Anime, Game Music, Japanese

OSV’s Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2008

December 18, 2008 | | 12 Comments Share thison Facebook OSV’s Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2008on Twitter

Well, it’s that time of the year again. If you’re like me, you’ll be stuck inside, curled up by a fire, without wanting to wander out into the bitter cold, and with this holiday buyer’s guide you won’t need to. We’ve put together a list to help bring in the new year in style. We have everything from music to anime, so what more could you ask for?

See for yourself after the jump.

Game Music

Ragnarok Online Original SoundtrackVGM World – $31.29

The original first print of this soundtrack from Digicube is now considered a rare find, but somehow VGM World managed to nab some of the original copies before the label went bankrupt in late 2003. The score consists of 50 of the tracks by the Korean group SoundTeMP, including work by members who’d later move on to form the Korean band S.F.A., both of which you may recognize from our October interview regarding Granado Espada. While this isn’t exactly a new release, I can’t help but recommend that everyone should own a copy. The album is beautifully arranged and, for the relatively new genre of MMORPGs, is destined to be a timeless classic.

Sam & Max Soundtrack BundleTelltale Games – $29.99

Jared Emerson-Johnson provides a collection of works from the new installments of the cult classic Sam & Max. What could be the coolest game score ever oozes with classical jazz, and is beautifully performed by live musicians, which is a rare treat in and of itself. Originally released as individual two disc soundtracks, this bundle comes complete with four discs, and original cover art by series creator Steve Purcell.

INFINITE UNDISCOVERY Original SoundtrackSquare-Enix Store – $24.95

This three disc soundtrack consists of seventy eight tracks with almost three and a half hours of audio by veteran composer Motoi Sakuraba. Known for his contributions to the Valkyrie Profile series, and a number 16-bit shooters, this marks a departure from the usual Progressive Rock we’ve come to expect from Sakuraba. Instead, he delivers a beautifully orchestrated score. While I almost feel bad saying it, this is truly one of the times where the soundtrack alone can be far more memorable than the game itself, and though you may overlook the game, the soundtrack is worth giving a chance.

Neowing vs Persona Premium BOXCDJapan / Neowing – $115.29

This four disc limited edition Persona box set contains both the Persona 3 original and arranged albums, as well as the Persona 3 FES Original Soundtrack and Persona 4 Original Soundtrack. In addition to the CDs themselves, a set of collectors cards and alternate covers are also included in this unique bundle. This makes it a must have for any collector, or fan of the Persona series. While you can still purchase each album separately, or pick and choose, you’ll be missing out on either great CDs, or an excellent box to house them in. The offer is for a limited time only, so keep that in mind as well.

J-Pop/Rock

hide Psyence [SHM-CD] reissue – CDjapan / Neowing – $34.11

Arguably one of the most influential figures in modern Japanese rock history, hide’s sophomore release, Psyence, was truly ahead of it’s time. It featured a variety of ideas which many considered experimental, blending Rock with Ska, and even elements of Electronica. This reissue features the new SHM-CD format, which supposedly uses a clearer data layer to improve disc reading, though any actual improvement to the sound quality is debatable. What we do know is that any CD player can read them, so you won’t need any new gear for it. The limited first print, which as of now is still available, comes with a poster.

Ken Hirai – Fakin’ PopCDjapan / Neowing – $31.62

Many people, us included, consider Ken Hirai to be one of Japan’s best modern singer/songwriters, and with good reason. His recent album featured multiple singles which spent weeks on the chart, three of which were in the top ten. Nearly every song on the album was licensed in some fashion, and used in various product spots, movies and television dramas. Hirai’s unique blend of pop, soul, and R&B combined with his soft falsetto voice will leave most listeners demanding more.

Tomiko Van – Van.CDjapan / Neowing – $31.62

The second album from Tomiko Van, who some may recognize as the lead singer for the recently reunited j-pop band Do As Infinity. This long awaited album features a collection of singles released over the past few years, as well as a few new tracks. Among those includes the theme songs for the drama “Oishii Propose”, and the Capcom title Sengoku Basara 2, which unfortunately has yet to see an overseas release. While I can’t wait to hear what Do As Infinity has in store for us since they’ve reunited, this album will definitely help tie us over until that time comes.

Anime

Gurren Lagann Part 1 Limited Edition w/Artbox and LED lightAmazon.com – $59.49

In the 90’s, Gainax captured their viewers hearts with the modern classic, Neon Genesis Evangelion. While they’ve created other series, and participated in a number of projects since then, Gainax has never been able to repeat the success of that series, until now. Set in it’s own universe, complete with huge mecha, and disgruntled beastmen, Gurren Lagann delivers the experience we’ve all been waiting for. This box set comes with the newly recorded English dub, as seen on the SciFi Channel, as well as the original Japanese audio. The box may seem pricey, but it does come with a drill led light and unique art. A must have for any fan.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Original SoundtrackCDJapan / Neowing – $38.26

As far as Anime scores are concerned, Taku Iwasaki is one of the biggest names in the industry. His work on such titles as Now and Then, Here and There, and the Rurouni Kenshin OVAs have earned him the respect of many of his peers, as well as fans around the world. Iwasaki continues to amaze with his contributions to the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Original Soundtrack, which contains 51 tracks of audio spanning two discs. If you’re planning to collect the series, don’t pass this up.

Clearance Items

Dirge of the Cerberus, Final Fantasy VII Limited Edition Original SoundtrackGamemusic.com – $9.99

We mentioned this deal back in June, but let’s face it, a good deal is hard to pass up. This Final Fantasy VII spin-off was scored by Masashi Hamauzu, who took a different approach to title, blending his sound with the 3rd person shooter mechanics of the game, rather than emulating the previous works of Nobuo Uematsu. Unfortunately, the soundtrack was likely overlooked due to the negative reception the game received by the press. Still, it’s a great soundtrack and includes two vocal tracks by Japanese rock star Gackt.

This concludes our brief list, but I know there are other great suggestions. If you think you know a good deal when you see one,  feel free to take a minute and share your finds below.

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