Namco x Capcom – “Brave New World” (Yuzo Koshiro)May 19, 2010
Namco x Capcom (read Namco cross Capcom, 2005) was a nostalgic crossover game mixing characters from the long history of Namco and Capcom. They cooperate to save the world from an evil outside of time. The game was only released in Japan, probably due largely to the fact that many of the source games were released in Japan only. However, there is now a patch for this game that lets you play it in English. The soundtrack combines themes from both companies’ long histories, and many of the arrangements are excellent. Still, the main theme, “Brave New World” is what really stands out from the rest – the song, composed by Yuzo Koshiro, is incredibly catchy, and matches many of the game’s underlying themes.
“Brave New World” works best as a trance/dance, referring not only to contemporary anime main themes, but also drawing from the dance like nature of many traditional game tunes. The recording of flair performing the music is high quality, with a little distortion of the voice over the microphone, another feature found in many Japanese pop songs. I’m not quite sure of the history behind this style, but it seems to suggest an ideal form of the singer, a voice disembodied from the physical.
The vocals and melody communicate a quest of seeking an ideal through hope, struggle, and friendship. I find this ideal reveals a tinge of sadness as well, something that is also present in the nostalgia factor – a desire to relive a lost time. The repetition and call/response of the two main elements of the theme reinforces these themes. In all, it is a fully mature work of Yuzo Koshiro.
There are actually five different versions of “Brave New World” on the Namco x Capcom soundtrack: the title version, a simple piano version, the long version (shown here), karaoke version (so you can sing along), and instrumental. I find the long version to be the best; the karaoke is not as interesting, though it allows you to focus on the song’s beat as well as makes it easy to hear the chorus in alto. The instrumental version has a nice crystalline sound to it, but is ultimately not as powerful as the human voice. The piano version at least stands out for its simplicity.
Yuzo Koshiro later live mixed an early instrumental version of “Brave New World” at EXTRA: Hyper Game Music Event in 2007. The subsequent album release contains a selection of tracks from the event, including this one. I find this an excellent combination of the piano and instrumental versions of the theme.
The lyrics were written by Soichiro Morizumi of MONOLITH SOFT (composed mainly of Squaresoft refugees). Here is the video as well so you can sing along: