Maoyu Maou Yuusha O.S.T. Maou – Review

Maouyuu Maou Yuusha OST Cover

Album Title: Maoyu Maou Yuusha O.S.T. Maou
Anime Title: Maoyu Maou Yuusha
Artist: Takeshi Hama, Dan Miyakawa, Akino Arai, Hisaaki Hogari, YOHKO, riya, Nao Toyama
Catalog Number: VTCL-60338
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: March 20, 2013
Purchase at: CDJapan


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
01. Maoyu Prelude Takeshi Hama 6:04
02. Head Wind [TV Size] YOHKO 1:32
03. Beyond the Hill Takeshi Hama 4:17
04. White Clover Impromptu Takeshi Hama 1:39
05. Be My Belonging riya 3:22
06. light up your mind Takeshi Hama 2:29
07. Black World Takeshi Hama 1:42
08. Fatehgadrem 未浦愛子 3:33
09. Demonic Worship Takeshi Hama 3:09
10. A Symmetry Takeshi Hama 1:47
11. Tiny Happiness Takeshi Hama 2:15
12. Unknown Vision Akino Arai 5:01
13. Someday Takeshi Hama 2:22
14. Battle Drum Takeshi Hama 1:59
15. Bedlam For 14 Musicians Takeshi Hama 1:56
16. Song of Human Nao Toyama 4:28
17. National Ecstasy Takeshi Hama 1:48
18. Galleria Takeshi Hama 1:48
19. Opid Takeshi Hama 2:35
20. Kind Soil Takeshi Hama 2:42
21. Searching for the Spring (Instrumental) Takeshi Hama 2:45
22. White Forest Takeshi Hama 3:49
23. Extra Takeshi Hama 4:18

Review: Loud music in soundtracks has its place if done well. Loud music in soundtracks that obscures musical nuances and promising ideas is capable of knocking down the quality of a score by quite a few notches. As I sat and listened to Takeshi Hama’s soundtrack for Maouyu Maou Yuusha, I strained my ears to pick out the delightful airs that he composed, but alas, it was difficult to stay focused as the background instrumentals delighted in being loud enough that they eclipsed the music’s beauty and made the listening experience more frustrating than it should be.

The first track portends this shortcoming, except in this instance, its execution is sufficiently strong so as to remain engaging. “Maoyu Prelude” opens softly before the full might of the orchestra crescendos in to channel a glorious tone fitting of a new dawn upon a benighted setting. The piece then recedes, letting the violins and then the oboe come in with a poignant section to issue a sense of calm and add a dab of worry to highlight just how difficult the task of achieving the anime’s central premise to bring a new economic and social order can be. Nevertheless, as the recorder and keyboards take over, riding atop a rhythm that carries a sense of purpose, the work goes underway, with a nice, brisk melody that evokes rustic images of ages past.

Maoyu Prelude (part a)

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Then, a disembodied chorus comes in, bringing with it an air of mysticism. The tempo seemingly increases, as the percussion goes faster, highlighting a sense of urgency which builds up to… syncopated trumpets? With this, the piece explodes in a rain of cacophony. What you get is a sense of bedlam, one which isn’t unpleasant, but certainly odd given the slower fare that preceded it. No matter. “Maoyu Prelude” manages to be exciting and its twists and turns enthrall as it departs from convention.

Maoyu Prelude (part b)

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With “Beyond the Hill,” where this soundtrack’s leitmotif surfaces, the tone takes a persistent turn, one that depicts a relentless pursuit of an ideal as the strings move with purpose, laying out the hardships and sacrifices that must be made. For most of its run time, the piece remains pleasant as it shines with hope, but once the electric guitar enters, it throws the piece in for a loop, giving it a heavy melody that feels out of place given the more rustic fare the strings and woodwinds sculpted earlier. At its best, the cello and flute duet cultivates a sublime air that’s thoughtful, hopeful, and wonderfully introspective. At worst, it becomes harder to disentangle all elements that Hama throws into his music, hence, the frustration experienced.

Beyond the Hill

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The trend continues in “Be My Belonging,” which draws upon “Beyond the Hill’s” motif and features riya on vocals to deliver a profound experience. Initially enjoyable as the dreamy air bubbles forth, the synth takes on a louder role, especially towards the end where it is sufficiently overpowering without working in harmony with riya’s singing. Later on, “National Ecstasy” falls into the same trap. Its shrill mix of Middle Eastern rhythms with ethnic chants are an intriguing combination and would have stayed that way had the addition of more instruments not made the music it brewed so chaotic and discordant that it’s hard to like even if it matches its titular event.

National Ecstasy

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And in the vein of the chaotic and discordant, there are eye-opening oddballs like “Demonic Worship” and “Bedlam for 14 Musicians.” The former opts for a more classical interpretation of its titular unholy ritual, proffering a low buzzing in the background to set a foundation for the chanting and the instrumentals which amplify the tension. The latter lives up entirely to its name, with a really dissonant xylophonic opener which grows more cacophonous by the second. The extremely unpleasant tones continue their course as the instrumentals all come together to weave a discordant musical fabric that can only be appreciated by someone with a taste for Postmodern academic music. There’s an artistry present here, I’m sure, but I’m not one to be able to articulate upon since this genre is still far from my level of understanding.

