The Legend of Heroes -Ao no Kiseki Evolution- Original Soundtrack
The Legend of Heroes -Ao no Kiseki Evolution- Original Soundtrack
Aug 20, 2014
Buy at CDJapan
The Legend of Heroes Ao no Kiseki, the sequel to Zero no Kiseki, was initially released in 2011 in Japan for the Playstation Portable. Just like its predecessor, Ao no Kiseki also received an upgraded port titled Ao no Kiseki Evolution for Playstation Vita, released three years later in 2014. The upgraded port features improved visuals, full voice acting, and most importantly, a completely rearranged soundtrack. Similar to the review I did on Zero no Kiseki Evolution, this review will not compare the rearranged music with the original but will instead discuss The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki Evolution Original Soundtrack on its own merit.
Unlike the soundtrack of Zero no Kiseki Evolution, which features a team of five arrangers, the music of Ao no Kiseki Evolution was arranged by only two musicians: the irreplaceable Yukihiro Jindo, as well as newcomer Toshiharu Okajima. Okajima was previously involved in Zero no Kiseki Evolution as well, but only as a performer. Okajima is mainly an arranger in the Falcom Sound Team JDK and previously worked multiple arranged albums from the Zanmai series. He recently was also involved in arranging the music for a number of major Falcom projects, including Sen no Kiseki and Sora no Kiseki FC Evolution, but so far he has yet to compose anything original.
As expected of any of the Kiseki titles, the soundtrack started with a grand J-pop theme, “Azure Wish -Opening Size-“. “Azure Wish” is a new vocal theme composed for the Evolution port, and surprisingly features a vocalist other than Kanako Kotera — Megumi Sasaka, which is a first for the series. However, Sasaka actually has a vocal timbre that sounds rather similar to Kotera, which really defeats the purpose of having a new vocalist. The full version of the song can be heard in Disc 2.
“Traces of D”, also the title for the prologue of the game, started with a mysterious intro with plucked strings, and then the melancholic melody by violin joined in followed by drums to increase the momentum of the piece. “Seize the Truth!” and “Concentrate All Firepower!!”, as one can probably guess from the exclamation marks(!), are intense and dynamic pieces. They both feature passionate melody carried by the violin backed by electric guitars and drums.
The new locale theme for Crossbell city in the game, “A New Daily Life”, uses a lot of xylophone sound to create a spacey sound. “Silence in the Sunlight Filtering through the Trees” started with woodwind to evoke the ambiance of forest before the violin takes over the melody. “Exhilarating Ride” is a jazzy piece with a nice piano solo in the middle. “Omen of Disaster” feature a melody played mainly by violin supported by a repeating two-note percussive bassline of a peculiar timbre throughout, which gives the piece a unique vibe. “Mythic Roar” is an epic choral piece supported by an equally grand orchestral accompaniment. “West Zemlya Trade Conference” and “Orchis Tower” are two lofty pieces heavy on brass instruments with a marching pace.
“A Moment of Rest” features a relaxing melody played mainly by woodwind supported by a jazzy rhythm to convey the soothing atmosphere. “Michelam Wonderland” is a bubbly track featuring an uplifting melody appropriate for a theme park, with a jazzy piano interlude in the middle. “Amber Love” from Sora no Kiseki made a cameo appearance here in two different versions; the humming version is a straightforward arrangement with the melody hummed and played simultaneously by a lute while the piano version is an intricate jazzy arrangement performed with much embellishments.
Moving on to the second disc, “Demon’s Yell”, as opposed to the aggressive name, is actually a rather tranquil piece, with melody carried by piano and strings in a steady rhythm, but with an ominous undertone. “Destruction Impulse” marks a sharp contrast with the previous track as an intense and dissonant track propelled by the electric guitar vigorously. “Unexpected Emergency” is a piece that alternates between discordant electric guitar parts and a passionate violin melodic line.
“To Get Over the Barrier” is actually an arrangement of the battle theme “Get Over the Barrier!” from Zero no Kiseki. Arranged for a piano trio, “To Get Over the Barrier” took the melody from the intense original track and turn it into an acoustic emotional performance. “A Night of Falling Stars” is a track with a distinctly oriental sound with a foreboding minor melodic line.
A track of urgency with heralding brass parts and bombastic percussive beats, “Omen” also has a beautiful piano interlude in the middle. “Catastrophe” started with a majestic chorus before the sinister booming low drones come in. The vibe of the piece changed again with the introduction of a solo female voice singing a grand melody with steady drum beats. “Each Justice” is a brass-centric piece with a grim melody propelled by a marching rhythm throughout.
“Delusion of a Thousand Years” begins with some broken chords played by harpsichord before the violins joins in with a fervent melody. The harpsichord later gets an intense solo section as well. “Descent of the God’s Machine” created an interesting contrast in the beginning by combining the ringing arpeggio figures in the higher register and the reverberating chords in the lower register of the piano. Soon the violin leads with the melodic line with a stately ensemble sound in a marching rhythm.
In the third and final disc, “Beyond the Paradise of Lies” is a solemn track that begins with a repeating percussion rhythm and piano chords that progress at a steady pace, joined soon by woodwind playing a melody, which will eventually be taken over by piano and violin successively. “A Victim’s Past Wish” combines the melancholic piano melodic line with the ringing bell sounds to create a forlorn vibe. “Feelings, A Place to Arrive At” is an acoustic arrangement of the vocal theme “Cry for me, cry for you” from Sora no Kiseki the 3rd. Gone is the soaring voice in the original and the melody is instead played by woodwind, piano, and bells in this mellow arrangement.
“The Tree at the Farthest End” features a sparse piano melody backed by a repeating arpeggio pattern by ringing bells to create a mystical feeling. Halfway through the track the melody from Zero no Kiseki’s vocal theme “Way of Life” was seamlessly inserted into the piano part. “Azure Arbitrator”, the final boss battle theme, is the longest track in the soundtrack with more than eight minutes of playtime. The track starts with a menacing chorus before transitioning into an impassioned melody by the electric guitar backed by rapid drum beats. Towards the end of the track, the choir joined in again and ends it with a haunting harmony.
“True Bonds”, one of the end-game tracks, evoke the feeling of relief with a poignant piano melody accompanied by harp and strings. The ending vocal theme “I pray for you -aoi kiseki-“ is a ballad arrangement of the original Ao no Kiseki vocal theme “Aoi Kiseki”. This version replaces the dynamic band in the original with a stripped down acoustic accompaniment by instruments such as piano, guitar and violin. The vocal for this track is performed by yet another new vocalist, Konomi Yoshida, who has a nice round tone well suited to the song.
The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki Evolution Original Soundtrack once again showcased the versatility of the Falcom Sound Team JDK as well as the arrangement capability of veteran Yukihiro Jindo and newcomer Toshiharu Okajima. Jindo and Okajima had done an excellent job in bringing new lives to the already great compositions by the JDK team with live instruments and better synths. The diverse musical styles and sound colors contained in this 3-discs soundtrack, from powerful battle themes to moving event tracks, surely have something to offer to listeners of various musical tastes.
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Posted on September 16, 2015 by KT Wong. Last modified on September 23, 2015.