D.N.Angel Vocal Collection – Review


Album Title: D.N.Angel Vocal Collection
Anime Title: D.N.Angel
Artist: Irino Miyu; Miyamoto Shunichi; Minawo; Okiayu Ryuutaro;
Kusao Tsuyoshi; Nakayama Sara
Catalog Number: VICL-61145
Release Type: Vocal Collection
Release Date: October 22, 2003
Purchase at: CDJapan


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
01. I Want to Become the Wind Irino Miyu 4:35
02. Twilight ~ True Light (Full Version) Miyamoto Shunichi 4:17
03. The Gentle Afternoon Minawo 3:39
04. Pulse ~Whenever~ Okiayu Ryuutaro 5:13
05. Forgotten Item Minawo 4:39
06. Paradise ~Fanatic~ Kusao Tsuyoshi 4:04
07. Song of the Rain Minawo 4:40
08. A Couple of Wishes Nakayama Sara 4:28
09. Twilight ~ True Light (Acoustic Version) Various 5:03
10. The Beginning Day (Full Version) Minawo 4:48
11. Guide Post Miyamoto Shunichi 4:37

Review: I’ve been a big fan of D.N.Angel since I watched the series several years ago, shortly after its release. It’s the kind of show that doesn’t know whether to take itself seriously or not, and because of that, it’s a bit awkward at times.  Nevertheless, one of its highest merits is undoubtedly the music. I was very excited to come across the Vocal Collection, which, like the show, is a mix of light, happy moods mixed with dark, intense refrains. The collection as a whole is wonderful, but much of the focus deservingly goes to the opening, endings, and fighting themes.

The theme song, “True Light,” is a long-standing favourite of mine, especially the extended version found in this collection. It starts out with a somewhat quiet organ refrain, joined gradually by choir voices and pounding drums. These build to a crescendo, which the piano then jumps down from as it segues into the beginning verse heard in the main theme. It’s here that Miyamoto Shunichi’s voice enters, enunciating each word with a clear purpose as he sings of despair, hope, and longing. The rest of the lyrics are set to a light violin countermelody, as well as a vaguely rock background of upbeat drums and a powerful guitar which steals the show for a wicked solo partway through. The tension in the song continues to build, appealing to the senses through a relentlessly driving pace, until it ends with a bang.

Twilight ~ True Light (Full Version)

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Compared to the dramatic opening, the ending songs “Gentle Afternoon” and “The Beginning Day” are more gentle and relaxed. Used for the first thirteen episodes of the series, “Gentle Afternoon” starts out with a violin introduction which leads into Minawo’s light, airy singing. You might think that such a mild voice couldn’t sound nearly as good at a higher volume, but each time she dives into the chorus in both songs, Minawo comes out with this beautiful plaintive cry that reflects the desperate struggles that many of the character face throughout the course of the series. And each time, she slides back into that peaceful tone through which she delivers the rest of her lyrics.

Gentle Afternoon

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Though “The Beginning Day,” used for the remaining episodes, has slightly different instrumentation (favouring xylophone over flute), the attitudes of the two songs are very similar. Both speak of flight, dreams, and moving forward—ideas that are complemented by the soft but swiftly moving percussion.

The Beginning Day

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The two fighting themes, “Pulse” and “Paradise,” contrast directly with the gentle endings. Here, the instrumentation is heavier, the voices lower (both featuring male singers), and the driving rock background much more prominent. In “Pulse,” the guitars and organ engage one another in constant motion over the pounding drums. These are complemented by the dulcet tones of Okiayu Ryuutaro, who delivers his lyrics with both passion and mystery.

Pulse

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“Paradise,” sung by the haunting voice of Kusao Tsuyoshi, drives at a slower pace, using violins and low-toned percussion instruments as its weapons of choice. It also features a strange violin solo which claws its way to the upper register and squirms around there for a while before sinking back to the low, driving base beat of the song. The effect of this is a strange yet wonderful tension that really adds oomph to the action scenes.

Paradise

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One final song worth mentioning is an acoustic arrangement of the “True Light” theme, which appears towards the end of the collection. Here, only the piano and the singer interact to create a tone that’s quite different from the drum beat-driven opening. It’s slower, calmer, and leaves more room for virtuosity in both the voice and piano parts. This version still manages to capture the intensity that’s prevalent in the opening, but in a much subtler way. The original would likely appeal more to a listener looking for something upbeat and musically complex. That said, the piano playing in the acoustic version is absolutely gorgeous. It explores a great range on the keyboard, from the fluttering melody in a higher register at the beginning to the pounding bass notes that accompany the more charged parts of the song.

True Light (Acoustic Version)

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For someone with very eclectic tastes in music, this collection was a real treat. Each song stands perfectly as its own character, but when put together on the same disk each of these unique flavours merge together to form a cohesive story that really captures the essence of the series, touching everything from fantasy to heartbreak and everything in between.

Rating: Excellent

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