Spiky-haired emo guy? Yep. Buff guy with a heart of gold? Yep. Girl carrying a cat plushie and baring unnecessary skin? Yep. Amazing game anyway? Yep.

More than four years ago, Square Enix teamed up with Jupiter to put together a game that, by most people's standards, should have been trite and missable.

The World Ends with You, a 2007 (2008 in North America) game for the Nintendo DS, contains innumerable androgynous characters, a level-up and power-up system based on fashion, and an angsty spiky-haired protagonist.  These are all tropes gamers have come to expect from cookie-cutter RPGs, especially RPGs coming out of Japan.  Yet, somehow, much like with the odd Kingdom Hearts series (Disney and Square?!), the team behind TWEWY managed to make magic with that traditional formula.  Former Game Informer Associate Editor Phil Kollar called TWEWY one of this generation's must-play JRPGs, and the cult-success of the game led Tetsuya Nomura to recently tease a sequel, saying, "there probably is something." 

Here, the player is responsible for controlling both Joshua (top) and Neku (bottom)

TWEWY's combat system proved to be challenging, inspired, rewarding, and varied, forcing players to simultaneously control two different fighters in intense real-time battles.  Its characters, while conforming to traditional tropes of JRPGs, were complex, hilarious, and often lovable.  But what many people know the game for is its soundtrack, which is a strange but truly excellent mix of J-pop-style songs and quirky instrumentals.  

The composer and producer for the OST is a guy by the name of Takeharu Ishimoto, who has either worked on or fully  helmed the soundtracks for Crisis Core, Dissidia, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy X, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.  His work, especially in TWEWY, is diverse, original, and sometimes a little strange in all the best ways.  

Because of the varied nature of the TWEWY soundtrack, it was hard to pick just one song to showcase in this blog--so I picked several. This first track is the title screen song, called "It's So Wonderful" and is quite a bit darker than the rest of the album.

This next track is one that better showcases what the in-game soundtrack is like and is titled, "Twister."

This last track is one of my personal favorites from the album.  It's titled, "Fighting for Freedom," and if you spend enough time with me, you may hear me quoting the title/lyrics of the song in everyday conversation.

If you like the soundtrack enough to want to listen to it several times, you should support the artists involved and video game music in general by buying the soundtrack here.  Also, if you're a fan of TWEWY, don't forget to check out Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (due out in North American July 31st): Characters such as Neku, Joshua, and Shiki will all make appearances.