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Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Original Soundtrack :: Review by Totz

Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Original Soundtrack Album Title: Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Universal Music
Catalog Number: UPCH-1401/3
Release Date: April 27, 2005
Content: 4 CD Set - 103 Tracks
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song is a remake of the original Romancing SaGa game, which was released a long, long time ago for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The whole game was remade and so was its soundtrack.

Kenji Ito, who originally composed the Romancing SaGa Original Sound Version's score, was called in once again by Square Enix to work on this new soundtrack along with Tsuyoshi Sekito. Ito arranged most of his old tracks and composed lots more, whilst Sekito was mainly responsible for the arrangements of the battle themes, giving them his own personal rock n' roll touch.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Minuet (Minstrel Song Edit)

The first track on the album is extremely captivating. "Minuet (Minstrel Song Edit)" is a fantastic song for many reasons: for starters, the instrumentation is spot on. Also, Masayoshi Yamazaki's voice is great and, even though I can't understand a word he's singing, I like it. This song has a very "travelling feel" I can't quite explain, but it does its job well. If possible, watch the game's opening movie. You'll be stunned at how much "Minuet" matches the game. (9.5/10)

2) Overture

What begins simply as ascending string motif, quickly turns into so much more. A piano, accompanied by strings, percussion, and some brass here and there, plays the melody. The brass, although underused in the first minute, makes a powerful statement at 1:01 and ends this marvellous track in style. I prefer to ignore the piano line at the end because it just doesn't fit. It should have had a powerful ending. (9/10)

3) Opening Title

This is what the "Overture" should have been. It's an orchestral masterpiece that uses every instrumental section to its advantage. Again, the strings begin the track, but, soon after, percussion, woodwinds, and brass join the party. This track has a much more effective ending: it ends with roaring timpani, and some rampant brass. (10/10)

4) Hope for Justice -Albert-

The first of many character themes doesn't disappoint. "Hope for Justice" begins as a somewhat powerful theme, but then it turns into a much more happier one, possibly expressing Albert's hope for justice. Ito's mastery of instrumentation is evident: even though the brass appears quite often, it never overpowers the track; the wind playing the melody was a great choice, because it's a nice change from the brass, so the piece can go from powerful to hopeful just like that. (9/10)

5) Feel the Wind -Aisha-

"Feel the Wind" tricks you into thinking it'll be some kind of reminiscence theme, but at 0:09 our prayers are answered when it turns into something else entirely. From 0:09 to 0:30, the string accompaniment sounds very waltz-y, and it gives the idea of a merry character. A flute and a music box combine well to give a perfect representation of innocence, and even when the track transitions into a second section where a violin plays the melody, it still sounds sort of bouncy. After a repetition of everything so far (excluding the beginning), the music box comes back to serve as a bridge before the track loops. My only complaint lies with the first eight seconds, seeing as though it provides us with a different and conflicting image to what the rest of the track gives. (8.5/10)

6) I'll Take All the Treasure -Jamil-

This is a very laid-back theme, so I can only imagine Jamil is a very care-free, easy-going kind of guy. A harmonica introduces the track before passing the melody on to another wind instrument. The percussion in this track is great, because it helps to keep the piece alive. I really like the 0:45 part, because the melody changes instrument again, and the transitions work so wonderfully that you won't even notice the lack of development that Jamil's theme suffers. (8/10)

7) Pure Guardian -Claudia-

For some reason, this theme seems quite maternal, so it is almost as if Claudia's role is to protect her loved ones. The soft beginning, and the immediate appearance of a delicate piano melody, are the reasons I believe so. For a track that has almost no instrumental variation and a so-so development — which is a direct cause of the lack of instrumental variety — it's a tad too long. (7.5/10)

8) My Comrade-in-Arms, Ladyluck -Hawk-

Hawk's theme is fantastic. It begins with a fanfare, but, instead of settling down like Albert's theme, it stays powerful throughout. A march-like drum line accompanies the choir and the brass, giving it the required militaristic feel. After all, Hawk is someone's "comrade-in-arms," so it needs to feel militaristic. The bad thing about the track, is that it lacks any development. Looping a track isn't good enough, especially when it could have been so much more. (9/10)

9) Resolute Bravery -Sif-

To me, this sounds like the ideal "hero's theme." It's powerful, full of flair, and it is a great development, but, there are some problems. While I like the idea of the brass giving the track its power, it ends up being overused. Not only this, but in each of the sections, the percussion and bass line are way too repetitive, too. Nonetheless, that doesn't stop Sif's theme from being a great listen, though, although taking care of those issues would improve the tracks variety. (9/10)

