Notes: This album had two separate releases. The first was a limited "TGS Version," released September 22 and featuring the "alternate cover" (see link above). The wider release was known as the "Tanomi Board Version." Despite being released one week later, it has the earlier catalog number (10178) and features the cover displayed above. "Gyakuten Saiban" is known in America as "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney."
This album totally came out of left field. After a few limited releases of the various OSTs in the Gyakuten Saiban series, Tanomicom announced plans to make an orchestral CD, arranged by Noriyuki Iwadare himself. People's spirits were high until Nintendo posted some sound samples, featuring poorly done MIDI arrangements. Of course, Nintendo being the PR experts they are (calling Lunar Dragon Song an RTS is another example), they had actually gone and posted a MIDI score of what would be an actual orchestral recording. That's the history behind the album from a fan's perspective. In the end, hopes were high, as they should have been.
The main attraction to these songs are that they are extremely catchy, dare I say addictive. And, thanks to the style of the album (almost every track is a medley piece), almost all of your favorite songs are somewhere on this album. I guarantee that if you liked the music from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in the least, you ought to check this album out.
The first track features the "Objection!" themes from all three games; this opening medley is perfect, and like most of the other tracks, it starts out soft and builds toward a fantastic ending. After this are two character themes, both of which are well orchestrated. Then the "Mystery Suite," one of my favorite medley tracks, offers lots of medleys from all three titles.
After those initial four tracks, things split into a game-by-game sort of section. Track five is a Courtroom Suite, featuring all the standard courtroom themes from the first title. After that, we get another character theme, Oo-edo Soldier Tonosaman: one of the best from the first title.
Next up are two songs from the sequel, Gyakuten Saiban 2. Another courtroom suite, also one of my favorite tracks on the album for its renditions of some of Kimura's best melodies, makes an appearance. It is followed by the softest and most jazz-influenced piece on the album, "Godot."
As is expected after the last two suites, the Gyakuten Saiban 3 Courtroom Suite stands up to make its case. The sound is sweet, and I am saddened that I couldn't sample every track on the album, because this one was also fantastic.
"Kurain's Genealogy" is a character medley that ends with the Gyakuten Sisters' Theme, this time as a more bombastic reprise than the softer version that we found on track 2 of the album.
A fitting ending, the end credits from Gyakuten Saiban 3 make for a solid ending piece. Again, I was impressed with Iwadare's ability to build a melody from start to finish, adding just the right touch of percussion or brass at particular moments to make a song's presence known.
Finally, we get an unexpected encore piece: some music from the yet-to-be-released Gyakuten Saiban 4! It looks like the sounds of the Gyakuten Saiban series are far from dry, as this piece shows a continued tradition of catchy, rhythmic pieces that will keep you bopping your head along to the syncopated melodies.
My recommendation to you? Buy it. Buy it now. Go order it somewhere, anywhere you can find it (vgmworld.com is a good place to start). The last few years have shown us a lack of decent orchestral arranged albums; with any luck, this album will bring back the trend. Make "Gyakuten Meets Orchestra" yours before it disappears.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann