Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly / Eiko Shimamiya


Review by · May 3, 2019

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly was released in Japan in early 2015. Its spiritual sequel, Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk, came along about 18 months later. However, there was a bit of a soundtrack printing snafu along the way. The OSTs for both Psychedelica games were published on November 30, 2016, and Ashen Hawk was published as a “Theme Song + Soundtrack” combo, with the vocal themes and the proper OST all on one disc. However, because the theme song for Black Butterfly had already been published in January 2015, Frontier Works would forego re-publishing the theme song on the Black Butterfly OST. So, we have this separate item floating in the aether. Is it worth hunting down? Let’s take a look and listen.

Eiko Shimamiya has a clear, crisp voice; she is capable of sounding sweet in one refrain, dark and soulful in the next. Her own harmonic vocal tracks augment the power of “Psychedelica” very nicely as well. For this particular theme, she is credited as the composer (with Kazuya Takase as arranger). I certainly respect the work of any singer-songwriter; it is not an easy thing to do, putting yourself out there as a writer and a performer. And while there are moments in this song where I want to cry foul for overused chord progression or too much time “singing” on the same note, the overall effect and impression of this song is a positive one.

The B-Side track, “survivors note,” is an entirely different affair. This is an EDM or “house” style song, not at all associated with Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly — and rightfully so. This track would better fit in a rhythm game, á la Dance Dance Revolution. It showcases Shimamiya’s diverse skills as a vocalist, but in terms of its value to fans of the Psychedelica games, that would be a big fat zero.

All in all, it really is a shame that the publishing of this single occurred when it did. Ultimately, the “Ashen Hawk” soundtrack boasts stronger value right from the start as its vocal themes and OST are all on one disc, whereas “Black Butterfly” requires fans to hunt down two separate discs for purchase, likely for an additional 10 to 15 USD. At the time of my writing this review, in 2019, I cannot justify that kind of recommendation to any but the most hardcore fans of the “Psychedelica” visual novel duo.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.