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Arcana Heart 2 Heartful Sound Collection :: Review by Don

Arcana Heart 2 Heartful Sound Collection Album Title: Arcana Heart 2 Heartful Sound Collection
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: KDSD-00196/7
Release Date: April 9, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Arcana Heart 2 was a sequel to the all-female 2D fighting game that preceded it. Motoharu Yoshihira reprises the role of composer, but does this soundtrack offer a different sound or is it more of the same? The soundtrack release features a disc of instrumental original music and a second disc featuring a voice collection.


The album opens up with the title theme, "Arcana Heart 2" and immediately, you can tell that the album is going to be different. It's an upbeat rock theme with a strong melody and some great riffs. The synth sections also mesh really well with the overall sound. It's definitely better than the first soundtrack's opening theme. "Maidens ver. 2" is a bubbly character select theme. It's got a great rhythm, some great crystalline synth effects. It's a bit repetitive (but what character select themes aren't), but it's so much fun. You might think that "Heartful!!" is a reprise from the original, however, far as I can tell, it's completely different. It's a great electronica theme with some great crystalline synth usage. It sounds kinda Christmas-y. The melody is another fantastic thing about this theme and it goes quite well with the rock/electronica accompaniment. It's easily one of my favorites on the album.

"L.G.A. Force" is a good rock theme that combines orchestra and synth quite well. The melody, while not the strongest, is quite varied, particularly due to the multitude of instruments that play it, such as keyboard and synth. It's quite energetic and features a kickass solo as well. "Yamatomaru's" strongest feature is definitely the melody played by the violin. It's quite lovely really and mixes well with the jazzy/ethereal atmosphere and the rhythm created by the drum pad. "Fault Carol" is definitely an fun and interesting theme, to say the least. It's got a bit of funk, a bit of quirkiness, and a bit of rock. The guitar sections are awesome and give it a nice edge, where the funky synth quirks and the semi-sinister keyboard work, help to give it a bit of contrast and character. "Song of Edo" blends together quirky synth work and Asian soundscapes. It's one of the more organic sounding themes on the soundtrack and creates a pretty interesting listen. It's another one of my favorites.

"Operation" is an upbeat, semi-progressive theme that features some awesome strings work. The melody is quite strong and the rock accompaniment is quite fitting. There is also a slight Asian influence heard throughout the theme. It's another one of those themes that I really enjoy off of this album. "Hotaka" is a nice synth led piece with some orchestral backing that helps give it a militaristic and urgent sound. It's a piece that mixes softer sounds, exuded through the synth sections, and more bombastic sounds when the orchestra is brought into the forefront. It's a pretty nice theme overall. "This is Me, Hyodo" is a short electronica theme that also has a bit of atmosphere to it. The accompaniment is kinda spacey sounding, but the melody itself isn't the strongest. Choir and strings do help give it a bit of strength, but it's not one that really stands out on the soundtrack.

"Charming Girl and the Beast" is a pretty neat rock/synth theme with an interesting take on the surfer rock sound, given that this effect, or what sounds like it, is done through the use of the synth, rather than the guitar. The guitar work, not to be outdone by the synth, is sublime and helps reinforce the whole "surfer"feel, even if it isn't the main reasoning for this sound. "On Stage Now!" is a blended theme with some rock, synth, and xylophone work. The harmony between these three elements is outstanding with the synth creating an intoxicating beat, the guitar work giving a bit of edge, and the xylophone adding a touch of playfulness. "Angelia" is an electronica theme with a subtle jazz influence." The melody is pretty strong overall and the theme itself seems to feature a hint of rock and some industrial beats. The flute work in the theme, however, is outstanding and really helps to reinforce the jazzy sound.

One of the strongest themes on the entire album is "World End." It's a kickass rock theme with some synth effects thrown into the mix. The guitar work truly is amazing and I love how there is an orchestral accompaniment, rather than one geared towards rock music. Lastly, "Peace is the Best" has a great melody and the lounge jazz nature of the piece reminds me a bit of Breath of Fire III. It's quite a relaxing theme and the synth and flute combination make for an awesome duo.

There are also a plethora of shorter themes, like that of its predecessor, but those aren't really what one should judge when determining if this is worth a purchase. The second disc, unlike the first soundtrack, is an extensive voice collection, but I don't think it is really necessary. After all, I don't understand Japanese and there is no music here.


In the end, Arcana Heart 2 Heartful Sound Collection features a more diverse set of themes. The shorter themes are nice, but don't really hold up too well in the long run. The second disc is absolutely pointless, in my opinion, especially for non-Japanese speakers. This is definitely the better album to buy of the two, if you can only afford one, however.

Overall Score: 8/10