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Tengai Makyou III NAMIDA OST
Catalog Number: TOCP-67618/9
Released On: April 13, 2005
Composed By: Kazuhiko Kato
Arranged By: Kazuhiko Kato
Published By: Toshiba-EMI
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - NAMIDA
02 - Ichiyo
03 - Kagura
04 - Namida
05 - Eerie Cave
06 - Ichiyo's Sadness
07 - Ichiyo's Determination
08 - Infinite Zeku
09 - Country of Disaster
10 - Strange Room
11 - Country of Death - Foggy Island
12 - Going to the Palace of the Dragon King
13 - Namida's Sadness
14 - Himiko
15 - Golden Country Zipangu
16 - Within the Memories
Total Time:
52'34"

Disc Two
01 - Tengai Makyou III NAMIDA
02 - Peaceful Days
03 - The Transforming Ichimotsu
04 - People's Sadness
05 - Hurry to Kyushu
06 - Battle! Brave Fight
07 - Ushibouzu
08 - Going to the Mountain Plains
09 - Tsugumi
10 - Battle! Powerful Enemy
11 - Charming Shanne
12 - Bustling Village
13 - Siblings At One's Feet
14 - Showdown! Ami
15 - Tonkararin!
16 - Peaceful Town
17 - Idaten the Swift
18 - My Name Is Manto!
19 - Miya
20 - I Am Full!
21 - Oni-Ichiban
22 - Tametomo
23 - Thunder God Nigi
24 - Decisive Battle! Ami
25 - Toubei
26 - Taori of the Sky
27 - Taojirios of the Earth
28 - Palace of the Dragon King
29 - Reunion
30 - Turnaround Madara-Houshi
31 - Ichiyo's Feelings
32 - Showdown! Zeku
33 - To the Perfect Being
34 - Power of Fire
35 - NAMIDA (Instrumental Version)
Total Time:
73'48"

Tengai Makyou (Far East of Eden in English) is probably one name in video games most Westerners aren't familiar with. Unlike its sister series Sakura Taisen, it's seen very little patronization from our domestic shores, perhaps due to being even more culturally foreign than its relative. A product of RED Company, TM has been a haven for in-jokes and cultural puns that would be remarkably difficult to translate into English, a fact that has prevented it from coming to North American shores over the years.

Nonetheless, there's hope for TM reaching our shores yet, what with Hudson and Konami finally contemplating a domestic release with the Xbox 360 remake of the original: TM Ziria (an alternate spelling of Jiraiya, a semi-legendary ninja of Japanese history). In anticipation, it's time to look at one of the key components to any RED Company product: The music.

TMIII opens with the track of its namesake: NAMIDA. It's a surprising piece, not for its actual melody but because of its singer. Sarah Brightman, the notable soprano who gained fame for her work with Andrew Lloyd-Webber sings NAMIDA, lending her gorgeous voice to an already powerful album. The song is fittingly melancholy, but also fills the listener with a sense of great things to come. Cymbal clashes punctuate cries of "Namida!" (meaning "tears") throughout the song, rising in crescendo, then falling to quiet tempo, only to rise back up to a proud, stirring of brass and strings that seem lifted from the score of a cinema epic like Lord of the Rings.

A very ornate piece to be sure, it sets a mood for the rest of the tracks. With 50 in total across the two discs, it would be impossible to do an accurate song-by-song review as I usually prefer. Instead, I'm choosing a sample of seven tracks to analyze, including the above NAMIDA.

Hurry to Kyushu is our first chosen track, and a compelling piece of music. Although its tempo is rather relaxed, the use of snare drum brings a sense of urgency and impulse, indicating that an adventure is at hand. Some of the music in this piece is taken from the aforementioned NAMIDA, and fittingly so. It ties the opening track in nicely with this track that seems to punctuate the sense of adventure best.

Infinite Zeku is another theme I love. It has a cinematic grandeur to it I haven't heard outside of filmed Roman epics from the 1960's. Heavy kettle drums pound and trumpets blare throughout the recording, as though announcing a God-Emperor of ancient times, parading the streets of his capitol. A wonderful example of the aural power TMIII has to offer.

A more playful tune bounds onto the stage next: Tonkararin!. Tonkararin! has a tempo one would expect of a Christmas parade band, combined with a graceful string backdrop that gives it a grace amidst the cheerful march. There's also a Chinese influence at work with the stringed melody, reminiscent of some of the best work from Peking (Beijing) opera.

Finally, Tametomo is a ceremonial, uplifting melody that is both commanding and peaceful at once. Using a clamour of bells associated with Shinto ritual practice, as well as drum and flute in the same manner, it seems very much like something one would hear at a shrine in Japan. It's a very calming piece, but without inducing lethargy. Even-handed, regal, and meditative, its only fault perhaps is that a high-pitched current running through its opening and ending may irritate a listener's ears if they aren't already used to it. Otherwise, a wonderful composition.

I want to look at two tracks I didn't much like. Charming Shanne is one. There's a cacaphony in Charming Shanne that irritates me. All the instruments seem to be slightly off key, including the droning brass which does plenty to make the song even less attractive than it already is. I'm sure it might work in the game's context, but as a stand-alone piece, I really wish it wasn't on this soundtrack.

Idaten the Swift is another strike against this soundtrack. Although not nearly as irritating as Charming Shanne, its weaving melody and hurried onset quickly blend with traditional Japanese drumming, but to poor effect. If the bamboo flute which accompanies this piece was more attuned and not so high-pitched, it would help bring the melody together. As it is, it only makes my ears hurt. That may be the intention of the creators, seeing as the tune does create a sense of urgency, but I could really have done without the high pitched flute.

Overall, Tengai Makyou III: NAMIDA is a great addition to any music lover's library. Some of the tracks only serve as ambience, while others stand well on their own. Despite my criticism, even the bad tracks can be appealing at times, and I can see them working in a game context. I was truly surprised to hear Sarah Brightman's voice in the opening track, but it's very welcome. She brings a lot of spirit to the OST and I'm grateful for her inclusion. Well worth a look, and here's to hoping Far East of Eden doesn't stay in the East forever.

Reviewed by: Mark P. Tjan



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