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Ko Otani

Ko Otani Date of Birth: May 1, 1957 (Tokyo)
Instruments: Piano
Game Works: Shadow of the Colossus, Heavy Metal Thunder
Official Website: Imagine-Music


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris and is under copyright.

Born on May 1, 1957 in Tokyo, Ko Otani is a prolific Japanese composer, arranger, and pianist. Following a university education, he became a founding member of Yuji Saito's music production company Imagine in November 1986; the company has grown to feature names such as Kohei Tanaka, Shiro Hamaguchi, Hayato Matsuo, and Shinji Miyazaki, becoming especially reputable for cinematic scoring and orchestration through Otani. Otani made his anime debut with 1987's popular manga adaptation City Hunter, providing him with instant recognition in the industry. He went on to work on titles such as Spy Games, The Ultimate Teacher, The Yadamura Waltz, and You're Under Arrest. It was with his scores to the long-running racing anime series Future GPX Cyber Formula, Godzilla's rival series Gamera, and Mobile Suite Gundam Wing that he gained the status of a legendary anime musician.

During his career, Otani has worked on behalf of several video game projects. He debuted with 1995's shooter Philosoma, one of the initial PlayStation titles and hence not technologically commanded in the audio department. He was more successful on 2001's flight simulator Sky Odyssey. However, it was only with 2005's Shadow of the Colossus that Otani received widespread recognition from gamers for capturing the romance, action, epicness, tragedy, and minimalism of Wander's quest. He was also responsible for 2000's anime adaptation Wild Arms: Twilight Venom, also offering arrangements of Michiko Naruke's game music from the series. His other video game to anime adaptations are Popolocrois Monogatari, and Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series. In 2005, he produced the haunting instrumental track "Madness" for Square Enix's Heavy Metal Thunder.

Also in recent years, he has followed the footsteps of composers such as Akira Ikufube and Michiru Oshima as a composer of the Godzilla series with its 25th movie, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Other scores include Outlaw Story, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Cross Fire, The SoulTraker, Haibane Renmei, Zatch Bell!, Eyeshield 21, Pumpkin Scissors, Deltora Quest, and Over Drive. He has also been the musical director and keyboardist of the band Dreams Come True, known for fusing a diverse range of styles into their music. He recently appeared in the Eminence Symphony Orchestra's December performances Unearthing Eden.

List of Relevant Game Projects

Year Game / Role Console
2005 Heavy Metal Thunder (Square Enix)
Composition ("Madness")
PlayStation 2

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
A Night in Fantasia 2009 ANIF-09
Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment EMIN-00001
Fire Emblem Thracia 776 Original Soundtrack TKCA-70929
Heavy Metal Thunder -The Recordings- TOCT-25765
Wander and the Colossus ~Roar of the Earth~ Original Soundtrack KICA-1379
Wild Arms Vocal Collection -alone the world- SVWC-7138