Yakuza 5: The Best Songs Selection
Yakuza 5: The Best Songs Selection (Ryu Uta: Ryu ga Gotoku 5 The Best Songs Selection
December 6, 2012
Buy Used Copy
Yakuza 5: The Best Songs Selection (or Ryu Uta – Ryu ga Gotoku 5: The Best Songs Selection in Japan) is a selection of the vocal and karaoke tracks from Yakuza 5, presenting most of them in alternate versions from the full versions of the tracks that already appeared in the games and on the OSTs. A few karaoke versions (with only backing vocals) are also included.
The first segment of the album is for the three main Princess League songs (here also excluding “Dream” as the OST had done), and although the arrangement is unchanged from the game and OST versions, here the vocals of Haruka (by Rie Sawamura) and T-Set (Ryoko Shiraishi and Ai Nonaka) are sung simultaneously on each track. It is not a huge improvement on the tracks, although the sound of a larger singing group may have some appeal. Otherwise, they are solid J-Pop tracks, with the bright and rather catchy “KONNAN Jyanai!” leading the way, benefitting the most from the larger group vocal. It doesn’t do as much for the more serious “loneliness loop” which would sound better with a solid solo vocal, though it does work for “Kimi Wa Iru Kara” with its uplifting strings and grander band sound. The album also features a special “Jounetsu All Stars” version of “KONNAN Jyanai!” sung just by Sawamura, but accompanied also by interjections from the male cast throughout. It’s a gimmick they used as a bonus on a previous album, but here it works much better given that the song choice is stronger. The antics of the men are much more concentrated here as well, and it is easy to even join in with them. It comes out as my favourite version of the track, easily.
The album also includes a number of songs from the karaoke mini-game. The female tracks include “Ring” which is sung by both Riku (by Yuuki Kaneko) and Honoka (Jun Shikano). Here more thought is given to allowing a singer to solo a verse while duetting for the chorus, rather than simply overlaying the vocals all throughout. Both are solid singers with notably different timbres, and together they both sound fine. It’s another serviceable but rather generic J-Pop track, and again it doesn’t have much over what was already presented on the OST. “Rouge of Love” puts together the vocals of Kaguya (Natsuki Yoshihara) and Shion (Rena Mizushiro), both rather similar. It’s a better track overall, having a stronger edge to it from the electric guitars in addition to the pop base. “GET TO THE TOP!” is here sung by Hinata (Akemi Sato), and it is the best lead vocal that we’ve had thus far on full versions of this track. That still doesn’t elevate the track to essential listening, but at least there is now a better quality track for fans of it.
For the male tracks, there is the new track “Baka Mitai”, and here comes in three different versions but with identical arrangements for three different singers: Saejima (by Rikiya Koyama), Akiyama (by Koichi Yamadera), and Kiryu (by Takaya Kuroda). Akiyama’s is the best version, with a voice perfectly suited to the older style of J-Pop ballad found here. Saejima’s is a bit more dramatic and a bit more humorous given the character. Kiryu’s is pitched down a tad with a wispier singing style that doesn’t quite work as well for the track, but fans should appreciate all the same. Then there is “MachineGun Kiss”, with an identical arrangement to what we’ve heard before but here now with vocals by Shinada (Toshiyuki Morikawa), pitched up slightly. The timbre and performance isn’t exceptionally different from Kiryu’s version, but I think it sounds better at this higher pitch, though an even higher one would help bring out more intensity in the vocals.
The album closes off with karaoke versions of the three Princess League tracks, as well as that of “Baka Mitai”. They have identical arrangements but without the lead vocals, retaining only backing vocals. None of the tracks really stands well on their own since the arrangements are so safe and typical, so they really only are good for actual karaoke purposes.
Yakuza 5: The Best Songs Selection is a decent bonus disc for fans of the series who enjoy the vocal and karaoke songs included in the games. The songs are ultimately all generic J-Pop or J-Rock category, but they are largely catchy enough to be memorable, and it is great that the character voice actors do the singing. It will very redundant for anyone who already owns the Yakuza 5 OSTs, though the “Jounetsu All-Stars” version of “KONNAN Jyanai” needs to be heard by every fan at least once.
Posted on August 3, 2016 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on August 3, 2016.