So, I was in the mood of writing something, but didn’t have any idea. Then I checked my drafts and recalled that I wanted to re-review this album after Itanshinmon, so here we are. The Kikeijuu trilogy re-reviews are coming next, and hopefully one of them will be released before Comiket lol Although maybe I should write a Billiards review instead since it will turn 10…? AAAAAAAAAAAA I dunno, tell me.
In addition to the Witch Single Series songs distributed at each event, there is also a song about that person who hasn’t been seen recently.
Majotachi no Ongakushitsu is another album based on the 3 Touhou witches: Marisa, Alice, and Patchouli. This time, as the “filler” character, we have that one vengeful ghost that will definitely appear in the next Touhou work🤡. (I don’t like her rabid fanboys, but I take Mima over Flandre any day)
This is a very peculiar album, as it doesn’t have the typical 8 vocal tracks of your usual BUTAOTOME release, but 7 vocal songs and 3 instrumental renditions of old tracks. All of them except for the last vocal one were made for singles that were distributed at small doujin events a few months prior to the album release. A lot of music circles do that kind of practice (think of Akatsuki Records’ LIMITED SINGLES series, Shinra-Bansho’s Synchro series, or TUMENECO’s Under the Rainbow), although they typically re-release them after a long time has passed (at the time of writing this, the earliest Akatsuki Records single still stuck in limited hell is from December 2020 – do note that I’m not referring to omake CDs, those are an entirely different story).
The lyrics here are pretty great, Comp has written some nice stuff while Ranko went on a roll by expanding some simple things from official games, especially about Marisa and the PC-98 side!
It’s a simplistic design with just the colors used in each Music Room single (pink/light red for the first, green for the second, light blue for the third, and then purple for the last track) and a couple of magic circles on the back. There is also a cool logo for the Kirisame Magic Shop! I wish we could have gotten full versions of the 3 witches’ arts somewhere (although I do remember Ane posted Marisa and Patchouli on Weibo). Ane has also read some books about witchcraft and occultism, and they are cited as reference in the album’s credits. We might see their influence mainly in the related goods that were made along with the release of the Music Room singles (reminder that I need to fix the goods page…), with the bag having a ouija board design, or also the teacup.
By the way, I love how outcast‘s lyrics are in the inlay, outside of the booklet. It symbolizes its status of extra track released outside of the singles and Mima being “outside” of the current Gensoukyou.
On another note, the original three singles all had a different scent, meant to represent Alice, Marisa, and Patchouli respectively. I don’t think I will ever know what they smell like, but I do wonder if they are somehow similar to the perfumes this nice BOOTH shop sells (they have MariAliPatchy-themed perfumes as well as other characters).
Not including re-arrange/instrumental albums, this is the most Paprilicious release of all time: out of 10 tracks, only 3 are arranged by Comp. The cat experimented a lot with styles, so some songs might still feel “Compish” to some people, but I’d still recommend this album to Pap fans. The presence of the instrumental tracks can also give a bit of “breath”.
1. Chigatta Sekai
“Flowers are singing, cats are dancing, and I’m talking to a chatty bird
The me of today is different from the me of yesterday”
Such a bright and cheerful track that nicely opens the album, transporting us into Alice’s different world. Man, this one still brightens my mood. It also brings back memories of when my boyfriend visited me for the first time, we listened to the first Music Room together!
2. Sono Saki no Oku
“As long as in the deepest depths, buried at the root,
A single piece of faith remains, it’s fine.”
MiChi v2, now with less In The Hall of Mountain King and more harpsichord? Yeah, I guess. But I think this arrangement still manages to stand out on its own, the melody has been arranged in a different way, and it has a completely different feeling that conveys Alice’s resoluteness! The lyrics expand upon on Mystic Square’s extra stage, with the little Alice using the forbidden power of the grimoire to defeat Reimu and co., and how she changed and became the girl we saw in PCB.
3. Shi (inst)
The first of the 3 instrumental rearranges in this album (although it wasn’t the first to be released), and it transforms that beloved song from Itanshinmon into a frantic piece while still keeping the core melody of the original! Love the piano playing here!
4. Yozakura Hanami
“It’s me the one who’ll be lost in the hazy vision
But by the time I realized it, it was already too late”
The sweetest Magus Night arrangement ever, but I think it becomes a bit bitter with the lyrics. They expand upon the extra stage of Fairy Wars, where the original theme made its first appearance, and give us a tale about the lifespan of humans and fairies. I used to think the fast jazzy segment before the final stanza was unfitting, but now I found a fitting interpretation. Human life is short, especially from the viewpoint a fairy, and time can pass pretty fast without realizing it.
