WILD ARMS the Vth Vanguard Original Score Vol.2

WILD ARMS the Vth Vanguard Original Score Vol.2. Case Front. Click to zoom.
WILD ARMS the Vth Vanguard Original Score Vol.2
Case Front
Composed by Masato Kouda / Miki Fujisue / Noriyasu Agematsu
Arranged by Hitoshi Fujima / Noriyasu Agematsu
Published by King Records
Catalog number KICA-1428~30
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 3 CD - 55 tracks
Release date February 7, 2007
Duration 03:05:28
Genres
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Overview

Wild Arms without Michiko Naruke? Yes, for the fifth main instalment of the series, Naruke indefinitely departed the series as a composer. She was replaced by Masato Kouda, former Capcom composer known for his work on Wild Arms 4, Monster Hunter, and The Star Onions, and Noriyasu Agematsu, founder of Elements Garden best known for his J-Pop songs and bishoujo game work. They both introduce their own stylistic elements to Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard while preserving the series' western sound. The soundtracks were controversially split into two volumes to help listeners to digest them and increase profit margins, resulting in six discs of music altogether. Nevertheless, the two soundtracks are largely continuous and this review will analyse them as a collective whole.

Body

While Michiko Naruke departed the series on Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard, both composers were clearly inspired by her offerings to earlier soundtracks in the series. Right from the opening theme "The Vth Vanguard" — with its bold transition from a introspective flute solo to a punchy orchestral anthem — it's clear that the Wild Western flavour and exuberant spirit of the series' music lives on. Noriyasu Agematsu builds on these foundations with delightfully named tracks such as "On the Day the Shovel Was Named Invincible" and "A Boy Meets A Girl and ARMs", both featuring featuring the series' defining whistling solos in a slightly more pop-inspired environment. Even more spectacular is "The Dry Wind Blows Over", which exceeds even Naruke's greatest with its exciting orchestration and flamenco tinges. Perhaps the most definitive highlights, however, are the two versions of "When the Heart Ignites". They're bright, bombastic, elaborate, and very catchy. What's not to love?

Masato Kouda's contributions to Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard tend to take a more understated acoustic approach and thus complement Agematsu's more anthemic pieces well. "The Place I'll Return to Someday" perfectly captures the feel of the hero's town with its nostalgic harmonica leads and simple guitar-based accompaniment. The world map theme "A Vast Plain Under The Sky" meanwhile has a more expansive feel, combining an upbeat trumpet primary melody, calming harmonica secondary melody, and some off-kilter guitar and banjo accompaniment. Kouda also contributes a number of more jazz-inspired pieces, such as "Even a Dog Wouldn't Eat This", "An Encounter in the Sunset", and "I Still Have Something to Tell You". They're not among the greatest highlights, but are still quite charming and integrate effectively into the soundtrack. Another clear highlight is "Words of Memories Riding on the Wind", featured towards the end of the soundtrack, since it blends many of the features of earlier western-influenced pieces to accompany a reflective journey.

While the core of the soundtrack has an upbeat tone, there are many compositions that evoke deeper emotions. The most prominent of these is "The Ice Queen", used to represent Avril, featuring mispronounced semi-operatic vocals against soft harp arpeggios in its usual forms. While the core material is quite emotional, it also comes across somewhat sappy and shallow. Like a number of compositions on the soundtrack, this track receives a few too many variations too. Far more impressive are instrumental tracks such as "Nothing is Better than the Usual Time", "A Rusted Scar", and "Goodbye and Hello". The latter, in particular, captures a great sense of longing with its gorgeous trumpet solo and sentimental backing strings. Also very special are slow-developing tracks such as "A Dark World Looming Behind" and "The Stars Shine Like the Unwavering Flame" with their rich, bittersweet ambient soundscapes. The electric piano solo "Only Because It's Important Does It Easily Break" and string quartet "A Distant Elegy" are also astonishingly beautiful despite their derivative qualities.

Though the core of the soundtrack stays close to series' tradition, both composers demonstrate their willingness to push stylistic boundaries elsewhere. After the consonant orchestral approach of his setting themes, it is somewhat shocking to hear Noriyasu Agematsu create an absolutely abrasive heavy metal theme for "Kartikeya ASGX_7135", one of several boss battle themes on the soundtrack. The battle themes for "Elvis" and "Persephone" meanwhile are impressive for the way they cleverly transition from introductory event tracks to rather different battle themes. The anthemic trance sound of Persephone's battle theme is a particularly shocking deviation from the classically-oriented appearance theme. "Golem Crash" meanwhile fuses jazz, rock, and electronic elements together in the way Kouda has always done best, resulting in a particularly rhythmically compelling action theme. Other anomalies range from authentic classical imitations like "Small Step Towards a Big Dream", to the cheesy funk stylings of "The Fallen Idol", to even a endearing chiptune tribute to Naruke among the bonus tracks.

While it takes a while to arrive, the climax of Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard's soundtrack is an impressive one. Following earlier variations in the gothic organ-based exposition "Falling into the Shadow of Locus Solus" and dark fantasy orchestration "One Day You'll Forget the Hopes and Dreams", Kouda offers a fully fleshed version of the antagonist theme on "Volsung XERD_3133". Arguably his magnum opus of the soundtrack, it cohesively blends so many different elements to provide an absolutely chilling whole. The actual final boss theme, however, is surprisingly a J-Pop vocal theme entitled "Justice to Believe". Combining Nana Mizuki's spirited voice, Noriyasu Agematsu's exceptionally colourful pop-orchestral accompaniment, and nearly nearly seven minutes of development, it works surprisingly well during the abstract battle scene. It's also wonderful how the melody is introduced earlier in the soundtrack before its fully-fleshed rendition here. Mizuki also closes the album with the similarly elating ending theme "Crystal Letter", another refreshing departure from RPG standards with much depth and elaboration.

