Code Geass R2 OST 2 Review

Hmmmm….Kind Of Looks Like The Manga Artwork….

So yeah, as promised, when something important came up in relation to Code Geass I would come back to the table to talk about it and while I know this OST was released quite a while ago, I somehow never got around to taking a look at it.  As a priority Code Geass has been kind of low for me recently, hell blogging as a priority has kind of been quite low for me recently due to work and house cleaning getting in the way.  Well, what better way to get back into the groove this week then the music related topic I had also promised earlier, and with Geass to boot.  Too bad for me this OST is actually a beast (30 tracks)….man this is going to take some time, but it’ll be worth it I hope I’m sure

Track 1 Boku wa, Tori ni Naru: I’m starting to wonder if there’s actually no such thing as a bad Hitomi song.  This is of course is the song that played during Rolo’s death scene, only the full version.  You get the soft vocals you’ve probably come to expect from a Hitomi insert from this series and the music box like accompaniment.  What gets me about this song is that the majority of it is actually in English, which is kind of a rarity in Japan, though I suppose not for featured song in a Sunrise series.  Eventually the song gives way to an orchestra and starts to gain power with Hitomi going into deeper more forceful vocals, kind of like Eternal Wind from Gundam F91.  All I can add is that this is how you start off an OST and to keep that in mind for when we eventually reach song 30.  10/10

Track 2 Boy From Britannia:  The original pre-title sequence song and one of Lelouch’s earlier themes.  It’s essentially a foreshadowing song, hinting at the intrigue yet to come in the series.  What it’s doing on this CD I’m not sure, but I still like it.  7.5/10

Track 3 Aura:  One of the prelude to battle songs featured in the series that features a lot of brass, especially trumpets if my ear detects the sound right.  You’ll know this song instantly if you watched the series because it’s played almostly constantly throughout.  Any situation, you pretty much have a 1 in 3 chance of hearing Aura as the background for it.  6.5/10

Track 4 Overwriting:  Another one of those foreboding songs that very well could have been one of Charles the mes.  Take Aura’s instruments and make it sound like shit is going to hit the fan instead of like one of Lelouch’s plans is going to come through and you kind of have overwriting.  6.5/10

Track 5 The Ruins As They Were:  Shirley’s death song.  Lots of strings with a sort of lamenting feel to the whole arrangement.  It’s the kind of song meant to make you feel that something is amiss, and it’s pretty fitting for the scene in question, which totally didn’t have to happen.  I kind of get a lump in my throat when listening to this one as it’s just kind of depressing sounding even without the proper context. 9/10

Track 6 Eleven: Pretty much the theme for Japan in the series.  Anything focusing on Japanese affairs can often be found using this song.  We have here the first song on the OST that makes use of a choir though you kind of have to listen for it.  7.5/10

Track 7 No Sentences: Boy some of these song titles are really strange eh?  The first part of this song kind of reminds me of the prelude to the Zeta Gundam BGM “Fleet Battle” a little bit.  It basically fills the same role as Aura in that it’s one of your basic setup songs for a scene in the series.  Though I can’t shake this feeling that some parts of the track sound a little too much like a warm up section for the orchestra.  6/10

Track 8 Dark Activity:  This one mighth have had to do with the Geass Cult.  It almost sounds like a Tribal Beat with the drums in the background before it heads into a strings piece followed up by the brass.  This is one of those songs that makes full use of all the sections of the orchestra in less than 2 minutes and if that’s to be it’s primary strength then so be it.  7.5/10

Track 9 Guren:  A suspense theme that makes use of a synthesizer instead of the orchestra, or at least moreso in the end.  That doesn’t mean I think less of it in this case, but just that it sounds a little bit more at home in a video game.  Still it’s actually pretty catchy and the first track on the OST that really gives one anything they can groove to.  If that’s your sort of thing of course.  7.5/10

Track 10 What’s Justice:  One of the Black Knights battle theme’s in the series I believe that also factors in parts from Boy From Britannia, a cool violin portion, AND a choir.  All of these ingredients mean that it has a bit of an epic feel to it (again true sense of the word and not internet epic).  Funny that the song lasts 1:57 minutes, which is just about the average length of a Black Knight battle in the latter half of the series, though by that time I.  8.5/10

