Perfect Collection Ys II
|Composed by||Hideya Nagata / Миэко Исикава / Юдзо Косиро|
|Arranged by||Хироси Синкава / Митио Фудзисава / Наоки Ватанабэ / Рё Ёнэмицу / Томохико Кисимото / Юдзо Хаяси|
|Published by||King Records|
|Release type||Game Soundtrack - Official Release|
|Format||2 CD - 34 tracks|
|Release date||September 05, 1990|
To me, Ys II represents one of the most classic RPG scores of all time. Throughout all of the remakes and arrangements of the score, Perfect Collection Ys II has stood the test of time and sounds great, even compared to modern-day game soundtracks. However, it's not quite perfect. Like Perfect Collection Ys and Perfect Collection Ys III, the set is comprised of two discs. Disc One contains the Special Arranged Version of the score, arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu, while Disc Two contains nine various themes from the first three Ys games and arranges them in a variety of ways.
Coming off of the original Perfect Collection Ys, the synth of Disc One doesn't sound quite as clear as it should. It's high quality, to be sure, but some of the tracks aren't quite as crisp and clear as they sound like they should be. Of course, this tends to go over more noticeably with the slower tracks. "Too Full With Love," "Noble District of Toal," and "Cavern of Rasteenie" are a few that would benefit from the enhanced clarity. If you're not thinking about them while listening, they tend to resemble simple background noise. The slower tracks in the first Perfect Collection were much more attention-grabbing.
Of course, the first thing to come to mind with any of the Ys Perfect Collections is normally the same thought: Guitar-Blasting Power Rock! That, my friends, is where this disc shines. The lower synth quality is still apparent, but it's so fast and engaging that you'll hardly have the chance to notice. The pure awesomeness of "Termination" is simply unmatched. The fast-paced synth pulls off a great sense of frantic danger and, towards the end, a guitar solo literally rips into the piece. Not only is this the best version of the piece, but it is easily one of my favorite VGM pieces.
"Ruins of Moondoria," "Protectors," "Palace of Salmon," and "Companile of Lane" are all done in the same flavor and are simply superb (oddly enough, the synth used in "Palace of Salmon" is a notch higher than every other track on this disc — you can really hear the clarity). We even get a little bit of fusion thrown into the mix. "Ice Ridge of Noltia" and "Subterranean Canal" both have a cool, jazzy bounciness to them. Finally, "Stay With Me Forever," takes after Ys I's "See You Again" and acts as a lively ending tune. Overall, despite the lower sound quality, this is simply an awesome disc.
Now we come to the bad part: Disc Two. To put it simply, I don't like this disc at all. I hate how the vocal version of "A Still Time" is comprised of nothing but people going "Whhhooooo" along with the song. I hate the fact that one of the J.D.K. Band tunes is another vocal song (mildly interesting, but nothing special). I don't know why in the world "The Theme of Chester" was elected for an arrangement. If they were going to use an Ys III tune, I can think of about ten themes that should have priority over this one. Very flat, very slow, very uninteresting.
Now come the New Age tracks. To be honest, I am not a fan of these arrangements in general, so I'll go with this explanation: if you like relaxing violin and piano music that is best suited for sleeping, wedged in the middle of a bunch of vocal and rock songs, enjoy. I don't. The only things that keep this disc from being a coaster are the J.D.K. Band version of "Moat of Burnedbless ~ Ruins of Moondoria," the fusion version of "First Steps Towards Wars," and the sweet vocal version of "See You Again" (called "Smile Again"). However, these three tracks are too spread out to let me enjoy this disc as a whole. I really wish Falcom would have gone with one arrangement style (i.e. all J.D.K. Band tracks, or all New Age Tracks, or all Vocal, etc.). Then again, I don't think too many people who have bought this set over the years got it for Disc Two...
Is this collection a classic? Certainly. Is it a great Falcom arrangement? Yes. Do I highly recommend it? No. Not this version, at least.
Falcom recently re-released both Disc Two's from the first two Ys Perfect Collections into a single collection, called, "Perfect Collection Ys I & II: The Complete Works of Ryo Yonemitsu. That is a much stronger buy, in my opinion. It's easier to get and, even if you already own Perfect Collection Ys, you're not missing much of anything with Disc Two. Give the extra Perfect Collection disc to a friend — they'll thank you later on in life!
If you decide you want this original set, it is pretty rare in the West; it will likely go between $30 and $50 on eBay. Yahoo Japan Auction is also an option; there are a ton of these available there! 'The Complete Works of Ryo Yonemitsu' can be ordered from Falcom's website, at www.falcom.co.jp.
Perfect Collection Ys II follows approximately the same format as Perfect Collection Ys. The first disc features arrangements of the entire original score by Ryo Yonemitsu mostly in a rock style. The second disc is more diverse and features vocal, classical, jazz, and rock arrangements from several games in the series. Though a reasonable production, several features of this album makes it inferior to its predecessor. Is it nevertheless still worth purchasing?
Right from the opener, Ryo Yonemitsu shows he still knows how to rock. "To Make the End of Battle" is always enjoyable, thanks to Yuzo Koshiro's punchy melodies, but this interpretation is one of my absolute favourites. The slightly warped keyboard lead and hard drum beats create an especially fulfilling soundscape. Plenty of other tracks on the disc also exhibit Yonemitsu's rock prowess, such as the more urgent "Protecters" or elating "Palace of Salmon", while "Ruins of Moondoria" is also an obvious highlight with its wah-wah solos. Yet probably the finest track of all is the final boss theme "Termination", both due to the strength of Yuzo Koshiro's original and Ryo Yonemitsu's arrangement. It's wonderful how the keyboard synth briskly interprets the melodies against thrashing rhythm guitars. The lead electric guitar solo at the climax is full of the intensity and aggression of a final battle. It's a pity it fades out so soon...