10) Absolute Freedom -Gray-

This track has a very tribal feel to it, and this is mainly caused by the wind instrument and the primitive percussion used. However, as nice as the melody is, the track as a whole suffers the same problem as "I'll Take All the Treasure -Jamil-" does, seeing as though it features the same lack of movement. This track is better than "I'll Take All the Treasure -Jamil-" however, as there is a greater variety of instrumentation. (8/10)

11) Passionate Eyes, Captivating Dance -Barbara-

This track is very reminiscent of some forms of Latin music. An accordion, flute, and guitar all play together to give an impression of elegance, beauty, and confidence. The track remains interesting through its instrumentation, as although it has a lack of development, the changes in timbre really give it an extra edge. The track is definitely very dance-like, and Ito does well with this track to present to us another effective character theme. (8/10)

12) Neidhart's Theme

This is easily my favourite character theme, as it is such a change from the others. Brass and percussion work together flawlessly to create this powerful them, which, also sounds militaristic due to the use of the snare drum. Even though the track has quite a simple melody with no real change in instrumentation, there's something about it that appeals to me, and this is most likely its grandeur. (9.5/10)

13) Labyrinth of Illusion

With this track, Ito crafts a piece that is not only mysterious, but threatening as well. The instrumentation is great: the strings (harp included) and bells work together to create a very ominous atmosphere, and even more so with the appearance of a choir. The little chromatic runs that first appear at 1:03 spoil the effect a bit, and although they don't seem to fit well with the rest of the track one could just ignore this little flaw. After all, the rest of the track is seemingly perfect. (9/10)

14) Prelude of Battle

In this track, Sekito has taken Ito's original battle theme to new limits, by simply adding a bit of variance here and there, and of course, the Sekitoian flair that we shall soon grow to love. He was able to improve "The Conflict" in every single aspect. Right away, it grabs you attention with the awesome guitar opening, and then you'll notice its fluency, which seems to give it a sense of completion when compared to the original. This is one of many great Sekito arrangements to come. (9/10)

15) Victory!

This track is an original type of victory theme, as although it starts with a typical, triumphant brass fanfare, it still continues its momentum unlike other victory tracks. After the initial brass fanfare, a harp and other instruments appear to give the brass some support as it plays a rather short repeated melody. It would have been nice to see this theme receive some more development, yet realistically, it is only played on one menu, which shouldn't really be viewed for that long anyway. (8.5/10)

16) Isthmus Castle Raid

This is one of the few original compositions by Sekito. The action-packed string beginning is really effective, because it really does sound like someone is plotting (and executing) a raid on an unsuspecting castle. But then, after 0:28, the track dies down, to leave a very tense string part and some suspense-filled chimes. The track seems to have an anti-climax, so I am not really a fan of it. On the other hand, this is still a respectable composition from Sekito. (6/10)

17) Closed Heart

"Closed Heart" is a sleep-inducing piano solo piece with a lack of any effective development. The transitions between the different sections, namely 1:10 to 1:15, are awkward, and some of the rhythms Ito uses are downright inappropriate for a sad piece like this. The track ends with an arpeggio, which is nothing original, as it is terribly clichéd. This track is nothing new, and more of a filler than anything else. (6/10)

18) Palace Theme

This track has a wonderful introduction, which just leaves me anticipating its return. Ito uses a flute, strings, a piano, and a harpsichord to make this piece sound noble and magical, with the harpsichord inspiring an airy atmosphere, yet with blossoming buds of musicality. The melody can be a bit repetitive after repeated listens, because, even though it's got a bit of development, every section is repeated so many times it starts to become annoying. I am afraid to say, that the introduction is actually the best part of this track. (7.5/10)

19) The Soul of Fire

"The Soul of Fire" is the last Sekito track on this disc. The beginning of the track is awesome, and unsurprisingly the guitar work is extremely impressive. This track just oozes with style, and even though the guitar dominates pretty much the entire piece, I feel it's quite appropriate and doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment one bit. (9.5/10)

20) A Knight's Pride

The title of this track is very misleading, as you can't really see what this Knight may be proud of. When reading the title, I was thinking it would be something powerful, with lots of brass and snare drums, yet it's just a slow, emotional track. Melody-wise, it's not that boring, and when it gets to 1:30 it becomes slightly inspiring. This isn't the type of track that I would play over and over again, as it seems to be its instrumental variety that dominates its development. (7/10)

21) Title Acquisition

"Title Acquisition" is a simple twenty second fanfare, which happens to be an arrangement of "The Salute," from the Romancing SaGa soundtrack. It's a rather pompous track, giving you a very good image of acquiring a title, but clocking in at twenty seconds doesn't make it memorable at all. (6/10)

