Kanon: Last Regrets – Ayana
Kanon: Last Regrets – Ayana
November 23, 1999
Buy Used Copy
Key’s debut visual novel Kanon featured two theme songs, the melancholy opener “Last Regrets” and the upbeat closer “The Place Where the Wind Arrives”. Following the precedent set by other game music releases, Key released a generously priced single dedicated to the game. It compiles the full versions of both songs, together with a number of bonus instrumental arrangements.
“Last Regrets” is an unusual opening theme for a video game. Rather than place the focus on vocals, Jun Maeda allows the instrumentals to take a more prominent role during the first half of the piece. The focus is a sombre piano-based rendition of the main theme for the soundtrack, also featured on “Remnant of a Dream” in the main soundtrack. Nevertheless, as the track gradually becomes more uplifting, the vocals gradually emerge during the six minute playtime to become the focus of the song. Unfortunately, the balance between the two parts sometimes sounds artificial, but the overall effect generated from this approach is wonderful and cannot be appreciated in the short version.
The true expressions of joy are reserved to the ending theme “The Place Where the Wind Arrives”. Shinji Orito transforms “Newborn Wind” into a jubilant beat-heavy anthem featuring a youthful vocal performance from Ayana. Like the other vocal track, the main problem is the implementation — the beats sound trashy and sometimes overpower the vocals. What’s more, the vocals themselves are a little weak, especially compared to those by Key mainstays like Lia. However, those who can ignore this will find themselves enjoying a very peppy ending theme. This one is just as enjoyable out of context as it is in context. Like the opener, it is also featured in an instrumental version here.
The single is rounded off by three substantial bonuses: instrumental arrangements of favourites from the main soundtrack. Expanding greatly on the original, “Morning Glow” evolves from its pensive piano opening into a radiant synth-heavy piece that captures the magic of love. It will be too melodramatic for some, but a perfect arrangement for the sentimentalists out there. The equally subdued “Winter Fireworks” and “Little Fragments” also evolve through an emotionally-guided arch. However, they also have an ephemeral and minimalistic quality throughout.
Overall, this release is quite a bit more than the standard vocal single. The extended versions of the theme songs certainly shed new light on them and the opener, especially, is a remarkable achievement. It’s just a pity that both are hampered by technical and performances, with “Last Regrets” being much more powerful on the Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections-. The instrumental arrangements are fine bonuses to the single, though were also reprised on the aforementioned album. Overall, the vocal single is cautiously recommended for those simply interested in the theme songs, whereas others should pursue Recollections.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.