Monster Hunter Tri

The music in Monster Hunter Tri creates appropriate atmospheres for each of the unique areas where the monsters live. For example, whenever a hunter encounters a large hostile creature in the desert, the music changes from calm and serene to rhythmic, energetic song filled with drums. The overall effect is to create a slight sense of urgency that goads the hunter to either kill the intruder or flee the area. A few of the more powerful monsters have their own themes, differentiating themselves from the majority.

This thing is almost 160 feet long, and you fight it underwater. Good luck!

The final “boss” that the hunter faces in Single Player mode is a gigantic, whale-like elder dragon called a Ceadeus. Estimated at over 160 feet long, this gargantuan creature has one of the best songs in the entire game. Composed by Yuko Komiyama, “Moonquake” features a moderately paced song with prominent drums, occasional chimes and chanting in an unidentifiable language culminating in a “tribal” feel. This feeling combines with the importance of the quest and the enormity of the creature, creating an intense sense of anticipation.

However, the Ceadeus is not the most feared monster; that title most likely belongs to the Deviljho, a huge black crocodilian beast with an insatiable hunger for flesh. Dreaded by most hunters, the Deviljho has an appropriately terrifying theme. Described by a Youtube commenter as “a cross between Psycho, Jaws, and Godzilla,” Yuko Komiyama expertly composed this piece to unnerve every hunter new to fighting this monstrosity. Large sections of brass instruments are played, inducing a state of anxiety in most people unfamiliar to this theme. Percussion adds another layer to the urgency, melding together to create a powerful, frightening song. I personally am terrified of the Deviljho, mostly due to its theme. Another unique feature about the song is that it replaces any other theme that was playing before the Deviljho appeared; making sure that its presence is known to every hunter in the vicinity.

You don’t even reach its ankle, and you have to kill it.

Not much information can be found on Yuko Komiyama, one of several composers for the Monster Hunter series. She was instructed in music from an early age, leading her to a great appreciation of all types of music. She has worked on the Monster Hunter games since 2005, but mostly on the spectacular background music. Komiyama also worked on a couple Mega Man albums before she worked with Capcom on Monster Hunter. Without her fantastic music, Monster Hunter Tri could not have been nearly as enthralling as it is now.


Written by Sarah Ross

Categories: Sarah Ross | 1 Comment

Guilty Crown


Guilty Crown is an anime television series created by Production I.G and first aired in 2011. The story takes place in the year 2039 and is about a young boy by the name of Shu Ouma who obtains “The Power of the Kings” which allows him to draw out another person’s “heart” and use it as a weapon called a “void.” If a void is destroyed, the person who the void had originated from is destroyed as well. Eventually Shu gets caught up with a resistance group known as “Funeral Parlor” which wishes break Japan away from the international organization GHQ.

10 years prior to the story on Christmas Eve of 2029, the “Apocalypse Virus” spreads throughout Japan, but the international organization GHQ conducts martial law and restores order. Ten years later, 17 year old Shu Ouma comes into contact with Inora, the singer of the band Egoist, and accidentally obtains “The Power of the Kings” and gets involved with Funeral Parlor. The anime progresses to show the story of Shu’s involvement with Funeral Parlor and his lost past.

The music in Guilty Crown was composed by Hiroyuki Sawano. The anime’s opening and ending themes were written by Supercell, an 11-member Japanese Pop music group. The opening theme of the anime is “My Dearest” and is sung by Koeda. The ending theme “Departures ~あなたにおくるアイの歌~” is performed by the anime’s fictional band known as Egoist. Chelly, who was picked by Ryo of Supercell, provided the vocals.

Guilty Crown’s music really adds to the emotional impact of the anime. The opening scene of the anime’s first episode (see the above video) is a powerful one. The insert song, Euterpe which is sung by the character Inori who’s  part of the anime’s fictional band Egoist, plays as Shu watches the music video for the song featuring Inori (lead singer of Egoist) unaware of Inori carrying the void genome in her hands and running for her life. The music helps parallel and contrast the opening events of the first episode that are occurring: Shu appears calm and bored as he watches/listens to the music video of Inori singing while Inori is busy running for her life. The music in the anime helps to add to the emotional tension that occurs throughout the anime along with the feeling of momentous triumphs.