22) Crystal City

The instrumentation featured in "Crystal City" sounds very appropriate; a woodwind instrument plays a very airy and calm melody, whilst strings and a guitar accompany it. A transition to a part where the strings lead the melody is beautiful, and so is it the section itself. The track goes by too fast, yet despite its lack of development, it is beautiful and inspiring. (8/10)

23) In a Jazzy Mood

This track is really enjoyable, as it combines some nice, albeit repetitive, rhythms, with a melody from elsewhere in the soundtrack. A clarinet plays the main melody, and although this part is somewhat undeveloped, a percussion and guitar accompaniment give it some variety. The fact that there is so little development is a shame, because the melody is beautiful. (7.5/10)

Disc Two

1) Minstrel Song

Despite sharing its title with the name of the game, this track is nothing special. It's not even a song. It's just a nice relaxing composition for acoustic guitars. One could easily listen to this track repeatedly, but when a track has the game's name, one would expect something awesome, yet Ito fails here. The track is beautiful in its own right, yet it is quite disappointing. (8/10)

2) Goodnight

This is just a simple, nine seconds long, "going to sleep" tune. Ito uses an instrument that gives out an airy atmosphere, which seems appropriate for the occasion. This is a typical resting theme, and there isn't really anything else to it. (5/10)

3) Invitation to the Darkness

This is a very good track, in which Ito uses the 'cello in a very brooding manner. A piano dominates the bass with a very loud chord accompaniment. At 0:40, the piece suddenly becomes more mysterious, with the piano leading this change. Unfortunately, even though one may like the dark, evil-sounding parts, it needs some development, as unfortunately they don't last for long. (7.5/10)

4) Passionate Rhythm

Sekito returns with this track, a track which unleashes all of his awesome guitar power into a Spanish-flavoured atmosphere. Not only does the track feature some superb guitar work, but it features some awesome chanting too. It might sound weird having a Spanish-style track with chanting, but it works fantastically. Sekito did an amazing job on this one. (10/10)

5) Lost Woods

This track begins with an echoing piano passage, accompanied by some strings. A 'cello plays the melody for a while, then, at 0:34, violins take its place with a gorgeous passage. Unsatisfied with how it's being developed, the track goes even further at 0:50. Here, the melody becomes more mysterious than before, with the piano now being more active. It's a very refined track, and I wish that the whole Original Soundtrack was like this. The development here is amazing. (10/10)

6) Voyage

"Voyage" sounds like a sad parting theme. There's something so incredibly bland about this track, that the parting just seems ineffective. Maybe it's the clichéd instrumentation of flute and strings, or perhaps it's the boring melody that made me yawn a couple of times. Maybe it's both. It probably is. (7/10)

7) Give Me A Break You Guys!

Here we see Ito attempting to write the mandatory "quirky" theme every RPG has. The wind melody is actually not bad at all, but the fact that it's played by the same instrument throughout is annoying. Even more annoying is the developed section, at 0:37, where some out of place sound effects appear and a xylophone takes over the melody. Ito adds some chromatic passages in the xylophone in an attempt to show some humour, except it's not funny... (5/10)

8) We Are Pirates

To be honest, I expected more of this track. For one, it has "pirates" in the title, and that's a lot to live up to. The composition has a male choir with some cool brass parts, and some snare drums thrown in for good measure. The word "pirate" is betrayed somewhat, but overall, the track is quite good. (7/10)

9) Sewers

This was quite a surprise, because I would never expect to find an electronica track in this album. I'm not a huge connoisseur of electronica, so feel free to point and laugh at me if I get something wrong. From 0:28 until 0:57, the beats are way too loud and that shadows the melody a bit, but then in 0:57 an awesome section is revealed. The track stays amazingly original throughout, and then it loops after quite a long while. (9/10)

10) Isle of Evil

Despite the name, this track isn't exactly full of evil vibes. As ever, there is a mysterious organ part, some thumping percussion, and an eerie choir. Timpani soon accompany the organ on every single beat, as if to accentuate it further. Unfortunately for Ito, my favourite part of the track is at 1:09, which is right before it loops. Everything else, apart from that little section, seems to be very run-of-the-mill stuff. (7/10)

11) Chaos Labyrinth

After all the acoustic guitar goodness of "Passionate Rhythm," Sekito brings us a more electronic composition. "Chaos Labyrinth" is a very action-oriented track, with some great electric guitar work in there. The percussion is pretty good, but nothing special: it does its job well. The track seems improvised in some ways, and suspicions grow further when you hear Fukui playing his heart out in the background. This is a great track. (8/10)

12) Escape!

