Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yu Miyake - Lovely Angel

Yu Miyake - "Lovely Angel"

Like I've said before, I don't play videogames very much these days. So three years ago I never expected that I'd ever find a game as endlessly addictive and joyful as Katamari Damacy. What's even more unlikely is that I'd somehow become a proselytizer for it without even realizing it. In the months after buying it, I showed it to my girlfriend and her family, who proceeded to not just buy it but also pick up the sequel (We Love Katamari) when it was finally released. The same goes for coworkers and a handful of friends on the Internet. I'm pretty sure I moved 5 or 6 copies of this game just by talking about it with other people. Did I really sound that excited about it? I guess so.

Everyone loves the music in Katamari, even people who'd never be caught dead listening to J-pop. And besides, the soundtrack really is one of those rare collections where there truly is something for everyone. There's not a single track I'm not delighted to hear whenever I play it, but one piece in particular always stood out for me. Wikipedia tells me that its name is "Lovely Angel," composed by Yu Miyake.

"Lovely Angel" isn't even featured in the playable sections of Katamari. (I really don't want to go into describing what the game is about or how it's played, in 2008 this feels as ridiculous as talking about "metrosexuals" or explaining what mash-ups are.) Instead, it's a post-level theme, played after you reach your goal and successfully complete any of the areas. Here, you (the prince) are beamed into outer space by your father (The King of All Cosmos). Essentially, you're coming face to face with God, and the celestial chorus that plays in this scene is everything you'd expect from an encounter with the Almighty. I can only imagine what this could sound like with a great surround sound system. Like the best videogame music, I could listen to this on a loop for hours. And now I can.

So much more I want to say about this scene and all the the possible intended and unintended deeper religious meanings in it -- what it means from a Japanese perspective, from a Western Judeo-Christian point of view, to me personally -- but I've spent the last two nights at work trying to figure it out but I don't think I have it in me. No matter how hard I think about it or how sincere I try to be, it all comes out sounding like the worst wannabe-Klosterman article ever, or a pale imitation of any of the entries in D.B. Weiss's "Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments" in Lucky Wander Boy. Barf!

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