Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~ - Bonus Sound Track CD -

[back cover]
Catalog Number: N/A
Released On: June 28, 2005
Composed By: Ken Nakagawa, Daisuke Achiwa, Akira Tsuchiya
Arranged By: Ken Nakagawa, Daisuke Achiwa, Akira Tsuchiya, Takashige Inagaki (tracks 1, 39)
Published By: NIS America
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - Midnight Illusion
02 - A Genesis
03 - Mana Chaos
04 - Forest of Innocence
05 - IRIS
06 - City of Bells
07 - Revelation Introduction
08 - Little Boy
09 - Shopping in Kavoc
10 - Unforeseen Land
11 - Moment of Wind
12 - Alchemic Blast
13 - Winning Shot!
14 - Rain Drop Waltz
15 - New Power
16 - Alchemy & Popo
17 - The Nameís Beggur!
18 - Bullfight
19 - The Story is Over
20 - Lakeside
21 - Sleeping Truth
22 - Lost Technology
23 - Friends
24 - Witchís Forest
25 - Cute Little Witch
26 - Klein and his Friends
27 - Rest
28 - Night Together
29 - Space of Horror
30 - Anchors and Fishhooks
31 - Shopping at Arcose
32 - Hagelís Song
33 - The Laughable Pair
34 - Hot or Cool?
35 - Popcorn
36 - Danger Lurks
37 - Ferocious Drive
38 - Walking Path
39 - Midnight Illusion (with SE)
Total Time:

NIS America knows how to please its fans. With the release of Atelier Iris, theyíre finally bringing this long overlooked series to American gamers. Theyíre also continuing the pleasing trend started with Phantom Brave of giving fantastic preorder bonuses. To commemorate this release, those who preordered were given the Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~ Bonus Sound Track CD. This isnít a small offering either: itís actually track-for-track disc one of the Japanese released Atelier Iris OST. And how is it? In a word, amazing.

Things certainly donít start off slowly on this disc. The opening vocal theme, Midnight Illusion, starts strong and remains captivating throughout. It starts with drums and chanting, really setting it apart from anything Iíve heard in game vocals. It slows down a bit but moves frequently throughout, with many changes in tempo, volume, and mood. These shifts could have lead to a disjointed sounding song, but it flows beautifully and is very captivating. Rest assured youíve never heard anything quite like it.

The bulk of the tracks on here are light and uplifting, and extremely well done. Songs like "Forest of Innocence," "Little Boy," and "Lakeside" lend themselves extremely well to playing over and over, and fit the gameís bright and cheerful look perfectly. Picking a favorite on this disc would be very hard to do, but Iíd likely go for either Forest of Innocence or Little Boy. Both are so fun to listen to I find it hard to not keep repeating them.

The compositions for the more serious and mysterious tracks fare just as well. Rain Drop Waltz plays a slow melody on a violin while a variety of percussions and chimes mimic the sound of water drops. The overall effect is beautiful and very captivating. Sleeping Truth goes back and forth between a slow, determined violin and a livelier piano.

Many styles, some stranger than others, are touched upon on here. IRIS starts with a woman whispering something in Japanese, then movies into a brief piano section. The piano dies down and the whispering woman returns for a much lengthier appearance. The piano and accompaniment return more prominently than before, stop, and leaves the rhythm to slowly fade out. Moment of Wind has a strong, beautiful violin and a kind of Celtic feel. Space of Horror has a subdued string melody and a slow drum. Iím not sure how to describe the song other than spacey. It would feel right at home in Earthbound. And Hagelís Song isÖsomething else. It features a man repeatedly shouting "Go!" accompanied by beat boxing (!). Itís not something youíd expect, to say the least.

And what would an RPG be without battle themes? (It would be Harvest Moon, but thatís beside the point). Even though this is just a half OST there are a number of battle themes on here, and (surprise) theyíre all well done. Alchemic Blast is a more standard sounding battle theme. Thereís enough movement in the song to keep things from being too repetitive. "Bullfight" moves along quickly with strong, fast drums.

The disc ends with two more vocal tracks. Walking Path is more of a standard RPG vocal theme. It has a woman singing a slow, melancholy song. Itís pleasant to listen to but nothing is really unusual or stands out. The last song on the disc is Midnight Illusion, but overlaid with sound effects. There are plenty of explosions in this version, which are included as sound effects that accompany the opening movie sequence. The sound effects give it a bit more "oomph" and provide great emphasis to parts of the song.

I use the word captivating a number of times, because itís the best way to describe this CD. You want to listen to every track over and over again. Itís probably too late to get it by preordering by now, but when picking your copy up you may want to ask the clerk if they have extra copies. If not, Iíd recommend ordering the full Japanese OST. I know I will.

Reviewed by: Daniel Bowman