This track is stupidly short for an escape theme, yet I seem to like it. This is the type of track that seems to work well ingame, rather than on its own on the soundtrack. With some more development, this track could have been great, because it has potential: the percussion is spot on, as it's fast paced and energetic. Nonetheless, its length lets it down. (4/10)

13) Sacred Domain -Four Guardian Kings Dungeon-

You can't even compare how much of an improvement this is over the original's "The Four Wills (Four Kings Dungeon)." The original was nice, but "Sacred Domain" is infinitely better. With the added power of the PlayStation2, you can now feel the danger with some strings, choir, and percussion. Like in "Isle of Evil," the percussion is thumping at every beat, as to emphasise the melody. Even though it does very little in terms of development, it is a pretty good arrangement. (8.5/10)

14) A Challenge to God -Four Guardian Kings Battle-

Sekito's back again and, this time, he has arranged Ito's "Beat Them Up! (Battle 2)." The saxophone from the original track remains here, and a guitar is used to support this, rather than take the melody itself. As usual, Sekito's arranging is top notch, and I think that his performance really shows the emotion that synth machines can't. Tomohito Aiko also features on the bass guitar here. Their combined performance really makes this an unmissable battle theme. (10/10)

15) Requiem

Even though it's called "Requiem" and is probably a game over tune, the first few seconds sound slightly happy. This may represent the falling of the character into an eternal blissful sleep, yet, apart from that, no other images are given across. (3/10)

16) Heartbroken Aisha

Right from the start you can feel Aisha's grief through some slow strings, and it isn't until the piano appears that this track begins to be good. There is an effective piano solo section which then fades to become an accompaniment to the strings at 0:46. Then, at 1:18, a woodwind instrument joins in, just to finish off the clichéd vibes given off. By all means, this is not a bad track, but after listening to five billion pieces like this, it starts to get annoying. (7/10)

17) Theme of Solitude

This is an arrangement of the melody heard in "Sacred Domain." A string ensemble and timpani are used to create an atmosphere of loneliness, which soon becomes ineffective due to its constant repetition. The track features no variation upon the melody whatsoever, which really lets it down. (6/10)

18) Unerasable Pain

For a name like "Unerasable Pain," the beginning is awfully jolly. The track proves to be a waste of sound vibrations when we suddenly realise that the melody goes nowhere and that the accompaniment is equally as awful. (4/10)

19) A Piece of Courage

This track is the first bit of action after a series of sad tracks, and it really is a nicely timed change. This piece makes a rather strong statement: it's technically impossible to survive three of Ito's slow tracks in a row. The track begins with some awesome percussion, which is then played over by some delicate synth, and a strong bass accompaniment, too. There are frequent sections which leave you in awe, and when the track loops, one becomes grateful for the opportunity of hearing it again. (10/10)

20) Happiness Tears

In a way, this track reminds me of a certain Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack track, in which Emiko Shiratori doesn't sing, she simply chants. "Happiness Tears" is a great track, with the female vocalist chanting the melody, and some simple accompaniment: strings, guitar, and percussion. Even if it could use some more development, I won't complain, because it's a beautiful composition, even if the section from 1:10 to 1:15 sounds oddly familiar. (9/10)

21) Village of the Giants

Ito uses a very tribal ensemble here to represent these earthly creatures and the connection to the land. Considering this imagery, this is a pretty good track, and it doesn't get old quickly either. There isn't a lot to say about it, just except that it the strings and the flute are extremely effective when it comes to paint this image. (8/10)

22) Wicked Melody

As far as Disc Two is concerned, this is my favourite track from Ito. It begins with some percussion beats, an organ, and a choir. The organ continues to play an eerie right up until 1:09, which is when a snare drum introduces a new section where the percussion is more dominant, and the piece's tempo picks up tremendously. The choir still features in the main melody, while a harpsichord replaces the organ  and stays mainly as a support instrument. The track loops at a perfectly timed position to leave us with a great atmosphere. (10/10)

23) Wipe Away the Tears

This track is an arrangement of Uematsu's original composition. Even though Sekito has arranged this track, there isn't a dominance of guitar at all, but rather something really Uematsu-esque. The original melody was already great, and Sekito merely improved upon the original with a beautiful arrangement. (10/10)

24) I Am A Pirate

This track is the same as "We are Pirates," but instead of being a full male choir chanting, it's just one man alone. The development of the track is just a male choir added in the background. The track loops endlessly, and any effects are minimal due to this lack of development.(3/10)

Disc Three

1) Final Trial

This dungeon-like theme seems a bit dull with a tedious string part, but thankfully, some brass comes in and saves the day. A real orchestra actually plays this simple piece, and it is because of this that it becomes effective. Even though this piece could use some more development, one could still easily enjoy it. (8/10)

