Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Video Game Music that I Like - Jeanne & Bayonetta

This post is about a 'series' of music from the video game Bayonetta.  I first posted about Bayonetta here.  You can find more information about the game itself in that post.  Warning: this post will contain some plot spoilers for the game.

This series of music is about a friendship, a very strange one indeed.  Early in the game of Bayonetta, she encounters a strange woman dressed in a red, stylish outfit.  Shortly after meeting, they help each other fight off a group of angels before turning their guns on one another.  A truck passes between them, and the woman mysteriously vanishes.

Later, as Bayonetta is exploring the city of Vigrid, the mysterious woman appears once again, this time on a motorcycle.  After the woman dispatches the angels with her motorcycle, she parks it on a wall.  She and Bayonetta have a talk, in which the woman explains some things to Bayonetta.  This triggers a memory in Bayonetta, and the game is taken to a flashback to where she and this mysterious woman were battling in an arena.

The song is entitled 'Battle for the Umbra Throne'.  It's the only song I know of that combines maracas, harpsichords, piano, various string instruments, and bagpipes.  Yep, bagpipes.  Enjoy:

You can see from the video why I didn't try to explain the 'red outfit'.  It's kind of crazy.

There probably are a few instruments that I missed from the song.  The battle itself is pretty crazy.  The arena is basically a rectangular box.  The mysterious woman and Bayonetta fight on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling using a special technique called 'Witch Walk'.  It enables them to walk on walls and the ceiling whenever moon light is shining.

After the battle is complete, Bayonetta comes back to the present.  The woman is gone, but Bayonetta now remembers her name.  Jeanne.

Later, Bayonetta is traveling through an old training ground that was once used by the Umbra witches.  At one point, she has to leap between several large chunks of rock in an attempt to escape the destruction being caused by an angel that can control the wind.  She ends up in what appears to be a round arena of sorts.  That's when Jeanne appears again.  Jeanne taunts Bayonneta, and they briefly battle each other.  This is the music that's playing as they fight:

After a brief fight, the rock they are fighting on shifts, and Bayonetta jumps back to the arena.  Jeanne jumps after her, and they fight once more (this time with the player controlling Bayonetta).  That's when the song 'Red & Black' begins to play:

Red & Black easily refers to Jeanne and Bayonetta's clothing.  Jeanne wears red and Bayonetta wears black.  The battle itself is pretty interesting.  They fight in the arena.  At one point, a large chunk of rock soars by, and they both jump on it to fight on that.  After a few moments, that piece of rock collides with something, and they both jump back to the arena to fight.

Later, Bayonetta is on the plane Valkyrie searching for a little girl named Cereza when Jeanne appears once more.  Taunting her again.  Once more they spar, this time things getting far more intense.  Both of them begin using different magical techniques to try to get the advantage over the other.  Finally, the player takes control of Bayonetta and they fight on the back of the Valkyrie as it begins crashing into the ocean.  Sadly, the game designers reused the song 'Red & Black' for this fight as well.  Personally, I think it would have been awesome if they wrote a new song for this confrontation with Jeanne.  I guess you can go back and listen to it again if you wish.

Finally, after hijacking a missile, Bayonetta arrives at Isla del Sol, her final destination.  Once more, she is confronted by Jeanne.  Jeanne begins to recite the prophecy about a child, whose very conception was forbidden.  There was a prophecy that if a Lumen Sage and an Umbra Witch were to ever have a child, the child would send both of the clans into chaos.  As she speaks, Jeanne uses a remote to fire off groups of missiles.  Jeanne finally identifies Bayonetta as the child that sent both clans into chaos, one last group of missiles fires off, and their final battle begins.  This music plays during the battle:

The name of the song is 'Blood & Darkness'.  The name of the song could have a number of possible meanings.  First, it could be a more extreme form of the song 'Red & Black'.  It could also be a reference to the fact that both Jeanne and Bayonetta are Umbra witches, associated with things such as blood and darkness.  Anyways, the song is incredible.  The fight itself is crazy.  They first fight on the top of a building.  Then they end up fighting on the side of a skyscraper.  Jeanne periodically fires missiles at Bayonneta at this point.  With the right timing, the player can have Bayonetta and Jeanne get in a missile juggling fight.  Then they leap onto a missile to fight.  Then they jump onto a second missile.  Finally, they end up on another roof top to fight.

