Author Topic: Characters, music, personalities.  (Read 341828 times)

Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #180 on: October 15, 2009, 06:37:37 AM »
I've been trying to read this for a while, and have found that I have forgotten what I was thinking.  It's all a really interesting take, and I'll have to remember to offer more time to look at it all again.

Something that is still fresh in my mind in regard to Parisee:
One aspect that you noted in relation to the latter part of her theme was a perpetuating state of unrest.  This has been readily associated to her jealousy, but what if it was more than self deprecation?  She's an over-jealous youkai that spurs jealousy in others.  The key is the last part.  Those surmounting sensations aren't meant for herself, it's for you.  With this, I would personally place Parisee closer to Yamame and Hina; the get-close-to-at-own-expense group.

On further inspection, isn't that a classification that applies to most, if not all, of the SA cast?  Oh, right, "unwanted by surface" world.  Maybe if I remember, I'll contribute more, but until then, these have been quite entertaining.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #181 on: October 15, 2009, 09:25:31 AM »
I've been trying to read this for a while, and have found that I have forgotten what I was thinking.

Always a good start.  ;D

Quote
Something that is still fresh in my mind in regard to Parsee:
One aspect that you noted in relation to the latter part of her theme was a perpetuating state of unrest.  This has been readily associated to her jealousy, but what if it was more than self deprecation?  She's an over-jealous youkai that spurs jealousy in others.  The key is the last part.  Those surmounting sensations aren't meant for herself, it's for you.  With this, I would personally place Parsee closer to Yamame and Hina; the get-close-to-at-own-expense group.

I both agree with and contest this: Parsee's power originated from her own jealousy in the first place, as opposed to Hina's and Yamame's being gathered from ambiance, as it were. Without that feeling constantly feeding her power, she wouldn't have any reason to use the power in the first place. It is not that she inflicts jealousy on others, instead she shares her own.

Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #182 on: October 15, 2009, 07:58:37 PM »
Empathy would be closer to emotion sharing, right?  If that's so then the initial part is closer to that sensation.  The "sudden" change that follows is the jealousy invading the victim; her power taking effect.  It's no longer shared, it's individualized and, from there, greatly intensified.

She's already in a jealous state.  Having something in front of her only serves to remind her of more things she can be jealous of.  From there, she does what might be expected of a youkai: attack.  Of course, jealousy's greatest influence is when one realizes its there.  What if that was the point?

Her thoughts and whims are marred, even if sincere, to the point that any normal body would breakdown, but she doesn't.  Every little thing reminds her of her feelings, and that's what she needs to carry on.  It isn't until that sensation reaches its pinnacle that it bursts, and then... 

I think I'm still missing something.  Oh well, maybe next time.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #183 on: October 18, 2009, 09:12:13 AM »
I'm back from my break and starting with Undefined Fantastic Object.

I find that ZUN started with his adventurous-ness with SA stage themes, really got his bearings there and decided to inject this into UFO's boss themes. Of course, they're still unmistakably his style, but many of the boss themes in UFO are just so different from what we're used to hearing, in some way or another. In each analysis I'll try to comment on why I feel that particular track is different, if I don't forget.


Nazrin - A Tiny, Tiny, Clever Commander

For a stage 1 theme, Commander is very extensive. It has two distinct sections, an involved main melody and an unusually pensive introduction/interlude, some new instrumentation that we haven't heard before, instrumental variation of the main theme, and, finally, a very clever connection that leads from the second part back into the first. All this in the space of a minute-and-a-half. This high density of stuff is what makes this theme different for me.

In general, the Nazrin I get from this piece is, well, exactly what the title says. She's thoughtful, introspective, appropriately intense, yet carefully-paced - all good properties for someone in charge of an operation. Of course, I'll explain where I got all this from.

