|Album Title:||Saki Original Soundtrack|
|Release Date:||October 7, 2009|
|1. Tokimeki no Toki||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:53|
|2. Majanbu de no Hitotoki||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:34|
|3. Koukou Seikatsu -Seichou-||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:40|
|4. Nagoyakana Nichijou||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:35|
|5. Maid Kissa||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:49|
|6. Dotabata||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:38|
|7. Introduction||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:46|
|8. Saki – Gakkou||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:43|
|9. Natsukashii Kimochi||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:44|
|10. Wa – Yuutousei||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:48|
|11. Ano Toki no Kimochi||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:56|
|12. Tacos Cota||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:36|
|13. Yuuki -Dajiee-||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:48|
|14. Ano Toki wa…||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:58|
|15. Tsutsumi Komarete||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:16|
|16. Yoi Ko to Issho||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:39|
|17. Ojou-sama Toiu Mono wa||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:47|
|18. Omoiyari to Yasashisa||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:59|
|19. Kussetsu Shita Omoi||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:46|
|20. Koerare nai Kabe||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:36|
|21. Kuyashisa||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:02|
|22. Shiai Mae||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:39|
|23. Da||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:45|
|24. Te no Uchi||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:19|
|25. Sassou to||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:41|
|26. Kousei||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:24|
|27. Shinkaku||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:20|
|28. Attouteki na Chikara wo Mokuzen Toshite||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:00|
|29. Kami no Ryouiki||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||2:02|
|30. Kami ka Akuma ka||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:41|
|31. Kono Itte de||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:38|
|32. Shouri he -Ketsui-||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:54|
|33. Heroic Star||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:59|
|34. Tatakai no Nochi ni wa…||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:43|
|35. Kazoku no Omoide||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:30|
|36. Chotto Mae Made wa||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:56|
|37. Futari no Yakusoku||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:44|
|38. Glossy:MMM (Arrange ver.)||Tsuyoshi Watanabe||1:54|
Review: When I had written about the Spring 2009 season, my initial impression of Saki’s music was that it was going to be short and undeveloped, signifying an unambitious, but functional soundtrack. Although this sounds like a value judgement, it shouldn’t be seen that way because all I expect is some good music and on this front, the composer, Tsuyoshi Watanabe (of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu fame), delivers with some catchy, enjoyable themes. Even those who have not seen the show will be able to derive enjoyment out of this album because its simplistic nature doesn’t require much imagination to figure out what the track is supposed to depict. A quick listen will show that Saki’s soundtrack runs the gamut of easygoing slice of life tracks, character themes, emotional pieces, and intense tracks that convey the thrill of the mahjong matches. Though the music is as far from being mind-shattering while still being enjoyable, it need not be thrilling to succeed.
Saki’s soundtrack’s strength in simplicity is evident from the first track, “Tokimeki no Toki” which lelangir had described as a well-executed ojou-sama piece. The piano and the harp work together to bring forth a dainty aura that carries with it a scent of romance and innocence throughout its duration. In doing so, its sets the tone of the series by driving expectations for a feel-good anime that, in spite of its tense moments, assures the audience that the ending will be a happy one.
Tokimeki no Toki
The slice of life moments then spring forth with “Majanbu de no Hitotoki’s” upbeat, easygoing atmosphere that it projects through its harmonica and piano melody, sculpting a scene in which the stresses of day to day life are nonexistent. “Saki – Gakkou” builds up on the laid-back setting with a quaint piano melody that immerses the listener in an aura of contentment and “Yoi Ko to Issho” adds to it through a high-pitched recorder that meanders about as it calms the listener in a lullaby-like fashion.
Saki – Gakkou
Given the show’s idiom, romantic feelings inevitably flutter about in a simplistic, innocent manner, with moments where the characters do their best to summon up the courage to pour their feelings out. “Ano Toki no Kimochi’s” piano melody pauses often, illustrating the anxiety that comes with confessing their love and how the characters go through a cycle of false starts. “Tsutsumi Komarete” a few tracks down furthers the anxiety, but adds a greater sense of urgency through a faster tempo. Unfortunately, that’s about as varied as it gets; most of the pieces will fall along the same vein and by then, you’ll want a break from all the feelings that the characters keep bottled up inside.
Ano Toki no Kimochi
That is where some of the sillier tracks step in and “Maid Kissa” injects a high dose of energy into the soundtrack. The image that it conjures through its track title and melody is that of a fanservice moment as the characters find themselves in a state of embarrassment and must cope with it as best as they can. Then comes “Dotabata’s” brand of silliness which is novel the first few times one hears it, but its flighty, impish aura can be slightly irritating after a while. Because of this, my preference goes more towards pieces like “Tacos Costa” and “Yuuki ~Dajiee~.” The titles capture Yuuki’s persona perfectly as the former serves up an atmosphere one might find in a tropical cabana out in the Caribbean while the latter’s fast-paced, frenetic tempo does an excellent job depicting her hyperactive nature.
After establishing the setting, atmosphere, and characters, it’s time to move into the mahjong matches. “Shiai Mae” shows just how serious the competition with its militaristic melody that covers both the excitement of being at the tournament and the jittery feelings that will inevitably follow. The serious tone then takes over once the matches get under way. Here, one is treated to dissonant that tracks like “Te no Uchi” which drive home the fears the characters experience at the mahjong table. Although there are a few points in which the intense tracks will take a break, allowing for victory-sounding pieces like “Kousei” to settle in, it’s only a respite serving as a release from all that tension.
Once the series hits its stride through its formidable matchups, the soundtrack follows suit, reflecting the incredible powers that some of the mahjong players wield. “Attouteki na Chikara wo Mokuzen Toshite” carries a feeling of doom through a repetitive section that speeds up as the piece progresses until it hits a point of no return, screaming out a warning as it’s enveloped by the danger. “Kami ka Akuma ka” emphasizes that atmosphere further to demonstrate how truly scary some of the opponents are. The music in “Kami ka Akuma ka” is heavy-handed, bringing with it an oppressive air designed to give the audience an idea of what the other players are forced to endure even if it can get unbearably repetitive at times. However, this series does deal in cliches, and it’s not long before the breakthrough comes along.
Kami ka Akuma ka
As soon as “Heroic Star” begins playing, it becomes obvious that the end is in sight, bringing with it a sense of relief along with the taste of sweet, sweet success. The trumpet fanfare gives an adrenaline rush as it pours all its energy into creating that spectacular finale to leave the audience in awe at Saki’s clutch performance. To be sure, “Heroic Star” is cheesy, milking that glorious moment for all it’s worth but it does the trick in dissolving all that tension that had built up, leaving nothing but a sense of relief.
From this point on, the tracks wind down as it depicts the tournament’s epilogue as all of the competing school reflect back upon their experience. The peaceful melodies that dominate this section allows the listener to relax and look forward to the challenges that are to come. Saki’s soundtrack then closes out with “Glossy MMM (arranged)” which wraps things up nicely through an acoustic guitar melody. It differs from the original piece by toning down the excitement appropriate for an ending track. At least, until next time when the mahjong madness begins anew.
Glossy MMM (arranged)
For an anime soundtrack that doesn’t aspire to much, Saki manages to achieve its objective of matching up the music with whatever is taking place on screen while delivering an enjoyable listening experience. While criticisms can be lobbed at it because of its general lack of development, the music is never boring. And as long as a soundtrack is capable of achieving that bare minimum, I have no qualms about giving it a passable score.