Bedlam for 14 Musicians

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So as these pieces batter me around with their loudness, their discordance (some good, some bad), and their unconventional approach (some good, some bad), I wonder how well this album could have turned out had Hama decided to be just a tad more conventional, a tad softer to let each instrument shine instead of blending them together in a haphazard mishmash or letting some instruments completely overpower the others. This thought becomes even larger given the quantity of amazing tracks scattered about. “White Clover Impromptu” is a lovely piano number that possesses much personality, opening with a shyness that peeks ’round the corner, then fluttering about with ginger steps before flushing with happiness and quiet contentment, to showcase as the best piece in Maoyu’s soundtrack and a worthy contender of displacing some of my favorite anime piano music.

White Clover Impromptu

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“Tiny Happiness” also delights, as the piano part which uses a motive that beckons towards “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” twinkles with hope and optimism for the road head while the guitar accompaniment instills the rustic imagery into the piece. I also enjoy “Kind Soil’s” introspective guitar duet which, when augmented by the woodwinds, gives it a quaint and charming expression of joy. Finally, there’s “White Forest” which sees the harp, strings, and ethereal vocals later on in the track join together in a beautiful display, giving it a mystical aura that continually yearns towards the better future.

Tiny Happiness

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White Forest

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If there’s anything these tracks demonstrate, it’s that Takeshi Hama does have the capacity to compose good music that carries much personality and appeal. It’s a shame then, that the handful of neat concept that Hama toys with don’t get their chance to truly shine, masked by a cacophony that detracts rather than enhances the music resulting in a score that’s a merely good soundtrack than something great. In that light, Hama’s efforts effectively mirror the fate that befell Maoyu Maou Yuusha. Too bad.

Rating: Good

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.

9 thoughts on “Maoyu Maou Yuusha O.S.T. Maou – Review

  • June 5, 2013 at 6:16 am
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    I basically disagree with your complaints completely. But before I go on, just how do you tell “loudness”? None of Maoyu seems “loud” in my opinion.

    Reply
    • June 5, 2013 at 11:23 am
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      @omo
      This one’s a little hard to quantify. When the overall volume increases to the point where it either becomes difficult to distinguish one melody from another or doesn’t show a fine balance between melody and harmony (both of which happened here). If it were soft, but jumbled together, I’d have called it that. If I had to pick out examples of where it got to me:
      “Beyond the Hill” – 2:34-3:10, 3:45-4:17
      “Be My Belonging” – 2:27-2:58 (the synth rhythm in the background contrasts poorly with riya’s vocals, at least, for me)
      “light up your mind” – 1:48-2:20 (violin part is obscured here)
      “National Ecstasy” – 1:04-1:22 (the chantings are smothered)
      Maybe a bit harsh on how 4 tracks can affect the listening experience, but it certainly bothered me enough.

      Reply
  • June 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm
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    I guess I’m speaking for both Maou and Yuu soundtracks, as I mixed my favorite songs from both into a single mixed album, but I just want to say that I really enjoyed the soundtracks as a whole. There were some great instrumental pieces, but also a lot of good vocal pieces as well. The theme Ausutenausuto(not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean, that’s what it’s called in the one I downloaded anyways) and the various versions of the melody that play in a few different songs, are very nice to listen to. I do agree that at times the cacophony of sounds is overwhelming in some tracks. When I listen to this soundtrack, it’s normally in my car, which has a lot of road noise, so I just crank it up and drown out everything with that cacophony. It’s quite nice.

    Reply
    • June 17, 2013 at 1:35 am
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      @Acid
      That might not be a bad way to go since I could see this being very good road music. As for me, I know I’ll be listening to “White Clover imprompu” over and over.

      Also probably should have touched a bit more on the vocal tracks, but I thought they fared rather nicely. Riya does a good job as usual and some of the other choral stuff is nice and ethereal in a way that’s absolutely soothing.

      Reply
  • July 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm
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    I can’t seem to find the lyric for Austenoust (Mao-ban track 23 & Yuusha-ban track 2)… DOu you have it..? That’s my favorite song in these albums… :)

    Reply
    • July 12, 2013 at 2:22 am
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      @erispedia
      I think the easiest way is to dig around for scans of the album’s booklet. If you can find them, the lyrics should be written somewhere. At least, that’s how it is in most CD booklets for soundtracks that contain music with lyrics.

      Reply
      • July 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm
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        Well, there’s the scan but too bad I can’t read Kanji. The booklet is full of Kanji.

      • April 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm
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        I want to find the lyrics to Fatehgadrem… but I have no idea where to look. And I don’t know where to find a booklet. Please help!

      • April 21, 2014 at 1:54 am
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        Have you tried looking at http://vgmdb.net/album/37514 ? They’re usually pretty good about scanning the booklet as part of the catalog, so you might be able to find what you’re looking for.

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