Lia、多田葵 ~ doll/human

  1. doll (Lia version)
  2. doll (TADA Aoi version)
  3. human
  4. doll (inst)
  5. human (inst)

Lia was formerly a member of I’ve Sound, and since leaving the project, has released four original albums and two “Happy Hardcore” singing albums. Although she does not consistently release singles, she often performs themes for anime and video games. I don’t know anything about TADA Aoi, sorry. XD
doll/human has a special cover because it is released specifically for an anime. This single did not make the Oricon Top 30 Weekly. Both songs on the single are composed and lyrics written by MAEDA Jun (麻枝准) and arranged by ANANT-GARDE EYES.

doll (Lia version), used as the ending song of the anime Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino- (the sequel to Gunslinger Girl), is an emotional, well-rounded package that I’m sure fits the anime rather well. This song in a simple 4/4 time begins with a doubled bell line that continues throughout the song to set the mood backed up by piano chords. The verses are serene with intriguing lyrics–for example, the first verse: あたたかな手から生まれた/心を持たない人形/笑うことはなく/話すこともない (atataka na te kara umareta / kokoro wo motanai ningyou / warau koto wa naku / hanasu koto mo nai; born from a warm hand, [I am] a doll who doesn’t have a heart, who can’t smile and can’t speak, either). The interesting cadenza of the verses flows smoothly into the subito forte chorus, which matches the intensity of a climatic bridge. The power chords in the strings and bass add even more. As the final word of the first chorus echoes several times, the low strings come in for more support, which comes from registers both above and below the melody. The lush syncopated strings jabs in the final two choruses really give the song motion all the while supported by the percussion. Even though the arrangement is predominately vocal, strings, and piano, doll has a very resonate and dark sound.
Language: Japanese
Mood: yearning and determined
Tempo: moderato
Composition: A+
Arrangement: A+
Overall: A+

doll (多田葵 version) is the exact same as Lia’s version except for the vocalist, obviously. However, I prefer Lia’s version because Tada sounds strained and very spread compared to her. I’m not sure why there is a Tada version, other that she might be the seiyuu for one of the characters in Gunslinger Girl, and then that might hold some symbolism within the series. 

The juxtaposition of the other A-side, human, immediately stands out symbolically. Written in a major key, it is a more playful song with pizzicato strings throughout. The beginning is a little boring and weak with just the vocal and the plucked string instrument. It does not really become interesting until the melody of the chorus, but then really solidifies at the second chorus with the blossoming high strings’ countermelody and the percussion’s entrance. What really makes this song interesting, though, is the cello solo and modulation before the final two choruses (where electric guitar power chords come in), and, of course, the lyrics. Lia sings of endless searching, which mysterious lines such as these from the second verse: 道から道へさまよう/時には雨に打たれながら/消えていった人の/足跡を探してきた (michi kara michi e samayou / toki ni wa ame ni utarenagara / kiete itta hito no / ashiato wo sagashite kita; I wander from road to road. /While sometimes being pelted by rain / I came searching for / the footprints of someone who had disappeared). Although this song is not as impacting as doll, it “pulls its own weight” and rounds out the single well.
Language: Japanese
Mood: free, playful
Tempo: andante
Composition: A-
Composition: A
Overall: A

The strong contrast of this double A-side brings great music to Gunslinger Girl. In fact, the contrast is so great that it is difficult to compare the two songs to each other, which allows each one to stand on its own and let its own particular strong points shine.
Overall: A+