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Atelier Lilie Another Story -Hermina and Culus- Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Atelier Lilie Another Story -Hermina and Culus- Original Soundtrack Album Title: Atelier Lilie Another Story -Hermina and Culus- Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Gust
Catalog No.: 0102101
Release Date: December 20, 2001
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Gust certainly knows how to brand their products. Every part of Hermina and Culus: Atelier Lilie Another Story screams superfluous fan service to me and much the same applies to the music — pleasant but unnecessary. After several contributions to Gust soundtracks such as HRESVELGR and Atelier Lise, Miyoko Kobayashi took a solo role on this soundtrack. She retains the organic and light-hearted sound of the series with his 26 pieces, but doesn't quite manage to produce something as expansive as most Gust soundtracks that preceded it.


Most of the soundtrack features the type of music most would expect from an Atelier spinoff. Much of the soundtrack is very cheery and melodic throughout, yet still makes elegant use of organic instrumentation. "Culus' Great Adventure" is a good example with its surprising blend of whimsical folky instrumentation and militaristic snares. "World of Two People" meanwhile provides a more comforting theme with its soft violin lead and acoustic guitar arpeggios. A large proportion of the soundtrack also has dance-like feel to it and this really helps to give the pieces some lyrical and rhythmical flow. "Mother of Alchemy", "The Town Where You Were", and "Sunny Person" in particular are pleasant waltz-inspired pieces despite their differing moods and instrumentation.

While everything works quite well in context, there is little that really makes the pieces stand out. The tracks adhere very closely to RPG clichés and are therefore quite predictable. Upbeat tracks like "Novice Adventurer", "Full of Health", and "Huh" tend to be built on poppy or silly hooks and could fit in most dating simulation soundtracks out there. More personal moments are accompanied by contemplative music box solos ("Hermina and Culus"), reflective flute-based pieces ("Final Journey"), or even some sugar-coated piano and violin duets ("And, Goodbye"). It's hardly bad, but there are a lot of RPG soundtracks that have done exactly this, but in a more elaborate and appealing way.

Another surprising feature is the lack of action-packed themes, as expected in Atelier soundtracks. Some themes have a little grit to them, such as "Free Traveller" with its passionate violin work and bustling rhythms, but there's absolutely nothing dark or aggressive here. This means the soundtrack lacks a lot of variety in terms of mood and has absolutely no dramatic arch. The opening vocal theme "Another Story" is likely to be a select taste too. The vocalist Yumi Higashino has one of the most high-pitched and childish voices I've heard from a Japanese vocalists. Still, the instrumentals are nicely done with their colourful changes and slight waltz tact. It's definitely a fitting theme for a female-targeted sidestory and basically an accomplished compositioon. For many though, it will still be difficult to stomach.


In short, Hermina and Culus feels more like a collection of light organic music rather than a cohesive overall soundtrack. Most of the music is well done with elegant instrumentation and personal features. However, there is little to distinguish most themes from each other and, worse, generic light-hearted or tender RPG music out there. While fans of this type of music should consider getting the soundtrack, most others can skip it in favour of more expansive Atelier soundtracks out there, Lilie included.

Overall Score: 5/10