Wild Arms 5: Justice to Believe – Nana Mizuki
Wild Arms 5: Justice to Believe – Nana Mizuki
November 15, 2006
Buy at CDJapan
Media Vision, the developer responsible for the Wild Arms series, must have finally gotten some extra money, because this album marks the very first time a single from any of the games gets released. Before only drama CDs and original soundtracks were released, with last year seeing the release of two arrange albums as well — ‘feeling wind’, for mainly piano, and ‘rocking heart’, a rock album. Other than that, a single vocal album was released, entitled ‘alone the world’, with Kaori Asou, the singer for every Wild Arms game up to 5, being responsible for the singing.
Nana Mizuki, a famous Japanese voice-actor and singer, is responsible for the vocals in both the single’s tracks, entitled “Justice to Believe” and “Aoi Iro”, which translates to “Blue Color”.
Don’t be fooled by her appearance, because Nana has got a strong voice, and “Justice to Believe” proves it. When I first heard the song, I was expecting an older woman. If you ever see a headshot of her (take a look at the single image!), you’ll think she’s one of those really high-talking seiyuu (that’s what they call voice-actors in Japan) that sounds like she’s 12 or something.
“Justice to Believe” was composed and arranged by Noriyasu Agematsu, one of the game’s composers and a specialist of anime vocal themes, while Nana herself wrote the lyrics, which probably explains why this song is so good. Because of the instrumentation, including a guitar, a piano, a violin, brass, percussion and some synth sounds, you can easily associate the song with Wild Arms 5. In fact, the Nana-less version of the song, also included in the album, shows how the arrangement can shine without a singer. It’s common practice to included “karaoke” versions of the songs in the singles released. The piece is well sung, and Nana’s voice was an excellent choice.
A warning: Do not confuse this version with the “Ground Zero” version of the song found in the second volume of the Wild Arms 5 Original Score. The game’s rendition has a shorter intro, but a middle section with choir and a different arrangement was included. That section cannot be found in this version, which is great because I think it detracts a bit from the overall enjoyment of the song.
“Aoi Iro,” the other song, is very different. Gone are any connections with the game; its light rock nature is a huge departure from the other more VGM-ish (if I may) piece. With the instrumental composition and arrangement handled by AGENT-MR, who is involved with SE7EN, a J-Pop band, and lyrics by Bee, another person involved with the J-Pop universe, “Aoi Iro” is a somewhat different genre of music than “Justice to Believe.”
First and foremost, it needs Nana to be complete. By listening to the Nana-less version, you will be missing out on her great vocals, experiencing a dumbed down arrangement. There are some backing vocals, however, so you won’t be subjected to a repetitive, unaccompanied rock ensemble. With Nana’s singing, it’s pretty good. I mean, it’s what I expect a J-Pop track to be: catchy, upbeat, and easy on the ears.
Let’s think for a while: are you willing to shell out some money for two tracks, one which is related to the game’s soundtrack, and one which is simply J-Pop? Essentially, you have four tracks, including the karaoke tracks, but if you’re interested in a single, chances are you will want to listen to some singing.
Vocal-wise, the album is good: Nana Mizuki does a great job. If you compare her performance with those of Kaori Asou, you’ll notice that Nana’s voice is stronger. Kaori’s voice seems to have gotten better in Wild Arms 4‘s theme song, “I Look Up At The Sky Because You Are There,” when compared with the other games’ songs. Nonetheless, I still think, out of the entire series, Wild Arms 3‘s “Advanced Wind” is the definite western song. Perfect in instrumentation, and some good singing by Kaori.
Noriyasu Agematsu does a wonderful job handling the first track, “Justice to Believe.” He manages to write a song which is fun both with and without vocal performances. Kudos to him. AGENT-MR writes a J-Pop track, pure and simply. Nana Mizuki fans might want to get the album, as it features some great performances by her. Game fans should only get this should they really like what they hear in the “Ground Zero” version of the song, without forgetting that the single’s rendition is different.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Eduardo Friedman. Last modified on August 1, 2012.