Guin Saga ED Single – My Road ~ Songs from Guin Saga – Review

Kanon My Road

Album Title: My Road ~ Songs from Guin Saga
Anime Title: Guin Saga
Artist: Kanon; Nobuo Uematsu; Pietro Mascagni
Catalog Number: SICL-218
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: August 26, 2009

Track Title Artist Time
1. Saga〜This is my road Kanon 4:40
2. Marius no Uta Kanon, Nobuo Uematsu 4:52
3. Saga〜This is my road (Orgel Version) Kanon 2:25
4. Where’er you go〜Cavalleria Rusticana Kanon, Pietro Mascagni 4:05
5. Todokanu Omoi〜Moonlight Kanon, Nobuo Uematsu 5:32
6. Where’er you go〜Cavalleria Rusticana (Orgel Version) Pietro Mascagni 1:24
7. Saga〜This is my road (English Version) Kanon 4:42

Review: My brief foray into the Guin Saga anime was enough to satisfy my taste for decent music, whether it’s in listening to Nobuo Uematsu’s compositions or the ED theme which fits in with the high fantasy nature of the series rather nicely. It’s the ED theme that’s caught my attention particularly because of how the few fantasy anime in recent memory don’t have OP/EDs that come close to conveying the essence of the high fantasy genre. Whether my memory is at fault or I just didn’t watch the fantasy shows that employed this kind of music, I can only recall “Adesso e Fortuna” from the Record of the Lodoss War OVA which caught my ear with its graceful delivery. “Saga ~ This is My Road” follows in “Adesso’s” footsteps by depicting that long journey, thereby rendering it a refreshing change as it stands apart from the J-Pop/J-Rock fare that is all too commonplace.

“Saga ~ This is My Road” catches one’s attention with its Latin chants taken straight out of the Catholic Mass, but while it sets up the atmosphere of the song, it’s Kanon’s performance that carries the day. After the piano introduction, her voice enters with the declaration in the title, but the manner in which she sings it is so rich with emotion that one cannot help but be drawn in. Kanon excels in her ability to express the aspects associated with this odyssey, from the tinge of regret as she brings up her memories of home and the comforts she leaves behind to a pining feeling which suggests the degree to which she’s afflicted by wanderlust. This longing desire is conveyed beautifully, keeping the listener entranced for the song’s duration. The only point of criticism I have is the segment from 3:22 to 3:38 which sticks out like a sore thumb, detracting from the track’s longing atmosphere, but that’s just a slight bump in an otherwise excellent piece. Overall, it is difficult to resist being taken in by this song as it conveys the essence of that long, but rewarding journey.

So while Guin Saga’s ED is very enjoyable, I would not be rating this album so highly if the other tracks weren’t able to compare favorably to “Saga ~ This is My Road.” “Marius no Uta,” is much sadder than the preceding track on account of Kanon’s wistful singing and a lute part which together feels as though the song is set in a place where people are mourning someone’s passing as their deeds are recounted for all to hear. Kanon’s approach to this piece works in bringing about that melancholy aura while still maintaining that medieval atmosphere through the instrumentation. I wouldn’t call it a lullaby-like piece like others have since it’s too melancholy to be a piece to play right before one sleeps, but it is beautifully executed.

The appearance of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana later on is a bit of a surprise though one can’t argue about its ability to fit the tones of the anime. From this track’s presentation, I get the feeling that this is a piece that one of the characters, Rinda, would be singing since the lyrics focus upon her devotion to a person (presumably Guin), and her willingness to travel with him out of love. Its Italian operatic roots are definitely present and though I’m not all too familiar with Mascagni’s work, this piece carries the themes of love quite beautifully through the background instruments. Again, Kanon’s performance is notable for her ability to hit those higher registers which works in tandem with the music to maintain a hopeful atmosphere throughout the song.

Finally, of all the tracks, “Todokanu Omoi~Moonlight” feels the most out of place because of its use of a synth which is at odds with the instrumentation used in the other tracks. “Todokanu” opens up with an organ section that sets the mysterious mood and Kanon reinforces it through her ethereal delivery which has the effect of getting the listener to really pay attention to her singing. The organ interlude starting around 3:12 and ending 3:36 sounds like a harbinger of doom, except that it shifts back to the chorus part, which makes me scratch my head in trying to figure out what that the role of that segment is supposed to be exactly since it’s at odds with the serene, yet mysterious nature of the track. Still, it is a pleasant listen overall and Uematsu’s composition combined with Kanon’s delivery works well to make it an enjoyable listen.