2) Believing My Justice

"Believing My Justice" begins quite aggressively with a fast tempo. The track has a simple structure: the brass section plays the melody, accompanied by some percussion. The track is very old-school, especially seeing as though the track relates back to the earlier days of VGM, where the tracks relied upon a catchy melody to make them effective. This is a great track, and a fun listen too. (9/10)

3) Mysterious Glitter

This track is nice, calm, and relaxing, and this is multiplied even further with its mysterious melody. At 0:46, the track starts to become more interesting, because a choir appears, intensifying the eerie atmosphere. The track is nice as a whole and it is a nice track to prepare us for "Awakening Memories -The Battle with Sherah-." (7/10)

4) Awakening Memories -The Battle with Sherah-

This is Sekito at his finest, bringing us some first class rhythms and all out guitar improvisation. There isn't really anything bad to say about this track, because it is that good. For starters, Sekito and Fukui both perform superbly. The track begins with some awesome percussion and guitar riffs, then Fukui's organ comes in, soon to be replaced by guitar after a short passage. After almost 2 minutes of uninterrupted Sekito, Fukui comes in to show that he is also full of talent. There seems to be such unity, yet rivalry between the two, which really makes this track great. (10+/10)

5) Hades

"Hades" is very atmospheric, employing some eerie suspended strings and mysterious piano runs in the beginning. This cliché really takes everything out of the track, especially seeing as it's basically the same thing being repeated over and over again. The atmosphere is great, but the track, well, it's average. (6/10)

6) Written Invitation to Death -The Battle with Death-

This is Ito's only battle theme, and what an awesome one at that. To counter Sekito's superb battle themes, Ito went with orchestra and choir, to prove that epic battle themes are still great, too. Some awesome brass and strings really grab you from the start, and some strong percussion makes the track even more captivating. Kyoko Kishikawa's hauntingly beautiful voice is a more than welcome addition to the already great theme. This is as epic as battle themes go, with epic chorus, strong brass lines, crazy string melodies and aggressive percussion. (10+/10)

7) Last Dungeon

After "Written Invitation to Death," Ito doesn't let us rest, and gives us another powerful theme. The piano doesn't seem to fit the start too well, but it does get better after the 0:23 mark. Some weird sound effects appear, and the threatening bass line keeps reminding you that you're in the last dungeon, while strings, accompanied by choir, play the melody. The track features some strange transitions, which are quite an effective addition. This is another great track, and Ito's powerful themes certainly beat his sadder ones. (9/10)

8) Evil God Revival

This track is just like "Escape!" It's really short with awful development, but it sounds like it could work well in the game. The instrumentation is almost perfect, but it's too underdeveloped! It's a pity when the tracks beforehand were so great. (6/10)

9) To the Altar of Revival

"To the Altar of Revival" is another electronica track, from Sekito. It takes a while to get going, and when it does, it's pretty atmospheric. The melody is simple, but just wait until 1:07, because the electric guitar will blow you mind. Sekito shows us what the original melodies can really be in this track. (9/10)

10) Decisive Battle! Saruin -The Battle with Saruin-

Fukui and Sekito team up once again in this track to bring us more battle goodness. Fortunately for Fukui fans everywhere, he gets to play a little bit more in this track than he did back in "Awakening Memories." It begins with some awesome rhythms and Fukui's organ, and then Sekito comes in with his trademark riffs. At 1:53, Sekito improvises upon a fantastic organ melody, and right after, at 2:25, Fukui does the same, but to Sekito's guitar melody. All in all, this track isn't as good as "Awakening Memories," but it is still a great track. (9.5/10)

11) Only One Wish

This track starts off with a section from "Minstrel Song." Strings join in at 0:38 to lead us through a journey of emotional glissandos, and certainly some beautiful rhythms too At 2:15, the flute plays the main melody, being accompanied by a piano again. The piano's accompaniment is more dynamic than and not as slow as in earlier sections of the track, which gives the theme a new sense of flavour. The track repeats itself far too much in the time that it plays, and if it weren't for this, then this track would have been so much more epic. However, it fails here, so it gets a lower rating than originally expected. (9/10)

12) Eternal Emotion

"Eternal Emotion" has a beautiful melody, but it features typical instrumentation and clichéd rhythms. Obviously, being an orchestral track, brass also appears, but it's not often as one would have liked. There is a severe lack of originality up until 1:38, where a female chorus now sings the main melody. After a woodwind rendition of the beginning of "Opening Title," the very soothing choir and piano ends this magnificent piece. (9.5/10)

