Mushihimesama Bug Panic for iPhone / iPod Touch Original Soundtrack

Mushihimesama Bug Panic for iPhone / iPod Touch Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Mushihimesama Bug Panic for iPhone / iPod Touch Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Cave
Catalog No.:
CVIS-0002
Release Date:
August 26, 2011
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

The Mushihimesama Bug Panic for iPhone / iPod Touch Original Soundtrack is the second release dedicated to the music featured in the iPhone original games and arcade conversions by Cave. Featuring music from Mica Nozawa, a contributor to the Cave no Uta Black Label album, and Michiru Yamane, veteran Castlevania composer, it brings an overall light hearted touch to the world of Mushihimesama. However, is it a successful venture?

Body

The album opens up with the image song, “The Bug Panic Won’t Stop,” sung by myu, and composed by Daisuke Matsumoto. It’s an extremely upbeat rock track featuring hyperactive vocal work by myu, which to some Western listeners, may be a turn-off. Yet compositionally, the music is manages to redeem the track. While hardly complex, the accompaniment manages to provide the right amount of energy, fits with the vocal melody, and features some slick electric guitar solos, groovy bass guitar solos, and some fun keyboard solos. Speaking of vocal tracks, more successful, in my opinion, is the ending theme, “See You Again… One Day,” once again sung by myu, but composed by Takeshi Miyamoto. It’s a stunning composition with a slight Celtic influence, and I think myu’s vocals are able to thrive due to the slower tempo. There is an air of ethereality to the mix, a dreamy soundscape, and an orchestral pop sound that works together to create an exquisite listen. This, in my opinion, is easily the most beautiful of the ending themes from Cave that feature vocals.

These themes are also featured in the game as piano renditions during the storytelling aspects of the game. All arranged by Mica Nozawa, they create a very different soundscape from their original counterparts. “A Slight Unease,” the first story track, is a piano arrangement of “The Bug Panic Won’t Stop,” and provides a very jovial and upbeat track that captures the spirit of the image song and will be much more tolerable for those who aren’t a fan of the original vocal theme. The other two themes, “Our Days Together” and “Be By My Side Forever” serve, respectively, as the second and third story tracks and are arrangements of “See You Again… One Day.” The former, “Our Days Together,” features a very new-age piano sound, but manages to create a more uplifting rendition of the vocal theme. It’s a very beautiful piece of music. However, my favorite of the piano themes is definitely “Be By My Side Forever.” This rendition of the ending theme has a very romantic touch to it with a slight jazz influence, due to the slower tempo and the elegant performance on the piano. This is truly one of Mica Nozawa’s most impressive offerings on the soundtrack.

For the first portion of the soundtrack, which covers the Adventure mode of the game, Michiru Yamane’s contributions to the soundtrack tend to be the stronger of the two composers. The first stage theme, “Sunlight Through the Leaves in the Deep Green Forest,” is absolutely stunning. In essence, this theme conjures up an adventurous atmosphere, with a very romantic touch. Sweeping orchestral tones in the melody line combine nicely with the electronic beat that, while static, manages to convey a playful, exploratory sound that would fit perfectly in the world of Super Mario Galaxy. It’s a theme I could listen to for hours on end and never tire of it. The third stage theme, “The White and Blue Waltz,” is another absolutely breathtaking theme that conjures up snowy soundscapes. The beautiful crystalline synthesizer works wonders with the playful woodwinds and strings forming an elegant melody while the waltzy electronic rhythm provide fitting accompaniment to the composition.

Mica Nozawa contributes two stage themes as well. “Jet Black Arabesque,” the stage two theme, has a very Middle Eastern vibe. It’s an interesting track due to the contrast between the melody line and the rhythmic accompaniment. The melody is quite strong, providing a wonderful desert image; however, the rhythmic percussion is extremely playful and while fitting the style of the game, doesn’t work as well out of context. It’s not a bad theme, by any means, but it does come off as one of the weaker stage themes on the soundtrack. The fourth stage theme, “Fire God, Let’s Fight Together,” also has a worldly sound and I think is the stronger of Nozawa’s two stage theme contributions. I really think that the woodwind focus on the melody captures the playful attitude of the game, while the militaristic percussion and haunting strings harmony manages to mesh together to form a very heroic and fitting stage theme.

In addition to the stage themes, Yamane also contributed the Select music, “Adrift in the World,” and the world map music, “On the Other Side of the Door,” both of which are electronic compositions with some jazz influence, bossa nova in the former and loungy disco dance sounds in the latter. Both are very fitting to the world of Mushihimesama, but I find these to be Yamane’s weakest contributions to the album. Lastly, “Beyond the Fog and the Tears,” the final stage theme, is most reminiscent of Yamane’s contributions to the Castlevania series and is the biggest highlight of the soundtrack. While the melody is more lighthearted and uplifting compared to the darker melodies of the aforementioned series, the accompaniment definitely manages to incorporate a gothic influence, however slight. The melody for this theme is a thing of wonders. The A section of the melody is extremely haunting, yet serene and inspiring at the same time, providing a refined soundscape that would fit well in Dracula’s castle; however, the B section is where the track really shines with its uplifting and inspiring electronic melody that gives the overall theme a glimmer of hope and determination.

The two boss themes, “Only Love Will Dispel Magic,” by Mica Nozawa, and “A New Being Descends,” by Michiru Yamane, are also worth a listen. For the normal boss, the former is a chaotic romp that really manages, in my opinion, to capture the essence of the Mushihimesama arcade soundtrack. Expect some chaotic synthesizer work and intense beats, albeit a bit more playful than the arcade boss themes. There are some more upbeat, hopeful melody lines manage to convey both the intense and more organic nature of the Mushihimesama arcade soundtracks. Yamane’s theme, the final boss theme, manages to convey that ominous, sinister tones of a typical final boss theme, focusing more on epic orchestral work, catchy percussion rhythms, and some drum ‘n bass accompaniment. This is another track that would fit perfectly in a Castlevania game. The highlights of this piece are definitely the intense progression of the theme as well as the beautiful orchestral tones that are the meat of this piece, especially when it comes to the atmospheric and haunting strings work.

The second half of the soundtrack is dedicated to the other modes on the soundtrack — the Score Attack, Bug Battle, and Jigsaw Puzzle modes. For this portion of the soundtrack, the composers switch places and arrange each other’s music for these new modes. “Sunlight Through the Leaves in the Deep Green Forest ~Forest Bound Arrange~, by Mica Nozawa, takes Yamane’s original adventurous sound and transforms it into a playful keyboard piece that has a very quirky touch; however, I feel that the elegance of the original is lost in this arrangement and is one of the weaker themes on the album. Nozawa’s other arrangement of this theme, “Sunlight Through the Leaves in the Deep Green Forest ~Miracle de Boom! Arrange~,” featured as the sole track in the Jigsaw Puzzle mode, is a much better rendition. It’s a playful tune, as is her other arrangement, but the jazzy piano, light electronic tones, and some spaghetti western guitar work makes for a lighthearted romp that is reminiscent of earlier Super Mario games, whereas Yamane’s original, as I stated previously, is reminiscent of the more open-world Mario tunes.

Nozawa’s other arrangements fare a bit more successfully. “The White and Blue Waltz ~Slip-sliding on the Ice Arrange~” takes the original and transforms it into a more energetic version that works well in the mode in which it is played. Some of the more elegant tones from the original are captured in the strings work, but overall, there is an intensity heard in the theme, due to the percussion, that gives off that battle sound. Lastly, “Beyond the Fog and the Tears ~Run Reco Run! Arrange~,” is a much darker take on the original, yet still captures the playfulness of the original. Mysterious synthesizer accompaniment and sharp industrial synthesizer hits manage to provide a more intense atmosphere that really works well with the more playful woodwind work that captures the spirit of the original.

Yamane’s takes on Nozawa’s themes are much more successful, overall. “Jet Black Arabesque ~Red-Hot Sitar Arrange~” manages to sound more intense due to changes from the more playful percussion to more conventional worldly sounds. Speaking of worldly sounds, the overall melody manages to get a bit of an ethnic overall and sounds much more desert-like in execution. “Fire God, Let’s Fight Togther… ~Volcanic Scorpion Arrange~,” is another very successful transformation. Yamane’s version is much darker in execution, reminiscent at times of her work on the Castlevania series, especially in the A section. Yamane’s last arrangement is of the boss theme for the game. Entitled “Only Love Will Dispel Magic ~Insect Conflict Arrange~,” it also manages to take the original and bring it into a darker tone. This is another theme that draws from the Castlevania universe at times. There are sinister bell tones, funky bass rhythms, and carnival-like strings and synthesizer work that provide a somber mood and I think it contrasts nicely with the B section which is a bit more lighthearted in nature.

Summary

Overall, I think that Cave’s second iOS soundtrack would manage to capture a wider audience, due to its focus on more organic sounds, rather than the electronic and mainstream sounds of the iOS version of DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu soundtrack by Shoichiro Hirata and Kenichi Maeyamada. Both Yamane and Nozawa provide a varied soundtrack full of worldly sounds, lovely piano tunes, and both manage to capture the more organic components of the Mushihimesama universe. For those who are fans of Yamane, this is definitely worth a listen, as it shows off her diversity as a composer outside of her usual gothic tones for the Castlevania. This is also recommended for fans of the music as they played the iOS game. This was a really nice soundtrack to listen to, overall, and it makes me even more excited for the release of the DeathSmiles iOS soundtrack by Takeshi Miyamoto in the iOS series of soundtrack releases, whenever that may be.

Mushihimesama Bug Panic for iPhone / iPod Touch Original Soundtrack Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

3.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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