In the past I’ve mentioned my adoration for the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover RPG on the Nintendo Wii U, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. The music is phenomenal, the story is great and it’s an entertaining RPG with a truly enjoyable combat system.

There are many songs in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, with some part of the main plot and others coming from the myriad of side-stories to gain the favour of your companions, which in turn advances their character arcs and careers in the entertainment industry—not to mention that the performances become special attacks during battles. What sets this game apart form many others is that there is plenty of character storytelling in the performances, not just in the lyrics but in the incredibly detailed animations of the concerts.

The following are my favourite songs in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, by virtue of just being damn good tunes and their impact on the character’s specific narrative.

Black Rain

The first time you see and hear Tsurugi Yashiro perform, it’s this song in a kickass performance the includes a set of holographic backup dancers—though considering the reality bending technology available to the entertainment industry in this setting, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were hard-light constructs.

When you first meet Yashiro he’s cold and extremely rude, a person for whom every social interaction is simply another role to play. The reason your party attends the concert is to witness what some would consider a perfect performance and that’s what he delivers, flawless presentation and vocals, though without much emotion behind them. Both his performance and the short meeting with the character let you know that it’s all practiced technique, but no heart.

Reincarnation

Reincarnation must be in my list because it’s the very first song you hear in the game, played as a background for one of the opening cinematics. It’s Kira’s latest single and it’s a wonderful song that speaks of leaving masks behind, to open oneself up to others and to truly lives as yourself, accepting all aspects of your being.

The song is great, and the lyrics are essentially the core of the character’s personal story arc. Much like Yashiro, Kira is something of a cold performer, though aloof instead of rude and this attitude over time became her artistic identity. She’s expected to be cold and detached, with mature interests, despite the fact that she loves cutesy things. But she can’t express those interests for the fear of what it’ll do to her image.

Fly ~Your Wind~

Fly is Tsubasa’s last song, and it’s a lovely melody that goes wonderfully with her voice. The entire presentation has her sing in this flowing white dress that is very reminiscent of a wedding dress and ends with a colossal holographic version of Tsubasa waving to the crowd while she flies around the concert hall. I did say their technology level in insane.

The song and the wedding dress are something of a clumsy-ish metaphor to signify that Tsubasa has grown, both as a person and a performer. She’s now strong and confident and ready to face the world no matter what it throws at her. It’s also about showing the maturation of her feelings towards the protagonist and lyrics reference him in a very clear romantic way.

Raindrop Memories

Another of my favourite songs from Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, it’s Mamori’s first single and a song at the core of her character arc. She’s focused on becoming a singer and have others take her more seriously and not just disregard her as a child performer, as this cute TV figure in a microwaving cooking show.

The song itself is a classic ballad, very old-school in terms of Japanese music, which is a big contrast to her young age, and about melancholic reminiscence and loss. It’s a very sad song, quite mature in terms of subject, and she performs it dressed in a formal Kimono, which you can understand is a massive departure from the role that made her famous.

Give Me

This song has a special place in my heart because it the first musical duet in the game, which in combat it then becomes a special attack that may or not trigger midway through a session. Also, the animators created an entire choreography for this little cinematic, which I’m thoroughly impressed by.

This is Kira and Tsubasa’s duet, a happy and catchy song with lots of cutesy images and plenty of colour. It’s a cool song that basically has the singers say they don’t want to be the same as everyone else, not just carbon copies, but want to shine on their own, be unique, and so they ask someone to give them cuteness, coolness, awkwardness and every other quality they lack so they can become who they want to be.

From Kira’s point of view this is the song that finally has her open herself up to the cutesy experiences and performances, showing those elements of her personality and facing the fear of what it would do to her career. The result is simple, it elevates her in the end, and creates a completely new style in the game’s world, “Cool Cute.”

Not a Mirage World

Fighting for the top stop with Labyrinth on which song I love the most about Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Not a Mirage World is Tikki’s ballad, dedicated to protagonist Itsuki as a thank you for their relationship and as something of a hope that he and the rest of the group won’t forget her when she’s eventually gone. The song comes with a cinematic full of laughter and happy meetings, and the lyrics themselves are full of remembrance for moments of joy.

It’s a very slow song, but I’ve always found it relaxing, and I love the melody and the performer’s voice.

The Labyrinth

You can tell I love a song when I can play it back to back hundreds of times in a row and I don’t become tired of listening to it and Labyrinth is definitely a song I can listen to endlessly. Much like the other major favourites on this list it’s a ballad, and it’s the kind I like the most, with slow verses and soft vocals but a powerful chorus.

The Labyrinth in terms of characterisation is the first major step in Kira’s evolution and it’s the performance that eventually leads to Give Me and her new style. It’s a song that has her speak of wanting to connect with others, to stop pushing them away to protect the mask and image she presents to others.

It’s also one of those performances where the level of technology displayed makes you wonder what kind of budget they have and if there are better ways to use that money!

Bonus: The Opera of Light

The Opera of Light is central to the plot and it’s the object of the main quest for the ending chapters of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It features the cast assuming the roles and identities of various figures in Fire Emblem history, with Itsuki becoming Marth for the performance. It’s a fun song set to the Fire Emblem main theme.

What makes this song special is that you can take any Fire Emblem opening cinematic and replace its audio for this track and it will work perfectly, sometimes even better than the original main theme for the game. Case in point:

So, those are my favourite songs, great tracks with incredible moments of character narrative in them. I would love to have this game ported to the Nintendo Switch and it definitely deserves a sequel, hell, a complete series.

What are your thoughts on the different songs? Are there any game songs you love?

 

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2 Comments »

  1. This is fab! I’m really glad you’ve finally done this and I’m sorry our attempts at putting together a joint post fell through. I was being incredibly unreliable, but I think you’ve done a good enough job for both of us!

    Give Me and Labyrinth are definately two of my favourites, and both mean a lot in terms of the narrative context of the game. When I finally beat the last boss, Labyrinth was a song I heard A LOT as I seemed to keep triggering the Ad-Lib performance. There is a bit in the battle animation where the song reaches a crescendo, and Kiria turns her back to the enemy and throws her hand up in the air and then ice rains down on them. It’s awesome!

    My other favourite is the duet between Tsubasa and Ellie (I can’t remember what it’s called), I’m not sure how important it is in the overall context of the story but it develops the relationship between Tsubasa and Ellie.

    Like

    • Heya! That song you mention is Dream Catcher, it’s a super catchy song and I love the little dance they do in the Ad-Lib. My only problem with that side-story is that it’s heavier on Barry than the two performers, like showing his prowess as a trainer rather than showing how these two women work together despite their very different personalities and styles.

      Liked by 1 person

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