If you’ve even heard of the Wii RPG Opoona, you know that it was met with little response beyond a yawn and maybe a thumbs-down. Its soundtrack, by the Basiscape sound team (Sakimoto, et al), was being hailed in some distant corners of the Internet as a gem. Yet, there was no soundtrack release. Gamerips floated around, but no one had anything concrete to hold onto.
After much begging and demanding from fans over the span of a few years, Basiscape’s own record label finally got around to publishing the much sought after soundtrack to Opoona. While I’m sure someone knows the full story, and there was probably some stupid legal red-tape involved, I don’t have the full story. All I know is, I was waiting for this soundtrack, and now I have it. This is my first real exposure to it, and I didn’t know what to expect beyond harp glissandos.
I’m pleased to report that what I found didn’t fit my expectation at all. Not that there were no harps, but for the most part, the traditional Sakimoto sound is traded in for something sounds a little more like Basiscape’s projects with CAVE on shooters. More electronica; more jazz; more ambient, relaxation-focused music; more ethnic instrumentation – in short, a little more variety. Too many cooks spoil the broth? Not in this case!
If you’d like some comparisons, I would actually turn to sci-fi fantasy epic soundtrack Phantasy Star Online (specifically, episode 3). There is certainly a sci-fi spin on the game, and it is reflected in the soundtrack very well. I am also tempted to make a comparison to Nintendo’s “Pikmin” franchise, but I think the super-deformed cutesy art style is what’s making me go that route more than the actual music. In any case, there’s a beautiful mix of acoustic and electronic here. Members of the Eminence Orchestra in Australia, including violinist and Group lead Hiroaki Yura, recorded parts for certain songs on the OST. But then, some tracks are wholly synthesized.
There are a few recurring melodic themes throughout the soundtrack that help tie everything together nicely. The “Main Theme” (disc 2 track 1) appears in many tracks, but it’s not the only motif that pops up throughout the soundtrack. For as totally strange, new, and foreign this soundtrack is for the likes of Basiscape, it’s good that there are some measures of consistency taken.
It was worth the wait. Truly, this one may have passed under the radar for me had there not been fan demand for so long to see this soundtrack exist. A clever, and likely unintentional, marketing technique. Please, Basiscape, know that I’m too impatient to have you pull such a stunt again! If you write more soundtracks in this style, I’ll be sure to take notice. Beautiful, sublime, and worthy of gamers’ collective attention, the Opoona OST is a lovely surprise for VGM collectors and casual listeners alike.