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Rurouni Kenshin OVA Soundtrack
55:11 minutes
Taku Iwasaki
Stunning work by one of the most remarkable anime composers, Taku Iwasaki.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Rurouni Kenshin OVA Soundtrack
By Ridwan Khan

The Rurouni Kenshin OVA has been hailed as one of the most poignant, well-crafted anime series of this decade. It stands to reason that the OVA's soundtrack would follow in the same vein. As anyone who has enjoyed the heartfelt music of Kenshin can attest, it does so vividly. The OVA has been described as true art, and composer Taku Iwasaki's score is no less.

It may seem odd that the music for a drama about a Japanese swordsman during the Meiji restoration would be orchestral, as opposed to traditional Japanese music. However, since movies and anime are considered "Western" mediums in Japan, they are scored in Western style. Despite the seeming incongruity, the soundtrack fits the film's action like a glove.

Iwasaki is able to capture the OVA's mood precisely. You can feel each sword stroke, each drop of blood, and each tear in the CD's superbly arranged tracks. Pieces like "Shades of Revolution" (the song that plays with the menus for the ADV DVD release of the OVA) and "The Wars of the Last Wolves" mirror the excitement of the series. "The Wars of the Last Wolves" even manages a patriotic fervor. Other tracks, including "Sound of Snow Falling" and "Quiet Life", highlight the pain experienced by the protagonists, Tomoe and Kenshin. As a whole, the music could be described as a controlled chaos as it slips from brooding madness to restrained frenzy. It is the perfect match to Kenshin's inner turmoil. The juxtaposition of sorrow and violence, explored in the soundtrack, exposes the shared qualities of both. At sixteen tracks, the CD contains all of the music from the relatively short OVA.

One might be tempted to compare the Rurouni Kenshin OVA disc to other Japanese composers, especially Nobou Uematsu. However, Iwasaki's score, for better or worse, has a more brooding ambience than the Uematsu's work for Final Fantasy. The Kenshin score radiates a truly tragic beauty, not explored by Uematsu's work. The arrangement itself is an exact copy of what's played during the series. That means the music sounds as good as it did during the series (albeit with better audio quality), but there are no surprises on the disc. The instruments are dead-on and anyone with an ear for music can testify to the musician's skill. At sixteen tracks, the CD is not overly brief; however, it seems to rush by quickly.

Certainly, the Kenshin OVA was not for everyone. As such, the soundtrack will not appeal to everyone. However, fans of the Shakespearean drama of the OVA series will thoroughly enjoy the disc.

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