Sarah Ross

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.

Sources

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28140/Interview_Behind_The_Music_Of_Monster_Hunter.php

http://monsterhunter.wikia.com/wiki/The_People_Behind_The_Game

http://vgmdb.net/artist/2974

http://monsterhunter.wikia.com/wiki/Ceadeus

http://monsterhunter.wikia.com/wiki/Deviljho

Written by Sarah Ross

Categories: Sarah Ross | 1 Comment

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.

Sources:
http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/souleater/resonance.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.M.Revolution
http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/souleater/papermoon.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_heavenly6

Written by Sarah Ross

Categories: Sarah Ross | 2 Comments

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.

Sources

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

http://www.cracked.com/funny-1750-touhou/

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Written by Sarah Ross

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