I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Brave Fencer Musashi soundtrack when it came out, but I had no reason to be skeptical of Musashiden II when I heard that Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano were composing it this time around. Since I love them both, I was counting the days before this soundtrack came out. Unfortunately, it took a little longer than I would have liked for it to make it into my hands, but the result was worth it. I was a little iffy when I heard the surf rock theme (performed by the Surf Coasters), but as the soundtrack progressed, I was very happy with it.
People are bashing this album right now because they think it has too many filler tracks. Let me get that out of the way right now: I agree and I disagree. First off, while there are filler tracks, they’re great filler tracks. If you put all of them together and burned a CD, it would be a stellar CD to play in the background while you’re doing something. These fillers aren’t bad, because most of them are memorable. I can say this confidently after listening to the album five times, although on my first listen, they were a little boring.
Hamauzu and Nakano love to use recurring themes in their soundtracks, and this outing is no different. In fact, there are two themes that appear throughout the album; one by Hamauzu and the other by Nakano. This works extremely well because their styles are so different. The first theme is present in “Mystical Princess” and the second is present in “Call of the Wild.” These themes are very good and pleasing to the ear, and I loved hearing them again and again.
The highlights of the album are “Mystical Princess,” which is a soothing ballad that introduces Hamauzu’s main theme. It is absolutely gorgeous, and there is also a casual version of it that has a stellar percussion section. Hamauzu definitely knows how to rock a drum set. I really enjoyed “Village of the Sacred Beast,” “White Whale of Heaven,” and “Call of the Wild,” just because they brought back nostalgic memories of Dewprism and SaGa Frontier 2. The beginning of “Call of the Wild” reminds me of “Dawn in Dense Woodland” from the Dewprism OST. “Firewalker” was a nice surprise, too; it starts off very organic in the beginning, but progresses into a Celtic inspired song with great (but subtle) chords. The bottom line is that there’s a great variety of tracks here. Most of them aren’t terribly original, but if you enjoyed the two soundtracks I mentioned above, then you can’t go wrong.
There are two composers who worked on this album whom I did not mention: Yuki Iwai and Takayuki Iwai, also known as Wavelink Zeal. Their contributions to the album were small (only 3 tracks) not very impressive, and not very helpful to the album at all. But they’re still worth mentioning: just not very highly of in this review.
Overall, I highly recommend Musashiden II. You may not get as much excitement out of it as you might have with UNLIMITED: SaGa or Dewprism, but it’s still a unique experience regardless. A lot of these songs will still be in my playlist in a few years, I’m sure of it. I’m giving it a solid 8 out 10.