The Jinguji Saburo (or Saburo Jinguji, whatever you prefer: Saburo is the last or "family" name...) series has been a long-running visual novel series in Japan starring a hard-boiled detective named Jinguji Saburo. The series will make its debut in America on the Nintendo DS during the summer of 2008 under the moniker of Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles, and will have upgraded versions of some of Saburo's prior cases. Detective Sabura Jinguji: End of Dreams 10th Anniversary Special Album was released in 1998 and commemorates the 10th anniversary of this game.
The first track is an 8 minute medley of various Jinguji Saburo compositions with updated instrumentation. This is an excellent track that really showcases the flavor of the series. There is a variety of instrumentation, but saxophone is most prominent, giving it that jazzy downtown urban vibe. My immediate reaction to the track was "funky film noir" which definitely appeals to me. I also really liked that the transisions between the tracks in this medley were very smooth.
The rest of disc 1 featured music from the game with upgraded instrumentation. I thought the music was generally pretty interesting. Most tracks were quite jazzy. Others eschewed melodies in favor of ambience through the use of sound effects and even sparse vocals. Those were among the most interesting tracks and there weren't enough of them. There was a vocal number that capped off disc 1, but I did not find it very impressive. The instrumental was boring and the vocalist lacked energy. Even though this disc had 32 tracks on it, all but three were under 2 minutes long and many were under 1 minute long. This actually worked in the soundtrack's favor since many of the pieces were languidly paced, making them seem longer than they really were. To be honest, I found this CD rather boring except for the first track. The music probably works very well within the context of the game, but it falls quite flat when listened to on its own.
Disc 2 started off with six medley tracks of music from the various games, some of which will be in the DS collection. The music here was directly from the games as evidenced by the NES PCM in tracks 1-4. Track 5 had updated instrumentation since it was a later game and track 6 had vocals. I did not think the medleys here were as well done as in the '98 medley on disc 1 because the transitions were often not very smooth. Tracks 5 and 6 were the best ones here, especially track 6. The rest of the CD consisted of drama tracks which really did not interest me.
The music presented here fits the urban detective noir style of Jinguji Saburo and likely works well in conjunction with the other elements of the game, but as standalone music, it fell flat. Many of the songs also felt like by-the-numbers mystery themed music that did not showcase much originality. I was far from impressed with this soundtrack and am hesitant about recommending it.
Reviewed by: Neal Chandran