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Yasunori Mitsuda

In today's article, we will explore Yasunori Mitsuda and its impact on today's world in detail. From its origin to its evolution today, Yasunori Mitsuda has played a crucial role in different aspects of daily life. Over the years, Yasunori Mitsuda has sparked great interest and debate, generating multiple perspectives and opinions that have shaped its meaning and relevance in society. From his impact on popular culture to his influence on technology and science, Yasunori Mitsuda has left an indelible mark on the contemporary landscape. In this article, we will explore how Yasunori Mitsuda has shaped the world we live in and what its implications are for the future.

Yasunori Mitsuda
光田 康典
Portrait photo of Yasunori Mitsuda
Mitsuda in 2019
Born (1972-01-21) January 21, 1972 (age 52)
Occupations
  • Composer
  • musician
Years active1992–present
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)
LabelsSleigh Bells

Yasunori Mitsuda (光田 康典, Mitsuda Yasunori, born January 21, 1972) is a Japanese composer and musician. He is best known for his work in video games, primarily for the Chrono, Xeno, Shadow Hearts, and Inazuma Eleven franchises, among various others. Mitsuda began composing music for his own games in high school, later attending a music college in Tokyo. While still a student, he was granted an intern position at the game development studio Wolf Team.

Mitsuda joined Square upon graduation in 1992 and worked there as a sound effects designer for two years before telling Square's vice president Hironobu Sakaguchi he would quit unless he could write music for their games. Shortly after, Sakaguchi assigned him to work on the soundtrack for Chrono Trigger (1995), whose music has since been cited as among the best in video games.

Mitsuda went on to compose for several other games at Square, including Xenogears (1998) and Chrono Cross (1999). He left the company and became independent in 1998. In 2001, he respectively founded his own music production studio and record company, Procyon Studio and Sleigh Bells. Mitsuda has also worked on anime series, films, and television programs.

Biography

Early life

Mitsuda was born in Tokuyama, Japan, on January 21, 1972, and was raised in the Kumage District of Yamaguchi Prefecture. He took piano lessons beginning at the age of five, but was more interested in sports at the time and did not take music seriously, quitting by the age of six. For a while, he wanted to become a professional golfer. By high school, Mitsuda wanted to become a music composer, inspired by Vangelis' Blade Runner and Henry Mancini's The Pink Panther film scores. He became interested in PCs after his father bought him one, which was a rare item at the time. He started to program computer games and compose music for them, as well as take more technically oriented classes.

After high school, Mitsuda decided to leave town and become independent. With encouragement from his father and sister, he moved to Tokyo and enrolled in the Junior College of Music. Despite the school's low prestige, Mitsuda received solid instruction from his professors, most of them practicing musicians who would take Mitsuda to gigs with them to help carry and set up equipment. At the cost of being used for free physical labor, Mitsuda got a first-hand view of the Japanese music world and valuable training both in and out of the classroom. As part of his college course, he was granted an intern position at the game development studio Wolf Team studying under composer Motoi Sakuraba. With his school term ending, Mitsuda saw an advertisement for sound production at Square in a copy of Famitsu. With no plans as to what he wanted to do after school, he applied for the position and joined the company in April 1992.

Career

Although his official job title was as a composer, Mitsuda found himself working more as a sound engineer. Over the next two years, he created sound effects for Hanjuku Hero, Final Fantasy V, Secret of Mana, and Romancing SaGa 2. In 1994, realizing that he would never get a chance to move up to a real composition duty without some drastic action and feeling concerned about his low pay, he gave Square's vice president, Hironobu Sakaguchi, an ultimatum: let him compose, or he would quit. Sakaguchi assigned the young musician to the team working on Chrono Trigger, telling him that "after you finish it, maybe your salary will go up". Mitsuda was assigned as the sole composer for the game, in the end creating 54 tracks for the final release. Mitsuda drove himself to work hard on the score, frequently working until he passed out, and would awake with ideas for songs such as the ending theme for the game. He worked himself so hard that he developed stomach ulcers and had to be hospitalized, which led Uematsu to finish the remaining tracks for him.

Chrono Trigger proved a great success, and the soundtrack proved popular with fans. Mitsuda claims that it is his "landmark" title, which "matured" him. He attributes its success to folk and jazz music, rather than the "semi-orchestral" style popular in game music at the time. Following Chrono Trigger, Mitsuda composed the soundtrack for Front Mission: Gun Hazard, again with Uematsu. According to Uematsu, Mitsuda again worked so much that he eventually defecated blood out of stress and physical problems. Mitsuda worked on three more titles for Square: Tobal No. 1 and Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Hōseki both in 1996, and Xenogears in 1998, which featured the first ballad in a Square game, the Celtic ending theme "Small Two of Pieces" sung by Joanne Hogg. Mitsuda also during this period produced albums of arranged music of his original scores, creating acid jazz remixes in Chrono Trigger Arranged Version: The Brink of Time and a Celtic arrangement album of Xenogears music, Creid. In July 1998, following up on what he had said in his original interview with the company, Mitsuda left Square to work as a freelance composer, the first of several of Square's composers to do so.

Following his leaving, Mitsuda has only worked on one more original game with Square, composing for 1999's Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger. He has worked on over a dozen games since then, including the spiritual sequel to Xenogears, Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, and major games such as Shadow Hearts and Luminous Arc. In addition to video games, Mitsuda has composed music for the anime Inazuma Eleven and for the independent album Kirite. On November 22, 2001, Mitsuda formed Procyon Studio as a company to produce his music, along with a record label, Sleigh Bells. The company consisted of only Mitsuda as composer along with a few sound producers for several years but has since expanded to include other composers. Mitsuda and Procyon Studio have also produced more arranged albums, such as Sailing to the World and 2009's Colours of Light, a compilation album of vocal pieces Mitsuda had composed. The studio was also involved in co-designing the KORG DS-10 synthesizer program for the Nintendo DS, and its successor for the Nintendo 3DS, KORG M01D.

By the late 2000s, Mitsuda began working as a producer for a team of artists. Scores in the 2010s include the Inazuma Eleven series, Soul Sacrifice, and Valkyria Revolution, with the latter marking his first fully solo game soundtrack in nearly a decade. Around the same time, Mitsuda also began to compose for non-video game media, including several NHK-produced television shows, as well as anime series such as Black Butler and adaptions of Inazuma Eleven. In addition to serving as the lead composer for 2017's Xenoblade Chronicles 2, he also was in charge of the game's audio budget, musician booking, schedule management, and music sheet proofreading, for which he claimed was the largest project he ever worked on. He also composed for its expansion pack, Torna – The Golden Country, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Musical style and influences

Mitsuda claims to compose by "just fool around on my keyboard" and letting the melodies come to him. He also sometimes comes up with songs while asleep, including the ending theme to Chrono Trigger and "Bonds of Sea and Fire" from Xenogears, though his main inspiration is visual items, "paintings or other things". His music is frequently minimalistic, and he has cited Minimalism as an influence. His final battle themes for Chrono Trigger and Xenogears are based on only a few chords each, with the latter containing only two. Mitsuda has listened to a great number of musical genres throughout his life, which he learned from his father, and is especially inspired by jazz music. He grew up listening mainly to his father's favourite jazz musician Art Blakey, in addition to the Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, before getting into classical music. He is also inspired by Celtic music, and has created two albums of music in that style. His soundtrack for Chrono Trigger also shows the influence of Asian music, including the sounds of Japanese shakuhachi flutes, Indian tabla drums and the sitar. He has cited Maurice Ravel, J.S. Bach, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Claude Debussy, Robert Schumann, Antonín Dvořák, and Gustav Holst as his favorite classical composers, claiming that his modern influences are too numerous to name as he listens to so much music.

Mitsuda names his favorite works as the soundtracks to the Chrono series, Xenogears, Xenosaga Episode I, and the original album Kirite, though he also says that all of his soundtracks are "representational works", as they represent who he was as a composer when he made them. His favorite pieces overall are "The Girl Who Closed Her Heart" and "Pain" from Xenosaga Episode I and pieces from Kirite. When he starts to compose a soundtrack, he first takes one month to gather information and artwork about the game world and scenario, so that his music will fit in with the game. He also finds it easier to be inspired if he has a visual representation. Mitsuda claims that he does not save his best work for more popular games, as he tries to compose each piece to correspond to how it is going to be used in a specific game. He also tries to compose good pieces even for games he feels do not live up to them, so that they will be a redeeming point about the game for the players. The majority of his video game soundtracks are for role-playing games, but he likes projects that are different from what he has done before and is interested in working in other genres.

I think is something that should last with the player. It's interesting because it can't just be some random music, but something that can make its way into the player's heart. In that sense, this not only applies to game music, but I feel very strongly about composing songs that will leave a lasting impression...What I must not forget is that it must be entertaining to those who are listening. I don't think there's much else to it, to be honest. I don't do anything too audacious, so as long as the listeners like it, or feel that it's a really great song, then I've done my job.

— Yasunori Mitsuda, 2008

Legacy

A slightly blurry image of an orchestra, with Rony Barrak pictured in the centre playing a goblet drum
Rony Barrak performing Mitsuda's music at a Play! A Video Game Symphony concert in 2006

Mitsuda's music from Chrono Trigger was first performed live by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in 1996 at the Orchestral Game Concert in Tokyo, Japan, and released on an accompanying album. The first symphonic performance of his music outside Japan took place in 2005 at the Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany when music from Chrono Cross was presented. Mitsuda has arranged versions of music from Trigger and Cross for Play! A Video Game Symphony video game music concerts in 2006. Music from the two games has also been performed in other video game concert tours such as the Video Games Live concert series and in concerts by the Eminence Orchestra. Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross music made up one fourth of the music of the Symphonic Fantasies concerts in September 2009 at the Kölner Philharmonie which were produced by Thomas Böcker as a part of the Game Concerts series. "Scars of Time" from Chrono Cross was played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore on April 30, 2010.

Mitsuda's music for Xenogears has also sparked fan-made albums; an officially licensed tribute album titled Xenogears Light: An Arranged Album, was published in limited quantities by the fan group OneUp Studios in 2005. The album features 20 tracks arranged from the Xenogears score and performed with acoustic instruments, such as piano, flute, guitar and violin. Another, unofficial album of remixes titled Humans + Gears was produced as a digital album by OverClocked Remix on October 19, 2009, consisting of 33 tracks. Selections of remixes of Mitsuda's work also appear on Japanese remix albums, called Dōjin, and on English remixing websites such as OverClocked Remix. Music from the Chrono Trigger soundtrack has been arranged for the piano and published as sheet music by DOREMI Music Publishing. Sheet music for Chrono Cross tracks arranged for both solo guitar and guitar duets has been released by Procyon Studio.

For the 20th anniversary of Chrono Trigger in 2015, Mitsuda, along with his performing group Millennial Fair, performed songs from the game at the Tokyo Globe in Tokyo, Japan on July 25 and 26. The event, titled "The Brink of Time", included Mitsuda performing on the piano, guitar, and Irish bouzouki. During the event, Mitsuda also announced that the long requested Chrono series arrangement album, entitled To Far Away Times: Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arrangement Album, would be released by Square Enix Music on October 14, 2015.

