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Persona Trinity Soul Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Persona Trinity Soul Original Soundtrack Album Title: Persona Trinity Soul Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Aniplex
Catalog No.: SVWC-7554/5
Release Date: April 18, 1999
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


In 2007, Atlus and A1 Pictures adapted the successful Persona series into a 26 episode anime series. Former game composer and prolific anime composer Taku Iwasaki was hired to create the score. He created a multifarious score that reflected the intensely dark mood of the anime while complementing various other sequences. The music differed from most Persona game soundtraacks with its cinematic intent and instrumental performances. However, Iwasaki was keen to integrate some stylistic references to Shoji Meguro's work nonetheless. Let's take a closer look at what's offered...


The soundtrack opens with an interpretation of the German Lied Der Doppelganger, first referenced in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Female vocalist Yuri Kasahara offers a chilling, almost operatic, interpretation of the Heinrich Heine's German lyrics, instantly establishing the very dark atmosphere of the anime. Rather than reuse Franz Schubert's composition, Taku Iwasaki writes an entirely new piece for full orchestra, focusing mainly on rich strings and woodwind countermelodies to give the feeling of a cinematic throughout. Serving as a portent of death during the animation, the composition is given a simple but brooding reprise in the middle of the soundtrack where the lyrics are replaced with "ahhs". It loses its dramatic potency with synth vocals on "Greatmother" in favour of a hazy reflective sound. Fortunately, its instrumental rendition in "Frontier" is even more chilling given it creates a tone that doom is just awaiting.

There are a few vocal themes written in the spirit of Shoji Meguro on the album. "Mellow Dream" is an above-average R'n'B track dominated by Yumi Kawamura's voluptuous vocals and Iwasaki's trademark jazz flutes. In contrast, "Found Me" is treated as a stereotypical but high quality ballad, opening with wistful vocals and piano accompaniment before moving into a more engaging chorus. Probably the most controversial tracks on the soundtrack are those featuring rapping by Persona 3 returnee Lotus Juice. After the promising jazz flutes and sassy brass of "Awaken the Power of thy Soul", I was personally disappointed that things descended into rapping featuring generic lyrics and a dull performance. However, "Reverse the Destiny", "Re-Birth of Destiny", and "Soul Drive" are bound to have some mainstream appeal with their blend of psychopathic vocals against rock and electronic grooves respectively.

The dark mood for the animation is explored with plenty of instrumental tracks. Orchestral tracks such as "Nightmare" create a horror feel with their abrasive textures and obsessive motifs. Yet others such as "Fall in Decay", "Time Limit", and "Old Wise Man" create ambience through hybridising numerous styles to create abstract soundscapes. "Assault" is also surprisingly quiet and slow-building, albeit subtly intimidating. Written for piano and music box, "Between Consciousness and Unconsciousness" offers a surreal and disorientation combination of clockwork rhythms in triple metre and eerie perturbations on conventional romantic harmonies. Iwasaki also has a flair for atmospheric piano-punctuated themes, using the insrument to present the enigmatic and sneaky mood of "Hidden Truth", the minimalistic echoing motifs of "Living in the Dark...", or the prepared techniques of "Fall in Decay".

Taku Iwasaki doesn't hesitate to inject plenty of action into the soundtrack either. "Dead End" and "Awaken the Power of the Soul" are dominated by rock-influenced electric guitar work, though retain the cinematic feel of the animation with its martial orchestral backing and eerie post-production effects. They are rather slow-building given the scenes they are used in, but become worthwhile by their climaxes. In contrast, "Labyrinth of the Mind" immediately establishes an intense sound with its timpani rolls before offering plenty of industrial guitar improvisation. "Gynoid" is an even bolder fusion of jazz, ethnic, electronic, and rock elements featured at the climax of the album. Just as he uses full orchestra to his advantage, Iwasaki flawlessly uses electronic sequencers and solo instrumentalists in these tracks to create a multifarious score.

There are also softer moments in the soundtrack. Iwasaki channels his classical influences once more with "Somewhere", a hymn featuring angelic vocals from Nataliya Gudziy and a few Celtic infusions. Many of the relaxing themes have an acoustic focus. "Just Another Day" is a short but lovely acoustic guitar performance alone whereas "Still Moment" incorporates soaring string melodies against guitar arpeggios. In contrast, "Mellow Dream" and "Eternity" also feature guitar use, but gentle piano work is at the core of both pieces. Equally relaxing are electronic chillout tracks, such as "Quiet Determination", "A Visitor", and even the vocoded "Turning Point", with their smooth sequencing. However, it is probably the solo piano interpretation of "Somewhere" and the ending lament "Memories" that will be most fondly remembered by those who watched the animation.


The Persona Trinity Soul Original Soundtrack is an impressive accompaniment to the album. Whether used in a haunting, personal, or action scene, Taku Iwasaki is able to create music that complements and enhances the visuals. He also offers high quality implementation throughout with his use of orchestral performances, solo instrumentalists, electronic sequencers, and talented vocalists. Indeed, the vocal tracks are easily the greatest highlight here and fortunately tend to complement the background music well unlike many animes. Although quite different from the game scores, it is also pleasing that Iwasaki was prepared to integrate some of the jazz or rock trademarks of the series and use two of Persona 3's performers. Overall, this is a recommended purchase for those who enjoyed the animation or those who are looking for more high quality multifarious scores.

Overall Score: 9/10