Note: The limited edition version, with DVD and a number of other promotional items included, cost three times as much as the CD-only version. Its DVD included FMV sequences from nearly every title in the Tales series.
Over the years, singles from many Tales openings/endings were released, done by many J-Pop groups. On July 4, 2007, a “best of” album was released. In the album, I’ve heard four of the songs before, and the others are fresh in my ear.
It was nice that some of the themes I liked such as “Starry Heavens” and “VS” are included. The vocalist (misono is the singer for “day after tomorrow”) is very good, and she complements the catchy, upbeat melodies well. Some songs such as “Good Night” leave the same impression as before. It’s a fine song, but something about it made it weaker than the other opening songs I’ve heard.
The songs I haven’t heard before turned out good overall. They are unsurprisingly similar with the songs having an upbeat melody and female vocals, but a few stick out on my mind. One such example is Do As Infinity’s “TAO,” which is used as an opening theme for Tales of Legendia. It has a bit of the J-Pop vibe, but the vocalist has a deeper, more mature voice, and the melody utilizes piano with some drums and electric guitars, but in a sophisticated way. It has energy, but it’s not sugarcoated with cuteness or spunk, and with a lot of songs being similar in this genre, “TAO” broke the mold. It is unfortunate that this is their final song too. Hearing their other works in various anime, they were definitely talented.
The two versions of “yume wa owaranai” (The Dream Will Not Die) are also very good. This was the song played on Tales of Phantasia back on the SNES, and demonstrated that SNES can pull off vocal tracks. The melody in the first version (for PlayStation) has some elegance, utilizing a little bit of trumpets, violin, drums and electric guitar to give the song a hopeful vibe. In the other version (for SNES), the melody is a lot more upbeat, giving the classic a cute techno style, and gives the sensation of dancing to this song in a party. Both are sung by vocalists with a cutesy voice, which works very well with the two very different styles of melody, making both songs enjoyable and addicting in their own ways.
My least favorite song in the whole album is Garnet Crow’s “Flying,” which is Tales of Eternia’s opening theme. I like the vocals, and the melody is interesting, but they don’t mesh well in my ear, especially during highlight moments of the song.
This is a very good compilation of singles. While I would’ve liked to see some songs like “Karma” make the cut, I enjoyed the songs the album provided (I’m guessing Karma, et. al. wasn’t able to go on this Avex CD for legal reasons). Unless you want songs from a specific group or you don’t like the opening themes the album has, this is definitely the ideal Tales album to get.