Macross Frontier OST 2 “Nyan Tora” Review

Nyan Tora Tora Tora…..Scary….

Hey you!  Yeah, you the guy over there!  I know what you want!  I can see my blogging stats and search engine hits!  It’s a Macross Frontier OST 2 review right?!  Well here it is.  This is the latest Yoko Kanno OST, it’s awesome, 10/10, end of story!

I….it’s not?  Well Anya’s telling me it’s that apparently my review isn’t good enough.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to do this properly then.

Track 1 Yousei: This one starts off reasonably well.  The background accompaniment sounds almost soothing, and then it starts to get those annoying Yoko Kanno type synth sounds and never really goes anywhere.  I mean it honestly has that five minutes spent fiddling in front of a synthesizer type sound to it with only one real warbly sound to speak of for the whole song with the occassional violin.  Eventually it just descends into a cacaphony of noise, but I sort of have to give a little credit to the vocals for an honest try.  It’s kind of hard to work with a poor accompaniment that keeps on drowning you out every time the song threatens to pick up, but what can you do really. A solid hour at the mixing table might have made this a great song.  5/10.

Track 2 Aimo O.C: Hey it’s Aimo again, only this time with a pseudo-rock feel to it.  There’s really not much more I can say about it to be honest as it’s really just that. Oh it does get the trademark Yoko Kanno warble sound added in later on.  Can we stop recycling music now Ms. Kanno? 6.5/10.

Track 3 Seikan Hikou: And now for something completely different.  This song adds a little spice to the soundtrack with a reasonably catchy beat and Megumi Nakajima’s excellent vocals.  I remember saying how much I preferred this opening over Triangular (not hard), but now hearing the full version I can safely say I truely love this tune.  It’s something to chill too on this track instead of that also doesn’t make you think of a person gargling. Very important. 9/10.

Track 4 Anata No Oto: More Megumi Nakajima.  Hooraaaaaaaaaay!  Again I can say she was a good pick for Ranka because her voice really does that have sort of entrancing quality that is hard to explain.  This song is a little bit to upbeat at times (even for me), but still manages to be one of the better songs on this OST. Did I mention Nakajima’s singing voice.  I honestly think it’s that it’s not high pitched and squeaky that does it most for me, but she’s also got incredible vocal control as well.  I mean I’m no music teacher so that’s just my opinion.  Anyway…… 9/10.

Track 5 Ao No Ether: It’s Meg again putting in a slower song.  Wow, I get the sense that Kanno is afraid to go it alone and with her recent musical effort I can’t say I really blame her.  Once again it’s Nakajima’s soothing vocals that carry the song.  We’re talking lullabye level here.  Is this a single tear I feel? 9.5/10.

Track 6 Inu Mimi Ranka: Your standard strange happenings song.  Again a very minimalist effort from Yoko Kanno, but it actually turns out pretty decent.  There’s song good piano and string portions in this song, but overall it’s nothing really memorable in any significant way. 6/10.

Track 7 Northern Cross: Not liking the distorto guitar in the beginning at all and May N’s vocals are a little too waily again.  It eventually gets more poppish (which in this case is actually a good thing), but again I can’t help but think of an Aya Hirano song when I hear these.  May N’ has a tendency to oversing just like her.  Anyway, the song isn’t killing anybody and it’s last bit is actually pretty rocking, but it’s not something I would ever want to listen to on repeat. 7/10.

Track 8 Triangler (Fight On Stage): Stop recycling music Ms. Kanno.  Show some effort….seriously.  You’ve only got 20 tracks for this OST, why can’t you make them count? 0/10.

Track 9 Protoculture: Were it not for the piano I would swear this track was from a Metroid game or something.  While this sort of music works well in creating atmosphere in that video game series however, here, for Macross, it’s honestly just an assortment of random noises thrown in with a piano in the foreground.  Kanno isn’t even phoning it in anymore, she’s just mashing random buttons on her synthesizer and passing it off as music. 2/10.