13) End Title

This is a prime example of a very good orchestration, where every instrument is used incredibly well, giving the track a very good flow. The start of the track is an effective brass and timpani fanfare. Violins start playing the main melody at 0:15, while some woodwinds trill an accompaniment along with the brass. At 0:52, the brass section takes the centre stage, along with some snare drum accompaniment. The whole thing is repeated, and then "Opening Title" makes a triumphant comeback. The problem with the track is that it repeats twice, and then shamelessly integrates the whole of "Opening Title." That just makes things worse than they actually should have been. (9.5/10)

14) Minuet (Ending Edit)

Although this track is ending the last story disc of the album, and although it should be an epic track, it is merely a repeat of "Minuet (Minstrel Song Edit)," and it is even shorter, too. That disappoints, but it is a great melody after all. (8/10)

Disc Four

1) Rosalia From A Window

This track sounds almost like a home-coming track. Woodwind do wonders to the melody, and so does the percussion to its rhythm. There is some wonderful development in this track, which just sets the disc off nicely. (8/10)

2) Knights' Dominion From A Window

The beginning of this track sounds like the intro of "Opening Title" played on organ and strings, and after that it has the same melody as the previous track. All of the "... From A Window" tracks do, with variations to not become boring. Again, a woodwind plays the melody, but this time, a harpsichord is its accompaniment, and it's pretty good. (7.5/10)

3) Frontier From A Window

Sekito's first "... From A Window" track is pretty tropical. At 0:53, a violin plays a brilliant melody whilst accompanied by a guitar and percussion. After that, the track becomes silent, with some bass instruments playing a few notes. The track soon loops to complete the effect. (7.5/10)

4) Walon Isle From A Window

"Walon Isle..." and "Frontier..." are a bit similar. Both have a very tropical feel, but this one is the better one. Its instrumentation is akin to what we would listen to in Jamaica. It's pretty nifty, even if its development is poor. (8/10)

5) Ligou Isle From A Window

This track sounds very mystical, but it uses something that sounds familiar to the instrument used in "Walon Isle..." In the developed section, a woodwind instrument plays a heartbreaking melody. This track doesn't have anything special, so it is quite disappointing, in my eyes. (6/10)

6) Garesa Steppe From A Window

This track sounds very happy. The woodwind instrument sounds very joyful, and the accompaniment is great: some percussion, a violin, and some other instruments join in. This is easily one of the better "... From A Window" tracks, even if its instrumentation is rather limited. I especially like the reverberation with the woodwind at 1:00. (8.5/10)

7) Valhalland From A Window

This track is disappointingly dull. A harp plays the melody along with some suspended strings until 0:36, when a synth voice takes over the melody, but to use the harp as an accompaniment. This is one of the poorer "...From A Window" tracks, that's for sure. (5.5/10)

8) Kjaraht From A Window

The beginning of this track is similar in style to "Ligou Isle...," and it's equally as dull. The familiar "... From A Window" melody begins at around 0:40, and by then you'll probably have already skipped this track, because it's not that fun to listen to. (5.5/10)

9) Ore Mine From A Window

The instrument used to play the main melody is interesting, and although I can't really describe it, it fits the image of a mine well. It's not the most creative track in the world, but the wind instrument alone deserves a listen. (7.5/10)

10) View of the Sea From A Window

The beginning and background to this track has the same instrumentation as "Walon Isle From A Window." The instrument used for this melody is slightly weird, but it goes away for a while, and is replaced by a more common-sounding woodwind. This track is one to miss, but in all sincerity, it has a wonderful atmosphere. (5/10)

11) Bafal Empire From A Window

Ito's last "... From A Window" track begins quite well. However, the theme by now bores, as we have already heard it ten times prior to this one. This is one of the better ones, but by now, it is lost its effect. These types of track should be heard on their own, rather than collectively. (7.5/10)

12) Oasis From A Window

This track sounds very tropical, and it is the guitar melody that really shows us this. At 0:48 we get some instrumental development, but that still doesn't save the track from being completely forgettable. Though I've got to say that when some woodwind rejoin the ensemble, it sounds great. (7/10)

13) Fishing Village From A Window

This last "...From A Window" track sounds just like all the others, with a wind instrument playing the melody. There isn't really anything original here, but it is nice to see a theme so appreciated that it has to be repeated thirteen times on the soundtrack. (7/10)

14) Anxiety

This track is supposed to show restlessness, but it doesn't. The instrumentation used is woodwinds, strings, piano, and percussion, and when coupled with a repetitive melody and virtually no development, all you get is a skipable track, not something which represents worry. (5/10)

15) Shock

Ito uses brass, strings and percussion here to shock us, and he does a reasonably good job, too. The track is pretty fast-paced and it's pretty awesome, even if it's a little bit repetitive. But being in Disc Four, it means that it's not long enough, or developed enough for that matter. This track could have gone somewhere if it weren't for this. (5.5/10)

16) Sad

When you think Ito's sad themes couldn't get any more boring, "Sad" comes in and blows your mind. Not only is it the typical strings and piano instrumentation, but I felt it just kept going and going, with no real purpose. (4/10)

17) No Problem

Here, one sees a track which tries to be comical by using some sound effects and a melody that gets annoying rather quickly. It is simply a big rip-off of the "Overture." With some badly-placed bass lines, and a simple development section, Ito's inspiration seems to be running dry. (3/10)

18) Suddenly, It's Charleston!?

