All Souls’ Dance Party

Back when I lived in one of the raggediest kyoushokuin juutaku (teachers’ housing) in Fukuoka Prefecture, I dreamed of getting a fog machine, speakers, and turning the place into a haunted house. While I never did it, I did decide that a big part of the soundtrack had to be from Castlevania. Especially the Michiru Yamane ones. At the same time, I didn’t want to make a playlist that tried too hard to smack you over the head with Halloweenity, nor include tracks as predictable as “This is Halloween” or “Thriller.” Not that those aren’t great tracks (I love them both), but everyone can see those coming. Thus, “All Souls’ Dance Party” came into the world. I’ve created the playlist on YouTube for your listening pleasure.

Sephiroth carving pumpkins with Masamune

Sephiroth carving pumpkins with Masamune

In case some of the videos are blocked, here’s the tracklist. Enjoy~

  1. Bloody Tears – Akihiro Honda Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
  2. Soul Dracula – Hot Blood
  3. Cave of Jigramunt – Michiru Yamane Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
  4. Every Day is Halloween – Ministry
  5. Howling at the Moon – Phantogram Voices
  6. Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab – Michiru Yamane Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
  7. Dance of Pales – Michiru Yamane Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  8. Play Dead – Björk Debut
  9. Empezar de 0 – Thalia El Sexto Sentido
  10. Requiem for the Lost Ones – Shirou Sagisu Bleach OST
  11. Wandering Ghosts – Michiru Yamane Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  12. Control – The Birthday Massacre Pins and Needles
  13. Fall in Love – Phantogram Voices
  14. Lu:na – Gackt MOON
  15. Lullaby – The Cure Disintegration

Creepy C’s For Halloween Dancing

I finished the C albums for my iTunes Music Library All Music Challenge. This time, I’ll start off with the stats:

Albums Represented: 71
Albums Complete in Library: 9
Songs: 332

Nearly a third of the songs from the C albums are from Castlevania soundtracks, namely, those for Symphony of the Night, Lament of Innocence, and  Curse of Darkness. I realized I had forgotten to import the second disc of the CoD soundtrack! I’ll make sure to do so when I visit home in December. I also have a few tracks from the PSP release Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles.

I ended up listening to the majority of these tracks at night, which turns out to be, without a doubt, the best time to listen to this music. Given the sheer number of tracks, and the fact that it’s October, I’ll choose to highlight only a few tracks that would be fitting for a Halloween Dance Party! ^o^

First up, “Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab” from Lament of Innocence:

Curse of Darkness gets hype with “Cave of Jigramunt:”

When you wanna slow things down to dance cheek-to-cheek with your Corpse Bride, let Symphony of the Night take you away with a song that I could’ve sworn was labelled as “Pearl Dance Song” in the original PSX game. These days I see it in the Wikias as “Dance of Pales.” The Japanese title, 「パール舞踏曲」(“paaru butou kyoku”) , translates literally to “Pearl Dance Song” or “Pearl Dance Music.” In another video (linked to below), it’s labelled as “Waltz of Pearls.” Whatever the English title is, it’s a track that even non-video game or Castlevania fans give props to.

Here’s this video taken at the Castlevania concert in Stockholm last year, with Michiru Yamane herself tickling the ivories. Too bad the sound quality of the video  isn’t as good as the song deserves.

Masanori Akita’s remix of “Divine Bloodlines” from The Dracula X Chronicles disc brings us back to the techno dancing:

Moving away from Castlevania, the C’s brought along the first GACKT album (since the default setting on iTunes is to sort numbers after letters; otherwise 0079-0088 would’ve been the first GACKT album to come up). Well, since Crescent is part of the Moon Saga and therefore about vampires, it still fits with the Halloween theme of this post. But what I associate this album with more than anything is ceramics.


There’s a perfectly good reason for this. When the album came out back in 2003, I was taking a ceramics class in college. The first or second assignment was to make a coil vase at least 12 inches tall. I had gotten my pot to about 9 inches when it collapsed; I had built it out sideways too soon. I spent a lot of extra hours in the studio trying to get it right, and half those hours I had Crescent on repeat.

Enjoy one of my favorite tracks from this album, “Mind Forest.” Don’t mind the FFVII video if you don’t like it, but this video has the best sound quality.

Castlevania Soundtracks are on iTunes!

I was just using iTunes’ “Get Artwork” feature when I noticed something unexpected: the cover for the soundtrack to Castlevania: Curse of Darkness came up.  Which could only mean that it is available on the iTunes Store!

4 Castlevania soundtracks available on iTunes!

4 Castlevania soundtracks available on iTunes!

Okay, so that’s a bit hard to see, but if you’re a Castlevania fan I’m sure you can recognize the covers to Symphony of the Night and Curse of Darkness easily enough.  The other two albums are for the PSP release The Dracula X Chronicles, which includes both the remixes for the remake and the original tracks, and a collection of “classic” tracks.  I don’t know if that one is from several Castlevania games, or just one, but it is most definitely old school.

Given the dates on the reviews, these have been up for a while.  I don’t remember when I imported the soundtracks for SotN and CoD, but I definitely had looked for them on iTunes before doing so.  Had I known they’d be available eventually…well, at least I can easily get the hot tracks from The Dracula X Chronicles for the low price of a domestic release.

Hope this is as exciting for someone else as it was for me! ^_^

Sephiroth, Alucard, and Gackt’s Identity Crisis

Happy New Year, O World! May 2009 treat you better than 2008!

First Post of the New Year has got to be good, right? Enjoy this silly comic strip that I made!


\ ^0^ /

Ah, I crack myself up!

I suppose I should explain my somewhat convoluted bad joke, just in case anyone didn’t get it.

The newest (far as I know) Castlevania game (Castlevania: Judgement for the Wii) features an Alucard that looks remarkably like Sephiroth. It’s not too bad in Takeshi Obata’s (!!) illustration, but in-game…see for yourself!

So that explains the first two dudes. The third guy is Gackt. In case you don’t know, Gackt is a Japanese rock star, among other things. When he was in the band Malice Mizer, they had a song called “月下の夜想曲” (gekka no yasoukyoku), which was also the Japanese title of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Then when Gackt went solo, in the video for his song “Mizérable” he looked like he was cosplaying Alucard. Years later, the cover of his album Diabolos really couldn’t be more explicitly Sephiroth fanart. When I saw the Sephiroth-like Alucard, I thought, “Oh, no, what’s Gackt to do now?!?” But he’s currently revisiting his Rebirth era Nazi Frankenstein-Android character, so no worries for him. Thus, my silly joke.

If nothing else it was a pretty picture, no? ^_^

I do wonder why they chose to make Alucard a platinum blond considering how gorgeous he looks with dark hair. Genya Arikado, anyone? I also wonder why Ayami Kojima hasn’t been the illustrator for the past several Castlevania releases. Is she tired of drawing beautiful men surrounded by rotting corpses and all manner of demonic beasties? Come to think of it, it’s only been the games released on Nintendo systems that don’t have her art. Maybe Nintendo thinks she’s too explicit for their systems? No, wait, Kojima did illustrate Aria of Sorrow, which is why it was so strange to me that she didn’t do Dawn of Sorrow.