Track 10 Shinkuu No Diamond Crevasse: ……Over a 100,000 copies ladies and gentleman.  The more recycled the idea, the better it sells in Japan it seems. 0/10.

Track 11 Tsuioku Trumpet: Some decent trumpet music.  Not bad, not great, mostly just decent.  It could have been on any one of her soundtracks though. 6/10.

Track 12 Nyan Nyan Service Medley: A duet with May N’ and Megumi Nakajima.  Again I can’t help but feel that May N’ oversings her parts and Megumi Nakajima gets it just right.  I can’t say I really care for the song much, but I recognize the effort from both singers, especially in how they lead into each part of the medley flawlessly.  This CD needs all the effort (cause I damn well know somebody isn’t bothering) it can get so I’m going to give it some extra points for that.  Still on the other hand it consists mostly of songs we’ve heard before all mixed in.  Sigh….Megumi Nakajima honestly deserves better as does May N’ really.  I’m going to give it a 7.5/10 for them. 7.5/10.

Track 13 Transformation: A pretty instense sounding song actually.  I feel slightly invigorated by it, which I think this is the first time such a thing has happened for a non-vocal track on this CD.  I’m not sure it really gives the feeling off a transformation, but whatever, I’m big on the sudden switch to an orchestra so I’ll be giving it some points at the very least. 6.5/10.

Track 14 Ai Oboeteimasuka ~Bless The Little Queen: Ugh….I love Nakajima, but again we’ve heard this song before, and it’s not even from this show originally. I’m giving it points though because Nakajima really puts her heart into this one and because despite it being lifted from the movie of the same name it’s still a damn good song. 6/10.

Track 15 Battle Frontier: Hey a new song again.  It’s actually not a bad listen either with Yoko Kanno going back to the orchestra again.  It kind of tapers off a bit around the middle, but then you get a bit of a tone change as well.  I’m not sure it really conjures up images of the Battle Frontier when I listen to it other than with the very last part, but again I’ll take what I can get from this OST and when a songs okay a songs okay. 7/10.

Track 16 High School Life: That old standby Yoko Kanno style tribal beat that I really don’t care for at all.  I honestly just find this song annoying.  Again it sounds like she sat at a synthesizer for a few minutes, combined some sounds and tried to pass it off as music.  Lots of clapping sounds, what sounds like an accordion just sort of thrown in there and somebody casually strumming on a banjo.  Non of it really mixes all that well though. 3/10.

Track 17 Is This Love: You know, if this were like the save music for some video game I might say it worked.  Again you might as well just look at the above part about synthesizers and randomly thrown together sounds.  Beck gets away with it because he has personality and at least tries to be experimental to some degree.  Yoko Kanno just does it because she needs to meet a quota.  How this is supposed to invoke the question of the confusion one can have when they are in love but don’t know it I’m not sure.  I doubt Yoko Kanno cares though so why should I. 3/10.

Track 18 Prologue F: Now this I like.  It starts off as a softer melodic song with none of those random noises and then builds power as cymbals come crashing in.  I’d almost call it heroic sounding in a sense and it’s also easily be the best non-vocal song on the whole soundtrack if not for the next one in my opinion. Again Yoko Kanno works fine when she’s conducting an orchestra, but somebody has got to keep her away from that synthesizer.  Let Motoi Sakuraba or somebody similar handle your OST if your going to include synthesizer music….somebody who knows how to use one. 9/10.

Track 19 Shadow of Michael: An appropriately sad song.  I can’t really think of anything that doesn’t work for me her and for once I can say both the title and the sound of the song are wholly appropriate.  No complaints. Again Kanno uses her orchestra well…if only she’d use it more. 10/10.

Track 20 Test Flight Delight: Well this one kind of makes me want to do a bit of a jig almost.  It has an ever so slight celtic feel at times, but unlike what usually happens with Yoko Kanno, she avoids letting said feel dominate the song this time, thus making it sound like all of her other music.  Anyway, again, the title sort of fits with the music, and I do get that sense of flight that I got with her older Macross music like Dogfight.  It’ll never beat Dogfight, I don’t think there’s much that really can, but it works well here. 9/10.

