- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Phantom Brave Original Soundtrack (Japan) :: Review by Don

Phantom Brave Original Soundtrack (Japan) Album Title: Phantom Brave Original Soundtrack (Japan)
Record Label: Nippon Ichi Software
Catalog No.: SLPS-20344
Release Date: January 22, 2004
Purchase: Buy at eBay


What do you get when you cross a strategy RPG with The Sixth Sense? You get Phantom Brave, of course! Released in 2004, Phantom Brave is just one of many strategy RPGs released by Nippon Ichi Software. It involves a 13 year old girl, Marona, who has the ability to see and speak with phantoms. Marona is an extremely optimistic girl and, no matter how bad the going gets, she still retains that cute charm and hope. As such, much of this soundtrack takes on a very cutesy and optimistic approach when it comes to composition. Tenpei Sato, the main composer for Nippon Ichi Software, lends his talents to this album. How does he do compared to some of his previous works? You'll just have to find out by reading ahead!

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Angel Breath

"Angel Breath" starts off the soundtrack to Phantom Brave with an excellent vocal performance by Serena. While there are no lyrics, Serena's beautiful voice lends itself to creating an extremely captivating opening piece, created mainly by the use of an almost operatic style. It's truly a treat to hear. As for the composition, Tenpei Sato keeps things simple and relies on the beauty of Serena's voice. As the track progresses, you'll hear harp, piano, layering of the vocals, and even some cute little voice additions. As the track progresses, it moves from a very serene piece to something with a bit more juice to it. I feel that the addition of the percussion and the stronger presence of overlaying vocals make this track shine during this section. This is a truly breathtaking way to start the album. (9/10)

2) Flower Blossom Guide

The opening of this piece borrows the melodic motif found in "Angel Breath" and helps to create a very exotic opening, complete with harp motifs, acoustic guitar, piano, and the occasional vocal accents. As the track continues on, the section heard in the beginning serves as the accompaniment for the main melody, played on the violin. As the focus of a lot of Sato's works, his skills with the violin truly shine. With this track, the melody is both truly captivating and maintains a very optimistic sound to it, something you don't hear a lot of in the sea of stereotypical sad violin themes. (9/10)

3) The End of a Passionate Feeling

"The End of a Passionate Feeling" is the first battle theme to appear on the album. As with the previous track, there is a violin focus as well, but in addition, the use of woodwinds is also prominent. Both contribute to the piece quite nicely and add contrast to one another. While the woodwind helps to convey a sense of joviality, the violin helps to add a bit of seriousness, but still retains somewhat of a playful nature. Another amazing thing about this piece is the rhythm. At times, it's very slow, while at others, there is a sense of frenetic urgency, done in a cute way of course. It really adds some depth to the track and is one of my favorite additions on this soundtrack. (10/10)

4) My Little Garden

This piece is an interesting blend of synth vocals, woodwinds, violin, xylophone, and percussion. This piece plays when you are at Marona's home base. As such, it embodies the inherent traits of the main character. It's full of hope, has a child like quality to it, but at the same time, it's also quite developed. The main melody, played by violin and woodwinds, helps to create a nice airy feeling, while the addition of the synth vocals helps to capture the essence of a child. It's truly a marvelous piece and one that is worth a listen. (9/10)

5) Earth's Step

"Earth's Step" is another stellar battle theme on this soundtrack. As the name implies, this track has a very earthy feel to it. The prominent use of percussion combined with the woodwinds help to create a very exuberant track with hints of an Asian influence. The inclusion of some chanting, in addition to some brass, helps add some development to the track, as do the electronic arpeggios heard sporadically throughout the track. It's got a quirky feel to it, but at the same time, there is an air of sophistication. This is another track that shouldn't be missed, in my opinion. (9/10)

6) Wood Stick

"Wood Stick" is Tenpei Sato's way of telling us he likes to have fun! Very reminiscent of Uematsu's "Critter Tripper Fritter" in terms of instrumentation, this piece employs the use of xylophone almost exclusively. The xylophone creates such the perfect mood for the scene used in game. The percussion is also used quite effectively, accenting the xylophone and bringing some development to the track. This is quite catchy and another enjoyable piece. (9/10)

7) B-A-R

"B-A-R" is a piece of music that seems very unlike Sato's traditional compositional style. In fact, I think this piece is rather unique for him. Adopting a jazz style, Sato helps create a scenic soundscape that reminds me of a late night jazz club. It's got the atmosphere, that's for sure, and also a very strong sense of direction. The instrumentation is what one would expect from a jazz performance, such as saxophones and piano, and it only helps to heighten the listening experience. This is definitely an odd track for Sato, but he pulls it off wonderfully. (10/10)

8) Grand March

This track is also quite pleasant and is also another battle theme. Starting off with very militaristic percussion in the style of a march, "Grand March" opens up quite strongly. While the opening may be a bit long, those who endure will definitely reap the benefits. While the snare drum introduction does taper off, the atmosphere of a march is retained. The strong percussion that replaces the snare drums is very rhythmic and helps to give a sense of direction to the entire piece. My favorite part of the track is definitely the instrumentation. As opposed to being stereotypical and employing the use of brass in conjunction with the essence of a march, Sato opts to use violin. This adds a nice touch to the track overall and makes it stand out among other militaristic marching tunes. (10/10)