The first section serves as an introduction as well as an interlude that serves as a halfway point for the piece. It's characterised by sequential arpeggioes in a blazing tempo and a really weird rhythm. This part is mostly in major, although the arpeggioes eventually start using diminished notes - usually diminished chords tend to unsettle the listener, but by breaking them up instead the music moves the focus off a comfortable harmony and into a more abstract study, a whitewash of noise that sets the stage for the melody proper. The other aspect of this section is the rhythm, which technically is in 6/8 time, but altered into 3/4 by accents being placed on every second note instead of every third, sounding as if the accents are inappropriately-placed.
At the start of this non-melodic section, the train of thought that I feel it represents does not go anywhere - Nazrin is unsure of where to go from here, does not know how to proceed, so, without losing a beat, she moves out of the box, as it were, hoping to find a non-standard solution. It is this natural movement into abstract thinking that makes me think that Nazrin is used to this sort of thing, making her an experienced quick-thinker.

The second section is the main and only melody in the piece. A new instrumental introduction (I'm pretty sure that it's new, anyway) is the single violin playing the quick, flighty melody at a high pitch. Going back to the time signature, the melody is in 3/4, the time signature that often suggests elegance and careful pacing. The violin's contribution to this is to provide a clear melody with a good amount of force, without the trumpet's intensity - all in all the two aspects combine to elicit the feeling of a carefully-calculated and elegant approach to problems. These can only apply, of course, if the problem-solver in question is experienced in their job, again presenting Nazrin as someone who has been doing what she is for a long time, now able to comfortably add their own unique touch to their problem-solving approach.

The melody itself is unusually long for a stage 1 boss, 2x8 bars, which I probably don't even need to say demonstrates a depth of character to Nazrin. She has a positive outlook on life, considering the entire melody is in major - there is no grimness in her concerning her duty.

Every once in a while she will pause to think, evidenced by the return of the introduction theme. She responds to her own thoughts, willing to try out new approaches, and the melody's instrumentation changes to the softer piano, perhaps as Nazrin decides to give the more subtle approach to her issues a fair chance. Finally, she is capable of quick self-analysis, as demonstrated by the main melody's careful introduction of arpeggioes in the accompaniment towards the second set of 8 bars which then flawlessly proceed into the introduction/interlude part - she examines her actions even as she carries them out, this second nature of hers preventing her from getting carried away, and always remaining in full control of the situation.

I hope this shows why and how I see Nazrin's character as presented. Considering what I've said, she truly seems to be worthy of the militaristic title "Commander".

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #184 on: October 19, 2009, 11:56:49 AM »
Aww, I'd have thought Nazrin would be quite popular. She's cute and everything! Speaking of characters I reckon are quite popular...

Kogasa Tatara - Beware the Umbrella Left There Forever

Say what you will about Kogasa?s propensity and ability to surprise others, her theme certainly came out of left field for me when I played UFO for the first time, untranslated. By this point, I was used to the typical ZUN-type boss battle themes pre-stage 4-ish: they?re mostly light things, certainly worthy of narrative merit for some property or other, like Deaf to All But the Song?s implied cruelty or Green-Eyed Jealousy?s? jealousy. Then suddenly I hear the gothic as hell motifs in Beware the Umbrella, and the first thought that came to mind was ?holy crap, who is this character to have such a boss theme?s boss theme?? And that was the key point ? Beware the Umbrella sounds like a true, proper boss theme that is so out-of-place in the generally light world of Touhou stage 2. This is certainly intentional, and I believe it fits Kogasa extremely well.

The piece consists of two sections proper, with the occasional teasing interlude, and I?ll focus mostly on the first theme, the one that, to me, gives Beware the Umbrella all its flavour.

The centerpieces of the first section are the repeating dominant-tonic cadences, the cadences of the feeling of a satisfying conclusion, constantly drummed into the listener?s mind. The tonic in this section is a minor, and the major dominant segueing into the minor tonic creates that feeling of absolute, grim finality. A large contributor to this feeling is this section?s large amount of pure chords, adding a sense of power to the finality, as if the character the listener is facing is the one capable and willing to put a final stop to everything. This is end-of-the-world stuff here. Considering that the listener isn?t expecting the end of the world until stage 6, this then would be a proper surprise to them.

