Makai Senki Disgaea Makai Arrange Collection ~Dark label~
The Makai Senki Disgaea Arrange Soundtrack was criticised for sticking too closely to the source material and not having enough features to make it stand out on its own. However, it did have an impressive length with 17 tracks producing a total playtime of just under 75 minutes. It seems like Tenpei Sato produced a few more arrangements for the album that couldn't fit into the final cut. Over two years later, Sato was able to release them in Makai Senki Disgaea Makai Arrange Collection Dark Label, a bonus disc packaged with the Japanese version of Makai Disgaea 2 together with the Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Original Soundtrack. With seven instrumental arrangements in total, are these B-sides worth checking out?
The arranged album opens with the underrated "Beauty Baron". Brimming with lyricism, this frivolous accordion-led theme is a lovely way to introduce the CD. However, no substantial changes can be heard until its second half when there is a new section featuring a amusing array of woodwind flutters. Already an intricate and accomplished theme, the dramatic march "Hysteric Kingdom" receives a fairly orthodox arrangement too. The bright brass melodies and expansive string runs of the opening section give way to a deliciously dark turn from 0:50; the darkness explored here is elaborated on more with an original section at 1:55, though there is some loss of coherency and the composition struggles to return to the original. Displaying Sato's capacity as a woodwind composer, "Angel Smile" contrasts light and smooth phrasing to portray a delicate story of humanity. This arrangement is probably the most minimal of them all, however.
"The Anthem of Braves" is a very pleasant victory theme. Sato nicely contrasts the chord-heavy bombastic parts with dazzling smooth violin works to reflect the elated spirit of the gamers. Again, it's difficult to hear anything other than sound quality enhancements here. "You Go, Girl!" was a funny choice to arrange. With its silly bass line and quirky trumpet melodies, this theme is definitely one of the lightest in the game. The arrangement is short but sweet, including a modest instrumental solo section in its second minute. "Galaxy Wars" ends the album on an epic note, sounding even better than before. Taking influence from historical movies, Sato uses rich brassy orchestration in conjunction with occasional iterations of a foreboding crisis motif.
There is one unexpected arrangement here. Already present in a brief version in the Makai Senki Disgaea Original Soundtrack and canonic version in the Makai Senki Disgaea Arrange Soundtrack, this arrangement essentially lengthens the original theme in a more conventional manner. Strong imagery is created by the exquisite layering of a Japanese children's choir, which fades out to complete silence. Unfortunately, it is the fifth track on the soundtrack when it would have been a more fitting conclusion. The 20 seconds of silence before "You Go, Girl!" plays is pretty interruptive.
This album can be summed up with one word: superfluous. While it is mostly very pleasant to listen to, that's because of the quality of the original pieces rather than anything new offered. The original sections are often enjoyable, but they are mostly understated or slightly deter the coherency of the original themes. If the Makai Senki Disgaea Arrange Soundtrack left you longing for more or you're an obsessive collector, this album might be for you. For most others, it will be a useless purchase.
Anthem of Brave
You Go Girl