Symphony SEED: Symphonic Suite Mobile Suit Gundam SEED – Review

Album Title: Symphony SEED: Symphonic Suite Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Anime Title: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Artist: Toshihiko Sahashi, London Symphony Orchestra
Catalog Number: VICL-61400
Release Type: Arrangement
Release Date: May 08, 2004
Purchase at: CDJapan


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
1. Opening – Chapter I: 蒼き海に乱れの予感 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
5:28
2. Suspense – Chapter II: 忍びくる風の波紋 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
4:12
3. Take off – Chapter III: 大いなる勇士の鼓動 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
4:18
4. Memory – Chapter IV: 愛しみの旋律の彼方 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
3:36
5. Zafuto – Chapter V: 正義という名の赤い河 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
4:27
6. Death – Chapter VI: 哀しみの消えぬ世界で Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
2:53
7. Gundam – Chapter VII: 揺れる心と誓いの絆 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
4:59
8. The Song – Chapter VIII: あんなに一緒だったのに Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
3:23
9. A Wish – Chapter IX: 静かなる平和の調 Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
4:02
10. Finale – Chapter X: 闘いの果て届けられた想い Toshihiko Sahashi,
London Symphony Orchestra
7:40

Review: I’ve had an odd relationship with mecha series in that I’ll avoid having to actually watch one the whole way through (I think the list of mecha shows I’ve completed stands at about 3 or 4 now), and yet, I’ll happily embrace the music because of the way it evokes the vast final frontier and the ensuing conflicts within through a majestic, orchestral sound that is heaven to my ears. Gundam SEED is no exception to that rule with Toshihiko Sahashi doing an excellent job helming that soundtrack. That said, exploring its four-disc soundtrack can be a daunting task. That’s why I’d recommend the Symphony SEED album for those who want to experience Gundam SEED’s music, but in bite-sized chunks. And delicious bite-sized chunks at that.

Gundam SEED’s symphonic album takes ten already-superb tracks, and polishes them further by having them performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Pieces like “Opening” become nothing short of glorious, as the music alights upon our ears, beckoning us to dive into a saga just waiting to unfold before our eyes. The brass section’s fanfares and the occasional dipping into the heavier melodies hearken towards the militaristic side of the story, with its depiction of the battles between heroes and villains, and yet, it still leaves room for the strings and woodwinds to provide calmer, inspiring fare to assure us that the end result is a lasting peace with the heroes immortalized forevermore.

Opening

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With that kind of opener, one can safely infer that glorious and grand themes are going to dominate this album. Its approach is nono too subtle, and people who favor bombastic melodies and militaristic fanfares that announce their intent straight from the get-go will be pleased by what this album offers up. “Take off’s” pompousness in its opening lines possesses the sort of melody that works as a triumphant sendoff as the trumpets hail those departing as heroes bound upon the adventure that epics aim to retell. The same vibe permeates “Gundam,” except the strings starts out softly, allowing the listener to appreciate the mech’s structural beauty. Its war-making capabilities come once the regal, stately tones subside, unleashing upon us the mechs’ true potential, as the tempo speeds up, and the orchestra moves into a rousing, fanfare-driven finish that leaves no question-marks about its superiority as a weapon on the battlefield, one that is capable of inspiring fear and dread in enemies.

Take off

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Gundam

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So yes, these arrangements aim to get you pumped in anticipation of the action, and that can be a bit exhausting if there aren’t quieter tracks to provide some respite. To that end, “Memory” and “A Wish” work well in bringing an aura of tranquility amidst the fighting. I particularly like how the former conveys its gentle, longing tones through the woodwinds and xylophones as it reaches far into the past, bringing to mind the nostalgia of more peaceful times. The latter, though an orchestral arrangement of Lacus Clyne’s (cv: Rie Tanaka) “Shizukana Yoru ni,” is beautifully arranged. “Shizukana Yoru ni” is simple, but the basic melody is easy to latch onto, and when executed by an orchestra, “A Wish” is more poignant than the original. I love its progression as it blossoms from its quiet, calming air into an unforgettable piece dripping with sentimentality and happiness that settles one’s heart so that one can be at peace with oneself and the outside world.