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the first disc comes across as a less ambitious effort than its predecessor. Arrangements such as "Lilia", "Apathetic Story", and "May I Feel Blue?" all adhere strongly to their originals. As a result, they sound quite low quality in terms of synth and also don't manage to exceed the minute mark. Where are the soulful guitar solos or warm synth elaborations that enriched acoustic pieces from the original Perfect Collection? Fortunately, there are still plenty of strong arrangements, such as "Cavern of Rasteenie" with its new age synth and vocal support, "Subterranean Canal" with its soft synthpop flavour, and "Ice Ridge of Nolita" with its bouncy rhythmical impetus. The disc also ends on a solid note with the ecstatic interpretation of "Stay With Me Forever", akin to "See You Again" from the first Perfect Collection, and the reflective "So Much For Today".
The second disc of the album features more elaborate arrangements from both Ys and Ys II in a range of styles. The vocal version of "A Still Time" is considerably more accessible than the vocal tracks in the preceding Perfect Collection. After all, it's more of a soothing choral track than an upbeat pop theme. However, Shoko Minami still returns to offer a balladic interpretation of Ys' "See You Again". While the arrangement and performance are effective, albeit generic, I'm not convinced the arrangement suits the original music. Perhaps among the bigger highlights are Yuzo Hayashi's jazz fusion arrangements of "First Step Towards War" and "Theme of Chester". They have nothing to do with Ys II and the latter — taken from Ys III — is a particularly bizarre choice. Nevertheless, are still very good arrangements with highlight instrumental performnances.
Once again, there are classically-oriented arrangements of series' pieces by the M-Fujisawa Project. "Rest in Peace" best exemplifies the sound of the piano and strings ensemble with passages such as from 2:30 being especially heartbreaking. "Lilia" at last receives a much-deserved full-length arrangement here, blending commanded performances with a touch of tropical influences. Finally, the jazz-tinged interpretation of Ys' "Palace" is sublime and suits the title 'acoustic elegance'. There are also two J.D.K. Band performances. The medley of "Moat of Burnedbless" and "Ruins of Moondoria" is exactly what most would expect from the band with powerful performances of the melody against hard drum and rhythm guitar work. The closer "Too Full With Love", however, is surprisingly another vocal performance dominated by overly sentimental arrangements and poorly intonated vocals. Never mind...
Perfect Collection Ys II is a slightly disappointing follow-up to Perfect Collection Ys. Much of Yonemitsu's arranged version is more like a mediocre resynthing of the original music, but the originals are thankfully good enough for this to usually suffice. There are nevertheless some excellent rock and new age arrangements by him. The second disc is very diverse and of similar quality to its predecessor, though suffers from a lack of focus on actual Ys II pieces. Though this album could have been better, it is still a good collection of music from Ys II and has mostly been well-received by Ys fans.
Arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu
Track 1: Vocal Version
Arrangement by Naoki Watanabe (SCAT)
Vocals by Naoki Watanabe
Tracks 2, 3: Super Arrange Version
Arrangement by Yuzo Hayashi
Keyboard: Yuzo Hayashi
Drums: Masaharu Ishikawa
Guitar: Jun Kajiwara
Sax: Osamu Koike
Tracks 4, 5, 6: New Age Music Version
Arranged by Michio Fujisawa
Performed by M.FUJISAWA & SCORE SET
Track 7: Vocal Version
Vocals by Shoko Minami
Arrangement by Hiroshi Shinkawa
Lyrics by Yoshihiko Ando
Tracks 8, 9: J.D.K. BAND Arrange Version
Arranged by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. Band
Vocals by Rumi Saikawa (9)
Lyrics by Falcom Sound Team J.D.K.
The following tracks on the second CD are arrangements of respective tracks:
Track 4: PALACE (Ys)
Track 5: REST IN PEACE (Ys)
Track 6: LILIA (Ys II)
Track 7: SEE YOU AGAIN (Ys)
All tracks were composed by Mieko Ishikawa:
except TO MAKE THE END OF BATTLE
REST IN PEACE
ICE RIDGE OF NOLTIA
MOAT OF BURNEDBLESS
COMPANILE OF LANE
FIRST STEP TOWARDS WARS
SEE YOU AGAIN composed by Yuzo Koshiro
and FEEL BLUE
RUINS OF MOONDORIA
NOBLE DISTRICT OF TOAL
CAVERN OF RASTEENIE
PALACE OF SALMON composed by Hideya Nagata
TO MAKE THE END OF BATTLE
TOO FULL WITH LOVE
MAY I HELP YOU?
RUINS OF MOONDORIA
NOBLE DISTRICT OF TOAL
REST IN PEACE
CAVERN OF RASTEENIE
ICE RIDGE OF NOLTIA
INSIDE OF THE ICE WALL
MOAT OF BURNEDBLESS
PALACE OF SALMON
DON'T GO SMOOTHLY!
A STILL TIME
STAY WITH ME FOREVER
SO MUCH FOR TODAY