Legaia -Duel Saga- Original Soundtrack
Legaia -Duel Saga- Original Soundtrack
March 9, 2002
Buy at CDJapan
I’ve quietly fallen in love with the music to a game called Legaia Duel Saga. I did not love the music the instant I first popped the CD into my CD player, nor did I absolutely hate it after the first play through. But, as I listened to it more and more, I realized that had become fonder and fonder of certain pieces, and then eventually torn over the fact that I had come to absolutely love these tracks and despise others. Did I love Legaia Duel Saga, or did I not? One would think that with the talents of Hitoshi Sakimoto, Michiru Oshima, and especially Yasunori Mitsuda contributing that I’d have formed an opinion more quickly. I admit the names drew me to the album, but it was the silent persuasion of a few beautiful songs that opened me up to the rest of the musical pieces presented here, many of them good, and some not quite. Let’s take a closer look…
I’m reluctant to call the style of the album Celtic simply because there are more than just those influences present here. It’s more of an amalgam of different styles, and I’d prefer to classify it as world music, although the album’s sound isn’t entirely exotic.
Sakimoto’s “Lost Forest” is the track that makes the entire album, good and bad, worth the purchase. I cannot put into words how beautiful this piece is. The combination of acoustic guitar and piano is done so expertly that it literally gives me chills while listening to it. “Funding the Worthless War” is a piano solo that is probably one of the prettiest piano arrangements I’ve heard since Yoko Shimomura’s “Main Theme” from Parasite Eve. Although not as dramatic, it’s enchantingly sweet. The melody pops up two more times, once in “Your Voice” as a charming arrangement with bells, and the other a reprise within the ending theme.
Not all of Sakimoto’s pieces are of a sentimental nature, though. Although I’ve heard people say that his Celtic-sounding tracks are reminiscent of Mitsuda’s work, I beg to differ. A few may take a bit of getting used to, but tracks like “Already Rented” are incredibly catchy and have that folk song, “dance-around-the-square” feel, especially “The Ones Who Obtain Tomorrow” with its authentic handclaps and jazzy fiddle.
Now comes Yasunori Mitsuda. Perhaps I have set my expectations too high for the man, but I feel that he stretched himself a bit thin here. Granted, most of the tracks he composed are solid compositions with pleasing melodies, but there are a few disappointments, and I can’t say his music here can compare to previous works. Of course, his token Celtic-themed pieces make an appearance. The opening theme, “Fight!! Then Riot!” is in typical Mitsuda style: a slow, peaceful start that builds to a strong, powerful conclusion. It’s a very nice piece, just nothing we haven’t heard before. “Wasteland of Faraway Places” is another of his homey town themes, and sounds all too similar to its Xenogears and Chrono Cross counterpoints. Again, nice composition, but nothing new.
The most interesting of Mitsuda’s tracks is “Boss’ Pipe Organ.” Although we’ve all heard his religiously inspired choral pieces, I’ve never heard Mitsuda compose for a pipe organ before. This sounds more Castlevania-ish than anything else, but I really like it. “Advancing to Faraway Places” is probably my favorite contribution of his to the album. Its flowing melody, tender flute, and pretty piano accompaniment gives it a sweet and touching sound. And then there is “Maya,” a very pretty, yet somber, piano arrangement. The rest of Mitsuda’s tracks, however, are simply okay. “God’s Fist,” “Avoiding Destiny,” and “Unique Person’s Banquet” are what I believe to be battle tracks. Knowing that battle themes aren’t his strong point, I’m not surprised that these come off weaker than the rest. But overall, they aren’t nearly as unappealing as Oshima’s cacophony of sounds.
Of the three composers, I’m the most disappointed with Michiru Oshima’s work. Even though both Mitsuda and Sakimoto composed a few “clunkers,” they’re nowhere as unpleasant as Oshima’s. Considering her work on the first game, Legaia Densetsu, I guess I’m not all that surprised that her music hasn’t improved much. Even though she has a few passable tracks — “Wind, Tree, and Water” the best of them — most of her compositions are unappealing and bland. With so much beautiful music sprinkled throughout, this only emphasized the lack of quality and attention given to these pieces. It almost sounds as if she wasn’t very interested in the project and just spewed out whatever she could just to be done with it.
Legaia Duel Saga’s beauty is subtle, its energy gentle, and its deficiencies glaring; amidst some truly amazing music are pieces too jarring and bland to pass notice. Yet, the good greatly outweighs the bad and makes this soundtrack a solid purchase for anyone who appreciates game music (as well as Sakimoto and Mitsuda completists).
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Martin. Last modified on August 1, 2012.