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Popolocrois The Law of the Moon Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Popolocrois The Law of the Moon Original Soundtrack Album Title: Popolocrois The Law of the Moon Original Soundtrack
Record Label: BMG Funhouse
Catalog No.: BVCR-17031
Release Date: April 21, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Popolocrois: The Law of the Moon is the last of the game adaptations of the Popolocrois series and was primarily an adaptation of the second series of the anime. Once again, the music team of Tetsuo Ishikawa, Yoshiyuki Sahashi, and Yoshifumi Iio returned to score the title, blending elements of their earlier scores for the game series with cinematic influences from the anime. The resultant score is well-produced, but significantly lacking in personality...


As an anime-to-game adaptation, Popolocrois: The Law of the Moon generally follows the precedent set by the anime soundtracks rather than past game soundtracks. For instance, "A Peaceful Place" departs from the quirky feel of Popolocrois: A New Departure in favour of a typical smooth jazz sound, complete with a slushy saxophone lead, while "Sorrow" and "Memories of Mother" are very typical chamber music orchestrations that facilitate the storyline. There are also pieces of dark cinematic underscore in the series for the first time, such as "Tension", "Madness", and "Zephyrs", all of which feature rather clichéd prepared instrumentation. These tracks are all maturely composed and convincingly implemented, but lack somewhat in originality.

Those looking for music styled more in the flavour of Popolocrois' earlier games will find enjoyment in a number of compositions. Ten tracks in, there is a delightful folksy track filled with the series' unrestrained creativity; the saxophone does make its return, but it is used in a novel rather than derivative way here. The three themes to represent the Croconesia area are a little off-the-wall too with their tuned percussion work and country instrumentation, while "Quiet Ocean" is also quite beautiful with its minimalistic electro-acoustic soundscaping in triple metre. Almost everything else is a competently produced imitation of a typical staple in serious animes, whether sentimental, moody, or pictoresque. The only exceptions are, of course, the battle themes...

The battle themes featured on "Battle & Battle I" and its counterpart are once again different from the norm. Tetsuo Ishikawa blends silly melodic fragments and tuned percussion parts with electronic beats to create a surreal aura and unpredictable tone in battle. Soundtrack listeners should note that these tracks are actually medleys of several short pieces, much like those in Poporogue before them, which isn't entirely favourable for presentation reasons. Thankfully, "Struggle to the Death" and "Final Battle" compensate for this, slowly developing to attain dark and striking hybridised timbres that fully reflect the wrath of the antagonist. Tracks like these reflect that the soundtrack has the series' highest production values in spite of its arguable problems.

The ending theme for Popolocrois: The Law of the Moon, "Sakura Hill" by Local Bus, is actually taken directly from the second series of the anime adaptation. While styled as a typical ballad, the ethereal female vocals are quite special here and sustain interest throughout the song. While this tie-in with the anime is somewhat understandable, it's a pity that an original composition wasn't created to offer a unique centrepiece on the game and soundtrack, especially after the spectacular "The Door of the Eye" on the previous game in the series.


The music for Popolocrois: The Law of the Moon is mostly fittingly conceived and beautifully produced. However, the sheer abundance of serious and cinematic tracks here strips the series' games of their musical individuality, leaving mostly orchestral imitations. It is difficult to find much, beyond a few exceptional tracks, that sets this soundtrack aside from its anime counterpart and so many other soundtracks out there. Those wishing to purchase it will find it a high quality experience, but not a fresh one.

Overall Score: 7/10