Oh! Samurai Girls! A Music Collection

 ohsamuraigirlsa Album Title:
Oh! Samurai Girls! A Music Collection
Record Label:
Basiscape
Catalog No.:
BSPE-1065
Release Date:
December 22, 2016
Purchase:
Buy at CDJapan

Overview

The music for Oh! Samurai Girls! A spans five episodes, released from 2013 to 2016. Azusa Chiba, similar to Oh! Samurai Girls! S was in charge of music direction but unlike S, composed primarily all of the music, with a couple of tunes done by Yoshimi Kudo. How does this effort compare to the more collaborative effort brought forth by Basiscape a few years ago?

Body

With regards to the music of Oh! Samurai Girls! A, the plethora of musical styles is quite abundant. The opening tune, “Genji Yokobue,” features a very traditional Japanese sound with a cheerful, earthy melody that starts the soundtrack off on a positive note. Following that, the Japanese sound is continued with “Ninja Village,” a bright and cheerful tune with a peppy melody. However, it does come off sounding a bit superficial. While a traditional Japanese sound isn’t quite found on the soundtrack following the first two pieces, there are plenty of fusion tracks that feature Japanese instrumentation. “Revived Battlefield,” by Yoshimi Kudo, blends energetic rock passages with shamisen and shakuhachi that delivers a piece that is quite memorable. Chiba’s “108 Evil Stars” and “The Genji Wars” are other such tunes that feature a very engaging melodies that blends rock and Japanese instrumentation with the latter being a bit heavier in approach. Her “The Last Battle” also features a similar approach but has a more Falcom-esque sound thanks to its vioiln focus. The end result is a very tense tune that really manages to stick out.

Orchestral music also makes an appearance in “KOROMOGAWA,” a tune with a battle-esque sound that certainly creates tension but doesn’t particularly stand out with its brass and strings focused melody. “Appearance of God” also utilizes orchestra, in addition to choir, to create a very dramatic, albeit cliched, sound with the choir adding a heavenly element as well. Orchestral elements are also found in tracks that fuse a variety of sounds. “Hound Dogs” is a militaristic tune featuring dark industrial tones while adding rock and electronic elements to give it a tense atmosphere. The melody here is quite strong and really manages to soar among some of the more mediocre tunes on the soundtrack. “Evolution” takes a similar approach with a tune having a determined, edgy sound thanks to the rock and electronic accompaniment while the strings add a bit of mysterious flair.

Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire” makes an appearance as well under the moniker “The Day I Found God.” Arranged by Chiba, it features a blend of strings, organ, chimes, bells, that gives it a bit of a wintry interpretation. “A of Love is Playing Hardball ~ Melodius Version” is a saccharine love theme with a strings and piano driven sound. There is some light electronic accompaniment at times. The end result features a nice melody but comes off as a bit generic. Strings and piano also take the forefront in “The Wind Blows Through My Body” and “Nice Warm Day.” The former is a more somber and mysterious affair with a somewhat dramatic sound while the latter is very warm in its approach thanks to the addition of woodwinds and its romantic sound. In some ways, it reminds me of the music in echochrome.

Jazz and world music are also showcased, with “Raptor Woman” and “Dancing with Bad Luck,” respectively. The former features keyboards, piano, bass to give off a sultry sound, although it does come off as a bit muzak. The latter has a very Middle Eastern sound and manages to succeed with its hypnotic melody and beautiful violin work. Funk and orchestra fuse in “Theme of Southern Country” to create an engaging tune on the whole, although I much prefer the rock sections to the orchestral sections, as I feel the music is a bit more creative in that regard. “Funny Days” is a quirky rustic tune with acoustic guitar and piano with some jazzy brass tones as well. The end result is a decent listen but certainly isn’t a standout by any means.

Two more battle tunes, “CYBER BATTLE” and “Those Who Compete for Victory,” also bring a lot of energy to the mix. The former, composed by Yoshimi Kudo, is an electronic/rock hybrid tune that takes a trance-like approach. The lead guitar melody is quite strong and the accompaniment brings plenty of variety, giving the tune some industrial and metal sounds at times. The latter, by Chiba, has a very J-rock/anime opening tune melody. It’s fitting for the type of game and is certainly enjoyable, but compared to other efforts on this front, comes off as a bit one-note.

Summary

While not as strong as the Oh! Samurai Girls! S Music Collection, previously released by Basiscape, Azusa Chiba manages to show her versatility as a composer, even if not every tune hits the mark. It’s a good window into Chiba’s musical style, but the overall music could have benefited more from additional composers to keep it on the same level as Oh! Samurai Girls! S Music Collection. Fans of Basiscape will certainly find something to enjoy, but out of all of their musical releases this year, my reception to this album is lukewarm.

Oh! Samurai Girls! A Music Collection Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on February 9, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on February 9, 2017.

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About the Author

Don Kotowski

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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