Well as some can probably tell I’m more than a little irked at how Yoko Kanno is basically recycling her old music, and even music from the first Macross Frontier OST and calling it a new one.  I find this to be an extremely poor effort on her part, though I know Japan and most people won’t care (100,000 copies in one week) because this OST has the name Yoko Kanno attached to it and all the prestige that’s apparently supposed to come with it.  I do though, and I think if any credit needs to be given to this OST then it really belongs to Megumi Nakajima and May N’.  Without them it’s honestly garbage bin material to me, and I can’t help but feel that if this OST didn’t have the name Yoko Kanno attached to it that nobody would even care about it in the slighest.  Actually I don’t just feel it, I know it.  Honestly if this is going to be the future of Yoko Kanno (and I don’t really blame her entirely.  She just does what any good entertainer should be expected to do, give the public what it wants.  So since they’ll love her and her OSTs regardless of how mediocore they actually are then she might as well just give them that medicore music that they apparently desire) then I couldn’t care if she retires now so I can keep the memory of her earlier musical efforts which really were top class.  Go out on top I say….or perhaps it’s already too late for that.

As for Megumi Nakajima, her career’s just beginning and I forsee great things from her if she’s allowed to pursue what she’s good at.  I sincerely hope that she doesn’t get roped into a continuous pairing with Yoko Kanno like Maaya Sakamoto (poor Sakamoto, she also deserves better than what she got with Triangler) otherwise I feel she’ll never be able to fully blossom as a singer and will always come second to this individual who at this point is more ideal then she is talent.  Nakajima needs something new now, something fresh, something that gets her top billing.  I don’t know what that will be, but I look forward to it.  More then I can say for whatever Yoko Kanno has in mind for her next rehash of a soundtrack.

May N’, I hear she’s going to Singapore and I must say I’m slightly jealous….well sort of.  While I am a little harsh on her for what I see as oversinging, I cannot deny that her voice has some seriously awesome power behind it, and she puts her heart into the music. If I could get free tickets to one of her concerts I’d probably go, but I wouldn’t pay for them like I would for Nakajima if she came to Canada (crosses fingers). Well anyway, hopefully the success of this OST if it’s going to do anything good, gets her more work as well, and again I hope it’s not under Yoko Kanno so that she’ll be able to pursue her own style and not have to come second.

Macross Frontier OST 1 Overall Rating: Six Out Of Ten

Now to await the mob of angry Yoko Kanno fanboys…….sigh…..


10 Responses to “Macross Frontier OST 2 “Nyan Tora” Review”

  1. 1 zzeroparticle October 14, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Interestingly enough, my review of Nyan Tora is looking to be around the same ballpark (though to be honest, my version of a 6 may very well be different from your version), but I was nowhere as impressed with this effort as much as I had been with the first album. The instrumentals aren’t quite as sweeping and the vocal stuff is more on the bland side, so while I’m not disappointed, I’ll just relegate this album to the “forgettable” pile.

  2. 2 The Sojourner October 15, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Yoko fanboys are going to curse that Nakajima will never have a concert in Canada.

    Personally I think that Nyan Tora’s appeal lies in the songs: (1) Anato no Oto, (2) Ao No Ether and (3) Yousei (listed in descending preference). And a nod of approval goes towards Prologue F, it is successful in expressing a romantic feel.

  3. 3 FlareKnight October 17, 2008 at 2:10 am

    I agree that the vocals from Megumi Nakajima and May N really were the best things about this. Were some good individual pieces of instrumental in here, but definitely the songs were key. Like with some albums some stuff I liked and other stuff I’ll easily forget about.

