By Chris Melchin / May 26th, 2017
5. Melodies of Life – Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX is my favorite game in the long-running series, and like with Wind Waker, a good part of why is because of its soundtrack. Melodies of Life appears quite a bit throughout the game, including as the standard overworld theme, but most often as Dagger’s theme in important scenes for her and Zidane’s relationship. The complete, vocal version being used as the ending theme provides a perfect conclusion for them, as well as the game as a whole.
4. Reset – Okami
Much like its visual design and story, the music of Okami has a distinctly Japanese style and sound to it, and the ending theme Reset is no exception. It blends traditional Japanese instruments into a modern-sounding J-pop song, with vocals by Akaya Hirahara. The beautiful yet sad song goes perfectly with Okami’s bittersweet ending. There’s also the even more beautiful and haunting Thank You version of the song, used during the final boss fight.
The removal of Reset as the ending theme of versions of Okami following the PS2 version is a great tragedy, although at least it’s still there in the extras once you beat the game once.
3. Shoes of Glass – Saya no Uta
As much as I’ll take any opportunity I can get to rave about Saya no Uta – as well as Kanako Itou’s lovely voice – while either of the ending themes could have fit on this list, I feel this one is more appropriate. It is used for the game’s two “bad” endings, where Fuminori and Saya get forcefully separated rather than being able to stay together in the “good” ending. The lyrics reflect these endings, telling a story of loss, just as sad yet beautiful as Saya no Uta itself is.
2. Alicemagic – Little Busters!
I may be somewhat biased in this choice, since it’s the ending theme for my favorite character’s route, but I love Alicemagic. It’s used as the ending theme for Komari and Haruka’s routes, and the upbeat style reflects both characters’ personalities throughout the story as the mood-makers of the group. Its lyrics, while at first seeming positive and inspiring, actually hint at the overarching plot of Little Busters!, with an underlying sadder tone for those who have finished through the entire game. The theme is also remixed and used as the ending theme for Sasami and Kanata’s routes in later versions of Little Busters! It also shows how Jun Maeda didn’t compose all the good music from Key’s games, having been written by Shinji Orito and arranged by MintJam.
1. Beyond the Sky – Xenoblade Chronicles
This will likely make me sound either young or uncultured – likely a combination of the two – but Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the first games I played that got me truly engrossed and emotionally invested in its characters and world. That’s why, to this day, I hold it up as my favorite game of all time. It also has an outstanding soundtrack, a collaboration between ACE+, Yoko Shimomura and Manami Kiyota, with this song composed by previous Xeno-series composer Yasunori Mitsuda. It features the angelic voice of Sarah Àlainn, with a beautiful and uplifting tone to match Xenoblade’s ending.
These are all just my personal picks for ending themes. What is some of your favorite video game ending music?
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