Works

Video games

Video games
Year Title Role(s) Ref.
1992 Hanjuku Hero: Aa, Sekaiyo Hanjukunare...! Sound effects and programming
Final Fantasy V Sound effects
1993 Secret of Mana Sound effects
Romancing SaGa 2 Sound effects and programming
1995 Chrono Trigger Music with Nobuo Uematsu
1996 Radical Dreamers Music
Front Mission: Gun Hazard Music with Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, and Junya Nakano
Tobal No. 1 Music with several others
1998 Xenogears Music
Mario Party Music
1999 Chrono Cross Music
Bomberman 64: The Second Attack Music with several others
2000 Mega Man Legends 2 Arrangements
2001 Tsugunai: Atonement Music
Shadow Hearts Music with Yoshitaka Hirota
Legaia 2: Duel Saga Music with Hitoshi Sakimoto and Michiru Oshima
2002 Xenosaga Episode I Music
The Seventh Seal Music with Chia Ai Kuo and Tsai Chih-Chan
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter Sound director
2004 Shadow Hearts: Covenant Music with Yoshitaka Hirota, Kenji Ito, and Tomoko Kobayashi
Graffiti Kingdom Music
2005 10,000 Bullets Music with Miki Higashino
Tantei Kibukawa Ryosuke Jiken-Tan Music with Takanari Ishiyama and Kazumi Mitome
2006 Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner Music with several others
Deep Labyrinth Music
2007 Luminous Arc Music with Kazumi Mitome, Akari Kaida, and Shota Kageyama
Kikou Souhei Armodyne Music
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Arrangements
Soma Bringer Music
Magnetica Twist Sound director
Luminous Arc 2 Sound producer
Inazuma Eleven Music
Sands of Destruction Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Kazumi Mitome
2009 Arc Rise Fantasia Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Yuki Harada
Lime Odyssey Music with Dong-Hyuc Shin, Jun-Su Park, and Sa-Yin Jeong
bQLSI Star Laser Music
Inazuma Eleven 2 Music
Thexder Neo Sound director
Luminous Arc 3 Sound producer and coordinator
2010 Xenoblade Chronicles Ending theme "Beyond the Sky"
Inazuma Eleven 3 Music with Natsumi Kameoka
2011 Inazuma Eleven Strikers Music with Natsumi Kameoka
Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming "Battle of the 4 Deadly Sins"
Wizardry Online Sound producer
Pop'n Music 20 Fantasia "Tradria"
Inazuma Eleven Strikers 2012 Xtreme Music with Natsumi Kameoka
Tokyo Yamanote Boys Opening theme "Overture"
2012 Kid Icarus: Uprising "Opening", "Boss Battle 1"
Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare Main theme "Dear Despair"
Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone Music with Natsumi Kameoka
Inazuma Eleven GO Strikers 2013 Music with Natsumi Kameoka
2013 Soul Sacrifice Music with Wataru Hokoyama
Soukyuu no Sky Galleon Main theme
DoDoDo! Dragon Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Maki Kirioka
Ken ga Kimi Ending theme "Forever, and One"
Inazuma Eleven GO 3: Galaxy Music
Hundred Years' War: Euro Historia Arrangements with Shunsuke Tsuchiya, Maki Kirioka and Natsumi Kameoka
2014 Soul Sacrifice Delta Music with Wataru Hokoyama
Terra Battle "Beyond the Light"
Ten to Daichi Megami no Mahou Main theme
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Arrangements
2015 Chunithm: Seelisch Tact "Alma"
Stella Glow Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya
2016 Seventh Rebirth Music
2017 Valkyria Revolution Music
Another Eden Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Mariam Abounnasr
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Music with ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu, and Manami Kiyota
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis Music with Tadayoshi Makino and Yoko Shimomura
Winning Hand Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Mariam Abounnasr
2018 Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country Music with ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu, and Manami Kiyota
Revolve8 Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Mariam Abounnasr
2019 Wonder Gravity: Pino and the Gravity Users Sound producer
Renshin Astral Tokyo battle themes
2021 Edge of Eternity Music with Cedric Menendez
2022 Sin Chronicle "HI・KA・RI"
Even if Tempest Mastering
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Music with ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu, Manami Kiyota, and Mariam Abounnasr
2023 Sea of Stars Music with Eric W. Brown
2024 Soul Covenant Music

Anime

Anime and film
Year Title Role(s) Ref.
2004 Pugyuru Music
2008 Inazuma Eleven Music
2010 Inazuma Eleven: Saikyō Gundan Ōga Shūrai Music
2012 Inazuma Eleven GO: Chrono Stone Music with Shiho Terada and Natsumi Kameoka
Chōyaku Hyakunin isshu: Uta Koi Music with Maki Kirioka
Inazuma Eleven GO vs. Danbōru Senki W Music with Natsumi Kameoka and Rei Kondoh
2013 Inazuma Eleven GO: Galaxy Music with Natsumi Kameoka
2014 Inazuma Eleven: Chou Jigen Dream Match Music
Black Butler: Book of Circus Music
Black Butler: Book of Murder Music
2017 Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic Music
2018 Inazuma Eleven: Ares Music
Inazuma Eleven: Orion no Kokuin Music
Yo-kai Watch: Forever Friends Orchestrations with Mariam Abounnasr
2021 Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Music
2024 Delicious in Dungeon Music with Shunsuke Tsuchiya

Other notable projects

Other projects
Year Title Role(s) Ref.
1995 Chrono Trigger Arranged Version: The Brink of Time Producer
1998 Creid Arrangements from Xenogears
2005 Kirite Solo album
Specter Film; music with Kazumi Mitome
2009 Colours of Light Solo album
2011 Myth: The Xenogears Orchestral Album Producer, arrangements
Play for Japan: The Album "Dimension Break"

Footnotes

  1. ^ "It's OK to Cry" and "The Place Where Wishes Come True"
  2. ^ "Vs. Marx" and "World Map (Pikmin 2)"
  3. ^ "Forest/Nature Area" and "Mii Channel"

References

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External links