Sakura Wars 3 Music Collection
Sakura Wars 3 -Is Paris Burning?- Music Collection Paris Music Hall
May 3, 2001
Buy Used Copy
Sakura Taisen 3 features my favourite soundtrack for the Sakura Taisen franchise. Released in 2001 for the Dreamcast, the game was ported to PC and PlayStation 2 in later years, but unfortunately remains a Japan exclusive. Kohei Tanaka’s music to Sakura Taisen 3 reflects a new setting, as the story takes place in Paris unlike its two Japan-based predecessors. Thus the soundtrack occasionally reflects the Parisian essence of the game using appropriate accordion and piano work. Tanaka has previously used similar styles in the franchise with Iris’ themes “Etude” and “Beloved Jean Paul” from Sakura Taisen and Sakur Taisen 2 respectively.
Note that the majority of the tracks are instrumental tracks. The vocal versions of the character themes, in contrast to the Sakura Taisen: In Hot Blood soundtrack, were released on a separate vocal album (AVCA-14155). However, the theme song “Under the Imperial Flag” is featured in three different variations here. Combining spirited vocals from the game’s seiyuus with incredibly heroic orchestration and a fast metre, it’s one of the series’ best themes. It’s featured in several instrumental arrangements during the course of the soundtrack too.
With Sakura Taisen 3, Tanaka provides us with another rich and diverse score. The instrumental music ranges from being upbeat and comedic with “A Brimming Smile” to tense and dark with “A Shadow Lurking in Paris”. Other tracks channel the Parisian influence well, such as “Eroica / Legend of Heroes” with its majestic orchestration or “Flowery Paris” with its jazzy flavour. The dust chute themes are also once again some of the best orchestral tracks, despite their short lengths.
Also of note are the character themes, which are arranged from their vocal versions by Imagine favourites such as Shiro Hamaguchi, Hayato Matsuo, and Takayuki Negishi. Particular highlights are Erica’s theme “Prayer”, a suitably upbeat pop-flavoured track, and Hanabi’s theme “Parasol of My Heart”, a gushing piano and string arrangement. Another noteworthy track is “192455631”, which contains chord progressions that will no doubt allude listeners to Final Fantasy IX’s Kuja theme. The track’s title derives from the character’s prisoner number and the overall harmony reflects Lobelia’s cold personality.
The battle themes on the soundtrack often defy convention. “Paris Floral Assault Group, Debut!”, the normal battle theme, is a part-gushing, part-militaristic waltz and a refreshing change from typical battle anthems. That said, my favourite of the battle themes is “The Musical Dance of Battle” (introduced by the short orchestration “Duel! Ogami vs Glycine”), which demonstrates Tanaka’s prowess with boss themes. The second disc features some reprises of previous battle themes in the series, including vocal and instrumental versions of “Declaration! Imperial Floral Assault Group III”, as well as reprises of Sakura Taisen‘s battle theme in “Setting Out from the Capital” and Sakura Taisen 2‘s “Go Imperial Floral Assault Group!”.
To top off the soundtrack is the God Tree suite. “Revival of the Great Oak Tree” and “The God Tree” introduce the final battle suite beautifully. “Revolver Cannon, Activate!” is the longest orchestral track on the soundtrack, proving beautiful and epic throughout, while “Gate of Hope” replays the latter’s leitmotif to wonderful effect. Driven by piano and organ chords, “Sacred Precincts” is quite slow in it’s pacing but is a rewarding listen if you are into dark symphonic tracks. “Under the Imperial Flag” is also reprised in the soundtrack, first as the midboss theme then as the final boss theme. The dark suite is finished off with an orchestral version of “Imperial Flag”, a bold and uplifting track that should have been longer.
The soundtrack concludes with lovely piano and orchestral ending themes, “One Clear Day” and “The Future”. In addition, there are bonus renditions of the character themes that have been remixed for the game’s minigame purposes of the game. The most notable are the two bonus versions of “Flowery Paris”, arranged by Skies of Arcadia composer Yutake Minobe into quite extensive highlights.
This score combines a Parisian sound unique to Sakura Taisen 3 with the best features of Sakura Taisen’s score. It is rich in instrumentation, varying from the militaristic themes that Tanaka is renowned for to more humorous interludes and majestic cinematic orchestrations. If you are a fan of Tanaka’s other soundtracks, or are looking for a great Dreamcast masterpiece, this collection is well worth buying second-hand.
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Posted on July 6, 2015 by Christopher Jones. Last modified on January 19, 2016.