“No matter if it’s wounding or wearing me out,
No matter if it permeates or pains me,
As long as I can call it love.”
I like that the title of this song is essentially a Japanese translation of its original theme! Selene’s light is not exactly a common choice, I think it’s rare to find it even in Marisa-centered albums.
Gekkou has a very different rock vibe compared to the typical BUTAOTOME stuff but still has some touches, I think it sounds more electronic-influenced. It’s a very cool track, and that simple original theme has been readapted in such a great way!
The 3 Comp tracks here also got off-vocal versions, which are exclusive to the Music Room singles. While I believe the Pap tracks would have been more interesting to listen to, Gekkou is cool even as an instrumental, and the best one of the bunch.
6. Choukahanka Shikisokuzekuu (inst)
Hey, it’s that disgustingly catchy swing piece from Jitsu wa Sensai na..! It’s not the only Paprilicious version of this song (see Nekokenban 7 and Acoustic Gakkyokushuu 2). This one is much closer to the original vocal song with the melody, and it sounds so sparkly!
7. Sukoshi Mukashi no Ohanashi
“This is a tale from long, long ago.
There were still no rules present here
When a machine strayed
Into the border between east and west.”
My personal favorite from this album! The instrumental is amazing, it makes me imagine a puppet show narrating this old, mysterious tale about Marisa. Plus I have a soft spot for some good accordion.
Also, I remember I lost my shit when I read its first stanza. VIVIT is in a Buta song! Seihou is real in the Buta lore!! Time to sacrifice the VIVITs!!! #MuseDeservesHerButaSong !!!!
Anyway, the lyrics take that simple story from Shuusou Gyoku’s extra stage and expand upon Marisa’s viewpoint. More specifically, the fact she showcases “a magic she hasn’t used for a while” and her wings. Marisa might have this inner demon that she locked away…
8. Mugen Monogatari
“Look at what’s there and realize what’s not there
“If there’s something that’s not there, make it.” History tells a story”
Due to the lack of themes (and EoSD’s extra stage theme being associated to Flandre in the Butaverse), this is the only Patchouli song here. I’d say this is the most typical Comp track in this album. Voile is my favorite EoSD track, so I automatically love this song as it mainly uses that theme. But my favorite part is the bridge, which follows Locked Girl’s verses!
9. Yume janai Nanika (inst)
My personal favorite among the instrumental rearrangements! It sounds so magical, and straight out of Touhou Nekokenban 11 (one of my absolute favorite albums from the series). I guess it fits, since that album was fully ReiMari-themed and the original Yume janai Nanika has ReiMari lyrics (also read Ranko’s story based on it here!)…
“In that case, I’ll go on a journey
Until I visit you again.”
Outcast: a person who has no place in their society or in a particular group, because the society or group refuses to accept them.Cambridge Dictionary
Basically, Mima (and PC-98 girls in general) has no place in the current Gensoukyou, because someone or something
ZUN refuses to accept her. The PC-98 games in general have a lot of “original character donut steel” vibe, and I understand that the original creator might find their early works cringy and not worth of a revival. But we can use the power of our imagination to give them a new life. While I have my issues with Mima fanboys who want her back just because, I can sympathize with people who love this type of forgotten character such as the PC-98 girls. After all, my favorite character ever is Muse from Seihou (who has a vague profile and some victory dialogue lines), and the cover girl from Dolls in Pseudo Paradise (literally just an illustration with not even official colors) is in my top 10. They are essentially a blank slate and one can imagine whatever with them.
Okay, back to this song: it’s pretty much a typical Pap track that somehow manages to mix hope and melancholy. The melancholy of a lonely voyage, and the hope of someone watching over this current world until the day of return will come. By the way, I really like how the original Japanese of the lyrics I’ve featured here sounds like Ranko is saying Mima’s name.
I highly recommend Majotachi no Ongakushitsu to those who prefer Paprika’s songs, PC-98 lovers, and as a complementary piece to Itanshinmon in general. Also, I’m glad I’ve re-reviewed this album, it’s even better than how I remembered it! I guess it’s an infinite journey of rediscovery with such a vast catalog…
As usual, all the buy links are listed on its album page. Nearly all the goods that were made to accompany the Music Room singles are sold out and probably won’t ever be reprinted again, but you can still buy the multi-bottle set on BUTAOTOME’s BOOTH!