- Western Games
  - Square Enix
  - Nintendo
  - Konami
  - Falcom
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Mistwalker
  - Cave
  - Basiscape

  - 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


Xenosaga Episode II Movie Scene Soundtrack :: Review by Weabblewill

Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse Movie Scene Soundtrack Album Title: Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse Movie Scene Soundtrack
Record Label: Victor Entertainment
Catalog No.: VICL-61431/2
Release Date: July 7, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


People were blown away by the Xenosaga Original Soundtrack that Mitsuda produced. It had strong orchestral themes that matched the space odyssey cut-scenes. Many will agree that it was nothing less than a masterpiece. Then the news that perhaps shocked the entire VGM community, Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse Movie Scene Soundtrack wasn't going to be composed by him, but by the Noir and .hack series composer, Yuki Kajiura, and Super Sweep's Shinji Hosoe. This soundtrack covers Kajiura's works, which were all cinematic in nature, whereas Hosoe's in-game music was never released as a soundtrack. Kajiura did not have the musical resources that were available to Mitsuda when he used the London Philharmonic orchestra for his soundtrack, but still manages to succeed due to her style being totally different to his. Mitsuda's album had an epic and full-blown style, a contrast to his mostly Celtic works, whereas Kajiura's manipulation of various timbres, including a choir, electronic samples, and orchestral instruments, makes this album very unique and distinct.

From listening to the whole album, I can wholeheartedly tell you that Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse Movie Scene Soundtrack should be in your VGM collection. Some of the themes are overused in the album such as Sakura's theme and the main theme. The good aspect is that this repetition reinforces the distinctive motifs, so that you remember the major themes of the album. "lamentation," "communication breakdown," and "I am free" are the gems on this soundtrack. So, let's see how Kajiura fares in comparison to Mitsuda here.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) in the beginning, there was...

This track begins in a Celtic style, utilising bagpipes, and female chanting soon appears in the background. The combination of the Celtic style and vocal flair is mastered well here to bring a mysterious yet almost supernatural feel to the track. However, I feel that it seems a little out of place when put into the context of the real game. (7/10)

2) first meeting

There is some more female chanting going on in this track, and later some synthetic xylophones in the background appear. Afterwards, a piano solo comes in, and you get the sense of desolation and helplessness here, as the music accompanies a scene that shows what happened fourteen years ago to individual citizens due to plague of U-DO. (7/10)

3) Xenosaga Episode II opening theme

This is a beautiful theme. The drums in the background provide a steady beat, and so, with this militaristic edge, a factor of hope is added to the track. Later on, the melody used here will form the basis of "Sweet Song," which integrates lyrics, but doesn't match the power of the instrumental version. This is one of the best tracks on the album, in my opinion. (10/10)

4) assault

This is an experimental track, and Kajiura tries to combine some orchestration with techno background music. This track is very difficult to judge, but I commend her for trying something new. This works well as a fusion track of the two aforementioned elements. When it gets to about 1:03, it really gets cooking with the use of a steady flute melody against some techno beats. It takes time for this track to grow on you. (8/10)

5) strain~Jin

This track is very bizarre, and very different from the preceding four tracks. It is almost entirely electronic-based, combining oppressive drum beats against odd sound effects, though at 1:55, there is a fusion of techno and orchestral styles. Although not the best track on the album, I feel that this is one of the more diverse ones. (7/10)

6) here he comes

This track is very similar to track five, and so, there isn't a lot to say about it. This version is as ambient as the first. (5/10)

7) fatal fight (Jin & Margulis)

Atonal chanting and strings in the background of this track bring an excellent vibe to the composition before the emergence of the beautiful main vocal melody. Sadly, I admit that this is what Mitsuda was missing in the first album: an upbeat track that's catchy and sticks in your head. This is essentially from a short section of "strain~Jin," but expanded here. The electronic guitar riffs are done in an exceptional way, so there is no doubt that this track is one of the gems of this album. (9/10)

8) R&D report

This is more of a reflective track; with bells chiming in the background and an electric keyboard playing, too, a sense of purity is immediately given off. It's not as strong as "Green Sleeves" or "Nephilim" from Mitsuda's first album, though. (7/10)

9) chase

This is where Jr., Momo, and Ziggy are in a car chase scene. This reminds me a little of Nobuo Uematsu's theme for the motorcycle chase in Final Fantasy VII. This is one of the more upbeat tracks of the album, and the style is quite unique, too, particularly with the aggressive violin solo in the latter half. (8/10)

