Episode 418: The Five Best Character Theme Songs of Guilty Gear Strive


Welp, I’m not good at Guilty Gear Strive.

There’s a whole lot of adjusting I’ll have to do with the entire way the game is played. I’ve heard Arc System Works dumbed down the gameplay to appeal to newbies like me but there’s just so much to take into account! You’ve got things like the more limited gatling combo links, double jumps, air dashing, Dust attacks, air attack jump cancelling and much more! I haven’t even mentioned the more advanced tech like Bursts, Faultless Defense, Instant Blocking and the variety of Roman Cancels! I just can’t keep up!

Even with my limited ability and skill, I’m still having a blast with Guilty Gear Strive. It’s an incredibly fun and bombastic fighting game and I just love all the characters. They each have their own charm to them and that’s helped by their theme songs. Arc System Work has done an incredible job with Strive’s soundtrack but not every theme song is equal. Some are definitely better than the others.

This week, I decided to name my favorite character theme songs from Guilty Gear Strive. If you’re expecting a certain song to be at the top of the list, you might actually be surprised because, after intensely listening to each and every theme song, my opinions regarding who has the best song have changed. It wasn’t easy to pick just five because I like most of the songs. Even ranking them in likability was a tough order for me!

Anyway, without further ado, let’s go through the best theme songs in Guilty Gear Strive!

#5 What do you fight for? (Nagoriyuki)

Is that a little of the Beatles’ Come Together in there? C’mon! I can’t be the only one to hear it!

It was really hard to pick who would take the number 5 spot for this list. It eventually went down to Chipp’s “Play the Hero” and Nagoriyuki’s “What do you fight for?” in getting it. I could have gone the cheap way out and made it a tie but I felt it would be cheating so I had to make a choice. Eventually, after thinking about it long and hard, Nagoriyuki’s theme song won out.

“What do you fight for?” has a lot going for it. From the badass guitar intro, the aforementioned homage to the Beatles, the macho boss-like rhythm of the refrain to that kick-ass refrain, Nagoriyuki’s theme rocks. You also have the out of left field news report/rap of the second verse mixed with that Beatles background tune before getting back to that awesome refrain. You also have that awesomely cool bridge before hitting one incredible guitar solo interlude. In fact, it’s the bridge and guitar solo that made it beat out Chipp’s song just by a hair.

The only thing really keeping it from being higher on this list is how it ends. It just stops so suddenly without some cool guitar and drum fill. “What do you fight for?” is still an incredible song but I just wish it ended with a bang.

#4 Trigger (Giovanna)

If there’s any song that exudes “slacker cool” in Guilty Gear Strive, it’s Giovanna’s “Trigger”.

Most of the songs in Guilty Gear Strive have this super fast beat to get your blood pumping. Giovanna’s theme seems to go the opposite direction and, because of this weird tangent it takes, it’s the “softest” song in the soundtrack. That’s not a bad thing because of how, well, cool it comes off. “Trigger” comes off like the Beastie Boys collaborated with someone like Lenny Kravitz or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The outcome shouldn’t work well but it does here!

There’s a lot I love about this song. I enjoy the bass rifts they use to make it sound almost jazzy. It’s almost like a rap since the “singer” sounds like he’s just shouting in a normal voice. I also love the way they say “keep it real” in a very lackadaisical and relaxed manner. You also get a really out there guitar solo which almost sounds like the player is just barely in control of the chords.

Another thing which makes me love this song is how it matches Giovanna’s somewhat slacker personality. In the story mode, she comes off an incredibly relaxed and doesn’t take her duties as one of the President’s bodyguards seriously. However, we do see that she can bring the pain when she needs to. “Trigger” is just the perfect song for her!

#3 Find Your One Way (Sol Badguy)

Ahh, some classic hard rock. Sounds like Guilty Gear to me.

Sol Badguy’s “Find Your One Way” is one of those hard-hitting metal songs that seems like any other hard-hitting metal song you may have heard in the past and, frankly speaking, that’s what it is, actually. It doesn’t revolutionize the genre but there’s this special magic of “Find Your One Way” which makes it stand out.

Maybe it’s because it’s linked to Sol Badguy, the main protagonist of the Guilty Gear franchise, and it just suits his rough and gruff persona. Maybe it’s how the lyrics use Engrish so it’s kind of a hot mess. It also could be the classic hard rock guitar strains they use throughout. It also may be because of the melodic pre-chorus of the second part of the song. It could be the heavy bass accompanying of the Interlude or the pure emotion in the vocal performance. Most probably it’s the combination of all these things.

I know Sol Badguy’s theme sounds a whole lot like other hard rock songs in the past but I can’t help it. I just love how it sound. It makes me wish a professional wrestler like Kenny Omega will use “Find Your One Way” as his entrance music one time. Hint, hint!

#2 Disaster of Passion (May)

What? “Disaster of Passion” is coming in second place? Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I professed my deep love for May’s theme song. The first time I heard “Disaster of Passion”, I was in love. I love the song so much I even went out and purchased Guilty Gear Strive, the latest game in a franchise I don’t play! It’s still one of the best songs in the game but there is one other song that beat it out.

Before we get to the song which beat out May’s theme for the top slot, let’s go talk about “Disaster of Passion” and why it’s so good. For one thing, it’s a pop-punk song, which makes it sound a whole lot like what Paramore and Fall Out Boy would play. However, it also sounds like it would work as an anime opening as well. It works both ways! It’s got this hyperactive and cheerful pace which just makes me feel all giddy inside as well. Not only that, I do feel “Disaster of Passion” perfectly captures May’s perky and cheery attitude and gameplay style. As a girl who summons dolphins, you do need a perky tune like this playing in the background, not some hard rocking tune! Totsugeki indeed!

#1 Love the Subhuman Self (Millia Rage)

So dramatic! So emo! I loooove it!

I was fully expecting “Disaster of Passion” to take the top spot of this list. That was going to be true until I heard “Love the Subhuman Self”, Millia Rage’s theme. This is just a song that goes all the way up to 11 at the very start and never lets up! It’s the song that just keeps on going with it pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor! There’s a lot of power and emotion in the instruments and, more importantly, the vocals. It’s not just the lyrics but the singer just gives it her all singing “Love the Subhuman Self”! It also helps how it has this weird semblance of a Dragonforce song, especially when it comes to that hectic bridge/interlude.

However, the thing which made Millia Rage’s theme become the best character song in Guilty Gear Strive is how dramatic and emo it is! They lyrics, while still having some Engrish moments, the tone is both sad and melancholic at the same time. You also have that quick interjection of the escalating piano scale just before the refrain to give it a more dramatic and epic feel.

I will never be able to use Millia Rage effectively as she uses a lot of mixups to be truly effective. However, I will love “Love the Subhuman Self” until time stand still.

BONUS: Smell of the Game (main theme song of Guilty Gear Strive)

What does the game smell like? Smells like hot tunes to me!

I just have to insert “Smell of the Game” into this list somehow. This song just exudes attitude and smacks you in the face with hard hitting Engrish rock. It’s an incredible song and has so many amazing parts. Unfortunately, it’s the main theme song of Guilty Gear Strive and not a character theme song so “Smell of the Game” is disqualified. If I could include it, it would easily take the 3rd spot no problem!

“Smell of the Game” will always get my heart blazing!


What’s your favorite song in Guilty Gear Strive? Let me know in the comments section below!

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