A few years after the release of Tenpei Sato The Best - Beautiful Days, Tenpei Sato decided to release Tenpei Sato The Best 2 - Heroic Saga. While the original focused mainly on the Marl Kingdom series and more poignant and emotional themes, the idea behind this compilation album was to capture a more heroic sound. It features works mainly from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and La Pucelle: Tactics, as well as a few themes from the Marl Kingdom series and Phantom Brave. Does Tenpei Sato's second compilation album deliver?
Interestingly enough, the album opens up with the opening theme to La Pucelle: Tactics, "The Legend of the Light Saint." Sung by Lynne Hobday, it offers a more dramatic tone than the vocal featured on his first compilation album. The vocal work is a large part of this, at times dramatic, especially with the layering, and at others, more beautiful. It's still a beautiful theme, but not in the poignant way like "Miracles Happen." The music is also quite nice and although more in a supportive role, the strings and percussion really help mold this piece into something special. "God Bless Prier!" is definitely the most dramatic theme on the album. Featuring operatic vocals by Mai Takeda, it has a very spooky and tense atmosphere, mainly due to the combination of operatic vocals, dramatic choir support, and organ. It has a fantastic soundscape and is one of my favorite themes on the album. The last theme from La Pucelle is "Great Wilder," and what a fantastic theme it is! It features some exquisite violin work over an electronic backed accompaniment and has a great ethnic soundscape at times. The violin work, though, is what truly makes this theme special. It has such energy and really helps support a great melody.
The sole contribution from Phantom Brave, my favorite Tenpei Sato score, is "Game Breaker." This is definitely an example of his top-notch battle theme work. Live violin and shakuhachi really help add to the atmosphere and lend themselves to some nice accompaniment and melody lines. It's got a very playful atmosphere and I particularly love the free-flowing sounds that emanate from the shakuhachi. Overall, I would have liked to see some more Phantom Brave music on this release, but hey, I'll take what I can get!
Most of the album, however, focuses on the first game in the Disgaea series, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. "Magnificent Dark Family" is an excellent choice to show Tenpei Sato's love for strings focused themes. In a style similar to "Flaxen Necklace" from Soul Cradle, it offers an exquisite melody that focuses on the violin. Include some beautiful orchestral support and it's one of those themes that just has this charm about it that makes it such a pleasing thing in which to listen. "My Comrade," sung by Tenpei Sato, is a rock focused vocal theme with some great energy. I love the melody and although the electric guitar synth falls more in line with Tenpei Sato's interesting way of mastering music, it helps add to the charm. Overall, it's a strong theme, but as with other Tenpei Sato sung themes, some might find his vocal work to be unappealing.
"Lord Laharl's Hymn - Korean Version," sung by Yuria, is, as one might guess from the track title, sung entirely in Korean. It's a great song from the original and I enjoy the playful, yet Halloween-y, approach to it. It has a unique charm to it and the musical accompaniment, which is mainly a combination of militaristic brass and percussion and more elegant strings and woodwind work, really help create a fantastic soundscape. "You Go Girl," sung by Hazuki Yasukawa, is the last theme on the album that fully consists of music from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. It has a very surfer rock vibe going on with it, but unfortunately, I don't particularly enjoy the vocalist too much. Her voice doesn't seem to go with the music too well, in my opinion. The music, on the other hand, is an interesting blend of rock and brass elements. It has a jazzy vibe going on as well, but unfortunately, it's the weakest theme on the album, mostly due to the vocalist.
"Boy on the Wing ~ Beautiful Round Dance" is a medley of music from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2 and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. This theme is another stringed focused arrangement. It has an elegance about it that really strikes deep into my heart. This is, primarily, due to the beautiful violin work and considering it is one of my favorite instruments, it really does a fantastic job and conveying a range of emotions, from poignant to more refined sounds. I also love how the arrangement has a bit of Spanish flair, although subtle, and the more calming and slower paced sections of the theme. The album closes with the second theme from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2. Entitled "Under the Rule of the Soldier," it also features vocals sung by Tenpei Sato. This is another rock based composition in a similar fashion to "My Comrade." It has a more orchestral rock focus, however, and the instrumental bridge features some beautiful strings and electric guitar work. It's an energetic way to close an album with a "heroic" theme to it.
In the end, I think my definition of heroic and Tenpei Sato's definition might differ slightly. While there are definitely some themes on here that fit the heroic atmosphere, such as the vocal themes sung by Tenpei Sato and some of the battle themes, like "God Bless Prier!" and "Game Breaker," some of the themes chosen don't necessarily, in this reviewer's opinion, meet the definition of heroic. However, the themes chosen for the album, regardless of whether I think they fit the album's goal, are all well crafted themes that are definitely worth a listen. Overall, it's a successful album, but I enjoyed the predecessor just ever so slightly more.
Tenpei Sato is a composer that has a very diverse background. Although he composes a multitude of styles, including gospel, rock, electronica, and others, I find his conventional emotional themes to be an extremely crucial part as to why I enjoy his music so much. Tenpei Sato The Best - Beautiful Days is a compilation of music that Tenpei Sato considers some of his best works, and have been arranged and resynthed to provide a fuller sound. This album, as the title might suggest, focuses on some of his more emotional themes. Focusing mainly on the Marl Kingdom series with some offerings from Disgaea and La Pucelle, did he do a good job at choosing the themes for the soundtrack? Read on to find out.
