|SEGA (Sonic Team / Wavemaster)||Game Developer||1997 - 2005||Composer|
|Delfisound||Music Production||2005 -||Co-Founder, Composer|
Yutaka Minobe currently worksas a video game and anime composer at Delfisound. Born on October 7, 1972 in Yokohama, Minobe started playing the piano when he was four years old. Using the instrument as a basis, he taught himself how to compose during junior school and developed his talents throughout adolescence. After studying jazz piano performance at Surugadai University during the early 1990s, he struggled to make sufficient earnings as a jazz pianist after graduating. He therefore sought stable employment as a game composer and submitted a demo tape to join Sega. Starting work at the company during April 1997, he initially created the sound effects for two very different Saturn titles, Let’s Make a Pro Soccer Club! 2 and Sakura Taisen; while he created no music for these titles, he explored the process of fitting audio to scenes, while gaining technical expertise. Gradually becoming an integral member of the team, he subsequently made his compositional debut on Atsumare! GuruGuru Onsen and offered some immersive sound design and two piano performances on Sonic Adventure.
Minobe became widely recognised when he served as the lead composer of the popular Dreamcast RPG Skies of Arcadia (aka Eternal Arcadia). The artist developed a majestic orchestral sound throughout the soundtrack and also incorporated worldly colours to reflect the characters’ journey. He worked closely with the game’s planner to ensure that the music transitioned naturally in real-time to suit each scene. When creating each theme, he initially improvised on his MIDI keyboard in recording mode to conceive a memorable melody and subsequently developed his ideas into fully-fleshed compositions. Minobe had a recurring role as a sound creator on Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, and Sonic Pinball Party, where he preserved the tone of the series while accommodating a technologically limited console. Between such roles, he led the music for the ninja action games Shinobi and Nightshade. The composer pioneered fusions of traditional Japanese instrumental with electronic beats and other contemporary elements using cutting-edge samplers. He further explored other world music influences as a guest composer on Panzer Dragoon Orta and Onimusha: Blade Warriors.
During his later years at Sega, Minobe was surprisingly given the opportunity to compose a range of anime scores after Wavemaster were contracted by external companies. In 2003, he led the score for the two episodes of Submarine 707R, and ended up enhancing the drama of the visuals with mature orchestral underscore. He returned to Shuka no Toki: Age of Chaos the subsequent year and, once again, satisfied clients by producing high quality music in an efficient manner. He was also involved in the animation of Astro Boy: Mighty Atom as a music editor and was thereafter appointed the lead composer of its game adaptation. Also in 2004, Minobe made his compositional debut on the main Sonic series with Sonic Heroes; though he contributed only a few event compositions and arrangements, he impressed sound director Jun Senoue with his mature and dramatic approach. He was also entrusted as an arranger on Sakura Taisen 3, Phantasy Star Online Episode I, Radio DC, and Space Channel 5, all of which benefited from his expertise in orchestral and cinematic music.
Desiring to work with more external clients, Yutaka Minobe became a founding member of the independent sound studio Delfisound Inc., set up by Wavemaster’s former head Yukifumi Makino in 2005. His expertise was soon requested by small developer Punchline on the horror title Rule of Rose. The composer decided to reject contemporary elements in favour of creating tense and tragic themes for piano trio. Always aware of how much a great melody can bring to a score, he also extensively arranged the emotional main theme and used it as the basis of the lounge jazz vocal theme. He subsequently worked for developer Vivarium on the GameCube’s Odama, offering some immersive warlike orchestrations, while taking care not to overwhelm gamers. On behalf of Artoon, he also created much of the controversial score for Yoshi’s Island DS; he captured the light-hearted nature and tropical setting of the game with a range of calypso-influenced compositions, though the soundtrack was generally less catchy than its predecessor. He also offered his take on another popular franchise, with the homely acoustic tracks for Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Mon.
Despite departing the company, Minobe continues to maintain a close relationship with Sega. Reputed by his colleagues as a fine cinematic composer, orchestrator, and pianist, he was asked back to score several major projects. Having impressed Senoue on Sonic Heroes, he was given a much larger role on Shadow the Hedgehog; he created various pieces of short cinematic underscore on the title, as well as some intense hybridised themes for climactic settings and boss encounters. Once the compositions were complete, Minobe subsequently helped to immerse listeners into the fantasy world of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams with a range of romantic orchestrations and piano performances. Minobe has also continued to be involved in major animation projects since leaving Sega. He has created popular original scores for the ongoing manga adaptations Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monster GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s; he enticed viewers and soundtrack collectors alike by blending elaborate orchestrations with electronic beats and guitar infusions throughout the series. He also captured the intimate tone of the short-lived bishoujo adaptations Meine Liebe ~Wieder~ and Tayutama -Kiss on my Deity- with chamber music arrangements.
Between his continuing roles on the Yu-Gi-Oh and Sonic franchises, Minobe captured the storybook feel of the Wii’s Little King’s Story. Rather than create original music for the title, he focused on writing modest and humorous arrangements of famous classical scores. He subsequently explored interactive approaches on the PSP’s Echoshift with a charming yet surreal score recorded with a range of classical soloists and ensembles. His latest solo project is the Wii’s FlingSmash, where he offered a range of light-hearted jazz-tinged tracks.With so many eminent projects behind him, Minobe continues to pursue creating acoustic soundtracks within a digital world. In further works for Sega, Minobe recently took a central role on Sonic and the Black Knight; serving as a composer, arranger, and programmer, he incorporated many of orchestral elements that defined the world of King Arthur in a range of roles – even bringing rich strings to Crush 40’s theme songs “Knight of the Wind” and “Live Life”. Most recently, he served as a sound editor on the DS’ Sonic Colors and fleshed out the cinematics of Sonic Generations, Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure, and London 2012 Olympics Games.
- Various Game & Album Credits
- Official Profile (Japanese)
- Interview with RocketBaby (English, January 2001)
- Interview with Original Sound Version (English, August 2009)
© Biography by Chris Greening (September 2010). Last updated on January 19, 2013. Do not republish without formal permission.