I'm always on the lookout for tracks with interesting names so, when I found "Suddenly...," I quickly rushed to listen to it. To my surprise, it was the most addictive ragtime piece that I have ever heard. It's like it's cocaine in ragtime form. (10/10)

19) Omen

Sekito does a wonderful job with this one. It features an awesome string ostinato, while violins play the opening theme. It loses a few points in the originality department, but the rhythm in the strings is to die for. Awesome stuff here. (8/10)

20) Pressure

Remember Hamauzu's "Perpetual Movements" from the UNLIMITED: SaGa Original Soundtrack? Well, imagine it being worse, by using the main theme and having the melody shoved into the background. This is basically Sekito's "Pressure." There is a nice string part, but there is also a mechanical noises part which spoils the whole thing. (6/10)

21) Dash

Consisting of nothing more than electronica beats and synth chord progressions, this track adds the electronic component to this awful disc. Too bad it's short and underdeveloped, like most other pieces from this very disc. (5/10)

22) Invisibility

This track has a mysterious and mystical effect, which fits perfectly in with most of the tracks on this album. Unfortunately, this track is far too minimalist, and when placed amongst plenty of other tracks of the same calibre, it becomes ineffective. The track hardly goes anywhere, and just takes up space on the disc. (5.5/10)

23) Romancing As It Is

This track is a nice surprise on this disc. Sekito produces an unusually quirky, cheerful composition here. Despite the many criticisms Disc Four gets, I find tracks like this refreshing. Not only this, but, the happy melody doesn't get on my nerves either. This is a refreshing addition to this disc. (9/10)

24) Boring Days

For some reason, the woodwind used makes me think of rainy days when I listen to this track. The track has a nice buoyant melody and some nice accompaniment, too, but not even new instruments can rescue this track from the abyss of repetitiveness. The melody is easy to like, but its repetition spoils it. (6/10)

25) Arranged Customs

This track begins with the now familiar "Opening Title" theme, but on guitar with a string accompaniment. Then, at 0:25, it starts to develop a little bit, however this soon turns out to be a repetitive melody with the same percussion line over and over again. I was expecting more of this track, but then I remembered it was on Disc Four, the land where development matters not. (6.5/10)

26) Demise

This is another refreshingly decent track on a radioactively decaying disc which has a half-life of one second. Even if the opening theme is used again, at least now it's a good piece. Piano and strings work together wonderfully, and everything else besides them adds something to the track's atmosphere. You can almost feel that you're in a damp and dark cave when listening to that choir. If Sekito were to develop this further, it would have been a near-masterpiece. (9/10)

27) Jingle A

"Jingle A" borrows a bit of the "Opening Title," namely the bit from 0:07 to 0:10. It's a nice little victory jingle, with a harp in the beginning, and a march arrangement of the aforementioned section. (5/10)

28) Jingle B

Like "Jingle A," "Jingle B" also borrows a bit of the "Opening Title," namely the section from 0:44 to 0:51. It's an even better fanfare orientated jingle, with a much better arrangement of the same track. (6/10)

29) Profound

This track features over a minutes worth of suspended strings, some piano chords here and there, and some noises. This isn't fun to listen to outside the context of the game. Ambience is only fun if it has rhythm, like Nakano's ambient tracks. (4/10)

30) Chills

This track is eerie and almost creepy. Bells repeat the same melody over and over, while strings suspend a note in the background. I'm certain it works great in-game, but when outside of any context, it just feels dull and empty. However, one can appreciate the melody amongst the poorer tracks on this disc. (7/10)

31) Anticipation

This is not a bad track, but it's very repetitive. After a guitar intro, the main melody is switched to the strings, and what sounds like another string instrument. It's a very peaceful composition, but there is a lack of the anticipation suggested in the title.(7.5/10)

32) A Strange Pair

This track sounds really playful and upbeat, especially in conjunction with some quirky bass. It's not long, but surprisingly it does its job well. One could imagine a duo of comic characters doing something funny while this track is played in the background. Even if it's only 23 seconds long, it's still a good track. (7/10)

