Final Fantasy XIII-2 Main Theme: The Case of A Filipino Singer

Looking at my friend’s post about having finished the newly released Final Fantasy XIII-2, I remembered I had to listen to the full version of the game’s main theme – both in English and Japanese. To all the Filipinos out there, in case you don’t know, Charice is the one who performed the English theme (while Mai Fukui for the Japanese theme). It was a proud day to be a Filipino and to be a gamer – I mean, finally, a Filipino in the gaming map! And it’s not just a game, it’s Final Fantasy!

Anyway, it’s not until I listened to both of them earlier that I realized that the English version is just the translated version of the Japanese one! I thought they are two completely different songs – guess not.

Here is Charice’s version:

Here is Mai’s version:

So while listening to both of these videos, I read the comments for both videos and immediately noticed a rift among the fans – is the English version better? Or the Japanese version?

Having listened to Filipino female artists ever since and having listened to a considerable amount of JPop songs – I must say that each of the pieces above reflected the music culture for each country they represent. Filipino female singers are known to have excellent power and control over high pitches and this is demonstrated perfectly by Charice. I noticed that there are only a few artists who can do this in the West, thus her popularity there. If you will listen to other Filipino artists (e.g. Sarah Geronimo, Rachelle Ann Go, etc.), the same characteristics can be said.

Moving over to the Japanese version – I must say it remained true to the characteristics of most of anime/game themes – delicate, gentle notes, and emphasis on the musical accompaniment. This type of music is more relaxing than the former, but coupled with a fast-paced game like this one, I’m not quite sure if it fits well.

In my honest opinion, I can’t really choose between the two as of the moment. My tendency is that I will choose the Japanese version any day, but there’s something in the English version that’s just too good to pass up. In the end, it’s just a matter of preference. Both pieces are great and all but a distinction in style and execution separates the two uniquely.

Let me know what you think! Do you prefer the English or the Japanese one? Why?

Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in the west last January 31. Here is the official trailer:


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