Track 11 Blue Tiger:  Another suspenseful song that blends a marching beat, solid strings and even a bit of synthesizer and what sounds like a xylophone.  It seems anytime there’s an anime BGM with the word “tiger” in it that it ends up feeling a little like a techno beat.  Overall definitely one of the better tension building themes in the series. 8.5/10

Track 12 Showdown:  Full orchestra this time and I swear this sounds more than a little like a song that you would hear in a Final Fantasy Tactics game.  Another really tense sounding battle theme and yet I can’t remember specifically where it was used.  It’s the kind of song Yoko Kanno used to use as her Macross dogfight music before she moved onto pop and it’s good to see that at least somebody is keeping the faith alive when it comes to great mecha battle themes.  9.5/10

Track 13 Le Repos De Guerrier: If the title of this song makes you think of Folk Music of the kind you’d here in all of those classic Western movies (or perhaps the 3rd Class dancing scene in Titanic) then you probably wouldn’t be far off.  The fiddle absolutely dominates this song with some help from the trumpet and again I can’t help but describe it as like the kind of music that Yoko Kanno used to do.  It’s the kind of song you might have heard in Turn A Gundam.  One of my favourites on the OST. 10/10

Track 14 Sub-Chairman:  Sounds more like happy Christmas music or something you’d hear in a laid back winter themed town in an RPG. Or perhaps a Kirby game.  I have no idea what’s going on with the title, but at the music speaks for itself.  I kind of wish it was longer though.  9/10

Track 15 Forbidden City:  This was I believe the music played at Lelouch’s coronation and carries with it all the majesty and grandeur of the occassion.  It makes you want to be there for the moment.  Hell I wanted to be there for the moment.  As you’d expect it makes use of an orchestra and features heavily on the brass.  The part between 0:09-0:17 gives me goosebumps by the way.  10/10

Track 16 Last Evening:  Ballroom dancing music.  If this played anywhere I believe it was at the wedding ceremony for Tianzi and Oddyseus during the China Arc.  You know, the arc that some people still insist was unnecessary despite the fact that without it there is no logical path to the formation of the U.N and thus no path to any of the events that came about as a result of the U.N’s attack on the Tokyo Settlement of which there were many.  I don’t know but the song has a certain magic quality to it that I find hard to describe.  I’ll share a secret, I really like this kind of music.  It has a certain classiness to it and I mean….how often do you hear this sort of thing in an anime any more.  10/10

Track 17 Cheese:  It sounds like a children’s song.  I don’t really have anything else other than to say about it.  Oh it gets a little jazzy later on in the track. 5.5/10

Track 18 True Feelings:  A bit of a slow song with a melancholic feel.  As if somebody is lamenting something not meant to be.  It also has Hitomi vocals (more like humming) which adds to the ambience of the whole track.  You ever notice she kind of specializes in songs that make you feel like you are going to cry?  She’s got a success rate with me that is totally abnormal since it’s  pretty much impossible to trick me into crying.  You know all those Clannad episodes that everyone says are really sad and made them bawl?  Yeah nothing from me.  But wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet and I’ll try to explain why that is later.  9/10

Track 19 ….And More:  More intrigue and mystery inducing music.  It’s one of those bridge songs they use to bring you from a lighter scene into a more serious one.  That’s about all I have to say about it.  6/10

Track 20 Eternal Seperation:   This is the really brass heavy song that plays during the scene when Freya is exploding and everyone is giving their own little reaction to the destruction.  You know the one that some people still insist they saw Guilford’s entire Vincent get disintegrated from toe to head in instead of just the legs and where Nunally was also apparently disintegrated despite the fact neither event actually took place?  Pretty intense episode.  Pretty instense song.  9/10

Track 21 Desperation: Yet another ominous sounding theme.  Considering all of the shady stuff that goes down in this series I guess they really felt they needed a lot of these.  To be honest though it’s getting a bit hard to tell them apart.  I guess no OST collection is entirely free from some overlap in it’s music. 6/10

Track 22 Reversed Thinking:  If I’m not mistaken this song was played in the World of C and whether deliberately or not it actually sounds like the track is being played backwards at certain parts or perhaps even through the whole song.  Whatever it’s doing it makes it probably the strongest of all the intrigue/mystery inducing tracks on the whole OST in my opinion.  I’m half tempted to actually check this track for any sort of backmasking.  If only I still had that program…. 9.5/10