10) surrounded

This was used in the second fight between Jin and Margulis when they fight in Old Militia. There is a Japanese feel given by the high-pitched flute, but this is contrasted by the dissonant electronic effects and ominous chanting. Personally, I didn't enjoy the style of this one compared to most other tracks on the album and it is not something you want to listen when you're doing your homework. (7/10)

11) lamentation

I consider this to be my favorite track of the whole album and it sounds like it came from a movie rather than a game. It is a tender and sad theme with the sense of loss in Jr.'s scene. It starts out with the xylophones, but builds up with the piano and eventually blooms with the use of wider orchestral elements. I felt that this theme should have been repeated in the game and the album; however, disappointingly, this great theme only appears once. (10/10)

12) Albedo

Although this track is creepy, it isn't as effective as Mitsuda's first theme for Albedo, but remains a good track to listen to and integrates some effective male chanting in the background. It reminds me a little of "Kuja's Theme" in Final Fantasy IX and shows you the state of insanity that Albedo's going through. (7/10)

13) communication breakdown

Don't let the atonal chanting in this track draw you away for the first couple of seconds. It builds up with steady techno beats and strings leading to the climax of the piece that simply blows you away. It fuses the choir and orchestra arrangement to make it into a masterpiece. This rivals the "lamentation" track. (10/10)

14) Sakura (theme-piano ver.)

This piano theme is Jr.'s theme with Sakura when they're talking to each other during the encephalon. It's reflective and just as good as Mitsuda's "Nephilim," utilising the piano effectively. (8/10)

15) Sakura #2 (theme-simple voc.ver.)

This is a repetition of "Sakura (theme-piano ver.)," except with a banjo and female singing in the background. This track is repeated too many times in this album and it's just another version that doesn't bring anything particularly new. (7/10)

16) strained

This is like "here he comes" again, being experimental and ambient, and it becomes even more bizarre when you hear insane laughing in the background. Not bad, but certainly not particularly accessible on a stand-alone basis. (5/10)

17) Jr. #2

This is Jr.'s theme on piano and chiming bells. This is a track that defines his scarred past that he just can't shake away and is very reflective. (8/10)

18) strained #2 ~ Albedo #2

At first, it sounds similar to "strained," but later on it changes into a reprise of the "Jr. #2" theme, except with a little distortion. Slowly, dark and distorted chanting is introduced, representing Albedo's transformation to the dark side, while the piano lines add to the mysterious feel. It's far superior to previous tracks and it shows the Kajiura can expand old material effectively. (10/10)

19) in the beginning, there was. #2

This track is very similar as "in the beginning, there was..." and "first meeting." There isn't too much different here, meaning it's effective, but not especially interesting. (7/10)

20) battle of Elsa

Distorted chants and rough guitar riffs dominate this track. There is total turmoil here, and I don't think that it fits well with my view of a battle theme. This is almost as experimental as the chase theme, but it is too techno-oriented and jarring for my taste. (6/10)

21) here she comes (KOS-MOS)

KOS-MOS comes to save Shion when this bright and majestic track plays. The techno beat in the back is a real turnoff and I think this track could have done well without it. It's still great to listen to when you're doing homework, though. (8/10)

22) battle of Elsa #2

There isn't too much different here than in "battle of Elsa," except at 0:55, when you get some variations of lighter and cheerful atmosphere. I find this track to be much more bearable than "battle of Elsa." (7/10)

23) gate out

Margulis and Jin duel it out on the top of the roof while this dark electronica piece plays. It is perfect in that scene, and, though it is strange when you hear it for the first time, it'll grow on you. This is one of the better ambient music tracks on the album. (8/10)

Disc Two

1) here he comes #2

This is "here he comes" mixed with "fatal fight (Jin & Margulis)." The track is ambient and a little boring now that the listener has experienced these tracks already. (6/10)

2) creeping fear

This is ambient music once again, but with a little more suspense. This is probably one of the weakest tracks on the whole album. (6/10)

3) U-DO~Febronia

This is a symphonic track that describes what has happened to the tragic Febronia's sisters. The violins are great to hear, and this theme should have been used more often than "Sakura..." The first two minutes are great, but then electronic guitars come in and spoils the vibe. I think if Yuki Kajiura had a second chance to compose her album, she would not have included this. (9/10)