Written by Joey Vongpanya

Categories: Joey Vongpanya | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Diablo III

The Diablo series is a popular action RPG game by Blizzard Entertainment. Its latest installment is Diablo III, which was released May 15, 2012 in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Diablo III plans to scheduled to be released in Russia on June 7, 2012. Diablo III set the new record for fastest selling PC game and Blizzard sold over 3.5 million copies of the game on the first day of its release.

Diablo III is a dark fantasy and involves the forces of darkness being pitted against one another. It is about the fallen Angel Tyrael, who lost his memories and his endeavor to restore them.  It is about Nephalem’s fight against Maghda in an attempt to avenge Cain’s death. It is about the battle for the Black Soulstone. Critics rave that Diablo III is more epic than the previous installments.

Russell Brower is the composer of the music for Diablo III. Brower is an acclaimed music composer and three-time Emmy Award winner. Brower was the sound designer for Batman: The Animated Series, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, Starcraft II, and Animaniacs. Brower was the former Principal Media Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Brower was responsible for the sound effects and mixing of Tiny Toons’ Night Ghoulery, a 1995 tv movie to the cartoon series. He was also the sound engineer for the cartoon series Taz-mania. Brower also worked on the sound effects in the Real Ghost Busters and the Back to the Future TV series. Currently, Brower is the director of audio and video at Blizzard Entertainment.

The game starts with a guitar solo being played as the game installs. It gets gamers excited about the game and helps them indulge in the gameplay. The music of Diablo definitely contributes to the game as a theatrical experience.


Written by Warren Trinh

Categories: Warren Trinh | 3 Comments

Soul Eater

Soul Eater, a dark fantasy anime, has spectacular music influenced by punk, pop, and rock styles. This anime focuses on seven students at the Death Weapon Meister Academy. Here the students are divided into teams of shape-shifting weapons and their “Meister,” or wielder, and are sent on missions to collect souls that have turned into evil “Kishin Eggs.” The background music in Soul Eater is also influenced by the theme of “Order against Madness” which is a major focus in the series. The most memorable songs in Soul Eater are its two openings, “Resonance” by T.M.Revolution, and “PAPERMOON” by Tommy heavenly6. Both songs have strong influences in rock, with undercurrents of pop.

Soul Eater Poster

Clockwise from center: Maka, Liz, Death the Kid, Blair (the cat), Patty, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki.

T.M.Revolution, the stage name of Takanori Nishikawa, is a famous musician and actor who has had many of his songs reach near the top of the Oricon charts in Japan. Over his ongoing career, Nishikawa was a member of many bands, including his own named “abington boys school.” His music has appeared in several different anime including Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny, and Soul Eater. As his influence grew, a character in Gundam SEED Destiny was based off of Nishikawa in his early days as a musician. He was also asked to voice said character, a great opportunity for recognition. T.M.Revolution is now signed to Tofu Records, a record label that promotes j-pop artists in the North Americas. He has attended three major conventions in the United States; Otakon, Pacific Media Expo, and the New York Comic Con.

Tommy heavenly6 is one of the two musical alter egos of Tomoko Kawase. Focusing more on alternative and punk styles than her other alter ego, Tommy february6, Tommy heavenly6 stemmed from repressed aspects of her personality. Her songs “PAPERMOON” and “Monochrome Rainbow” have been featured in different anime, as the second opening in Soul Eater, and the second ending of Bakuman respectively. Tomoko, as both february6 and heavenly6, has gone on several tours in Japan, but none in the Americas.


Written by Sarah Ross

Categories: Sarah Ross | 2 Comments

Video Game/Anime Music Covers on YouTube

Go on YouTube and search “video game music covers” or “anime music covers.” “Video game music covers” will give you about 700,000 results, and “anime music covers” will give you about 90,000 results. You can even go on Google, which will give you millions of results including websites and forums on people’s top favorite video game or anime music covers.

