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Neo Star (theme)

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Neo Star
Samples of arrangements of "Neo Star".
Debut appearance Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000)
Last appearance Kirby Star Allies (2018)
Other appearance(s) Kirby: Canvas Curse
Composer(s) Jun Ishikawa
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"Neo Star"[derived from Japanese] is a theme from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It was composed by Jun Ishikawa.[1]


The composition of "Neo Star", including the use of choral voices and a tonic/chromatic submediant progression, appropriately underscores Kirby's heroic adventures through awe-inspiring stages.

"Neo Star" is a slow/moderate theme set at approximately 82.5 bpm in common time, predominantly in G Mixolydian but with regular departures (♭3, ♭6) used to render a chromatic submediant, with the predominant harmonic progression being I-I-♭VI-I (i.e., occasionally switching to the submediant from the tonic). The tonic/flat-submediant progression evokes a sense of a heroic journey through a fantastical and eerie setting, appropriate for the dark, cavernous settings of Neo Star.[2]

The theme is constantly underscored by prominent percussion, an aggressive synth bass line, and a complex, imposing array of various accompanying synth lines. A solo synth voice renders the primary melody for the first half, before a synth choir renders a response in the second half under the same tonalities. The choral voicing when combined with the tonic/flat-submediant progression asserts a sense of awe appropriate for the stages that this track underscores.

Game appearances[edit]

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards[edit]

The original arrangement features in Neo Star - Stage 2 and Neo Star - Stage 4. It is available both in the game's Sound Check as track 007, and on the Hoshi no Kirby 64 Original Soundtrack CD as track 23.

Kirby: Canvas Curse[edit]

A rearrangement called "Volatile Volcano" features in the stage of the same name, an active volcano not dissimilar in atmosphere to Stage 4 of Neo Star. Although faithful in tonality and melody, the rearrangement's instrumentation replaces the synth voices with entirely electronic sounds. In the game's Sound Test, this is track number 19. While no specific track credits exist in any form, the original track's composer Jun Ishikawa worked on this game, along with fellow HAL Laboratory sound creator Tadashi Ikegami.

Kirby Star Allies[edit]

The original version from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards features in Sector B. It appears on Disc 2 of Kirby Star Allies: The Original Soundtrack as track 20, while in the actual game's Jukebox, the track is available as number 086.


  • Parts of Bumper Crop Bump's theme music (also composed by Jun Ishikawa) feature melodic phrases very similar to "Neo Star", although the track is set in C minor and thus features a more straightforward I-VI (tonic/submediant) progression in part.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese コレカラスター
korekara sutā
Hereafter Star


  1. Hoshi no Kirby 64 Original Soundtrack; Kirby Star Allies Jukebox
  2. Major-mode PL and LP transformations (in the Neo-Riemannian language of triads) are well studied in music theory contexts ranging from 19th century Romantic music all the way to contemporary pop and rock. See, for example: Heine dubs the major-mode PL transformation the 'Magic' motion for its common use to underscore wondrous moments in science fiction and fantasy films, while Murphy goes so far as to claim that while this motion may "weaken a listener’s sense of tonic" in classical contexts, "M8M’s pervasiveness [...] in recent popular film music arguably compensates for this disorientation".