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Nora and the Time Studio OST
Catalog Number: FVCG-1176
Released On: October 26, 2011
Composed By: Michiko Naruke
Arranged By: Noriyuki Iwadare
Published By: 5pb Records
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
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Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - The Days I'm Now Weaving
02 - Workshop of Time
03 - Meet Chrono Magic
04 - Let's Make Things
05 - At a Lakeside Town
06 - Everyday Lifestyle
07 - a little visitor
08 - Deep in the Misty Forest
09 - Breeze Crossing the Lake
10 - Lying on the Grass
11 - Ruin Whispers
12 - Rainbow-Colored Geyser
13 - The Abandoned Veins
14 - Ancient Sea of Trees
15 - Men of Valor in The Ruined Capital
16 - Gazing at the Mountain Peaks
17 - On the Other Side of the White Crystals
Total Time:
58'52"

Disc Two
01 - A Time to Fight
02 - Join Forces!
03 - Encounter with a Wandering Knight
04 - Spirits from the Underworld
05 - Flame Dragon
06 - Hooray, We Win!
07 - Alas, We Lose
08 - Set Off, Boy Adventurer!
09 - Leave it to Me!
10 - A Small Weapon Shop
11 - The Pure Aroma at the Herbalist
12 - Can You Explain? This Treasure Map
13 - Ponytail Fencer
14 - Days of Drift
15 - The Strong Must Be Gentle
16 - A Girl Looking for Her Memories
17 - Let's Have Tea Together
18 - What the Heck?
19 - Two Gazes Meet
20 - Dusk-Colored Memory
21 - This Smells Like Trouble
22 - Tale of Long Ago
23 - Lights of Town
Total Time:
58'38"

Noora to Toki no Koubou: Kiri no Mori no Majo is a game similar to Atelier Annie that English language sites have dubbed "Nora and the Time Studio: The Witch of the Misty Forest." To be honest, everything I've read and seen about the game hasn't really appealed to me, as it seems too similar to the Atelier games, but my interest was piqued when I found out Michiko Naruke was composing the music. Her music is the reason why the first few Wild ARMs games hold such a dear place in my heart.

That being said, I was actually slightly disappointed by the Nora soundtrack. The music fits the vibe of the game and is beautifully composed, but the compositions themselves are too similar to those of the Atelier games and don't scream Naruke as much as I would want them to. I appreciate this display of her compositional versatility for a game that's lighter and fluffier than any Wild ARMs game, and the music is lovely to listen to, but I simply can't remember any of it the way I still remember so many pieces of Wild ARMs music from way back in the Playstation era.

Disk 1 starts with a cute vocal piece by Kaori Asoh that wouldn't be out of place in any given Atelier game. I like it more than expected because Ms. Asoh has a very appealing voice that isn't an overly squeaky helium one normally accompanying songs like this. She also sings the ending vocal theme that caps off disk 2, and though her voice is lovely, the music doesn't take me anywhere I haven't already been a hundred times before.

The majority of disk 1's music consists of delightfully breezy compositions that often feel like home. Even the more melancholy and darker pieces have an airy lightheartedness to them that feels refreshing like mildly spiked lemonade on a hot day. Unfortunately, although this disk is absolutely delightful to listen to on a relaxing summer's day, there is little here that's very memorable.

Where disk 1 has the more atmospheric location themes, disk 2 has the more exciting music. This is where the event and battle themes can be heard. The battle themes are appropriately upbeat and have some engaging moments, but I generally found them a little too lighthearted, even for such a lighthearted game. Even if battles aren't a major component of Nora (they certainly weren't in Atelier Annie), I still like a little more bite to my battle music, even if it's from tiny teeth. Outside of the battle themes, the other music on disk 2 was fun, but I quickly forgot about that fun once the tracks ended.

That being said, I did enjoy picking out Naruke's distinctive stylistic cues, such as the whistling in "Lying on the Grass" in disk 1. I'm sure plenty of Naruke fans would have been greatly disappointed if that wasn't there. Unfortunately, the moments nodding to her Wild ARMs compositions just couldn't capture that magical spark that drew me to her music in the first place. It's as if Naruke is there, but has been overly sugar-coated through a cotton candy filter.

Noora to Toki no Koubou: Kiri no Mori no Majo's soundtrack reminds me of this live band I saw recently. They were a skilled band of tight musicians who wrote solid music, but they lacked presence and I couldn't remember any of their songs afterward. This is pretty much how I feel about this soundtrack. It's tightly composed and the music is good, but nothing here really drew me in, excited me, or stuck with me. I love and respect Michiko Naruke's skill and versatility as a composer, so it honestly pains me to regard this soundtrack as "decent, but forgettable."

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran



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