Daisuke Minamizawa’s third and possibly final volume in the Final Fantasy Guitar Collection series echoes the first two in terms of quality. Classy acoustic guitar enthusiasts have much to celebrate with this collection, and those who missed some of their favorite pieces may be satiated in this broad selection. Hosting tracks from every numeric Final Fantasy to date sans X-2 and Type-0, this album offers a slight emphasis on IX. What’s contained herein is some of the best acoustic cover work I have heard to date for the Final Fantasy series.
“Matoya’s Cave,” an old standby for Final Fantasy fans, accentuates the calling for adventure, both in the game and at the onset of this auspicious collection. Upbeat and full of vivaciousness, Matoya’s Cave serves as an exemplar of what the Final Fantasy series is about. The following track, Final Fantasy II’s “Battle Scene I,” serves as a seamless transition as we move from adventure to tenuous battle in what I consider to be an under-appreciated battle theme. Admittedly, this under-appreciation stems from a rather weak installment in an otherwise acclaimed series. Continuing with FFII, the “Rebel Army Theme” carries the banner in a sort of triumphant march. Those in the know favor this theme, and hopefully its inclusion here will make others give the rest of the FFII library some much-deserved love.
At times, Minamizawa rocks out on an instrument that isn’t best suited for hardcore playing, but when “Clash on the Big Bridge” is on the tracklist, he has to do what he must, and he does because he can. Despite the odds, Minamizawa deftly executes blow after dexterous blow on this theme that taunts acoustics. This track is more the exception to the rule in this collection, as he later returns to simpler, calmer memories such as with “Kids Run Through the City Corner.”
The FFIX selections range from stringy jams with the battle theme all the way to the cool, easy life of “Village of Dali,” an often-overlooked piece that is near and dear to me. This breezy theme truly harnesses the wistful ways of this homage to olde’s atmosphere. Akin to “Fisherman’s Horizon” in FFVIII, this song is best suited for relaxing moods.
Daisuke Minamizawa has a perfect three-out-of-three record with his guitar collections. With a balance between emotion and accuracy, he exemplifies the way many view the games he arranges. Final Fantasy has almost always offered crisp production quality with moving stories. Fortunately, Minamizawa recognizes and respects this, as he demonstrates with this seamless, blemish-free collection. Fans of FF arrangements must pick up this third volume, and should check out the other two, as well.
Editor’s Note: This album is included with the guitar tab book, also arranged by Daisuke Minamizawa, and can be purchased directly from his website.