Disgaea D2 Original Soundtrack
Disgaea D2 Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack to Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea Dimensions 2, the direct sequel to the first game in the series. Composed by series’ veteran, Tenpei Sato, how does it compare to previous soundtracks in the series and does it capture some of the magic of the original Disgaea?
The album opens up with the opening song, “CRADLE OVER,” sung by Minori Chihara. It is most reminiscent to the energetic opening of Disgaea 2, “Sinful Rose,” and is a powerful blend of orchestra and rock. The vocal performance is outstanding and the melody is quite catchy as well. Of course, it isn’t a Disgaea game without a plethora of other vocal themes. “Tasty☆Magic,” sung by Mai Yoshida, is a quirky blend of electronic tones and kawaii vocals. While the vocal performance isn’t my favorite, it does fit the music, which I find to be playful and fun. “Yokubarikkoring♪,” sung by Maya Arakami, is a playful rock tune with some orchestral accompaniment. Once again, I’m not the biggest fan of the vocal performance here, but I do find the chorus to be particularly catchy, even if the song is one of the weaker vocal themes on the album.
“Live Arrival,” sung by Tenpei Sato and played by his band Miss Kiss, is this game’s rock anthem. It features an extremely catchy melody and a powerful instrumental and performance by Tenpei Sato. While not as good as “Pandora Ignition,” in my opinion, it follows close behind it. One of the catchiest tunes on the entire album is “Rock’n Princess,” sung by Suzuko Mimori. It’s a pop rock with some beautiful backup vocals, some light electronic accompaniment, and a chorus that will absolutely get stuck in your head. The vocal performance may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the music behind it is absolutely stellar. The last song on the album, “The Story Starts Here,” sung by Yui Hamasaki, is another wonderful addition to the soundtrack. It’s a beautiful pop/rock ballad with a stunning vocal performance, both in terms of supporting vocals as well as main performance that fits beautifully with the guitar lines and orchestral backing.
There are plenty of instrumental themes as well. “Whisper of Hell ~ Darkness” really captures that Disgaea feeling with its music box opening and haunting strings and choral performances. Similarly, “Crash the Gate” also features a sinister sound incorporating organ, choir, and ominous strings and brass. “Sailing” features an interesting blend of ethnic tones and choir that captures the playfulness of the series while “Next Departure” is a tune that captures the spirit of adventure with its brass tones. “Paradice Basket” blends that sense of adventure with a playful tone that, while not the most memorable of melodies, does capture the spirit of the series. “Brilliant Blue” is also another adventurous tune and one of the best instrumental themes on the album. It really manages to mix this heroic tone of the brass with some more romantic moments. “Red Moon Dance” is another amazing tune. I really love the opening with the descending vocals that give it a bit of a flair that reminds me of vintage movie soundtracks while the violin and woodwind leads really manage to give it a bit of a romantic and playful vibe, respectively.
In addition to the plethora of orchestral themes, there are quite a few rock based themes, primarily battle, that really manage to shine. “Devil Rock Hero,” despite being a bit lighter on the rock side, captures the spirit of Laharl quite nicely; however, the choral work and orchestra work that serve as the basis for the melody really manage to impress. “Devil Pop Star” incorporates the same melody as “Devil Rock Hero.” It’s definitely more playful and features some ethnic tones as well. Another fantastic theme is “Moving Express.” It is an upbeat battle theme with a fantastic orchestral/rock sound that really paints the picture of a frenetic battle in the world of Disgaea and the brass tones are impeccable and shine alongside the electric guitar. “Prince of Darkness” lays on the electric guitar pretty thick, being one of the more intense battle themes on the album. As with many of his themes, the orchestral backing only serves to accentuate the strength of the piece. “Black Screamer” is a piece that most likely serves as a boss theme. It is quite heavy on the choral vocals and really manages to create an intense atmosphere; however, it isn’t as memorable as some of the other battle themes featured on the album. The final boss theme, “Dramatic Devil Story,” is an intense theme that focuses on rock, orchestra, and choir to create a very epic sound. The guitar solo is one of the highlights, but I also the violin work in the melody.
Despite being a fairly energetic soundtrack, there are also some more melancholy and peaceful tunes on the album. “Heaven’s Blossom” has a very whimsical and magical tune that focuses on ethereal vocal work, akin to what might be heard on Phantom Brave, and the addition of what sounds like a children’s choir really helps elevate the innocent atmosphere heard in the tune. “Brown Leaf” is a melancholy piano, woodwind, and strings piece with some ethereal vocal work that helps create a very beautiful atmosphere with a hint of hope. “Ray of Light” is another solemn tune that features a stunning blend of woodwinds and strings to create a very magical, almost fairytale, sound. Lastly, “Sad to Say” is definitely a theme that portrays a very depressing atmosphere. There is a sense of desolation to the piece, thanks to the brooding, yet romantic, strings. While not mentioned in this review, there is a second disc containing music from the original Disgaea game as well as a couple pieces from Disgaea 4.
In the end, I think that the Disgaea D2 Original Soundtrack is a worthy successor to the original game’s soundtrack. While it isn’t as strong, it does manage to capture the spirit of Laharl’s first adventure in the Netherworld and definitely features its fair share of powerful tunes. As with all of his soundtracks, his vocal themes are all well composed, however, the vocal performance on some of the songs may not agree with everyone. In the end, this soundtrack is worth getting; however, I would wait until the English release as I believe, for the first time, the collector’s edition will come with the full two disc soundtrack that was packaged with the limited edition in Japan.
Whisper of Hell ~ Darkness
Devil Rock Hero
Prince of Darkness
Ray of Light
Devil Pop Star
Crash the Gate
Red Moon Dance
Sad to Say
Dramatic Devil Story