White Album Character Song 2 / Ogata Rina – Review

Album Title: White Album Character Song 1 / Ogata Rina
Anime Title: White Album
Artist: Nana Mizuki; Kazuhide Nakagami; Junya Matsuoka;
Hitoshi Fujima (Elements Garden)
Catalog Number: KICM-3189
Release Type: Character CD
Release Date: April 08, 2009

Track Title Artist Time
1. SOUND OF DESTINY Nana Mizuki; Kazuhide Nakagami;
Junya Matsuoka
4:57
2. Glass Flower / Garasu no Hana Nana Mizuki; Hitoshi Fujima 4:24
3. SOUND OF DESTINY off Vocals Kazuhide Nakagami; Junya Matsuoka 4:57
4. Glass Flower / Garasu no Hana off Vocals Hitoshi Fujima 4:24

Review: The overwhelming consensus from the comments received for last week’s review of Yuki Morikawa’s Character CD indicated that while there was some amount of enthusiasm for Aya Hirano’s performance as Yuki, most people were eagerly awaiting my take on this album for one reason and one reason only: Nana Mizuki. And who could blame them given 1) Nana Mizuki’s excellent reputation as a voice actress and singer and 2) the insert song that she sang in episode 3 of White Album which gave us a taste of what was to come. Even though the dialogue during that episode’s segment made it difficult to wholly concentrate on Mizuki’s singing, one could still tell that the song would be astoundingly beautiful.

In the past, I and a few others have commented on how Nana Mizuki tends to do well within a certain dynamic range which can result in some of her music sounding generic across the board, making it difficult to differentiate one song from the next. Here, we find that only “SOUND OF DESTINY” fits that case because once you listen to “Glass Flower,” you’ll find that Nana Mizuki becomes a lot more expressive and her delivery really shines in a way that makes the song nothing short of brilliant.

SOUND OF DESTINY:

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“SOUND OF DESTINY” was originally written for the White Album game and if you listen to the original version found on the game’s soundtrack, you’ll find that the Jpop feel that was present in the original is preserved in this album’s version. Although I’m not all too keen on the way the music sounds, when you throw in Nana Mizuki’s voice on top of the pop harmony, the song improves upon the original by leaps and bounds. The music opens up with a steady rhythm with a synth part to provide you with a standard pop backdrop. As I mentioned, it’s Nana Mizuki’s performance that makes this piece tolerable by making it come to life through the power of her delivery. Nevertheless, she can only do so much to enhance the generic pop and though this song doesn’t have any major flaws, it’ll end up being forgotten because there isn’t much about this track that particularly stands out aside from Mizuki’s competent performance.

Glass Flower:

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But where “SOUND OF DESTINY” does a passable job, “Glass Flower” just blows you out of the water. While I’d initially commented on lelangir’s blog that given Nana Mizuki’s enormous body of work, one can’t declare this song to be the best she’s ever done, after listening to it for a fair number of times, I’d have to conclude that it’s going to be pretty high up there. You know that when a song gets me to melt in my seat, that it’s a very good sign and “Glass Flower” has succeeded in doing just that.

“Glass Flower’s” opening is just soothing and crystal clear and I love the way Nana Mizuki integrates herself into the song. Here, her expressiveness can’t be emphasized enough since her delivery is that wonderful, especially when you get to the chorus section around 0:56. At that point, you can feel the emotion in her voice as she ponders over whether her feelings are requited while acknowledging that her tough exterior hides a fragile, glasslike interior and that she’s too afraid of the prospect of rejection to find out how her partner feels. The presentation is already stunningly beautiful, but the song continues to shine as it adds a saxophone part starting around 2:37 that plays all the way to the end. Its inclusion complements the atmosphere of the piece through and through and once the song finished, the only feeling I got was one of awe since it was magnificently executed.

“SOUND OF DESTINY” might be the competent piece that doesn’t stand out all too much, but it does whet our appetite for “Glass Flower” which effectively serves as the main course and the dessert all rolled into one. “Glass Flower’s” melody and Mizuki’s impeccable performance hits all of the right spots and through that single performance, Mizuki once again affirms why her reputation is as deserving as it is. “SOUND OF DESTINY” may be a hit or miss, but if “Glass Flower” doesn’t melt your heart away with Mizuki’s expressiveness, you may want to check and make sure you haven’t killed off your emotions or something.

Rating: Very Good

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

7 thoughts on “White Album Character Song 2 / Ogata Rina – Review

  • April 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm
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    I’m not sure if they are going for that 80s motif, but it’s a bit half-half. Appropriate I guess, since the anime is the same way.

    Good stuff nonetheless.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2009 at 5:50 am
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    I retract my previous fanboying – this song is awesome, but obviously not her best (probably not my favorite anymore…I’m currently hooked on Replay Machine).

    Also, I have this really strange feeling that the CD version is different than the anime version. I know that’s highly unlikely, but there’s this really subtle difference in the way she pronounces her vowels during kikitai kikenaino [fast forward a bit] iitai ienai yo. I could point out specific measure numbers but I’m too lazy – I think you get the points I’m talking about, they’re climactic.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2009 at 10:10 am
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    @omo
    I assume you’re talking about the 80s vibe that you get our of some of these songs and I thought that Aya Hirano/Yuki’s CD had more of that vibe since track 2 in particular was the sort of stuff I’ve heard out of Asian events (like weddings) when I attended them in the 80s. With this album, that’s harder to immediately recognize though I will admit to not being completely in touch with 80’s music, so I’ll trust your ear more than mine here.

    @lelangir
    *Doh* Why must you be so fickle 😀

    But I do agree that her performance on this album definitely has a more emphatic climax during those segments. Wonder if that might be because of the quality of the sound or whatnot during the episode or dialogue distractions while here, all of our attention is focused on Mizuki’s performance.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2009 at 3:23 am
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    I’ve already listened to Sound of Destiny multiples times and find it pretty decent and fun. It’s not her best by any means but it’s nice. But then, I listen to Glass Flower here and I have to agree with you. Glass Flower beats Sound of Destiny. Maybe it’s because I prefer a lot of other genres over pop but meh. Now, I need to find a way to get a hold of that song. I love Nana Mizuki and I believe that her voice is incredible, enough to make Sound of Destiny sound pretty cool despite how generic it is.

    Awesome review. Thanks for taking your time to write this! ^__^ I appreciate it~

    Reply
  • April 24, 2009 at 2:29 am
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    @Minnie
    Yeah, Nana Mizuki’s ability to sing definitely outstrips Aya Hirano’s when compared side by side and she definitely makes Sound of Destiny far better through her vocal talents. Still, it’s only through Mizuki that the song is even good because the original version was pretty awful.

    Reply
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  • February 8, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    Do you know who did the album art for the character songs?

    Reply

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