In “Sounds of the Game,” Lisa Wong Macabasco talks about how bands like Select Start have started a new genre of music. This new genre of music is video game music. This article even mentions the NESkimos – a rock outfit based in Florida, Minibosses – one of the first game music rock bands, Piano Squall – a pianist who regularly performs game music covers at anime conventions, and OneUp Mushrooms – a jazz-inspired ensemble. You can find all these bands on YouTube.

Above is the video of Select Start’s Sonic the Hedgehog cover. The video was uploaded on August 26, 2007, currently with over 6,000 views. It has many positive comments. Select Start is a six-member ensemble band from Gainesville, Florida, dedicated to performing video game music covers. The group features the cello by John Cheng, piano by Christine Lee, violins originally by Robert Lee and Hoyin Kwan (now Kanako Sueyoshi and Elaine Li), guitar by Dave Yasensky, and the flute by Austin Harley. Select Start has other covers such as The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, and Mario theme songs. Sometimes they add new melodies to the original, but they usually stay faithful to the original. They also perform at local music venues in Florida and at anime conventions.

Do you recognize Jimmy Wong? He sang “Ching Chong! Asian in the Library Song.” The above video is his “Super Mario Bros Theme Song!! A Capella Cover.” It has over a million views and over 25,000 likes. He uploaded it on March 13, 2011. It is pretty amazing. He uses his own voice to make the snare, kickdrum, hi-hat, different kinds of bass, harmony, different kinds of tenor voices, and even Mario’s voice. This must take a lot of careful editing to put together. Overall, the comments are positive. Also, Mario covers are very popular. Search “Mario music covers” on YouTube, and you get over 60,000 results.

Jason Chen and Scott Yoshimoto did a Pokémon cover music video, which is featured above. They even warn that the video contains cheesy acting, which it does but it makes it funny. They even brought back the use of Gameboys. It was uploaded on February 28, 2010, with over 150,000 views and over 3,000 likes. It has a lot of great directing and editing done by Scott. Many people might not even consider Pokémon an anime, but it is the most influential anime in the United States according to Japan Powered. Who doesn’t know what Pokémon is, and who doesn’t the Pokémon theme song? There are over 6,000 results on Pokémon music covers on YouTube.

The above video is of Sherry Kim and Josh Chiu’s collaboration cover on the anime Angel Beats! Brave Song. Sherry plays the piano, and Josh plays the violin. They are even in two different places. This particular video was uploaded on January 13, 2012. It has over 8,000 views. Sherry is known for piano covers of video games, anime, and other popular music. Some of her most popular covers include music from Maple Story BGM, Bleach, and Naruto. Sherry’s hometown and current location is Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, Josh is known for violin and piano covers on video games and anime especially Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Naruto. He is from the United States.

Are you looking for more video game or anime music covers? Take a look at OverClocked Remix (, which is a website archive of arrangements and re-interpretations of gaming music. Fans and amateur composers create these covers. OverClocked even has its own YouTube Channel. OverClocked Remix is basically an organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form founded in 1999. The website features thousands of free fan arrangements, information on game music and composers, resources for aspiring artists, and a thriving community of video game music fans. And YouTube and Google are always great ways to look for video game and anime music covers.

Video game and anime music covers are truly an art form just like what OverClocked Remix says about video game music. There are a lot of video game and anime music covers out there. It just takes a little bit of research on Google or YouTube. Some of these amateur composers do their covers by using sheet music, but some of them even do their covers by ear. It is amazing how these covers sound exactly like the original, and it is even more amazing how an amateur composer can make the original their own by doing something special with it. I did not know how important music is to video games and anime until I started working on this blog. Music is truly important to video games and anime in so many ways.

Do you have a favorite video game or anime music cover?


Written by Camille Garcia

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Final Fantasy XIII

When it comes to RPG, no game places more emphasis on the story than Final Fantasy. Scenes in the game can last well over 15 minutes, making it a theatrical experience.The music of Final Fantasy has always captivated the hearts of fans and helped to create an intimate space for the plot and storyline.