A Wish

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Symphony SEED then ends with the wonderful “Finale,” which takes us through countless battles and emphasizes the intensity before slowly drawing it to a close, first, with the usual round of triumphant brass fanfares, before letting the horn, woodwinds, and strings carry the war’s events to the history books, where the brave deeds can be chronicled for future generations. And in closing, it never loses its sense of grandeur; the London Symphony Orchestra carries the heroism all the way to the finish line. The music isn’t subtle and it certainly doesn’t show Gundam SEED’s angstier moments, but it sure is hard for me to not be swept up by the epic melodies it serves up.

Finale

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Rating: Excellent

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.

14 thoughts on “Symphony SEED: Symphonic Suite Mobile Suit Gundam SEED – Review

  • July 23, 2010 at 1:24 am
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    Also, props to anyone who heard that snippet of Gunslinger Girl in the first track! o/

    Reply
  • July 23, 2010 at 11:55 am
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    The music was one of the real highlights of Gundam Seed, and the orchestral arrangements of them are brilliant. Are you going to check out the Seed Destiny Symphony stuff too?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm
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    @kadian1364
    I purchased the SEED Destiny Symphony disc at Anime Expo, so yup! Part of the reason I posted this was as a prelim for the SEED Destiny Symphony album.

    Reply
  • July 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm
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    I have to agree that the music is the highest point in the Gundam Seed series, and I’m doubly glad that Symphony Seed Destiny will also be up for review!

    Reply
  • July 23, 2010 at 11:49 pm
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    IMO the symphony discs offer the best music from their respective osts. Good purchase! Wish I could have been to the expo to get my hands on them too =/

    Reply
  • July 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm
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    @ottocycle @ mshaydown
    Pretty much when I saw the SEED Destiny Symphony CD sitting at the dealer’s table, I pretty much had to take the plunge since I wasn’t about to pay outrageous shipping fees and currency exchange rates. So yeah, do look forward to that!

    Reply
  • July 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm
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    Another reaffirmation of why Sahashi is probably my favorite composer of anime music.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm
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    @Yu
    Haha, high words indeed. I consider him to be easily the most consistent of the lot since with a Sahashi soundtrack in tow, you know what you’re gonna get.

    For that matter, one of my writers is currently looking at another Sahashi album. That plus the SEED Destiny symphonic album means that we’ve got a lot of Sahashi popping up over the next few weeks.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm
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    While the track is kind of too grandiose and magnanimous for me, I did like some of the samples. A Wish is my favorite.

    Btw. I share your feelings on mecha. I just can’t seem to like the genre.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm
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    I easily fell in love with these arrangements. Particularly the one of Orb. Beautiful.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm
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    I’ve always liked the GS and GSD tracks. This is my first time hearing the orchestral version though, and I love it! It would be awesome if it was possible to hear some of these songs live.

    Once I acquire some extra spending money, I’ll look into picking this up.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm
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    @Yi
    Yeah, pretty much did say that this album is for those who enjoy their glorious orchestral bombast, and I’m certainly one of them. Probably not something worth picking up since the emotional stuff isn’t as prominent, but worth a listen anyhow.

    @Twilightshiva
    You’re talking about the battle for Orb? I remember the scenes having some really epic music accompanying it. Put on an orchestra and it sounds even more awesome!

    @Reltair
    It’s definitely worth picking up. I’ve also been meaning to check out some of the other Gundam orchestral albums since those look solid the whole way through, so like you, I’m waiting until some spending money becomes available :p

    Reply
  • August 29, 2010 at 7:50 am
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    This gundam serie is the very best. I can’t overlook my first time watching Gundam Wing then know about japan mobile suit gundam. Hope to own far more wonderful gundam serie within the future

    Reply
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