Shining Theme Music Shiro SAGISU Collection


Review by · November 28, 2007

When people who know him hear the name Shiro Sagisu, they probably think Anime Composer, and they’d be right. Shiro Sagisu is responsible for composing the music to some really great anime, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kimagure Orange Road, and Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo. His scores are an incorporation of modern orchestral in innovative ways. However, aside from being an excellent Anime Composer, Sagisu-san has also composed music for a few video games as well, including various games in the Shining series. Shining Theme Music is a collection of some of the best of them, and while some of the tracks are absolutely excellent, melding orchestra with more modern and alternative genres, the sheer amount of repetition in this album makes me question whether or not there was a production flaw, or if the producers just wanted to fill disc space.

Fundamentally, there are three categories of music on this album; symphonic, ambient melodic, and interludes. I’ll hit up the symphonic category first. There are a few tracks that fall into this genre, although they tend to be more what you’d expect from symphonic melodies in disco/80s anime music. Inheritors of the Light starts out symphonic, and then the electric guitar takes center stage with the heavy-trumpet/violin orchestra in the background. Then there’s Nightmare which sounds like it was ripped right out of a late 80s/early 90s anime series such as Sailor Moon or Utena. The Power of Fate is really just an extended version of Inheritors of the Light, and thus begins a trend of repetition that continues later on in the bonus track section of the album. Next up is Confrontation between Light and Darkness, which is more of a dark, up-tempo symphonic offering that really does shout “confrontation!” The next track, Are You of the Light, or the Dark? is pretty similar, so not much to say there, but finishes our first genre offerings.

In the Ambient Melody corner, we have Battle, which is creepy, using discordant, slightly flat synths to evoke a feeling of foreboding, while Time of Memories is more cool and calming, using nice minimalist piano to create an atmosphere of calm. The piano melodic continues with a simple, yet beautiful piece entitled Tomorrow Will be Full of Light. Stalemate, on the other hand, brings back the ominous feel of Battle and does some nice string work with the violins. Then, out of left field comes Battle with a Formidable Opponent, which is really trippy combined with some medium-heavy electric guitar.

The final genre doesn’t need much explanation, as the interludes are just that; short transitions between pieces. Most of them are throwaway, and yet when I get to the section of the album with the bonus tracks, you’ll see how they can be rather annoying. The two most noteworthy interludes are Together with the Light and An Object of Contemplation. The former is a nice little intro piece, while the latter is a music box/orgel piece.

This album would have been decent if they had left it at that. Sagisu’s themes may feel a bit retro, but they’re always done well, and some can be very stirring, tugging on the listener’s heartstrings. Unfortunately, they had to add the “bonus tracks” section to the disc, which contains a handful of the themes from the game presented either exactly the way they were in the main section of the disc or with slight cosmetic changes that don’t really differentiate the tracks from the originals. Hearing the same exact piece repeatedly is irritating, and so I suggest that if you get this album, to just rip the main tracks and leave the rest behind, as putting the album on play is almost like putting a handful of songs on repeat.

If you’re a fan of Shiro Sagisu, do yourself a favor and pick up this album. However, if you’re not into the ambient style or the symphonic disco, stay away, as there’s nothing for you here.

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Damian Thomas

Damian Thomas

Some of us change avatars often at RPGFan, but not Damian, aka Sensei Phoenix. He began his RPGFan career as The Flaming Featherduster (oh, also, a key reviewer), and ended as the same featherduster years later.