01 - Legend of the Holy Maiden of Light
02 - Let's Sparkle
03 - Grand Paprika
04 - Great Wilder
05 - Solitaire
06 - Magical Holic
07 - Old Sweet Melody
08 - This is Love?
09 - Fears for Tears
10 - Crazy Pianist
11 - Creamy Dreamer
12 - Fathima
13 - A Heart Full of Thoughts
14 - Miracle Attack
15 - God Bless Prier!
16 - A Miracle Will Happen
Now, this is a real arrange album. Tenpei Sato finally took a different route than he did with the Disgaea Arrange soundtrack, and he did a great job. The main problem with the Disgaea Arrange soundtrack was that it didn't sound any different from the original. The La Pucelle Arrange soundtrack sounds similar to the original album, but has some impressive arrangements within.
The album gets off to a fantastic start with "Legend of the Holy Maiden of Light," which is probably the best vocal arrangement I've ever heard. The vocalists on this track did an incredible job of creating the "holy" feel that the song is supposed to have. I can't say enough good things about this track. The other vocals, "This is Love, Don't You Think?" and "A Miracle Will Happen" are also great arrangements, which not only sound superior to their originals, but still retain the things that made them great in the first place. If you're a fan of game vocals, you'll be hard pressed to find a higher level of arrangement.
The instrumental arrangements shine, too, starting off with "Let's Sparkle," which is a beautiful arrangement with a lively piano, a strange but beautiful flute, and a great orchestra. Granted, these instruments are synths, but some of them are quite questionable. My favorite arrangement, "Solitaire," is the highlight of the entire album. This is one of those rare songs that you come across every once in a while that just moves you in ways you can't explain. Its gentle but effective chords lay the foundation for a great instrumentation: pan flutes, piano, choir, acoustic guitar, and even pipes, which fit together extremely well. Another good arrangement, "Fathima" has the strangest instruments you'll ever hear, but the melody is so catchy (even though the song is pretty slow), that this'll probably be the song that you'll have in the back of your head when you walk away, even if you don't remember what it's called. On the other hand, "Creamy Dreamer" is another creamy arrangement that stays true to the original but doesn't quite live up to it because the percussion arrangement gives the song a strange feel compared to its original. The percussion isn't very loud, but it's too heavy in some parts of the song. Still, it's a great arrangement. And lastly, "Fears for Tears" is a decent arrangement compared to the original, but it drags.
I did have a major problem three of the arrangements though. "Crazy Pianist," "Magical Holic," and "God Bless Prier!" all have two things in common---they're battle themes, and I don't like the arrangements. This is ironic, because I really enjoyed these songs on the original album. These arrangements aren’t bad, but I think they could have been done much better.
"God Bless Prier!" gets my award for the worst battle arrangement of all time. Seriously, you have to listen to this song to appreciate how bad it is. First off, Tenpei Sato slowed down the tempo to a snail's pace (literally), and he didn't do anything with the arrangement, except toward the end. So basically, he slowed down the song and called it an ‘arrangement.’ I respect Tenpei Sato's arranging abilities, but he really screwed up this song; it would have made sense to speed it up rather than slow it down. Maybe Mr. Sato was running out of time or ideas when he wrote this piece, or maybe he just went temporarily insane. My guess is that we'll probably never know.
Another problem that the album has is that the tracks have rather strange endings. Every track has an extravagant ending that lasts way too long and sounds out of place. The arrangements themselves are superb, but their endings just draw too much attention to themselves.
Also, I was surprised to see no arrangement for "Martyr's March." If there's one La Pucelle song that needed an arrangement, it was this one. I'm not complaining, though, because the album is still great. And considering how bad he butchered the rest of the battle themes, maybe it was a good thing that he didn't try this one. But to say the least, it was still a shock to see "Martyr's March" missing.
Heck, I was convinced that this album wouldn't be any good, and from the start, I was proven wrong! I heartily recommend this one, as it would make a great companion to the La Pucelle: Tactics Original Soundtrack.
Reviewed by: Mike Wilson