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Sailormoon SuperS
Orgel Fantasia

Sailormoon anyone?
Nippon Columbia
COCC-12882

Original Composition:
Various
Arrangement:
Hiroshi Saitou, Akiko Kosaka, Hanae Node

1. Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend)
2. Heart Moving
3. Otome no Porishii (A Maiden's Policy)
4. Koibito ni Narenai kedo (We Can't Be Sweethearts, but...)
5. Star Light ni Kisu Shite (Kiss Me in the Star Light)
6. Onaji Namida o Wakeatte (Share in My Tears)

7. Ai no Senshi (Soldier of Love)
8. Purinsesu Muun (Princess Moon)
9. I Am Seeraamuun (I Am Sailormoon)
10. Takushiido Miraaju (Tuxedo Mirage)
11. La Soldier
12. Watashitachi ni Naritakute (We Want to Be Together/Ourselves)
13. Epilogue: Moonlight Densetsu

 

12 Tracks 44:39


Sailormoon SuperS Orgel Fantasia is the type of work that incites what I call Raising Arizona reactions, la that cult Coen borthers movie that, from my personal experience, unilaterally inspires either charm and fondness or downright disenchantment and loathing in its viewers, with absolutely no opinions in-between the two extremes. Whether or not you'll take to this CD depends greatly (almost entirely, in fact) on your personal musical tastes, and I will preface my review with a warning to the effect that, while I personally liked it, you might well be disappointed.

Basically, Orgel Fantasia consists of Japanese Sailor Moon vocal songs arranged as...music box tunes. Really; the CD has taken the songs' basic melodies and arranged them (with, in some cases, a few embellishments) on an instrument called (according to Beej's Compleat Sailor Moon CD List) the celeste to produce the music-box effect. It's not kiddie stuff; the celeste melodies are well-composed and surprisingly intricate, and it's a wonder how well this conceit comes off.

Actually, the pieces that conform most to the "traditional" music-box style - the arrangements like those of "Koibito wa Narenai kedo" and "Onaji Namida o Wakeatte" - are the CD's least inspiring ("Koibito" does come off as sweet, but little else). Ironically, it's the fast-paced fight songs that come off best in this compilation; the strength and solid progression of the melody in the "La Soldier" rendition make it Orgel Fantasia's most assured piece, and "Ai no Senshi", perhaps the last Sailor Moon song you'd think of to arrange on the gentle, dreamy celeste, takes a comparatively minimalist approach to its composition to retain its air of tenseness.

Before you ask, yes, the tune without which no Sailormoon CD would be complete, "Moonlight Densetsu", is indeed present - and, in celeste, pleasant, albeit by-the-book to the point of being pedestrian, and "Star Light ni Kiss Shite" (which I have not heard myself but am told is quite a good song) is merely repetitive and unmelodic. "Otome no Policy" is inoffensive, but the vocal song did its breezy style better justice, and there really wasn't any reason to make the music-box version. I'll rush to point out, though, that the number of songs whose arrangements are redundant or underwhelming are outnumbered and outweighed by those which do justice to (or spin a refreshing new angle on) the original; the upbeat, dynamic "I Am Sailormoon", at once beautiful, intricate, and boppy good fun - one of my favorites on the CD, in fact - and "Watashitachi ni Naritakute" is pleasantly punctuated and piquant, as opposed to its relaxed, swaying, almost soporific (not in a bad way) vocal version (the celeste rendition becomes more child-like and carousel calliope-like in the trade-off, with some pretty cascading, dream-like bridges. Perhaps inappropriate to the spirit of the original's lyrics, but then, we haven't any lyrics to take into consideration on this CD).

Some arrangements even actually improve on their original songs, like "Heart Moving", which metamorphs from what I thought was an obnoxious and mediocre song in the anime into a rather poignant and charming celeste piece. "Tuxedo Mirage"'s straightforward, simplistic melody, which barely carried a vocal song before, turns out to be better suited to a simpler instrumentation, and the unremarkable first-season song "Princess Moon" has been taken from mundane to maudlin - a good, appropriate fairy-tale romance maudlin - and the celeste-only streamlining trims out the original's strange qualities. Orgel Fantasia takes a concept that seems simplistic and produces work that is more often than not anything but; the limitations of the single-instrument format force the arrangers to concentrate on pure composition and actually thus foster creativity.

But this all is based, of course, on the assumption that you'd enjoy Orgel Fantasia's format in the first place - which, as I stated previously, you might not. Really, the best advice that I can give you in this review would be to say that if you're considering this as a possible purchase, the best thing you can do is to go down to Beej's, download the mp3 clip of a vocal song you already like, and see how the celeste rendition grabs you. As for myself, I can tell you that my copy gets quite a workout in my CD-rom drive, as I find it pleasant company while working on the computer as well as lovely for stand-alone listening.



Reviewed by Rebecca Capowski
(originally published on her site)

Notes:
1. Familiarity with the tracks' source songs is not necessary in order to enjoy the tunes, but it is desirable and does enhance one's "listening experience", to use nerd-speak. A great deal of the songs come from the R series, so having listened to a copy of Mirai e Mukatte in advance helps greatly in comparing the arrangements to the originals.
2. I refuse to get involved in the sticky "Sailor Moon"/"Sailormoon" debate - the senshi's name, when printed in English letters on Japanese cards, books, and merchandise, is always "Sailormoon", but "Sailor Moon" is more intuitive and common-sensical. Myself, when I'm talking about the anime, I refer to "Sailor Moon", but the CD is entitled Sailormoon, and since I'm reviewing the CD...
3. I suppose that the litmus test as to whether or not you'd like Orgel Fantasia boils down to how likely you'd be to buy something described as "lovely".


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