Camille Garcia

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 (www.ocremix.org), 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?

Sources:

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/magazine/issue-10-music/sounds-game

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTB-P5Bt3_Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1qHDaJ_eI8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6B9NVWP4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFo7_52yNc0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbkNsCKkdS0

http://ocremix.org/

http://www.youtube.com/ocremix

Written by Camille Garcia

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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.

Resources:

http://www.japanpowered.com/articles/top-10-influential-anime-america

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Bebop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Cowboy_Bebop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoko_Kanno

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seatbelts

http://www.nihonreview.com/anime/cowboy-bebop/

Written by Camille Garcia

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

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is an action role-playing game developed by and collaborated between Square Enix and the Walt Disney Company. It was released on March 28, 2002 for PlayStation 2. Kingdom Hearts includes characters and settings from both Disney and Final Fantasy. Its main characters are Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy, Kairi, Riku, and the Heartless. Sora is a 14-year-old boy with an upbeat attitude and has a strong sense of justice. He can excel in strength, defense, or magic depending on what the gamer chooses, and he has the Keyblade, which is a large key-like weapon. Donald Duck is the feisty but impatient court wizard, and he is also King Mickey Mouse’s loyal servant. He excels in magic. Goofy is the easygoing but clumsy captain of the royal knights, and he is also a soldier who does not like weapons. He excels in defense. Kairi is a delicate but strong 14-year-old girl. Riku is a cool and collected 15-year-old boy with a curiosity for the unknown. Both Kairi and Riku are Sora’s friends. The Heartless are mysterious beings that hunt Sora, and there are many types of Heartless. The Heartless is controlled by Ansem, the seeker of darkness. Kingdom Hearts is basically about Sora who must battle against the Heartless with the help of Donald Duck, Goofy, and even other Disney characters that he will meet on his journey. They travel to the different worlds (i.e., Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah) on the Gummi Ship to seal each keyhole so that the Heartless does not destroy the world. Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy must also look for King Mickey Mouse, Kairi, and Riku. The gamer controls Sora, and the computer controls all the other characters.

By 2009, 12 million copies of Kingdom Hearts were sold worldwide. During the first two months of its North American release, it was one of the top three highest-selling video games. At the end of April 2003, Square Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts had sold its millionth copy in the United States. Kingdom Hearts was followed by several sequels, which includes Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded.

The Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack was released on March 27, 2002. It contains two CDs with 41 tracks on one and 35 tracks on the other.

Yoko Shimomura (pictured above) helped compose and arrange the music of Kingdom Hearts. At first, she was afraid to score this kind of demanding project. She had no idea what music would be right for a Square Enix and Disney collaboration. She did a lot of trial and error. She eventually created stage, battle, and boss themes to fit every world based on the scripts and illustrations. Yoko Shimomura is a Japanese video game composer. She is known as the most famous female video game music composer in the world. She has been working in the video game music industry since 1988. In 2002, she wrote the score for Kingdom Hearts, which she says is her most special soundtrack and a turning point in her career. The soundtrack sold more than four million copies worldwide. It is ranked as the fourth-best role-playing game title track of all time. Shimomura also composed music for other Kingdom Hearts games in the series. Even piano sheet music from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II has been published as music books by Yamaha Music Media. Shimomura’s favorite track that she composed is “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts (featured in the video below).

Hikaru Utada (pictured above) also helped compose and arrange the music of Kingdom Hearts. She also helped perform the music. She actually made two theme song contributions to the Kingdom Hearts series. This is the first time Hikaru Utada had produced a song for a video game. She composed, arranged, and performed “Simple and Clean” for Kingdom Hearts (featured in the video below) and “Sanctuary” for Kingdom Hearts II. She sings both the English and Japanese versions of both songs. Hikaru Utada is actually a famous Japanese American singer, songwriter, arranger, and producer. She was born in Manhattan, New York.

The Kingdom Hearts soundtrack basically features music from Disney films and Final Fantasy. Most of the music is orchestrated, but there are some vocal songs such as Hikaru Utada’s “Simple and Clean.” Like all video games and their music, the music of Kingdom Hearts helps set all the action making music an important part of the video game.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_Hearts_(video_game)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoko_Shimomura

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikaru_Utada

http://www.kingdom-hearts.com/uk/index.html

http://vgmdb.net/album/373

http://www.squareenixmusic.com/composers/shimomura/index.shtml

Written by Camille Garcia

Categories: Camille Garcia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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