Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly Original Soundtrack

 

Review by · May 24, 2019

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, also known by its Japanese name “Kokuchou no Psychedelica,” is a dark and haunting visual novel in the “otome” subgenre (female protagonist with the majority of the other cast as males that may or may not have “romantic” endings/routes). There are two Psychedelica games: this, and “Haitaka no Psychedelica” or Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. However, the two games were developed by two teams, with some staff overlap and some unique team members. The other Psychedelica has a wholly different plot, and it also has its own sound staff. Shigeki Hayashi of Sting fame (see Yggdra Union and other Dept Heaven games, among others) only composed for Black Butterfly.

One frustrating difference between the BB (Black Butterfly) and AH (Ashen Hawk) soundtracks is that BB only contains the in-game BGM, whereas AH has the vocal themes and the BGM all in one package. The BB ending song (which shares the same title as the game itself), sung by Eiko Shimamiya, was published separately at the time of the first game’s release, whereas this OST was published almost two years later, after both BB and AH were available in Japan.

Also, before I continue, I should note the difference between FFCT-0090 and FFCT-0091. Basically, there is none. FCCT-0091 sold as a limited edition exclusively through Animate and included a 3-inch diameter full-color badge (with safety pin on back). I think it’s silly to differentiate releases with a separate product number just for this kind of bonus: other publishers do first print pack-in bonuses without making a new catalog number all the time. But this is just me complaining about product distribution, when I should be focusing on Shigeki Hayashi’s score. So let’s get to that!

Compared to Hayashi’s past works, you can generally throw aside the upbeat, exciting battle themes from his RPG scores. There are a handful of intense tracks, particularly “Sprint” and “Confrontation.” The rest are either pleasant, mysterious, or sorrowful BGM befitting a visual novel. Some tracks here are merely perfunctory, fitting a scene but not standing out in any way. Others, fortunately, do stand out as lovely, and even memorable. For me, the title theme “Butterfly’s Temptation” and emotional theme “Tears” are the cream of the crop.

Among the hundred or so visual novel soundtracks I’ve owned, this one falls somewhere in the lower half. And, though I do not own the full discography of Shigeki Hayashi’s works, I would argue that the same ranking would be true among his game music works. That does not at all mean that this music is objectively bad. But there are not enough memorable, impressive pieces of music here for me to sing its praises.

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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 cats.