Inazuma Eleven Original Soundtrack
Inazuma Eleven Original Soundtrack
October 29, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Yasunori Mitsuda has had a busier than normal year in 2008. Having composed the Soma Bringer Original Soundtrack and lent a hand in the soundtrack to World Destruction, which has yet to see a soundtrack release, he also provided the music to an unorthodox RPG entitled Inazuma Eleven, dedicated to soccer. The soundtrack to Inazuma Eleven provides a very interesting mixture of styles. You’ll find more traditional Mitsuda, some militaristic Mitsuda, playful Mitsuda, as well as some things you wouldn’t normally expect from him. How does the music compare to his other DS works this year?
The traditional aspect of this soundtrack is found within a variety of themes. “Friends” is a playful woodwind and strings piece that portrays a semi-Celtic nature and is reminiscent of some of the styles you’d hear in Soma Bringer. “Wind and Youth” is another fantastic woodwind and strings piece. The melody here is quite strong and gives a nice sense of beauty as the strings and woodwinds flow peacefully throughout the composition. I’ve always been a fan of Mitsuda’s use of music box in his soundtracks. It’s been a while since we’ve heard one, but “Sorrowful Past” is a nice way to bring back a classic and has a hint of Chrono Trigger within it. It’s a very sad piece that may evoke a lot of emotion within the listener, so it’s definitely worth a listen. Another sad and emotional piece is “Evening Pylon”. This is a beautiful piece that focuses on the acoustic guitar and woodwinds, offering hints of a Xenogears style. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the soundtrack.
The soundtrack offers quite a nice variety of militaristic themes as well. “Theme of the Imperial Academy ~The Imperial Academy Has Arrived!~” is a very powerful “villain” theme that invokes memories of Xenosaga Episode I. The brass sections are sharp and penetrating, while the harp and woodwinds offer a nice contrast to the sinister string work present. One of my favorite battle themes, “Mortal Battle With the Imperial Academy,” is a piece that offers a nice memory of his Armodyne work. The theme is very melodically focused with heavy percussion and brass creating a powerful image of urgency. There are some beautiful, mysterious passages that involve piano as well and offer a nice respite from the otherwise dramatic emphasis. The ending theme, “The Legendary Inazuma Eleven,” is another very beautiful piece that fuses a bit of militaristic influence with that of a more melodic and emotional Mitsuda. The militaristic accompaniment fits very nicely with the soft sounds found in the melody line. Ironically, I find it interesting that the brass samples on this piece sound much better than most of the brass samples Motoi Sakuraba uses for his next-gen works.
A lot of the battle themes on this soundtrack invoke a sense of playfulness. The normal battle theme, “Soccer Battle,” offers a nice lively rhythm and melody. Perhaps the strengths of this piece lie in the instrumentation. The use of xylophone and strings is an interesting combination, but somehow, it creates a sense of urgency at the same time. Another battle theme, “Formal Game,” also employs an infectious melody. While the prominent use of xylophone is absent in this piece, the organ that serves as its replacement provides both a dramatic, yet beautiful, contrast to the diverse percussion used in the accompaniment. Not all the playful pieces belong to battle themes. The opening piece, “Let’s Play! Soccer,” borrows from the theme “Riyo ~The Youthful Inazuma Eleven~” and has a nice tropical sound to it. Another quite playful piece is “After-School Paradise”. It offers a nice blend of free flowing woodwind, acoustic guitar, and a variety of percussion to create a sense of freedom and exploration. It’s another highlight of the soundtrack.
There are also a few things that Mitsuda provided for this soundtrack that step a bit outside the normal boundaries of his past works. “Crusade of the Gods” is a nice blend of rock and orchestra. This final battle theme provides a fantastic melody that is dominated by strings, organ, and electric guitar. It displays a nice sense of finality, while at the same time, offering a nice blend of impending doom, hope, and intensity. Most surprising of all, however, is one of the arrangements on the soundtrack. “Burning Phase Special (Level 5 Vision 2007 Version)” is a piece that made me double check to make sure I was listening to the same album. Starting off with some heavy rock sounds, the arrangement of “Activate! Burning Phase” moves into a nice fusion of rock and playful brass. Most of the piece is dominated by raw electric guitar and percussion, offering a nice energy to the rather lackluster second disc. Not all of the second disc is bad, but a lot of it is just filler pieces that are only a few seconds long. Another surprising piece is “Pure Youth of Love”. While Mitsuda didn’t arrange this piece, I really do find it a nice treat. This piece serves as one of the vocal themes on the soundtrack and is done in a surfer rock style. The vocalists, twel’v, have the perfect voice for this style of music. It even boasts a fantastic guitar solo, albeit a simple one. Overall, this piece makes me think I’m at a beach party!
This soundtrack is quite entertaining. It offers a nice mixture of styles and has influences that span throughout Mitsuda’s career. It even offers a few new things that I hope Mitsuda uses in the future. While this soundtrack is two discs, my one gripe with it is the inclusion of countless filler pieces. These are absolutely not needed and really hurt what could have just been included in a single disc. Aside from that, this soundtrack, while not as good as Soma Bringer Original Soundtrack, in my opinion, showcases once again the power of Procyon Studio’s custom sound driver for the DS and proves that Mitsuda is a very versatile composer and one who strives for perfection in the sound department. This is recommended for any fan of Mitsuda.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.