9) Sand Shower

"Sand Shower" is another battle theme to appear on this soundtrack and it is loads better than "The End of This Passionate Feeling." Utilizing a catchy opening, reminiscent of the former battle track, this piece immediately hits the listener from the get-go. The instrumentation in this track is extremely lush. Exotic instrumentation, combined with standard fare, help to create a track that is both catchy and also developed. The violin creates a motivating melody while the percussion and piano help to keep the track moving. The occasional chant can be heard which helps give some depth to the track overall. Truly a masterpiece if there ever were one! (10/10)

10) The Sorrowful You

This piece is, as one might expect from the title, a track that just exudes sadness. The combination of violin and piano, while a bit clich�d, really help to accentuate this feeling. The melody is truly captivating and the violin really helps to bring out the true emotion of the piece. However, I feel that the piano actually helps to create this feeling a bit more than the violin. It has a somber feel to it and really helps to bring out the melody. The use of the piano in this way is quite nice because I feel that most sad violin and piano pieces focus more on the violin than the piano. While some may say that the violin has more focus in terms of melody, I feel that the accompanying piano focuses more on accentuating the mood one would experience from the track, making it ever stronger. (10/10)

11) Snowberry

As one might expect, "Snowberry" is also used as a battle theme in the game. Unlike it's other counterparts, this one as a much more mellow sound to it, but at the same time, it still portrays that sense of determination. There is an interesting blend of piano, synth vocals, and percussion. In addition, the synthesized strings help to accentuate the melody a bit. Overall, I find this track to be especially satisfying, mainly due to its contrasting nature to the other battle themes. (10/10)

12) Game Breaker

This battle theme is another favorite of mine. It's got a nice rhythm, a melody that is pretty infectious, and a lush assortment of instrumentation. From the opening to the end, there's something about this track that captivates me. It may be the interesting percussion line, the woodwind melody with a violin line solo included later in the piece, or the way that all of these things combine together to form a very cohesive piece of music. There's just something fun about it, but at the same time, it portrays a sense of danger and determination. (10/10)

13) Friend

"Friend" is my absolute favorite vocal piece by Tenpei Sato. It has a way of drawing me into the music itself. Rei Taishi demonstrates her superb vocal skills in this piece. Accompanying her are a nice acoustic guitar and piano line, offering only subtle developments to the purity found in Taishi's voice. As the track progresses, it develops to include some echoing vocals and a violin line. While all of these different elements going into the piece have a chance of drowning out the true potential of this piece, Sato chooses to focus on the vocal melody and let it do all the talking. (10/10)

Disc Two

1) R&R Junkiee

This piece opens up the second disc and it does so quite strongly. It opens with a Western feel to it, but it quickly changes to something a bit more upbeat while retaining that interesting flavor. The choice of instrumentation here is mainly standard Sato fare, with the inclusion of a harmonica this time around, but at the same time, the way he utilizes them makes the track feel very unique. The harmonica leads with the melody giving the track a nice jazzy feel, while the acoustic guitar makes for some nice accompaniment, when it is both playing fast and slow. There's just something that is ultimately jovial and entertaining about this track. (10/10)

2) Strange Wind

Once again, Tenpei Sato shows us his skill with the violin. Not only that, but as opposed to some composers who showcase the violin almost exclusively, Sato, for the most part, always composes his violin battle themes with a stunning accompaniment that not only accents the violin sections, but also is very strong on its own. "Strange Wind" is one such piece. The main violin melody is extremely frenetic, the woodwind and accompanying violin work together flawlessly as does the percussion. In short, this piece can only be described as amazing and as usual showcases Tenpei Sato's ability to craft beautiful battle themes for the games for which he composes. (10/10)

3) All at once

"All at once" is definitely a very disjointed piece, but at the same time, I think it gives it a more menacing nature. Serving as another battle theme, this one sets a very dark and serious tone, as opposed to the usually light and fluffy battle themes heard previously. There are a lot of elements that contribute to the success of the piece. The strong percussion is definitely in the forefront though. The bombast of the drums makes for a very epic feel while the brass, woodwinds, and strings help to reinforce this idea and provide some support for the percussion. Not the best piece on the soundtrack, but a very interesting one, and definitely worth a listen. (9/10)

4) Angel's Rest ~ from Angel Breath

"Angel's Rest" is essentially an arrangement, if you could call it that, of "Angel Breath." The difference between the two is that the vocals are replaced by violin. In my opinion, the track is much more enjoyable than the vocal counterpart. There's such excellent balance and harmony between the violin and the accompanying piano and harp. Slow, serene, beautiful, this track is sure to captivate the hearts of many, even with its super-saccharine sound. While some tracks of this style may be overly sappy, I find it to be a perfect example of Sato's use of violin. (10/10)

