01 - Voice Drama "Black Butterfly"
02 - Dark Opera
03 - Voice Drama "Welcome Back"
04 - Yesterday to Tomorrow
05 - Voice Drama "Death is No Respecter of Persons"
06 - kill me again
Editor's Note: though this album is six tracks in length, a bonus digital download track is available via a download code published with the CD. At the time of this review, said code still worked. The 7th track, "Voice Drama 'Precious Lost Item,'" is a monologue performed by the character Tsukasa Mikuni (voice actor Nobuhiko Okamoto). The file is a 192kbps constant bitrate mp3 file that runs nearly 23 minutes long.
In 2012, as 5pb was well on their way to expanding the original Corpse Party title into its own trilogy (Book of Shadows and Blood Drive), they also put together a two-part drama collection complete with character vocal tracks interspersed. As I always say ... if I knew Japanese, I would certainly appreciate the drama tracks. What I can say about these drama tracks is that they are well-produced, making frequent and effective use of Mao Hamamoto's original score. Also, the drama tracks heavily feature the secondary cast, those brought into the accursed elementary school from other school districts entirely, as well as others who venture into the school looking for paranormal events — and finding more than what they bargained for.
The two albums are broken into gender-based classifications. The Scorpion album here is all about the boys. As such, the vocal tracks are also performed by the voice actors for the male characters. If you remember the characters from Corpse Party, perhaps you'll recognize the names. Track 2 comes from the character Sakutaro Morishige. Track 4 is a duet from Satoshi Mochida and Tsukasa Mikuni. Track 6 is a solo number for Kensuke Kurosaki.
For those unfamiliar with this kind of recording, it is typical for character vocal albums to be recorded and marketed in Japan, utilizing the voice actors from the game to sing their own, original songs not found anywhere in-game and not utilizing any of the in-game BGM. That's what we have here, breaking up the drama tracks. Are they any good? Compared to the many songs written for the opening and ending sequences of the Corpse Party titles ... no, not at all.
However! Compared to many other character vocal albums out there, including the glut produced by 5pb themselves, the tracks found on the Scorpion album hold up pretty well — moreso for the catchy composition and arrangement than for the vocal performances. I especially enjoy the composition and arrangement Yuji Hamasaki did for "kill me again."
If you're going to pursue these obscure albums, I say go all or nothing and get both. If you're so inclined, the best way to get these is through secondhand market. They are, as of the time of this review's writing, easy to find across Japanese bookstores and online sellers. If, however, a couple of decent vocal tracks isn't worth the effort here, it won't be worth the effort for Tarantula either.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann