As with most soundtracks I buy, I had never played Jade Cocoon and thus had to base my opinion of its music on the merits alone. So, when I picked up the Tamamayu Monogatari OST (Jade Cocoon in the US), I listened intently to the melodies, and I found something there that was magical and enjoyable. With hopes that Tamamayu Monogatari 2 (Jade Cocoon 2) would provide much the same, especially since Kimitaka Matsumae returned for the composing duties, I was very much looking forward to the music in this second installment of the game series. And after experiencing what was offered, I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed. I’d expected that the music would inherit the creativeness of the first, and wholly, it does not.
Now, I’m not saying that a composer should not try to compose for different styles, because I know that when one does not experiment to some extent the music tends to become stale and monotonous. However, when a composer does stray from what he excels at, the end result should at least try to be something exceptional. Unfortunately, in the case here, most of Matsumae’s compositions are simply put unremarkable. I can’t say that they’re altogether bad, but they’re just not on the same level as those from the first game.
It actually took me awhile to pinpoint exactly what was missing from the music to this sequel, but when I narrowed it down I realized it was the absence of the moody, mystical undertones that made the first so memorable. There’s just not enough character to the music to keep me interested. Perhaps the brevity of the tracks, which does not allow you to become very familiar with most of the tracks, is to blame. However, if a piece is truly outstanding, track length should not impact the listener’s appreciation for the composition.
I did find it interesting, though, how Matsumae incorporated futuristic-sounding samples in some of the compositions. Tracks such as “Faerie Cocoon” and “Resurrection” sound similar to something you might hear from Phantasy Star Online. It was also nice to hear the “Main Theme” of Tamamayu Monogatari pop up again in a few pieces. But unfortunately, the good tracks, which on a whole are mostly average, are few and far between.
When it comes down to it, I can only recommend this album to those who have played the game and are familiar with the music. Anyone else may find themselves getting bored with it, especially if you’re a fan of the first game’s OST. For those of you who are still interested, though, it’s available through Otaku for only $25.