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Graffiti Kingdom – “A Perpetual Recurrence” (Yasunori Mitsuda)

August 1, 2010

Graffiti Kingdom (2004), aka Rakugaki Ōkoku 2: Maōjō no Tatakai (Graffiti Kingdom 2: Battle of the Evil King’s Castle), is a PS2 game in which the player designs monsters and sends them out to fight other monsters. The game is action-oriented with the player controlling the creatures he or she makes. The graphical style reminds me a bit of the old N64 game, Space Station Silicon Valley, though with much better graphics. The creature creation mode also reminds me a little of Spore. The most notable thing about game though is the soundtrack was it was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. This would normally be a great thing. However, in this case it is actually one of Mitsuda’s poorest scores, dominated by music that is at times obnoxious and overly kiddie while at other times sounds like an uninspired score to an SNES game. It definitely has Mitsuda’s style, but for some reason, this one just didn’t cut it and so isn’t one I would recommend importing.

Graffiti Kingdom – “A Perpetual Recurrence” (Yasunori Mitsuda)

One of the more interesting tracks for me was “A Perpetual Recurrence,” which seems like a boss track or final level. The percussion here is quite odd, sounding a bit Asian, but the strings have a kind of demented but familiar sound that seems borrowed from either Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VIII (“Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec” in particular). However, it is the instrument selection of violin and drums that identifies it as a Mitsuda piece. About 50 seconds in, towards the end of the loop, there is an interesting choral section. Overall, the piece produces negative vibes through the high-pitched, staccato violin and almost discordant notes. The title also conjures images of ritual and endless spinning.

The soundtrack design is probably what intrigued me the most. Its title is Hako no Niwa, or “Garden in a Box”. The watercolor cover is cute, as is the image it conjures, which reminds me of the work of Studio Ghibli.

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