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Tokyo Majin Gakuen Sougakushou Jin no Shou
Catalog Number: MACM-1117
Released On: December 23, 2000
Composed By: Takashi Nitta, Naoyuki Horikou (1-28)
Arranged By: Takashi Nitta, Naoyuki Horikou (1-28)
Published By: MOVIC
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - City of Wind Chanting and Flowing Water
02 - Speech
03 - Night Stroll
04 - Prelude ~ Demon Denizens
05 - Spring Dawn Chant
06 - Heretics
07 - Pleasure City
08 - Moonlight Curse
09 - Spring Dusk Chant
10 - Priest Rashou
11 - Dog Hunting Chant
12 - Spiral
13 - Shura Path - Yin Chapter
14 - Praise
15 - Victory Chant
16 - Distant Bonfire
17 - Evening Sakura Outing
18 - Dusk Chant
19 - Imperial Butterfly
20 - Summer Dawn Chant
21 - Garden of Impermanence
22 - Summer Dusk Chant
23 - Song of Tragic Love
24 - Bodhisattva
25 - Prelude ~ Majin Gakuen
26 - Fall Dawn Chant
27 - Flower Garden March
28 - Universal Eulogy
29 - Fall Dusk Chant
30 - Shura Path - Yang Chapter
31 - Underworld Chant
32 - Prelude ~ Gaiden
33 - Winter Dawn Chant
34 - Dance of Grace
35 - Winter Dusk Chant
36 - Song of Tragic Love ~ Underworld Hirasaka Hill
Total Time:
57'03"

Disc Two
01 - Flower Dance
02 - Demon Vessel
03 - Shura Path ~ Evil Chapter
04 - Daybreak Celebration Chant
05 - City of Wind Chanting and Flowing Water ~ Epilogue
06 - Sakura Melody
07 - Tears (Radio Ver.)
08 - Eternal Bonfire - Reverberation of Souls
09 - Falling Like Cherry Blossoms Do
10 - The Gentle Snow That Fell on Our Faces That Day
11 - Tears
12 - Moonlight (Short Ver.)
13 - Memories
14 - Moonlight
15 - Song for the Repose of Souls
16 - Beat
17 - Treasuring Life
Total Time:
59'36"

Wow, what a surprise this was!

My personal discovery of Tokyo Majin Gakuen came as a result of back-tracking. I had heard of Tenshou Gakuen Gekkouroku at the time of its release, since the composer was the prolific Motoi Sakuraba. But I took interest in the series when Idea Factory published Kamiyo Gakuen Makorouku. From there, I worked my way backwards and found the origins of the series. "Tokyo Majin Gakuen" was released for the Sony PlayStation in 1998, and features a surprisingly high-quality and memorable soundtrack from a sole composer: Takashi Nitta. This particular print is a two disc set that includes the music from the 1998 Toshiba EMI print and adds even more to it.

Nitta arrives on the scene as someone with an apparent knack for composition, but also as someone who had done precious little for VGM in the past. With this game and a follow-up cousin–"Kowloon Youma Gakuen Ki" (also from Shout! Designworks)–I have to wonder, where was Nitta all this time, and where can I get more?

The soundtrack, like most other games in Shout!'s "Gakuen" (School/Academy) series, features Taishou-era musical styles. Early 1900s Japan musical style, complete with the right instruments and the proper harmonic and rhythmic structures, play themselves out here moreso than in most any game soundtrack claiming "traditional" sounds. That said, it's still a far cry from what real Taishou-era music sounds like. Nitta's score, actually, reminds me of the "greats" from that same era: Miki Higashino, Michiko Naruke, and even Nobuo Uematsu himself. But with those names, take on an intentionally Asian flavor, but keep the "game music" feel and melodic content, and you're getting somewhere.

So if Nitta's composing style is being compared to that of the big names of the 32-bit era, don't be surprised when I take the next logical step: this soundtrack deserves a lot more attention than it's gotten. Why doesn't it get attention? For starters, the game never came to America. This comes as no surprise, since its whole genre (the Sakura Taisen Adventure/RPG style) never even got a chance to shine in North America. Second, the soundtrack was never an easy purchase (coming from MOVIC, a publisher whose goods were difficult for importers to obtain even while it was in print). Today, it would be even harder to find the album.

Along with Nitta's great music, there is a great collection of vocal tracks found on disc two. Aside one rough-and-tumble Engrish ballad, "Moonlight," these vocal tracks are some of the best of that era. Not better than Sakura Taisen, per se, but certainly trumping Tokimeki Memorial and its ilk. There's a lot of musical creativity here.

Take a listen to the audio samples, and I'll be surprised if you don't come to the same conclusion as myself: this is a strangely overlooked album among English-speaking VGM collectors. I don't know, but I wonder if perhaps even the Japanese market overlooked this fine album. Whatever the case, I give it high recommendations.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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