Prinny -Can I Really Be the Hero?- Original Soundtrack
Prinny -Can I Really Be the Hero?- Original Soundtrack
Nippon Ichi Software
December 28, 2008
Buy at Nippon Ichi Store
Tenpei Sato composes for a lot of Nippon Ichi strategy games, such as Soul Cradle or Phantom Brave, though the most popular series, Disgaea, would be what many consider to be his brainchild. While they aren’t my favorite works by him, they are the soundtracks that most people recognize. As the series has grown, unfortunately, the quality of the soundtracks diminished as well. The original Disgaea game had a brilliant soundtrack. The sequel was also quite good, although it wasn’t nearly as strong as the original. In 2008, the Disgaea 3 soundtrack came out, and to be perfectly honest, only a few pieces impressed me. This saddened me, as I found Sato’s prior Soul Cradle work to be his most mature and best work to date and I expected it to continue. Later on in the year, I learned of a Disgaea spinoff title, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? Considering this was a spinoff, and being utterly disappointed with Disgaea 3, I figured the quality of the compositions would be that of the botched release earlier in the year. Is this the case or did Tenpei Sato manage to rise again from the ashes? Dood! You’ll just have to read on to find out.
Going in this album, one can expect to find all the classic Disgaea sounds. You’ll hear the intoxicating stage themes, the exhilarating battle themes, and as always, the vocal themes. To start this review off, the first piece I’ll mention is “Green Labyrinth”. This is the quintessential Disgaea piece. Playful, yet at the same time, slightly urgent, the woodwinds bring a fresh sound to the piece and combined with the brass accents and exotic percussion creates a beautiful soundscape that makes me want to dance. On the other hand, “Lead Roulette” is an extremely playful jazz piece with some beautiful brass and saxophone work. It has a great melody and it’s one of those funky pieces you’d expect to hear at a crowded jazz bar. “Magic Sea Casino” is another jazzy piece featured on the soundtrack. It has some beautiful brass work, giving it a big band sound. Combine that with the exquisite piano undertones and you have another piece with a delectable tone. “Prinny Action” continues along the lines of the playfulness, but it showcases a bit more of Sato’s diversity in a single piece. Featuring some beautiful violin melodies, with some nice xylophone and brass accents, it gives a very lighthearted soundscape with a variety of stylistic influences. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Moving a bit away from the playful pieces, we have “Tower of Ice”. Now, when I see a track with anything related to ice, I expect something crystalline in sound and very calming and soothing. Apparently, that was not meant to be this time. Instead, we get this hard rocking piece that is so full of energy that I’m surprised the ice didn’t shatter out of sheer awesomeness. It boasts an excellent melody and the electric guitar really steals the show. It’s not the only excellent rock piece on here, but that’s reserved for a different section. Moving more into some exotic instrumentation, “Dark Soul” is probably my favorite stage theme on the soundtrack. Combine some interesting percussion choices, some beautiful string accompaniment, and some of the most creative bagpipe usage I’ve ever heard, and you get a very exhilarating and enticing piece of music. Did I mention that the melody is equally as catchy as the bagpipe sound? One last stage theme that I’ll mention is “Crossing the Aurora”. It’s not very often that you get to hear Tenpei Sato dabble in electronica. However, if you recall, “Planet X” from the first Disgaea was also of this style. This piece features some excellent synth sounds that help define this piece as one of the more catchy themes on the album. The melody is great, as is the accompanying bass line. The variety of synth sounds used also helps add some diversity to the piece. I’d really be interested in hearing an entire album of Sato electronica!
Moving onto the battle themes section, I will just give a little forewarning. While I do enjoy the battle themes on this album, they are entirely TOO short, save for the final boss theme. I would have liked to see some development on these because I feel there is so much potential. “Monster Beat” is a very dark piece that focuses on tense and foreboding atmosphere with the use of orchestral instruments. Unfortunately, it sounds more like a build up rather than a battle. “Breakdown” is a more jovial battle theme that also features orchestral instruments, but as with most of the battle themes, it leaves the listener wanting more. “Going My Way” is a nice rock piece that has some excellent electric guitar work. It’s exhilarating and catchy, but the same length issues once again apply. Of the short battle themes, “Flying Chorus” is probably the one that I’m most upset about in terms of length. It’s an excellent rock theme that boasts a great melody and the use of the choir gives it an epic sound not heard elsewhere in the battle theme department. The final boss theme “Last Celebration”, however, is a full length battle theme. Considering you only have three minutes to defeat the final boss, I guess you’d need a battle theme of appropriate length. This is easily my favorite rock based theme on the soundtrack. It creates that classic Tenpei Sato rock sound and accentuates with some awesome synth leads and guitar riffs. It’s also quite exhilarating and features some nice use of harmony. Definitely a keeper in my book!
The last part of this review is a summary of the vocal themes. Tenpei Sato loves including vocal themes in all of his Nippon Ichi works and he rarely uses same vocalist twice. “Asagi My Love” has a pop sound to it. At the same time, though, there are some rock and jazz undertones heard throughout the piece. The vocalist, Hiromi Inomata, has a bit of a kawaii voice, but at the same time, it’s nothing too obnoxiously cute. The vocal melody is extremely catchy as well. The instrumental bridge features some nice harp flourishes, some nice electric guitar work, and some nice strings usage. “Asagi Metamorphosis” is definitely more rock based in approach, with some influence of surfer rock in portions of the melody. The vocalist, Mai Yoshida, is another kawaii singer but, as with Inomata, isn’t overbearing. I also love the backup singers used in the background. It gives it a nice classic sound, and reminds me a bit of his Phantom Brave work. The instrumentation is a bit more straightforward this time, but it manages to entertain.
The last vocal theme, “Crumpled Dream,” is the quintessential Tenpei Sato slow theme. This piece seems to take some influence from Phantom Brave and La Pucelle Tactics. The singer, Hiroko Karahashi, has an extremely beautiful voice and works so well with the music in this piece. There is a strong pop influence in this piece, but the instrumentation really helps accentuate the overall feel of the song. From the extremely catchy piano intro, to the backup singers, and the exquisite string work, it seems like Phantom Brave piece that was left off the soundtrack. The instrumental bridge is extremely heartwarming as well. It features some beautiful string and acoustic guitar work. Overall, this song ranks up there alongside with the vocal themes in Phantom Brave and is a great improvement over the hideousness that was the Disgaea 3 vocal themes.
Overall, I’m rather impressed with this soundtrack. My skepticism for this spinoff title quickly wore off as I listened to the soundtrack and I’m glad it did. Tenpei Sato seems to have a rejuvenated spirit and I hope it continues in the future. This ranks up there as one of his best and I really hope this momentum at least helped influence some of the music that will be heard in the upcoming Disgaea 3 extension soundtrack. If not, I pray for another non-Disgaea game so that Tenpei Sato can craft something that ranks up there with Phantom Brave and Soul Cradle. Regardless, this album is definitely worth checking out. While you can only order it from the Nippon Ichi store, if you contact VGM World, I’m sure they’ll be able to special order it for you, while supplies last. That’s why they did for me and it was worth every penny!
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.