Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack
Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack
February 11, 2015
Buy at CDJapan
What do Namco’s Deadstorm Pirates, Konami’s Quiz Magic Academy, and Square Enix’s Schoolgirl Strikers have in common? They’re all shallow games with amazingly rich soundtracks. Schoolgirl Strikers is a free-to-play card-collecting light novel released exclusively for smartphones in Japan. For the soundtrack, electro-acoustic composer Mitsuto Suzuki joined forces with Final Fantasy XIII arranger Kengo Tokusashi to create an elaborate soundtrack. It proved so good that Square Enix released the score as a stand-alone 62-minute soundtrack in February 2015.
Mitsuto Suzuki captures the feel of the game right away with “All-Day Eterno”. With its sugary melodies and bouncy beats, it provides plenty of light-hearted girly fun. Yet at the same time, it transcends the stereotypical synthpop music of dating sims (e.g. True Love Story) with its rich arrangements and extensive development. The accordion lead brings so much personality throughout and ends up recurring in many other tracks throughout the soundtrack. The piano countermelodies and pensive interludes meanwhile keep listeners entertained through the five minute playtime. The composition is also impeccably produced, rivaling even Suzuki’s tracks on the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy in recording and mixing quality. Tracks 3, 9, and 11 maintain the folksy vibe of “All-Day Eterno” with their accordion leads and guitar backing. All are nevertheless carefully individualised to bring both variety to the soundtrack and depth to the in-game experience.
Throughout the soundtrack, Kengo Tokusashi demonstrates he is more than worthy of a place on a major game soundtrack. The opener “Fifth Force” is a stunner, blending the folksy vibes of “All-Day Eterno” with a classical majesty completely unexpected for a title called Schoolgirl Strikers. “Stella Prism” is an impressionistic orchestration reminscent of something that Masashi Hamauzu might produce. It’s one of the more subtle tracks here, but highly rewarding with all its nuances. “Each One’s Past” accentuates the game’s sad scenes with its heartrending piano lines and gushing orchestration, but doesn’t head quite as far into melodramatic territory as many similar pieces have in other RPGs. But his greatest magnum opus here is a two-part concertino highlighting moody, dazzling piano parts inspired by the great romantics. It is a bit of an awkward fit in the soundtrack, but is so impressive that it doesn’t really matter.
The soundtrack approaches its climax with the abstract, angular motions of the 14th track. However, the real highlight is “Servants Raid”, which bridges shimmering modernist orchestration with the game’s signature accordion lines. Another track reminiscent of Masashi Hamauzu, this is one of the few battle themes that rivals that of FFX’s “Decisive Battle” in both ambition and realisation. Again, it’s highly surprising that a composition as substantial as this one is being used in a seemingly superficial smartphone game. The soundtrack’s ending themes also impress, the first taking listeners on a subdued electro-acoustic journey, the second a surprisingly catchy and charming synthpop piece. Once again, Schoolgirl Strikers demonstrates it can offer listeners just about anything they wish for. And in Suzuki tradition, a hidden bonus arrangement of “Santa Clause is Coming for Town” was thrown in for good measure.
Almost every track in Schoolgirl Strikers is a delight. Blending memorable melodies, stylistic diversity, musical intricacies, and excellent production, this soundtrack not only pushes the bar for smartphone games, but serves as an excellent achievement in its own right. While the game is likely to be a niche one, this soundtrack should appeal to almost all soundtrack listeners, especially those enjoy Square Enix’s RPG soundtrack.
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Posted on January 15, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on January 15, 2016.