My Top 10 Favourite JRPG Boss Battle Themes

Because, like last time, I simply felt like it.

Just like with the normal battle themes, I’m restricting myself to one song per series to avoid flooding the list with different entries from one series, or even one game. I’m also not including final bosses for obvious reasons.

It was actually quite tough to come up with 10 for this list with how many entire series have nothing but bad boss songs, but I did manage eventually, so let’s see what I have here…

#10: Pokémon Colloseum (GCN) – Miror B.’s Retro Groove

Imagine this: You see a ridiculous-looking, but supposedly-threatening trainer being teased repeatedly for the lengthy first part of a game. Yes, he does weird dances and the like, but there’ll be an epic song to the battle, for sure! …Right?

NOPE!

And that’s what makes thing song fun. It’s a song that goes completely against the usual songs you’d find in a game like this. While there are other boss themes like this, this one stands out in my mind for the contrast.

#9: Fortune Summoners: Secret of the Elemental Stone (PC) – Perilous Battle

This is a song that is both fitting for its use and not fitting at all.

I mean, on the one hand, you’re playing as elementary schoolers in this game. On the other hand, it’s a fairly standard medieval fantasy setting with magic and the protagonist has no magical capability and wants to learn the sword. Plus, this song is used from everything from dumb bosses to wyverns, so I guess it’s fitting some of the time at least.

#8: Bravely Default (3DS) – That Person’s Name Is…

This is a great song that’s weakened a bit by the surrounding music. The songs you hear for normal battles are awesome, but this isn’t particularly great in comparison. This is the problem with trying to hit a bunch of high notes in a row – fatigue. I felt no particular joy from this song when hearing it in-game, but I acknowledge that it is a good song.

#7: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory (PS3) – One Two Three

This song is what I would call acceptable. Why is it at 7th, then? Read my explanations on the previous songs. The things before this on the list were all gimmicks or has issues regarding relevant tone from the rest of the game. On the other hand, this song fits just fine, and that is all I have to say about it.

#6: Final Fantasy IV (SNES/PS1/WSC/GBA/DS/PSP/Mobile) – Boss Battle Theme

Otherwise known as the song of your impending doom, this song accurately portrays how much tension some of the boss fights in this game have from their difficulty and necessary strategy. I would criticize what’s wrong with the boss fights, but this isn’t the place for it.

As a friend I recently discussed battle themes with, a battle song should get you pumped if nothing else, and that’s what this does. That is, incidentally, why I had so much trouble filling out this list – many games had dull and generic sounding “danger” songs as their boss themes, which isn’t doing anyone any favours.

#5: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PC/PSP/PS3) – Silver Will

The normal battle theme for this game stood out for not sounding like a battle theme at all. This song sounds like one, though, and it’s certainly not bad. In fact, it’s pretty catchy, and there’s one massive compliment I can pay this song: Even though some of the battles using this song can get pretty long, I didn’t get tired of the song at all. Very few songs can boast something like that.

My main complaint, however, has to be that this was used for the final boss instead of a unique song, which is a shame.

#4: MegaMan StarForce 2: Zerker × Saurian and Zerker × Ninja (DS) – Wave Battle

MegaMan StarForce 2 has to be the worst of that MegaMan sub-series, but the one compliment I will give it is that the boss battle theme is best one of the bunch. Not exactly a huge compliment, though.

#3: The Guided Fate Paradox (PS3) – Dazzled Butterfly

The bosses in this game can take a while from just the nature of the game, so this song takes full advantage. Instead of immediately hitting with a high note, they give up an epic song that takes a bit to get going.

The whole idea of a large group singing in chorus fits well with the game’s divine motif and the singular main singer fits well with how the protagonist has just one stalwart supporter in the loop.

#2: Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel (PS3) – EXEC_COSMOFLIPS/.

Quite a tonal shift, eh?

Some people may be a bit surprised at this entry, since it’s easy to go through this entire game without hearing this song, and this game is quite bad, so most people would never play it again.

You see, there is a major plot boss fight against a being named Ar Ru that you face regardless of ending routes. It’s one of two major splitting points in the game’s story, and this song only plays if you’re on the true ending route, if I’m not mistaken.

If you’re curious about the lyrics, Hymnos songs contain feelings and vary by singer. This song tells the first half of a story about refugees and the beings known as Ru. For the second half of the story, one would need to listen to the song EXEC_REBIRTHIA=PROTOCOL/., which is, of course, used later in the game.

Don’t look into the meaning behind the songs too much, though, since you’ll run into spoilers for the game if you do. Same applies to any Hymnos song from the series.

#1: Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis (PS2/PSP) – Nefertiti

Sometimes, epicness is all you need. This song plays for one particular boss that you face a few times in the game, and it’s simply epic. Making things even better, since Mana Khemia is an Atelier game, this song is available for selection to replace most other songs in every PS3  and Vita title in the series since then except Atelier Escha & Logy. I can make this the final boss theme, if I want! Or I can replace a bad song with it (Ultimate Rondo, I’m looking at you).

And there’s another list done. I’m considering final boss themes, but most final boss themes are even worse than the regular boss themes, so maybe not.

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