When it hit the U.S. in 2004, Namco’s offbeat Playstation 2 sleeper hit Katamari Damacy had barely undergone the rigorous “localization” that most games from Japan are put through before hitting the English-speaking market. Numerous objects in the game were covered with Japanese lettering (nothing essential to the game play, mind you), and the game’s distinctive soundtrack was sung in Japanese as often as it was sung in English. And somehow it worked. So the question is: how do you top that?
The sequel game, Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy, deftly sidesteps a lot of sequel expectations by being a self-referential tribute to the original game – and to some extent that includes the music as well. Several of the new tracks are tributes as well, putting a new twist on the signature tune of Katamari Damacy, ranging from a hilarious a capella rendition to a medley of all of the original Katamari songs as “sung” by sampled animal sounds – dogs, cats, ducks, elephants, etc. It’s a nice acknowledgement of the original, and at the same time, it’s having some fun and not overdoing it. Other songs like “Katamari On The Swing” split the difference, dropping references to the Katamari theme in during the chorus of an otherwise original number.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t some cracking good original songs though. In particular, I have to single out “Everlasting Love”, a punchy, upbeat number by Alisa (of Sailor Moon fame) with occasional bits of English peppered in throughout its Japanese lyrics, and featuring some fantastic guitar and vocal work. English or not, video game music or not, “Everlasting Love” is, hands-down, one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard this year, and it’s hard not to have a smile on one’s face while listening to it, and perhaps even harder to resist the urge to go back and listen again. “Disco Prince” throws a solid dance beat into the works, and other tunes repeat Katamari‘s effective use of styles that just don’t get a lot of airtime these days.
As good as the music is, now that I’ve heard it, I can’t help but wonder how much fun the game is. The good news is that, while the soundtrack isn’t likely to see domestic release in North America, the game itself is slated for a fall release. Even if you don’t feel like having the CD shipped from Japan (even though, if you liked the original Katamari soundtrack, it’s worth it), you’ll soon have a shot at hearing the music in the game itself.
- Introduction (0:24)
- Dokaka – Katamari On The Rocks (6:37)
- Asuka Sakai & Yu Miyake – Overture II (1:16)
- Shigeru Matsuzaki – Katamari On The Swing (4:40)
- Illreme- Kuru Kuru Rock (5:10)
- Alisa – Everlasting Love (4:45)
- Kirinji – Courageous Soul (5:32)
- Beautiful Star (3:08)
- You – Angel’s Rain (7:11)
- Katamari Robo – Houston (4:16)
- Kahimi Karie – Blue Orb (5:00)
- Yuusama – Katamari Holiday (5:37)
- Nomiya Maki – Baby Universe (5:06)
- Kenji Ninuma – Disco*Prince (7:01)
- Scorching Savanna (5:32)
(featuring John the Dog, Bigmouth the
Duck, Yuuhi the Cow, Pe the Goat, Booby the Pig, Sexy the Cat and Nyuu the
- Katsuro Tajima – The Royal Academy of Katamari (3:36)
- Kitomu Miyaza – King of King’s Song (4:41)
- Hidden Track (0:15)
Released by: Columbia Records Japan
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 79:47