In the summer of 2003, Square released three singles through Avex, corresponding to the three main characters of Final Fantasy X-2: Yuna, Rikku, and Paine. The YuRiPa (or YRP in America) trio went “solo” for these three singles: the Japanese voice actors for the characters got a shot at performing two songs. Each song is actually a vocal rendition from an OST track, with a lot of arrangement packed into them. In fact, this is the closest thing to a full-fledged arrangement of the X-2 OST, and I personally like the instrumental tracks quite a bit.
Anyway, each single came with a 4-track CD and a 3-track DVD, packaged in a double-wide fluorescent case with an insert that unfolds to reveal lyrics and a CG picture of the character from the opening FMV sequence of the game. The CDs (like all Avex CDs now) are “copy-protected,” which apparently means trying to copy it won’t work…though I had no trouble making mp3s out of the tracks for my own personal use.
The DVD includes a music video (using scenes from the game and shots of the vocalist singing), then a lengthy interview (in Japanese), and finally a special bit of montage-work: more sequences from the game, but the music in the background is a battle theme. Honestly, it’s nothing special, especially if you don’t know Japanese.
Paine’s singles are “Nemuru Omoi…” (which roughly translates to “Sleeping Memories…” or “Dormant Feelings…”) and “Misty Eyed,” which are characteristically sophisticated and somewhat jazzy. Paine is certainly the most mature of the YuRiPa trio, and these vocal tracks are a pure reflection of this.
“Nemuru Omoi…” is a fun, jazzy track, the instrumentation of which is probably the most complex of the six songs Matsueda and Eguchi had to arrange. The chorus is catchy, and the added violin and vocals are an extra special touch that I always enjoy. That, the upright bass, and the piano…and everything. The instrumentation is fun, and I’m a pretty big fan of it all. Misty Eyed is a modern jazz-fusion pop song with semi-sensical English lyrics intersparsed within the Japanese lyrics. If this song had sensical English lyrics, this is the sort of song I wouldn’t mind listening to on a radio station. “Someday I want to feel myself”…who’s writing this stuff anyway?
Megumi Toyoguchi, as a person, is my favorite Seiyuu (voice actor) and hence singer of the three. Her interview (and what little I understood of it) shows her as a more reflective person than the others, and her music video takes place in places other than a recording studio, which was refreshing.
On the whole, you have to be a Final Fantasy X-2 fanatic to purchase these singles. You simply cannot find them for cheaper than $15 each, and even then you’re facing exorbitant shipping and handling prices. I purchased all three at the same time from Otaku.com, and my total bill came to about $65. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who pays more than $30 for six vocal songs and some DVDs with minimal amounts of material on them. I guess I’m not in my right mind then…
Anyway, if you get a chance to purchase these singles for a low price, I would recommend you do so. If you’re interested in only purchasing one, and you like jazzy and more “sophisticated” pop, this album is for you. I think Toyoguchi is the most talented of the three vocalists, and these songs are definitely worth listening to. Again, the prices are steep, but the music here is pretty good. Be SURE to listen to the samples on these.