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Rurouni Kenshin Intrigues of the 10 Heroes Edition Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Rurouni Kenshin Intrigues of the 10 Heroes Edition Original Soundtrack Album Title: Rurouni Kenshin Intrigues of the 10 Heroes Edition Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Sony Records
Catalog No.: SRCL-4233
Release Date: April 22, 1998
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The Rurouni Kenshin series of anime titles received two video game spinoffs during its vintage, one a fighting game, the other RPG. Noriyuki Asakura returned to create mostly new soundtracks for both titles. He did an impressive job adapting the series' sound for its RPG adaptation Rurouni Kenshin: Intrigues of the 10 Heroes Edition. However, the music isn't especially worthwhile out of context.


In the tradition of most anime-to-game adaptations, vocal themes both open and close the album. The opener "1/2" is clearly inspired by most other anime theme songs of the day with its upbeat girly vocals and unobtrusive pop instrumentals. However, it's one of the better examples of its kind, with a fairly memorable melody and slighter more experimental development sections. More impressive is the closer "Rainbow Wind" featuring the late Eri Kawai's gorgeous vocals and warm acoustic backing. It captures plenty of emotion at the end of the game while staying remarkably understated throughout.

The background music for the game is generally serviceable but rarely spectacular. Noriyuki Asakura didn't attempt anything deep here and instead produced a set of tracks that fitted both the RPG and the Rurouni Kenshin universe. For instance, "Ravine" beautifully captures the setting of the game with its synthesised traditional Japanese instrumentation, while still evoking the sense of calm most would expect from a vast beautiful landscape in an RPG. "Battle 2" meanwhile captures the formidable nature of a boss by blending such instrumentation with formidable orchestral dissonance. "Tokyo" has a much more contemporary feel but still features some authentic Japanese scales.

The majority of the album nevertheless adheres to the staple themes heard in so many other RPGs. For instance, "Town" could easily fit in a Falcom RPG with its cheery pop-inspired melodies, "Mountain Peak" captures a sense of ascension with its march-like orchestration, and "Factory" is a very typical example of percussive ambient soundscaping. Any RPG fan will also know what to expect from "Monastery", "Tranquility", and "Sadness" too. That said, while all these compositions are derivative, they're all quite effective and listenable. A few are also deeply enjoyable, for instance "Forest" with its classically-oriented tilt and "Ending Theme" with its more lavish elaborations.


The soundtrack for Rurouni Kenshin's RPG soundtrack is functional and likeable, yet utterly unremarkable. All the RPG staples featured here are treated in a superior way on Square's PlayStation soundtracks, while Asakura himself greatly elaborated on the Asian influences in his Tenchu scores. Only those who are major fans of the Rurouni Kenshin series should be interested in this soundtrack. However, such fans should also note the existence of a rather expensive twelve disc box set featuring all the series' animation albums as well.

Overall Score: 6/10