Manami Matsumae Profile

Also Known As:
松前真奈美 (まつまえまなみ) / 後藤 真奈美 / Manami Goto / Manami Gotoh / Cha Cha / Chanchacorin / Chanchacorin Manami / Manami Ietel
Date of Birth:
December 25, 1964 (Kyoto)
Residence:
Tokyo
Game Works:
Resident Evil, Mega Man, Devil May Cry 4
Official Site:
N/A

History

Organisation Type Tenure Role
Capcom Game Developer 1987 – 1990 Composer, Sound Designer
Freelance N/A 1990 – Composer, Sound Designer
Koopa Soundworks Music Production 2013 – Artist

 

Biography

Manami Matsumae (née Gotoh) is a veteran game music composer best known for her works on the Mega Man and Derby Stallion series. Born on December 25, 1964 in Kyoto, Matsumae surprised her father with her perfect pitch — she was able to perfect imitate tunes using an Electone organ at the age of just four. As a result, she was given piano lessons throughout her childhood and went on to do a performance major in the instrument at the prestigious Osaka University of Arts. While there, she also received classical training in composition, focusing particularly on Bach harmony. As she approached graduation, Matsumae considered her career options. While she initially intended to become a piano teacher, she was intrigued to read an advertisement that Capcom were hiring game composers. Having already admired the music of Super Mario Bros. and Dragon Quest, she thought such work would be interesting and successfully applied for the position. Starting work in April 1987, Matsumae was initially trained in various aspects of video game sound creation by the sound team’s manager Yoshihiro Sakaguchi. She marked her debut by creating a classically-styled track on Ide Yosuke Meijin no Jissen Mahjong.

Matsumae was subsequently appointed to compose the music and create the sound effects for the entirety of the NES’ Mega Man, the first entry in a legendary franchise. The designers of the Blue Bomber made her envisage a cool character similar to Astro Boy. As a result, she filled the score with stylish and memorable melodies, just like composers did for heroic animations. Matsumae found the work exceptionally difficult, given the NES only featured three sound channels, but felt a definite sense of accomplishment on completing each track. She found revisiting Bach’s three-voiced compositions from The Well-Tempered Clavier especially inspiring and also took relieving breaks from composition to create sound effects. After this, she helped to port Legendary Wings to the NES and penned a boss theme for 1943 Kai on Arcades, before writing a light pop-flavoured soundtrack for the TurboGrafx-16 platformer SonSon II. Transferred thereafter to Capcom’s highly successful arcade division, Matsumae was replaced by Takashi Tateishi on Mega Man 2 and Yasuaki Fujita on Mega Man 3. She nevertheless secretly penned the chorus of Airman’s theme for the sequel, at request from her bench partner Tateishi, and left a legacy for her colleagues with her music for the original.

At the arcade division, Matsumae initially reflected the intense action and ancient setting of 1989’s Dynasty Wars (aka The Devouring of Heaven and Earth) with a rich, hard-edged soundtrack. By contrast, her scores for the modern military shooters U.N. Squadron (aka Area 88) and Carrier Air Wing (aka U.S. Navy) focused on courageous funk- and rock-based tracks reminiscent of Top Gun. Given arcade hardware had more flexible specifications than the NES, Matsumae was able to produce thicker, longer tracks on such titles — even offering pitch-bends to give a sense of improvisation. While at the division, she also contributed to two quiz titles and Ashita Tenki Ni Naare. The artist was also extensively involved in Capcom’s album releases, offering well-received arrangements of Strider, Sweet Home and several of her own works, under the pseudonym Chanchacolin. During the making of ’G.S.M. Capcom’ arcade music compilations, she worked alongside her future husband, Pony Canyon contractor Kimitaka Matsumae. Closing her time at the company, Matsumae was responsible for all the music and sound effects of Mercs (aka Wolf of the Battlefield II) and Magic Sword; the artist matched the ambitious visuals and fast-paced gameplay of both titles with meaty, vibrant soundtracks.

After a prolific and successful three years at Capcom, Matsumae left the company in January 1990 to pursue roles as a freelance