I mentioned the word ?gothic? a few paragraphs back. I?m using the word intentionally ? the compositional methods used above easily date back to Mozart and Beethoven?s time, very likely further than that. That Kogasa would use such approaches comfortably suggests a great old-fashioned-ness in her (safe assumption, this is canonically in her dialogues as well).

Before I go on to the second section, I?ll mention the interlude that plays during the first one, the one where it seems as if the music is headed into a melodic stage but just starts looping in a single arpeggio, over and over again, until the listener (or, at least, me) is foaming at the mouth, willing to do anything just as long as it goes somewhere. And then it doesn?t, it just flashes back to the dominant-tonic cadences again for a while. I would glean from this that Kogasa has an endearingly infuriating (or just infuriating, YMMV) property of rambling, getting stuck on something for unreasonable lengths of time. This ties in to her old-fashioned-ness, this tendency of hers prohibiting her from getting on with it, as it were, from catching up with the times.

After all this, the actual melody in the second section seems almost like an afterthought. Clearly it?s Kogasa?s actual nature ? the simple, short melody in a major key with long, lyrical notes suggest a bit of a dreamer, a simple romantic without many complicated goals in life aside from her constant search to surprise people. If we pull back, we can see this same simplicity in the first section as well ? there?s no complex harmonic structures, only a few simple, albeit very effective in what they do, short, classical cadences. I probably don?t need to mention that it?s obvious that the entire first section is an act of Kogasa?s, a booming threat that has seemed to work in surprising people for a long time, so she never bothered with considering ?modern? sensibilities, especially considering that she doesn?t seem to really ?get? the concept of change.

Considering everything I?ve said above, as well as her sudden appearance in the Extra stage, I sometimes wonder if Kogasa is at least partially aware of the fourth wall. There?s a lot of metagaming in her, starting with really unusual music to surprise the player beyond the character, to doing the same by appearing in the Extra stage.

Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #185 on: October 19, 2009, 01:37:00 PM »
I think my interpretation differs from yours for once. I'm having trouble seeing any menace at all in Kogasa's theme. It may sound like a boss theme from outside Touhou but within the series it lacks the trumpets and electrics that ZUN uses to denote SERIOUS BUSINESS characters. Perhaps we can say that she tries to be surprising and/or threatening but between her adorable appearance and the eggplant umbrella she couldn't scare a mouse if she caught it alone on a dark night.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #186 on: October 19, 2009, 01:41:22 PM »
I think my interpretation differs from yours for once. I'm having trouble seeing any menace at all in Kogasa's theme. It may sound like a boss theme from outside Touhou but within the series it lacks the trumpets and electrics that ZUN uses to denote SERIOUS BUSINESS characters. Perhaps we can say that she tries to be surprising and/or threatening but between her adorable appearance and the eggplant umbrella she couldn't scare a mouse if she caught it alone on a dark night.

I find that umbrella quite creepy, actually. One eye, red-and-purple colour scheme, a toothy gash for a mouth? Brr. Anyway, I feel that the organ-like main instrument does a pretty good job of instilling menace, and the lack of electrics and trumpets feels the old-school vibe, but this is certainly up to the listener.

Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #187 on: October 19, 2009, 02:05:48 PM »
It could be argued that the organ undertones weren't actually meant to be undertones but they just can't rise above all the lighter instruments playing a generally more upbeat theme. Kogasa knows she's supposed to scare people so she does things that are traditionally scary- youkai things, karakasa things, things that sound creepy on paper or if described second hand- but her cuteness and her cheerfulness come out too strongly no matter what she does. Maybe she giggles as she says her "*~Urameshiya~*" or she squeals with delight when she does manage to scare someone, I dunno. The player characters certainly weren't the least bit scared even when she showed up in the extra.   

She might rectify this shortcoming by showing victims her umbrella before her actual body, and giving more attention to that organ.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #188 on: October 19, 2009, 02:21:37 PM »
First, for Nazrin's theme, I found it strange, because it's a theme I don't like originally, but lily-an's arrange is an exception: Somehow, it feels more "right" than the original.

As for Kogasa, her theme was certainly surprising. It was that one theme I liked in the demo, and it has a feeling what I haven't felt since Doll Judgment. Anyway, it Does sound menacing. Probably the organ, as an organ always feel menacing. Of course, it's an old-fashioned menace.

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #189 on: October 20, 2009, 03:17:29 PM »
Sorry, everyone, no update today, and tomorrow might be a bit of a stretch as well. In the meantime, I present a topic : Heian Alien borrows from several pieces ZUN has already written, amongst them U.N. Owen. There are at least two more others. Discuss.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #190 on: October 20, 2009, 08:34:04 PM »
Sorry, everyone, no update today, and tomorrow might be a bit of a stretch as well. In the meantime, I present a topic : Heian Alien borrows from several pieces ZUN has already written, amongst them U.N. Owen. There are at least two more others. Discuss.

This was pretty thoroughly discussed when the full version of UFO was released. You had people on the one hand saying, "Yeah, this sounds a whole lot like UN Owen Was Her", and a few people denying they could hear any similarities at all. I think the similarities are glaringly obvious, personally.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #191 on: October 20, 2009, 09:41:02 PM »
Yeah, it's obvious, but I couldn't find the other two. I mean, I know which parts are different from U.N. Owen, but I couldn't find any similarities with other songs (at least with those I can remember right now).

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #192 on: October 20, 2009, 09:55:04 PM »
I always thought the change at 1:10 in Heian Alien was somewhat similar to the one at 1:14 in Hartmann's Youkai Girl. I prefer the way the latter does it though; most extra themes manage to have downbeat-ish parts that still keep up the energy of the rest of the song and Heian Alien's feels like it comes to a very uncomfortable screeching halt. Maybe it's just me.
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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #193 on: October 20, 2009, 10:45:45 PM »
Yeah, I realise this has been discussed already, but might as well have completeness in srs musical thread. :V

This is just me, so I could well be wrong, but I hear a degree of Faith is For The Transient People in there. Specifically, the main melody's rhythmic structure closely matches Faith's. The same applies to U.N. Owen and Hartmann's Youkai Girl for other parts, which, I suppose, is why some people claim not to hear UNO in Alien melodically, but it's really there rhythmically.

Why Faith of all things? I admit, it's due to that snake that entwines Nue's trident, which really reminds me of Sanae's snake. It is very in-character for Nue to steal and bastardise others' ideas and appearance, so there's motive and opportunity for her to do so to Sanae. I might be grasping for association where there's none, though. More on this when I get to Heian Alien proper, of course.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 11:27:46 PM by Archetype: Ruro »

Solais

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #194 on: October 20, 2009, 11:27:41 PM »
...now it's not really that surprising that the Sanae X Nue pairing starts to get popular. Of course it's also fueled by SanaeB's Extra Ending where Nue got omochikaeri'd by Sanae.

Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #195 on: October 20, 2009, 11:29:04 PM »
The snake isn't a Kanako reference. The mythical Nue does have a snake for a tail (not just a snake's tail) but having it coming from her butt would be a bit too indecent (see also Utsuho and her 'third leg').

Fightest

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #196 on: October 21, 2009, 10:40:41 PM »
The snake isn't a Kanako reference. The mythical Nue does have a snake for a tail (not just a snake's tail) but having it coming from her butt would be a bit too indecent (see also Utsuho and her 'third leg').

If I recall correctly, the Nue is a proper shapeshifter, so having a snake as a tail is a transitory, non-permanent form. The mythical Nue certainly doesn't have scythe-wings. In this case, even if the snake is symbolical, the fact that Nue decides to have such a feature must have a reason. This is certainly debatable, unless there's Word of God on the matter, which I honestly don't know of.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #197 on: October 23, 2009, 02:02:58 PM »
Thread not dead!

Ichirin Kumoi ? The Traditional Old Man and the Stylish Girl

It is important to realize that this piece presents two characters, only one of which actually has a speaking role. The other character can only be heard or understood by the first one, and has to rely on their partner to convey what they?re trying to say to the rest of the audience. Those of you who?ve played Katawa Shoujo would be very familiar with such a pairing. Obviously in our case it is Ichirin who?s at the forefront of the pairing, with only her reactions to Unzan to suggest him being at all sentient. Once we consider this, the piece really begins to take shape, the listener finding themselves at the receiving end of a bizarre two-pronged monologue coming from, seemingly, a single person.

The first part of the piece, the first 30 or so seconds, is likely Ichirin herself. Setting the pace with an almost comically upbeat series of chords, this section presents Ichirin as a highly positive, airy girl with some unusual flair to her words and actions. The only instruments in this section are the trumpet and piano, but the piano usually stays in the background to add an ornament here or there ? most likely Unzan making his presence not be forgotten ? so the sound we get is extremely plain and open, hiding nothing from the listener. The slightly out-of-place pomp and flair come from the trumpet?s tendency to dip into the lower pitch where it doesn?t really belong, the sound that it produces becoming a caricature of the dramatic sounds of the naturally low-pitched brass instruments. The sequence then repeats, to me painting Ichirin as someone expressive, talkative, sometimes without reasonable measure, the kind of person with whom it?s occasionally difficult to get in a word edgewise.

A short piano interlude follows, a few calm broken chords here and an arpeggio there, breaking the pace of the section before it. It?s appropriate, then, that I described Unzan?s presence above as being the piano part, because this section presents the image of Ichirin suddenly stopping whatever she was doing and cocking an ear at something only she can hear. Perhaps she is being instructed, chastised, or lectured by Unzan about something, possibly about her attitude or behaviour. This section shows that Ichirin takes Unzan very seriously; dropping everything she was doing to listen to him as soon as she hears his call.

The next section reinforces this, the music becoming far more measured, controlled. The piano is far stronger in its influence on the melody now, the trumpet still loud, but sounding as if it is the piano that?s leading now and the trumpet obediently following along. Somewhat like the relationship of Kanako and Sanae, with Unzan being like the former, he steers Ichirin into what he deems is the correct direction when it seems that she is getting out of hand. Of course, Ichirin is still the main speaker for the pair, so any influence we might see from Unzan is filtered through Ichirin?s energetic personality. Moreover, as with Sanae, Ichirin tends to add her own ornamentation onto the task at hand, once the final objectives have been agreed on. Despite this, Ichirin will complete the task at hand, never swerving off on a tangent to do something of her own. The relationship between Ichirin and Unzan is then very intimate, with a great deal of mutual trust going on between them. I would not go so far as to label it a father-daughter relationship, but Unzan certainly plays the role of a guardian elder to Ichirin?s energetic teenager.

The similarity to Sanae/Kanako never occurred to me before this analysis, so I?d be interested to hear what the rest of you think. There really aren?t many child-guardian relationships in Touhou (which is probably why so many characters are somewhat misanthropic), so I think the few that exist are really special, and deserve some discussion.

On a side note, I?m seriously considering going over Heian Alien before Emotional Skyscraper ~ Cosmic Mind, as the latter, to me, is really the centerpiece of UFO, and I don?t want it to make the former, which has plenty of merit on its own, seem like an afterthought. What do you folks think?



Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #198 on: October 23, 2009, 03:23:14 PM »
Your analysis, your order. If you feel like doing Heian Alien first then go ahead. Do it even before Captain Murasa if you really want to. I have no objections.



Solais

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #199 on: October 23, 2009, 03:48:10 PM »
Hmm, just as I said some minutes ago on poosh, I see Ichirin as: "I see Ichirin as a "Byakuren-in-training", who is too serious to pull that off. I can see her going all out, then Byakuren scolding her, because she was too serious. Too serious and cool, she may be."
Maybe that's the "Unzan steered" Ichirin?

I agree with you, Cosmic Mind IS the centerpiece of UFO, and one of the most beautiful final boss themes.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #200 on: October 24, 2009, 09:16:52 AM »
I really enjoy the analysis of Ichirin and Unzan here. I've always viewed their relationship as beneficial to each other. Unzan acts as a mentor and "father-like" figure to Ichirin. Ichirin then travels around helping Unzan do what he cannot by himself.

Also realized something of note for Kogasa. Her theme is made even more surprised by the fact that she is the only character in the entire game that has nothing to do with any of the events. Her theme makes her sound like a menacing character and yet in terms of the game's story, she's just a random passerby.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 09:19:10 AM by PrismYoshi »

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #201 on: October 25, 2009, 07:56:28 AM »
I am suprised nobody mentions the feeling of "being forgotten" in Kogasa's theme. It is like sensed everywhere inside the song. And menace is a too strong word for her. Imo Menace would probably fit Utsuho's theme better as the start of the song is already hot boiling threat, not Kogasa.

Kogasa's theme starts more like a "BOO!" and then slowly takes shape into more like a semi-dramatic and also playful - airy tune which take turns in the music.  And PrismYoshi said it as well: She is a random passerby, you can read this on ZUN's official translations.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #202 on: October 25, 2009, 12:33:52 PM »
This is what I meant in "Old-Fashioned Menace", because that "BOO!" won't surprise the people of this age. Maybe the people of the old.
Hmm, I don't really feel that "being forgotten" feeling, but maybe that feeling equals to my "old-fashioned" feeling, as something old tends to be forgotten.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #203 on: October 25, 2009, 12:55:58 PM »
Hmmm... Am I really the only person who hears Dark Side of Fate in Heian Alien?

Also, I think it kind of makes sense for Nue's theme to sound like a mash up of other themes, seeing how she's a chimera and all~
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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #204 on: October 25, 2009, 03:31:58 PM »
Hmmm... Am I really the only person who hears Dark Side of Fate in Heian Alien?

Aha! You! Speak! Exclamation mark!

Having calmed down, let me explain that. I really looked for Dark Side of Fate in Heian Alien. Why? Because I had a theory - Nue's outfit is comprised from aspects of every character whose theme she's nicked, hence Flandre-like freakish wings and Sanae's snake. That swirl on Nue is very similar to that of Hina, so I really hoped that my theory would hold with that too.

Unfortunately I can't seem to find the similarity, so could you please elucidate where you can hear it, preferably with track times? I cannot express how grateful I'd be, this has been bugging me for so long.

Moerin

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #205 on: October 25, 2009, 03:34:16 PM »
It's the intro~  The intro sounds like the intro to DSoF to me.
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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #206 on: October 25, 2009, 03:56:56 PM »
So basically, Nue is made of Flandre, Sanae, Hina and Koishi (the subconscious fear thing), just like her theme. Hmm, interesting~

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #207 on: October 25, 2009, 04:41:31 PM »
It's the intro~  The intro sounds like the intro to DSoF to me.

Huh. It really does. No clue how I missed that. Thanks for pointing that out though!


Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #208 on: October 25, 2009, 11:29:54 PM »
I always thought that when Nue uses her ability to conceal her true appearance, what she looks like to other people is determined by what they think she looks like.  ZUN probably tried to depict that by taking and modifying elements from a large number of existing songs.

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Re: Characters, music, personalities.
« Reply #209 on: October 25, 2009, 11:45:36 PM »
I always thought that when Nue uses her ability to conceal her true appearance, what she looks like to other people is determined by what they think she looks like.  ZUN probably tried to depict that by taking and modifying elements from a large number of existing songs.

And most people saw her as Flandre. Clever.