Friday, May 24, 2013

TOP Track #8 - "Fate of the Unknown"

It's no surprise on this blog that we're all fans of the Kingdom Hearts series. I've written a few articles about the games and the music already, primarily about what the first game in the series means to me and what an emotional experience it is - I have Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX on pre-order already! What's odd about this song is that it comes from a version of Kingdom Hearts II that was only released in Japan. The only access we had to the scene using this music was on YouTube and it wasn't something we got to experience firsthand. Even so, it's a really amazing song because it captures some of what makes the Kingdom Hearts series shine.

"Fate of the Unkown" alludes to the direction the Kingdom Hearts series would take. It introduces us to unnamed (Unknown) characters, Terra, Aqua and Ventus which is really where Sora, Riku and Kairi's story began unbeknownst to them. I can't say I really like this direction, but I'll reserve judgment on the whole thing until Kingdom Hearts III is released (if ever) to conclude the entire saga. This song really blends a lot of musical themes Shimomura has built within the games into a really heart pumping action orchestra. I really like her use of orchestral music because it adds to the grand Disney majesty of the story being told.


I was beyond satisfied the first time I finished Kingdom Hearts II. Despite some oddities at the end of the story (Riku's blindfold, Ansem the Wise and all his data, everyone having a Keyblade), I was happy to have reunited everyone for a happy ending. My mind was in conflict, however. I was certain that Sora's story had come to a close and all the loose-knots were tied up, yet I couldn't shake the feeling that Square Enix wouldn't miss the chance to milk that cash cow. Sure enough, we see Sora and his friends on Destiny Islands reading a letter from King Mickey. (Riku looks especially pleased; he's always trying to get away from home.) Even further, we see three mysterious warriors and hundreds of keyblades in the secret ending. The expanded trailer for Birth By Sleep in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ gives us an exciting glimpse of the future of the Kingdom Hearts series. Keyblades for everyone!

I like "Fate of the Unknown" because it's an orchestral track fit for an intense battle, like the one the song is tied to. Often times, it seems like the video game industry prefers a rock and roll style for more intense battles. Don't get me wrong, I love a good power riff, but this song captured the excitement and melancholy tony of the scene. The climax at the end got fans more excited than anything. Terra (at the time unnamed) rips off his helmet just before his eyes turn to an evil-looking orange. It's sort of an "oh snap" moment, but I don't think it would have held much weight without "Fate of the Unknown" accompanying it. Even though I did enjoy Birth By Sleep, this secret trailer marked the beginning of the end for my faith in the series. I'm glad it ended on a high note for me, though. 

- Deez

Derivative Tracks

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