Track 23 Theory Outside: Sounds like a song from an old James Bond movie to be honest.  Anyway it’s another one of those ominous sounding themes.  Seriously every time I hear one of these tracks from this OST it sounds like it’s from a scene in a Bond movie from whenever he was sneaking around and then somebody would get chopped in the back of the head.  Anyway, overall I’d say it’s better than desperation and ….”And More”.  7/10

Track 24 Memory Mueseum:  Another Hitomi song that I can’t place.  You’d think it would be one of the songs playing when C.C is in the World of C, but this isn’t the song.  It has this twinkling sort of sound that is both magical sounding and kind of creepy at the same time as well as what sounds like a flute going up and down the scale in the background.  By the way if anyone is able to tell me what Hitomi is supposed to be singing if anything then feel free to fill me in.  I get the sense that most of her songs are supposed to be in English but I can’t understand a word she’s saying.  As always another Hitomi song that seems designed to pull one right in.  9/10

Track 25 Nunally:  I distinctly remember this song not playing during any scene with Nunally, but it certainly seems like it would fit her.  Again it’s Hitomi who contributed this track and again it makes me tear up.  Hitomi seems to have discovered some type of super note or something, which somehow has that effect on me.  It’s got what you’ve come to expect, soft vocals, a nice arrangement of piano and some woodwinds to make it the perfect package for a song that implies one thing.  Innocence.  10/10

Track 26 Birthplace: This is odd, a Hitomi song that is merely okay…..which of course is still pretty awesome.  I’d have to assume it’s one of Lelouch’s many pomp and circumstance style songs, but it carries with it that Hitomi trademark aura of intrigue as well.  As if to say “great man, but can’t really be trusted”.  The song actually goes through a pitch change later on and starts to remind me of the type of music you might here in my favourite game of all time who’s godliness is without compare and shall not be question at this time.  8/10

Track 27 Misconduct:  It’s back to Koutaru Nakagawa and his mystery orchestra.  The best word I can come up with to describe this song is “spastic”.  It’s like Nakagawa had a seizure at the conductor’s stand and ended up with this song.  It’s good stuff though and features the return of the choir from earlier in the OST.  It starts strong, finishes strong and uses a full orchestra as well.  Can’t ask for much more and I don’t really.  9/10

Track 28 Check Mate:  See above.  9/10

Track 29 After The War:  A slower song then we’ve heard from Nakagawa on this OST in a while.  You get the sense that this is meant to be played as people are reflecting on all the carnage and destruction they’ve witnessed over the course of the last couple of years.  It’s at once a hopeful, but also makes one take pause and think about just why it’s being played in the first place.  As one would expect from a song called “after the war” it features heavily on the strings and brass portion of the orchestra but witholds the drums so as not to feel to militant and to allow people themselves to embody the moment.  Or at least that’s how I feel it’s supposed to work.  9.5/10

Track 30 Continued Story:  This right here, this is the song.  Barring some incredible upset this is without a doubt my pick for song of the year as will be seen on the second annual ADAIA awards come this December.  Honestly I could sit here for hours typing out why I think this song is so solid and emotional, but it’s really simple actually.  If you’ve seen the scene it’s attached to you’ll know why.  This song is a rarity in that it makes me tear up every time and I’ll now tell you why I think that is the case.  I cannot bring myself to cry for innocent girls going through a “traumatic experience” but I will always cry when a hero dies.  Reason being that when a character has actually accomplished something great and unimaginable that benefits so many in the end and possibly saved his soul from eternal damnation by paying the ultimate price I can’t help but feel sad.  We all mourn our heroes don’t we?  The sight of seeing a noble sacrifice with but one person in Nunally mourning the passing of a man who was truly larger then life being associated with this already strong track from Hitomi will result in this one staying on my active playlist for some time to come.  10/10+ (Plus?! HE CAN’T DO THAT CAN HE!)

