four
  • Linearwave
  • Mikel
  • Samwise
  • sxxnt.


What are some of your favorite lofi artists or tracks? Which of the recommendations did you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Lo-Fi Music and Anime: What’s The Connection?

  1. I discovered that lofi hip hop radio and this kind of music a few months ago, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been listening to city pop, too.
    But I absolutely love neo classical music.
    I remember watching Magnificent Century Suleiman, the Turkish TV series, and I fell in love with its soundtrack.
    For many years, I’ve been listening to and discovering different compositors, from the well known such as Hans Zimmer and John Williams, to many others that do not receive the attention they deserve.

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