Dearly Beloved: “We’re finally here again. We made it back.” Those were the feelings put into creating this song. Because the intro was long, production did me an impossibly huge favour and changed the title screen to fit it. (I marched to the programmers working on their day off!) There absolutely had to be this much build up until the melody could run its course, no matter what. That’s what the song told me. It wasn’t up to me. I am no more than a servant to the living breathing song. Haha.
Passion -KINGDOM Orchestra Instrumental Version-: From a powerful strike of an intro, this song flows into an address-like gentle melody, lapsing afterwards into a section like memories of strong determination awakening, then turns to a grand, powerful and dramatic close. This bold arrangement of hidden passion, like a flower opening with strength to face something, is certainly overwhelming.
Passion ～opening version～: My first impression on hearing this song was, “this song is quite difficult to grasp…” There’s a reverse-playback phrase with profound hidden meaning running in the opposite direction to the catch. For some reason it really stays with you… it’s an incredible song. Ms Utada is definitely a genius. (No, I’m sure you all know that already without the likes of me having to say it) I have a friend who is really great at karaoke, and it’s a long story, but they told me “it’s a super hard song to sing~!” Um, please don’t ask something as tactless as whether I can sing it, okay~!
Lazy Afternoons: I said this in interviews many times back then, but, this song first appeared in Chain of Memories, and it gave me a lot of trouble. I redid the song over and over because it “didn’t feel enough like twilight”. So, I actually went out on the veranda of my house during twilight, feeling down and thinking “maybe I’m just no good…”, zoning right out gazing at the clouds dyed with red. This song was born from that. The twilight feel does come through, doesn’t it?
Missing You: In my own mind, I made this song as part of a set with the song “Treasured Memories” from the first title, which unfortunately didn’t make it onto this best-of list. As in, “important treasure” (past) → “I don’t want to lose my important, important…” (present). Ah, I’m always talking about musical stuff. Don’t read too much into it, please, haha.
The 13th Struggle: This song was unexpectedly popular amongst our team, as well as our players. I personally thought intense quavers and bass half tone movements would reflect the concept of Organisation XIII, but halfway through work, it came to light that I’d missed Mr Tetsu’s image of Organisation XIII, which was the piano phrase in “Another Side”! So, it became a song that combined both images of Organisation XIII.
Roxas: This song is truly blessed with so much love. When Mr Tetsu listened to my demo of the song, played on the piano like big droplets, he really liked it. I kept it basically the same, just fleshed it out a little to complete it. It would probably make the top three for shortest amount of time I spent actually working on a song in my whole life. It really was a gift from the gods of music.
Sora: With this song, the truth is, I’d decided to do something like this, but I wrote it before it was written as “Sora’s theme,” to use during the credits. Haha, I remember explaining, “this beginning, this section is Sora’s theme, see!” while I was having people listen to the demo credits for me. The reason it happened like that was because the music for the credits had to be completed before recording. I thought, “If they say this is no good as Sora’s theme then I’ll have to redo the credits too!” but both Sora’s theme and the credits were given the OK, happily~
Organization XIII: This is the first part of “Another Side”. Mr Tetsu loved it, saying, “when I think of Organisation XIII, I think of this phrase.” The phrase is used many times in many different songs. It’s difficult to make a song that is simple but leaves a powerful impression, so I am grateful it exists. This song works hard to be useful and dutiful to its mother, maybe to rival Dearly Beloved, haha.
The 13th Reflection: This is an Organisation XIII battle theme added to KINGDOM HEARTS II Final Mix+. I wanted to make something that expressed a unique clean feel, a floating feel, something faster, like cracking into a sprint, and this is how the song turned out. I thought it would be rare, compared to the boss theme of the first KH title which had many patterns swelling to a crash in the second half, to do something with a floating out feel.
The Other Promise: Ever since the title released, this song has had a huge impact. It was only in KINGDOM HEARTS II FINAL MIX+, so it by no means seemed like it would become something this major, but… (thinking that and looking back, the songs related to KINGDOM HEARTS II FINAL MIX+ did very well, haha). It was used in many promo videos, and even a drammatica (orchestral) version was made, so there must be many people who know of it. This song was born from Mr Tetsu saying to me, “I want Roxas to be fought to a flashier piano version of his theme.” I wanted to express questioning the utmost limits of our beings, and the unbearable sadness of a destiny you can’t fight against.
Riku: Actually, Riku’s theme has a pretty subdued impression, haha. It doesn’t seem to be talked about much, see (sweatmark!), but I’m very happy that there are people who like it more than I realised. This is from the image of Riku that comes unhesitatingly to mind. That is, “while quiet, having a hidden passion.”
Darkness of the Unknown: When we recorded this for the soundtrack, this track was originally three parts that made one song. However, it was split into three songs during production. It would have been troublesome, so they let me record the pattern in one song, identical to the soundtrack. After that, this song also ended up being used many times in other patterns. Then during recording, it ended up being put on a single loop. To those who liked it, I’m sorry…
Rage Awakened: During development, I didn’t know the true form of who’s song this was. I should say, actually, that it’s always like that for secret bosses. It’s like, “a mystery man is supposed to be a mystery man! a mystery!” haha. I make the songs relying on very skimpy information like “Someone important that connects to the next title,” and “they attack like this~ they move like this~”. When I begin composing for the next title, I finally get to give a huge sigh in relief. “Ahh, it does fit, I’m so glad.” It runs me ragged, haha.
Fate of the Unknown: Now we have a song that became Terra and Aqua’s themes, and the starting point for the music of Birth by Sleep in general. After watching the movie over and over to engrave the image into my head, I wrote a roughly organised version of the song in one sitting, and I surprised even myself at how closely it matched. Personally, I love the part around just before Kingdom Hearts appears in the sky, when it changes key and returns to the main melody.