Released exactly three years after the first Disgaea arranged album, Disgaea 2 comes to us as one of Tenpei Sato’s strongest works to date, in composition, arrangement, and production value. I say this as no stranger to Sato’s works. I’ve heard many of his lesser-known works from the previous decade, and I’m certainly aware of his more recent work with Nippon Ichi.
But, veteran that I may as a Tenpei Sato fan, Sato himself is much more a veteran at creating music. By now, I’d be willing to call him a master in his field. I’m nearly willing to call Disgaea 2’s score a modern masterpiece in popular art.
The sad thing about Sato’s work with NIS (from Disgaea forward) has been that the complete OSTs have been extremely difficult to obtain. They were released as limited bonus items with the PS2 titles (usually retailing at about 9000 yen in Japan). Near after this release, a more widely-printed “arranged album” would be released for the title. This happened for Disgaea, La Pucelle, Phantom Brave, Phantom (Makai) Kingdom (which Sato had almost no part in), and now, for a fifth time, it’s happening with Disgaea 2.
If you take time to read our reviews of these older titles, you’ll find that many times the “arranged” album would be little more than a “best of” album. The arranged tracks would simply take the original tracks, maybe add a few parts, and lengthen the song. Not a big improvement, but if you couldn’t get the limited OST, it was a nice consolation prize.
I’m excited to say that, even though the Disgaea 2 OST is already great in terms of sound quality, the arranged album improves on each song enough to make it a worthy purchase, even if you already owned the OST.
Of the 14 songs on the arranged album, six have vocal performances, including “White Tiger” performed by Sato himself (this is a silly ’80s rock song, but it’s still great!). The full length version of Sinful Rose (“Sumi no Bara”) is one of my favorites on the album, a great opening overall. “Dawn Whisper” doesn’t contain lyrics, just vocal melody and harmony. I love listening to this song.
The six minute ending vocal is a spectacular mid-tempo pop ballad that builds slowly from beginning to end, which is always a good way to write an ending theme song. It’s inspiring without being cheesy. If you want cheese, there’s always ETONA (Etna) Rock. I’m not even going to talk about that one.
The rest of the songs are a collaboration of various styles, from traditional ethnic (Asian) songs to techno-pop, to down-trodden American bluegrass and folk. With each song, Sato’s unique flair shines. “Cyber Dance” is one of my favorite songs on the album, and I’m also a huge fan of “Elegy of the Tundra,” though this song sadly fails to vary from its original counterpart.
Color me impressed. I’ll not soon forget how much I liked this album. I’m not sure Tenpei Sato will be able to top this one for a long time, but if he does, more power to him.