Puppet Princess of Marl's Kingdom OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: AZCA-10015
Released On: January 22, 1999
Composed By: Tenpei Sato
Arranged By: Tenpei Sato
Published By: A'Zip Music
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - One Day, We Will Meet
02 - Legend of Puppet Princess
03 - Little Love
04 - Let Us Walk ~ Contest Version
05 - The Young Girl's Barrette
06 - Holy Prayer
07 - Petals of Evil
08 - Falling Star
09 - Chasing the Elusive Wind
10 - A Faint Glimpse of a Dream
11 - A World Made for Us
12 - Dream Traveler
13 - Distant Song
14 - Frog Kingdom National Hymn
15 - Welcome to the Dungeon
16 - Dream Hunting
17 - The World's Step
18 - True Courage
19 - Beauty Castle
20 - Last Waltz
21 - Let Us Walk ~ Cherie's Love
22 - Thank You
Total Time:

I'm ashamed (or perhaps proud) to say that I've never played Rhapsody, also known as The Puppet Princess of Marl's Kingdom in Japan. Marketed as a "Musical RPG", this game was an odd mix of strategy and musical numbers. However, being a musical RPG, one would expect this game to have fairly good music, and it does…in a way.

Some of the songs on this album are fantastic, especially the vocal songs. My favorite of them all would have to be Petals of Evil, the theme song for the Evil Queen, in which she worships her beauty and charm. It's sung with such character, you don't even have to know Japanese to get the gist of it. There's also the title song, One Day, We Will Meet, which is our heroine singing of how she'll one day meet her prince. You can almost see the scene unfolding, with her dancing around.

However, there are some sadder, more poignant songs, mostly instrumental. Dream Traveler is a Celtic flute/drum/sleigh bell melody that sounds like it belongs in something like Lord of the Rings, but it's done very well. Falling Star is another touching, breathy flute track which reminds me a bit of some of Noriyuki Iwadare's work. Sato seems to be drawing from other styles, including Iwadare and Hitoshi Sakamoto of Final Fantasy Tactics fame.

There are some weak tracks on this CD, such as A Faint Glimpse of a Dream, but for the most part all the songs are very strong. My only other qualm would be that the vocalist for Coronet doesn't have the greatest voice: she often has no support behind it. It can be overlooked, however, as this is a great soundtrack that I'd recommend to anyone who likes a little bit of silly in their vocals and a good mix of haunting and kitchy in their instrumentals.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas

The Puppet Princess of Marl's Kingdom is one of those lucky games that actually made its way to the U.S. Under the new name Rhapsody ~ A Musical Adventure, it was the first of it's kind: a young girl's RPG with a lot of heart. Although it didn't tread any new ground in gameplay, it was rather unique in that it was truly a musical. With Disney-like vocals spread throughout, I found it to be quite enjoyable. The soundtrack includes the Japanese versions of all these pieces, as well as much of the BGM from the game itself.

There is a lot more to this album than you'd at first think. Having been one of the few games I'd played before actually hearing the soundtrack, surprisingly, I didn't find the music to be too astounding at first. Within the context of the game, which tends to be lighthearted and whimsical, it loses some of its dramatic quality. However, taken alone, some of the pieces are very moving. After listening to this CD, I began to more appreciate the music for what it is. It wasn't the battle tracks that drew my attention. Although they fit perfectly within the game, they just don't have the dramatic presence that they should. It was the town and event themes that caught my notice. Pieces such as Etoile's theme, The Young Girl's Barrette, with its chamber music-like melody, and Beauty Castle, which I absolutely love, that drew me in.

Unlike the U.S. CD, this version of the soundtrack has a calmer and softer tone to it. This is partially due to the vocals being spread out on the album. It helps break up the harsher tracks. Holy Prayer, Falling Star, and The World's Step are all excellent examples of this, as well as beautifully composed. Like many RPG soundtracks these days, they are influenced by Celtic music. I guess this is partly the reason Sato reminds me of Yasunori Mitsuda. There are segments that sound very similar to his work. And as with Mitsuda, Sato is a very melodic composer, which appeals to me. Personally, I feel he deserves more attention than what he's received so far. It's sad that someone so talented is also so unknown, and thus, unaccredited.

The Japanese versions of the vocals are a little better than the U.S. version, which isn't surprising considering that this type of thing is taken more seriously in Japan. However, if you're familiar with the English songs, you're sure to enjoy these. Their light-hearted sound makes for a pleasant listening experience. A World Made Just for Us is better than the English version, but not much. For some reason I hate this song. True Courage and Thank You remain two of my favorites. Their sweet melodies ring true, whether in English or Japanese.

Not all of the tracks from the game are here, though. Mothergreen is missing as well as a few battle tracks. Mostly the more jarring and less pleasant themes were omitted, which is fine with me. Two of the vocals, Mountainmen's Song and Amazing Pirates, are missing, but you won't notice it much. For the most part, all of the best pieces are here. And, if you have the U.S. game with included music CD, you'll have most of the songs that are missing.

So, for how mixed my feelings are on some of the music from this game (especially the battle music), I have to admit that I still find this soundtrack to be astounding. With a handful of beautiful pieces, along with some really enjoyable vocals, it's become one of my favorite albums of all time. Anyone who enjoys RPG soundtracks will want this CD. The only problem is that coming across this album is nearly impossible. Your only chance would be Yahoo Japan, and you'd have to know Japanese to buy from there. But, don't expect to pay less than $100 for it.

Reviewed by: Lucy Rzeminski


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