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Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack Album Title: Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack
Record Label: Nippon Ichi Software
Catalog No.: SLPS-25607
Release Date: February 23, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack was approached in a near-identical way to its predecessor. It includes the full versions of all the vocal themes of the game and a handful of some of the best instrumental tracks with enhanced synth and various elaborations. Though not an expansive or creative effort by any means, this album does compensate for the shortened vocal themes present on the Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack. Is it worth a purchase?


Beginning with the vocal themes, the full version of the introduction theme "Sinful Rose" is provided here. The shortened version on the Original Soundtrack mixed an uplifting pop singer with extravagant violin work, but felt over just after it had begun. Over a 4:29 playtime, this version of the theme gets a chance to really breathe and develop, offering a more elaborate introduction, a more soulful interlude, and of course a fantastic flamenco-influenced coda. "White Tiger", an 80s-influenced rock piece featuring heroic beats and a passionate performance from Tenpei Sato himself. In this extended version, a new introduction adds a bit more drama to the theme and the use of a true conclusion rather than a fade-out avoids any frustration. Though not a conventional vocal theme given the lack of lyrics, "Dawn Whisper" is greatly enhanced from the original with the use of an actual female vocalist. Erika's smooth voice gently glides over the realistic instrumentals, touching every listener.

The rest of the vocal themes are included here too. "There's Something I Want to Tell You" is a gentle theme featuring a beautiful contemplative performance from vocalist Miki. The feathery extensions and elaborations here add new depth and drama to an already accomplished work, although the occasionally cheesy drum beats remain. An arrangement of an arrangement, the fast-paced rock piece "Etna Rock" was originally based on the big band jazz piece "Etna Boogie" from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. The version adds elaborate saxophone and electric guitar solo that again adds some richness lacking in the original. Finally, "Sparkle ~ To Become A Star" featuring Akiko Kawakami is the most conventional theme of the bunch, reminding me of J-Pop themes from the Wild Arms series. It's definitely one of the better video game vocal themes out there and would have had potential as a stand-alone single. This version is near-enough identical to the original.

The approach to the instrumental tracks is similar to the Makai Senki Disgaea Arrange Soundtrack. The ghostly electronica piece "Cyber Dance" makes a welcome appearance, given stronger clarity due to the revised synth. "The Warmth of This Heart" feels a more substantial piece here due to the addition of several new sections, though the focus remains on soft piano and string melodies. Aside from the inclusion of a random bagpipe interlude, "Magnificent Dark Family '05" doesn't vary much from its Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack counterpart; however, the extent to which it differs from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness' "The Great Dark Race" shows what an ingenious arranger Sato can be when he wants to be. "Heroic Blues" also sticks closely to the original, mesmerising with its folky guitar-based soundscapes. However, it proceeds with the most direction of all the arrangements, encompassing luscious elaborate development up to its satisfying conclusion.

The second half of the arranged album has its fair chair of intense items. The original "Song of the Gods" created masses of expectation in the introduction, but came across a little tame in its body; in this arrangement, Sato achieves a better balance resulting in one of his best action themes ever. The longest item on the disc is "Elegy of the Tundra", which develops slowly and beautifully to attain a length of 6:22. The combination of pan flutes and Chinese instruments is treated to perfection here, showing once more what a mature musician Sato is. Coming to the end of the road, "Holy Mansion" is the least accessible piece featuring layered synth vocals, claustrophobic sound effects, and synth bass lines to create a very scary sound. The final battle theme "Disgaea Rhapsody" gleams even more than before with heavy orchestration, supporting chorus, ethnic instruments, violin passages, and evocative female wailing. However, use of pre-recorded vocal performances would have allowed it to be even more powerful.


While their approaches are near-enough identical, it is more difficult to rule out the Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Arrange Soundtrack compared to its predecessor. That's because all of the vocal themes benefit from extensions and some of them, especially "Sinful Rose", are far more fulfilling than the Original Soundtrack version. However, the reason that this is the case is because the Makai Senki Disgaea 2 Original Soundtrack let down listeners in the first place in order to make a unique selling point for this album. The rest of the album features instrumental tracks with enhanced recordings and various extensions with highlights including "Song of the Gods", "The Warmth of this Heart", and "Heroic Blues". If the limitations of this album don't bother you and you really want the full versions of the vocal themes, I suggest purchasing the album. However, the rest should stick with the slightly unfulfilling soundtrack.

Overall Score: 6/10