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Sekaiju no MeiQ Super Arrange Version :: Review by Don

Sekaiju no MeiQ Super Arrange Version Album Title: Sekaiju no MeiQ Super Arrange Version
Record Label: Five Records
Catalog No.: VGCD-0104
Release Date: September 7, 2007
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Last year, Sekaiju no MeiQ, also known as Etrian Odyssey, was released. Composed by Yuzo Koshiro, it was a tribute, in both gameplay and music, to the games of old. The best example would be the original Phantasy Star. To accompany the original soundtrack, an arranged album was created, overseen by GEM Impact's Norihiko Hibino of Elvandia Story and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It offered an interesting set of interpretations to the various town themes, battle themes, and labyrinth themes.


The arranged album opens up with "Spinning the Tale." Unfortunately, the arranger, Takahide Ayuzawa, didn't elaborate much upon it and only lengthened it a very small about while updating the sound quality. It's a shame, too. I think it had a lot of potential. The two town arrangements, "The Roadside Trees Outside the Window" and "Bird-Shaped Vane on the Roof," both feature a vocal performance by Rebecca Evans. Unfortunately, these arrangements, while offering a nice ballad upgrade for the original town themes, are really bad. The vocalist does a decent job, but at the same time, I don't think she adds anything exciting to the mix. It's another shame, as I think an instrumental arrangement would have been better.

Moving onto the battle arrangements, we start to get into the good stuff on the album. "Initial Strike," one of the normal battle themes, really helps to keep the classic feel of the original, but transforms it into a rock/electronica arrangement that exudes tons of energy. I love the overall feel of the arrangement, but the rock portions really impress me. It's really amazing that the same arranger, Takahiro Izutani, that did this also did one of the vocal themes, "Bird-Shaped Vane on the Roof." The other battle theme arranged by Izutani, "Ectasy," is a very industrial/electronica arrangement. It really amps up the energy as wel and has a lot of variety within it.

My favorite battle theme, "Destruction Begets Decay," just happens to be my favorite arrangement on this album as well. It's a nice blend of some jazz/rock elements, such as the blaring saxophone and the electric guitar. However, at the same time, it helps maintain that classic feel of the original source material by including a piano line for the main melody at times. Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's sole arrangement is definitely worth a listen! The two battlefield themes, "A Sudden Gust of Wind Before Your Eyes" and "Throne of Creation", help to emphasize the tones found within the original material. However, they are rather plain in comparison to some of the other battle arrangements on the album.

Moving to the last section, the labyrinth arrangements, we move into the more magical of the arrangements. Sadly, my favorite labyrinth theme, "The Withered Forest," did not get an arrangement, but my second favorite, "The Green Green Woodlands," did. As with a lot of the arrangements, the original source material's atmosphere is reflected in this arrangement. Having a mystifying Celtic tone combined with some Spanish flair, reminiscent to some of the works found in the Atelier Iris series, it's a really beautiful arrangement that reflects how well Yoshitaka Suzuki, the arranger of the other town theme, can arrange.

In addition, Suzuki also arranges the other two labyrinth themes found on the album as well. "The Old Cerulean Woods" is another beautiful arrangement. There is a very serene feeling heard in this one, mainly attributed to the piano melody, the rhythmic percussion, and the atmospheric use of strings. The haunting vocals can't hurt either! Lastly, "The Capital of Shinjuku" is another great arrangement. Following in the footsteps of "The Green Green Woodlands," there is a heavy Celtic feel to this arrangement. The piano, the percussion, the woodwinds, and the violin all come together to create a wonderful masterpiece of sound. This is my favorite labyrinth theme arrangement on the album, but to be honest, they are all fantastic.


Overall, the Sekaiju no MeiQ Super Arrange Version is pretty good. The labyrinth themes and the battle themes are top-notch. Unfortunately, the battlefield themes, while being extremely expressive of the original source material, don't really seem to entertain me as much. The town themes are definitely the weakest arrangements on here — I think they could have been much better without the vocals. This album is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the original material, as much of the classic feel is kept in the arrangements. Sure, it's not that ambitious of an arrange album, but at the same time, it definitely does some surprisingly things. I think the sound direction of Hibino is rather impressive in this regard.

Overall Score: 8/10