33) Bewilderment

Sekito's last arrangement is pretty cool to listen to. A violin and what sounds like a very high-pitched bell play the "Opening Title" melody, accompanied by a funky bass line of alternating woodwinds. At 0:28, the strings play a more serious melody, but then the bell leads us right back to the funky bass line. It's a shame that this track is so underdeveloped, because, like many others, it has potential. (8/10)

34) Crisis

Ito's "Crisis" spills toxic danger all over the place, with some brass and strings being used to convey the idea that something bad is happening. Despite being a perfect portrayal of danger, this theme is as undeveloped as the rest of this disc. (7/10)

35) Charge

This track is merely a ten second melody that keeps on looping. The track sounds militaristic and heroic, but its length lets it done. The track sounds like it is played in a place where you're about to lead an army to victory. (5/10)

36) Determination

"Determination" is a bit like "Charge," in the way they both attempt to be really epic, but fail. This track, however, is a lot better. There's an awesome string ostinato and the brass section plays a wonderfully heroic melody. It's slightly repetitive, but it's still great. (8/10)

37) Eternal Separation

Piano and strings are the main instruments here. Strings dominate this track until 0:45, which is when the piano gets its chance to shine. The ending is awful, and it feels like it was a mistake when someone was editing it, as it really is that poor. It feels so sudden: the harp is playing a descending melody, then a low piano chord pops up and the track ends. (7/10)

38) Fateful Encounter

Strangely enough, this rack begins almost exactly as Danny Elfman's "This is Halloween," from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas does. There isn't really anything too impressive about this track, as although there is a nice flute melody, there isn't really anything else. (7/10)

39) Light Steps! Normal Steps!! Stealthy Steps!!!

This track takes a suspense filled line of approach at the start. I imagine that the section beginning at 0:07 is the "light steps" part of the title, because of a seemingly quaint piano passage. At 0:20, the percussion gets faster as we walk "normal steps," this time with very little aid of the piano. 10 seconds later, the percussion changes, as if slightly tapping into the cymbals, and we hear some suspended strings a lot better now, because we're walking "stealthy steps" now. There isn't really anything memorable about this track. (5/10)

40) Invitation to Flamenco

Sekito might not have composed this nice acoustic guitar piece, but he did perform it. Some castanets accompany the guitar's simple melody, which soon goes downhill after 0:19. The ending is great, with the guitar rapidly playing a chord. This is worthy of a listen if you like acoustic guitars, Sekito's performance, and castanets. (6/10)

41) Running Across the Vast Ocean!

This track begins with an awesome brass and strings part. After a brief moment of silence, a fantastic melody is developed on brass, to be later passed on to the strings. The strings' melody is quite familiar, but I can't quite place it. The ending fits well, but it's not as upbeat as the rest, which is disappointing. I don't mind listening to this piece repeatedly, because it's got some nice ideas. (8/10)

42) Eternal Emotion (Piano Solo)

If I had to guess where this track is used, I'd say it's used in the "The End" screen, like the reprise of "Dearly Beloved," from the Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack. This track represents our journey through the soundtrack, experiencing many different emotions and savouring several musical styles. As a piano arrangement, "Eternal Emotion" is a good track to listen to, without any big flaws. But as a final piece, it works great. (9.5/10)


Comparisons between this album and Hamauzu's UNLIMITED: SaGa are inevitable. The variety of musical styles on this album surpasses Hamauzu's album, but I felt the UNLIMITED: SaGa Original Soundtrack to be more consistent in terms of musical quality.

Ito's contributions range from the god-awful — "No Problem" — to the awe-inspiring — "Written Invitation to Death" — with the majority of the pieces staying in the OK part of the spectrum. Although that isn't bad by any means, some tracks have a lot of wasted potential. The more I listened to his tracks, the more I began to realize their flaws.

Sekito's, on the other hand, are pretty much all superb, with the exception of Disc Four. His original compositions, "Awakening Memories" and "Passionate Rhythm," to name a few, are fantastic, and his arrangements, "Prelude of Battle" and "A Challenge to God," for example, are amazing. His contribution made me wonder why Square Enix hardly give him a chance to compose.

If you are a fan of the Romancing SaGa Original Soundtrack, there's no reason not to get this album. The Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Original Soundtrack extends the musical reach of the original to unimaginable extents, bringing a lot of different styles together. I didn't know a lot about Ito, but this album does a good job in introducing his style to possible strangers to it. Fans of Sekito might not want to miss it either, because it contains some wonderful contributions by him, even if just a few. This album is a good purchase, and I recommend it. It has a wide variety of different musical genres, and as such diversity is hard to come by, it is definitely worth your money.

Percentage Overall Score: 90%

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