Shining Hearts OST
Catalog Number: PCCG-90060
Released On: February 2, 2011
Composed By: Hiroki Kikuta, Noriyasu Agematsu
Arranged By: Hiroki Kikuta, Junpei Fujita
Published By: Pony Canyon
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
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Disc One
01 - A Song Reaching the Heart (Type-A)
02 - Shining Hearts (Main Theme)
03 - Chirps of Little Birds
04 - Magical Baking Studio
05 - my hope ship life
06 - Field Song
07 - A Forest Engraved in Eternity
08 - Dance of the Spirits
09 - Flour, Eggs and Milk
10 - Happy Days
11 - Moonbow Maiden
12 - Angel's Castle
13 - Rural Scenery
14 - Brave Fight
15 - Going to the Vast Ocean
16 - Hearts Together
17 - Seashore Wind
18 - Windy Path
19 - Leisure Life
20 - Scorching Ground
21 - Iron Melody
22 - Pirate Knights
23 - A Moment Full of Smiles
24 - Capricious Black Cat
25 - Veil of the Night
26 - The Witch's Mansion
27 - Village of the Moonlight
28 - Key of the Heart
29 - The Roar of the Evil Beast
30 - Determination Towards Victory
31 - Song of Victory
32 - A Great Challenge
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - A Song Reaching the Heart (Type-B)
02 - Like a Storm
03 - Gate in the Dreams
04 - Sprouting Wind
05 - Sorrowful
06 - A Lane in Bloom
07 - Sorcerous Pirate
08 - Peaceful Rage
09 - Platinum Wind
10 - A Leader's Capacity
11 - Dry Wind
12 - The Crisis Arrives
13 - The Fang Shinobi
14 - Concealed Feelings
15 - Ancient Temple
16 - Loving Heart
17 - What Resides in the Abyss
18 - A Closed World
19 - Armored Pirate
20 - Confrontation of Fate
21 - The Bottom of the Darkness
22 - The Awakening of the Machine God
23 - Mechanical Pulsation
24 - Jet Black Mist
25 - Lost Heritage
26 - From Beyond the Limits
27 - Goddess in Black
28 - Hymn of Happiness
29 - A Bell Tolls in the Heart
30 - World of Happiness (Ending)
31 - White and Shadow ~Dance in the Dreams~ (Short version)
Total Time:

Kikuta is back. Again.

The composer best-known for his work on Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) disappeared from VGM for quite some time. He came back in 2007 with an album on his own "Nostrilia" label, featuring the music he wrote for Square Enix's lesser-known MMORPG Concerto Gate. Since this album, though, we hadn't heard a peep from Kikuta-san.

In 2010 it was revealed that he would be composing the music for the latest in Sega's "Shining" series, Shining Hearts. A two disc soundtrack was announced soon after that. This, of course, is a review for said soundtrack.

I'm going to keep this review relatively short, because I think the audio samples will do most of the talking. It is my opinion that no one makes music quite like Kikuta. Anyone who has listened to the Secret of Mana soundtrack should be able to discern such a thing. However, while there are clear similarities between SoM and Shining Hearts, especially in the realm of percussion, that doesn't mean you'll be getting an instant classic out of the guy.

In some small ways, I was reminded of the Atelier series. It's not just in the music; the art, and of course the emphasis on baking (basically a synthesis system) in the game itself, these all remind me of Atelier games. But the music does have that provincial European sound at certain places. I think this is great.

However, with a few obvious exceptions (and you'll find some of them in the audio samples), the soundtrack is much more a fantastic exercise in BGM than in stand-out melodies. This fits the philosophy Kikuta himself spoke of recently when he flew across the Pacific to host a Q&A panel at MAGFest 9 a few weeks ago. Kikuta said that much of game music needs to work in such a way that it doesn't overstay its welcome. If your melody is too powerful, that may indeed happen. Minimalism is key for looped BGM.

Vocal themes, on the other hand, are meant to stand out. I love the opening and ending themes. There are two versions of the opening theme; I much prefer "Type A." The opening theme is composed by Noriyasu Agematsu, but Kikuta-san takes care of the ending theme.

This philosophy works extremely well, and I love the music here. It may not have the place in our hearts that Secret of Mana holds, but it shows that Hiroki Kikuta hasn't lost an ounce of talent over the years. I think listeners who give the soundtrack a try will be impressed by the quality of the audio and the intricacy of the patterns.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann


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