Finally, when the fight is over.  Jeanne and Bayonetta talk, and Bayonetta realizes that they used to be very close friends in the past.  Everything that Jeanne had done was to protect Bayonetta, the 'treasure of the clan'.  Finally, Bayonetta is forced to escape the building as a group of missiles converge, presumably killing Jeanne.

Bayonetta goes on to fight and defeat her father, the last Lumen sage.  Even after his defeat, he comes back, stealing away Bayonetta and placing her in a large statue that is 'The Creator'.  Bayonetta is unconscious, and unable to save herself from becoming part of the statue.

That's when Jeanne steps in.  She hadn't died on the roof of the building, but instead used a magic to shield herself from the attack.  That's when she takes off after the statue, which is being launched into space on a rocket, to save Bayonetta.  The song 'Friend' plays during this part of the game:

Jeanne ultimate is able to rescue Bayonetta, who goes on to defeat the Creator and save the universe from being destroyed.  The song 'Friend' reminds me of what friendship is about.  It's about being there for my friends.  It's about running to save them.  It's about fighting by their sides.  It's a very dramatic moment in the game, and I often forget that life isn't always dramatic.  Sometimes friendship is something subtle, quiet, and gentle.  It's not always going to be getting on a motorcycle and driving off into space to rescue a friend of mine who's been capture by a crazed person intent of destroying the universe.  Although that would be pretty awesome.

Well, this wraps up my post.  It's a series of songs about a strange friendship from a game.  I do hope that some of my friendships do end up with me trying to kill my friend, only to remember later that we are friends.  That would be pretty crazy.



  1. Um... I hope you don't try to kill me.

    Just sayin'.


  2. Oh video games, what will I do with you? I have always loved video games. The thing is, ever since my recent breakdown, I've had no desire to play them. I haven't played any games for about two weeks now. I feel so guilty now for spending so much time with them. I'm afraid to play games again in fear of staying in my social isolation.

    Simon, I share your passion for the fantastic and imaginative outlet games provide. I love JRPG's. Final Fantasy, Persona, Suikoden, Dragon Warrior and many more. I especially love the music, which I see you also enjoy. Maybe when I'm not so depressed anymore I might play some games again. I'd like your input, do you feel that video games hamper your ability to make friends and be social? Before I never cared about having friends. Now it seems like it's all I care about. Are you able to find a balance? I've realized that I used to play games as a means of distracting myself from dealing with my feelings of SSA. I still really enjoyed them, but now I feel like I've missed out on other things in life. Tell me what you think.

    PSN: izanagi10
    XBOX Live: nascentpulse

  3. Video games and I have an interesting relationship. For me, it's about balance. There used to be a point in my life where I would prioritize playing the games over socializing. Now, I try to use them as time to have 'fun' or when I don't have something else to be doing. When it becomes and escape or a distraction, it gets very unhealthy for me. When the game is over, I still have the same problems.

    I hear you when you say 'I never cared about friends, and now it's all I seem to care about'. I've been there. Sometimes, I still am in that same place. I've found that video games can sometimes help me make friends, or give me something to talk about with friends, although I have worn out some of my friends with my Bayonetta obsession. I actually have one night a week that's set aside for going and playing World of Warcraft with some friends of mine. Sometimes it's enjoyable. Sometimes it isn't. Still, I do enjoy my group of gaming buddies.

    Anyways, roleplaying games are some of my favorites. I'll have to send you a friend request at some point on my PS3.

    Oh, and I don't play on trying to kill any of my friends any time least in reality. :)

  4. That's exactly what I was thinking. I was doing the same thing. If I got invited to some social thing, I always made up an excuse and stayed at home playing games. Now I will prioritize socializing and making friends, although it will cause me a certain level of discomfort until I get used to it. I gotta break out of my shell! It's a pretty thick one. :) Thanks Simon.