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Witch Tale Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Witch Tale ~The Apprentice Witch and the Seven Princesses~ Original Soundtrack Album Title: Witch Tale ~The Apprentice Witch and the Seven Princesses~ Original Soundtrack
Record Label: BounDEE
Catalog No.: DDCZ-1615
Release Date: June 3, 2009
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Developed by Hitmaker and published by Nippon Ichi Software, A Witch's Tale was a relatively well-received DS RPG with a Halloween-inspired scenario. The score, composed by Dragoneer's Aria returnee Sara Sakurai, emphasised the 'spooky yet light-hearted' nature of the game through relatively conventional means. It isn't hard for a composer to imitate a Halloween sound, though it iis more demanding to be creative and individualistic in the process. Unfortunately, Sara Sakurai only really manages to imitate the style and falls down again Halloween maestros such as Danny Elfman and Tenpei Sato. Nevertheless, the composer still manages to create a fairly enjoyable and effective score...


The title theme immediately establishes the Halloween sound for the soundtrack. Sara Sakurai achieves this through typical means: expect half-sinister, half-playful melodies, contrasts between fragile and bold instrumentation, and, of course, a firm waltz rhythm throughout. While everything is effectively composed and implemented for the DS, the concept of the track is a complete cliché and the melodies are utterly vanilla. Admittedly, there are some pleasing countermelodies during the development, as well as some spooky theremin sounds, but these aren't really enough to make the composition be perceived as anything more than average.

Okubo builds on the approach of the title theme for the various other compositions on the score. "Lidell's Theme" and "Loue's Theme", for instance, are also waltzes that place a strong emphasis on lyrical melodies. The former is a light-hearted and frivolous representation limited somewhat by its brevity. The vampirish nature of Loue meanwhile is represented by gothic elements, such as Baroque-style chord progressions, counterpoint part-writing, and, of course, an emphasis on organ and chorus. While stereotypical, it is easily one of the most satisfying pieces on the score, thanks to its bold sound and extensive development. The theme also receives a simple but heartfelt piano arrangement in "Between Doors".

With the style of the soundtrack established, Sara Sakurai is prepared to explore other styles in places. "Wonderland Queen", for instance, establishes a delightful fantasy sound with a chamber ensemble and harpsichord continuo. Other deviations include the Arabian-influenced "Shimmering Dance", Asian-themed "Lunar Wind", and, of course, the technofied "Machine Memory". They're nothing special in their own right, but still quite refreshing in an otherwise samey score. Perhaps the most enjoyable tracks overall are the battle themes, however. "Get Serious!" is a pleasant throwback to the Super Nintendo years with its '80s rock feel. "Song of Despair" meanwhile is an accomplished final battle theme featuring rasping orchestration and a gothic leaning.

The game's soundtrack is wrapped up by an interesting theme song, "Between Dream & Reality". Composer Sara Sakurai, arranger Chamy Ishikawa, and lyricist Michiko Sato collectively ensure that the song fits the style of the game. The main portion of the song has quite a light-hearted and girly feel, while the gothic introduction and jazzy interludes considerably enhance the character. However, the somewhat mundane melody and vocals prevent it from entering the realms of greatness. The game version of the theme song is found at the climax of the soundtrack and, following some instrumental ending themes and supplementary fanfares, there is also an extended album version of the song.


Evidently, the music for A Witch's Tale is largely competent, likeable, and effective. However, it lacks the special factor needed to distinguish itself from similarly styled soundtracks out there, such as Tenpei Sato's Disgaea. This arises due to Sara Sakurai's usually stylistically derivative approach and tendency to rely on melodically unremarkable themes. Many will enjoy the results here and find plenty of themes to revisit. However, only a minority will consider it worth its 30 dollar pricetag.

Overall Score: 7/10