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Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection :: Review by Don

Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection Album Title: Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: KDSD-00127/8
Release Date: March 21, 2007
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Arcana Heart is a 2D fighting game that features an all-female cast. Composed by Motoharu Yoshihira, it brings a very different type of sound to what one would expect from a fighting game. The Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection features the complete original score for the game and a bonus arranged disc. With that said, is it worth picking up?


The album opens up with the title theme, "Arcana Heart." It's a very bubbly piece that is mostly synth based. It has a melody that sounds to me like something you might hear in the 1950s or 1960s, but upgraded using electronica. There is some nice piano accompaniment that helps add a bit of contrast to the theme. Speaking of piano, the theme "Heartful!," has a sound that is semi-jazzy and features a lot of piano and brass work. The melody is quite good, for the most part, although at times, it feels a bit on the cluttered side. "That Heart, That Power" is another jazzy piece with a bit of a calypso vibe going on, due to the xylophone. There are hints of rock heard throughout the piece with a pretty good synth melody. However, I must point out that the piano accompaniment caught my attention once more, which seems commonplace on this album.

Another piece worth mentioning is "Night Beat." Retaining the jazzy atmosphere heard in the aforementioned themes, it's got a great rhythm, some awesome flute work, and as you might have guessed, the piano work is fantastic. Another jazzy theme, "Devil March," also features a nice ethereal synth backing. Unfortunately, it also takes a bit of time to actually get moving and can be a bit on the repetitive side. However, the piano work is a nice contrast to the theme and it gives it a nice down to earth flair. Lastly, in terms of jazz influence, "A Possibly Peaceful Everyday Life," is a nice jovial woodwind theme with some slight jazz workings. Strings combine with ethereal synth work to create a calming atmosphere. It's quite a lovely theme.

The rest of the album, however, isn't entirely jazz. "Severely" is a synth lead piece that has an ethereal atmosphere, but at the same time, it's has a bit of menace. The accompaniment is the saving grace for this theme and is much more interesting than the melody line. In the end, it's not the strongest piece on the album, but it serves its purpose. "Konoha's Training Grounds" is a very playful theme that starts out with a slight militaristic flair from the brass. It progresses, however, to a xylophone and woodwind theme with a great melody and a catchy beat. "Kasuga's Shinto Orchestra" fuses together some nice Asian flavors with a bit a funk. It boasts a fantastic melody and is a great contrast to a lot of themes on the album. There are also sections that have a semi-mysterious tone about them as well, giving it a pretty interesting atmosphere at times. Another Asian inspired piece is "Rise with Chivalry." It features an upbeat atmosphere with a playful melody and some great percussion usage. I feel like I've been transported to rural Japan when I listen to this theme.

Some other themes worth mentioning include "Moonlight Nocturne," a piece that gives off a regal/cathedral like sound. The drum pad usage is a strange, but fitting, instrument choice that helps give the theme a bit more energy. There is a hint of darkness at times, especially through the use of the organ and the choir really adds a bit of texture to the mix. It's another great piece that contrasts with the overall sound of the album. "Fantasyland" is a theme with a very fantastical, ethereal atmosphere and it reminds me a bit of the Touhou series' music. The piano really shines here and helps give the piece a bit of extra character. Another theme that reminds me of the Touhou series' music is "Save a future." It's energetic, features a great rhythm, some sinister tones at times. As with "Fantasyland," the piano is what really makes this piece stand out. Finally, "Last Judgement" is a sinister orchestral theme that features some nice string work, some choir synth, and some xylophone work. Overall, these elements help it stick out, particularly the xylophone, a bit more than some of the other themes on the soundtrack.

There are also many short themes that feature bubbly atmospheres as well as a second disc that features arrangements of the first disc. These arrangements are usually shortened in length and aren't representative of the quality of the originals. Those expecting arrangements of the standard of the Arcana Heart 2 Suggoi! Remix will be sorely disappointe.


The Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection is an album that garners a mixed response. The first disc features a plethora of short themes, lasting on average about a minute, and some more meaty themes, like those mentioned in the review. The piano work is particularly striking, despite it being mainly an accompaniment tool, and the overall jazzy atmosphere is contrasted nicely with ethnic and orchestral themes. The second disc features some arrangements of the original, but they are more or less shortened versions with different synth sounds. Overall, a decent purchase.

Overall Score: 7/10