Time and Eternity Original Soundtrack
Time and Eternity Original Soundtrack (Toki to Towa -Tokitowa- Original Soundtrack)
May 24, 2013
Buy at CDJapan
This soundtrack features compositions from Time and Eternity, also known as Toki to Towa -Tokitowa- Original Soundtrack, an animated RPG from Imageepoch and Namco Bandai. I had expectations for the music, given the soundtrack was principally composed by the legendary Yuzo Koshiro, with his Culdcept and Shenmue collaborator Takeshi Yanagawa also in tow. While a promo soundtrack was included with the localization of the game, the full soundtrack is available through SuperSweep. Is it worthwhile?
Despite my high hopes, much of the music for Time and Eternity did not pan out successfully. The tracks used for the event scenes in the game are particularly disappoint. “Tea Party”, for example, proves more irritating than charming given its infantile melody. While the choice to include instruments such as harpsichord and saxophone is interesting, the arrangement feels unbalanced and lackluster overall. Despite decent orchestral synthesis, three attack event themes are also woefully repetitive. While tracks such as the regal “Palais de Kamza” do exactly as intended, they still come across quite clichéd.
That said, not all the soundtrack is a miss. Koshiro’s more heartfelt tunes such as “Marriage” and “Precious Feelings” really manage to hit the nail on the head. The beautiful woodwind and strings work in the former really manages to create this scene of happiness, whereas in the latter, the strings and piano work together to create a really endearing and tender tune. “A Heart That Can’t Be Broken,” used as one of the themes for the main character’s dual personalities, features a sound similar to the more modernized Etrian Odyssey soundtracks. Deep bass, jazzy piano, strings, and electric guitar really create a beautiful atmosphere that really manages to shine.
Moving to the area themes, they’re a mix bag. “Wind of Hope” definitely has a jubilant air to it and the mix of uplifting woodwinds and strings really manages to create an atmosphere that makes it feel as though you are being carried on the wind. It’s pretty typical RPG music, but still quite enjoyable. “Juvenile” features a mix of grand orchestration and softer woodwind tones that manage to create a sound that reminds me, at times, of some of the music heard in the Dragon Quest. Unfortunately, “Cursed Forest’s Theme” doesn’t really succeed in engaging the listener; the gypsy sound fits with the scene quite well, though the arrangement is a little unbalanced overall. Lastly, “Sunlight Filtering through the Trees” is probably my favorite of the area themes on the soundtrack. It has a really beachy vibe with its guitar work and strings accompaniment.
The two normal battle themes, “Bout! Theme of Toki” and “Bout! Theme of Towa,” used respectively when you use each of her personalities in battle, remind me of Koshiro’s work on Wangan Midnight, before it went in the electronic style it is today. Toki’s battle theme has this really engaging melody and a great energy whereas Towa’s battle theme carries the same energy but is a bit more on the jazzy side, particularly with the piano accompaniment. “Threat,” the boss theme, has this mysterious, almost espionage sound to it. While it isn’t as intense as some of his other soundtrack boss themes, it does manage to fit the style he crafted with the normal battle themes and does have a greater sense of urgency to it.
“Dragon of Ancient Times,” in my opinion, is the weakest of the five battle themes featured on the album. It features the orchestral sound one might hear in the boss themes for Etrian Odyssey, but it sounds much more heroic and regal rather than something one would expect for a battle theme. Lastly, “Memory Disorder” is more akin to his work on the 7th Dragon 2020 soundtracks, featuring a blend of rock, electronic beats, and choir to create a truly engaging theme that manages to hit on many notes. While I haven’t played the game and can’t attest to it fitting the game, it does feel a bit out of place compared to the rest of the soundtrack, but it does manage to create that tense sound.
Takeshi Yanagawa contributes a small portion of the soundtrack and sadly, many of his themes don’t stand up compared to Koshiro’s. His two area themes, “Canyon’s Theme” and “Hanging Garden’s Theme,” don’t manage to be very memorable. That said, they do still fit their context with the former having an atmospheric sound, the latter exploring Renaissance tones. “Unfolded Map,” presumably used as a world map theme, sounds like it would fit perfectly in a Gust soundtrack and is probably Yanagawa’s most successful tune on the soundtrack. Lastly, “Memories” ends the soundtrack on a mind-boggling note. It sounds very out of place in a largely orchestral soundtrack with its quirky electronic tones. There are portions of the tune that are quite memorable, particularly the intro, but the track almost feels like an outtake from another project.
In the end, the Time and Eternity soundtrack is a mixed bag. While there are plenty of good themes on the album, there’s not many outstanding ones. While most tracks basically fit their context, they rarely stand out as particularly creative, refined, or memorable. In addition, the filler tracks for the event themes are quite lackluster. I’d only recommend picking this up if you’re a particularly hardcore Koshiro fan. Otherwise, stick to his recent Etrian Odyssey and 7th Dragon works.
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Posted on April 23, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on April 23, 2014.