Game Music, Japanese, Reviews

Catch up with Kikuta: Singles You Didn’t Know About (Review)

March 14, 2011 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Catch up with Kikuta: Singles You Didn’t Know About (Review)on Twitter

While Kikuta’s Shining Hearts score is what everyone is talking about these days, he’s been producing a massive number of singles over the past couple of years. What singles am I talking about? You won’t find them on VGMdb, so who knows, but they’re all the way up to META-0015 on the Metaphasic Child label.

We’re taking a look at a number of recent singles, including those in the META series along with Shackles of Night from Otakon 2010 and “WHITE and SHADOW ~Mugen no Rinbu~,” Kikuta’s image song from Shining Hearts. A number of these singles are rather incestuous, covering the same tracks on different discs, so we’ll sort all of that out while we’re at it.

Hit the jump to catch up with Kikuta.

Shackles of the Night

Many probably remember that this served as the Otakon 2010 theme song. Hiroki Kikuta was commissioned to compose the track, which appears here in its original form (with Shihori on vocals) along with a vocaloid and karaoke version. In addition to “Shackles of Night” itself, artist Shihori also has a track featured on the small EP, titled “Antique Doll,” with arrangement by Yutaka Sugaya.

“Shackles of Night” has a tasteful J-rock vibe to it with screeching electric guitars and a chugging bassline, but the snappy percussion and underlying jazz organ scream “Hiroki Kikuta” in style. I can’t say that Shihori’s forced delivery of the vocals works for me, as it comes off as sort of a whiney scream, but I do enjoy the vocaloid version that follows. “Antique Doll,” on the other hand, sounds like something right out of a Castelvania game. The waltzy time signature lends the track a playful quality, and Shihori takes it easy this time around, swaying gently with the foreboding theme. The karaoke version of this track is fantastic as well.

The booklet contains the song lyrics as well as a photo of Hiroki Kikuta, Shihori, and Hiroaki Yura (Eminence produced the album). It’s a tidy little package, although the $15.00 price tag may turn some people off. It’s still available on Eminence’s website.

Ryusei Kiseki Single (META-0009)

This is a disc that comes in a plastic sleeve containing only the vocaloid and karaoke versions of the “Shackles of Night” theme. It was sold at THE [email protected] [email protected] 13 event in 2010, and is likely hard to come by.

A Song Reaching the Heart / Lia (Veil)

The main single from Kikuta’s Shining Hearts score is “A Song Reaching the Heart,” composed by Noriyasu Agematsu of Elements Garden, with vocals by Lia (Veil). You may remember Elements Garden from their involvement in the Genso Suikoden Tierkreis soundtrack, and this track does sport that Celtic fantasy sound. It’s a wonderful track. The second track on the disc is “WHITE and SHADOW ~Mugen no Rinbu~,” composed by Hiroki Kikuta with lyrics also by Lia (Veil). This acted as an image theme for Shining Hearts, and I have to say that Kikuta’s arrangement here is very impressive. It features his characteristic belltones along with a lovely string and piano arrangement, and of course Lia (Veil) is fantastic.

The booklet features character artwork and lyrics for the two songs, and there’s a sticker included as well. The artwork on the disc is nice, and there’s a shot of Lia (Veil) in the disc tray. It’s still widely available at CD Japan if you’re interested.

Tony x Hiroki Kikuta featuring Miku Hatsune Collaboration Song WHITE and SHADOW ~Mugen no Rinbu~

Aside from having the longest album title of all time, this disc actually features a vocaloid version of “WHITE and SHADOW ~Mugen no Rinbu~,” featuring none other than Miku Hatsune. It’s also beautiful, although I probably prefer the Lia (Veil) version. The disc contains only the vocaloid version and an instrumental version, and while Tony is famous for his artwork, we only get his colored image on the cover and a sketch on the disc itself. I would have loved to have seen more artwork from Tony… perhaps of some of the characters from Shining Hearts. This disc was published all the way back in 2009, and was released at Comiket 77, so will likely be hard to find at this point.

Healing Breathing (META-0010)

“Healing Breathing” is a single released by Hiroki Kikuta on the Metaphasic Child label at Comiket 78. It contains a lone 10-minute long track, opening with the sounds of waves crashing on the beach and a beer being opened. From there, a dreamy, filtered electric piano voices a repetitive yet soothing melody. It isn’t long before laid back trip hop percussion is added along with a slew of ambient effects, including birds chirping and more waves crashing on the beach. The sound effects periodically drop in and out of the mix, and while there’s very little elaboration on the melody throughout the course of the track, I can’t help but find it incredibly relaxing. The album ends with the sounds of crickets chirping, footsteps, paper being torn, and a fire. I guess whoever was dreaming this scene up decided to scrap the idea? While Kikuta is listed as the composer, the album concept is credited to David Sternberg. I wonder what that’s all about!


This has to be one of my favorites of the bunch. “NAVEN” is a single 9-minute long track that revisits Kikuta’s Seiken Densetsu days. Marimba, woodwinds, snappy percussion, and organ work in the chorus are all signatures. Once again, it’s not overly varied, and repeats the same sections a few times over, but it’s incredibly catchy and enjoyable as sort of a “lost” Seiken Densetsu track. I can’t help but feel like the track would accompany a mountain setting (maybe it’s the airy strings), but the album artwork above features instead images of a forest along with an old man. The concept on this one is credited to Gregory Bateson.  It was released at Comiket 79 in December 2010.


As you can see, Kiktua has been very busy. We’ve featured a few items off the Metaphasic Child label, but NAVEN takes us all the way up to META-0015. What falls in between? Are there more “lost” Kikuta singles?

Let us know what you think of the singles above. Which one sounds the most appealing to you?

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