Final Fantasy XIII is the newest addition to the Final Fantasy series and its music does not fail to meet the standard set by its predecessors. The original composer for the game was supposed to be Nobuo Uematsu, who later relinquished the role to Hamauzu focus on Final Fantasy XIV.  Masashi Hamauzu was born in 1971 to a musical family in Germany. Hamauzu was raised in Japan and was educated in the piano by his parents. In 2004, Hamauzu took over as the lead musical composer at Square Enix. Hamauzu was employed by Square Enix from 1996 to 2010.

Hamauzu used orchestral samples from East West to compose the OST. The themes for the game, “Eternal Love” and “Kimi ga Iru Kara,” (Because You’re Here) were both sung by Sayuri Sugawara. The sound track for Final Fantasy XIII was composed in the course of one year.

Sugawara, born in 1990, is a famous Japanese pop singer who gained worldwide recognition for her vocals in “Because You’re Here,” one of the theme songs for Final Fantasy XIII. After winning two auditions in “7 Days Audition” and “30 Days Audition,” Sugawara received a contract with For Life Entertainment. In 2009 she released her mini album, “Kimi ni Okuru Uta.” Sugawara’s third single, “Sunao ni Narenakute” was featured in the J-drama of the same title, ” Sunao ni Narenakute.” The J-drama  “Kasouken no Onna” featured Sugawara’s fourth single, “Suki to Iu Kotoba.” In late March 2012, Sugawara released her latest album “Habataku Kimi e.”



Written by Warren Trinh

Categories: Warren Trinh | 3 Comments

Cowboy Bebop

Like what the website of Japan Powered says, the United States is not as large of an anime market as Japan, but anime has left its mark on popular culture in the US. Japan Powered provided a list of the top 10 most influential anime in the US, and Cowboy Bebop is #3. Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese anime series developed by Sunrise in 1998. The director was Shinichirō Watanabe, the screenwriter was Keiko Nobumoto, the character designer was Toshihiro Kawamoto, the mechanical designer was Kimitoshi Yamane, and the composer was Yoko Kanno. Cowboy Bebop is known for its believable adult characters, its gangster feel, and its amazing jazz score. It even has a Wild West science fiction theme, and it is set in the year 2071. Cowboy Bebop basically follows Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Edward, and Ein (the cutest dog ever in an anime!) while they seek out food and fugitives for bounties on their spaceship called the Bebop. Cowboy Bebop was even adapted into two manga series and a film. Cowboy Bebop was definitely a commercial success worldwide especially in Japan and the US. It has received major science fiction awards and praise for its characters, story voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. Cowboy Bebop ran from October 23, 1998 to April 23, 1999, with 26 episodes.

Cowboy Bebop is very well known for its music. Each “session” or episode follows a different musical theme, and even the episode titles are from well-known albums or song names. Some episode titles are even genre based. For example, episode 14 is titled “Bohemian Rhapsody,” episode 15 is titled “My Funny Valentine,” and episode 17 is titled “Mushroom Samba.” The music for Cowboy Bebop is arranged and performed by Yoko Kanno (pictured above) and the Seatbelts (pictured below). Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger, and musician. She is well known for her work on soundtracks for many games, anime films, TV series, live-action movies, and advertisements. She is also a great keyboardist. Yoko Kanno also assembled the Seatbelts. The Seatbelts is a Japanese blues and jazz band. There are actually Japanese, New York, and Paris musicians in the band. The Seatbelts also have guest vocalists such as Mai Yamane.

For episodes 1-25, “Tank!” (featured in the video above) is the opening theme song written by Yoko Kanno and performed by the Seatbelts. It includes an alto saxophone solo played by Masato Honda. It also combines a double bass and bong drums. It is basically an instrumental piece, but it does have some spoken male vocals by Tim Jensen. Jensen’s final lyrics are “I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Ok, three, two, one let’s jam,” which leads into the instrumental part.