4) final crisis

This is a symphonic track that has a more upbeat tempo than "U-DO~Febronia," though uses the same motifs. It's very effective and is suitable for bringing the album towards its climax. (9/10)

5) presentiment~Jr.#3

An electronic keyboard and chimes accompany Jr.'s dilemma about Albedo, and a solo violin later comes in to give a sense of anguish. It's a great track that demonstrates Kajiura's fusion techniques. (8/10)

6) a field of battle~bitter #2

This is an electronic and acoustic fusion track in which the flute provides the main melody for it to develop from. A track like this has promise, but again, like "U-DO~Febronia," the techno sound effects could have been left out. I prefer this track more than the "battle of Elsa" because it is quite balanced in terms of utilizing electronica and the eventual integration of vocals in the latter half is simply supreme. (8/10)

7) inside~Sakura #3

Some chanting and bizarre effects for Sakura's theme really don't work here in this inappropriate arrangement of the character theme. This is probably the weakest of the "Sakura..." arrangements. (3/10)

8) I am free

This touching piece is beautiful to listen to and I feel Kajiura has done an excellent job in presenting this resolution theme between Jr. and Albedo. The only complaint I have is that this is just too short at 1:40 minutes long and this piece has a lot of potential, if not for the short composition. It is certainly one of the strongest compositions on the album and yet overlooked. (10/10)

9) Sakura #4 (theme-gentle strings ver.)

Jr. is left hopeless with nobody to guide him back to the Elsa, but Sakura appears in an image to help him through. This is the best version of all the Sakura themes in the album and is a major improvement over the last Sakura theme. (9/10)

10) Sweet Song (Xenosaga Episode II ending theme)

This is the same as "Xenosaga Episode II opening theme," except with vocals, and the track is extended too. The female choir strengthens and supports the singer's voice, which make up for any displacement with the lyrics. I feel that this is a much stronger vocal track than "Pain" from Mitsuda and has a much more emotional feel, though I do have a complaint that this track should have been placed at the end of the album. (9/10)

11) Jr.

This is Jr.'s theme with a female choir carrying the majority of the theme. This is a very nice track, and it has a Spanish flavour to it with banjos in the background, again emphasizing the album's diversity. (8/10)

12) Jr. #4

This is another version of Jr.'s theme, and although it is similar to "Jr.," it is more upbeat. (8/10)

13) fatal fight #2

This is a derivative of "fatal fight (Jin & Margulis)," but electronics samples and horn-like sounds alter it slightly. It is an experimental track that isn't as good as "fatal fight (Jin & Margulis)" in comparison and not original enough to stand out in its own right. (6/10)

14) bitter

There is a little variation to keep this track from turning into a carbon copy of the second part of "a field of battle~bitter #2." Melodic power is reinforced in this version. (8/10)

15) Nephilim

This track shares the same melody as Mitsuda's "Song of Nephilim" and plays when Proto-Merkabah is functioning. There is not much difference from the original, and so, I found this track to be kind of out of place. (6/10)

16) the image theme of Xenosaga Episode II #piano ver.

This is essentially the recapitulation of "first meeting." Despite the theme's repetition, it features some diversity in that is has a piano accompaniment and it is certainly another ambient gem. (7/10)

17) the image theme of Xenosaga Episode II

The bagpipes are back in this track, and so, this track surpasses "in the beginning, there was..." by combining it with "fatal fight (Jin & Margulis)." This is a great ending track, and this is the music selection you hear when you watch the trailer. (10/10)


In comparison to the Xenosaga Original Soundtrack, the Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse Movie Scene Soundtrack is a much more balanced score. It manages to balance its action tracks perfectly with individual character, main, and battle themes, too. Kajiura breaks the trend by treading on new water with her fusion technique. Don't get me wrong; Mitsuda is one of my favorite great composers, but in my opinion his style sometimes gets too confined in his Celtic and orchestral compositions. In order to enjoy this soundtrack fully, don't expect this album to be the Xenosaga Original Soundtrack all over again, as it is very different. Though the album's style may not be everybody's cup of tea, this album is diverse enough for most to enjoy, whether electronic, techno, or orchestral, so, if you're looking for something new, try this album. Let's hope that Kajiura can deliver the same excellence again if she continues to compose for this series.

Overall Score: 9/10