Overall Code Geass R2 OST 2 Rating: 8.3/10

When an OST starts strong and finishes strong it’s not hard to see how it can end up being the highest rated OST I’ve gone over on this site.  You know how I said that Megumi Nakajima’s vocals saved the Macross Frontier OST from total mediocrity?  Well with Code Geass R2’s 2nd OST it was Hitomi’s contribution that turned it from good into excellent in my opinon.  Not quite a masterpiece like I consider Senjuu Akira’s V Gundam OST to be, but certainly among the best I’ve heard in the last decade.  If there were any justice in the world then Hitomi would be seeing more work but unfortunately I can’t see her collobarating in anything other then a Sunrise or Bones series in the next little while.  I mean who else but those two groups share her apparent love of blending experimental and orchestral music in an age of glitzy idol-pop and Seiyuu sung themes?  Crossing my fingers that she’ll be tapped for a Gundam 00 insert song or something.  Or is that the sole dominon of TAJA?  Oh well both are good and fairly similar in style.  I’ll stop rambling now as I’m tired.  Time to bring this one to a close.


12 Responses to “Code Geass R2 OST 2 Review”

  1. 1 bpogadl November 12, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Very nice review, though a little too detailed for my taste. 😉 I guess it isn’t really neccessary to rate every song in order to get a decent picture of the OST.

  2. 2 Arabesque November 12, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Hey, I like details they are one of the reasons I read this blog.

    Very nice review. I agree with you, Hitomi is a really talented singer; in fact she was one of the things that made Planetes ending such a joy to watch ”Alone” and ”Sensibility” were such nice songs, too bad they were never used. In my opinion they are a bit better than Continued Story, but they are all great songs (kind of makes you wonder what were they thinking using Ali Project song for the finale -_-;). If I had to pick the best track in this OST, I would say that ”The Ruins As They Were” is my personal favourite, it is such a powerful track and captured the scene of Shirley’s death quite beautifully :(.

  3. 3 Valmanway November 13, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Agreed, especially your rating for Continued Story. My only gripe is the number of brass-heavy tracks. It was as if Nakagawa didn’t have a full orchestra to work with.

    BTW, Kaoshin, you were mentioned in the lastest episode of Gundamn!. It’s a podcast about mecha anime. Give it a listen if you have the chance.

  4. 4 The Sojourner November 13, 2008 at 3:39 am

    While I cannot say Code Geass was a very outstanding story, I have to admit that it has a very decent music arrangement.

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama November 13, 2008 at 4:50 am

    The detailed review method grew out of my disdain for the type of OST review that just says something like “This is Yoko Kanno. Thus it is awesome. Now go and buy it.” I would always ask the question “Why?” or “For what reason is this good or bad”, but couldn’t get an answer. Thus I decided that whenever I would look over an OST I would try to give reasons for why I liked or disliked a particular song or artist and try to point out what it was the artist did that I felt gave a particular song it’s strength or made it hard to listen too.

    @Valmanway: Sorry about your post getting logged as spam. I’ve listened to Gundamn! before, but I never expected to be referenced on it. I’ve always liked how Chris and the gang actually seem comfortable in front of the mic and have a good sense of humour as opposed to a lot of the podcasts you hear where there is a lot of awkward silence as a result of pausing and the commentary and delivery is very dry.

  6. 6 Proudleaf November 15, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Very decent? By industry standards, this is a very strong soundtrack, not a “very decent” one. xD

    Anyways, great review.

  7. 7 kazuma November 27, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Continued Story makes me feel so bad of myself … I should have had more faith in Lelouch`s conscience after R1. Yes I am one of those who thought he actually tried to conquer the world.

  8. 8 aoikun2007 April 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Boku wa, Tori ni Naru is one of my favorite song~

  9. 9 English Dubbed Anime November 12, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Code Geass was legendary. It was one of the best Anime of all time – in my opinion. I have yet to come across an Anime I like as much as CG or CGR2, they were just.. that good.

  10. 10 mousie July 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Bumped into your blog. I like your reviews! Absolutely agree with the review on “Continued Story”. That is one song that stuck in my head after watching Code Geass and I can never forget it. Definitely the best OST so far. I want to get the rest of the OST. =)

  11. 11 Verdie Cayson April 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    An attention-grabbing discussion is price comment. I think that it’s best to write extra on this matter, it won’t be a taboo topic however generally individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  12. 12 Collier September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Fantastic write-up. I had been checking this web site so i’m impressed! Very useful info particularly the final aspect 🙂 I attend to these information lots. I was looking for this specific info for some time. Many thanks and all the best.

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