For episodes 1-12 and 14-25, “The Real Folk Blues” (featured in the video above) is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts featuring vocals from Mai Yamane. The lyrics were written by Yuho Iwasato, and it was sung in Japanese. For episode 13,  “Space Lion” is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts. For episode 26, “Blue” is the ending theme song also performed by the Seatbelts featuring Mai Yamane.

The Cowboy Bebop anime series has many soundtrack albums by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts. Cowboy Bebop is the first album created for the anime series. It was released on May 21, 1998, with 17 tracks including “Tank!” In 2006, Cowboy Bebop was actually voted by IGN as the greatest soundtrack for an anime. Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless is the first mini-album. It was released on June 3, 1998, with 8 tracks including “The Real Folk Blues.” Cowboy Bebop No Disc is the second album. This album includes different styles of music such as heavy metal, Japanese pop, swing, and scat singing with the usual blues and jazz pieces. It was released on October 21, 1998, with 18 tracks. Cowboy Bebop Blue is the third album, which features more vocal pieces. It was released on May 1, 1999, with 17 tracks. Ask DNA was a mini-album released on July 5, 2001, with 5 tracks. Future Blues is the main soundtrack from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. It has other musical styles such as country western and Arabic music. It was released on August 29, 2001, with 18 tracks. Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! contains previously-released material with three new songs from the 2005 Cowboy Bebop game. It was released on December 22, 2004 with 12 tracks.

The Nihon Review by Kavik Ryx does a great job in analyzing Cowboy Bebop. Kavik Ryx says that the soundtrack is “brilliant Kanno Yoko jazz style,” the animation is “fluid like water,” the characters are “quirky, dynamic, and just plain likable,” the style is “amazingly unique,” and the one drawback is “could have gone on longer.” And I could not agree more with Kavik Ryx. It is so interesting how important music is for anime especially for Cowboy Bebop. Did you even know that the episode titles were based on albums, song, or genres? That is pretty amazing.


Written by Camille Garcia

Categories: Camille Garcia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Samurai Champloo


Samurai Champloo is an anime series created by the company Manglobe. The anime was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe who was also the director of the anime series known as Cowboy Bebop. Samurai Champloo was Watanabe’s first attempt at an anime TV series since Cowboy Bebop and provides great a mix of martial arts and sword action, the Japanese Edo period, and hip hop music, styles, and culture.

The anime series follows the story of two swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, and a young woman by the name of Fuu. Upon being harassed by a group of samurai, Fuu is saved by Mugen and Jin. Mugen believes Jin to be a worthy opponent and begins attacking him. During their fight, a magistrate’s son is killed and the two are captured and are to be executed. Fuu ends up saving them and have them travel with her to find a certain samurai.


Samurai Champloo’s musical score is mainly composed of hip-hop. The first Samurai Champloo soundtrack, Samurai Champloo Music Record: Masta, was produced by DJ Tsutchie and the hip hop duo known as Force of Nature. The album consisted of 18 instrumental tracks and a ballad sung by Kazami, an R&B singer. Another album, titled Samurai Champloo Music Record: Departure, was produced by the late DJ/Producer Nujabes and an American MC/producer known as Fat Jon. Sometime later, Samurai Champloo Music Record: Playlist (which featured 18 tracks created by Tsutchie) and Samurai Champloo Music Record: Impression (which featured 23 tracks created by Nujuabes, Force of Nature, and Fat Jon) were released. The opening and ending themes of the anime also feature Shing02 and MINMI.

The music in Samurai Champloo is a great combination of chill, relaxing beats and hip hop and really helps add to the intensity of the fight scenes in the anime. The music also really adds to the aesthetic style of the anime and gives it more of a modern twist and feel to it. Though the anime is set in the Japanese Edo era, elements of hip hop culture (such as rapping, people acting like gangsters, and Mugen’s character design) can be seen and the hip hop music is well appropriated for this purpose. This is definitely an anime for those who enjoy action and hip hop music.


