Okay, I know why a sequel was never made to this album, but I’m really glad it was made. Conceptually it’s fantastic. Instead of a European-style symphony orchestra, “Jipangu World” uses traditional Asian instruments (winds, strings, percussion) to perform this neo-classical music from Koichi Sugiyama. It’s a clever idea, but the end result isn’t exactly impressive; hence why this is the only album of its kind.
Now, there are a few songs that fit. Obviously, the “title track” (Jipangu from DQIII) was the inspirational piece for this album. And this track turned out to be a fantastic arrangement. It reminds me of some of the better music from Kouhei Tanaka and Joe Hisaishi’s “Tengai makyou” compositions. But just after that, we hit the Baroque “Château Ladutorm” and, let’s face it, these instruments aren’t built to do what the traditional European instruments do in these songs.
The album, having been released in 1991, only covers up to Dragon Quest IV, and the majority of the album is focused on III and IV. It’s an enjoyable album, but ultimately proved to be a failed concept, and was the last of its kind. Jipangu World is a rare find, so if you want to have those rare albums in your VGM collection, try to find this lovely little album. You may feel like you’re in a tacky Asian restaurant at times while listening, but some of the arrangements are truly enjoyable in the context of being Asian folk pieces.