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Old Jul 19, 2012, 09:07 AM
Xenofan 29A Xenofan 29A is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 609

Originally Posted by Jormungand View Post
If, however, we were to judge Mitsuda's prowess in battle composition solely by the CT battle theme, the quote would be true.
Right, but the (should have remained) unreleased Battle 2 is even worse.

Originally Posted by zzeroparticle
Yeah, I can accept this being just a tad of a hyperbole on my end. For Jormungand's benefit, I can list 6 games that Mitsuda's written for with the other two that isn't Xeno-related or Chrono-related being Legaia Duelsaga and Sailing to the World. I've listened to Legaia Duelsaga and IF "Fight, then Riot" is a battle theme, it's certainly a solid and enjoyable one. To be more precise (and intellectually honest), I'd say that when most people think of Mitsuda, it won't be for his battle themes (unlike say... Sakimoto).
True enough, but I think that some of the time people have criticized Mitsuda's battle themes because they don't fit their personal idea of what a battle theme should sound like, rather than whether or not they're good musically. Uematsu, Ito, and the JDK team wrote battle themes primarily influenced by rock, and that has become (mostly) standard in RPG music. Note how Hamauzu had to have his battle themes for FFXIII and XIII-2 arranged for a rock feel. Sakimoto always sounds like Sakimoto, and his battle themes have been criticized by some as overly bombastic relative to the genre, but generally his relatively traditional orchestral sound is close enough to movie score to be palatable.

Sugiyama is often criticized for his battle themes, though, and while some of that criticism may be deserved (the use of drum kit does sound a little corny at times), part of it is due more to his very chromatic writing, which at times veers into atonality. This is a conscious choice on his part, and while occasionally he doesn't have enough skill to make it work, sometimes it does.

Mitsuda's battle themes are another beast entirely. As his music tends to be relatively slow or laid back, he can't really write his battle themes in the same style. But they are based in the most fundamental element of his style: polyrhythm. Especially since Chrono Cross, Mitsuda's battle themes have emphasized layers of rhythmically dense repeating fragments, usually with at least one abrupt change in key or mood. This pushes it further away from Rock, which depends on one rhythm being stressed above all others for its sound. Some of the most extreme examples of this tendency are the ones that have elicited the loudest criticism (CC's "Gale" and XS's "Battle"). All of this is interesting musically, but it doesn't have the same feeling that a rock-flavored battle theme does, and the musical complexity may actually make these themes feel slower and less energetic than their peers, and hence "not sound like a battle theme".

I'm not criticizing you in particular, of course. I have enjoyed your site quite a bit, and thanks for the write-up. How would I have known that Ichiko Hashimoto was returning to Anime scoring without the comments below? Now that's something I'm looking forward to!
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