It is no secret that I really liked Record of Agarest War 2, my favorite aspect of which was its music. I was, therefore, disappointed that the only soundtrack of the game I could access was the 23-track pack-in CD for the European version of the game. One of my biggest complaints for that album was the lack of vocal themes, so I jumped at the opportunity to review this collection of those very tracks.
The music itself doesn’t necessarily break new ground in terms of Japanese RPG vocal themes, but is excellent from start to finish. I absolutely love the vocal themes in the game, and while I listened to this soundtrack in my car during my work commute and a road trip, I was bobbing along like crazy. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and “Antiphona” is a very strong opening, indeed. “Aoki no Kaze” and “Hatenaki Michi” are both beautiful, slower songs that may not reinvent the wheel, but do what they do really well. Both start out softly before building into lush crescendos, like any good ballad. I preferred “Aoki no Kaze” over “Hatenaki Michi,” but both are great.
Surprisingly, the tracks I like the best also expose the biggest flaws on the soundtrack. “Senkou no Kanata e” is the most dynamic piece of music here. The initial juxtaposition between medieval melodies and an almost tribal drum beat intrigued me and made me ask, “How is this all going to come together?” I stuck around, and the song became a sonic explosion of flavors. Sure, there are a couple of brief moments where the countermelodies could have been left out, but they do not truly detract from the song. Because the music is so dynamic, I was left wishing for karaoke versions of all the songs on this soundtrack. Most soundtracks with vocal themes have karaoke versions of the tracks, so why doesn’t this one?
Likewise, the final two tracks are excellent but present a flaw in the overall soundtrack. “JEWELRY HALATION” is a surprisingly rocking song with some nicely distorted guitars blended with the smooth pop sound. It’s like the elements of masculine and feminine sounds coming together as one. I would have personally liked the guitars to be a little fatter, but that’s probably a personal bias, since I play in a female-fronted alt-metal band. “Kawaranai Kiseki” is my favorite ballad on this soundtrack, which is not faint praise, since there are quite a few slower songs here. It’s smooth, it flows well, and licks your ear like a lover. Unfortunately, the versions of the songs presented here are the short “game versions.” These are way too short. Just as I was getting into the songs, they ended. Where are the longer versions?
My final verdict on Agarest Senki 2 Vocal Mini Album Uketsugareru Tamashii no Senritsu is that while the music presented here is good, the soundtrack as a whole leaves me wanting more (and not in a good way). I liked every song here a lot, which is rare on a vocal collection (there’s usually at least one track I dislike). On the other hand, I was left wanting karaoke versions of all the songs as well as longer versions of the last two songs, which end before they really begin. One day, my desire for a 100% complete Agarest Senki 2 soundtrack will hopefully come to fruition, because right now the incomplete partial piecemeal soundtracks accessible to me are teasing me like crazy, and I’m fiending for the payoff.