Ys II Perfect Collection
Ys II Perfect Collection
September 5, 1990
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Ys II Perfect Collection follows approximately the same format as Perfect Collection Ys. The first disc features arrangements of the entire original score by Ryo Yonemitsu mostly in a rock style. The second disc is more diverse and features vocal, classical, jazz, and rock arrangements from several games in the series. Though a reasonable production, several features of this album makes it inferior to its predecessor. Is it nevertheless still worth purchasing?
Right from the opener, Ryo Yonemitsu shows he still knows how to rock. “To Make the End of Battle” is always enjoyable, thanks to Yuzo Koshiro’s punchy melodies, but this interpretation is one of my absolute favourites. The slightly warped keyboard lead and hard drum beats create an especially fulfilling soundscape. Plenty of other tracks on the disc also exhibit Yonemitsu’s rock prowess, such as the more urgent “Protecters” or elating “Palace of Salmon”, while “Ruins of Moondoria” is also an obvious highlight with its wah-wah solos. Yet probably the finest track of all is the final boss theme “Termination”, both due to the strength of Yuzo Koshiro’s original and Ryo Yonemitsu’s arrangement. It’s wonderful how the keyboard synth briskly interprets the melodies against thrashing rhythm guitars. The lead electric guitar solo at the climax is full of the intensity and aggression of a final battle. It’s a pity it fades out so soon…
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the first disc comes across as a less ambitious effort than its predecessor. Arrangements such as “Lilia”, “Apathetic Story”, and “May I Feel Blue?” all adhere strongly to their originals. As a result, they sound quite low quality in terms of synth and also don’t manage to exceed the minute mark. Where are the soulful guitar solos or warm synth elaborations that enriched acoustic pieces from the original Perfect Collection? Fortunately, there are still plenty of strong arrangements, such as “Cavern of Rasteenie” with its new age synth and vocal support, “Subterranean Canal” with its soft synthpop flavour, and “Ice Ridge of Nolita” with its bouncy rhythmical impetus. The disc also ends on a solid note with the ecstatic interpretation of “Stay With Me Forever”, akin to “See You Again” from the first Perfect Collection, and the reflective “So Much For Today”.
The second disc of the album features more elaborate arrangements from both Ys and Ys II in a range of styles. The vocal version of “A Still Time” is considerably more accessible than the vocal tracks in the preceding Perfect Collection. After all, it’s more of a soothing choral track than an upbeat pop theme. However, Shoko Minami still returns to offer a balladic interpretation of Ys‘ “See You Again”. While the arrangement and performance are effective, albeit generic, I’m not convinced the arrangement suits the original music. Perhaps among the bigger highlights are Yuzo Hayashi’s jazz fusion arrangements of “First Step Towards War” and “Theme of Chester”. They have nothing to do with Ys II and the latter — taken from Ys III — is a particularly bizarre choice. Nevertheless, are still very good arrangements with highlight instrumental performnances.
Once again, there are classically-oriented arrangements of series’ pieces by the M-Fujisawa Project. “Rest in Peace” best exemplifies the sound of the piano and strings ensemble with passages such as from 2:30 being especially heartbreaking. “Lilia” at last receives a much-deserved full-length arrangement here, blending commanded performances with a touch of tropical influences. Finally, the jazz-tinged interpretation of Ys‘ “Palace” is sublime and suits the title ‘acoustic elegance’. There are also two J.D.K. Band performances. The medley of “Moat of Burnedbless” and “Ruins of Moondoria” is exactly what most would expect from the band with powerful performances of the melody against hard drum and rhythm guitar work. The closer “Too Full With Love”, however, is surprisingly another vocal performance dominated by overly sentimental arrangements and poorly intonated vocals. Never mind…
Ys II Perfect Collection is a slightly disappointing follow-up to Perfect Collection Ys. Much of Yonemitsu’s arranged version is more like a mediocre resynthing of the original music, but the originals are thankfully good enough for this to usually suffice. There are nevertheless some excellent rock and new age arrangements by him. The second disc is very diverse and of similar quality to its predecessor, though suffers from a lack of focus on actual Ys II pieces. Though this album could have been better, it is still a good collection of music from Ys II and has mostly been well-received by Ys fans.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.