|1. Break the Sword of Justice||Tsubasa Chronicles|
|2. Time’s Scar||Chrono Cross|
|3. Granado Espada Medley||Granado Espada|
|4. Kyoudai||Fullmetal Alchemist|
|5. Vampire Killer||Castlevania|
|6.Vamo’alla Flamenco||Final Fantasy IX|
|7. Succeeded Wish||Valkyria Chronicles|
|8. Prime #101, Prime #07||Echochrome|
|9. Hikari no Senritsu||Sora no Woto|
|10. Never Meant to Belong||Bleach|
|11. Cruel Angel Thesis||Neon Genesis Evangelion|
|12. Aimo ~Tori no Hito||Macross Frontier|
|13. Life’s Merry-Go-Round||Howl’s Moving Castle|
|14. My Neighbour Totoro||My Neighbour Totoro|
|15. Tactics A2 Medley||Final Fantasy Tactics|
|16. Main Theme||Odin Sphere|
|17. Touch||Romeo x Juliet|
|18. Penelo’s Theme||Final Fantasy XII|
|19. Eyes on Me||Final Fantasy VIII|
|20. Tetris Medley||Tetris|
|21. Megaman Medley||Megaman|
|Encore – A Song of Storm and Fire||Tsubasa Chronicles|
|Encore – Cruel Angel Thesis||Neon Genesis Evangelion|
|Encore – Succeeded Wish||Valkyria Chronicles|
Frankly, I did not have very high hopes for the Fantasy Comes Alive concert. I remember the disastrous experience of the Video Games Live performance where I heard more of fans cheering than proper music. A flip through the programme booklet revealed that it was not even a whole orchestra playing the pieces. As an orchestra freak, I was honestly very disappointed.
However, this was one of the times when I couldn’t be happier that I was wrong. With a repertoire from some of the most well-known games and anime (Final Fantasy, Neon Genesis Evangelion, My Neighbour Totoro and Fullmetal Alchemist, just to name a few), and a surprisingly excellent group of musicians from the local university, the performance was one that I will never forget.
The concert started with ‘Break the Sword of Justice’ from Tsubasa Chronicles, which was not all that well-articulated, but still had the impact that an opening piece should possess. As the concert moved on, the pieces just got better and better, from the upbeat ‘Granado Espada Medley’, to the deeply moving ‘Kyoudai’ from Fullmetal Alchemist before letting one’s imagination take flight with ‘Touch’ from Romeo x Juliet.
There were a few other slightly weaker pieces, such as ‘Hikari no Senritsu’ from Sora no Woto, which had its flute solo replaced with the electric guitar, to disastrous results, and ‘Vamo’alla Flamenco,’ where the acoustic guitar failed to stand out. However, other than these two pieces and a slightly lackluster ‘Break the Sword of Justice,’ the other pieces generally ranged from very good to extraordinary. The weaker tracks did little, if anything at all, to unseat the excellent performance as a whole.
The upper hand that live concerts have over recordings is that you actually see the music being weaved together. And for this particular one, showmanship was absolutely at its max. It also helps that the musicians are younger and as a result, more carefree in their expressiveness, which makes for a pleasant departure from the staid atmosphere of more professional performances.
The fact that the repertoire was a compilation from many different anime and games also lets one experience the different styles and moods of so many composers and separate works. One piece which really left an impression on me was ‘Cruel Angel Thesis’ from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Being a very fast paced rock-styled rendition of the original, it was excellently put forth by the musicians, delivering something which can only be described as phenomenal.
The occasion was also graced by composers Haketa Sakamoto and Hitoshi Sakimoto. Hitoshi Sakimoto was actually one of the selling points of the concert, as he has been among my favourite composers ever since I heard his works for Romeo x Juliet. Though it was definitely an experience to see the two of them in person, I do wish they can give us more details regarding their work, instead of just telling us how glad they are to be in Singapore and such.
Other minor complaints I have include things like the emcee not being familiar with how to pronounce Japanese names properly, some technical glitches and such. But these are flaws which can be ironed out with experience. And with the (near) full house audience it enjoyed, I think it is not unreasonable for me to believe that it may be held annually from now on.
In closing, I’d just like to say that Fantasy Comes Alive really does live up to its name. Though it’s currently a local production, one day if it ever goes out of Singapore, please go experience it. It’s well worth it!