Final Fantasy X: Suteki da ne – Rikki
Final Fantasy X: Suteki da ne – Rikki
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
July 18, 2001; July 22, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
OK, I’m going to start things off with a statement: I hate this album, plain and simple. I can’t stand Rikki’s voice, and the placement of the vocal track in the game seems… well, wrong. However, putting my own personal bias aside, I hope to give a clear and concise perspective on this album. Of course, I’ll have to listen to Rikki all over again in order to do that. Ahhh, the sacrifices we make deciding to review these albums!
“Suteki da Ne” otherwise known as “Isn’t it Beautiful” is the vocal track for Final Fantasy X, and is sung by vocalist Rikki. This track certainly isn’t the shining star of the vocal tracks to appear so far in the series. Let’s start with the obvious. There is no English version of this track, something that I see as a big mistake on Square Enix’s part. Although the game was originally designed with the Japanese version in mind, almost every successful RPG to appear in North America that featured a vocal track was given a translation. “Kiss Me Good-Bye,” “Passion,” and “Melodies of Life” (to name a few) were all translated. While having no translation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think having that translation gives more meaning to what is being shown on screen; something that Square-Enix has always been conscious of in the past. Having no translation also groups this game in with the may other RPGs to come over from Japan which feature J-Pop vocals in their opening sequences, which have become a joke among reviewers for years (is reminded of X-Play).
But enough of the translation problem, lets look at the track. The instrumentation (as can be heard in the instrumental version of the track, which is included on this album) is nothing spectacular. It’s your standard four beat rock/pop ballad, where even the instrumentation seems standard. The violin solo in the middle of the track doesn’t make sense, and altogether the instrumentation is easily forgotten. This wouldn’t be particularly bad, except that Rikki’s voice gives no support. The high-pitched screech of her voice in the upper octaves are particularly hard to listen to, and the way each word is presented (with accents on each syllable) sounds fragmented, and nothing like the smooth vocals a ballad is supposed to have. When you throw all of this together with Tidus and Yuna making out under a lake, you get a full scene that just sounds and looks cheesy. None of the power or emotion seen in the other Final Fantasy titles is present with this track, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be associated with an otherwise high standard game series.
As with every other vocal single to appear with the Final Fantasy series, additional tracks have been included along with the main vocal piece. You would hope that these may round out the album and give it some well needed padding, but instead we’re given a travesty that has never been matched in the Final Fantasy series: a vocal rendition of “Aerith’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VII. I would imagine fan boys around the world cried tears of blood when their ears were exposed to “Pure Heart.” Not only do Rikki’s well-below-par-style vocals hurt the theme with almost every phrase sounding louder than it should, but the instrumentation sounds like a Renaissance fair gone bad. All of the beauty of Aerith’s theme has been lost: the power, the emotion, the beautiful melodic lines that made her death so emotional for so many fans, have all been steam rolled by a vocalist who thought she had the right to wreck this piece. Even though the score for Final Fantasy VII is far from being my favorite, I still had a lot of respect for “Aerith’s Theme,” and this vocal rendition makes me very, very sad.
But, this album isn’t all bad. The other track on this album, “The Moon ~Utikisama~” is actually quite pretty. The instrumentation is nice, and the piano isn’t overpowering. An even larger shock is that I actually don’t mind Rikki’s lower vocal range — it’s just a shame that she only sparingly uses it.
Overall, there isn’t a whole lot to like about this album. Unless you’re a big fan of Final Fantasy X and can’t live without Rikki’s vocal piece, I wouldn’t suggest picking this album up. Her vocals just aren’t up to the standard set by the rest of the series. The vocal capabilities of Faye Wong, Emiko Shiratori, Koda Kumi, and Angela Aki are all incredibly strong from a melodic and technical stand point, which Rikki simply doesn’t reach.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andre Marentette. Last modified on January 17, 2016.