The latest from Norstrilia – In the Sky On the Water

By Jeriaska . October 19, 2008 . 3:09pm

On the same week that Secret of Mana reached North American virtual consoles, the latest album by its composer went on sale on his private record label in Japan. The most recent published soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta is “In the Sky On the Water.”



A collection of music to the 2004 PC game Sora No Iro, Mizu no Iro, the title is not exactly localization material, due to its anime-style erotic content. However, the atmosphere that characterizes this music is mild and childlike in its simplicity, like familiar anime background music relieved of much of its intensity. When asked why the composer of rather high-profile titles, such as the recent Square Enix MMO Concerto Gate, opts to participate in a category of software that is barred in the West, the musician contends that their underground status allows developers a degree of freedom that is not afforded on other projects.


Characterized on the whole by an absence of pressing worldly concerns, the record’s relaxed tone seems to have been envisioned as a daydreamy respite from the hustle and bustle of modern city life. “In the Sky” contains little in the way of the frenetic boss battles of Seiken Densetsu 3, Secret of Mana’s tragically unlocalized follow-up. Nor do cues from the melancholic dirges of Koudelka darken the light and breezy melodic climate. The unhurried pace of keyboard and acoustic guitar pieces are most reminiscent, unsurprisingly, of the composer’s previous forays into PC games on Sakura Relaxation and Ni~duma wa Sailor Fuku.


Tthis time Kikuta is joined by vocalist Rie Kito on three songs. The only major collaborator on the soundtrack, the composer exerts command over all other aspects of the creative process, including the design of the album’s cover art. Just recently Kikuta worked on three vocal tracks with singer Wakana Sakuraba for the mini album “Metaphasic Child.” The album was created specifically for the late August Comiket, the world’s largest comic convention held in Tokyo. Released under the surrogate Metaphasic Child label, the album speaks to Kikuta’s continued dedication to the otaku scene. The musician continues prioritizing productivity, even while working outside the mainstream.


Kikuta is currently putting the finishing touches on three more Norstrilia music releases: “Nice Life as Wife,” “Love Relaxation,” and the soundtrack to an anime version of Snow White that predates Secret of Mana. “In the Sky On the Water” is a dreamy collection of twenty-four tracks, not as ornate as “Concerto” and not as diverse as “Alphabet Planet,” but no less lacking in charm. It can be found on


Image courtesy of Norstrilia

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