Ōkami: A Musicologist’s View



A highly stylised JRPG, Ōkami was initially released in 2006 and was re-released HD in 2012. The game uses specifically stylised visual environments and music to create a world which appears to be from Japanese history. This uses a woodblock print style for its visuals and traditional Japanese instruments for the music. The music works mostly with character themes, making them playful and a clear identifier of the character, such as Oira’s theme which uses a glockenspiel to distinguish his bouncing movements.


Environments also have their own theme, with the Cursed Shinshuu Plains theme working with roughly 4 or 5 instruments, which play in a slow tempo, with mostly a solo flute and harp accompaniment which give the environment a closed and melancholic expression. When the player defeats this curse, Shinshuu Plains opens up with counterpoint melodies through large string and brass sections. This playful melody symbolises that the plain is now alive and full, becoming particularly exciting when the melody moves to the Koto, a traditional Japanese string instrument, which symbolises the bright and woodblock print visual aesthetics given in this area.



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