Kow Otani is a prolific Japanese composer, arranger and pianist from Tokyo. He has composed the soundtracks to several Gamera films as well as many anime series. He has also composed music for a few video games, the most notable of which is Shadow of the Colossus.
Kow Otani was born in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from university, he became a founding member of Yuji Saito's music production company IMAGINE in November 1986.
The company has grown to feature musicians like Kohei Tanaka, Shiro Hamaguchi, Hayato Matsuo, and Shinji Miyazaki, who have become well known for cinematic scoring and orchestration through Otani. In 1987, he made his debut as an anime composer with the popular manga adaptation City Hunter, which earned him recognition in the industry.
He later went on to work on titles such as Spy Games (1988), The Ultimate Teacher (1988), The Yadamura Waltz (1988), and You're Under Arrest (1994). The anime Future GPX Cyber Formula (1991) and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995) and several films in the Gamera series are some of his most well-known works.
In 2001, he created the score to the film Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Other notable scores by Otani include Outlaw Star (1998), Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (1998), Cross Fire (2000), The SoulTaker (2001), Haibane Renmei (2002), Zatch Bell! (2003), Eyeshield 21 (2005), Pumpkin Scissors (2006), Deltora Quest (2007), and Over Drive (2007). He has also been the music director and keyboardist of the band Dreams Come True. He appeared at Eminence Symphony Orchestra's events A Night in Fantasia 2007: Symphonic Games Edition and Unearthing Eden ~The sounds of AINARU~ in 2007.
Throughout his career, Otani has also composed music for several video games, making his debut with the 1995 shooter game Philosoma. In 2000, he created the soundtrack to the flight simulator Sky Odyssey. He scored Shadow of the Colossus in 2005, his most famous video game work. Otani was responsible for composing the music for Wild Arms: Twilight Venom (2000), an anime adaptation of the Wild Arms video game series; he also arranged compositions of Michiko Naruke's music from the series. He did two more video game to anime adaptations: Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (1997) and Popolocrois Monogatari (1998). In 2005, he created the track "Madness" alongside Hiroko Shigezumi for the Square Enix game Heavy Metal Thunder.