Game Music, Reviews

More Eroge Soundtracks From Kikuta: Nice Life As Wife (Review)

May 20, 2009 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook More Eroge Soundtracks From Kikuta: Nice Life As Wife (Review)on Twitter

Earlier this month, we (or rather, Jayson) reviewed “Love Relaxation,” which is Kikuta’s score for the 2005 Puzzlebox erotic love adventure Sakura Relaxation. Today, we cover the other album from the Kikuta-Puzzlebox match-up: “Nice Life As Wife.”

Like Love Relaxation, this album title is not one in the same with the game title, which is “Niitsuma wa Sailor Fuku” (and, actually, the Romanization on the album cover is incorrect, it’s actually Niizuma). And also like Love Relaxation, Nice Life As Wife is essentially a reprint of the game’s OST, released as a promotional item alongside the game in 2005. So if you were hardcore enough to follow Kikuta-san’s post-Square, post-Sacnoth work, you’ve probably already heard (or, at least, heard *of*) these albums.

But if you haven’t heard this music, and you want to know what your old friend of Seiken Densetsu fame was able to accomplish during his “I write music for hentai games” phase, check out the rest of this review, after the jump!

First, the tracklist, with English translation provided by our good friends at VGMdb:

01 1/2 of Fate
02 Start Start
03 United, You and I
04 For the Sake of an Unfulfilled Day
05 Jump
06 Long Afternoon at the First Day Back at School
07 Beat of Promise
08 Even If Somebody Smashes the Window
09 Straight Descent
10 In a Room of Only Two People
11 Plan
12 Mischief
13 Real Feeling
14 Depression
15 Final Night
16 Regret
17 Pardon Me, I’m Home
18 And I Will Embrace Your Shoulders While Sleeping
19 Festival Festival

When looking at a tracklist for an “eroge” (erotic game), one of my favorite things to do is to guess which song(s) play during “those” scenes. You know what I’m talkin’ about! And working by tracklist alone, you might think “Mischief” fits the bill. But after a listen to the piece, I highly doubt it. It lacks any hint of porn-groove, or any other type of ambient music that would work as background music to an “erotic” scene. No, “Mischief” sounds like a Sprite running through the woods. You know, like in Secret of Mana?

Which brings me to my next point. There’s no way I can even attempt to review a Kikuta album without doing some obligatory comparisons. You all want to know, after all, how this album compares to Seiken Densetsu 2, Seiken Densetsu 3, Soukaigi, and/or Koudelka. Right? Well, the bad news is that there isn’t a lot of the famous Kikuta sound on this Kikuta album. You occasionally run into Kikuta’s unique brand of synthesized percussion, as well as his affinity for pitched-percussion instrumentation (xylophone, marimba, etc). But it’s a rarity on this particular soundtrack. On this album, we find two polar opposites for Kikuta dominating the album: on one side, standard smooth jazz, and on the other, experimental techno-funk.

So the album tends to jump back and forth from one extreme to the other, with few exceptions. For example, the track “Plan” sounds like experimental funk, but Kikuta’s personal touch with marimbas occasionally breaks up the action of the music. It sounds like you’re listening to something you’ve never heard before, then the volume comes down, and you suddenly exclaim, “hey! There’s the Kikuta I know!”

I don’t know if Kikuta-san was trying to redefine himself in 2005 with these albums, or this was a natural progression, but frankly, I’m not a huge fan. Though the opening Japanese vocal “1/2 of Fate” was decent, it cannot compare to the non-lyrical vocals on “Quake” from the Soukaigi soundtrack. The album is in no way bad, and among the few eroge albums I’ve listened to, I’d still rank this one pretty high. But I just cannot help to compare present Kikuta to the Kikuta of over a decade ago. I hope some of you can empathize, but I also hope there are other readers who are able to look past comparisons and appreciate this music on its own terms.

So that’s about all I have to say. Some questions for the readers: should Kikuta write more music for eroge, or is the genre too niche (and too taboo) for fans to get into? What is your favorite Kikuta soundtrack to date? And, perhaps most importantly, which track(s) from this album do you think play during “those” scenes? (Hint: I’m pretty sure track 10 is a given)

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