How I loved Rhapsody. It’s the sort of game that is so charming and sweet that one either chokes from too much of the character’s saccharine antics, or begs for more. I am of the former group, and want more I did. Unfortunately, the game’s sequel never made its way to the U.S. and probably never will, but at least I was able to track down the OST. I can’t say that I was disappointed; the music is indeed lovely and has been growing on me the more I listen to it. But I do know I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I actually played the game itself.
Before you decide whether you’re going to give this album a chance, you must first ask yourself, “does happy, sweet, and cute bother me?” If not, then you’re sure to enjoy this. Tenpei Sato again did a wonderful job of scoring music to a light-hearted, musical RPG without making the compositions sound childish. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his work is worthy of full-featured films. Even more so than the first game’s music, this soundtrack reminded me a lot of Disney’s animation scores. Not only am I able to easily pick out the movies Sato drew influences from, but the pieces (especially the vocals) have that sweeping, all out, big number feel to them. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit; it’s a nice change from the dramatic themes used in many RPGs.
The biggest improvement this soundtrack has made over the last is in sound quality. Although I haven’t played Little Princess, I’m fairly sure the synth used is of higher quality than what is featured in the game. I’m honestly not sure if the PSX has the capabilities to sound this good. Sato’s musical style has matured, as well. Most pieces are composed in a more orchestral vein. Just listen to “Last Dance” as compared to Puppet 1’s “Last Waltz”; there’s a definite difference in compositional style. The “Little Princess ~ Main Theme” has a grander, more extravagant feel, and pieces such as “Daydream,” enchanting with it’s choral overtones, and “Starting Over,” which positively radiates adventure, are all far above his previous work.
With 15 vocals total (that’s double the first game’s number), lyrical performances make up half of the disc’s tracks. Sadly, the songs aren’t nearly as memorable as the first game’s. “Evil Queen” just doesn’t have the catchy melody that I was hoping for, and most others are barely as hummable. That’s not to say the songs aren’t good; “Princess Kururu” is a wonderful ensemble piece that starts the album off sounding like a Broadway musical, and “Let’s Go On” makes it’s reappearance as “Let’s Go Walking ~ Etoile’s Love,” which is just as charming as the original.
With everything said, this is still an enchanting collection of music and songs. Music like this is the reason why I faithfully follow and admire Sato-san’s work. However, this gem is soon to be out of print, which will make it that much harder to come by. With any luck, those wishing to experience this treasure should be able to pick it up at CDJapan. If that fails, Yahoo Japan often has a copy floating around, but you’ll need to know, or know someone who knows, Japanese to bid.