Himiko-den was thrust onto the Japanese market almost simultaneously as an anime and a PlayStation RPG. The title spawned no sequels, spin-offs, or anything of the like. It was a once and done deal for this franchise, partially developed by Red.
What we have here is the almost unheard-of OST to the game, composed by another unheard-of individual, Tetsuji Hayashi. There's a reason why the game and its music weren't well recognized: they weren't that great. My attraction to the series came from the anime's opening theme "Pure Snow" (sadly absent on the game soundtrack) and the decent character artwork. It took me years to get around to it, but one day I finally found a used copy of this soundtrack and decided to give it a shot.
The opening song is a super-short intro, cut down from its full size version to a mere 48 seconds. It's barely even a preview of what seems to be a rather catchy vocal song.
The rest of the single-digit tracks are hum-drum songs that represent a peaceful, traditional Asian world. One imagines samurai patrolling pagodas and well-dressed citizens strolling the towns.
The next grouping of tracks are all battle-oriented, and they are pretty good. Commonly heard are orchestral hits, a number of different brass instruments (synthesized of course), and the occasional use of funky sampled loops (see track 16). I enjoyed these tracks the most.
Tracks 22 through 27 are the six character themes. Go ladies! Each song has a very different, noticeably unique style. "Imari" is jazzy, "Shino" is a strange mix of Latin groove and Egyptian melodies, and "Kouran" has the whole "happy-girl progressive funk" thing down like it was straight off of a Tokimeki soundtrack.
The rest of the songs are a mixed lot of what I'm assuming are various environment and event themes. I wasn't particularly impressed by any of them.
"Never Forget" doesn't get the poor treatment that the opening received, even though it too is a shortened "GAME Edition" version of the song. This time we get a good 3 minutes to enjoy the music, and while it still doesn't touch the classic anime opening and ending songs, Hayashi-san should be proud to have composed this ballad. When all the girls join in to sing the words "try again!"...I often cringe because of the nasal sound; otherwise, the performance from the ladies is acceptable.
The sound quality on the album isn't half bad, but a lot of the compositions are clearly uninspired. I feel like the project as a whole may have been rushed, and the soundtrack could have certainly been better with the right people and some extra TLC. If you're interested in the album, well, good luck. But these samples ought to satisfy whatever curiosity you had in the album, honestly.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann