Thursday, January 21, 2010

DoDonPachi: Dai-Ou-Jou Arrange Album

     DoDonPachi: Dai-Ou-Jou roughly translates to "Angry Leader Bee: A Peaceful Death". It was originally released in 2002 in the arcade format and eventually ported to the Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. The company that made the game is called "Cave" and they typically make shooting games (like Gradius) that are considered too difficult for Western gamers, so you've probably never played one of them, unless you import games (or live in Japan).
     I first heard the soundtrack about 7 years ago. It was composed by Manabu Namiki, who does much of the music for Cave shooters. In 2009, an arrange album for Dai-Ou-Jou was published by Cave featuring a variety of top artists in the game music world. The music is transcendent; it exceeds any possible auditory desire I could ever have. I have to pick this as the best arrange album released in 2009. I made some scans of it.

Front Cover

Back Cover


     The next two scans are of the obi, which means "belt" in Japanese. However, it is more colloquial to say "spine card". The obi, or spine card, covers the spine of the jewel case and displays pertinent information about the CD, such as the catalog number, release date, title, bar code, etc. Almost all Japanese CDs contain an obi, and they are collectable items. People tend to pay less or not pay at all for CDs that are missing the obi. Rarely do obi have any sort of interesting artwork. But this one does.

Obi Front

Obi Back

     The line-up of arrangers on this CD is impressive.

     The first track was arranged by Yasuhiko Fukuda, who composed Emerald Dragon for the PC Engine, which I have listened to many times.

     The second track was arranged by Yasuhisa Watanabe, a member of Zuntata, well known for Metal Black. His nickname is "Yack". I am very familiar with the works of this composer.

     The third track was arranged by Kohta Takahashi, whom I am not very familiar with. He has done some work for Namco series, such as Ridge Racer and Tekken.

     The fourth track was arranged by Ryu Umemoto, whom I am not very familiar with.

     The fifth track was arranged by Motoaki Furukawa, whom I am extremely familiar with. I've been listening to his music for nearly a decade. He is foremost a talented guitarist and has composed music for several early Konami games, such as SD Snatcher and Xexex.

      The sixth track was arranged by Yuji Takenouchi, who also composed music for several old Konami games. He composed the music for the sequel to Metal Gear, as well as Space Manbow.

     The seventh track was arranged by Kinuyo Yamashita. She also worked for Konami and composed the music for Castlevania, the very first one. The reason why I bought this CD without even wondering if it would be good is because of Yamashita's involvement. If the composer for Castlevania makes something, then you listen.

     The eighth track was arranged by Hiroki Kikuta, an old Squaresoft composer, well known for Secret of Mana, and its sequel Seiken Densetsu 3.

     The ninth track was arranged by Motoi Sakuraba, who probably has the largest discography in all of video game music. I am very familiar with his music, but I can't say I've even listened to half of what he's composed. Most notably, he's the man behind the Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile series.

      The tenth track was arranged by Kota Hoshino, whom I am not very familiar with. I know he's done a lot of work on the Armored Core series, though.

     The eleventh track was arranged by Akari Kaida, whom I am somewhat familiar with. Most notably, I can recall her work on Breath of Fire III. She's done music for several other Capcom games as well.

     The twelfth track was arranged by Tomoko Sasaki, who composed the music for Nights, a popular Sega Saturn game.

     Oh, and I can't forget the guy that originally composed this music, Manabu Namiki:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


     One of my favorite doujin groups is Dangerous Mezashi Cat. They have many different members and have published 8 albums so far. Doujin groups are quite different from the people that normally arrange video game music albums, as they are not actually hired by the company that made the game. "Doujin" essentially refers to a fan-made thing, or a group of people that share an interest in something. This is not to be confused with an amateur status; the doujin groups do sell their albums and make money. They just aren't officially recognized. However, since they are simply fans, the quality ranges from phenomenal to atrocious. Many thousands of doujin albums have been released in Japan, alongside the many thousands of official albums.
     Here is what the artwork looks like from Dangerous Mezashi Cat's latest album:



     As you can see, they even went through the trouble of making a picture disc, which I think is really cool. On this album, they arrange music from the earliest Megaten games, which is short for Megami Tensei, a popular series of games in Japan. The music is similar to Castlevania, mainly because of the gothic sounds. Even though I've never played any of the Megaten games, I am quite familiar with the music, as I've listened to almost all of the soundtracks in that series. Thus, I found this CD remarkably interesting for the new arrangements of music I have loved for many years.
     One thing is very much for certain - DMC is getting better. There is absolutely no way for a casual listener to single this music out as coming from a video game.
     This CD was released on Dec. 30th, 2009 and I received it just a few days ago. It's important to buy these types of CDs right when they come out because the print runs are very limited, which can potentially skyrocket the price if it becomes popular. It is very easy for these albums to reach $50 and then $150, so if you wait, you're either going to pay out the ass or have to find someone willing to trade. Or hope someone posts it on the internet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Airports for human beings.

     There currently does not exist any airport which is designed to accommodate humans. Every human that walks into an airport is assumed to be a terrorist, which implies that the design of an airport is based on that assumption. I would argue that approximately 99.9% of all humans are not terrorists, which means that 6.5 million people are terrorists, or have terrorist-type thoughts and plan to bring them to fruition.
     An ideal airport would not have any security and would be designed like a movie theater. Customers buy tickets and then proceed to their appropriate aircraft. The process should take less than 15 minutes. This is not a laughable prospect, nor an impossible one. Just think of termites.
     When your house is infested with termites, you don't say to yourself, "You know, I'm going to fight these termites. I don't want to exterminate them. I just want to fight them every day for many years and spend as much money as I possibly can." But that is precisely how the U.S. military wants to deal with terrorists. Scratch that. There is no "want" about it, that is how the U.S. military does things. As slowly and as expensively as possible. It is not a living organism, so the concept of want has no meaning. While it is constructed of humans, the military itself is not a human and thus erroneous anthropomorphic thoughts easily come to mind.
     So this is why we still have terrorists on the planet. The U.S. military does not view them as the average homeowner views termites.