Saturday, May 25, 2013

TOP Track #7 - "Frog's Theme"

I'm not at all surprised to see "Frog" made it all the way into the TOP Ten. I've loved this song and this character since the very first time I heard it. It really does a fantastic job of accentuating Frog's character. When you meet him, he's a bit discouraged by his cursed form, but he's still loyal and courageous for the sake of his Queen. This song really brings out that honor and duty, even though he lives alone in disgrace. What makes Frog such an important and endearing character is that he undergoes such tremendous growth. He also has such a complicated relationship with another character in the game, Magus, who is responsible for his transformation. These two characters more than any other start out a certain way, perceived by the player a certain way, and develop over time into the characters their theme songs reflect. 

Even though the first few times you interact with Frog, he's distressed, depressed, discouraged and lonely, this theme song and his willingness to help clue you in that underneath his amphibious exterior, he has a heart of gold and a tremendous sense of honor. Eventually, you wear down his depression and prove to him that even though he failed and has been cursed for his failure, he still has something to fight for. He transforms into one of the most versatile fighters on the team and begins to accept who he has become. A definitive moment comes late in the game when he faces a truly troubling choice between allying with his most hated enemy, Magus, for a common good - or breaking his curse and returning to human. The choice is left up to the player, but I think this moment really shows the true nature of his character and his ideals. I prefer the Frog that is able to forgive and move forward to the vain, vindictive Frog only concerned with revenge and reclaiming his old form...

...but I have to admit, if the game allowed you to play as Glenn from that moment forward instead of Frog (swapping out his character sprite) instead of making you wait until the ending scenes, I'd definitely do that a handful of times because Glenn looks like a badass. I bet his Slurp Kiss Dual Tech (among others) would look incredibly odd as a human, though!


Whenever I play through Chrono Trigger, I usually give the characters their true names. Every once in a while, however, there is an exception. I'll change Marle to Nadia, Magus to Janus, and if I'm feeling like a smart-ass, Robo to R-66Y. That being said, Frog is never Frog. He is always Glenn. He's such a tragic figure, brimming with honor, that I feel bad naming him Frog. It's so damn insulting! I realize that by the end of the story, he becomes accustomed to his new form and doesn't so much mind it, but this doesn't take away from the fact that Magus demeaned him. This song, despite it's name, does not belong to a frog. It belongs to Glenn. It is composed perfectly to match his character: noble and brave. The high notes of the track seem to play on Glenn's status as a skilled knight, as well as the loneliness he must endure in 600 AD.

Glenn and Magus are easily my favorite characters in Chrono Trigger, and I imagine most people feel similarly. One of the reasons their eternal rivalry is so compelling to us players is how similar they are even though they are diametrically opposed. Each character had the person who was closest to them taken away in a violent nature. Both are tormented internally for being weak during a moment in which their world was changed - in Glenn's case, too cowardly; in Magus's case, too young. Glenn represents the lighter side of this tragedy, eventually choosing to take on Cyrus's dream. Magus represents the darker side by destroying everything that stands in his way of searching for his sister. Their theme songs both perfectly reflect this relationship.

- Deez

Derivative Tracks

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