Sung by Lynne Hobday, "Miracles Happen," the ending vocal theme for La Pucelle: Tactics, opens up the album. This version stays fairly true to the original. Lynne Hobday's voice is absolutely beautiful and a truly fitting match for Tenpei Sato's more emotional themes. The orchestration is beautiful and the strings and woodwinds help provide a warm and inviting environment. The instrumental bridge is particularly touching as well with its use of piano. Overall, it's one of my favorite Tenpei Sato vocals. The second theme from La Pucelle is "Solitaire." This theme, sung by Rei Tateishi, who's also featured on the Phantom Brave soundtrack, offers a warm woodwind based composition with some ethereal focus. Although Rei Tateishi is credited as the vocalist, there aren't really any lyrics. It's more an ethereal vocal backing that really combines well with the atmospheric accompaniment and the strong woodwind melody. It's probably my favorite theme on the album.
"Dream Traveler," from Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom, is a theme that is a mixture of both playful and poignant elements. The exquisite violin adds a touch of sorrow to the theme whereas the woodwinds help provide a very playful soundscape. The supporting elements, such as choral accents, guitar, and piano, really help bring a fantastic depth to the theme. I'm not familiar with the original, but this version is absolutely stunning. The next theme, "Little Love," also from that game, is another heartwarming theme. It features an interesting soundscape and boasts an extremely memorable melody. For example, there is an exquisite beauty that is crafted by the acoustic guitar and piano, but at the same time, the brass and harmonica add new elements into the theme that really help it stand out. The last theme from this score is aptly titled "The Adventure of the Puppet Princess." This theme offers a nice mix of more jovial soundscapes as well as more elegant soundscapes. This is due to the back and forth between the flute and violin. It's an extremely beautiful melody and one of the stronger themes from the album.
"First Love," the sole contribution from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2, is sung by Tenpei Sato himself. His vocal style is quite interesting and might alienate some listeners, but it does have a certain uniqueness to it that makes it stand out. As for the music itself, it's definitely more an accompanying aspect of the piece, but does feature an assortment of instrument, with the most striking being the acoustic guitar that gives it a nice mellow vibe. There is also some keyboard work that reinforces this mellowness. Overall, it's a simple, yet touching, vocal theme.
"Baby Bird," from Angel's Present: Chronicles of Marl Kingdom, the third game in the Marl Kingdom series, is a much more emotional affair, attributed mainly to the extreme focus on violin and woodwinds. They mingle quite well and offer their own unique interpretations of the melody. It's an extremely beautiful theme, but I find it to be one of the weaker, although in no way is it terrible, contributions to the album. The themes with more depth are much more endearing and worth a listen. The last contribution from this score is "Orange Village." This theme takes on a pleasant Celtic inspired environment. It's quite a nice "distraction" from the more violin and poignant themes featured on the soundtrack. There are some beautiful passages in this one, especially the acoustic guitar and violin accompaniments. However, the woodwinds are clearly the strongest contribution to this theme. It helps give the theme a nice airy feeling.
The first of two contributions from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, "Dear Friends" continues the emotional path that Tenpei Sato has laid out for this compilation album. It's an extremely exquisite theme that features some choral vocals, poignant acoustic guitar and piano work, all of which mesh together to form a very pleasing soundscape. It's easily one of my favorite themes from this compilation album and a good representation of Tenpei Sato's more emotional side when it comes to instrumental themes. The album closes with "Flower of Happiness," also from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Sung by Sakurako Matsuura, it's a beautiful ballad with a strong focus on strings. The melody is absolutely exquisite and I absolutely dig the beautiful piano accompaniment. The vocal layering is also quite delicious and really adds to the atmosphere to the piece. Tenpei Sato is truly a master craftsman when it comes to composing emotional vocal themes and this is truly one of his best. It's a fine way to close an album dedicated to what Tenpei finds to be some of his most beautiful compositions.
In the end, Tenpei Sato The Best - Beautiful Days is an extremely beautiful album that truly highlights some of Tenpei Sato's most emotional themes from his earlier works. Although most of music comes from games that were never released in Western territories, they manage to keep the emotional touch that I love so much from Tenpei Sato. In the end, this is a fantastic compilation album for those who love emotional and touching music. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you have a chance.
Tracks 1, 9 from La Pucelle
Tracks 2, 3, 7 from Marl Kingdom: The Adventure of the Puppet Princess
Tracks 4, 8 from Angel's Present: Chronicles of Marl Kingdom
Track 5 from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2
Tracks 6, 10 from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
01.Lynne Hobday リン・ホブデイ
05.Tenpei Sato 佐藤天平
09.Rei Tateishi 立石 怜
10.Sakurako Matsuura 松浦桜子
Original Composition: Tenpei Sato
Arrangement: Tenpei Sato
Lyrics: Sohei Niikawa (1, 5, 9, 10)
Vocals: Lynne Hobday (1), Tenpei Sato (5), Rei Tateishi (9), Sakurako Matsuura (1)
Original Composition: Tenpei Sato
Original Composition: Tenpei Sato
Arrangement: Tenpei Sato
Lyrics: Sohei Niikawa (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10)
Vocals: Lynne Hobday (1), Tenpei Sato (3, 10), Yuria (5), Hiroshi Yasukawa (7), Mai Takeda (8)
The Adventure of the Puppet Princess
Flower of Happiness
Tenpei Sato the BEST ~Beautiful Days~ Nippon Ichi Music Collection latest news