The Puppet Princess of Marl’s Kingdom is one of those lucky games that actually made its way to the U.S. Under the new name Rhapsody ~ A Musical Adventure, it was the first of it’s kind: a young girl’s RPG with a lot of heart. Although it didn’t tread any new ground in gameplay, it was rather unique in that it was truly a musical. With Disney-like vocals spread throughout, I found it to be quite enjoyable. The soundtrack includes the Japanese versions of all these pieces, as well as much of the BGM from the game itself.
There is a lot more to this album than you’d at first think. Having been one of the few games I’d played before actually hearing the soundtrack, surprisingly, I didn’t find the music to be too astounding at first. Within the context of the game, which tends to be lighthearted and whimsical, it loses some of its dramatic quality. However, taken alone, some of the pieces are very moving. After listening to this CD, I began to more appreciate the music for what it is. It wasn’t the battle tracks that drew my attention. Although they fit perfectly within the game, they just don’t have the dramatic presence that they should. It was the town and event themes that caught my notice. Pieces such as Etoile’s theme, The Young Girl’s Barrette, with its chamber music-like melody, and Beauty Castle, which I absolutely love, that drew me in.
Unlike the U.S. CD, this version of the soundtrack has a calmer and softer tone to it. This is partially due to the vocals being spread out on the album. It helps break up the harsher tracks. Holy Prayer, Falling Star, and The World’s Step are all excellent examples of this, as well as beautifully composed. Like many RPG soundtracks these days, they are influenced by Celtic music. I guess this is partly the reason Sato reminds me of Yasunori Mitsuda. There are segments that sound very similar to his work. And as with Mitsuda, Sato is a very melodic composer, which appeals to me. Personally, I feel he deserves more attention than what he’s received so far. It’s sad that someone so talented is also so unknown, and thus, unaccredited.
The Japanese versions of the vocals are a little better than the U.S. version, which isn’t surprising considering that this type of thing is taken more seriously in Japan. However, if you’re familiar with the English songs, you’re sure to enjoy these. Their light-hearted sound makes for a pleasant listening experience. A World Made Just for Us is better than the English version, but not much. For some reason I hate this song. True Courage and Thank You remain two of my favorites. Their sweet melodies ring true, whether in English or Japanese.
Not all of the tracks from the game are here, though. Mothergreen is missing as well as a few battle tracks. Mostly the more jarring and less pleasant themes were omitted, which is fine with me. Two of the vocals, Mountainmen’s Song and Amazing Pirates, are missing, but you won’t notice it much. For the most part, all of the best pieces are here. And, if you have the U.S. game with included music CD, you’ll have most of the songs that are missing.
So, for how mixed my feelings are on some of the music from this game (especially the battle music), I have to admit that I still find this soundtrack to be astounding. With a handful of beautiful pieces, along with some really enjoyable vocals, it’s become one of my favorite albums of all time. Anyone who enjoys RPG soundtracks will want this CD. The only problem is that coming across this album is nearly impossible. Your only chance would be Yahoo Japan, and you’d have to know Japanese to buy from there. But, don’t expect to pay less than $100 for it.