The Legend of Heroes -Trails in the Sky- Zanmai
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Zanmai
April 9, 2013
Buy at CDJapan
Sora no Kiseki Zanmai (translated Trails in the Sky Zanmai) is the fourth album in Falcom’s Zanmai series of arrange albums and is, as the title suggests, dedicated solely to the three Trails in the Sky titles. The soundtracks for these titles were among the most popular that Falcom have released in recent years. Jindo, Okajima, and Kamikura return once again as arrangers. How does their effort compare to previous entries in the series?
The album opens up with Jindo’s take on “The Fate of the Fairies” from The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter. The keyboard and violin laden original is updated to feature a more prevalent guitar and a live violin for the lead. The keyboards are still present, but are definitely more understated in this version. It’s definitely a tune that was deserving of a more modern sound. Jindo’s “The Silver Will -Gin No Ishi-,” is definitely an upgrade of the original in terms of style, and I find this one to be the definitive version, even if it has taken similar forms on other arrangements. It’s a much crisper sound and I absolutely love some of the accompanying elements, whether they are in the electronic components or even violin harmonies. Lastly, Jindo’s “Hollow Light of the Sealed Land -The Theme of Sora no Kiseki-,” is probably the highlight of his arrangements. A combination of the main theme for the game as well as “Hollow Light of a Sealed Land,” it features an epic orchestral sound with some slight electronic influence. Of particular note is the violin portion of the track.
Okajima definitely brings a mix of expected and unexpected sounds with his arrangements. “Fateful Confrontation” is by far the biggest surprise on the album. Gone is the Falcom rock of the original, replaced with a groovy and ambient sound. Piano and keyboards with a nice acoustic guitar backing are the dominant players here. It’s a big risk, given the style of the original, but one that I think pays off quite nicely, allowing for a fresh interpretation that is far removed from anything one would expect from a rock original. Okajima’s other arrangements are from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of the Sky the 3rd. “Overdosing Heavenly Bliss” has been transformed into a fantastic rock tune that boasts some excellent solos and a beautiful synth and guitar interlude as well. Lastly, “Masquerade of Lies” sounds closest to its original; howver, there is definitely a lot to keep the listener’s attention. There’s some excellent violin playing in the melody and a great keyboard solo by Kamikura. Overall, it’s a version that does the original justice.
Kamikura offers up variety, in terms of his selection, since he chooses a tune from each of the games in the trilogy, although stylistically, they are all jazz-oriented in some degree. “Sophisticated Fight” from the first game keeps the jazz style of the original, but the stylings are amplified due to Kamikura’s talent for the genre. There is a fantastic blend of keyboards, brass leads, and guitar that create an amazing listen. For those who have heard Kamikura’s Piano Burst -Kakusei- album, that’s the type of arrangement you’d expect to hear from this tune. His other two tunes are originally vocal themes. “Cry for me, cry for you,” from the third game, features an interesting take on the original. With the help of Satoshi Ohyama, Kamikura transforms this into a orchestral jazz tune. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original, I think that this version does a good job at making the melody sound special. It’s a fun arrangement and one that I find more satisfying than the original, although opinions may vary. Lastly, “I swear…” from the second game, closes out the album and is a far cry above the original. It has a very smooth jazz sound with the saxophone lead while the synth lead combined with an electronic accompaniment that lends itself nicely to an upbeat atmosphere on the whole.
In the end, I think that this album is a bit more successful than Ys Zanmai. The arrangements, for the most part, are well thought out and do justice to the original, even if they aren’t the most creative in terms of adaptation. Fans of the series will surely appreciate something that is offered on the album, whether it be upgraded originals or those that depart much further from the source material.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on September 21, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on February 2, 2016.