After going through all of that, there isn’t much else that needs to be said. The overarching high fantasy mood that these tracks exude are a pleasant change from the commonplace J-Pop tracks and Kanon’s singing ability is marvelous, especially in the way she masterfully expresses the feelings that each track requires. Uematsu’s contributions in “Marius no Uta” and “Todokanu Omoi~Moonlight” are also fairly solid. If you’re looking for some music that hearkens back to the odyssean nature of the fantasy genre like what Lodoss War’s music offers, look no further.

Rating: Very Good

About the author

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.

8 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Reltair says:

    Excellent review as usual. The songs fit perfectly with the fantasy/heroic journey tones of Guin Saga. After listening to these along with watching the series, I shudder at what would have happened if they used J-Pop tracks with Guin Saga.

    I’ve always found anime that used non J-Pop songs to at least always interest me a bit more. When I start watching that first episode and “Falling Down” starts playing, I am intrigued already.

  2. Panther says:

    Over all the album was good, especially the main song, but yeah that one song felt out of place amongst the rest, but the instrumental pieces were pretty fine too, especially the one of the ED.

    A much fitting song indeed for Guin, not easily achieved, but Kanon has done it well.

  3. Ayumikat says:

    I think this is my first time posting a comment on your blog. I’m usually a silent visitor and very seldom drop comments because I usually fail at coming up with intelligible ones.

    So let me say thank you for an excellent review. As always, I enjoy reading what you wrote. You’ve an eloquent way of interpreting what you’ve listened to and taking time to explain in detail…which is quite beyond me…I’m borderline fangirling most of the time…XD

    Having said that, I love Kanon’s ED Single for Guin.The songs offered something different other than the usual J-pop type songs that tends to dominate most anime OP/ED themes plus I like Kanon’s voice. She sings beautifully and expressively. And ya, I still think Marius no Uta started off in a lullaby-ish way because the melody reminded me of one…the beginning part especially and that first impression sort of get stuck…XD. The overall tone of the song is somewhat melancholic but I don’t feel drowned by it in a gloomy dramatic way. Instead, it gives me a feeling of a sad reflection. I find the music rather soothing and Kanon’s voice is dreamy but moving. I love it…this along with Saga, the ED song are my favourites off the single.

  4. @Reltair
    That would have been out of place if anything. J-Rock would have been a better alternative if Abingdon Boy’s School were used, but still, it wouldn’t match the epic scope of these tracks.

    As for Eden of the East, definitely agree, especially with the way the lyrics manage hit the bullseye dead center as far as plots and themes are concerned.

    @Panther
    I did neglect to mention the Orgel/Music Box tracks, but those offered a nice subtle change. Very fitting for the rest of the music.

    @Ayumikat
    Heh, I actually have difficulty writing these since I struggle at finding the appropriate word choice without repeating myself so much.

    As for Marius no Uta, the lute part in the introduction does lend itself to a lullaby-ish aura so I can see where you’re coming from there. But in the rest of your comments, you’re correct in that it’s not the dramatic gloomy as much as pensive, reflective gloomy which is why I think it works as a piece to be played during the eulogy at a funeral; it’s people recounting some person’s achievements, deeds, and how that person affected the speaker’s life.

  5. Shadow says:

    From the few music reviews I’ve done, I have found the same problem of trying to describe songs without being repetitive. However, I thought your review was a good read. You nailed the lusting nature of her vocals. The chorus also had this powerful, majestic nature which is befitting of journeys in the fantasy realm.

    The speaking part you mentioned from 3:22 to 3:38 wasn’t horrible, but I admit it did break up the flow of the song.

    Adesso e Fortuna was one of my favorite openings ever, and was one of the main reasons I watched Record of Lodoss War.

  6. @Shadow
    It’s much easier if you’re reviewing albums with different overarching themes (one action-oriented album one week, another romance-filled album another week).

    And yeah, “Adesso e Fortuna” was probably one of the earliest anime songs that stuck out in my mind since it was maybe my third or fourth anime series. :p

  7. DutchPanther says:

    good listenings to all

    first article i read on this site, instand love. sorry if my english is a bit out of place, ill work on that. i actually watched guin saga before listening to the songs (yea of course i heard the OP and ED) so i’m comparing it to the series. i actually didnt find moonlight out of place at all. it remembers me of the overall mysterious background of Guin(from the series). the mysterious sound combined with the grand drums (yes 3:22-3:38) only ad to the wholesome presentation representing guin saga.

    i may have been influenced by the series tho

    further than that awesome review
    some guy

    ps:i listened to: Adesso e Fortuna, and thought it wasn’t that great at all. i couldn’t relate to it at all. ill go watch the series and shut up now

  8. @DutchPanther
    Thanks for fropping by! I do know that a lot of what makes anime music interesting is found within the context of the show so perhaps that Moonlight track requires having seen the series and if so, that’s a perfectly reasonable critique.

    Glad you like the site and hope to see/hear more from you!

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