Written by Joey Vongpanya

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Touhou – Bullet Hell has never sounded so Good

Touhou Poster

Some of the most well-known characters from Touhou

The Touhou Project, a series of videogames created by one man nicknamed Zun, has a small but loyal following in the United States. One of the most attractive features of Touhou is their entrancing music. Touhou fans have taken their love to the next level, creating myriads of remixes, vocal renditions, animations, and fan-made trailers of these songs. Touhou’s most well known song is Elly’s theme, titled “Bad Apple.” This is due to a catchy, heavily synthesized vocal remix originally found on the website Nico Nico Douga. On Youtube, this famous version has garnered over two million hits. Animated solely with black and white silhouettes, this video depicts at least thirty-six of the characters while focusing on clever transitions. “Bad Apple” can be described as lyrically dissonant, sounding rather sweet to people who are unfamiliar with Japanese when in reality, the song ponders about feelings of sorrow, morality and the nature of reality and existence.

Remilia Scarlet, the Scarlet Devil

Remilia Scarlet, the Scarlet Devil in all her charismatic glory

Within the Touhou fandom, the most popular song by far is Remilia’s theme, “Septette for the Dead Princess.” The original version of “Septette” is played when the player reaches the sixth and final stage of the sixth Touhou game, “The Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil,” to battle Remilia Scarlet, a powerful, charismatic vampire despite appearing to be no more than twelve. My personal favorite remix of “Septette” is “Priere,” arranged and sung by Nana Takahashi. Hauntingly beautiful, this remix retains all of the sophistication of the original while creating a profound interpretation of Remilia’s past and personal fears. Superb animation accompanies this song, illuminating the hidden depths beneath the Scarlet sisters’ appearances. In the video, Remilia dreams that she is reliving the night she and her sister Flandre awakened as vampires. As the video progresses, Remilia’s dream becomes a horrific nightmare as she discovers her head maid Sakuya’s broken pocket watch and then her mangled body, caused by her own hand. The lyrics are equally enthralling, with stanzas that reveal the depths of the Remilia’s vampirism such as, “Begging in the darkness / Praying in the moon / Dancing high in the sky / Wings of Crimson.” With its soulful singing and haunting lyrics, “Priere” is one song to be forever remembered.

A large part of the allure of Touhou’s music is how influences are drawn from both western and eastern sources, creating a “hybridization zone.”  In “Septette for the Dead Princess” elements of waltzes and other “aristocratic” dances can be heard, while in “Bad Apple” synthesizers create a techno feel, which is quite popular in the United States. In my opinion, music is a way that people can bridge cultures, and brings people of all nationalities closer to one another.


The Above Videos

Written by Sarah Ross

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Pandora Hearts

Pandora Hearts is an anime that uses many of the motifs from Alice in Wonderland, including being chased by a hare, being thrown into an alternate reality, and rooms full of checkerboards with “kawaii” decor. The story revolves around Oz Vessalius, the heir to the Vessalius Dukedom. One of the main characters of the plot is also named Alice, who is a Chain that saves Oz when he is thrown into the “Abyss.” Oz later contracts Alice and they embark on their long lost journey.

The main composer for the music in Pandora Hearts is Yuki Kaijura. Born in Tokyo, Japan, but raised in Germany until she reached middle school. Yuki wrote her first piece at the age of 7 as a farewell to her grandmother. After Yuki graduated from college, she did not become a serious composer until 1992. Her father greatly influenced her decision to shift careers to music from a systems programmer.

Yuki is a reputable musical composer and producer who is responsible for the music of other series such as Noir, Aquarian Age, .hack//Roots, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Tsubasa Chronicles. In Padora Hearts, she is responsible mainly for the background music.

In addition to the more classical works of Yuki, many J-pop artists worked were featured in the opening and closing theme songs for Pandora Hearts. Savage Genius’s Maze and Fiction Junction’s Parallel Hearts are two prime examples. The use of music from J-Pop in anime is common in Japan.

The anime also featured Emily Bindiger’s Everytime You Kissed Me. Bindiger is an American singer from Brooklyn, New York. Bindiger was known for being apart of the acapella group the accidentals. Bindiger is also known for collaborating with Yuki in a number of anime series.

Music from Pandora Hearts


Written by Warren Trinh

Categories: Warren Trinh | 3 Comments

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