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Perfect Prince Original Soundtrack :: Review by Dave

Perfect Prince Original Soundtrack Album Title: Perfect Prince Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Gimmick House
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: December 27, 2002
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Sakimoto first worked for Gimmick House as a sound engineer on Dragon Master Silk in 1992, and in 1995 he returned to the series as a composer. The Perfect Prince Original Soundtrack shows off his work for the company in style, but the only problem is that it is extremely hard to find, as is the game for that matter. The story tells of a scholar who is soon to inherit a middle-aged kingdom, expanded through means of invasion. Oji is the son of the uneducated and illiterate king, so, to avoid the same fate, a tutor is called in to teach this young successor. The tutor is the main character and his aim is to build up Oji's wisdom and intelligence to make him the 'Perfect Prince'. The greatest asset of the storyline is that it is almost as clichéd as ever, so there is love and evil involved, too. Nobody likes a game without any emotive qualities, so Gimmick House do well here. Naturally, this offers Sakimoto a lot of feelings to work with, and what a job he does too. This baroque, romantic, and verging upon classical album will lighten up anybody's day, and with Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso joining Sakimoto here, rest assured that it is a diverse one, too.


"Opening" starts the album off in a light-hearted and wondrous manner that is sure to reach into the heart of any listener. A jolly flute line adds a sense of liveliness to the introduction, and this, accompanied by a sumptuous 'cello harmony, sets the scene perfectly. The track loops on the minute, but before this there is a really effective development that involves trumpets and a harpsichord. This track holds a fine melody, and through this it tells of the innocence of young Oji, but at the same time the pride filled brass in the developed section tells of his royal ancestry. The next track, namely "During Lesson," follows on perfectly to create a heartening and welcoming atmosphere. The harpsichord maintains a solid bass line as strings play a glorious melody that is only matched by later tracks on the album. At first, the string melody is quaint, and the parts are played in such a way that the timbre gives off an image of clockwork, and, this alone, directly links to how tedious lessons can be and how you really notice every second pass. This sense of imagery is great, but Sakimoto makes sure that the required sense of pride and stateliness is held within the melodies, too, through the means of a superb brass and string development.

The next theme, "Castle" takes a highly contrapuntal form which is even more sophisticated and precise than the previous themes. Even so, the development in this track hardly matches the splendour of "During Lesson," and although this track excels through the way that the melody is passed around a number of instruments, it loops too soon to leave the listener fully satisfied. "Castle Town" adopts a similar melody to "Castle," but this time, the harpsichord is much more prominent and the melody isn't as contrapuntal either. The lively style of this track gives the impression of a kind, traditional town with a sense of royalty about it. Like most of the tracks on the album, the imagery is perfect, but there is a major difference in that it holds no significant development. Unfortunately, this isn't one of those tracks with a great replay value, so it's bound to bore most," which is a heavenly, ambient theme that oozes with sophistication and a sense of pride, too listeners, despite the fact that it is very fitting in-game. Soon enough, we are presented with "Sunlight. The instrumentation in this track is perfectly fitting, as with a glockenspiel, quaint violins, and a twinkling harp taking the centre stage, it is really easy to imagine the break of dawn.

"Lunar Eclipse," on the other hand, is a very ambiguous track. The eerie steps taken by the lead instrument give an image of darkness, but the frequently jolly nature of the harpsichord gives an image of playfulness and joy, too. Overall, this becomes a very cheeky track, but it lacks development. There are much better light-hearted themes, one example is the aforementioned "Opening," but the one that stands out the most during the middle stages of the album is "Dawn of a Bright Star." "Dawn of a Bright Star" is merry and grand, and with the timbre giving off some positive vibes, this track should go down highly in anybody's book. The track that follows this, namely "Ecstasy," uses the harpsichord in the bass once more, so it is far more powerful than "Dawn of a Bright Star" which used an airy synth instrument. "Ecstasy" is certainly musically just; yet, with the development being extremely lacklustre, it hardly excels as much as other tracks on the album do. The next track, "Aaa, Again" makes the most out of its buoyant style, and although it loops fairly early on, its development is very effective. Once more, the instrumentation is perfect for this hectic scene, and, accompanied by some chromatic sweeps and turns, the track's title is fully justified.

Nonetheless, the best tracks on the album are those which emotionally inspire the listener, and with Sakimoto, Saso, and Hosoe providing plenty of these throughout, the variety of emotions evoked is brilliant. The first, prominent instance of an inspiring track is "Premonition." Initially, the theme sounds eerie and cold, but when one listens to how the harpsichord moves majestically between the main melodic line and the lower strings' harmony, a sense of warmth is certainly given off. This track could have reached greater heights if it were developed more, but rest assured, the blend of anxiety and warmth makes this track a good listen. "Love" is another inspiring theme, but this time it really reaches for your heart. The theme takes a laidback fashion, and with chimes giving the track a sense of enchantment, the image of love is brought about perfectly. Not only this, but the track has a heart-warmingly slow pace, too, so every note has its own meaning and aim to fulfil. The soft instrumentation and the slight rises and falls in dynamics are also extremely fitting. It really does become an idealistic track for both the game and the album.

The other emotionally motivating tracks on the album are directed at feelings of pain and loss. "Tear," for instance, is an extremely saddening string and piano track that is filled with plenty of violin vibratos and meaningful minor chords. The violin takes the lead in this track, and with those aforementioned vibratos tantalising anybodies eardrums, this is one of the most tear jerking tracks on the album. "National Funeral" is similar in nature, but this time it is much more powerful and pride filled. "Tear" was very free-flowing yet "National Funeral" is refined and sophisticated, and this ideal to represent the funeral of the late king, Oji's father. The lack of development in this track certainly goes unnoticed, as with a wide range of dynamics and instrumental variety, it just seems to flow perfectly without getting tedious at all. Nonetheless, the next track that we hear, "Coronation" starts the listener off on a mesmeric journey to the end of the album. After the king dies, Oji is naturally placed on the throne to rule his kingdom, and what could suit this event better than an extremely well developed track filled with emotional vibes? "Perfect Prince" takes a similar stance, but the great thing about this ending theme is its mild references to "Opening," and this is almost symbolic of the Prince's journey. Nonetheless, there is one track that stands out above the rest, and this is "Ending." "Ending" is intricate, awe-inspiring, and definitely climactic, and all in all, it is everything that you would expect from Sakimoto who is renowned for his ending themes. The instrumentation in each of these three tracks is immaculate, and, without a simple loop in sight, their development is profound, too.


Nearly every album ends on a high, but this one seems to end on a level higher. Hosoe, Sakimoto, and Saso work together to create this enjoyable album, and what an effort they must have all put in, too. The problem with this Original Soundtrack is the lack of development and hence the speed that the themes loop. There isn't a single track on this album that isn't filled with potential, but the sad thing is that it is rarely released. The ending themes are all in a league of their own and should leave the listener very satisfied with the musical journey, but it is the lack of development in the earlier themes that may cloud the listener's final thoughts. Most fans will adore the orchestral style of this album, and as the more educated fans will know, Sakimoto is well-famed for such themes. In comparison to his other albums released at a similar date, this one comes somewhere in-between the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Original Soundtrack and the Legaia: Duel Saga Original Soundtrack, so as you can imagine, it isn't bad at all. All in all, this was a satisfying experience and I suggest that you buy this album if appears on eBay some time. You won't regret it.

Overall Score: 8/10