Note: this soundtrack came as a bonus with the limited edition packaging of the Japanese game. This has been the tradition with NIS games, and it is unfortunate for VGM importers who would simply like to have the soundtrack. Though, for those who want the game and the soundtrack, it’s a great deal.
I cannot believe that Tenpei Sato is still writing amazing music. So many composers have followed a trend where they reach their prime, and just after peaking, go into a “slump” and rarely come out of it. But Sato has consistently written amazing soundtracks for NIS, the most recent of which is the OST for Disgaea 3.
If you’ve ever heard a soundtrack for a Disgaea title, or anything related to it (La Pucelle, Makai Kingdom, etc), know that this soundtrack doesn’t stray too far from the well-worn path Sato normally takes. Found here is an eclectic array of vocal tracks, ’80s style rock songs, powerfully emotional melodies, incredible ethnic music, jazz, and plenty of silly songs to boot. Let’s talk highlights.
First of all, the vocal tracks are excellent. And there are plenty of them (I believe it’s seven or eight total). As the game includes a school setting, the opening theme “Maritsu Evil Academy” (as well as some other songs promoting the school) use a whole group of vocalists to get that “school choir” feel going. These songs ooze charm, but the quality doesn’t end there, as Sato’s masterful compositions keep the songs afloat. Even if they weren’t charming, they’d still be solid compositions. The performance just adds to the value.
The ending vocal, “A Song For You,” is another favorite, because it attempts the whole Gospel thing. I haven’t heard this in a game since Sakura Taisen V’s “Downtown Heart.” It always cracks me up, hearing these sorts of songs performed in Japanese, for a videogame at that. But again, the quality of the performance and the composition makes it enjoyable outside of the humor factor.
There are some powerful, memorable instrumental tracks on the OST as well, some of which (surprisingly) weren’t selected for the arranged album (released by Team Entertainment). My two favorite battle themes are “Rock Crystal” and “Windin’Rinding.” Both make excellent use of electric guitar. There are plenty of battle themes on the OST, but these stand out the most to me.
Easily my favorite song on the OST, “Wanderer’s Poem” attempts the same style that you may remember from Michiko Naruke’s “Wild Arms” theme song, “Into the Wilderness.” The melody is carried by a person whistling, and there’s this epic Western feel about it. I didn’t know Sato had it in him to compose a song like this. I love it.
Another impressive piece is “Blue Concerto.” This is probably the most advanced piano I’ve heard from Sato to date, and I’m really happy to hear it. It’s not too complex on a technical level, but the style and composition of the melody blew me away. This is another hit for the album.
Moreso than ever, I am displeased with NIS for keeping this music away from the public by keeping it attached to the Limited Edition game release. Fortunately, most of the best songs here were put on the arranged album, but again, some are missing (including “Rock Crystal”). For the hardcore and/or wealthy collectors among us, go for it. Everyone else will have to settle for the less and the more that is the arranged album.