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Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack :: Review by Don

Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack Album Title: Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack
Record Label: Inti Creates
Catalog No.: INTIR-014
Release Date: October 10, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Arranged albums for the Rockman series are few and far between. Excluding the recent ZX and Zero arrange albums, the amount of arranged albums for the original Mega Man series is severely limited. Unlike the 20th Anniversary Techno and Rock Arrange albums or the Alph Lyla special CDs, the Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack is entirely dedicated to the newly released Mega Man 9. Included in this arranged album are many of the popular themes. It was mainly arranged by the sound team III, but includes a multitude of guest arrangers as well, many of whom contributed to previous Mega Man soundtracks. Does the arrange album turn out to be a mere remastering, or does it seem like some arranging effort went into the production?


To say that this album is diverse would be a bit of an understatement. There are a ton of styles represented on this arrange album. One area in which the diversity is seen is in the stage themes. Three guest arrangers bring their stylings to the stage themes. Akari Kaida, known for her work on Breath of Fire III and the Luminous Arc series, arranges "Jewel Temptation". Her interpretation of this theme is a lounge jazz arrangement. It's very reminiscent of her Breath of Fire III work, but only more refined. It's a playful theme and even features some vocal work belonging to Akari Kaida no less. Shusaku Uchiyama, known for his work on Mega Man 8 and Resident Evil 4, arranges what many consider to be the best stage theme, "Thunder Tornado". Adopting a very soft electronica style, it's a much more subdued version of the original. The various electronic elements that comprise the arrangement give it an almost jazzy nature. It's a very enjoyable interpretation and one I wasn't expecting at all. Last but definitely not least is Luna Umegaki, known for her work on the Rockman Zero series. Out of all the stage theme arrangements, her "Splash Blue" one is easily one of my favorites. Her arrangement incorporates a variety of elements. There is the crystalline synth piano that is used to give this feeling of flowing water, there are some tribal elements giving it a very nice texture, and some beautiful woodwind and violin passages that help to reinforce the melody. It's a very relaxing arrangement and definitely one of the highlights on the soundtrack.

The rest of the stage themes are arranged by the sound team III. "Hornet Dance" is a nice funky arrangement of the original and it brings a lot of energy and fun to the mix. I definitely love the big brass sound coupled with the eclectic keyboard work. This is another one of the highlights for me. "Galaxy Fantasy" definitely has an 80's vibe to it. It's an arrangement that brings together some nice elements, like futuristic sound effects, vocoder usage, and a nice synth melody. It's one of the arrangements that sticks closer to the original, but it's quite entertaining nonetheless. "Magma Burning" is another highlight under the stage themes section. It's got a nice flamenco influence to it and the combination of the piano, violin, and brass makes for a highly entertaining arrangement. It's another one of those pieces where the style used was quite a shock. In the end, it works quite beautifully. The first time I heard the "Plug Electric" arrangement, the first thing that came into my mind was Motoi Sakuraba. The keyboard and brass samples used just screamed Star Ocean to me. While it isn't nearly as flashy as some of Sakuraba's work, the progressive rock style is quite fitting for this theme. The last stage theme, "Concrete Jungle", was by one of the strangest things I've heard on this album. When I first heard the original, I figured this would make a very nice rock arrangement. However, the arrangement is far from that. It's a very quirky arrangement featuring extensive xylophone and violin work with an almost surfer rock vibe throughout it. An extremely fun rendition.

The Dr. Wily stage themes are just as awesome as in the original soundtrack. Guitarist Toshiki Horisawa translates the energetic "Flash in the Dark" into a rock ballad. The mixture of acoustic guitar and electric guitar is extremely pleasant, especially at a slower tempo than the original. I must say "Kudos" to the arranger, even if it isn't as elaborate as some of the others. "We're the Robots," my personal favorite from the original soundtrack, is arranged by Manami Matsumae, who worked on Mega Man 2 and Dragon Quest Swords. She brings an energetic jazzy electronica arrangement to the original. While I do applaud her choice of style, since it is extremely fitting, I felt the original had some Asian vibes to it and was hoping for an Asian inspired arrangement. It's still a great arrangement and one that I will probably listen to a lot, given it sounds like it could be a shmup stage theme. The last two Wily stage themes are arranged by III. "Strange World" is a nice jazzy rock arrangement of the original. There is some nice keyboard and bass work and the synth saxophone carries the melody quite nicely. "Castle of Evil" is a rather interesting soundtrack. It's got a surfer rock feel to it. The clapping adds a nice rhythm to the piece and the combination of the playful steel drums and brass work well with the guitar offerings. All in all, the Dr. Wily Stage themes are some of the best things on here.

The two extra stage themes "Maze of Death" and "Overdrive Scramble" are also interesting arrangements. The former is arranged by III and is a pulsating techno arrangement that really fits the source material. Full of energy and a bit of variation, it doesn't get stale unlike the original piece. The other piece, "Overdrive Scramble" was arranged by Yasuaki Fujita (also known as BUN BUN) of Mega Man 3 and Breath of Fire fame. It's the most surprising arrangement and one of my favorites. Done in an orchestral style, it is quite uplifting and bouncy, but with sections of somberness. I didn't think Rockman music, especially this piece in particular, would translate well to an orchestra. It's a beautiful piece that showcases Fujita's arrangement skills. It is definitely the best arrangement on the album, in my opinion, and defies all my expectations.

The boss themes are also quite entertaining. III's "Boss -Born Again-" starts out with some soft acoustic guitar work, but quickly moves into a heavy metal arrangement. It adds so much energy to the original. The organ, electric guitar, and the driving drum work make this one of the highlights on the album. I honestly wasn't expecting a heavy metal arrangement for this one either, but it works quite well. "Wily Machine," arranged by Mega Man Legends and Dino Crisis composer Makoto Tomozawa, does a great job at translating the original to something fresh. There's a nice mixture of rock and exotic synth, coupled with some emergency siren sound effects. It's one of those arrangements that takes an already excellent original and amplifies it more. Finally the staff roll theme, "To a Shining Tomorrow," composed by Ippo Yamada, arranged by Chicken Mob. amd sung by Miki Tsuchiya, has a very J-pop sound to it. The rock elements, combined with the piano and synthesizer, make this a very enjoyable translation of the staff roll. The electric guitar solo is quite nice as well and really adds a lot of depth to the piece. The singer's voice is rather nice as well. It fits well with the atmosphere of the piece and isn't gratingly high pitched.


Some say that variety is the spice of life. Well, if that's the case, the Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack is full of spice, making for quite a lively album. While most of the soundtrack is marvellously arranged by III, it is the guest arrangers that make some of the most excellent contributions. It's good to hear some of the older Rockman composers take a basic piece and upgrade it into a variety of styles. Highlights include "Overdrive Scramble," "Wily Machine," "Splash Blue," "Jewel Temptation," and "We're the Robots". But fear not, the rest of the soundtrack is fantastic as well. Overall, if you want an album full of diversity, with styles ranging from electronica to heavy metal, and that does an excellent job at arranging the originals, I highly suggest this arrange album.

Overall Score: 10/10