Kabu Trader Shun Original Soundtrack
Kabu Trader Shun Original Soundtrack
July 18, 2007
Buy at CDJapan
Capcom’s DS title Kabu Trader Shun portrays the experiences of Shun as he learns all about the stock market. Comparable to the Phoenix Wright series, the gameplay features trading simulations and an adventure mode that furthers the story of the game. Scored by Mega Man Zero and ZX veteran Ippo Yamada and newcomer Takuma Sato, the soundtrack captures the youthful essence of the game with a variety of upbeat melodic pieces. The synth is below average for the DS, but this does not stop the soundtrack from being a very enjoyable listen. Let’s take a closer look…
Takuma Sato provides a fitting introduction to the gameplay with “Day Buy Day”. This is one of the few piano and synth themes out there that manages to be sentimental without being sickening. “Silver Arrows” captures the feeling of going on a small adventure with bright trumpet melodies and colourful treble arpeggios against a light dance rhythm. The youthful and optimistic tone of the soundtrack is portrayed further with the mild “Trader’s School” and the carefree “Business is Business”. “Give Me A Tea Break” and “Frozen Blood” will inspire relaxation with their sensualising jazz work while “Flowering Smile” will inspire most to smile too with its infectious 70s beats and happy-go-lucky melody. “Face-Off” and “Big Board” are irresistible little gems too and well worth listening to on repeat. One interesting feature of the latter is its decoration with sprawling high-pitched arpeggios, perhaps in tribute to Final Fantasy’s “Prelude”.
While Takuma Sato’s contributions to the score are almost impeccable, Ippo Yamada’s works are mostly poor. “Calm and Fearless” and “Get Ready” create appropriate soundscapes with their use of distorted technological beats, but they are very underdeveloped and hence boring outside their subsidiary game contexts. “Lost Pride” is both a very generic attempt at creating tension and an example of very clanky and amateurish piano work in a video game. “Vertiguing” offers the right tone and timbre, but no interesting rhythmical or melodic ideas, while “Liar Liar” insults the intelligence of its listeners with some very infantile motifs. On the other hand, “Empty Glass” is quite an appealing offering of flamenco beats and catchy flute melodies plus a surprisingly dark development section. Yamada also portrays Shun’s issues with his absent father effectively with the simple heartrending piano solo “Father’s Portrait” and the comforting small ensemble piece “Take My Tears Away”.
Although this soundtrack has a very positive vibe overall, there are some more downbeat themes nevertheless. Sato’s “Raise or Drop” creates uncertainty by taking a leaf out of Phoenix Wright’s book; against a backdrop of subtle electronic beats and suspended synth vocals, it presents dashes of extravagant pseudo-improvised melodies that are ultimately left unresolved. “Critical Damage” initially seems like it won’t go anywhere with ts novelty beats and predictable strings, but soon takes listeners by surprise and develops into a bubbly action theme with great Arabian-influenced rhythms and timbres. “Defeated” provides an unsettling but captivating introduction to the soundtrack while “Ultimate Blow” provides no hope to traders with strained motifs and fast beat. “Perfect Future” and “Bankrupt” are two other moody themes on the disc, featuring melancholy viola and cello melodies and atmospheric percussion to demonstrate lost aspirations.
The game’s climax is certainly unusual for a simulation game. “Dies Irae” is actually an arrangement from Verdi’s Requiem; despite its humble synth limitations, it captures the haunting nature of the original piece quite well. “Red Gloria” is an original composition for organ, chorus, and rock ensemble on the other hand; while full of clichés, it is nevertheless very powerful and enjoyable. Yamada’s ending theme “Rule the Moment” offers an appropriately frivolous celebration with a decent melody. A better effort is his fun and motivating anime-styled theme tune “Ray Spark”. This first appears at the start of the soundtrack, but makes its biggest impact at the end with a jazzy technologically upgraded arrangement by Sato. If two sugar-coated theme tunes weren’t enough, Kabu Trader Shun also features instrumental and vocal versions of another upbeat theme, “I’ll Be There”. The melody is very memorable in this one and the vocalist is acceptable, although some obviously will find the candy pop unbearable.
The Kabu Trader Shun Original Soundtrack is definitely not the type of score that would normally appeal to me. However, after a few listens, I found it incredibly endearing thanks to its unforgettable melodies and mixture of soothing and upbeat contributions. While Ippo Yamada’s contributions are often poor here, newcomer Takuma Sato makes up for it with numerous fresh youthful compositions that surely work wonderfully in the game. While this score won’t appeal to those looking for a serious technologically commanded soundtrack, this will be a good purchase for those looking for an endearing score with a similar but lighter approach to the Phoenix Wright series.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.