  4. 4 Keiichi October 20, 2008 at 3:17 am

    You actually tricked me in the beginning, and as soon as I saw “10/10” I went “Whoa!! What!?” and scrolled down looking if you actually thought that it deserved that. Almost gave me a heart attack. I agree that the recycling and synthesizing really bring the album down as an individual work of music, but considering Aimo is the main theme of Macross F we would have to expect it being recycled, but even then I think you were generous with your scoring. Although I have to admit, Diamond Crevasse at Michael’s death was appropriate, and I prefer this version over the original. *fanboy mode* OMG SO FREAKING JEALOUS!! I WISH IT DIDN’T COST LIKE $2500 TO FLY TO SINGAPORE FROM CALIFORNIA!! T_T. *prays that May’N comes to Anime Expo*

  5. 5 berantle October 22, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Your track numbers are all wrong. A quick list of the first few songs on the disc follows:

    1. Prologue F
    2. Northern Cross
    3. Triangler (fight on stage)
    4. High School Life

  6. 6 Haesslich December 3, 2008 at 12:58 am

    OST 3’s out… and the Diamond Crevasse 50/50’s very disappointing – too fast and cheerful. The Maaya Sakamoto version of Aimo’s overproduced as well, depending too much on echo and reprocessing, which takes away the beauty of her voice. Hell, even the Sheryl Nome version of Aimo suffers much from this. But given you didn’t like the vocal pop stuff as much as the orchestral, this should be no surprise to you. 😀

    Most of the rest is basically from OST 1 or OST 2 (What bout my Star, etc) save the Infinity duet version from episode 7. Oh, and the Brera version of Aimo. It’s nice, if you like the vocal stuff, but half of it’s not new…. which is all the more disappointing. Especially the way the Maaya Sakamoto Aimo lost the opportunity for a simple, pure vocal acapella that would’ve been most fitting, IMO.

  7. 7 Haesslich December 3, 2008 at 1:00 am

    And should I note that the Sheryl no Aimo was oversung? It’s not very R&B, yet she tried to do it with that… which was a huge problem for such a simple, heartful song.

  8. 8 Haesslich December 3, 2008 at 1:11 am

    … although I will admit the Nyan Nyan Service Melody version (12:04 this time) is interesting, especially when one of them sings “What bout my Star” (or at least the refrain) while the other goes into “Lion”. They put more effort into this one, but it’s not QUITE coherent as a vocal piece, IMO. Better than the editing on the other one, though.

  9. 9 Kaioshin Sama December 3, 2008 at 7:04 am

    @Haesslich: Whoa! Been a while since you’ve stopped by. Do I really have to go out and listen to another one of these OST’s now? 😦 I worry that the words “cash in” might show up at least 30 times if I were to do a review so I’m half tempted to spare everybody the probable tirade. The thing is a lot of the OST 2 stuff is from OST 1 so it looks like we’ve officially entered Evangelion style media repackaging territory with this one. The only thing left to do now is to just slap a “Limited Edition” label on all of them in a year or so and rerelease the whole damn thing as a collection. Not to mention any live versions. Wow, the Macross Frontier music label is turning into a franchise of it’s own.

    Whatever the case that’s at least 100,000 more in terms of sales for Victor Entertainment with this one. If I were them I’d be milking this too.

  10. 10 Haesslich December 3, 2008 at 7:28 am

    I’m just going to suggest listening to the tracks which have changed. The rough transitions in “Nyan Nyan” have been fixed to some degree… but even on the Yoko Kanno fansites there’s disappointment being expressed as to what happened to the much-anticipated Sakamoto version of Aimo. Everyone was expecting “Voices” with Sakamoto singing it… and got something that had as much postproduction as “Information High” but without the same impact. A lot of the OST 3 was like that, really – especially the extra-peppy version of Diamond Crevasse (50/50), which was nothing like the “in the park” version that was at least somewhat more heartfelt. And the oversung Aimo from May’N… it is NOT an R&B song, no matter how hard she tries to make it one.

    But let me suggest you check out the review at – you’ll probably be frightened by how much it agrees with some of your reviews. It’s why I dropped by for this one, especially since I’m all ranted-out with Gundam 00 S2.

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