When I listen to arrange albums, it’s nice to hear the original songs in some shape or fashion, but composed a slightly different way. I have high standards for arrange albums, and the Disgaea Arrange Album is one of the reasons why I do: because there’s hardly any arrangement at all on this soundtrack! Granted, the original soundtrack was only released with a limited edition of the game, and this album is much more available to the public, but I don’t think it should have been called an “arrange” album. A “Best of” or a “Compilation” title would have been more fitting, since there really is no true arrangement present here.
Let me start by saying that no matter how much Tenpei Sato sugarcoated this album, it doesn’t differ from the original at all. First off, all of the game’s vocals are present, and they sound almost exactly the same as the originals, except they’re a tad slower, and there are some instrument upgrades and chords added here and there. But the differences are so subtle that you can hardly tell. Second, the vocals take up almost half the album…and considering that they don’t bring anything new to the table, they aren’t very appealing. The only exception is “War Comrade,” which is twice as long as its original, but it’s not that great of a vocal to begin with, and it only loops, therefore eliminating the “arranged” factor from it. It would have made more sense for Tenpei Sato to include more of his instrumental tracks rather than slapping his piss-poor vocal arrangements onto this album. Don’t get me wrong; these are great vocals, but they don’t sound any different from their originals, which, in my opinion, is a “piss-poor” arrangement.
The instrumental arrangements are almost half-decent. I sighed with joy when I saw that they were longer than their originals (“Flowerbed” being my favorite). After listening to the original soundtrack, I thought it was weird when some of the tracks faded away before they were completely finished, so I’m glad Tenpei Sato took the time to extend them. The only problem is that they aren’t so much true extensions than they are “upgrades.” The newer songs are only longer by about a minute, and still, don’t sound any different from their originals. This is a damn shame because even though the arranged album has better sounding synths, I still could barely tell the difference between it and the original soundtrack.
As I mentioned before, the album has better sounding synths. Since the original album was composed using MIDI, it was a wise move for Sato to upgrade the sound for his arrangements. The off, cherubic vocals from the original soundtrack have been replaced with slightly more realistic choral voices and all of the instruments generally sound clearer and fuller. But, in the scheme of things, they’re nothing spectacular, and don’t sound too different from their originals.
As you can see, I disliked this arrange album. The purpose of an arrange album is to bring something new to the table, and to show off your talents as an ARRANGER. Tenpei Sato decided to keep everything the same and play it safe, and as a result, he has produced a mediocre arrange album. The Disgaea Original Soundtrack was a fantastic soundtrack filled with variety and originality, but there’s none of that here. If the album had been named a “Best of” or “Compilation,” then this review wouldn’t be so harsh. As far of recommendations go, I suggest that if you can find the original soundtrack floating around by some extreme stroke of luck, then pick it up. But if you want a taste of what the original was like, I’d recommend this one to you.