Summary

Evidently, Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard's soundtrack survived admirably without Michiko Naruke. Masato Kouda and Noriyasu Agematsu were able to continue the Wild Western style of the series with this soundtrack, while pushing new ground with their more elaborate and better implemented compositions. Furthermore, they create easily the most diverse Wild Arms score to date, which ensures the six disc listen is continually entertaining. Admittedly, there is the occasional filler cue or superfluous theme variation, but the sheer majority of the content here is outstanding. With over 100 tracks featured between the two volumes, the soundtrack has a lot to offer and deserves to be part of most people's collections.



Album
9/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Chris Greening

Includes theme songs from the game and BGM tracks from the second half of the game on three CDs. Features an arranged version of Nana Mizuki's "Justice to Believe" and the outro theme "Crystal Letter."

-Music Credits-

Disc 1

Music by

Masato Kouda (01,03~06,09,12,14,15,17,19,22)
Noriyasu Agematsu (02,07,08,10,11,13,16,18,20,21)

Disc 2

Music by

Masato Kouda (01,02,05,10,12,14,16~18)
Noriyasu Agematsu (03,04,06~09,11,13,15)

Disc 3

Music by

Masato Kouda (02~07,09,11)
Noriyasu Agematsu (01,08,10,12,13)
Miki Fujisue (14)

Musicians

Strings: Masatsugu Shinozaki Strings
Guitars: Kazuhisa Negishi
     Nozomu Kanow
     Hiroshi Imaizumi
E. Bass: Hitoshi Watanabe
Flute, Piccolo, Tin Whistle: Takashi Asahi
Oboe: Hiroshi Shibayama
Whistle: Hiromi Sano
Vocal: Eri Sugai
Violin: Takuya Mori

"Justice to Believe (ver. Ground Zero)"

Lyrics: Nana Mizuki
Compose-Arrange: Noriyasu Agematsu (elements garden)
Vocal: Nana Mizuki
Guitars: Masaki Suzuki
Strings: Gen Ittetsu Strings
All other instruments: Noriyasu Agematsu

"Crystal Letter ~Ending Theme~"

Lyrics: HIBIKI
Compose: Miki Fujisue
Arrange: Hitoshi Fujima (elements garden)
Vocal: Nana Mizuki
Guitars: Masaki Suzuki
Bass: Toshino Tanabe
Strings: Gen Ittetsu Strings
All other instruments: Hitoshi Fujima
Album was composed by Masato Kouda / Miki Fujisue / Noriyasu Agematsu and was released on February 7, 2007. Soundtrack consists of 55 tracks tracks with duration over more than 3 hours. Album was released by King Records.

CD 1

1
Your Unknown World
04:52
2
The Fallen Idol (ver. Variety Show)
02:32
3
Nightbane Auckland (: Appearance)
01:58
4
Nightbane Auckland (: Battle)
02:09
5
The Pangs of Defeat
03:21
6
The Hermits Will Even Hide Their Hearts
04:52
7
A Shallow Dream
02:20
8
Crossing Over the Sorrowful Land
04:48
9
This Downpour is a Blessing from the Heavens
04:23
10
Seeking the Blue Sky (ver. YAKISOBA)
02:58
11
The Ice Queen ~Too Painful~
01:59
12
Five Minutes With the Goblins?
03:14
13
You're So Close Yet So Far Away
02:44
14
Fariedone RYGS_5013 (: Appearance)
01:36
15
Fariedone RYGS_5013 (: Battle)
02:27
16
The Mountain of No Return
04:03
17
Nightbane Auckland (ver. Farewell)
05:58
18
One Day I'll Have to Let You Go
00:40
19
The Street Corner at Sunset
04:06
20
Kartikeya ASGX_7135 (: Appearance)
01:26
21
Kartikeya ASGX_7135 (: Battle)
02:03
22
A Distant Elegy
03:17

CD 2

1
The City Where We'll Meet Someday
03:26
2
I Still Have Something to Tell You
04:05
3
Persephone IPCC_3927 (: Appearance)
01:02
4
Persephone IPCC_3927 (: Battle)
01:53
5
Golem Crash!
04:12
6
Dangerous Eyes
02:52
7
Exciting Trigger
01:18
8
Castle of the Heavenly Gods
03:29
9
At the Frozen Depths of the Heart
05:33
10
Dark Clouds Loom Over Yonder
05:21
11
The Burning Spirit of the Iron Fist
04:51
12
Bitter Tears of Purification
01:07
13
A Muzzle Dancing in Hatred
05:11
14
If We Act Like Scholars
04:58
15
The Resurrected Left Arm That Brings Death
04:22
16
With Faith and the Way of Justice
05:15
17
Words of Memories Riding on the Wind
04:00
18
A King That Surpasses 100 Demons
04:37

CD 3

1
The Outpost is Our Trump Card
04:21
2
deep-seated grudge
04:22
3
Volsung XERD_3113
03:21
4
A Castle Entangled in Thorns
04:30
5
A Spring Breeze Gone Mad Like a Tiger
03:02
6
Shining Eternity
01:05
7
The Wings of Fallen Gods
03:58
8
Justice to Believe (ver. Ground Zero)
06:51
9
March winds
03:00
10
April showers
02:43
11
May flowers
00:46
12
The Ice Queen ~The Beating of a Heart Burning in Gold~
02:12
13
We'll Bloom in an Everlasting Tomorrow
00:56
14
Crystal Letter ~Ending Theme~
05:12
15
Battle: Knight Blazer
03:51
30.04.12
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