5) Crown-of-Thorns Starfish

This piece definitely has a really dark, foreboding tribal flair to it. The moroccos and percussion really create a unique rhythm for the track. Unlike most of his battle themes, this one focuses more on atmosphere, whiel still retaining its melodic nature. The instruments used in this composition, aside from the percussion, seem to take on a very serious tone. As usual, there are copious amounts of instruments, but Sato manages to make them blend extremely well, and he even adds chorals to the mix. This is a prime example of a great battle theme that focuses on the darker side of life. (9/10)

6) Dark Trick

"Dark Trick" is another very atmospheric piece. Focusing mainly on the strings, Sato is able to create a piece that displays a sense of mystery, but at the same time, a sense of tragedy. The piece has its semi-playful moments, but overall, this track is meant to create a mood, a mood which is excellently portrayed by the dark strings and the addition of some vocals. (8/10)

7) A Hole in Space-Time

Continuing with the atmosphere, this battle theme offers a very slow, laid-back, semi-suspenseful addition to the soundtrack. The exotic instrumentation, in combination with the more standard percussion and brass, helps to give it a unique feel. As for battle themes, this is one of the weaker ones on the album, but it's still quite enjoyable. (7/10)

8) Eye of the Timer ~ from A Hole in Space-Time

Aside from a play on the song "Eye of the Tiger" in the title, this battle theme borrows the thematic motif found in the previous track. The exotic flavor of the track is accentuated in this one, as is the focus on melody. I like how all the characteristic tracks in the previous track are either intensified or kept the same. For example, I like the increase in tempo and the suspense, but I like how the laid-back feeling is kept, despite the increase in tempo. It's a treat, for sure. (8/10)

9) 7th Brass

As you might guess from this track title, this piece is one that focuses on brass in entirety, minus the subtle percussion heard in the bass line. It has an air of regality to it, and reminds me a bit of the Dragon Quest series' more upbeat compositions. It's quite a nice melody, and despite being only brass, it manages to succeed in delivering its intended message. (8/10)

10) Rumbling Beat

"Rumbling Beat" is one of those more rhythm-based battle themes. Combining a strong use of percussion, industrial sounds, and brass with an overall tense feeling, Sato creates a powerful battle theme that doesn't rely on a fantastic melody in order to carry it through the duration of the piece. Overall, it's a strong battle theme, but not one of the best ones on the album. (8/10)

11) Gloomy Feeling

This piece of music is by far the saddest theme on the entire soundtrack. Led by a heart-wrenching violin line, the melody just seems to conjure up the images of tears, while the acoustic guitar, vocal, and piano accents only help strengthen the overall effect of the piece. Despite it being such a sad theme, I find it very enjoyable, and it does seem to offer a slight hint of hope. (9/10)

12) Violent Emotion

Sato proves that he doesn't need to rely on violin to create a fantastic battle theme, or melody for that matter, with "Violent Emotion." Primarily a rock composition with an orchestral accompaniment, there is little reason not to like this track. Sure, some may think the introductory few seconds before the guitar kicks in may be annoying, but those feelings soon dissolve once the electric guitar kicks in. In one of the strongest showings on the album, it's a great way of summarizing what makes Sato so enjoyable. In addition to the stellar electric guitar section, I love the softer string and brass focused interludes as they help to only heighten the next appearance of the guitar. Definitely a winner in my book! (10/10)

13) Endless Parade

At last, the final battle theme on the album has been reached. This is definitely another excellent display of power. Although a bit clich�d at times, especially with the organ introduction, this battle theme still ranks rather high on the soundtrack. The heavy focus on brass and chorus helps to solidify the intense atmosphere heard within the soundtrack. The sense of an epic battle of good vs. evil, with hints of both sinister actions as well as heroic efforts can be heard throughout the composition. This is easily another winner in my book. (9/10)

14) Heaven's Garden

At long last, we've reached the final theme on the album, and what a beauty it is. Rounding out the three vocal themes, "Heaven's Garden" is the longest composition on the album. In addition to its original melody, the inclusion of the vocal motif found in "Flower Blossom Guide" helps to describe Marona perfectly. Hana, the third vocalist on the album, has the perfect voice to accompany the instrumentation. The violin, xylophone, and acoustic guitar are the main focal points for crafting the melody. As mentioned before, the inclusion of choral accents, unrelated to the earlier motif, help to accentuate the melody as well as the vocalist. As with the other vocal themes, this one also features a violin solo, with some choral overlays, and helps to bridge the verses quite nicely. As the track progresses, the track gets a bit more dramatic before fading away with a closing section featuring the chorus heard throughout the piece, with a distorted violin thrown in for good measure. It's not my favorite vocal theme on the album, but it's also not a bad one at all. (10/10)


Phantom Brave, alongside Soul Cradle, ranks as Tenpei Sato's best work. While it focuses on a much more saccharine approach than the Disgaea series, the heartfelt melodies heard within the various sad themes and vocal performances, in addition to the exhilarating battle themes, help to make this one of the most enjoyable albums I listen to. I recommend it to any fan of Sato, and for anyone who loves great music!

Overall Score: 9/10